Kelly Goshorn

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

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 Kimberly Duffy and a Giveaway!

I’m so excited to introduce my Romancing History readers to author and new friend, Kimberly Duffy. I discovered Kimberly’s debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, quite by accident. She posted in the Facebook group, Avid Readers of Christian Fiction, that she was looking for people to join her launch team. When I discovered that her story was set in India during the latter part of the 19th century, I was all in. And when I reached out to her, she graciously agreed to do an interview on Romancing History.

And that’s not all! Kimberly is offering a paper copy of A Mosaic of Wings to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, see the Giveaway Section at the bottom of the post!

Before the interview, let’s learn a little about the author and her fabulous book. Click here to read my full review.


About Kimberly

Kimberly Duffy enjoys writing historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books often feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. When not writing or homeschooling her four children, she enjoys taking trips that require a passport and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. A Long Island native, she currently resides in southwest Ohio.

You can connect with Kimberly on her website, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

 


About the Book

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices–between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

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Author Interview

Fast Five

  1. Coffee or Tea? Tea, but only herbal because I’m, sadly, allergic to caffeine.
  2. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth, but I would choose him in every role so I’m not completely impartial.
  3. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music
  4. I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy
  5. Dogs or Cats? Neither. Allergies make it hard to enjoy them

RH:  Welcome to Romancing History, Kimberly. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

KD: I’ve been writing since I was twelve, and seriously pursuing publication for about seven years. My debut released with Bethany House on May 5. My first three books are all set in the late 19th century and I’ll probably stick with that era for a long while since it’s my favorite (I might venture into early 20th, though.)

I’ve been married twenty years and we have four children. I grew up in New York, met my husband in India, married in Pennsylvania, and now live in Ohio. I’m a very reluctant homeschooler—I adore everything about it except the part where I have to actually be with people all day long. I’m going to write a book one day—The Introverted Homeschooler. There’s only going to be one sentence in it—“Your goal is to get your child as independent as possible as quickly as possible and then you will be okay.”

RH: That is so funny. I’m sure it would sell like hot cakes! Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

KD: I have the world’s ugliest handwriting. It’s embarrassing. And not at all correctable (I’ve tried but no amount of practice or focus improves it.)

I also have a truly awful memory. My husband teases me for it—he’s introduced me to his cousins dozens of times, but I still don’t recognize them if we run into each other. For the most part, I’ll forget the details of a movie or book almost the minute I’m done with it. I cannot for the life of me remember my youngest child’s birthday. If we get into a fight, just wait a couple hours, because I will have completely forgotten why I was mad at you.

RH: We’re opposites on the handwriting but only because my mother was a stickler for neat penmanship. No doubt a throwback from her Catholic school upbringing. She made me practice for hours each week. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

KD: I LOVE this story. Okay…picture a kind of preppy girl from the rather well-off Long Island suburbs who excels at writing contests, youth group functions, and carrying very heavy Russian novels into the lunch room. Then throw in a boy raised in the projects of a dying Ohio industrial city who regularly dyes his hair blue, is in a punk rock band (she only listens to Caedmon’s Call and Newsboys), and has never eaten a real bagel. Send them to Bangalore, India where they are to do non-profit work (him teaching music and her teaching children) and make sure no one understands their jokes and movie references, there are rats and spiders the size of medium-size dogs (this is perfect for setting him up to be the hero), and the only place that feels like home is a restaurant literally called The Only Place. It’s a match bound to happen.

***Also—our first kiss happened while watching Aristocats during Everybody Wants to be a Cat.

RH: What a great story! I just love hearing how couples meet. I met my hubby when he crashed my birthday party to flirt with my friend hosting the party! What was the inspiration behind your debut novel,  A Mosaic of Wings?

KD: A Mosaic of Wings was inspired by my now thirteen-year-old daughter who has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five. When I told my family I was writing my first historical novel, she suggested I write about a female entomologist because “there probably aren’t any books like that.” Nora came to me immediately and almost fully formed. I knew a woman who lived in the 19th century and pursued what would have been a male-dominated profession would have to be smart, driven, and focused.

RH: I think its really cool that your daughter was behind the idea of Nora being an entomologist. I’m very curious to know if she’s still planning to pursue entomology herself. Back to Nora—I’m so glad that you brought up the fact that you wrote her character to be a smart, driven, and focused heroine. Not only is she a strong female protagonist, she’s quite flawed. From my experience, the flaws authors give their main characters are oftentimes not really flaws at all. What made you decide to portray your heroine with imperfections (willful, stubborn, and a bit self-centered) that might ruffle some readers feathers? How has she been received?

I am so happy you asked about this! ALL of my characters are flawed. Because that’s part of the human condition. I want readers to see Nora and think, “Well, I’ve been stubborn. And I’ve been self-centered at times. And I’ve been willful. Yet…God, in all of his grace and love and goodness, still yearns to bless me. Still desires my heart. And his plans are so much bigger than my mistakes.”

You can blame the Bible for that because it’s absolutely riddled with flawed people making terrible decisions. People like David and Paul and Moses. And God used and loved every one of them. I’m a big believer in the beauty of grace. And how can I show grace in my books if I don’t write characters who need it so desperately?

People are sometimes ugly. There’s a scene where Nora has a particularly bad attitude toward another character. It’s such a defining moment because after she thinks uncharitably, she recognizes her hypocrisy. And isn’t that life? We’ve all said and thought things and then the Holy Spirit does his work and nudges us toward forgiveness and restitution.

I’ve always been drawn to deeply flawed literary characters—Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, Angel from Redeeming Love, Mary from The Secret Garden—and I prefer books that portray real life. I like when a character grows, but in a way that is believable. People don’t make one mistake and learn from it. Usually we have a few characteristics we particularly struggle with, over and over and over again.

Personally, I love Nora. I relate to Nora. She’s capable, yet fully willing to climb a tree and embrace childlike glee over a nest of ants. She’s prickly, but when she trusts, her vulnerability is made more beautiful because of it. She’s driven to success, but love is a bigger temptation. Nora is complex and that’s so much more interesting than perfection.

This is a subject I’ve given a lot of thought to and when I began writing, I made a very conscious decision to write against the grain and not feature heroines who fit into the standard Christian fiction mold.

That means some people are not going to like my characters—if you’ve read my reviews, you’ll see that—but that’s all right. Because the people who do like my characters, relate to them on a deep level.

RH: Truth be told, Kimberly, I saw a lot of myself in Nora. I’m very stubborn and willful as well. I hope, like Nora, that I’ve grown and learned from my  mistakes, too. And just for the record, I did not think her flaws made her unlikeable. You did an excellent job bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of India alive on the page, not to mention the sweltering heat. Why did you choose an exotic location like India as the setting for a majority of your novel?

KD: I was having a brainstorming session with the amazing Kristy Cambron and she suggested I send Nora somewhere interesting. Because I had lived in India and had access to some wonderful Indian friends to help me along the way, and there is a massive diversity of butterflies in the country, it seemed a great place to send Nora to.

RH: It was an excellent decision in my opinion. You immersed me so completely in the setting I felt a part of the scene. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

KD: I have a lot of favorite quotes and most of them are of the descriptive variety, but I think this one speaks to me most at the moment because I’m missing it so much:

“India, and everything that happened there, spoke to her in whispers that caressed her memories, wrapping everything in exotic perfume and sultry, cicada-song nights.”

RH: That is lovely. You are such a vivid writer. What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

KD: I hope they discover what an amazing country India is and perhaps decide to visit someday. I hope they notice God’s artistry and creativity, displayed in this vast, beautiful world he’s given us. And I hope, more than anything else, they recognize that that they are loved, wholeheartedly and unreservedly, by a God whose plans are always better and bigger and more amazing than our own.

RH: Amen. Before you leave us, can you tell us a little bit about what are you working on now?

KD: I am working on edits for book two which releases winter of 2021. It’s set in 1887 Calcutta and Wiltshire, England and is about faith and home. I’m also working on the draft of book three that is set in 1897 Poona that features some bizarre similarities to what is happening in the world today.

RH: Well they both sound intriguing, especially that little teaser about book 3. I look forward to reading them both. Thank you for visiting with us today on Romancing History.

KD: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed chatting with you and your readers.


Giveaway**

THIS GIVEWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO our Winner — KATHY BAILEY!!

Kimberly is generously offering one paperback copy of A Mosaic of Wings to one lucky Romancing History reader. (Sorry, but only U.S. residents are eligible). An electronic copy is available for international guests. To enter, tell us about the most exotic place you’ve been able to visit in person or through the pages of an amazing novel!

**Giveaway ends midnight, June 19, 2020.

Author Interview with Amanda Barratt and a Giveaway!!

I’m so excited to introduce my Romancing History readers to the amazingly talented author, Amanda Barratt. Amanda and I met online when I heard the buzz about her previous novel, My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. And if you’ve been following my blog or on social media, you know I gushed over this book. You can see my full review here.

Amanda’s most recent novel, The White Rose Resists: A Novel of the German Students Who Defied Hitler, released last month from Kregel Publications. I was honored to be part of the launch team for this book.

The White Rose Resists follows the story of university Hans and Sophie Scholl who dared to keep silent and urged their fellow Germans to speak out against the Nazi regime. The novel is told from Sophie’s point of view as well as two fictional characters, Annalise Brandt and Kirk Hoffman.

I first learned about Hans and Sophie Scholl when my husband and I traveled to Germany in 2007. We had the opportunity to see the memorial dedicated to their sacrifice at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. It captures the moment that Hans and Sophie scattered leaflets in the university’s main atrium moments before they were apprehended. When I learned that Amanda was writing a novel to tell Sophie’s story, I couldn’t wait to read it.

Amanda did an astounding amount of research and weaves actual quotes from letters and diaries of those inside the White Rose into this book making for a spectacular, heart wrenching story! Themes of faith and truth run through The White Rose Resists, reminding the reader of the eternal fight of good versus evil and will leave you questioning what price you would pay for freedom. Please, folks, do yourself a favor and read this book! See my full review here.

Amanda is generously offering a $5 Amazon gift card to one Romancing History visitor. See the details at the bottom of this post.


About Amanda

Amanda Barratt is the ECPA best-selling author of over a dozen novels and novellas, including My Dearest Dietrich: A Novel of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Lost Love. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a two-time FHL Reader’s Choice Award finalist. She and her family live in northern Michigan. Connect with her on Facebook, or visit her website.


About the Book

Inspired by the incredible true story of a group of ordinary men and women who dared to stand against evil

The ideal of a new Germany swept up Sophie Scholl in a maelstrom of patriotic fervor–that is, until she realized the truth behind Hitler’s machinations for the fatherland. Now she and other students in Munich, the cradle of the Nazi government, have banded together to form a group to fight for the truth: the White Rose. Risking everything to print and distribute leaflets calling for Germans to rise up against the evil permeating their country, the White Rose treads a knife’s edge of discovery by the Gestapo.

Annalise Brandt came to the University of Munich to study art, not get involved with conspiracy. The daughter of an SS officer, she’s been brought up to believe in the Führer’s divinely appointed leadership. But the more she comes to know Sophie and her friends, the more she questions the Nazi propaganda.

Soon Annalise joins their double life–students by day, resisters by night. And as the stakes increase, they’re all forced to confront the deadly consequences meted out to any who dare to oppose the Reich.

A gripping testament to courage, The White Rose Resists illuminates the sacrifice and conviction of an unlikely group of revolutionaries who refused to remain silent-no matter the cost.

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Author Interview

Fast Five

Coffee or Tea? Tea!I drink coffee as a treat at coffee shops (love mocha lattes) but I enjoy a cup of tea on an almost-daily basis.

Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth forever.

Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? Which for me is usually a random piece of paper, rather than an actual bookmark.

Mexican or Chinese Food? Tacos are a weekly staple at our house. I love them topped with fresh salsa and homemade guacamole.

I Love Lucy or Get Smart? I Love Lucy. I’ve seen the episodes so many times I practically have them memorized. I love the comedy and Lucy’s fabulous 50’s fashion.

Author Q&A

RH: To get the ball rolling, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself.

AB: I’ve been writing for about eight years. During the years before I was published, I completed 7 full-length manuscripts, all of which are safely nestled away in files on my computer, where most of them will remain. 🙂 I signed my first contract in 2014, and in 2015, two of my novellas released in anthologies published by Barbour. This year will see the release of my 3rd novel and my 12th  novella. While my novellas are historical romance, my last two novels are historical fiction based on true stories. Every book I write reflects my love for history, whether the story is based around historical events, delves into the lives of little-known historical figures, or illustrates how circumstances we face today—falling in love, dealing with loss, or entering a new season of life—were not so very different in days gone by.

RH: Twelve novellas? Wow! I didn’t realize that you had so many published works. Congratulations! What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

AB: I love baking, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching costume dramas.

RH: Ahh, costume dramas. My hubby and I have been known to binge-watch those as well. Some of our recent favorites include Downton Abbey, Poldark, and Victoria. Describe the most unusual place you’ve had your fictional characters kiss.

AB: In My Dearest Dietrich, my characters shared several kisses in a prison visitation room. I loved exploring the juxtaposition between the innocence of new love and the harsh reality of confinement under the Nazi regime.

RH: Since I read and reviewed My Dearest Dietrich, I should’ve seen the answer to that one coming! What is your favorite place/time of day to write and why?

AB: Mid-morning. Though I admire authors who get up at 5 a.m. to write, alas I am not one of them. I don’t think I could write “See Spot Run” at that hour, much less a coherent chapter of a novel! I usually get up, spend a half hour reading the Bible and another non-fiction book (I’ve been enjoying lots of C.S. Lewis lately), have breakfast, and after checking email and social media, dive into my current WIP. Sometimes I’ve met my set word count before lunch, other times I work into the afternoon.

RH: I’m one of those early writers you mentioned above. I usually have the alarm set for 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

AB: While writing My Dearest Dietrich, I came across the story of Sophie Scholl in a book on youth in Nazi Germany. As I read about how a twenty-one-year-old woman formed an underground resistance group along with her brother and fellow students at the University of Munich, I was captivated. I wanted to discover her and answer the question: What made these men and women risk their lives to undertake resistance while their countrymen remained silent? The more I researched, the more Sophie’s story grabbed hold of my heart and begged me to share it.

White Rose Resistance Memorial, Munich, Germany; Photo courtesy of Picture Alliance via Getty Images copyright 2018

RH: Their bravery astounds me. I’d like to think I’d stand up for truth, justice, and freedom at any cost like Hans and Sophie, but I think that is something we will never truly know about ourselves unless we are tested. There were so many wonderful secondary characters in your The White Roses Resists, one do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

AB: Anyone familiar with the story of the White  Rose knows the names of Hans and Sophie Scholl. Yet they were far from the only ones involved in the student resistance. I was captivated by the stories of the other men and women I encountered during my research, particularly Alex Schmorell, who worked closely with the Scholls from the beginning of their resistance. Alex was charming and handsome, and had a deep affinity with his Russian heritage, as his mother was from Russia. His love for the Russian people and culture was unique at a time when German propaganda termed the Russians as “subhuman.” Like many of those in the White Rose, he was a committed Christian, and the letters he wrote to his family in the weeks before his execution are incredibly moving. You might say I fell a little bit in love with Alex while writing the novel.

RH: I enjoyed Alex’s story as well, especially the scenes during their summer stationed on the Russian front. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

AB: “Each of us has been given one life. It’s ours to spend as we will. Every voice matters. If they arise as one, change can happen. But first, one has to rise. There has to be a beginning.”

RH: Amanda, that just gave me the chills all over again. Thank you so much for visiting with my readers today.


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to Kiki Stanton, the winner of the $5 Amazon gift card.

Amanda is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, please tell us if you’d heard of Hans & Sophie Scholl or The White Rose Resistance, or any other groups that defied Hitler during WWII (Bonehoeffer, The Confessing Church, etc). What price would you be willing to pay for truth, justice and/or freedom?

** This giveaway ends, midnight, Wednesday, June 10th, 2020.**

Book Review, Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano & a Giveaway!

Storing Up Trouble

by Jen Turano

 

I just finished the very delightful Storing Up Trouble, book #3 in the American Heiresses series, by the fabulous Jen Turano. Jen has been a guest on Romancing History before so if you’d like to learn a bit more about her and her books, click here to see my author interview with her from last September.

Jen has generously offered to giveaway a paper copy of her latest release Storing Up Trouble to one lucky Romancing History guest. See below for the details of the giveaway.

About the Book


Title: Storing Up Trouble
Series Info: American Heiress, Book #3
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: (Bethany House Publishers, May 5, 2020, 363 pages


Blurb

When Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.

Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.

But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix’s safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

                                 Amazon                       B&N


My Thoughts

Beatrix. Beatrix. Beatrix. She’s been a favorite secondary character of mine throughout the entire American Heiresses series and I can’t deny she’s a simply delightful heroine! Her straight forward, yet optimistic ways endear her to the reader. And, any woman who packs a pistol purse and saves her man during a train heist is Aces in my book!

That brings us to the hero, one Mr. Norman Nesbit. I must admit, this sweet awkward man stole my heart early on. While gifted with intelligence a plenty, Norman struggles with normal every day social graces. And while Beatrix originally is a bit of a thorn in his side, their banter sparks an attraction to her his scientific formulas just can’t explain and he slowly realizes how her influence has made him aware that he’s been more concerned with his own research than people—a situation he determines to rectify.

One of my favorite aspects of Storing Up Trouble was learning about life as a sales girl in a Gilded Age department store. When Beatrix is forced to visit her Aunt Gladys, she is required to get a job at Marshall Field & Company so she can relate to the problems of the working class. Determined to keep her identity as part of the New York Four Hundred under wraps, the Chicago elite make many improper assumptions about Beatrix and she realizes for the first time just how unfair life can be for those not born to a life of privilege.

Turano delights the reader with a trifecta of well-developed characters, lush historical details, and rich, vivid settings. Those familiar with Turano’s writing know they’re in for a comedic romp through the Gilded Age and Storing Up Trouble delivers not only laugh out loud scenes but a sweet romance as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Just because he frequently annoys me doesn’t mean I’m not fond of the man.”

“Every time he tried to settle into a relaxing bout of mathematical equations or attempt to draw a diagram of an improved electrical motor, thoughts of Beatrix interrupted his work.”

“Men tend to react better to unexpected news when they’re not suffering from hunger pains.”

“You’ve never had trouble sleeping before, even when you’re on a train, which means . . . you’ve met a man, and one who is giving you trouble if I’m not mistaken.”

“Friends and family made life enjoyable, a notion he’d only begun considering after becoming acquainted with Beatrix.”


Spiritual Takeaway

One of my favorite aspects of Storing Up Trouble is the witty banter between Beatrix and Norman. These two get underneath each other’s skin as it were and remind me of the Biblical proverb, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Isn’t that just the truth? It is often when our actions and motives are questioned by those around us that we see our own failings more clearly. Norman, a brilliant scientist, comes to the realization that he doesn’t really know his own family because he spends all of his time in the pursuit of knowledge. It is only when he meets Beatrix that his eyes are opened and he begins in earnest to make amends to those around him. When others can hardly believe the changes in him, he credits the “new Norman” to Beatrix’s influence.

Storing Up Trouble also spoke to the old maxim, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because Beatrix kept her identity as an American heiress and member of the elite New York Four Hundred a secret, incorrect assumptions were made about her by most everyone she encountered that she was either struggling financially or an ill-bred member of the working class or both. Despite her ill-treatment at times, Beatrix makes a stand for justice and reminds those around her that the true value of a person doesn’t lie in their wealth or social statues but in the unique person God made them to be despite their circumstances.


Other Books in the American Heiresses Series


Flights of Fancy, American Heiresses Book #1

Flights of Fancy (American Heiresses Book #1) by [Jen Turano]Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.

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Diamond in the Rough, American Heiresses Book #2

Diamond in the Rough (American Heiresses Book #2) by [Jen Turano]To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

Amazon           B&N


About the Author

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist.  When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her at www.jenturano.com or on Facebook and Twitter.


Giveaway**

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER — CATHY!

Jen has graciously agreed to give away one paper copy of Storing Up Trouble to one lucky Romancing History guest. To enter, please leave a comment below and tell us which of Jen’s delightfully quirky heroines is your favorite and why?

 

 **Giveaway open to US Residents only and ends at midnight on Sunday, 5/24/20.

Claiming Canaan & A Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome dear friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Barbara Britton, back to Romancing History today. The third book in Barb’s fabulous Daughters of Zelophehad series, Claiming Canaan, just released. Although I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, it is on my TBR pile and I’m anxiously awaiting the conclusion of this amazing series.

And, Barb has graciously offered to giveaway an Ebook copy of one of the books in the series, Winner’s Choice! Details to enter the Giveaway are below.


Saying Good-bye to Historic Girls

Guest post by Barbara Britton

Thank you for having me back on the blog, Kelly. I appreciate you faithfully reading my series on the daughters of Zelophehad.

The daughters of Zelophehad are five orphaned sisters who went to Moses and asked to inherit their deceased father’s land. Moses deferred to God, and God agreed with the girls. God said that if a man died without a son, his daughters could inherit his land (Numbers 27:1-11). The sisters’ “bold ask” was new to me a few years ago. Now, as the last book in the series releases, I am sad to say good-bye to Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

In “Claiming Canaan,” the girls receive their land. We know from Joshua 17:3-6 that the sisters approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the leaders of Israel. The girls remind the powerful leaders of Israel about their historic inheritance. These girls had guts! But they also knew that it had been several years since God’s decree about their land, and at this point in time, Moses was long gone.

As an author, I had to decide what type of land the girls would receive. I placed them in the Jezreel Valley near Canaanite cities that were inhabited by idol worshipers. What would faith in action look like for these girls? I bestowed on Milcah, the protagonist in this final book, a (spoiler alert) vineyard. You could probably discern Milcah’s inheritance from the book cover. Would a vineyard be controversial?

I delved into Scripture and discovered that the “Proverbs 31 Woman” planted a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16-17). How had I missed this purchase? She also works vigorously which is something Milcah discovers comes hand in hand with owning a vineyard. Farming is not easy.

I placed the daughters of Zelophehad in the Jezreel Valley. The valley is lush and green. We see later on in Scripture in I Kings 21 that Naboth owns a vineyard in Jezreel. He does not sell his vineyard to King Ahab because it is part of God’s promised land. Tribal lands were important—a gift from God. God places restrictions on the daughters of Zelophehad and who they could marry in Numbers, chapter 36, so their land would not jump to the tribe of their husband. Land bestowed on the tribes needed to stay with that specific tribe. Naboth understands the importance of keeping his God-given land, but unfortunately it costs him his life. The sisters understand the importance of keeping their land within the tribe of Manasseh when they respond to their restrictions with faith.

Numbers 36:10 says, “So Zelophehad’s daughters did as the Lord commanded Moses.”

So, my series ends with girls staining their feet while stomping grapes and going forth with God into a land filled with hardship and unbelievers.

I hope the faith of Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah inspires us all.

Are these brave girls new to you?


About the Book

When the tribal elders make marriage a requirement for claiming her land, Milcah bat Zelophehad must find a betrothed straightaway. The only problem in finding a husband is that all her suitors were slain while conquering the land of Canaan. Men avoid her in order to stay alive.

After praying to God to send her a bold suitor, a man from her father’s clan plummets from a tree right on top of her. Is this God answering prayer, or a foolish antic by Eli, the war-scarred brother from one of her clan’s rival families?

Will settling in Canaan sort out Milcah’s troubles, or have her woes just begun?

Find the finale on Amazon, Barnes&Noble and where books are sold.


Excerpt from Claiming Canaan

Who is stealing grapes from Milcah and Eli?

Traveling toward the road, they carefully counted the lines of grape plants until they had reached the seventh row. Eli tapped his sword and motioned for her to give him a berth to draw his weapon. He unsheathed his blade. Muted light gleamed on the worn iron.

From grape plant to grape plant, they slipped closer to the thieves. The width of the plants and bush-like thickness of the grape leaves and clusters, blocked their bodies from view.

Her palms dampened as they neared the pickers. She wished she had drunk her fill before hurrying into the field, for her tongue could not find a drop of saliva. Was Eli as frightened? Or did year upon year of battles, prepare one for a fight?

Eli stilled.

Branches rustled on the next planting.

With the stealth of a predator, Eli shifted into the middle of the path.

Someone ducked from under the grape leaves, basket in hand. A boy. Not much older than Jonah. Ten years of age at most.

The young man did not flee, or attack, or give a defense. He stared. Dropping his basket, he leapt backward and tripped, felled by the girth of the basket brimming with grape clusters.

“Where did you run off to, Yarrat,” a woman’s voice asked in a harsh whisper.

Suddenly, crawling from underneath the tall stalks of the plant, a babe appeared. A girl with cheeks darkened by Milcah’s grapes. The girl’s face crumpled. She collapsed onto the path and whimpered. Her round-eyed gaze fixated on Eli’s sword.

These bandits were a family. Milcah’s heart hollowed at the sight of the little girl’s torn covering.

“Answer me, son.” The woman ducked from the next row, tossed her grapes at a half-filled basket, and shrieked. A spooked lark catapulted toward the night sky.

The little girl wailed. The boy remained prone on the ground, feigning a corpse.

“Do—do not harm my children.” The woman dropped to her knees. Her words and her clasped hands begged Eli to spare their lives.

Eli remained a sculpture of flesh.

“We mean you no harm.”

Milcah approached and stood by Eli’s side. “This vineyard was given to us by the One True God. It is an inheritance from my father.”

The boy scrambled to his feet. Hands fisted, he yelled, “You killed my father.”

Finally, the little thief had spoken.


About Barbara

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Look for Barb to venture into Christian Historical fiction in June with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website: www.barbarambritton.com.

Barb is also on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.


Giveaway**

Barb is graciously giving away an Ecopy of one book in her Daughters of Zelophehad series (Lioness, Heavenly Lights, or Claiming Canaan) to one lucky Romancing History reader–winner’s choice. To enter, tell us which Biblical heroine inspires you the most!

 

**Giveaway ends at midnight on April 6, 2020.

Author Interview with Jodie Wolfe & a Giveaway!

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and dear friend, Jodie Wolfe, to Romancing History today. Jodie and I met when I joined her critique group a few years ago. Unfortunately, that group has since dissolved but I am a huge fan of Jodie’s and I know you will be, too.

Jodie’s newest release, Taming Julia, released February 14 from Pelican Book Group. Before we chat with Jodie, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.


About Jodie

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Jodie loves to connect with readers on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads and on her Amazon Author Page.


About the Book

Tagline: A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn’t what the minister ordered.

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

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Excerpt from Taming Julia

Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition

Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.

~*~

Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875

            Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.

            Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.

“Are you Montgomery?” Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.

He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. “Y-yes.”

“Name’s Jules Walker.” She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. “I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched.” She waved a slip of paper in his face. “Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?”

Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.

She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.

“I’m Drew.” He managed to choke the words out. “Isn’t your name Julia?”

She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules.”

“But…” Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. “Where’re your things?”

“Got my knapsack and that there.” She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.


Interview with Jodie Wolfe

Fast Five

Dogs or Cats? Dogs. We had a standard poodle for over 17 years.

Coffee or Tea? Tea – hot or cold depending upon the season.

Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? Cringe. I never understood why people would dog ear pages. I use bookmarks for sure!

Mexican or Chinese Food? Chinese food.

Kindle or Paperback? Paperback. I love having the physical copy in my hands.

Author Q&A

RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in? If you’re comfortable sharing some personal details about yourself that would be great! Readers love to know about an author’s daily life.

JW: I wrote my first novel when I was 13. That story was a mystery. But ever since then, all I’ve written is historical romances set in the 19th Century, other than the nonfiction etiquette book that went along with To Claim Her Heart.

Taming Julia is my seventh book.

RH: To Claim Her Heart is fabulous! I really enjoyed that book and am looking forward to reading Taming Julia. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

JW: We met at college. I lived off campus at the time. My roommate was going to be leading an evangelism committee meeting and there were two people on campus that needed a ride, so I was designated to pick them up since I had a car. One of those two ended up becoming my husband. 🙂

RH: That’s so fun! Who knew a simple favor would end up leading you to your Mr. Right? What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?

JW: I like to knit and spend time with my husband. He’s my hero!

RH: I’ve always wanted to learn to knit. I bet you make some lovely blankets for your grandchildren, right? Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

JW: Hopeful, quirky, inspirational.

RH: Quirky definitely fits which is why I loved To Claim Her Heart! Our books are our babies, with that in mind, do have a favorite amongst your published stories? If so, which one and why?

JW: My favorite story that I’ve written is Taming Julia. I think I like it the best because my heroine was such a fun, quirky character to write about.

RH: She must be a real handful based on that tagline and excerpt you shared. What unpublished story do you have in your stash that you really hope sees the light of day someday? 

JW: I wrote a story set in a lighthouse in Camden, Maine. It needs a bit of rewriting before it could possibly see the light of day. Someday I hope to do that.

RH: That is such a different setting than your westerns that your known for. I think a story set in a lighthouse sounds wonderful. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?

JW: “Josh said couples kiss after they’re hitched. Should we try it? I’ve never done it afore, but I reckon we could give it a shot.” She puckered her lips and waited.

Drew took a big step backward

Had she used the wrong word? Jules wrinkled her brow, trying to recollect what her brother had said. Had he called it a peck? Nah, couldn’t be. That’s what prairie chickens did when they found a tasty bug.

RH: ROFL. That’s hilarious and really showcases the humor in your books. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?

JW: I wanted to explore what would happen if a guy advertised for a wife and who showed up was completely opposite. What would he do, especially since they married by proxy before she arrived.

RH:  I’m absolutely obsessed with mail order bride stories, another reason I’m looking forward to reading Taming Julia. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

JW: Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:1-2

God is always available to us; all we need to do is to call out to Him.

RH: Amen! I love that verse. When and where is your story set?

JW: Part of it is in a made up town in Kansas, but there is one scene that takes place outside of Blanco, Texas in a place called the Narrows. I had the pleasure of visiting it a couple years ago.

RH: I’ve never visited Texas but its definietly on my bucket list. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?

JW: I would pick Doris Day for my heroine and Chris Evans for my hero.

RH: Oh my, Doris Day! I just picture her as Jules! How fun! 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?

JW: The most fascinating thing I researched when writing this book was the whole era of mail-order brides. I was able to read some of their stories. Some worked out, some not so much.

RH: That is so true. On a trip out west, I picked up a little book on mail order brides and it was filled with actual advertisements. It also had stories of some real marriages arranged via the Matrimonial News. I just find the whole concept so fascinating! What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

JW: That we can trust God to be working in our lives, even when we can’t see it.

RH: Yes, He is always working behind the scenes for our good. It brings me a lot of peace to remember that. What are you working on now?

JW: I’m working on a sequel about Josh, Jules’ brother. It has a working title of either Wooing Annie or Protecting Annie. I’m also working on a book set in the town where I went to college. It deals with the theme of belonging and is called Hannah’s Quest.

RH: They both sound wonderful. I had so much fun chatting with you, Jodie. Thanks for visiting with my readers.


Giveaway**

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**

CONGRATULATIONS TO PERRIANNE ASKEW WHO WON THE KINDLE COPY OF TAMING JULIA!

Jodie has graciously offered a free Kindle copy to one Romancing History reader. To be entered in the giveaway, please tell us your thoughts on being a 19th century mail order bride. Do you think you could answer an advertisement and marry by proxy like Jules?

**Giveaway open to U.S. residents only and ends midnight, March 11, 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.

Historic Triumphs & Trials, Guest Post & Giveaway by Barbara Britton

Please welcome my friend and fellow Pelican Book Group author, Barbara Britton, back to Romancing History. Barb’s latest novel, Heavenly Lights, releases today and she’s here to share the challenges she faced creating a main character who is hearing impaired.

I’m currently reading Lioness, the first book in the “Daughters of Zelophehad” series. If you haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, or any of Barb’s books, I encourage you to check out her Amazon page here and start reading. Her stories are filled with action, Biblical history, and characters that grab your heart.

Barb has generously offered an E-copy of Heavenly Lights to one Romancing History reader. So, be sure to see the details at the bottom of the post.

Historic Triumphs and Trials

Guest Post by Barbara Britton

 

I am happy to be spending my release day for Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey with my friend and fellow Pelican author, Kelly, and with all her blog readers. When I started writing about the daughters of Zelophehad, I only thought I would write one book. After I finished my manuscript, I realized these brave sisters did not have their inheritance of land. The girls had the promise of land, and they were told who they could marry, but they didn’t own anything yet. The Israelites took more than seven years to conquer Canaan, and if I included all of the stories in the book of Joshua in my manuscript, I would have a 100,000-word story. Publishers do not buy books of that length anymore. I decided to follow the sisters through the book of Joshua with two more books—Heavenly Lights and Claiming Canaan. Easy, right?

Heavenly Lights would have been easier to write if I hadn’t made my hero in the story a shepherd who couldn’t hear and who couldn’t speak (This is why my advice to authors is to plan a series before you write it). What was I going to do with Jeremiah, a shepherd, and Noah’s love interest (Noah is a woman for those who haven’t read my novels)? Before I panicked too much, I realized that I could write a deaf character since my mother had lost her hearing. I knew firsthand the issues involved in communicating with someone who can’t hear.

American Sign Language did not exist in the period of Joshua and the daughters of Zelophehad. I had to create hand signals that Noah and Jeremiah could share. Personally, I do not know ASL, but I have specific hand movements that I use with my mom.

Noah would have to incorporate certain communication skills into her life. What would those be?

She would have to face Jeremiah when she spoke to him, so he could read her lips. She might have to touch him to get his attention if he was focused on his flocks. Yelling across a field is useless. I learned calling from another room to my mother wasn’t going to get a response. I laugh when she calls to me from another room. I have pretty good hearing, but sometimes I can’t figure out what she is saying.

At times, you may have to repeat what you say to someone who has a hearing deficiency. I find after three attempts that a talk-to-text app on a smart phone works well, or a small white board with Expo markers gets my point across. Of course, Jeremiah doesn’t have an i-phone and he certainly doesn’t have a caption phone. I gave Noah a healthy helping of patience and understanding to befriend Jeremiah.

If someone has a small amount of hearing left, a pocket talker can magnify words into a good ear. Technology was nil in the days of the daughters of Zelophehad, and unfortunately deaf people were seen as being cursed. When I crafted Jeremiah, I gave him an awareness of his surroundings that was unique. Jeremiah’s faith in God did not waver even though he faced challenges being deaf.

Would I change Jeremiah’s character if I had it to do it over again? Nope. Jeremiah is perfect the way I created him. He is one of my favorite characters and so far, he is a favorite of readers, too. Noah isn’t too bad herself.

I hope you enjoy my story about the daughters of Zelophehad and how they go forth with God into the challenging times of the conquest of Canaan. A rugged shepherd is by their side and so is the Good Shepherd.


About the Book

 

Book blurb for “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey”—Fiction from Joshua 5-8:

Noah bat Zelophehad might have broken tradition by being able to inherit her father’s land, but her heart’s desire is to have the finest herds in all of Israel, something an orphaned and unmarried woman has never achieved.

Jeremiah ben Abishua cannot speak, nor hear. God has made his thoughts captive to his mind. But he can communicate with one shepherdess, a woman who sees his skill with animals and treats him like a man worthy of respect.

When their people disobey God and incur his wrath, Noah and Jeremiah must overcome tragedy in order to change perceptions in the tribes of Israel. Will their kinship desire to care for one another and the four-legged creatures God has placed in their care, be able to flourish in a land filled with enemies of the One True God?

God gave Noah bat Zelophehad four sisters, a way with four-legged creatures, and a strong spirit. She will need all three gifts to thrive in the Promised Land of God and find love with a special shepherd.

Heavenly Lights on Amazon, B&N, or Apple Books.


About Barb

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.


Giveaway*

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congrats to Nicole, the winner of a copy of Heavenly Lights!

The Daughters of Zelophehad series is about a group of women who change history by seeking and securing a land inheritance that was unheard of in their day. To enter the drawing for the E-copy of Heavenly Lights, tell us what aspect of being a woman in Biblical times would be the most challenging for you.

*Giveaway ends, midnight Wednesday, February 26, 2020.


 

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