Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Iowa in the 1800s

Traveling Tuesday: Iowa in the 1800s 

 
One of twelve midwestern states, Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are formed almost entirely by rivers (the Mississippi to the east, and the Missouri and Big Sioux to the west). Populated by Native Americans for thousands of years, the area didn’t see European explorers until the late 1600s. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France traveled from France to document indigenous villages. The French claimed the territory and it remained in their hands until 1763 when they transferred it to Spain just before losing the French and Indian War. 

By all reports, Spain practiced loose management of the region known as Louisiana, granting trading licenses to French and British traders who established posts along the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers. Highly successful, the traders obtained lead and furs from the indigenous people. By 1800, Napoleon was given control of the territory in a treaty with Spain. Two years later President Thomas Jefferson obtained information that Spain planned to cede the land back to France, and he brokered a with the French to purchase approximately 827,000 square miles for fifteen million dollars. Over the course of several years, the territory was subdivided, and much of Iowa was mapped by Zebulon Pike. 

Settlers didn’t move into the Iowa until 1833. Mostly from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana,
Kentucky, and Virginia, families built homes on the banks of the Mississippi River, founding Dubuque and Bellevue. On July 4, 1838, Congress established the Territory of Iowa, and President Van Buren appointed Robert Lucas governor. 
 
Almost immediately, the inhabitants began to push for statehood, but their dream would not become a reality until eight years later. In an effort to attract more citizens, the state organized campaigns to reach settlers and investors, touting the states rich farmlands and “free and open society.” 

 Des Moines, the town where my upcoming release A Bride for Seamus takes place, was incorporated in 1851 as Fort Des Moines, no doubt named for the Des Moines river on which it sits. Six years later the capital would move from Iowa City to Des Moines in order for the government to be more centrally located within the state. Very little growth occurred during the Civil War, but within a year after the cessation of hostilities, the railroad link was completed and the population exploded. 
 
In addition to agriculture, coal mining became a huge industry in the area and by the mid 1870s, the city was shipping twenty carloads of coal every day. Fifteen years later there were twenty-three mines in operation. Railroad tracks crossed the state, and even small towns had six passenger trains a day. In addition, railroads provided year-round transportation for Iowa’s famers, so that the corn, wheat, beef, and pork could be shipped through Chicago to markets all over the U.S. and worldwide. Additional industries included oat processing plants (Quaker Oats) and meat packing plants. 
 
The 1870s also brought hundreds of thousands of foreign-born immigrants to Iowa. Competition among the states for immigrants had increased, and the states took a variety of measures to attract them. Having created its own Board of Immigration in 1870, Iowa printed promotional materials in English, German, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish. One of the brochures was Iowa: The Home of Immigrants, and included physical, social, education, and political descriptions. The campaigns were successful and by 1890, the state had attracted nearly one million foreign nationals. 
 
Have you ever visited this beautiful and interesting state? 

____________________ 

About A Bride for Seamus 

Can two people set aside presumptions, prejudices, and pain to find love? 
 
When her father dies after a lengthy illness, Madeline Winthrop is horrified to discover his will bequeaths their home to his business partner, a cruel and dishonest man, leaving her destitute. With no job or marriage prospects, she seeks help from her pastor who suggests she considers becoming a mail order bride. There’s just one catch. She’s to marry the man by proxy before ever meeting him. 
 
After three mail order brides refuse to stay and marry Seamus Fitzpatrick because of his brother’s mental health issues and two rambunctious children, Seamus decides a proxy marriage is the only way he’s going to secure a wife. When the Boston-bred socialite arrives with few practical skills, he wonders if he made the biggest mistake of his life. Iowa's earliest white settlers soon discovered an environment different from that which they had known back East. 

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/37MpTOa

Monday, October 26, 2020

Mystery Monday: Murder of Convenience

 Mystery Monday: Murder of Convenience

October marks the second birthday of my mystery Murder of Convenience. In celebration, the ebook edition is on sale for a limited time. You can pick up your copy of this exciting WWII mystery for only $0.99!



May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit. 

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first  novel in the “Women of Courage” series.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3mo25nQ

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller

Talkshow Thursday: Christine Paxson and Rose Spiller 


Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on the release of No Half Truths Allowed. For those who are not familiar with your ministry, please tell us a bit about it and how the book/study came about? 

ROSE and CHRIS: About four years ago, we felt led to create a ministry called Proverbs 9:10 Ministries. That verse is, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom; knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Helping others to know God and learn more and more about Him is what we’re all about! First, through proclaiming the Gospel; and further through understanding Scripture better and better through our writing and teaching. We created the ministry during a time when our families spent a couple of years in a church that did not put any priority on reading and understanding the Bible, nor on theology and doctrine. This was after we’d both spent decades in churches that highly valued all of those. Encountering that lack of Scriptural knowledge made us start writing and teaching Bible studies together, start the ministry, and eventually turn the No Half-Truths Allowed – Understanding the Complete Gospel Message Bible study into the book and companion study guide. 
 
LM: You co-authored this book. How did the two of you break up the work, and were there any challenges to writing with another author? 

ROSE and CHRIS: We split it in half. That’s how we’ve always done the writing in our studies, our
books, our podcasts, and our conferences. We’re very much on the same page theologically, but if one of us is not sure we’re comfortable with wording on something we discuss it and work on it till we’re satisfied. God has been so good to us in so many ways, and that is one area in which He’s really blessed us. We do both have our strengths when it comes to the other things that go along with the ministry like editing podcasts, doing the artwork for advertising, and things like that. And the social media we both work constantly on! 
 
LM: You have sold your home and are now living fulltime in an RV. What sort of adjustments did that entail? (Personally, I’d have trouble downsizing my book collection!) How has traveling changed your ministry? 

ROSE: Downsizing my book collection was as painful as getting rid of some sentimental things. Thankfully, many of my favorites I was able to get on Kindle, and I did save all of my seminary class notes. Traveling has helped our ministry because I have met so many new people, made new friends, and had a lot of opportunities to share the Gospel and share our ministry and podcast. Thankfully, Chris’ house has been our home base. For one thing, it gives me a place to get all my packages delivered to! Seriously, though, I spend 5 months a year in Lancaster, PA where Chris lives so we cram a lot of work into those months. Also, I save up airline points so I can fly in when I need to, like for book launches and stuff. Chris even has a guest room always ready for me. It has stretched us both in a lot of ways, and we have had to learn other ways of doing things, but the Lord has been so gracious and so good to us, that even when things seems impossible, they always work out! 
 
LM: You teach Bible studies, write, and co-host a podcast. How do you balance the different responsibilities? 

ROSE and CHRIS: Some days the task seems impossible and looking at the amount of work to do in a day sometimes seems daunting. One key component is prayer. Praying when the tasks seems overwhelming is the one thing that can keep calm us and help us focus on the day ahead. Also, when one of us seems overwhelmed or has other responsibilities that come up, the other one of us steps in and does what needs to get done. 
 
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process: research, writing, or revising? 

ROSE and CHRIS: Definitely not revising! Both of us love the research probably the best! For us that’s studying and taking seminary classes, something we’re both passionate about. We also love contextualizing Scripture, reading lots of commentaries and learning new things. That’s what we both love to do! 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

ROSE and CHRIS: 
Favorite season: Rose: Fall. Chris: Spring 
Favorite childhood book: Rose: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books Chris: Richard Scary books 
Favorite place to visit: Rose: Any place where one of my 4 kids live, or Chris’ house! Chris: Either place where my kids live, and the beach.

LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers? 

ROSE and CHRIS: keep doing what you love and strive to get better and better at it. Seek out people who will give you constructive advice and criticism. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

ROSE and CHRIS: 
Link to “No Half-Truths Allowed” FB page: https://www.facebook.com/NoHalfTruths/
Twitter: @prov_910

About No Half-Truths Allowed: Understanding the Complete Gospel Message


When it comes to proclaiming the Gospel message, half-truths, vague notions, and generalizations can be dangerous. 

What are the important truths we need to know and share with others? 
• Is it enough to believe that God loves us and wants a relationship with us? 
• Is it enough to “ask Jesus into our hearts? 
• Is it enough to recite the “sinner’s prayer,” or do we need to repent of our sin? 
• Is going to church and serving others enough? 
• Is what Jesus suffered more than a gruesome death on a cross? 
• If Jesus, who is fully God, was crucified, did God die on Good Friday? 
• Is God mad at us when we sin and happy when we are behaving? Can we lose our salvation? 

If  you’re not sure of the answers to any of these questions, you are not alone. There are a lot of false ideas out there about Christianity and the Gospel. Learn what Jesus did for you, why He did it, and how you can articulate the Gospel to others.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Charlie Chaplin and The Great Dictator

 Wartime Wednesday: 

Charlie Chaplain and The Great Dictator 

Most folks are familiar with the silent film character The Little Tramp, but you may not know much about his creator Charlie Chaplin. Born in England to parents who were in the entertainment industry (his mother was a sometimes actress and his father a singer), Charlie and his brother Sydney had a difficult childhood. By the time Charlie was two years old, his parents had separated, with his alcoholic father doing nothing to help financially. With little income, the family was soon destitute, and the boys were sent to a workhouse. 

After his mother entered a mental asylum in 1898, Charlie and his brother were sent to live with their father, who they barely knew. Two years later, he died of cirrhosis of the liver. Thanks to connections of this father, Charlie became a member of the Eight Lancashire Lads dancing troupe. He toured for two years, but wanted to pursue acting. He worked at a variety of odd jobs while periodically performing in local and short-run plays. He eventually landed a role that he held for more than two years in a stage production of Sherlock Holmes. 
 
In 1907, Sidney found work with the Fred Karno Repertoire Company and secured a position for
Charlie a short time later. The boys were highly successful, and by 1910 Charlie was on his way to America. The troupe returned to England in 1912, and Charlie was offered a motion picture contract. He agreed to appear after he fulfilled his vaudeville commitments which he did so in November 1913. The following year “Kid Auto Races at Venice” was released – the first film in which Charlie wore The Little Tramp costume. 
 
Success followed success, and by 1917 Charlie built his own studio after the expiration of his latest contract. He became even more successful, and in 1919 along with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffiths founded United Artist Corporation a company, that distributed films over which the artists had complete control, creating an entirely new method of producing films. 

Charlie continue to produce his own films, but struggled to make the transition to “talkies.” He felt The Little Tramp character would not do well, so he ignored sound films, and in 1931 issued “City Lights” with a complete musical score he’d written himself. 
 
Preoccupied by the economic and social problems of the Great Depression, he left Hollywood and embarked on an international tour of observation and study. The result of his tour was Modern Times, released in 1936. 
 
Then came war, and Charlie decided to use his celebrity to poke fun and comment on the dictator with
the same bristle brush mustache, who erroneously stated that the actor was Jewish. Chaplin later responded “he didn’t have that honor.” “The Great Dictator” which he wrote, directed, produced, scored, and starred in would become his most commercially successful film. According to one source, Chaplin decided to do the film after he saw the Nazi propaganda film “Triumph of the Will” by Leni Riefenstahl. He repeatedly watched the film in order to mimic Hitler’s mannerisms then went on to prepare the storyline over the course of 1938 and early 1939. Filming began shortly after the invasion of Poland in September of that year. 

The film was wildly popular with Americans and British alike, but Chaplin would later write in his autobiography “Had I known of the actual horrors of the German concentration camps, I could not have made The Great Dictator; I could not have made fun of the homicidal insanity of the Nazis.”

Have you seen “The Great Dictator?”
 _____________________ 

About A Doctor in the House

They’re supposed to be allies, but mutual distrust puts this pair on opposite sides. 
 
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? 
 
Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/31iHpG5

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Patty Smith Hall

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Patty Smith Hall 


Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your release, If Not for Grace in The Heart of the Midwife collection. This is your eighth novella published with Barbour. How do you come up with the ideas for the collections. 

Patty: Thank you for having me, Linda. The ideas for the collections are a joint effort, spearheaded by my friend, Cynthia Hickey. A group of us will get online and throw around ideas until one ‘sticks,’ then we brainstorm different angles until we have four distinct stories to pitch to our editor at Barbour. 

LM: The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “pantster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process? 

Patty: In my early days, I was a diehard seat of the pants writer. But I realized it was leading me down inescapable rabbit hole, so I took a year off from submitting and signed up for Laurie Schnebly’s class, Plot Via Motivation. It changed my writing completely! Now, I would say I’m a planner with some pantster tendencies. 

LM: What draws you to writing historical rather than contemporary fiction? 

Patty: I’ve always loved history. Even as a child, I was drawn to biographies and historical accounts more than regular fiction. Not that I wouldn’t write a contemporary if I had a good story to tell, but most of the books on my bookshelf are historical. 

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? (e.g., listen to music? Go to a certain place in your home?) 

Patty: I spend time in my devotions and pray. For me, writing is a ministry. 

LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historic fiction (and you’re a professional researcher!). What did you do to research If Not for Grace? How did you delve into the era? 

Patty: Well, in my former life, I was a pediatric nurse specialist, so I’ve been a part of the birthing
process from start to finish. Things haven’t changed much over the years so that was relatively easy to write. As far as researching the era, one of the women I’ve always admired was Jane Addams who made a name for herself caring for the poor despite being an heiress. My character, Grace, is modeled after her. 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Patty: 
Favorite childhood book: Little Women by Lousia May Alcott 
Favorite food: My Mom’s German Chocolate Cake 
Favorite vacation place: Sitting on the beach in the Bahamas! 

LM: What is your next project? 

Patty: I have another novella collection with Barbour next fall so I’ll be working on that as well as finishing up the edits on two books I hope to release in the new year. 
 
LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Patty: 

About If Not for Grace (Part of The Heart of the Midwife)


New York City, 1889: After her friend's death in childbirth, Grace Sullivan converts her family home into a haven for immigrant families preparing for the birth of a child. But when the city threatens to close her down, her only hope is to ask for help from an unlikely source-her former fiance, Patrick O'Leary.




Release Day: A Doctor in the House

 Release Day: A Doctor in the House


I'm excited to announce the release of A Doctor in the House. Originally published as part of The Hope of Christmas collection, this story is about one of the milestones American women achieved during World War II: the opportunity for women doctors to hold equivalent rank as their male counterparts in the Army and Navy medical corps. A short time after the Sparkman Act of 1943 was signed, Dr. Margaret Cahill became the first female doctor in the Army Medical Corps. After hearing about this remarkable woman I knew I wanted to spotlight her and others who served in this manner. Hence, the idea for A Doctor in the House was born.



Amazon

They’re supposed to be allies, but mutual distrust puts this pair on opposite sides. 

Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? 

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wartime Wednesday: Requisitioned Homes

 Wartime Wednesday: Requisitioned Homes


Writers get their inspiration for stories in numerous places. I’ve culled ideas from newspaper articles, museum exhibits, and snippets of overheard conversation (a great “what if” starter). The basis for my most story, A Doctor in the House, germinated from an episode of “Foyle’s War” in which a country home is requisitioned for use as a convalescent hospital. 

I was intrigued by the concept that homeowners in England could be forced from their property by the government during WWII. Most of the places taken were large country estates with acres of associated land. Sometimes as little as three days’ notice was given that the house was going to be used and the residents were required to vacate. Often there was a “cottage” on site where owners could live in for the duration of the war. 

During my search for a setting, I discovered Hatfield House, located in Herefordshire, England.
Located in the West Midlands on the border between England and Wales, the county is sparsely populated and known for its fruit and cider production and the Hereford cattle breed. The 135 mile River Wye weaves through the county before heading into Wales. Although the original structure no longer exists, there has been a Hereford Cathedral on the site since the late 600s. 

The original Hatfield House was constructed in 1497 and was the childhood home and favorite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. When James I came to the throne, he didn’t like the property, so gave it to his minister, Robert Cecil, who promptly tore down three of the wings and used the bricks for the current home. 

Exquisite gardens cover forty-two acres and date from the early 1600s. In addition to beautiful fields of flowers and shrubbery, the property has extensive woodlands which are home to fallow and red deer as well as many smaller animals. A tour of Hatfield House can be seen  here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOajEUH42tE&t=21s

During WWI, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. Trenches and craters were dug, and barbed wired strung to indicate German lines. Hatfield House also “did its bit” during WWII by serving as a hospital/Civil Resettlement Unit, a facility where returning British soldiers who had been POWs could learn to ease back into their families and society. 

________________________

They’re supposed to be allies, but mutual distrust puts this pair on opposite sides. 

Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? 

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

Pre-order Link: https://amzn.to/36V4nX5

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Traveling Tuesday: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England

 Traveling Tuesday: Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England

 

Located twenty miles north of London, Hatfield is a town in the county of Hertfordshire, England. Originally a Saxon settlement known as Hetfelle, by 970 AD, King Edgar had given five thousand acres to the monastery of Ely. 

Nearly six hundred years later, the village would be home to Elizabeth Tudor, later Elizabeth I, who reigned from 1558 to 1603. Parts of her childhood home still exists at Hatfield House’s Old Palace, and some of her belongings can be found inside. She also spent time in the Old Palace under house arrest during the reign of Mary I. A portion of the other wing, the Banqueting Hall, also stands and contains many of its original roof beams which are said to be pockmarked with gunshot holes from when people would shoot at the sparrows that nested in the ceiling. 

Hatfield House, the country home built in 1607 and on which I based Heron Hall in A Doctor in the
House
, is the home of the Cecil family, the Marquess of Salisbury and forms the center of the old town. Surrounded by forty acres, the 223-room house is considered the finest example of Jacobean architecture in England. The gardens were designed by John Tradescant the Elder who included plants that had never before been grown in Britain. 

Situated by the top of the hill, St. Etheldreda’s Church, the first wooden church, was founded by the monks from Ely in 1285. The current building was constructed then renovated between the 13th and 15th centuries and is exceptionally grand for a parish church, however unsurprising because it acted as the worship center for Hatfield House. The first Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil, is buried in an ornate tomb outside the church. A private cemetery holds other Cecil descendants. 

The Old Mill had stood at the same location on the River Lea for over one thousand years and is mentioned in the Doomsday book (a manuscript record of the “Great Survey” of England and Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror). The present structure dates to the 18th century, and the miller’s cottage from the 17th century. To this day, the wooden machinery is still powered by the waterwheel, turning stones to produce freshly ground flour. 

In 1930, Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, aviation pioneer and aerospace engineer, opened his airfield and
factory at Hatfield. By 1949, de Havilland was the largest employer in town with almost 4,000 staff. His Mosquito, a twin-engine combat aircraft is considered by many to be the most versatile warplane ever produced. Sadly, all three of his sons died in airplanes crashes, two as test pilots, the other in war service. 
 
After the war, Parliament created the Abercombie Plan for London to address the vast homelessness of its citizens as a result of the war. Hatfield was one of the first eight new towns proposed and has many examples of modernist architecture from the construction project. As of the 2011 census, the city has nearly 40,000 inhabitants. 

_____________________
 
They’re supposed to be allies, but mutual distrust puts this pair on opposite sides. 
 
Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? 

Archibald “Archie” Heron is the last survivor of the Heron dynasty, his two older brothers having been lost at Dunkirk and Trondheim and his parents in the Blitz. After his wife is killed in a bombing raid while visiting Brighton, he begins to feel like a modern-day Job. To add insult to injury, the British government requisitions his country estate, Heron Hall, for the U.S. Army to use as a hospital. The last straw is when the hospital administrator turns out to be a fiery, ginger-haired American woman. She’s got to go. Or does she?

Pre-order Link: https://amzn.to/36V4nX5

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Lynne Basham Tagawa

 Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Lynne Basham Tagawa


Linda
: Congratulations on your latest release, The Heart of Courage. What was your inspiration for this story, and did you know when you wrote The Shenandoah Road there would be a sequel? 

Lynne: Thank you! When I first started writing Shenandoah, there were two things in my mind. First the Great Awakening, a huge revival that shaped our early history profoundly, and second, I wondered how the Christian faith and various ministers influenced the American Revolution. Yes—this was a trilogy in the works, and the third will be set during the Revolution. But the first two books do include tidbits, such as a discussion in Courage about Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It’s a tiny insight into how Scottish Presbyterians thought about rulers, and this people group would later make up a significant chunk of Washington’s army. 

LM: What sort of research did you have to do for the story, and was there a particularly intriguing tidbit you knew you had to include? 

Lynne: I do wide-ranging research, not just what you’d think. Of course, I researched Shawnee customs and theology for this second book, since I have a Shawnee character (love him). But I also research
tangentially connected stuff like geology. Since my characters live in the Shenandoah Valley, I needed to know the lay of the land—literally. For this reason I was inspired to have one character fall into a limestone cavern. There are some you can go visit today, such as Luray caverns. 

LM: How do you prepare yourself for writing? (E.g., Do you have a specific routine you use, place where you write, or music you listen to?) 

Lynne: I tame my inbox, get a second cup of coffee, and open it up. I know I can’t wait for inspiration. I just sit down and write—and if I write badly, I can edit! I’m old enough to remember typewriters, when you couldn’t. If there’s anything that prepares me, it’s reading—preferably well written fiction. It gets my juices going, and sometimes I end up staring into space, imagining a conversation between my own characters. 

LM: Do you plot out your stories or write “by the seat of your pants?” 

Lynne: I need signposts along the way. So, at the scene level, I’m a pantster. But the storyline must be marked out with plenty of stakes so I don’t get lost. 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Lynne
Favorite childhood book: I loved animal stories like Bambi and The Black Stallion. Even today, you will notice the horses in my stories have personalities. 

Favorite vacation spot: My favorite vacation spot is my reading chair, although my husband takes me to the Texas Hill Country occasionally and that’s always fun. 

Favorite Bible verse: Isaiah 41:10 got me through childbirth. Four times. I didn’t do epidurals, almost no one did in those days. 

LM: What is your next project? 

Lynne: Currently I’m working on a novella starring two of the minor characters in Courage. But I’m also doing research for the third novel in the series. A number of authors have written wonderful books set during the Revolution, and it’s intimidating to even think of trying. But it’s a hugely fascinating time, and I hope in my story I can unfold something a little different while entertaining my reader. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Lynne

About Heart of Courage:

No one would understand. But he had to obey his conscience. 

It’s 1753, and troubling news comes to Russell’s Ridge . . . 

Susanna Russell longs to escape her valley home. When war breaks out, she gets her wish to study in fabulous Williamsburg. But she realizes she’s lost something important along the way. Something—and someone. 
 
James Paxton is studying for the ministry. But when violence threatens the valley, his path becomes clouded. What is God’s will for his life? The answer is alarming—and impossible. 

Red Hawk spies white surveyors near his home, a harbinger of trouble to come. Shawnee chiefs go to Philadelphia to treat for peace, but the unthinkable happens, and Red Hawk loses all he once held dear. Then he has a strange dream. What can it mean? 
 
War, romance, and gospel truth unite in this remarkable sequel to The Shenandoah Road. 

 “The Heart of Courage is a rare blend of history and inspiration, stirring the heart and spirit while it entertains the mind. Truly worth reading.” —Sydney Tooman Betts, author of The People of the Book trilogy

Friday, October 2, 2020

Fiction Friday: October New Releases in Historic Fiction

 

New Releases!

Check out these October releases in Christian and Clean-n-Wholesome historical fiction: 

Joy to the World by Amanda Barratt, Carolyn Miller, and Erica Vetsch (10/13/20)
: In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on the lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness. “Far as the Curse is Found” by Amanda Barratt, “Heaven and Nature Sing” by Carolyn Miller, and “The Wonders of His Love” by Erica Vetsch. 




The Lost Heir by Candee Fick (10/5/20): 
A foundling raised by the local vicar and his wife finds herself the ward of an earl and on a direct path to a London Season. If only her heart wasn’t still drawn to her childhood friend and their small Yorkshire village. 









Setting Two Hearts Free by Janet Grunst (10/6/20)
: Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him. Mary Stewart spends the war ears with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him...until the day the evil side of war touches her. Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost; Setting Two Hearts Free?



A Haven for Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason (10/13/20)
: A young woman struggles to find redemption by helping troubled women and in doing so finds love but deems herself unworthy of happiness.








A Doctor in the House by Linda Shenton Matchett (10/15/20)
: Emma O’Sullivan is one of the first female doctors to enlist after President Franklin Roosevelt signs the order allowing women in the Army and Navy medical corps. Within weeks, Emma is assigned to England to set up a convalescent hospital, and she leaves behind everything that is familiar. When the handsome widower of the requisitioned property claims she’s incompetent and tries to get her transferred, she must prove to her superiors she’s more than capable. But she’s soon drawn to the good-looking, grieving owner. Will she have to choose between her job and her heart? 





The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano (10/20/20):
A career-minded woman in Victorian England sets out to deliver a lost love letter to its rightful owner—unless it’s already too late.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Tracey Lyons

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Tracey Lyons 


Linda
: Thanks for stopping by. You’ve written Regency, Reconstruction/Gilded Age, and contemporary Amish fiction. How do you decide which time period to use for your stories, and do you have a favorite? 

Tracey: I love writing historicals, so all of my first books were written out of my love for history. When I moved on to a new publisher I decided to try my hand at writing Amish fiction. 

LM: Do you base any characters on real people (including yourself)? 

Tracey: Oh my goodness! Yes! I have a series called the Women of Surprise, sweet historical set in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. I based the female characters on myself and my two sisters. I’m not sure they were happy with me! LOL! 
 
LM: Do you have a set routine to prepare for writing (e.g. listening to music, etc.) and is there a time of
day you are more productive? 

Tracey: I’m way more productive in the morning. I like to have a scent infuser going and I put on spa or classical music. 

LM: Research is an important part of writing any book. How do you research for your stories, and have you unearthed any exceptionally interesting tidbits? 

Tracey: I travel to all the locations where my books are set. I also like to talk to people who live in those areas. Back in the day I used to spend a lot of time at my local library and historical society combing through books and records. These days I do use the internet, but I don’t find it the same as being there in person. In my first historical I got to go to the original garnet mine in upstate NY. That ended up being where I set the story. 
 
LM
: What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do? 

Tracey: I really want to learn how to drive on a NASCAR track. 

LM: Here are some quickies: 

Tracey
Favorite Season: Fall 
Favorite author: Shelley Shepard Gray 
Favorite Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 16:14 

LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now? 

Tracey: I’m in the early stages of a proposal for the Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense line and I’m tinkering with a contemporary series set in the Hudson Valley of New York State. I’m working on edits for The Amish School Teacher releasing April 2021, Harlequin Love Inspired. 

Linda: Where can folks connect with you? 

Tracey

About A Love for Lizzie

Childhood friends joined by a painful past...can love blossom between them? 

After her father falls ill, Lizzie Miller and her family desperately need help to keep the farm going during harvesttime. Neighbor Paul Burkholder is eager to lend a hand—and to court Lizzie. But Paul has a secret that he fears could push Lizzie away. Can they finally heal from a tragedy in their pasts...and open their hearts to each other?