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The Characters Behind “Hollow Hearts” – with a Giveaway

As you know, I love talking about historical romance here on Romancing History. That’s why I’m super excited to welcome author Donna Schlachter for the first time to my blog today.

Donna’s new release, Hollow Hearts, released yesterday and one of the things that has peaked my interest is that the couple is not the typical age for romantic fiction. As I age (a-hem), I’m finding love stories focusing on middle-aged couples very endearing.  Also the entire series is centered around the Pony Express so that is another huge factor in it’s favor. I’ve invited her to share with you some great background info about her characters and the story that I’m sure will wet your appetite to pick up a copy as it  has mine.

Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post and leave a comment. Donna is graciously giving away a print copy (U.S. only) of Hollow Hearts to one lucky Romancing History reader.


About Hollow Hearts
Hearts of the Pony Express, Book #2

Middle-aged widow Edith Cooper walks away from the cemetery along the Green River near Simpson’s Hollow, Utah Territory. Away from the husband buried there this morning. Away from their plans and dreams for their future. Along the way, two men offer their hand in marriage. For her protection, one says. For his children’s sake, says the second. Were any of these reasons enough to marry? She must choose one. But which?

Albert Whitt, stationmaster of the Pony Express Station, loves his independent life. Twice stood up by women, he takes the only course that ensures no more rejection: stay clear of them. But when he learns that the stoic Widow Cooper is considering two proposals from men not worthy of lacing her boots, he must do something. But what?

Can Edith and Albert find a new beginning in the midst of tragedy, or will they choose the most convenient path—alone?

Available on Amazon


The Characters Behind Hollow Hearts

by Donna Schlachter

 

Set in 1860 at a Pony Express station near Green River, Utah, this book is the second in the Hearts of the Pony Express series.

Edith Cooper is a forty-ish woman traveling west with her husband, Paul. They’ve been married for many years, but they’ve not had any children. This leaves a hole in Edith’s heart when Paul dies along the trail to Oregon.

Green River, Utah, provides the only suitable place for many miles to bury bodies. In fact, the soil is soft and relatively rock-free, and hundreds—if not thousands—are buried there.

As Edith leaves the cemetery, two men approach her independently. The local pastor, a widower with six rowdy children, suggests he could be the man she needs. After all, he’s obviously not deficient when it comes to producing offspring, and although he realizes Edith is getting along in years, no reason they couldn’t still enjoy the physical benefits of marriage.

Edith says thank you and she’ll think about it.

The second man is an alcoholic private who has been in the army for twenty-plus years, but because he keeps getting into trouble when he drinks, has been demoted to the lowest rank possible. He suggests he is the man for her because—well, because he is a man.

Edith, horrified by what could become her life, thanks him and says she’ll let him know.

Meanwhile, the station keeper at the Pony Express station looks on. Albert Whitt has no interest in Widow Cooper or any other woman. Jilted twice by women, he’s vowed never to marry. But he overhears the two proposals, and pities the woman desperate enough to accept either one.

Besides, Albert knows he no great catch for any woman. No wonder the other two chose others instead of him. He likes his job, and manages most tasks. However, his cooking skills leave something to be desired.

When Albert is injured, he needs help, and the only person he can find is the Widow Cooper. Her excellent cooking and baking skills garners a reputation for the Station, and folks come from town, both to dine and to order her pies and cakes.

Albert enjoys her company, and she seems to like being around him. He teaches her how to help saddle a horse, to transfer the mailbag, and she tackles all the other chores. But she’s leaving at the end of the week when the wagon train heads west again.

The pastor and the sergeant continue to pester Edith, insisting she give them an answer. The pastor’s rowdy children have no respect for her, and neither does he, apparently, when she brings them a cake at the church social.

Humiliated, Edith feels pressured to choose her future.

Maybe she’ll stay, get her own lodgings, and find a job.

Or figure out a way to continue west.

Or return east where she and her husband came from.

Albert wants Edith to stay because he’d like to expand the kitchen and dining area at the station. But he also sees that having her around makes him miss her when she isn’t there. And that wasn’t part of his plans.

To find out which man Edith chooses, you’ll need to read the book, which is available on Amazon.


About Donna

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter.

www.DonnaSchlachter.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

www.DonnaSchlachter.com/blog

Check out previous blog posts at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com and www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com

Facebook     Twitter    BookBub    Goodreads 
Etsy Online Shop of Original Artwork


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winner, Lexi H.

To enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy (U.S. only) or ebook of Hollow Hearts, leave a comment below and tell us if there is a favorite family name in your family?

Giveaway ends midnight, September 7.*

Character Interview with Jenny Thatcher and 3 Giveaways

I’m excited to welcome back friend and fellow author, Kathleen Bailey, to Romancing History! We have a special treat for you today, my very first Character Interview on Romancing History. I’m chatting with Jenny Thatcher, the heroine of Kathy’s latest novel, Redemption’s Hope, which releases tomorrow, Friday, July 22. Redemption’s Hope is the third and final installment in the “Westward Dreams” series. Jenny is what some might call a “colorful character,” so I’m gonna have my hands full.

I was honored to give Kathy an endorsement for Redemption’s Hope, and you can read my review on Bookbub. You can find the link toward the end of my interview with Jenny.

And, don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section below. Kathy is has three separate prizes for lucky Romancing History readers.


About the Book

Two distinct sets of villains. Two orphaned children. A man without a country and a woman with too much past…All in a rambunctious young country where anything goes, especially in the West. Seriously. What can go wrong?

In this latest installment of the best-selling series, “Western Dreams,” join Jenny and White Bear as they cross the historic West in an epic story peppered with grit, guns, and glory.

You can purchase Redemption’s Hope on Amazon.

Other books in the Western Dreams series are Westward Hope (Book #1) and Settler’s Hope (Book #2)


Meet Jenny Thatcher

Howdy, I’m Jenny Thatcher and I reckon I’m the subject of Kathy Bailey’s new book. I’ve been in everybody else’s books, so it’s about time. I first showed up in Westward Hope, as a saloon girl who ran away from St. Joseph on a stolen horse to tell my friend, Michael, two Irish thugs were after him. I stayed on as a wagon train scout, and made it to Oregon Country with Michael, and some friends I made along the way—Caroline O’Leary and Pace Williams. I also turned up in the sequel, Settler’s Hope, as a hotel cook. Kathy had me moonin’ over Pace for a brief spell, but as it turned out, Pace’s true love was Oona Moriarty. Don’t worry though, I didn’t hold no grudges against him (or Kathy for that matter). Turns out, Kathy made a good decision as I’d really never stopped thinkin’ about White Bear, the Cheyenne brave I met on my first trip across the country. On the pretext of paying his family back for taking care of me when I was mighty sick, I rode off on my stallion, Rebel, to find him again. But Kathy, like most authors I’m told, got me into a heap of trouble I hadn’t anticipated including two orphaned children and one menacing varmit who had a mind to harm me and the kids. If ya wanna know more, you’re gonna have to read my story. Just know that through all the trials, I gained a deeper walk with God.

Fast Five

Ok, Jenny, give us 5 fast and fun facts about yourself.

  1. Favorite Food: ANYTHING I ate in New Orleans.
  2. Favorite place: My home in Hall’s Mill, Oregon.
  3. Favorite hobby: Ain’t got time for anything like that.
  4. Favorite time of day: After the kids are in bed, and White Bear, my man, and I can talk.
  5. Favorite Bible verse: Romans 8:28. All things work together for good. They sure did for me

Character Q & A

RH: Let’s start off with an easy question, Jenny. Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up? Who is your closest family member? Who would you like to disown?

JT: I  loved living on the farm in Arkansas. I helped my pa with lambing, calving and foaling, and I learned to ride and shoot as good as my brothers. We had fields, woods and a creek. My ma taught me to cook and sew, and I used to read the Bible to her by the fire. Wish I could have stayed on. My childhood ended when my weasel of a brother, Zack, sold the farm out from under us, and I had to make my own way in the world.

RH: That sounds like a wonderful place to grow up. Looking back at your life so far, what is your greatest regret?

JT: Going into the saloon business at fourteen.

RH:  You poor thing. I can’t even imagine. You must have been so frightened. What is your biggest secret?

JT: How unworthy I feel on account of my past.

RH: I think we all have things we regret in our past, things we’d like to keep hidden. I know I’m thankful for the blood of the cross so I can stand redeemed and I don’t have to hide in the darkness where the enemy can use my shame against me. I bet that’s why Kathy wrote your story. So other’s won’t stay hidden in the darkness, too. Thank you for being brave enough to  share your story. I hope you don’t find me a bit too nosy, but my readers and I would like to learn more about your romantic interest in Redemption’s Hope?

JT: My romantic interest? That’s mighty fancy talk. Are you askin’ about my fella? That’d have to be White Bear. I didn’t have no use for romance when I was in the saloons. Men were just a way to make money. When I was riding after Michael and I got lost and sick, White Bear’s family took me in. I never met no one like him, before or since. He knows what I was and he don’t care. But he was a Christian, and I didn’t want none of that at the time. We lost track of each other for three years, and then we found each other again in New Orleans. By then I was a believer, so there was nothing to keep us apart. Except for two thugs that were after him and two thugs who were after me. It ain’t never easy.

RH: That is so true, Jenny—even in the 21st century. Now that Kathy has bared your soul on the written page, what message would you like readers to gain from your story?

JT: Hmm, that’s a mighty good question. I suppose, that nobody is beyond the reach of His love. Not the thief on the Cross, not the woman taken in adultery, not even Jenny Thatcher.

RH: Amen to that, Jenny! Amen to that!

JT: Is it all right for me to ask you a question? Or is that against the rules? I don’t want to get Kathy in any trouble.

RH: Nope, fire away!

JT: Did you happen to read my story?

RH: I sure did, Jenny. Here’s a link to my review on BookBub.


About Author

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

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. Her second full-length novel, “Settler’s Hope,” was released July 17, 2020. She published two Western Dreams novellas, “The Logger’s Christmas Bride” in December 2019 and “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle” in December 2020, both as part of Pelican’s Christmas Extravaganza. “Redemption’s Hope,” the third Western Dreams novel, was published July 22, 2022.

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

For more information, contact her at ampie86@comcast.net, her website, or @piechick1 on Twitter, or Kathleen D. Bailey on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Giveaway*

*This giveaway is now closed.

Congratulations to our winners!

Redemption’s Hope (eBook): Rhonda M.
Westward Hope (Print): Pam L.
New England Gift Basket: Beverly D.

Kathy is generously offering three prizes to 3 different Romancing History readers.

Prize #1 — an eBook copy of Redemption’s Hope (print copies not available yet)
Prize #2 — a print copy of Westward Hope (Western Dreams, Book #1)**
Prize #3 — a New England gift pack**

Character interviews are a fun way to find out about a novel. To enter the giveaway, what question would you have asked if you were interviewing Jenny (or any character from a Redemption’s Hope)?

*Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, July 27.*
**Sorry, these prizes are available to U.S. residents only.**

 

Interview with Karen Witemeyer & a Giveaway

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Karen Witemeyer to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2016, but I’d been a fan of her books way before that. In fact, meeting Karen in person was similar to a little girl meeting her favorite Disney princess.

Karen’s newest release, In Honor’s Defense, released June 7 and is the 3rd book in her Hanger’s Horseman series. Here’s a link to my review on BookBub.

And don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section below and enter to win a print copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks (sorry, giveaway open to U.S. residents only). Many thanks to Karen for her generous donation for our drawing.

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


About Karen

For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.

Connect with Karen:

The Posse (Karen’s FB Group)     Amazon     BookBub    Inspired by Life & Fiction Blog


About the Book

He’s Faced Countless Perils on the Battlefield, but Nothing so Dangerous as Falling in Love.

Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.

Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.

When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.

Purchase at:

Amazon         Baker Book House        B&N         Christianbook.com


Interview with Karen Witemeyer

 

Fast Five

1. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? (I should warn you, there is only ONE right answer, LOL!)!

Colin Firth – He was my first Mr. Darcy and remains my favorite. (Excellent answer, Karen!)

2. Night Owl or Early Bird?

Early Bird. It’s rare for me to stay awake past 10:30 pm.

3. Dark or Milk chocolate? Dark.

4. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife

Downton Abbey – although I only watched the first few seasons.

5. Kindle, Audio book, or Paperback?

Tough call – I use all three. I’ll go traditional, though, and say paperback.

Me, too, but I tend to listen to more audio books these days.

Q & A

RH: You’re a pretty well-known author to Romancing History readers. Rather than giving us the typical back of the book author bio, please share something quirky about yourself?

KW: Here are a few random quirks you might not know about me:

  • I love groan-worthy puns
  • I’m super competitive when it comes to board games (though my sweet disposition masks my desire to stomp my opponents into the ground)
  • I can’t start writing for the day until I’ve cleared out all the unread email in my inbox.
  • My feet are perpetually cold, so I always have a pair of socks on when lounging around the house.
  • In keeping with the previous item, I collect book-related socks.
  • I am a horrible horticulturist. Only the hearty survive.
  • I love avocados but hate guacamole.

RH: Those are absolutely fun quirks! As a member of the Posse, I’ve learned about your propensity for puns, which by the way, I also find very punny. I also knew you loved board games but had no idea you were so competitive. You are too sweet so I’m finding that very hard to believe. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your hubby meet?

KW: We met at church my freshman year in college. I recognized his roommate from a church camp reunion I attended back in California where I was from, and the three of us became good friends. My husband often led singing at our church, and one Sunday I happened to be sitting in the pew next to him when he was leading singing (we were not yet dating). After services, an elderly member came up to shake his hand and asked to be introduced to his wife – indicating me! It became a joke with us until the day we went out to lunch to celebrate our faux anniversary and Wes admitted he had true feelings for me and wanted to change our faux dates into real ones. Things progressed from there, and this month we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. The happily-ever-after is still in full swing.

RH: Aww, that is such a sweet story. Friends is the best way to start. It’s the foundation of everything. Speaking of love—well, book love anyway—I have LOVED the Hangar’s Horseman series. Matt and his compadres are swoon worthy heroes. Can I be terribly indiscreet and ask if you had a favorite horseman?

KW: That’s such a hard question! I love them all for different reasons. Matt for his courage, leadership, and dependability. Mark for his ability to tease and laugh while still being a man of depth. Jonah for his quiet strength, compassionate nature, and the way he never shirks away from something just because it’s hard. Luke for his protective nature, sacrificial spirit, and dedication to God’s Word. If I had to pick, I’d probably pick Luke because he is freshest on my mind, and because I’m a sucker for a wounded hero. Luke’s backstory made me ache to write him the sweetest happy ending I could.

RH: Hahaha! Aren’t I mean? I agree that was a hard question and I would’ve answered the same—with a wonderful reason why each would deserve the title of  “My Favorite Hanger’s Horseman Hero.” That’s probably because you excel at writing swoon worthy heroes. That brings another question to mind. What do you think is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

KW: I love writing the male point of view. Maybe because I like believing that I know what a man is thinking. Ha! However, it can be challenging to make the male POV sound authentic. I’m a natural explainer. I love giving lots of details and rationales. I like to look at things from all angles. Yet, when I’m writing in the male POV, I have to curtail these more feminine tendencies. Sentences must be shorter. Decisive. To the point. Fewer descriptions. More action. My cowboy heroes are not likely to be thinking in long, poetic phrases about their ladies, and they sure won’t be talking that way. Finding the balance between giving myself and my female readers the romance we want from our leading men while still being authentic to their characters requires a deft hand, one I’m constantly working to perfect.

RH: I think those are excellent points. While I love your humility, it would be hard to imagine anyone better at writing the male POV than you. Preach was a favorite of mine throughout the series and I was anxiously waiting to see who he’d “ride off into the sunset with.” Preach and his leading lady, Damaris Baxter, are very different characters in everything except faith. Does that make a romance easier or harder to write?

KW: I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both seek belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.

RH: Speaking of Damaris, she seems by far the most timid of all the ladies in the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Why did you choose that personality type for her?

KW: It’s challenging as an author to create fresh characters for every book. Each heroine needs to be unique. I love strong, feisty heroines, yet I believe there are different types of strength. Damaris has a quieter strength. She’s introverted and shy, content to be invisible in most situations, yet she has a steel core when it comes to family. She will never give up on them and do whatever it takes to keep them safe and heal their emotional wounds. Luke looks like a mountain of a man from the outside—tall, muscular, good in a fight—yet deep down he carries hidden vulnerabilities that convince him he is not worthy of being loved or having a family. Damaris is timid on the outside, but she is an emotional lioness inside. The two fit together perfectly, each having what the other needs to be whole.

RH: I love that. Do you have a favorite quote from In Honor’s Defense?

KW: This is one of my favorites:

“He’s a Horseman…As opposite from my quiet bookish existence as one can be. Yet he actively seeks my opinion. Not only seeks it but honors it. Honors me. He looks at me as if I were a rare treasure he’d never thought he’d find, and when I look at him…It’s as if all my odd, misshaped edges finally fit somewhere.”

That is a great quote, and fits in perfectly with what we’ve been talking about—how opposites attract but need a common foundation to support the relationship, often fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle only the other can complete.

Just for fun, here’s one of my favorite quotes from In Honor’s Defense:

“I’ll stay as long as you need me.” The promise he made days ago reflected in his eyes.

Her heart thumped out the question she didn’t have the courage to ask out loud. What if I need you forever?

RH: Sigh. That quote still gives me goosies! This is the final installment of the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Did that make it bittersweet to write? Or is there a certain satisfaction in bringing their stories to completion?

KW: It’s always hard to say goodbye to favorite characters, yet I find great satisfaction in bringing a series to its conclusion. I loved bringing all the Horsemen back together in this story, giving them all a final moment to shine and celebrating the special bond of brotherhood they share. I like to imagine them continuing to live and love and adventure together as they raise their children and overcome the obstacles of life. They live on in my heart, hopefully inspiring me to be brave, to stand up for those the world dismisses, and to hold tight to the relationships that matter most.

RH:  Dang, Karen, you’re gonna make me cry. Whenever I tell my husband that a character’s story is making me teary, he asks if we should pray for them? LOL! But, I suppose that’s because the author has skillfully made them come to life, made them our friends and we’re deeply invested in their lives (a.k.a. stories). Any chance we can get a sneak peek at what’s next for you?

KW: I’m starting a new series where I will take familiar fairy tales and give them a Texas twist. I’m working on a version of Snow White first, featuring a Texas Ranger hero, a villainess with a fondness for mirrors, and seven retired drovers at the Diamond D ranch. Should be fun!

RH: That’s such a great idea! I loved how you did you put a Texas twist on A Christmas Carol in your novella, Under the Texas Mistletoe. I’m looking forward to your new series.

I had so much fun chatting with you, Karen. Thanks for visiting with my readers today.


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Lynsay F!

Karen has graciously offered an autographed copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks to one Romancing History reader.** To enter, tell me your first Karen Witemeyer story.

*Giveaway ends at midnight, June 29, 2022.
**Sorry, giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise & a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome author Susan G. Mathis to Romancing History today. Not only is Susan a multi award-winning author, she also writes both fiction (historical romance, children’s picture books) and non-fiction books (premarital books) and articles. That is truly a wonderful accomplishment!

Her latest release, Peyton’s Promise, is book three in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series which gets its name from that beautiful part of upstate New York where her stories are set.

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Peyton’s Promise and don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway to win an eBook copy of the book!


About the Book

Title: Peyton’s Promise
Series Info: Thousand Islands Gilded Age book three
Author: Susan G Mathis
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: 
Iron Stream Fiction, 264 pages

ABOUT PEYTON’S PROMISE:

Summer 1902

Peyton Quinn is tasked with preparing the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular two-hundred-guest summer gala. As she works in a male-dominated position of upholsterer and fights for women’s equality, she’s persecuted for her unorthodox ways. But when her pyrotechnics-engineer father is seriously hurt, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.

Patrick Taylor, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton has to ignore the prejudices and persevere or she could lose her job, forfeit Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossips.


Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise

Patrick chewed on the inside of his cheek as he concentrated on the intricate touchup work he’d accomplished so well before Peyton appeared like a ghost from his past. She’d haunted his dreams for nearly three years, and now she was here. Some of those dreams were sweet—of walking along the shore of the St. Lawrence arm in arm with the girl he’d loved ever since he was knee-high to a Daddy Longlegs.

As childhood best friends, they’d shared everything together. Their favorite fishing and swimming hole in a little cattail-sheltered inlet of French Bay just blocks from their homes. Studying in the same one-room schoolhouse, albeit he was a year ahead of her, and she was much smarter than he. Secrets and tears and laughs—oh, so many laughs. He’d quoted the Irish saying to her time and again, “A best friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” Indeed, he was a lucky young lad.

He loved to make her laugh, to hear that captivating little snicker. Not quite a laugh. Not quite a giggle. A fanciful pixie sound he called a liggle. Oh, how he loved—and missed—that sound!

Really, he couldn’t ever remember not loving her, not dreaming of growing old with the flaxen-haired lass with her haunting green eyes and soft, sweet lips. He’d kissed those lips once. His body quivered at the innocence of that childish moment.

While he fished on one hot summer’s day, Peyton had fallen asleep in the sunshine, beads of moisture wetting her brow, yet her placid features didn’t flinch in the heat. He’d probably been about eleven years old and just couldn’t help himself. Studying her angelic face, he’d bent down and touched his lips to hers. Barely. She didn’t even stir, but that stolen kiss became a golden badge of courage to him. He’d never told her—or anyone—about it. But it rarely left the recesses of his memories for long. And he’d never kissed anyone since.

Lighthouse Publishing     Amazon


About the Author

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. She has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. Susan has seven in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, and her newest, Colleen’s Confession. Peyton’s Promise and Rachel’s Reunion release in 2022 and she just finished book ten, Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.


Giveaway*

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Alison B.!

To enter the giveaway for a Kindle copy of Peyton’s Promise, tell me if you’ve visited the Thousand Island area of New York. What did you think? If you haven’t been there yet, what is your favorite New York destination?

*Giveaway ends at midnight, June 1st.

Excerpt from A Wing and a Prayer & a Giveaway!

I’m absolutely thrilled to share an excerpt from A Wing and a Prayer by Julie Lessman, one of my all-time favorite authors! A Wing and a Prayer is a novella from Julie’s O’Connor family saga. A Passion Most Pure is the book that introduces us to the O’Connors and is one of only a few books I’ve read twice. If you’re a regular Romancing History reader you know I rarely reread a book because there are sooooo many to read once! LOL! I highly recommend A Passion Most Pure or any of the O’Connor books. Well, really, any of Julie’s novels for that matter!

And, how fitting is it that we get to visit with the O’Connors on St. Patty’s Day?

Speaking of St. Patty’s Day, Julie is lowering the price on A Wing and a Prayer starting today through March 20! You can pick up your Kindle copy for only $1.99.

And make sure you read to the end, because there’s a giveaway!


About the Book

She’s dead-set on giving everything to the war overseas …

Even if it means losing everything in a war of the heart.

A street orphan abused and abandoned by an alcoholic father at age five, Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor has never let a man stand in her way yet. So when a handsome flight officer thwarts her plans to become a Women Airforce Service Pilot, she’s determined to join the war effort anyway she can. Her chance comes when she “borrows” foreign correspondent credentials from the Boston Herald—where her father is the editor—to stow away on a medical ship to the front.

Lieutenant Alex Kincaid pegs Gabe O’Connor as trouble the moment she steps foot on Avenger Field as a WASP cadet. As the eldest brother of a boy whose jaw Gabe broke in grade school, Alex is familiar with her reputation as both a charismatic ringleader and a headstrong hooligan who’s challenged every male and nun from grade school to college. As her WASP flight instructor, Alex eventually expels Gabe when she pulls a dangerous stunt. But when he is an evacuation pilot in France eight months later, their lives intertwine once again, exposing them to a danger as perilous as the German tanks roaming the Reichswald Forest: a love that neither expects.

Check out the book trailer here.

Available on Amazon


Excerpt

SETUP: Although the hero, Lieutenant Alex Kincaid, is attracted to the heroine, WASP recruit Gabriella (Gabe) O’Connor, he wants nothing to do with her romantically, not only because it’s against WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) regulations for an instructor to fraternize with a recruit, but because she’s not a woman he can trust. Unfortunately, Gabe railroads him into giving her a ride home from a local picnic event because she’s on crutches, a turn of events that “cripples” his own resolve to steer clear emotionally. This excerpt begins in Gabe’s point of view, then switches to Alex’s in the next chapter.

____

Alex slowed as he pulled up to the military gate, greeting the guard manning the gatehouse. Gabe’s stomach quivered while he signed the proffered clipboard with their names before continuing on to her barracks. He offered her a faint smile. “We need to get you inside, resting that leg.”

Halting the Jeep in front of her bay, he wasted no time in carrying her and the crutches to the front door, where a dim bulb lit a postage-stamp-size concrete pad. “Easy does it,” he said as he gingerly set her down on her good leg, his palm warm at the small of her back. He handed her both crutches. “It’s against regulations for me to be inside. Will you be okay if I leave you here?”

No.

“Yes,” she said in a rush, unable to thwart the bob of her throat. Hands slick with sweat, she grappled with the crutches, suddenly shy for the first time in her life.

He waited while she struggled to get her bearings, but she was so nervous, she wobbled as she turned. He immediately gripped her again. “You sure you’ll be okay?” He shot a glance down the lonely line of dingy white barracks, as if contemplating helping her inside.

“The bays are tiny, so I don’t have far to walk, and I plan to go right to bed.” Her gaze flicked down the darkened compound like he had, and her throat went dry at just how alone they were. Yellow lights winked on each porch, the only sign of life between the two rows of housing. A moonlit alleyway flanked by weedy grass separated the two barracks, both it and the bays’ cracked sidewalks crisscrossed with dandelions and crabgrass.

It was still early for a Friday night, so everything was silent and still except for the faint hoot of a faraway owl and the rasp of Gabe’s uneven breathing. “Alex, I … can’t thank you enough,” she whispered, pulse chaotic when he reached around her to open the screen door.

“My pleasure. It was fun,” he said as he tugged her close to pull it wide, propping it with his elbow while he reached around to jiggle the temperamental knob of the old wooden door. Gabe’s heart stuttered at the proximity of his dark-bristled jaw.

Mere inches from her lips.

And that’s when she realized it had been fun. More fun than she’d ever had in her life, and she didn’t want it to end. Ever. She wanted to thank him and she wanted to touch him all at the same time. Without a second thought, she leaned in and brushed her lips to his cheek, totally unprepared for the rush of heat hurtling through her veins. She immediately felt the jolt of his body as he gave a sharp jerk of his head, shock glazing his eyes when the motion instantly aligned his mouth with her own, a shallow breath away.

Gabe had always been one who knew what she wanted and just how to get it, and she certainly had never been a woman to dally. So in the split second that she felt the catch of his breath, she didn’t pause. She didn’t think.

She simply kissed him.

With everything in her, heart thundering over the single most earth-shattering moment of her young life.

She was in love!

Chapter Twenty-Four

Alex gasped, but the sound was swallowed up by the press of Gabe’s lips, soft, pliant and hungry, fusing to his with a need that ignited his own. It was only a catch of his breath, but it seemed like eons that he wrestled with his conscience and lost, returning Gabe’s kiss with a fire that seared his very soul. Her crutches crashed to the ground when she rose on tiptoe to slip her arms around his neck, and her mouth united with his in a mating he never wanted to end. He lifted her off her feet, clutching her with an intensity that shocked him. Groaning, he pressed in while his mouth explored hers, his passion apparently buried so deep, he’d never even known it was there.

Well, he knew it now, and it scared him silly.

“Gabe,” he whispered, voice hoarse as he carefully set her down. He grasped one of her crutches to gently prod it beneath the arm of her bad leg with breathing as ragged as hers. Heart aching, he cradled her face in his hands. “Please forgive me. I never should have done that—”

Her eyes widened. “No, Alex, there’s nothing to forgive—”

Yes, Gabe, there is.” Struggling to regain control, he removed his hands from her face to retrieve the second crutch, slowly tucking it beneath her other arm. Inhaling sharply, he took a step back, fortifying himself against the hurt in her eyes. “I am your superior and I stepped over the line, which never should have happened.”

“But I kissed you!” There was an urgency in her voice he’d never heard before, a neediness he had no will to exploit.

He steeled his jaw, heartsick over what he had to do. “And I took it a step further, Cadet, which I deeply regret.”

“Well, don’t!” she shouted, lurching forward so fast, those blasted crutches teetered along with his heart. His palm shot out in reflex, girding her waist to keep both of them from falling.

Too late.

Sleet slithered his veins when he saw the yearning in her eyes. “Don’t you get it, Alex?” she whispered, her face contorted in pain that inflicted some of his own. “I think I’m in love with you because I can’t get you out of my mind.”

His body went to stone. An unholy mix of guilt and shock depleted his air, fingers flinching from her waist as if he’d been burned. And the look of abject longing in Gabe’s face told him he had.

Burned as a PT.

Burned as a friend.

Burned as a man who knew better.

“You aren’t in love with me, Gabe,” he said harshly, as if to convince himself as well as her. He took another step back, fists in his pockets to keep from touching her again. “It takes more than a kiss to fall in love.”

“It was more than a kiss!” she shouted. “You practically devoured me.”

Heat swarmed his collar as he glanced down the empty quadrangle and back. “I did, and it was unconscionable.”

She leaned in with a loud clunk of her crutches, fire replacing the hurt in her eyes. “No, it was uncontrollable, Lieutenant,” she said in a near hiss, “because you’re as attracted to me as I am to you, and I dare you to deny it.”

He stood his ground with a clamp of his jaw. “I don’t deny it. I denounce it because it’s-not-right.” He enunciated each word with brutal clarity, determined to nip this in the bud once and for all. His eyes softened despite the heft of his chin. “It was totally irresponsible of me, Gabe, and I can’t let it happen again.”

Her body went as slack as her jaw. “You mean to tell me you’re going to kiss me like that, then tuck tail and hide behind your almighty rules and regulations?”

Her words stoked his temper, helping his cause. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you, Cadet, because it’s the right thing to do. So I suggest you get some shut-eye, because this conversation is over.” He turned to head toward the Jeep.

“No!” she shouted, crutches clomping hard behind him. “You could have pushed me away when I kissed you—that would have been the right thing to do. But instead you kissed me back like I was your last meal before a forty-day fast, flat-out leading me on.”

He paused at the edge of the sidewalk, head bent while a groan slipped from his lips, her well-aimed barb of guilt hitting dead-on.


About Julie

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, Heart of San Francisco, Isle of Hope, and Silver Lining Ranch series, Julie was American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered over 21 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie’s novels also made Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, Best of 2014, and “Essential Christian Romance Authors” 2017-20, as well as Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction. Her independent novel A Light in the Window was an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers’ Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner.

Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. Contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.

Connect with Julie on:   Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     Pinterest     Amazon     BookBub    Goodreads


Giveaway**

**This giveaway is now closed!

Congrats to our winner, Kay Enderlin!

And thanks to everyone who stopped by and visited during the week!

Julie is generously offering one lucky Romancing History reader a choice of any of her Indie eBooks. To enter the drawing, tell me about  your favorite member of the O’Connor family. If you haven’t yet read any of the O’Connor’s, visit Julie’s Amazon page, then tell me which book you’d like to read the most.

**Giveaway ends midnight, March 23, 2022.**

Interview with Kathleen Denly & a Giveaway

Hello Friends,

I’m sorry for the long hiatus. I hope everyone had a very bookish Christmas! Mine was spent reading—big surprise I’m sure! One of those books was Harmony on the Horizon and today I’m thrilled to introduce you to the author, Kathleen Denly. You can read my review here.

Kathleen is graciously giving away an eBook copy to one Romancing History visitor so make sure to see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Denly writes historical romance to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our amazing God and how He sees us. Award winning author of the Chaparral Hearts series, she also shares history tidbits, thoughts on writing, books reviews and more at KathleenDenly.com. 

Kathleen lives in sunny California with her loving husband, four young children, one dog, and nine cats. As a member of the adoption and foster community, children in need are a cause dear to her heart and she finds they make frequent appearances in her stories. When she isn’t writing, researching, or caring for children, Kathleen spends her time reading, visiting historical sites, hiking, and crafting.

Connect with Kathleen:
Website | Newsletter | FB Author Page | FB Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon

About the Book

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Amazon     Apple Books     B&N     Kobo

Fast Five

  1. Dogs or Cats? Cats!!! We have nine. (NINE???)
  2. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Colin Firth (Excellent choice!)
  3. Kindle, Audiobook, or Paperback? Audiobook. I love the smell of paper and kindle is crazy convenient, but after a long day of writing or marketing, I’m ready to rest my eyes. Plus I can listen while doing other things. (I prefer Audio books too!)
  4. Run, Bike, Hike, or Swim? Running & Hiking. I can’t pick. Both feed my soul.
  5. Dark or Milk chocolate? Milk! Dark is icky. ;)cAuthor Interview with Kathleen Denly

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?

KD: I write historical Christian romance set in nineteenth century America, with a special focus on California. My hope is to entertain, encourage, and inspire readers toward a better understanding of our God and how he sees us.

I have been writing in some form or another for almost as long as I can remember. However, I didn’t begin writing my first novel until high school and didn’t start taking my writing seriously until after the birth of my third child in 2010.

My debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, book 1 of my Chaparral Hearts series was published by Wild Heart Books and released on February 4, 2020.  I have three novels and one novella currently available for readers, with three more full-length novels and one more novella in the works. All of these are part of the Chaparral Hearts series, although each can be read as a stand-alone novel. All of my novels are published by Wild Heart Books, but I indie-publish my novellas. The Chaparral Hearts prequel novella, Ribbons & Beaus, is currently available for free to my newsletter subscribers. I hope to have the second novella available by fall 2022 and plan to also provide it free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members.

RH: Wow, you’ve been a very busy author. I look forward to reading some of your other titles. Can up share something unusual about yourself? Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky?

KD: It drives me crazy when people dig a gouge in a tub of food. For example, margarine, peanut butter, ice cream, jam…all of these should be scraped across the top when retrieving your portion. The result should be a relatively smooth surface left behind instead of craters that resemble the surface of the moon. LOL I have no idea where I picked up this bizarre pet peeve, but it was worse in high school. Back then, I would actually spend time smoothing out the damage others had caused and, if serving myself, would just keep scooping ice cream until the surface was level. You can imagine that this resulted in some larger-than-my-stomach portions. These days I mostly roll my eyes, grumble under my breath, and move on. But it still bugs me.

RH: Oh dear, good to know in case we ever get to meet for lunch! LOL! Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?

KD: I was directing a children’s play at our church and my (now) husband volunteered to help build the props. This was a very large church that I’d only been attending for about a year, so we hadn’t met until this moment. It’s actually a very humorous memory because my first thought on meeting him was, “Not my type.” And I was in a phase where I’d sworn off dating. LOL! A few weeks later, a mutual friend pointed out that he and I had been flirting during our college group Bible study and I vehemently protested. I wasn’t flirting. We were just being friendly and having fun. Right? Right? Wait. Ummm. Yeah. LOL! I ended up fasting for a week in search of God’s guidance. Long story short, we just celebrated our twentieth anniversary and I’m more in love with this man than ever.

RH: Awww, such a cute story! Thanks for sharing! Which three words describe the type of fiction you write?

KD: Entertaining, encouraging, inspiring. 😉 At least, that’s my hope.

RH: What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

KD: Sometimes knowing how they’d react to a specific situation can be tricky. So I usually consult my hubby on those. Also, their scenes take more editing since most men are less verbose than my typical writing style. So I usually need to go back and rephrase things with fewer words in the scenes that are in a male’s POV. Then again, that can be true of any character. I usually write the scenes one way and then go back and tweak them to fit each character’s unique voice. That was triple true with Katie in Harmony on the Horizon since she is a first generation American who grew up in an uneducated, low-class, family from Northern England and thus has a very unique dialect.

RH: What was the inspiration behind Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: During a field trip with my kids to visit Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, we were given a tour of the Mason Street Schoolhouse originally built in 1865 (since been moved & rebuilt twice, but is now at its original location). During that tour, the docent shared the story of the Mary Chase Walker scandal. In essence, Mary, a northern teacher wound up in the southern-sympathizing town of San Diego on the heels of the Civil War. Through the choice to dine with a mixed-race woman, Mary infuriated many parents who then refused to send their children to class. Ephraim Morse was one of three members on the board of trustees at the time who were faced with the parents’ demands that she be fired. A meeting was held but we do not know the results of that meeting due to the records being lost in a later fire. What we do know is that by the end of the month, Mary was no longer teaching. She moved on to tutor children in a local family and Ephraim began courting her. Shortly thereafter they were married.

As soon as I heard this story, my writer’s brain kicked in and I knew I needed to do something with it. Thus, Harmony on the Horizon is inspired by, but not based on, the Mary Chase Walker Scandal. My characters, Margaret and Everett, are not meant to represent Mary and Ephraim. Rather, I used the framework of the true-life events to carry my own characters through their journey. I stuck as close as possible to the known facts of the true story, while filling in the blanks as I believed my characters would in the given situation.

RH: It’s always so interesting to hear how authors get their story sparks. Do you have a favorite quote from Harmony on the Horizon you’d like to share?

KD: “Even now the memory of her hearty laugh over dinner tugged a smile from his lips and tempted him to disregard the caution of reason, to forsake his ambitions for more time in her presence.”

RH: Sigh, that’s one of my favorites, too. It gives you all the “feels.” What scene in Harmony on the Horizon was the hardest to write? Why?

KD: Katie’s scenes were both the most fun and the most challenging to write because of who she is. As I mentioned above, she is not only uneducated, but her family is from a part of Northern England known as Cumbria. If you’d like to know how utterly unintelligible some of their speech can sound to foreign ears, search “Cumbrian dialect” on YouTube. I bought an entire dictionary and listened to hours upon hours of native speakers in order to understand Katie’s dialect as best I could. Then I needed to keep in mind that Katie was not raised in Northern England, but in America. So that had an influence on her voice as well. I then had to tone her dialect down enough for English readers to not feel like they needed a translator to understand her scenes. At one point I seriously considered including a glossary at the front of the novel. But in the end, I wanted Katie’s dialect to enhance, not distract from, the story. So I toned her dialect down even more. Just getting Katie’s scenes right doubled the length of time I spent in the editing phase. Hopefully I found that balance between showing her uniqueness and making her understandable.

RH: I really enjoyed Katie’s dialect and think you struck the right balance. I could hear her clearly in my head. Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

KD: Ha ha. I’m beginning to feel like I’m only talking about Katie, even though Margaret is the primary heroine of Harmony on the Horizon. But I have been hearing from readers that they connect with Katie because of the incredible difficulties she overcomes and the strength of her relationship with God. One reviewer even said that she wanted to be more like Katie.

RH: What a great compliment to  your writing! I liked Katie as well and her determination to triumph over adversity. Excellent life lesson! What do you hope readers will take away after reading Harmony on the Horizon?

KD: Life is messy, people are complicated, and there is no new sin under the sun. Don’t be quick to be offended or quick to judge, consider that there are layers to each person which we cannot see or know. Always hope for the best and never give up trying to make this world a better place—but don’t strive in your own strength. Look to God for guidance in both your deeds and words.

RH: That is an excellent reminder, Kathleen. Our human nature is usually quick to judge others. What are you working on now?

KD: I am currently working on a second novella for my Chaparral Hearts series which I’m hoping to offer free to my Kathleen’s Readers’ Club Members in Fall 2022. But soon I’ll begin writing the fourth full-length novel for the same series which will be published by Wild Heart Books and is scheduled to release in 2023.

RH: Congratulations on all your upcoming projects. Thanks for visiting today, Kathleen. It’s been wonderful to get to know you a little better! I wish much success with Harmony on the Horizon!


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Teri DiVincenzo!

Kathleen mentioned the great length of detail she undertook to make sure Katie’s Cumbrian dialect sounded authentic. To enter the drawing for an eBook copy of Harmony on the Horizon, tell us if you enjoy reading dialects in fiction. Do you like them? Why or why not?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, February 9, 2022.**

Protecting Annie Excerpt & a Giveaway

I’m so excited to bring you an excerpt from Jodie Wolfe’s new release, Protecting Annie. Although I haven’t read this one yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Burrton Springs Brides series, Taming Julia.

Be sure to read the details below about the Giveaway before you leave!

About the Book

After twenty years of living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem, she no longer requires his protecting so he’s unsure of his next step.

Annie McPherson needs a change after the death of her father. She accepts a position as schoolmarm, hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky sheriff who continues to question her ability to adjust to life in the west and creates confrontations at every turn.

When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging him into the turmoil, Josh has to decide who he’s willing to defend.

Available on  Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Pelican Book Group


A Glimpse into Protecting Annie
by Jodie Wolfe

 

My new book, Protecting Annie is book two in the Burrton Springs Brides series. My heroine in the first book, Taming Julia, was a no-nonsense, rugged female who dresses like a man and spent her life living along the trail. Jules (Julia) was a rough around the edges type of character who had a hard time adjusting to life in a town.

I figured it would be fun to create a heroine for book two who is the opposite of Jules, which is how I came up with Annie McPherson. This heroine is educated, feminine, and well dressed. What she lacks in common sense, she makes up for with her research and book knowledge. Here’s a peek at the opening scene of Protecting Annie.

Burrton Springs, Kansas
August 1, 1876

Death paced close enough for Annie McPherson to smell its rotted breath. A menacing growl rumbled in the beast’s throat. The animal bared his teeth when she attempted a tiny step. Perspiration trickled between her shoulder blades. She cocked her head a fraction of an inch, hoping to spot a bystander, but only a small glimpse of a barren street stretched between the tight alleyway. Her heart hammered beneath her polonaise.

Not a single soul in sight. “Where’s help when you need it?”

Her movement and words caused the monstrosity to circle closer. If Annie’d been on speaking terms with God, it would’ve been a good time to send a plea for someone to come to her rescue. But she’d fallen out of practice of praying over the past years, ever since—

She released a silent breath, shifting her foot in the dirt. The deranged creature snarled and snapped, just short of capturing her wrist in his jaws. Annie tried to swallow but her throat muscles refused to contract.

The wolf settled on his haunches, two feet in front of her. A glistening tongue protruded from his face. His beady eyes stared at her, unmoving. Was the beast contemplating how she would taste, like the one in the tale of Little Red Cap she’d read as a child? A shiver ran down Annie’s spine. She had no desire to be wolf chow.

“Easy, fellow. Don’t eat me. I’m sure I’m not very appetizing.”

It was time to take charge of her fate since no assistance was coming. Annie took a step sideways. Her back scraped against the rough boards of the building.

Why had she chosen to saunter through the narrow passageway and follow the jumbled directions the blacksmith had given her after she’d exited the conveyance? The other townsperson she’d asked had stared at her as if she’d spoken a different language, as if the man didn’t understand English when he heard it. Annie hoped he wasn’t an indication of what type of people lived in town. She’d have to make the best of it since returning to New York wasn’t feasible, not after that louse—

An ominous snarl snapped her back to her current situation. How many times had Mama warned her about focusing on the situation at hand? While she’d been woolgathering, the wild animal inched his way closer. He leapt.


About Jodie

Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, 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. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Connect with Jodie on website, BookBub, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon Author Page & MeWe


Giveaway*

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Amy Walsh!

Jodie has generously offered one eBook copy of Protecting Annie to a Romancing History visitor. To enter the drawing, be sure to answer this question: What is your favorite thing about historical romance?

*Giveaway ends midnight, November 24th, 2021.*

Author Interview & Giveaway with Misty M. Beller

I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Misty M. Beller to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Misty online. Misty was one of the earliest authors to read my first couple of chapters “when I thought” the manuscript was ready for publication. She gave me invaluable advice that we laugh about now like “you should have your H&H (hero & heroine) meet before chapter nine! LOL!

Misty writes romantic mountain stories set on the 1800s frontier woven with the truth of God’s love. Her most recent novel, A Warriors Heart, released August 31st, and is the first book in her Brides of Laurent series, her second with Bethany House Publishers. Before we chat with Misty, here’s a little bit about Misty and her new book.


About Misty

Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.

Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

Misty’s passion is to create inspiring Christian fiction infused with the grandeur of the mountains, writing historical romance that displays God’s abundant love through the twists and turns in the lives of her characters.

Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets.

You can find Misty on her website, BookBub, Amazon, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Facebook.


About the Book

Her heart longs for peace, but peace won’t keep them safe.

Brielle Durand is still haunted by the massacre that killed her mother a dozen years before. Vowing to never let it happen again, she’s risen to be the key defender for her people’s peace-loving French settlement living in hidden caves in the Canadian Rockies. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret home, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. But now, what to do with this man who insists he can be trusted?

Hoping to escape past regrets, Evan MacManus ventured into the unknown, assigned to discover if the northern mountains contain an explosive mineral that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on his promise to his government or take a risk on where his heart is leading him? Either choice will cause harm to someone.

Brielle and Evan must reconcile the warring in their hearts to have any hope of finding peace for their peoples.

Amazon    B&N    Christianbook    Google Play    Apple Books    Kobo

Interview with Misty M. Beller

Fast Five

  1. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? Definitely Colin Firth! I grew up memorizing the BBC version. I’ll admit that parts of the 2005 version are slightly more accurate to the book, but Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy to me.
  2. Dogs or Cats? Depends on the day and which of the animals has been bad lately, but usually dogs. 
  3. Dark or Milk chocolate? Either! Both!
  4. Kindle, Audiobook, or Paperback? Definitely audiobook.  I don’t get to sit still and read very often.
  5. Sound of Music or Hello Dolly? Sound of Music. Such a great classic!

Author Q & A

RH: I’m very happy to tell you that you answered #1 above correctly. It would  have been an embarrassingly poor start to our conversation otherwise. (LOL!) 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?

MB: I’ve always been an avid reader, but didn’t attempt to write my first real book until 2013. Though that first book was supposed to be a one-time check-off on the bucket list, I realized I really love writing! I’m currently working on book #32. All are Christian historical romance, and most are set in the Rocky Mountains. I realized early on I love those adventurous stories in remote settings with strong heroines and mountain man heroes.

RH: Wow, 32 books? I can’t even….I’m not sure I’ve read them all but I know I’ve read most of them and enjoy your rugged mountain heroes! Now tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio—something quirky.

MB: Oh boy. It seems like my life stays in the unusual category these days! I’m a wife and mom of four kiddos, with one more unexpected little one on the way (she’ll be joining us in November). We just moved last week to the family farm, and it’s wonderful to be back within walking distance of Grandma’s house and all the cousins. We’re in temporary quarters though. Until our permanent home is ready, all six of us (and soon to be seven) are tucked in an RV. Definite bonding time!

RH: Seven people in one RV? That’s not quirky, it’s crazy! LOL! I hope that there are no delays finishing your home. Writing historical romance in a cancel culture world can be very challenging. Have you been tempted to shy away from specific time periods or plotlines out of concern that that the subject matter might offend readers?

MB: This is a really interesting question, and definitely one that’s affected me, though I haven’t really shared my thoughts with readers. I don’t generally like to shy away from settings or characters because of the way our culture views them today. I love history and try to stay as true to the setting as I can. I also firmly believe that no group of people should be judged as a whole on their general reputation. People are individuals, and there are good and bad in every race and time period. I work hard to portray that clearly through my characters.

However, I’ve definitely experienced situations recently where my books portraying certain races aren’t accepted by some of publishing’s gatekeepers, either because I’m not the same race as the characters, or because there’s so much hesitation about how today’s culture would view them. It’s sad that the push to be more “fair” has created the opposite effect so many times.

RH: I really like what you said about good and being found in all races. I think I’d add in all individuals. We see historical figures being discredited for their positive contributions because of beliefs or actions that weren’t uncommon in their era. That doesn’t mean we should excuse it, but we also can’t judge people by modern sensibilities that didn’t exist when they lived. I better move on or I’ll be permanently on my soap box! What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

MB: Hmm… Maybe the dialogue. Growing up, my older brother was my best friend, and he’s kind a quiet guy. I find that I draw many of my male character traits from him.

RH: I think dialogue is tough. I have a critique partner that is great at pointing out dialogue she thinks doesn’t ring true. Setting is as important to story as character development and plot. You’ve written 32 books all set in the Rocky Mountains. What about these rugged and somewhat untamed peaks has captured your imagination? Is this a frequent travel destination for your family or perhaps somewhere you’d like to retire?

MB: There’s something about the mountains, especially the Rockies, that really speaks to my soul. The majesty of them is inspiring and seems to draw me closer to God. There’s a quote in A Warrior’s Heart that kind of sums up what I have trouble describing sometimes.

RH: Although I’ve only seen the fringe of the Rockies at Pike’s Peak, Colorado, I also love the mountains! You are a successful self-published and traditionally published author. Do you have a favorite character, book, or series among your titles?

MB: Oh, boy. That’s almost like trying to pick a favorite kid. There are a few that stand out, like Leah and Gideon from The Lady and the Mountain Man (book 1 in The Mountain Series). Also, Simeon and Emma from This Treacherous Journey (book 6 in that same series. But now I’m feeling bad that I haven’t mentioned all the others. Each character and book and series are so unique and special to me in different ways.

RH: That was kind of mean of me to make you choose, wasn’t it? I have to say I’m rather fond of Caleb Jackson from Courage in the Mountain Wilderness (Book #4 in your Call of the Rockies series). What was the inspiration behind your latest release, A Warrior’s Heart?

MB: Several different things, but the main idea came when I was listening to a historical podcast a few years ago that talked about the Vikings and the female warriors who would sometimes gain fame among them. As the hosts talked about the first Viking raids to North America, I started thinking… “What if one of those groups went farther west than any of us thought? What if they found the Canadian Rockies and lived there in a hidden community for centuries?” The thought took hold, and little by little, the idea for the Brides of Laurent series came to life. I eventually changed the village to be a French settlement named Laurent.

RH:I love how ideas come out of nowhere and stir in your imagination. Can you relay a historical tidbit that you learned while researching A Warrior’s Heart?

MB: The explosion I refer to in the book is similar to an atomic bomb, though probably not that large. Even before the War of 1812, scientists were learning the unusual radioactive capabilities of the mineral they called Pitchblende, which we know today as Urananite. While they didn’t have the official names for what the mineral could do, the way the radioactive crystals would glow in the dark made it fascinating, even for the elite who wore Pitchblende crystals as glow-in-the-dark jewels.

RH: That’s fascinating. I’ve never heard about that before. Do you have a favorite quote from A Warrior’s Heart you’d like to share?

MB: There are a few that jump out. Which one is your favorite?

  • She studied him with a hostility he’d certainly not earned. He was the one who’d been shot, by saints. It was high time he regained the upper hand, even if his own were still bound.
  • With his kiss, he made a promise to her. No matter what happened, he would keep her safe. He would defend this woman who spent her life defending those around her. Even if that meant protecting her from himself and the mission he was beginning to loathe.
  • He raised his face to the heavens and clamped his jaw shut to keep from shouting at God. Brielle was out in the storm, probably dying, and God wanted him to do nothing except pray? Lord, have you lost your senses?

RH: I’m a romantic at heart so I definitely like the second quote best. Gives me goosebumps. What are you working on now?

MB: Book 3 in the series! The heroine is Charlotte, Brielle’s younger sister, and it’s been so much fun getting to know this grown-up spunky version of her!

RH: Well, that will be something to look forward, too. I had so much fun chatting with you, Misty. I can’t believe we haven’t done this sooner. Thanks for visiting with my readers today and best wishes for success with your new book release!


Giveaway**

**This giveawy is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Cherie J!

Misty has graciously offered a copy of any one of her previous books to one Romancing History visitor—Winner’s Choice! To enter, tell us which of the quotes above from A Warrior’s Heart is the most intriguing to you.

**Giveaway ends midnight, September 15th, 2021.

 

Coming Home to Mercy & a Giveaway

On Tour with Prism Books


About the Book

Christian Historical Romance

Paperback & ebook, 251 Pages

August 17, 2021 by Scrivenings Press LLC

 

A society woman leaves her comfortable lifestyle so that she can help her daughter adjust to the arrival of twin sons in a small town where the courageous doctor teaches her about taking risks.

Wealthy and sociable Margaret Millerson has always thought of her brother’s Chicago mansion as her home. But when she receives the telephone call that her daughter has given birth to twins three weeks ahead of the expected due date, Margaret must leave her comfortable home, her family, and her friends to travel out of state. While she is helping her daughter care for the infants, Margaret becomes reacquainted with the town’s doctor, Matthew Kaldenberg.

Dr. Matthew Kaldenberg stays busy caring for the health of the citizens of his small town. His profession offers him daily practice in defeating death, his greatest enemy. During the twenty years since losing his own wife and baby in childbirth, Matthew has saved his money for the purchase of a flying machine. But when Matthew takes Margaret for flights on his biplane, he learns that his dreams of rising above the griefs and losses of his past come with a cost. He doesn’t want to lose the trust of the people he cares about most, or the chance at a relationship with Margaret.

Both Matthew and Margaret must make difficult decisions to hold on to the love they have discovered. Will Matthew’s heart recover from sorrow? Will Margaret find her true home?

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Target | Book Depository 


Excerpt, Coming Home to Mercy

 

Karen’s mouth hung open at the news.

A grin stretched across Logan’s face. “That’s good news. Congratulations.” He came over and shook Matthew’s hand.

Matthew nodded. At least Logan approved of this venture. Maybe convincing him of the necessity of repairs to the biplane would prove easier than he thought.

“You … you … and the doctor.” Karen had found her voice and now tried to comprehend the facts.

“Yes, my dear,” Margaret answered with a calm confidence.

“Does this mean you are thinking of getting married again?” Karen crossed her arms as a hint of hostility crept into her voice.

Margaret smoothed the bed covers. “We haven’t gotten that far yet. But if we do, I wouldn’t make such a large decision without consulting you and Julia.”

Karen relaxed a tiny degree.

“Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go home and check on the twins.” Logan went to her and settled his hands on her shoulders.

She allowed him to usher her out of the room, leaving Matthew alone with his unpredictable and enchanting patient. He settled on the edge of the bed and took her hands in his.

“What made you change your mind?”

“I feel safe with you. The truth occurred to me as we crouched together on the wing of your plane while we hung onto that tree for dear life.” She laughed softly but then grew serious again. “You’d never let anything dangerous happen to me. You’d do whatever you had to do to protect me. It’s enough for me.” She reached up and smoothed the hair that had long ago fallen over his forehead.


About the Author

 

Michelle De Bruin grew up in Southern Iowa and graduated from Eddyville High School. These beautiful memories of childhood spent on her family’s farm are the inspiration to the setting in the books of the Tomorrow series.

After high school, Michelle received an Associate’s Degree in Office Management from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. She returned to the family farm and later married Tom De Bruin.

Tom and Michelle and their two teenage sons, Mark and John, live in Pella where Michelle works as the Spiritual Services Facilitator for Christian Opportunity Center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and in Religion with a Christian Ministries emphasis from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

In 2015, Michelle began writing and joined the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) where she discovered that the stories she wrote for fun might actually amount to something. She finished her manuscript for Hope for Tomorrow and eventually found a home for it with a small publisher of Christian fiction.

Characters that bring to life the delights of farm and small town living, whispers of Dutch heritage, and Christian faith make Michelle’s stories distinct.

Website | Goodreads | Bookbub | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


Rafflecopter Giveaway

One winner will receive a copy of Coming Home to Mercy (print if US, eBook if outside the US) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally).

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Beyond These War-Torn Lands by Cynthia Roemer & a Giveaway

I’m so excited to welcome friend, fellow author, and critique partner, Cynthia Roemer back to Romancing History today. Cynthia’s latest novel, Beyond These War-Torn Lands, releases next Tuesday, August 3rd and I know y’all are gonna love Drew and Caroline’s story as much as I did!

As you can imagine, writing historical romance requires an author to delve into the time period—the clothes, speech patterns, foods, tools, and events of the era in which they write. Today Cynthia is going to share some of the behind-the-scenes research she did to bring her Civil War novel to life on the page.

And, Cynthia is giving away a signed, print copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, too! So make sure to see the Giveaway section at the bottom of this post and leave a comment!


When I decided to write a Civil War novel, I knew I was in for a lot of research. I’m not sure how I settled on The Battle of Monocacy Junction to start the novel off (timing, placement), but I soon found myself engrossed in learning about this lesser-known battle along the Monocacy River in Maryland. This battle, though a loss for the Union, turned out to be an ultimate victory for the men in blue.

Here’s why:

The Monocacy River, Maryland

The day-long battle began early in the morning of July 9, 1864 and lasted well into the evening. General Lew Wallace commanded the Union troops, while General Jubal Early led the Confederates. The two sides volleyed back and forth throughout the scorching heat until they landed smackdab in the cornfields and yards of some of the neighboring residents—the Best family, Thomas family, and Worthington family.

Several of the residents, such as six-year-old Glenn Worthington and his older brother Henry, hunkered in their cellars watching the battle through cracks in the walls. Glenn later wrote an account of the experience in his book, Fighting for Time.

Waves of skirmishes ended with Wallace’s men fleeing, leaving a horde of dead and wounded in their wake. The Confederate army had intended to storm Washington and take over the city. However, the delay at Monocacy Junction allowed the Union time to send for reinforcements and spare their Capital a takeover. Therefore, the battle at Monocacy became known as The Battle That Saved Washington.

As I was delving into my research, our hostess, Kelly Goshorn, and I had just become friends and critique partners. When I found out she lived within an hour of the very battle I was researching, and that the site had been preserved for visitors, I was ecstatic! Though Kelly hadn’t visited the site herself, she graciously offered to house me if I was able to make the trip out. I had high hopes of doing so and then … the Pandemic hit.

Followed by a cancer diagnosis.

Between the two unexpected challenges, I knew I would be unable to make the trip. But thank the Lord for carrying me through my health ordeal and for all the wonderful online resources available. Via the internet, I was able to access so much information about the National Battlefield at Monocacy Junction, among other historical events and people that found their way into my novel, Beyond These War-Torn Lands. Kelly proved a help as well, for she had visited some of the sites included in the book.

In the opening scene of Beyond These War-Torn Lands, my hero, Sergeant Andrew (Drew) Gallagher, is injured at the Battle of Monocacy Junction and would have become a casualty of war had my heroine, Caroline Dunbar not happened upon him while on her way to aid wounded Confederates at her neighbors—the Worthington and Thomas families.

 How I relished weaving my characters into history during one of America’s most challenging and fascinating eras. I’ll leave the rest of the story for you to discover, but I assure you, Drew and Caroline have quite a journey ahead of them before their happily ever after!

**One other historical tidbit I found in my research. If you’ve read or seen the movie, Ben Hur, you might find it interesting that it was written by none other than the retired Union General Lew Wallace!!


About the Book

The War brought them together ~ Would it also tear them apart?

While en route to aid Confederate soldiers injured in battle near her home, Southerner Caroline Dunbar stumbles across a wounded Union sergeant. Unable to ignore his plea for help, she tends his injuries and hides him away, only to find her attachment to him deepen with each passing day. But when her secret is discovered, Caroline incurs her father’s wrath and, in turn, unlocks a dark secret from the past which she is determined to unravel.

After being forced to flee his place of refuge, Sergeant Andrew Gallagher fears he’s seen the last of Caroline. Resolved not to let that happen, when the war ends, he seeks her out, only to discover she’s been sent away. When word reaches him that President Lincoln has been shot, Drew is assigned the task of tracking down the assassin. A chance encounter with Caroline revives his hopes, until he learns she may be involved in a plot to aid the assassin.

Beyond These War-Torn Lands is available on Amazon

About the Author

Cynthia Roemer is an inspirational, bestselling author with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the hearts of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the mid-1800’s prairie and Civil War era. Her Prairie Sky Series consists of Amazon bestseller, Under This Same Sky, Under Prairie Skies, and Under Moonlit Skies, a 2020 Selah Award winning novel.

Cynthia writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband of almost thirty years. They have two grown sons and a daughter-in-love. When she isn’t writing or researching, Cynthia can be found hiking, biking, gardening, reading, or riding sidesaddle with her husband in the combine or on their motorcycle. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. To learn more about Cynthia and writing journey, sign up for her author newsletter or visit her online at: her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, or GoodReads.


This giveaway is now closed!

Congrats to Lila, the winner of the signed copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands!

Giveaway**

Cynthia is giving away one signed print copy of Beyond These War-Torn Lands to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter, tell us what your favorite period of American history is to read about and why.

**Giveaway ends midnight, August 4th**

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