Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Category: U.S. History Page 2 of 5

Why I Chose the 18th Century for My Novel? by Izzy James & a Giveaway

I love discovering new-to-me historical romance authors. And while this week’s guest, Izzy James, is new-to-me she is not new to fans of contemporary romance. Her latest release, The Shopkeeper’s Widow, is her 6th book and her first full-length historical romance. And bonus points for Izzy, she is a both a fellow Virginian and a fellow Pelican Book Group author.

Izzy has graciously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. See the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post for details.

Before we hear why she chose the 18th century for the setting of her latest novel, here’s a little bit about the book.


About the Book

 

Delany Fleet, a widowed former indentured servant living in the colonial port of Norfolk, Virginia, dreams of having an estate of her own where she will never have to compromise her freedom.

When the only man she ever loved shows up with a load of smuggled firearms, Delany is forced to leave her home and her livelihood to protect her family and property from Lord Dunmore’s raids and the conniving plots of a man who claims to be her friend.

Now, with her destiny forever altered, Delany must find a new way to happiness. Can reconnecting with her husband’s family and a former love be the path that God has for her?

Amazon   B&N   Kobo   GooglePlay   iBooks: The Shopkeeper’s Widow


 

Why I Chose the Eighteenth Century for My Novel,

The Shopkeeper’s Widow?

by Izzy James

 

I grew up in Norfolk, Virginia three to four blocks from the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a military/blue collar town surrounded by astounding beauty. So much of the Hampton Roads area is overlayed by modernity that it’s hard to believe it’s one of the oldest settlements in America. The bones of the old town are still there. We still drive on the imprint of the same roads. Three-hundred-year-old houses stand amidst their modern counterparts. This underlying history whispers to me.

At the weaver’s house, Colonial Williamsburg, VA

I’ve been interested in the Revolutionary time period for quite a few years now, and you know, I love Williamsburg. I’ve been there many times, but it wasn’t the only “Revolution City”. There were more Tea Parties than the one in Boston. Once I began to search maps and read diaries and histories of Virginia—Norfolk in particular—Delany’s story developed.

Science was the hobby of intellectually minded people of the time. Experiments in electricity were on going, people were inventing all time. So I made Delany scientifically minded with a strong faith. Then I thought about her freedom. There are many accounts of women taking over businesses when their husbands died during this time frame. It was also normal for people to remarry fairly quickly at the time. There is Delany’s conundrum. She has unprecedented freedom and wealth for her, when her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should she do? What would you do?

I’d love to hear what you think of The Shopkeeper’s Widow.


Excerpt from The Shopkeeper’s Widow

 

Delany swung back into her shop looking for something to punch and rushed right into Field Archer’s chest. At once surrounded by strong arms and a strong need to bathe, Delany forgot to breathe.

“Aunt Delany,” Ben laughed “Mr. Archer is here to see you.”

“So I see, Ben.” She looked up into his twinkling brown eyes and stepped back a proper distance. Of course his height had not changed, but he had filled out. His chest was broad and solid. She pulled her hands back to her chest before she let them slide over to his shoulders. It was Field Archer. He was right here in her shop.

“Mrs. Fleet.” His baritone strummed a girlish cord of humiliation that she thought long gone.

Before she could respond, the door opened again.

“Well, Mrs. Fleet, that’ll show them, won’t it?” John Crawley’s fat face was slick with glee. His small black eyes gave her the usual once over that made her feel exposed. She squelched a shudder and moved behind the counter.

Field turned his back to them and moved toward the toy shelves.

“The association will back down now.” Crawley wiped his hands down the front of his brown frock coat. “It won’t be long before we can get our ships out of here. We are saved, Mrs. Fleet.”

“What does his lordship want with a printing press?”

“To silence the dirty-shirts.”He hooked his thumbs in the pockets of his coat. “No voice. No followers.”

“It remains to be seen, Mr. Crawley, what the militia will do.”

“We just saw what those yellow-bellies will do.” He bent forward over the counter, enough that she could smell his luncheon ale. “It will all be over soon, and we can get back to business.”

“Was there something you needed, Mr. Crawley?” Delany stepped back from the counter and took a glance at Field hoping for an interruption. Seeing only his back, she gazed at the shelf beneath. A new box of wax inserts for missing teeth caught her eye. “Some plumpers for Mrs. Crawley, perhaps?”

The red in Crawley’s face deepened to crimson. “No, thank you.” He checked his tone. “My mother is in need of nothing at the moment.” This time when he leaned in, the gleam in his eye hinted of impropriety.

Delany leaned back.

“Were you frightened?” He rocked back on his heels, looked over his shoulder at Field, rested his elbows on the counter, and breathed a rotten cloud. “I will protect you.”

Over my dead body. “Thank you, Mr. Crawley, for your offer, but I can take care of myself.” She came out from behind the counter. “Now if there is nothing else” I really shouldn’t keep my customers waiting.” After a last glance at her” and then Field” he exited.

Delany wiped the counter of his greasy imprint.

When the doorbells tinkled, indicating the departure of Mr. Crawley, Field turned toward Mrs. Fleet. The insinuation in Mr. Crawley’s declaration of protection gave Field pause. Perhaps his mother had been wrong to send him here.


About Izzy

 

Izzy James is the pen name of Elizabeth Chevalier Hull. Elizabeth grew up in coastal Virginia surrounded by history. A geographer by degree, Elizabeth loves traveling the historic roads of the Old Dominion seeking the stories they have to tell. Elizabeth still lives in coastal Virginia with her fabulous husband in a house brimming with books.

Connect with Izzy on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Susan Sloan!

Izzy has generously offered an eBook copy of The Shopkeeper’s Widow to one lucky Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing let’s ponder the questions Izzy posed at the end of her post. Delany’s conundrum is that she experiences unprecedented freedom and wealth for a woman in the 18th century. When her old schoolgirl crush comes back around what should Delaney do? What would you do?

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, September 16th.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by LoRee Peery

I have new friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, LoRee Peery, sharing how a dream, a weathered barn, and a love for cowboys inspired her latest release, Cowboy Just in Time.

LoRee has generously offered a print copy of one of her Indie titles, Repurposed. See the giveaway details at the bottom of this post.

Before we hear from LoRee, let’s learn more her time travel novel, Cowboy Just in Time.


About the Book

 

When event planner Amanda Totten falls through a barn trapdoor and finds herself in the arms of an 1890’s cowboy, she scrambles to find a way back to the future. She has a life and obligations—her fledgling business and her mother’s financial needs. But the less stressful lifestyle, and her deepening love for Gavin Medley, is calling to her heart and she is torn between past and future.

Has God given her a chance at love?

Gavin Medley has been working for years to regain his family homestead. As ranch foreman, he has nothing but a dream of a place and family of his own. But his love for Amanda is making him think that having his own ranch isn’t as important as having someone to love for the rest of his life.

Amanda returns to the future, and Gavin is shattered. He tries to go forward in time, but fails. Believing it’s God’s will, Gavin resigns himself to living without the love of his life.

But love transcends time, and Amanda and Gavin need each other. Can Amanda return to her cowboy?

Amazon   Pelican Book Group


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

 

Once upon a time I had a time travel dream. I rarely remember my dreams but this one stayed with me for a long time. I may have even dreamt it before I started writing for publication. In the dream, a woman (I think it’s me) walks upstairs in a country house and opens a door. Kapow! She steps into the old West. I never forgot it and it made me wonder if I could ever write anything historical.

Then I saw an old barn on an acreage where my brother once lived, and the seeds of Cowboy Just in Time took root. My forty words: An event planner falls through a barn loft floor and finds herself in 1890. The cowboy embodies the man of her dreams. He wants her to stay. She needs to leave. Is their love enough to span the ages?

Oh, boy. What do I know about writing a historical novel? Let me count the ways.

–I grew up on a farm that had been homesteaded (not by my family, but we owned it for 50 years) in Antelope County, Nebraska.

–I’m the oldest of seven and there was only one bedroom and no inside bathroom until I was ten (four kids at the time—we all slept in a full bed).

–I loved the pastures and often imagined buffalo grazing and cowboys galloping their horses across the land.

–I fell in love with romantic cowboys and Zane Grey books as a girl.

–Westerns were favored movies by my whole family.

I love to read cowboy historical novels, but could I really write one? Mary Connealy, I am not. The urge, the mind pictures, especially the barn, would not leave my head. So I started to pray and began the story way back in 2014.

The questions that came up, wow. What did Omaha look like before the 20th century? I knew the stockyards were a huge presence. When did the telephone come to the country? Would a ranch home have a pump with piped water on the porch?

Amanda, Gavin calls her Mandy, adapted to his time. There were skeptics. Why would a savvy business woman want to go back in time when life expectancy was so low? Why would a cowboy foreman who worked all his life for the homestead of his birth want to jump forward in time? God gives answers, in His time.

In Cowboy Just in Time Phoebe, the rancher’s daughter, is not a very likeable character. She has redeeming qualities and kept raising her hand to be heard. So Phoebe’s story is the sequel called Future of My Heart, where she comes forward in time, and releases in August.

Thank you, Kelly, you historian, you. It’s been a pleasure to join my little bit of history with your lovely blog.


About LoRee

 

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. Her Frivolities Series and the book based on her father’s unsolved homicide, Touches of Time, are available on Amazon. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author.

You can connect with LoRee on Twitter, Facebook, or on her Amazon author page or website.


Give Away Alert**

**This Giveaway is now CLOSED**

Congratulations to our winner, Sharon!

 

LoRee has generously offered a print copy of one of her Indie titles, Repurposed. To enter the drawing, please tell us below what would be the most difficult part of suddenly being transported to the 19th century.

**Giveaway ends midnight, September 2nd, 2020.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview with Angela Couch & a Giveaway

Although today’s guest, Angela Couch, has visited Romancing History on numerous occasions, I’ve never sat down with her for an interview. Grab a cup of hot tea, or coffee if you prefer, put your feet up, and let me introduce you to one of my dearest writing friends.

Shameless plug, if you haven’t read Angela’s Heart at War series, I highly recommend these Revolutionary war stories that pit Loyalists against Patriots.

Angela has graciously agreed to offer a $5 Amazon gift card to one Romancing History reader. To enter, see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.

Before the interview, let’s learn a little bit about Angela and her new release, Heart of a Warrior.


About Angela

 

To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K. Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after four munchkins.

You can connect with Angela on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or by visiting her website.


About the Book

 

The Man She Fears Is Her Only Chance For Survival . . .

All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail.

Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart.

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group


Author Interview

 

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats: Dogs
  2. Chinese or Mexican: Mexican
  3. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly: Sound of Music
  4. Oatmeal Raisin or Chocolate Chip: Chocolate Chip
  5. Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre: Pride & Prejudice

RH: I’m so tickled to have you back on Romancing History, Angela. How is it that we’ve never done an author interview before? Why don’t you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself.

AC: I am the mom of 4 awesome kiddos under 10 – three boys and a girl. We are also very excited for #5 who should make his or her debut in Feb! I home school my oldest three and write when I have a few minutes during naps and afternoon play (thankfully my kids play together really well!) As far as writing goes, it has been hard settling into an era. My first series is set during the American Revolution and I have shorter stories spread between Colonial days and WWII. My latest release is late 1850s on the Oregon Trail.

RH: Congratulations on the new baby Couch on the way! I’m so impressed by all the different time periods you’ve written about. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

AC: Technically, I met my husband at church when he was visiting his sisters, but I still don’t remember that. The meeting I remember happened about 4 months later when he came to visit his sister who was now my roommate. I had spent the morning writing in my fuzzy PJs and housecoat, and had just emerged to eat something—though it was early afternoon. We chatted in the kitchen for a while with his sister and I remember thinking two things: 1) I feel like we’ve met before, and #2) I really want him to like me.

RH: You must have made quite the impression, even in your fuzzy PJs and house coat! So if you were already writing at that time, about when did you first feel the calling to tell stories?

AC: I always loved the idea of writing books even before I could write. I would draw squiggles across pages until I had a nice thick stack. When I was a teen I started my first novel and set the goal to be published…someday.

RH: I’m always a bit jealous of those authors who’ve known they wanted to write as soon as they could hold a pencil. I didn’t start writing until my late 40s. Speaking of your writing, what three words best describe the type of stories you write?

AC: Action. Adventure. Romance.

RH: As a huge fan of your books, I’d have to say you hit the nail on the head. Do you have any unpublished stories stashed away that you really hope see the light of day someday?

AC: There are two stories I would like to find a home for. One is a post WWII story, exploring buried pain and trauma from the war and attempts to recover past loves. The second is a series I am working on right now about dashing Canadian Mounties.

RH: Since we are critique partners, I’ve had the privilege of reading these stories and I, too, am hoping they find a home so that readers can enjoy them as well. Can you share with us the inspiration behind Heart of a Warrior?

AC: Driving through the Rockies Mountains quite a few years ago, I looked down into a valley and its dense forest full of shadow and wondered how it would feel to be lost down there? I pictured a young woman trying to find her way over the sometimes-impassible terrain, afraid and very much alone. How would she survive? How would she find her way through such an impossible labyrinth of valleys and peaks, rivers and lakes? What if she was pregnant and there was no civilization for hundreds of miles…except maybe a village of a people she couldn’t even communicate with?

I wrote her story, enjoying her adventure and the finding of her courage and faith. And then, a few years later, added another point of view—that of the Shoshone warrior who saves her. Writing from Towan’s eyes took the story to a whole new level, one that moved me very deeply. I think it is too easy for society to lump people into cultures and races, instead of accepting each person as an individual with their own experiences, outlooks, and challenges. After all, Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all.

RH: Wow, it sounds like your story has a lot of cultural relevance for modern readers. Before I let you go, can you share a little about what your working on now?

AC: Honestly, right now I am working on house renovations and canning fruits and veggies! But as soon as we settle back into school, I will go back to my Mountie series. I have been having a lot of fun with those stories!

RH: I marvel at how busy you are and how much writing you get done. Speaking of writing, can I persuade you to give us a little taste of Heart of a Warrior?

AC: Sure. I’d love to! Here’s a little bit from Chapter One.

Autumn 1859

Eyes clamped shut against the subsiding ache in her abdomen, Christina Astle sucked in cool mountain air. Pine saturated the breath and constricted her lungs like the corsets she’d happily given up only months earlier. Her hand stole across her extended stomach. What had she been thinking, agreeing to follow Anthony away from society, safety, and a house with four walls? What if they didn’t make it to Oregon in time? She refused to give birth with nothing but canvas overhead.

The wagon wheel dropped into another rut, and a gasp escaped her, drawing her husband’s gaze. “I’m sorry. I wish I could go slower, but we’re at least a mile behind them.” He glanced at the sun hovering above, then slipped the gold watch from his breast pocket and flipped it open. “It’s after three already.”

“I know…and I am fine.” Christina raised her chin a degree but refused to look at him and his perpetually concern-laden eyes. Anthony did everything within his power to keep her comfortable, stopping often, even when it meant trailing behind the rest of the wagon train. As long as they caught up by nightfall. Still, heat rose in her chest. They should have waited another year, or—better yet—never left Cincinnati in the first place.

The crack of a discharging rifle pierced the valley and deepened into echo. Then a scream, soft and haunting. More gun fire followed, ricocheting off the high mountain ridges.

The wagon lurched to a halt, and Christina grabbed for the seat. She stared ahead at the empty trail scarred with evidence of those who led the way. Horses. Cattle. Families with children. God, no!

The wagon jerked and rocked off the trail, reins slapping the backs of the mules.

Christina dug her fingertips into the raw wood. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking it away from the trail. I’m not leaving you sitting in plain sight.”

“Leaving me? You can’t. We don’t know what’s going on.” Her head spun. “No, Anthony. Not with these mountains full of savages. Don’t you dare leave me here.”

The wagon tipped slightly then righted, dropped over the slope, and rolled into an aspen grove. White bark glimmered in the bright sun, and young saplings sprang back into place as the wheels passed over.

“There’s only one way to find out what’s happening. If they’re being attacked, they’ll need help.” Anthony lunged to the ground and unharnessed the mules, fastening them farther out of the way. All except the one trained to ride. Anthony left him near the wagon, heaving a saddle over his withers and forcing a heavy bit into his mouth.

Christina remained paralyzed on the seat. “Anthony…no. Don’t go.”

He said nothing as he loaded his revolver and strapped it to his thigh. With the Winchester tucked under his arm, he swung onto the back of the animal and twisted the reins through his fingers. “You’ll be safe here. Most likely it’s nothing.” He looked away, giving the mule an angry kick. The animal balked but lurched to a trot toward the trail.

“Anthony!”

He rotated in the saddle enough to meet her gaze and yanked back on the bit. His brown eyes studied her face, and his chest released a sigh. “Chris, I have to go. You know where the other rifle is, and the shells are under the seat if you have any need of them. I’ll be back soon.”

Christina sagged against the back of the wagon seat. The edge bit her spine. Hooves scraped the loose rock of mountain trail and faded with the distant gun fire.


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Andrea DeDeaux!!

Angela is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter the drawing, please tell us if you’ve ever traveled to the Rocky Mountains.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 26th, EST**

Author Interview with Ramona K. Cecil & a Giveaway

I’m excited to welcome fellow Pelican Book Group author, Ramona K Cecil to Romancing History. She is a multi-published and award-winning author of historical romances. Ramona’s recent release, The Time for Healing, is set in Shawnee territory in 1824 and released on August 7th.

Ramona has graciously offered on eBook copy of The Time for Healing to one Romancing History. Make sure to comment below to enter the drawing!

Before we chat with Ramona, here’s a little bit about her book.


About the Book

Will their love be the last casualty of the Pigeon Roost Massacre?

Ginny Red Fawn McLain is determined to hold fast to her adoptive Shawnee culture despite her sudden reentry into her white birth family. She rejects their Christianity, fearing the tenets of the white man’s religion will prevent her from practicing as a Shawnee medicine woman. But her heart refuses to shun her uncle’s young friend and apprentice minister, Jeremiah Dunbar.

Jeremiah Dunbar has never doubted what he would do with his life—he’d follow in his father’s footsteps as a minister of the Gospel. But a mission trip west to the Native American tribes makes him begin to question his future plans. At the discovery of his fellow missionary’s long lost niece living among the Shawnee, Jeremiah is immediately smitten. But unless Ginny Red Fawn McLain joins Christ’s fold—something she adamantly resists—Jeremiah will have to choose between the woman he loves and the work God has called him to do.

Ginny and Jeremiah struggle to discern the will of God, the Great Spirit, for their lives, and if fitting their love into His plans is even possible. Dreams and cultures clash amid an atmosphere of contempt and distrust, threatening to make their love the last casualty of the Pigeon Roost Massacre.

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group     Thrift Books     Book Depository


Author Interview

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Cats. Don’t get me wrong, I do like dogs, but my mother was deathly afraid of dogs, so we had cats for pets growing up. Cats also take less care.
  2. Coffee or Tea? Coffee—extra light. I need at least a couple cups in the morning to get going. If coffee is offered it’s often my drink of choice.
  3. Mexican or Chinese Food? Mexican. I’ve never much cared for Asian cuisine, but offer me a plate of nachos or a beef burrito and I’m there.
  4. Night Owl or Early Bird? Definitely night owl. For years my husband worked a late second shift. We got used to getting up late—Hubby calls it “cruising into the day,” and not hitting the sack until midnight.
  5. I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy. It was a must-watch show in my childhood. Lucy and Ethyl Mertz, what a hoot!

Author Q&A

RH: Hi Ramona. Welcome to Romancing History. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

RKC: I’ve been writing creatively since about the age of four when I began to compose poetry. Both my parents dabbled in writing poetry and my mother wrote two unpublished novels. I was the middle child of three and the only one of my siblings to get the writing bug. Between the mid 1980s and 1990s I sold over eighty of my verses to leading publisher of Christian gift items. I still get emails from fans of those verses. I now write historical romance novels/novellas for the Christian market. My stories are set in the 1800s and early 1900s. My first book, Larkspur, was published in 2006 as a result of winning first place in a contest sponsored by a publishing company. Since then, I’ve had fourteen more traditionally published novels/novellas. When I’m working on a project I set a goal of 1000 words a day. I always pray for guidance before I begin writing and I finish my prayer with “Give me this day my daily thousand words.”

RH: Wow, I had no idea you’d published fourteen novels or novellas. That’s a huge accomplishment. Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

RKC: I don’t think I’m especially picky in general, but I am picky about bread. I don’t like my bread squished. My husband won’t even handle a loaf of bread for fear of squishing it. He says he’d just as soon handle a hand grenade.

RH: That’s funny, but seriously, who wants squishy bread? Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

RKC: My husband and I knew each other in high school—he was a couple years ahead of me—but we never dated then. A couple years after I graduated high school we re-connected at a church ice cream social. He came to partake and I was taking the donations. He said “So you’re the money changer?” I wanted the ground beneath me to open up and drop me out of sight. After he enjoyed his ice cream he came back and asked for my phone number. We began dating and six months later we were married. That was forty-seven years ago.

RH: That’s a cute story. I love how people meet their spouses, usually during some mundane thing and they have no idea their life is about to change forever. And, 47 years! That’s wonderful! Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

RKC:  Christian, historical, romance

RH: That is exactly the type of fiction I love to read—Christian historical romance! What has God taught you along your writing journey?

RKC: Patience, persistence, and handing everything over to Him. Years ago after a particularly tough rejection, I considered quitting writing (as if I could). While walking on my treadmill I prayed and asked God to let me know if I should continue to pursue a writing career. A moment later a strange sensation came over me. The best way I can describe it is the sensation of water pouring over me, but I didn’t get wet. I took that to mean God wanted me to keep going, so I did. About a year later my first book was published.

RH: Writing is a tough business. I’m so glad you didn’t give up writing. I too have learned so much about perseverance, accepting criticism and rejection, and God’s faithfulness to the calling He has given me. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

RKC: The Pigeon Roost Massacre, a tragic event that happened in 1812 about thirty-five miles south of where I live. On a calm September afternoon in 1812, just before sunset, a little pioneer village in the southern part of Indiana Territory is set upon by hostile Shawnee. Twenty-four settlers including women and children were killed. It is said that two children were taken captive by the Shawnee. The story is told, though also refuted, that one of the captured children—a little girl—was found many years later west of the Mississippi River by her uncle who was a Christian missionary to the Indians. When I first read the story, my writer’s mind immediately went to “I wonder what would have happened if. . .” That was my “jumping off” point and the result became The Time for Healing.

RH: I’m quite the little history nerd and I love it when real events inspire fiction. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

RKC: Ecclesiastes 3:3 (KJV) “A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down and a time to build up” I think this verse fits the story to a T, especially the first phrase.

RH: Yes, based on what you shared above about the Pigeon Roost Massacre, I’d have to agree with you. Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?

RKC: My heroine, Ginny Red Fawn McLain, is a Shawnee medicine woman, so I learned a lot about the Shawnee culture. One research source I used was Kohkumthena’s Grandchildren The Shawnee, written by Dark Rain Thom, a Shawnee medicine woman and wife of author James Alexander Thom. Mr. and Mrs. Thom live a couple counties northeast of mine in southern Indiana. One interesting bit of Shawnee culture I learned about is the “woman’s button.” The woman’s button consisted of a smooth round rock encased in leather attached to a leather cord. A young woman carried the “button” on her waist belt. If a too-ardent suitor plied her with unwanted attention she’d whip out her “button” and bop him on the head to change his mind.

RH: I’ve never heard of the “woman’s button” before. How fascinating! I hope you were able to incorporate that into your story. Would you like to share something that didn’t make it into the final copy (deleted scene).

RKC: I wrote a prologue to the story, but later decided not to use it in order to make the story more active. I loved the prologue though, so I kept it on my computer. Here it is:

Scott County Indiana, September 3, 1812

“It’s time for you to feed the chickens and bring in the eggs, Ginny.”

Ginny blew out a long breath and dropped her rag and cornhusk doll to the floor. It was a good baby. No matter what she did with it, it never cried. She walked, but not too fast, across the room to the fireplace where Ma held out a bucket half full of shelled corn while bouncing Ginny’s squalling baby brother in her other arm. “Maybe if the house is quiet, I can finally get Joe to sleep.”

“Yes, Ma.” Ginny wanted to say that it was Joe making all the noise, not her. But the way Ma’s mouth was all puckered up liked she’d bit into a green persimmon told Ginny she was in no mood for sass.

Not wanting to risk a switching, Ginny kept quiet and took the bucket with both hands. The rope handle scratched her palms while the bucket’s weight pulled hard on her arms, making them burn. She wouldn’t complain. Feeding the chickens gave her a good excuse to get out of the house and away from Joe’s crying that made her ears hurt.

At least today she wouldn’t have to shell the corn. When she pushed the grain away from the soft red cobs, the rough, dry kernels always dug into the heels her hands, making them sting.

Before baby Joe came she had less work to do and more time to play. Ma seemed to know that Ginny wished Joe hadn’t come because she’d say things like “You’re a big sister now, all of six years old. ’Fore you know it, you’ll be growed.” As if that would make her like her brother better. It didn’t. Maybe she’d like him better when he got old enough to play with her, but right now she’d rather have her doll.

Ma followed Ginny to the cabin’s open door. “And don’t rip your dress or get it dirty” she said over Joe’s cries. “Uncle Zeb and Aunt Ruth are comin’ for supper.”

“Yes, Ma.” Nodding, Ginny lugged the bucket down the two stone steps and headed toward the pine trees where the chickens would roost for the night. She liked this time before supper when the sunshine poked through the pine grove around their cabin. It looked like melted butter the way it poured through the trees and settled in yellow puddles in the dirt. She liked the way things smelled this time of day, too. The pine needles smelled stronger, and she could even smell the creek water, fresh and cool beyond the trees where bullfrogs had already started their croaking. They sounded like they had a bad case of the hiccups, only deeper. She paid attention to things like that. Aunt Ruth said that was why Ginny would do well when she went to school.

“Chick, chick, chick,” she called.

Their wings flapping, the chickens appeared from the brambles and the shadows behind the trees. Ginny liked the colors of the chickens, some black and white speckled, some all snowy white, and some a reddish brown color that almost matched the color of Ginny’s hair. Their eggs were different colors, too. Some white and some brown. She was eager to see how many she might find in the thicket where the chickens had made their nests against the trunk of an old fallen tree. She’d have to be careful to get all the eggs and not leave any behind for the raccoons and other varmints to steal.

She grinned down at the plump birds as they strutted and clucked and pecked at the dirt. “Puck, puck, puck, puckaw!” Cocking their red-crowned heads sideways, they looked up at her with eyes like big black peppercorns and clucked louder, begging for the corn.

Ginny grabbed a handful of kernels from the bucket and scattered them over a patch of bare ground, too shaded for grass to grow. While the chickens pecked at the corn, Ginny jabbed the air with her finger, practicing her counting like Aunt Ruth had taught her.

“One, two, three. Stand still so I can count you. Four, five, six. Six hens and one, two roosters.” She especially liked the roosters. They stood taller than the hens and puffed out their big chests when they walked. The combs on their heads and the dangly things under their chins were bigger and brighter red than the ones on the hens, and they had sharp toenails on the backs of their legs that could scratch her if she wasn’t careful. But Ginny loved their brightly colored tail feathers that curled behind them and looked like little rainbows in the sunlight.

“That makes eight,” she said, proud of herself as she finished counting. At supper, she would show Aunt Ruth and Uncle Zeb how well she could count. Aunt Ruth would be proud of her, too. Ginny was glad Aunt Ruth was the school teacher. Even if Ma needed Ginny to stay home and help with chores and not go to school for another year or two, she would not get behind in her learning.

An owl hooted. It sounded close.

Ginny looked up into the pine boughs above her. She’d never heard an owl call while it was still this light. And Ginny paid attention to these things.

Another owl hooted, and then another. But the sound didn’t come from up in the trees. It came from near the ground over by the creek. Why would owls walk when they could fly? Pa said they liked to roost high in the trees and look down on everything.

Pa.

Pa should have been back from driving their cow, Sadie, home from the meadow where she liked to graze. The tallest pine tree’s shadow stretched across the yard and bent up against the cabin. Pa was always home before the shadow touched the cabin.

A scream came from inside the cabin, chilling Ginny like the time last winter when she fell into the creek. The sound froze her in place, and the bucket’s rope handle slipped from her fingers. Somehow she knew it was Ma that had screamed, but it didn’t sound like Ma. Joe wailed, but then he stopped right in the middle of his crying and everything got quiet. Joe had never stopped crying all of a sudden like that.

Ginny looked down where she’d dropped the bucket, spilling the corn in a yellow heap. She reached down to pick up the bucket, but someone grabbed her arm. She looked up and saw a man with red lines painted across his face standing over her. He didn’t have much hair, just a little in the back, and a large gray and white feather dangled from it. His chest was bare and large rings hung from his ears and nose.

She tried to scream like Ma had, but nothing came out.

RH: Wow, Ramona, that scene ended with a bang. Now I’m looking forward to reading The Time for Healing even more. Thanks for visiting with me and my readers this week.


About Ramona

Ramona K. Cecil is a poet at her core. She loves the Lord, her family, reading, writing, and

history, especially the history of her home state of Indiana. She’s a wife, mother, grandmother, poet, and author of fifteen historical romance novels for the Christian market. She and her husband of forty-seven years are empty-nesters with two grown daughters and three young-adult grandchildren. They make their home in Seymour, Indiana, the “small town” made famous in rocker John Mellencamp’s song of the same name. She began writing poetry at the age of four and has had over 80 of her inspirational verses published on a variety of gift items by a leading publisher of Christian gifts. In recent years her writing has shifted more to novels and novellas. With her love of Hoosier history, many of her stories are set in Indiana’s past.

You can connect with Ramona on GoodReads, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook or visit her website.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Judy Attebury!

Ramona is giving away one eBook copy of The Time for Healing. Ramona shared that one of her quirks is not liking “squishy” bread. To enter the drawing, please tell share one of your quirks in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 19th EST.**

When “Happily Ever After” Isn’t Quite Enough — Guest Post & Giveaway by Kathleen Bailey

I’m so excited to welcome another fellow Pelican Book Group author and friend, Kathleen Bailey, back to Romancing History. Kathleen’s latest release, Settler’s Hope, is the second book in her Western Dreams series which follows a group of pioneers on the Oregon Trail. To learn more about the first book in the series, Westward Hope, click here.

Kathleen has graciously offered not one, but three giveaways so be sure to see the details below!


About the Book

Before Kathleen shares her some insights on “Happily Ever Afters,” here’s a little bit about Settler’s Hope.

After years of wandering, Pace Williams expects to find a home in the Oregon Country. He doesn’t expect is to fall in love with a fiery Irishwoman bent on returning home to avenge her people.

Oona Moriarty expects one thing: to exact revenge on the English overlords who took her home. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with a man who looks like he’s been carved from this Western landscape.

Together they vow to trust the unexpected and settle into a life, but when Pace’s ancient enemies threaten to destroy the life they’re building, Oona must choose between helping the man she loves and seeking the revenge she craves.

Available for purchase on Amazon and B&N

 


When “Happily Ever After” Isn’t Quite Enough

~By Kathleen D. Bailey

 

Romance writers are in the business of happy endings. Right? Where he gets her and she gets him and, if there are kids involved, they get a complete family. It’s what we do, why our hero and heroine go through whatever they have to go through to, ultimately, be together.

But life is funny. Sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we shouldn’t have it. And sometimes God does say “Not now.” I was recently pointed in this direction by two novels and a movie.

In “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” starring Julia Roberts, the heroine has been BFFs  with a college friend for most of their post-college lives. They’ve seen each other through crashed relationships, job debacles and more, while never recognizing their attraction to each other. When Dermot Muloney tells Roberts’ character that he has found The One, she begins to wonder if an early attraction to each other should have been, and should be fanned back into flame. The Julia character’s dawning realization of her feelings is thrown into relief when the Dermot character asks her to be his “best person” at his wedding to a very young Cameron Diaz. Things hit fans, Julia tries to sabotage the wedding and at one point steals a bread truck, and Dermot actually begins to wonder himself, even kissing her at one juncture. You’re rooting for the two best friends to get together, you can’t help it. But at the end of the day his future is with the Diaz character, and Julia backs off.

In Lynn Austin’s novel, Waves of Mercy, debutante Anna Nicholson has two men to choose from: her wealthy and exacting former fiance, William, and a young seminary student, Derk, whom she meets on a respite trip to Lake Michigan. Anna undergoes a voyage of discovery that summer, finding out exactly who she was when the Nicholsons adopted her, and cementing her faith in Christ. While William is mellowing and more than ready to give her a second chance, even accommodating her faith, she is drawn to gentle Derk, who has always accepted her for who she is. The reader is drawn to him too. At least this one was.  But Anna knows who she is now, and she goes back to Chicago to serve and learn more about her Lord. She’s still not certain of a life with William, and though she’s fond of Derk, she honestly doesn’t know if she’s cut out to be a pastor’s wife after a life of luxury. Can love overcome all? We don’t know. But at the end of this book, it hasn’t.

 In Debra Clopton’s Betting on Hope, the cowboy does get the girl, with quarter horse champion Tru Monahan and writer Maggie Hope overcoming their painful pasts for a life together serving God. Tru was rendered sterile by a series of childhood cancer treatments. A subplot features a very young unwed mother, Jenna, who desperately wants to keep her baby. Maggie and some townspeople create a plan to support her. But Jenna knows that even with help, she can never give her daughter what a solid adoptive family can. The reader is pulling for that family to be Maggie and Tru – but that doesn’t happen.

When people do the right thing, for their best friend, unborn child or for their own spiritual health, it hurts. It’s not always fun to be the grown-up. In fact, it hardly ever is.

Because there is something even better than “happiness.” It is joy.

The joy of doing the right thing.

There are doubts along the way, and none of the authors or screenwriters sugarcoat them.

  • From Betting on Hope

            “Maggie walked out of the hospital. Disbelief weighed heavy on her heart over Jenna’s decision. She told herself Jenna’s baby would grow up better than either of them had. That this child would be loved. And wasn’t that what was ultimately important? Not who was raising her. After all, she’d had two parents and both of them had tossed her by the wayside.

            But would Jenna ultimately grow to hate that she hadn’t kept her baby?”

            And finally there is the freedom of letting go. For what isn’t perfect, what can’t be on this earth, but what is right.

  • From Waves of Mercy

            “He pulls me into his arms and holds me tightly. I feel so comfortable there, and as I return his embrace I wish with all my heart that it could be different for us – but it can’t.

            ‘Derk, I truly believe that God brought you and me and Oma together this summer for a reason. All three of our lives have been changed. Now…now it’s just so very, very hard to say goodbye.’

            ‘Then we won’t,’ he says, still holding me tightly. ‘We’ll just say…until next time.’ We finally release each other and stand at the same time. ‘You’ll always be in my prayers, Anna, and I hope I will always be in yours.’

            Tears stick in my throat as I nod. I can’t reply. Derk bends to kiss my cheek, and I watch him turn and walk away. I think I understand how hard it was for Oma Geesje to say good-bye to Hendrik on that long ago day, to watch him walk away into the woods and out of her life forever.

Joy

When we give up what we want, in ourselves, for the Better that God has for us. In genre writing there are certain conventions—the mystery gets solved, the Hero and Heroine end up together—but sometimes it comes at a cost. We, and our characters, should be prepared to pay that.

Another cinematic example: “Casablanca.” Rick doesn’t get Ilsa, and it’s his own choice. The man who didn’t “stick his neck out for anybody” gave away the love of his life to a man who had stuck his neck out, and suffered for it. Rick did the right thing, and we know what it cost him.

But the ultimate example of the perfect ending is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He could have come down from that Cross at any time. Hugged his mother, gone to supper with his anxious pals. Forgone the physical pain and the shame of carrying our sins, opting instead for a Happy Ending. Done what made sense to everyone except Him.

He didn’t. Joy trumped happiness, and we are the better for it.

For future reading:

Betting on Hope, by Debra Clopton, Thomas Nelson 2015, ISBN 978-1-4016-9049-6

Waves of Mercy, Lynn Austin, Bethany House 2016, ISBN 978-0-7642-1761-6


About Kathleen

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

Bailey’s work includes both historical and contemporary fiction, with an underlying thread of men and women finding their way home, to Christ and each other. Her first Pelican book, ‘Westward Hope,” was published in September 2019. This was followed by a novella, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride,” in December 2019. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020.

She lives in New Hampshire with her husband David. They have two grown daughters.

For more information, contact her at ampie86@comcast.net; or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or visit her website.


Giveaway**

This giveaway has now ended!

Congratulations to our winners!!

Ebook Copy of Settler’s Hope: Annette

Paperback Copy of Westward Hope: Peggy Clayton

NE Gift Basket: Theresa Sissions

Kathleen has generously offered not one, but three giveaways to three separate lucky Romancing History readers–one eBook copy of Settler’s Hope, on paper copy of Westward Hope (U.S. Residents only), and one New England Gift Pack (U.S. Residents only). International winners will receive their choice of an eBook copy of one of Kathleen’s books.

To enter, please share with us a favorite book or movie that has a bittersweet ending.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 5th, 2020.**

Season of Hope by Carol James: The Story Behind the Story

I’m thrilled to welcome friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Carol James to Romancing History this week. Carol’s latest release, Season of Hope, takes place during the years immediately following the Veitnam War. Usually I read books set in World War 2 or earlier, so this is very unusual for me, but I’m very excited to see fiction set during this time period beginning to appear.

I haven’t finished Season of Hope so I cannot link you to my review at this time, but if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see the link to my review within the next week. I can tell you that I am enjoying this well-written story of hope, faith, and second chances very much.

Season of Hope is available now in Ebook format but soft cover is available for pre-order and will be delivered September 1, 2020. Links for purchase are available below.

Carol has also offered a giveaway so make sure you enter the drawing at the bottom of the post.


Before Carol shares “The Story Behind the Story,” Here’s a little bit about Season of Hope

About the Book

 

Hope Stockton’s life is dead, frozen in a winter of guilt, deceit, and fear. When handsome young pastor, Josh Lewis, comes to serve in her church, she wonders if she can trust him with her past. Will he be able to help her answer the questions that have been buried in her heart for years? Or will his own secrets drive them apart and prevent him from helping Hope find her spring of forgiveness?

Set in small town Texas in the years during and following the Vietnam war, Season of Hope is a story of forgiveness and restoration.

Amazon     Pelican Soft Cover    Pelican Ebook

B&N Soft Cover     B&N Ebook

 


The Story Behind the Story

 

Kelly, thanks so much for letting me visit today. I’m honored to be able to share the story behind the story of my newest release, Season of Hope. Although it is the fifth novel I’ve had published, it is the first story I ever wrote.

I began writing late in life. I was an English major who loved grammar. And unlike most authors,  I never aspired or desired to be a writer.

I’d always felt called to teach and considered that my personal ministry. But due to a family health crisis, I had to leave teaching, and I took a job in the world of international business. All along I believed God would provide another ministry. So I looked and waited…and waited and looked.

In my new position, I quickly gained the much-deserved title of “Grammar Police.” Mine were often the last set of eyes that scanned the company’s promotional and training materials. One day, my boss came into my office and closed the door. “I do a little writing,” Laura whispered, “and I wonder if you would proofread some pieces for me.”

That moment changed my life. A voice deep in my heart said, “You are in this place for this purpose. Writing inspirational romance is your new ministry.”

But how does someone who’d never been interested in writing craft an entire novel? My boss became my mentor, my critic, my encourager. “Write what you know,” she said.

I was in high school and college during the time of the Vietnam war. I met, dated, and married my husband in that era. That is what I knew, that’s what I could write about. The loss, the love, the fear, the unrest. All those emotions birthed Season of Hope.

I remember the first appointments I had to pitch my freshly-completed novel to some publishers and agents. Of course, they would love it as much as I did!

The first agent was kind and even gave me her business card. The first publisher asked one question. “Why in the world did you choose that time frame?”

I wrote what I knew.

“No one wants to read about that era. It’s no man’s land. Not old enough to be nostalgic, and not recent enough to be current.”

I felt as if she’d drawn back the blanket, looked at my newborn, and said, “What an ugly baby!” It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

But my wise friend, Laura, said “Put it away, and start on something else. In a few years, it’ll be considered a historical novel.”

I did. And between other manuscripts, I’d pick up Hope and Josh’s story and rewrite and revise it. And improve it. And wait. I love Hope and Josh. They’re my firstborns. In fact Josh is the only character that appears in my other novels.

So, I wrote what I knew. I wrote that all of us have seasons of life. Some good, some bad. That God’s love is faithful. That His timing is perfect. And whatever your season of life, He’s right there with you.


About Carol

 

Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction, in particular redemptive romance. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.

Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.

Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. She’s a Frappuccino and soccer aficionado.

You can connect with Carol on her website or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, GoodReads, Bookbub, or her Amazon Author Page.


Giveaway**

 

Carol has graciously offered an Ebook copy of Season of Hope to one lucky Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment about the season of life you find yourself planted in right now. Does Christian fiction help you  bloom where you’re planted?

**Giveaway ends midnight, July 29, 2020.

Author Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli & a Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to welcome women’s fiction/split time author, Heidi Chiavaroli, to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of getting to know Heidi when I snagged a coveted position on the launch team for her third novel, The Edge of Mercy.

Heidi’s most recent novel, The Tea Chest, released earlier this month and is a stand alone split time story. I’m sure my Romancing History readers won’t be surprised to learn that the historical thread is my favorite. I really enjoyed this book (see my review) and was tickled when Heidi said she’d do an interview with us.

Heidi has graciously offered a signed copy of The Tea Chest to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, see the details in the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.

Before we chat with Heidi, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Heidi

DSC_0282Heidi Chiavaroli (pronounced shev-uh-roli…like Chevrolet and ravioli mushed together!) wrote her first story in third grade, titled I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. It wasn’t until years later that she revisited writing, using her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since!

Heidi writes women’s fiction, combining her love of history and literature to write split time stories. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut.

Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of sixteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Connect with Heidi

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   GoodReads   BookBub


About the Book

Boston, 1773
Emma Malcolm’s father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma’s heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a lowly printer’s assistant and Patriot. But her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, a rapacious and sadistic man. As his fiancée, she would have to give up Noah and the friends who have become like family to her―as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace.

After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence that condemns each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and becoming Samuel’s wife.

Present Day
Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized.

Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom. . . and discover a heritage of courage and faith.

Amazon      Barnes & Noble     CBD


Interview with Heidi

Fast Five

  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs most definitely.
  • Coffee or Tea? Tea all the way.
  • Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? And hurt the book?! Bookmark!
  • Kindle or Paperback? Paperback. I tried to get into digital reading but for me, there’s just something about the experience of holding a book with pages.
  • Night Owl or Early Bird? Early bird. I’m usually ready for bed by 9!

Q & A

RH: Heidi it’s been fun getting to know you through your launch team. Can you share something unusual about yourself with my Romancing History readers? Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

HC: I’m a bit obsessive compulsive about a clean house. I have one day a week that I set aside for cleaning and groceries, and I have trouble ignoring this day even when I’m on deadline. I simply can’t concentrate if it’s not done!

RH: I like a tidy house, too, but if I’m cleaning toilets either company is coming over, or I’m avoiding edits or writing a tough scene. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

HC: The first time I saw my husband we were freshmen in high school. I will always remember that day because he looked just like a boy I dreamed about the year before. (Not kidding!) But we didn’t hang out much. He was a vocational kid and I was busy with my honors classes. It wasn’t until senior year that he came up to me at lunch and asked me out. The rest is history!

RH: Aww, that’s so cute. I love hearing how people meet their spouse. What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

HC: I love to hike. I also love to quilt, cross-stitch, watch movies with my family, bake, dance in my kitchen, and sing.

RH: Wow! You have such a wide variety of hobbies and talents! I love to sing around the house as well but I “can’t carry a tune with a handle on it” as my mama always said (and my hubby would whole-heartedly agree). When did you know you wanted to write?

HC: Ever since early elementary school, when I discovered the library and the power of a story, I wanted to write. In third grade, I attempted my first novel, I’d Cross the Desert for Milk. A masterpiece! 😉

RH: I love that you still remember the title of a story you wrote in third grade! That’s adorable! What unpublished story do you have in your stash that you really hope sees the light of day someday? 

HC: The second story I wrote, which actually won ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2014, is a historical novel based on a leper colony off the coast of Massachusetts in the early 20th century. For so many reasons, that’s the story of my heart. It needs a bit of work, and I’m not really sure how many readers want to spend time in a leper colony (I would, but that’s another one of my quirks!), so who knows if it will ever actually see the light of day.

RH: Wow, what a unique idea. As a lover of history, I think that would be a fascinating read!What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

HC: This inspiration definitely came slowly for me! Since I knew I wanted to write about the events of the Boston Tea Party, I dove into researching everything I could about the circumstances surrounding it. My historical heroine, Emma Malcolm, was birthed when I read an account of the brutal tarring and feathering of customs official John Malcolm. This servant of the crown was quite a character in his own right—very outspoken and stubborn with no patience for the antics of the Patriots. And yet I found myself feeling compassion for him. He was treated cruelly and inhumanely by those we find ourselves lauding as heroes today.

I imagined what it’d be like if he had a daughter—one who sympathized with the Sons of Liberty…one who sympathized with the very political side her father was intent on squelching. What if his daughter befriended those plotting to dump the tea? What if she aided them? What if she were even in love with one of them?

Once I had the historical story line down, I thought it might be fun to explore a contemporary woman who also longs to fight for her country and prove herself the best way she knows how. In my research about women in the military, I learned that in July 2017, it was announced that for the first time, a woman would enter the training pipeline to become a Navy SEAL. I imagined what this unidentified woman had gone through and what propelled her to enter such rigorous training. I decided to explore her story in fiction.

Emma and Hayley, my contemporary heroine, both long to serve their country despite broken families. They both long to prove themselves and seek a greater worth and identity.

RH: I really like the aspect that your heroines, though separated by nearly 250  years, were both seeking to belong and found that new identity in Christ. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

HC: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”

The Tea Chest explores what it means to find our worth not in our past, not in what we do or how well we do it, but in whose we are, and in who we trust in.

RH: Amen. When and where is your story set?

HC: Colonial Boston/1770s

RH: My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in Boston a few years ago. They’ve done such a fantastic job preserving our heritage. Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?

HC: Before I did the research for this book, I really didn’t understand the concept of tarring and feathering. All the colonial cartoon pictures depicted it as an almost funny event—a full grown man with a coat of feathers being paraded through the streets. Sounded silly to me! Not until I dove into my research did I really begin to understand how humiliating and dangerously painful this experience was. Those Patriots could certainly be brutal!

RH: I had no idea either until I read The Tea Chest. That was the first time I actually thought about how painful tarring & feathering must have been. I thought you portrayed that very well. Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

HC: Sarah Bradlee Fulton was a real historical person, but in The Tea Chest she is a friend and mentor to my historical heroine, Emma. Sarah is given credit for coming up with the idea of Mohawk disguises the night of the Boston Tea Party. She also did some other pretty courageous things to help the cause of the Patriots. Her bold courage inspired me, and I hope she will inspire readers!

RH: I did love Sarah’s strength of character and commitment to help the cause of Independence. Her determination was definitely inspiring. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

HC: I hope readers are touched by the ultimate hope the characters find. I hope they feel it is possible to break away from a troubled past, to make peace with it, and to find renewed hope in a God who loves them.

RH: Yes, I loved the theme that you are not defined by your past or your family, but by the choices you make. The most important being where you place your hope and trust. What are you working on now?

HC: I just finished edits for my next book with Tyndale, scheduled for release next year and tentatively titled The Orchard House. So I’m in the wonderfully beautiful place of dreaming up a new book!

RH: I’ve really enjoyed your stories, Heidi, and look forward to your next release. I’m just not sure I’ll be able to wait an entire year! I had so much fun chatting with you today. Thanks for visiting with my readers.


Giveaway**

 

This Giveaway is now CLOSED! Congratulations to Connie Porter Saunders, the winner of the signed copy of The Tea Chest!!!

In The Tea Chest, Heidi’s historical heroine, makes a choice to leave her loyalist family and join the Patriot cause defying not only her strict father, but societal expectations. But not all men and women of that day agreed with cause of liberty. Many identified as English subjects and chose to remain loyal to the crown. If you lived in Boston on the eve of the American Revolution, would you fancy yourself a Patriot and risk being labeled a traitor? Or would you feel the moral road led to working with the crown to resolve your problems and remain a Loyalist? Tell us why in the comments below to be entered to win the signed copy of The Tea Chest.

**Giveaway ends midnight, March 4th, 2020.

Book Review, Serving Up Love

About the Book


Title: Serving Up Love: A Four-in-One Harvey House Brides Collection
Author: Various, see below
Genre: Historical Romance

Book Info: (Bethany House Publisher, November 5, 2019, 384 pages)

Tag Line

On the Menu for These Ladies?
Adventure, Independence, and a Big Serving of Romance!

 


Blurb

A storied part of American history, Harvey Houses offered women a unique chance to gain independence and see amazing parts of this great country. Celebrated historical romance writers Tracie Peterson, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano offer four fun, romantic tales of Harvey girls whose western adventures lead to love.

Tracie Peterson – 
A Flood of Love
Returning home to New Mexico for the first time in years to fill in at the Harvey House, Gretchen Gottsacker is sure the past is behind her. But nothing can be that simple. When the man she loved long ago steps back into her life–with a daughter, no less–will she ever be the same?

Karen Witemeyer – More Than a Pretty Face
Rosalind Kemp becomes a Harvey Girl, clinging to the promise of one day transferring even farther west, someplace her youthful indiscretion won’t catch up to her. But the past is hard to escape, and when the worst occurs, will anyone stand up for her?

Regina Jennings – Intrigue a la Mode
When Willow Kentworth is warned that strange things are happening in the railyard after dark, she never intends to get involved. That is, until a handsome new employee at the Harvey House–who has secrets of his own–needs her assistance.

Jen Turano – 
A Grand Encounter
After her fiancé abandons her, Miss Myrtle Schermerhorn flees New York’s pity for a position at the El Tovar Hotel on the rim of the Grand Canyon. She’s determined to hold fast to her life of independence–but a rugged, frequent guest of the hotel makes that vow difficult to uphold.


My Thoughts

I tend to be a bit  hard on novellas. Often times, the plots are too grand and the author is left to tie up all the loose ends too quickly for my satisfaction. Happily, that is not the case for Serving Up Love which earns five stars across the board. Each novella was filled with just the right amount of captivating characters and swoon-worthy heroes mixed with a dash of adventure to leave this historical romance junkie’s heart satiated.

Harvey Girl Uniform, photo courtesy of Jot Powers

Harvey Girl Uniform, Photo by Jot Powers

As a big history lovin’ nerd girl, I was tickled pink to learn of this novella collection centering around Harvey Girls. I’d first heard about Harvey Girls on a vacation through Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado a few years ago. Fred Harvey was an American entrepreneur who opened a series of cafes and restaurants aligned with railroad stations in the western United States. He provided high quality food in a timely manner. Train travelers new to expect great food and excellent service in any of his establishments. Harvey Girls were the women who provided that outstanding service. Each one had to be single and of impeccable character. Housing was provided above the restaurants for these women who were not allowed to fraternize with the customers, at least not in the cafes themselves. Once a woman was engaged, her employment would be terminated.

There was so much to love about each of these stories — the railway setting, life as a Harvey Girl, and handsome customers just to name a few. In Peterson’s A Flood of Love, spunky child character, Katieann, captures the readers heart from the get go and not long after, Gretchen’s as well. I’d never read Tracie Peterson before but she penned a delightful story and I’ll be seeking more by this author. I loved the humor weaved into Intrigue a la Mode and Grand Encounter. Regina Jennings developed an intriguing plot involving smugglers along the railroad that kept me turning the pages. Jen Turano doesn’t disappoint readers used to the hilarious shenanigan’s of her characters and the author’s quippy dialogue like “Mr. Tall, Dark, and –need I say Delicious is here again and sitting in your section.” I just about spit out my tea! But I’d have to say it was Witemeyer’s, More Than a Pretty Face, that stole my heart. Rosalind, the heroine, is running from a mistake in her past, something we can all relate to. When it blows up BIG in her face, her sweetheart, friends, and co-workers all rally behind her, and Witemeyer weaves in a beautiful lesson about the power of forgiveness and the desire we all have to create a future not defined by past transgressions.

This is a wonderfully charming novella collection from an amazing set of historical romance authors. You’ll not only be “served up love,” but plenty of faith, humor, and warm fuzzies on the side.

***I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House on behalf of the authors and was under no obligation to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.


Links for purchase

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   CBD


About the Authors

A recipient of the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, Tracie Peterson is well-known for her numerous award-winning, bestselling historical romances. She lives near Missoula, Montana. Visit her at www.traciepeterson.com.

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of multiple Carol Awards and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in Abilene, Texas. Visit her at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Regina Jennings
 is the acclaimed author of The Fort Reno Series. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. Visit her at www.reginajennings.com.

Jen Turano
, the USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books, lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her at www.jenturano.com.

 

My Fascination with the Oregon Trail & a Giveaway!

I’m pleased to welcome friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Kathleen Bailey, to Romancing History today. Kathleen’s debut novel, Westward Hope, released September 20, 2019. You can read my review here.


About the Book

 

Why him? Why here? Why now?

Caroline Pierce O’Leary expects to work hard to earn her passage to the Oregon Country. She doesn’t expect to find that the wagon train scout is a man with whom she shares a troubled past. Though Caroline is a Christian now, thanks to her late husband, she finds forgiving Michael to be the hardest part of her journey, harder even than the Trail.

Michael Moriarty thought he’d left his past behind in “green and hurting Ireland.” Seeing Caroline on his wagon train, brings his past to the forefront. With a price on his head, he doesn’t want her to get hurt, but he can’t deny what they were…and could still be.

Michael once betrayed Caroline in the worst possible way. Can she trust him to get her across the Oregon Trail? Can he trust himself to accept her forgiveness and God’s?

Westward Hope is available for purchase on Amazon

 


My Fascination with the Oregon Trail

Guest Post by Kathleen Bailey

 

It was the greatest mass migration the young country had ever seen. In 1843, more than 1,000 Americans packed or sold everything they owned, to travel to the storied West with nothing to protect them but a wooden farm wagon and a canvas roof. They endured searing heat, raging prairie storms, dangerous river crossings, hunger and thirst. Some were running away from something, some were running to something.

And every one of them had a story.

I’d been fascinated by the Oregon Trail era for a long time, and knew I had to write about it. As I pondered the phenomenon, two characters began to take shape. Caroline, a gently-bred, impoverished young widow staking her all on the Western journey, because she had nothing left. Michael, a silver-tongued Irishman, running from his “green and hurting” homeland and a crime he didn’t commit. I began to ask the writer’s questions, “What if?” and “Why not?”

Caroline (as portrayed by actress Olivia de Havilland) in my mind’s eye.

What if…the pair had a history, a history so monumental she had trouble forgiving him for it? What if…he’d left town to protect her, and hadn’t known the consequences of what they’d been to each other? What if…her first husband led her to the Lord, after she lost the Irishman’s baby, and she then lived life as a new creature in Christ? What if…the Irishman had never forgotten her, even as he criss-crossed the country as a wagon train scout, but he knew she’d be better off without him? And what if…they met again in a crowded hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri, and he was tasked with taking her West?

What if…they had to work together to combat the dangers of the Trail? And what if they knew they still loved each other, but she couldn’t be yoked to an unbeliever and he couldn’t get his mind around a God who loved him, no matter what?

Michael (as portrayed by actor Tom Selleck) in my mind’s eye.

Well, why not?

The Trail proved an excellent backdrop for this and more. It’s almost a third major character, as the emigrants threw themselves against a hostile environment every day for six months. Some people, especially women, went mad. Others formed cliques and bickered, like a small town on wheels.  Passions ran high, and people were lynched or almost lynched, if not for the wagon master. But still others found out what they were made of, found love forged in adversity, and found their God.

Oh, and the things they saw! Though rumors passed among the travelers that they would “see the elephant,” that fabled beast eluded them. But they viewed Chimney Rock, Castle Rock, and herds of buffalo thundering over the plains. They carved their names on Independence Rock. They saw strange plants, new animals as they pushed West. They courted and married and birthed. Some met Indians for the first time. And they kept journals, knowing that they were on the brink of something momentous.

I had trouble parting from Michael and Caroline, my characters in Westward Hope, and I rolled them over as supporting characters in the sequel, Settler’s Hope. But I had more trouble parting with the Trail itself, with the crates of research I’d amassed and the vastness of the undertaking. Are there other Trail stories to be written?

Well, why not?

“Westward Hope” is available from Pelican Book Group’s White Rose imprint. Visit www.pelicanbookgroup.com. Bailey is contracted for the second book in the “Western Dreams” series, and is at work on a sequel. A novella featuring two minor characters from “Settler’s Hope,” “The Logger’s Christmas Bride,” will be part of Pelican’s “Christmas Extravaganza” this holiday season.


About the Author

Kathleen Bailey is a journalist and novelist with 40 years’ experience in the nonfiction, newspaper and inspirational fields. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s, a young adult in the 70s and a young mom in the 80s. It’s been a turbulent, colorful time to grow up, and she’s enjoyed every minute of it and written about most of it.

 

Authors enjoy connecting with readers. You can find Kathleen on Facebook and Twitter.

“Westward Hope” is available from Pelican Book Group’s White Rose imprint. Visit www.pelicanbookgroup.com. Bailey is contracted for the second book in the “Western Dreams” series, and is at work on a sequel. A novella featuring two minor characters from “Settler’s Hope,” “The Logger’s Christmas Bride,” will be part of Pelican’s “Christmas Extravaganza” this holiday season.


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now CLOSED!

Congratulations to out winner Stacy Meyers!

Kathleen is generously offering an eBook copy of Westward Hope and a gift pack of New England products to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, tell me how adventurous you are in the comments below. If you lived in the mid-19th century, would you be willing to pack up and follow the Oregon Trail west and in search of a new life? Why or why not?

**Giveaway ends 12a.m. (midnight) EST, Thursday October 10, 2019.**

 

Semi-Trucks in the Nineteenth Century? Who knew!

I’m excited to welcome friend and fellow historical romance author, Cynthia Roemer, back to Romancing History. Cynthia’s new release, Under Moonlit Skies released this week and I persuaded her to come back and share some of the history behind her novel. Cynthia has also graciously offered an eBook copy of Under Moonlit Skies to one lucky commenter. See below for giveaway details.


First, here’s a little bit about her new release:

Under Moonlit Skies (Prairie Sky Series, Book 3)

Her life was planned out ~ until he rode in.

Illinois prairie ~ 1859

After four long years away, Esther Stanton returns to the prairie to care for her sister Charlotte’s family following the birth of her second child. The month-long stay seems much too short as Esther becomes acquainted with her brother-in-law’s new ranch hand, Stewart Brant. When obligations compel her to return to Cincinnati and to the man her overbearing mother intends her to wed, she loses hope of ever knowing true happiness.

Still reeling from a hurtful relationship, Stew is reluctant to open his heart to Esther. But when he faces a life-threatening injury with Esther tending him, their bond deepens. Heartbroken when she leaves, he sets out after her and inadvertently stumbles across an illegal slave-trade operation, the knowledge of which puts him, as well as Esther and her family, in jeopardy.

Under Moonlit Skies is available from these retailers:

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     BookBub

 


Semi-Trucks in the Nineteenth Century? Who knew!

One of my favorite aspects of writing historical novels is the research involved. I love learning about the past. While researching for my newest release, Under Moonlit Skies, I stumbled upon a bit of history in my own state that I wasn’t aware existed.

At the onset of Under Moonlit Skies, my heroine, Esther Stanton, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, was visiting her sister, Charlotte, in Illinois following the birth of her second child. I needed a viable route that she might have traveled between the two locations in 1859. I found the perfect solution when I discovered the First National Road (Cumberland Road) stagecoach route extended from Cumberland Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois!

To find out more, my husband and I took a day trip to Vandalia and visited the First National Road Interpretive Center. What a wealth of information we gleaned there. Two interesting tidbits of information in particular really stuck with me as I perused the exhibits. I had seen and heard of Conestoga wagons, but I had never heard them referred to as the semi-trucks of the nineteenth century!

Much like the semi-tractor trailers of today, it seems the Conestoga wagon’s sole purpose was to transport supplies. Filled to the brim with everything from household goods, to ammunition, to building materials, the hefty wagons—weighing more than a ton—were an invaluable aid in the westward expansion. They carried no passengers and had no place for even the driver to sit. Instead, he walked alongside or stood on a side board while guiding the team.

The other fun fact I enjoyed learning had to do with the story behind the saying, “I’ll be there with bells on.” It seems many a Conestoga wagon driver fitted a personalized string of bells across their horses’ harnesses. The bells served as decoration and alerted travelers the wagon was approaching. They were also useful in keeping track of horses after dark once they had been turned loose for the night.

But the most interesting reason for the bells came in the fact that when a breakdown occurred with the wagon—which was often the case—the driver generally offered one of his prized bells to a person who was kind enough to aid him on his way. If the journey was a difficult one, most, if not all, of his bells would be gone. It brought him great satisfaction, however, if he arrived at his destination with his bells intact. Thus the hopeful saying, “I’ll be there with bells on” was born.

If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to visit my blog post: Discovering the First National Road (https://cynthiaroemer.com/discovering-the-first-national-road/)


About the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon Best-Seller Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, releasing September 10, 2019. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of twenty-five years and two college-aged sons. Visit Cynthia online at: www.cynthiaroemer.com

Authors love to connect with readers. You can find Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads. Be the first to find out about new releases and other interesting tidbits regarding her writing journey by signing up for her newsletter here.


Giveaway

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED ***

Congratulations to Betsy T, the winner of Under Moonlit Skies!!

Cynthia has graciously offered to giveaway** an eBook copy of Under Moonlit Skies to one lucky commenter below. To enter the drawing, please share what you would miss the most if you lived in Illinois during the mid-nineteeth century.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, September 18, 2019.**

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