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

Tag: Pelican Book Group

Christ is the Answer, Guest Post by Kathleen Bailey

I’m so excited to welcome fellow historical romance author, Kathleen D. Bailey, back to Romancing History. Kathleen has a timely message for us about how the Babe of Bethlehem is the answer the world needs, at Christmas, and throughout the year.

Kathleen’s newest release, The Widow’s Christmas Miracle, is part of Pelican Book Group’s Christmas Extravaganza. Here’s a little bit about her new release. Kathleen is also giving away an e-Book copy of The Widow’s Christmas Miracle and a New England Gift pack to one Romancing History reader. Give away details are at the bottom of the post.


From the Back Cover

Red Dawn’s world was shattered in a single vengeful act, an act that brought her to into the home of the enemy. She couldn’t love a white man, not after what they did to her people. Could she?

After losing a limb serving his country, Laban Jones has built a life from nothing. He’s got more than he dares ask for, but what woman would accept a one-legged husband? Can he offer Red Dawn three-quarters of a man, and will she be content with that? The answer they receive on a Christmas Eve is a miracle neither will ever forget.

“The Widow’s Christmas Miracle” is part of Pelican’s “Christmas Extravaganza” and is available at Pelican Book Group and Amazon.

 


Christ is the Answer

by Kathleen D. Bailey

 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

The Babe of Bethlehem is placed under the Last Supper in the Chapel at Our Lady of La Salette, Enfield, NH.

It’s never been easy to be a Jew, and it wasn’t easy in 1 BC. Rome controlled Israel and every aspect of Jewish life, from taxes to burden-bearing. The people longed for deliverance. There was poverty, especially after the Jews paid their taxes. There was corruption, as the local and regional officials took a piece of those taxes. And those earlier days had their own plagues and diseases, including the dreaded leprosy, which could devastate a family for generations.

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

But the Gentile world also longed for a deliverer. Many had had their fill of the made-up gods who weren’t any better than the humans who followed them…the gods who cheated and manipulated and rutted like animals and exploited humanity. They wanted something better. They wanted something real. Learned men from an Eastern land were pretty sure they’d found it. Or Him.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy.”

We live in a world with its own corruption and unfairness. The Coronavirus changed the world as we knew it, every facet of modern life, from ordering a coffee to visiting a loved one in long-term care. Our world has suffered a sea-change, which has left many of us struggling to reach a life preserver.

But He’s already here. He was the Jews’ hope as they lived under the humiliation and rapaciousness of a foreign power, as their dignity was stripped on a daily basis. He was the Gentiles’ hope as they searched for a better way than unscrupulous “gods” who didn’t exist in the first place.

The guest blogger with her family Nativity set some time in the 50s. The wonder never grows old.

I write historical Christian fiction, and I’ve made it my mission to establish Him as the Better Way for my characters. I write historicals because every human emotion, and condition, is magnified by the strictures of earlier times. People on the Oregon Trail didn’t have the CDC to tell them how to deal with cholera. They had to figure it out themselves. Regency heroines couldn’t just go out and get a job when Papa lost his fortune. They had to hope, pray and hang on for dear life until the right suitor came along. Women died in childbirth and desperate men ordered mail-order brides to care for their children. Christ was and is the answer, leading the pioneers to an understanding of that disease, leading the Regency spinster to the man meant for her, helping the lonely widower find love again in a woman he barely knew.

And, Christ was the answer for the young couple in my Christmas novella, “The Widow’s Christmas Miracle.” Red Dawn, the young Cheyenne woman, loathes the white race after two rogue Cavalrymen burn her village and kill her young husband. The last place she wants to be is with white shopkeeper Laban Jones, who takes her in while her brother-in-law tries to avenge their village. She hates whites, and hates gentle Laban by association. Laban lost a leg, ending his Army career, and while he manages on his trading post and homestead, he doesn’t think any woman, especially Red Dawn, wants to be saddled with “three-quarters of a man.”

Who can bring these two stubborn souls together, and help them to be more than the sum of their parts?

The Babe of Bethlehem, who will heal all our diseases – and our land.


About the Author

Kathleen D. 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.

Connect with Kathleen on her website, Twitter, Facebook or Linked In. Or if you prefer, you can email her at ampie86@comcast.net.


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Rebecca Waters!

Kathleen has graciously offered an e-Book copy of The Widow’s Christmas Miracle and a New England gift pack to one Romancing History reader. To be entered in the drawing, please comment below and tell us how, despite the many unique challenges that 2020 has presented, have you seen the light of Christ’s hope in the world reminding you that He alone is the answer?

**Giveaway ends at midnight, December 16, 2020.**

The Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage & a Giveaway by Penelope Marzec

As you all know, I love learning about history. I’ve been known to drag my children and husband to museums and battlefields so I can soak in as many little historical details as possible. I especially enjoy learning about historical events through the settings and events I read in historical fiction and romance, even when those events are unpleasant.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new friend, fellow Pelican Book Group author Penelope Marzec. Penny’s book, Patriot’s Courage, is the third book in her Patriot Historical Romance series.

In her guest post, she shares one of those events that at least our generation, Penny’s and mine, wasn’t taught in school. I’m a firm believer that history should not be white-washed nor should it be reinterpreted to satisfy ever changing political narratives, but unfortunately sometimes in our past, we’ve looked the other way when history didn’t shed a favorable light on the “good guys.”

Before we get to Penny’s post on one such historical event, we’re going to learn a little more about Patriot’s Courage.

Oh, and be sure to read her excerpt and enter the drawing to win an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. The details are in the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post.


Patriot’s Courage

Ryan McGowan vows to kill every Indian in Ohio territory in retaliation for his brother’s death. At the Battle of Fallen Timbers, he breaks his ribs and finds a white woman sobbing over a dead warrior. When the captain assigns him to teach the woman English, he resents the task, but the woman melts his vengeance away. He begins to understand the way to peace is forgiveness. Then he learns the woman carries the child of her Indian husband in her womb.

Màxkchulëns, a white woman adopted by the Lenape at the age of four, is confined at the fort and longs to return to her people. Though Ryan leads her to recall part of the faith her biological parents held dear, she struggles to understand it and the power of grace.

Can she rely on that grace in desperate times? And will faith protect her unborn child as well?

Patriot’s Courage is available for purchase on:

Amazon     Pelican Book Group     B&N     Kobo     Google Play Books     Apple Books


A Peek into the Forgotten History Behind Patriot’s Courage

Guest Post by Penelope Marzec

In delving into the research for PATRIOT’S COURAGE, I learned a great deal more about the culture of the Native Americans, none of which was ever mentioned in history books when I was a child in elementary school. The history of the indigenous people in North America is not a happy one. Still, love can win even under the most difficult circumstances.

For my story, I focused on the Lenape, since the heroine of my story was raised by that tribe, but some things applied to other tribes as well. In general, the Native Americans believed that if someone was wronged, retribution should be given, which on the surface appears to be a good way to handle matters. It is not unlike what we do today when someone wrecks our car. Their insurance policy should pay for the damages—including the deductible.

The problem with a policy of retribution is that it can easily turn into revenge. The lands of the Native Americans were gradually swallowed up by the whites. When they fought back, the whites—despite their Christian upbringing–dealt vengeance against the Native Americans. This became a vicious cycle with no hope.

Some particular cruelties stand out and explain the spiraling hatred of the Indians towards the whites. One historical incident, which I mention in my book, is the sad story of the Gnadenhutten Massacre. Moravian missionaries, who were pacifists, converted Delaware Indians to Christianity. But during the Revolutionary War, one hundred and sixty militiamen attacked the Indians. The militiamen believed the Indians had killed and kidnapped several white Pennsylvanians, but the Christian Indians were not involved in that raid. Still the militiamen did not search for the actual perpetrators of the raid in Pennsylvania. Instead, they held a mock trial, convicted the Indians of murder, and sentenced them to death. The Indians were put into two buildings where they spent all night praying and singing hymns. In the morning, the militiamen killed them and burned the buildings. Ninety-six Indians were murdered—men, women, and children. Half of those killed were children.

The result of the massacre was mounting distrust between the whites and the Indians. The news spread to all the tribes and the tragedy ended any hope of bringing whites and Native Americans together in Christian community.

George Washington warned soldiers in the Continental army not to get caught by the Indians after they killed William Crawford, an American soldier and surveyor who worked as a western land agent for George Washington. Mr. Crawford was burned at the stake by American Indians in retaliation for the Gnadenhutten massacre.

Two decades later, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh said to William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Even one hundred years later, Theodore Roosevelt called the massacre “a stain on frontier character that the lapse of time cannot wash away”.

In PATRIOT’S COURAGE, the hero realizes he has little hope of convincing the heroine to embrace Christianity. Yet, he tries.

Revenge did not heal the atrocities that occurred during those times. The propensity of humankind to wreak vengeance caused nothing but more hatred. I pray that in the future, love will always win.


Excerpt from Patriot’s Courage

Màxkchulëns, also known as Red Bird, stopped grinding corn and listened. Her proud husband, Running Beaver, felt confident the white men would be defeated as they had been three years ago. But now an eerie silence hovered in the air as the distant drums ceased pounding. The repeated sounds of gunfire ended. The birds resumed their songs. The river gurgled along the banks. “

It is too soon.” Her aunt frowned.

Fear wound through Red Bird. Last night’s strange dream seemed to be a warning, frightening her so badly she mentioned it to no one.

The other women quit working and gathered together on the outskirts of their village. They waited, for the calm did not bode well. Red Bird took out a smooth, round white stone from her medicine bag and rubbed it. Running Beaver gave it to her when they were both children. He was a strong, brave warrior who did not fear death. Yet, Red Bird trembled. She loved Running Beaver. When she first came to the village, he coaxed her out of her fright. His gentle, kind manner and patience eased her misery.

Sudden shouts alerted her and the other women as the young boys returned with news of the rout and the failure of their British allies to open their fort and give aid in the fight. The boys claimed many warriors lay dead on the field of battle.

Màxkchulëns, haunted by her alarming dream, started toward the battlefield. Other women followed.

Her aunt tried to drag her back. “There may still be white soldiers there. It is dangerous!”

Red Bird refused to listen. She shoved her aunt’s arm away and walked onward until she came upon the appalling site of the brief battle. Dead and dying men with ghastly wounds littered the area. Blood coated the earth. The sound of wailing women rent the air with grief. The sharp smell of gunpowder mingled with a putrid stench in the heavy, humid air. The odor turned her stomach.

Red Bird drew a cloth over her nose. Her heart thundered as she stared into the faces of dead men, hoping to find the one that mattered most to her.

The yellow hide soldiers went about the task of picking up their wounded and dying. She stayed as far away from them as she could, but the task proved difficult for huge fallen trees covered the area and men lay in between the many trunks.

After some time, she found Running Beaver. She reeled at the sight of the grievous wound in his back. His face lay in the dirt while his body pressed against a huge, felled tree. She knelt beside him and reached for his still, cold hand. Last night in her dream, he walked along the white road of stars on his journey to the village of the Great Creator, Kishelemukong.

She could not tell her husband of her fears, for he would have scoffed at her. No brave warrior would refuse to fight in a battle simply because his woman asked him to do so.

She glanced around, uneasy. In her nightmare, another warrior, Dancing Squirrel, pulled her from Running Beaver. She’d woken from her dream shaking and in a cold sweat. She never trusted Dancing Squirrel. Once, he wanted her to be his woman, but she refused him as was her right. Since that time, he sneered at her in a threatening manner whenever he saw her.

Now that Running Beaver was dead, would Dancing Squirrel ask to have her as his woman once more? Tears gathered in her eyes, but she tried to hold them back as she caressed her husband’s shoulder and sang the death song to him. Sorrow welled up and choked her words. Her shattered hopes raked her soul until it was raw.

A soldier approached. He laughed at her. She scooted back against the bark of the fallen tree. The tall man stood over her. His hulking, muscular build rivaled that of any of the strongest warriors. He muttered something, reached down, grabbed her arm, hauled her upright, and squeezed her bosom.

Red Bird screamed and struggled to get away, but his strength overwhelmed her. He pulled at her braided hair and gave a raucous laugh.

She tugged the braid out of his hand.

Another solider, carrying his bright, woolen jacket on his arm hobbled toward them. With his face creased in pain, he leaned on a sturdy branch. He spoke to Màxkchulëns’s abuser in a low tone layered with harsh severity. The abuser stopped fondling her but continued to hold her arm so tightly she thought he would break it. She screamed until her voice grew hoarse. The man leaning on the branch spat out sharp words, winced, and turned ashen. Other men hurried to drag her abuser away.

The man with the sturdy branch offered his jacket to her. She did not want it, but she assumed wearing it would mark her in some way as protected. She accepted the woolen coat.

As she donned the garment, another wave of fear and grief consumed her. She collapsed over her husband’s body and wept, well aware she remained at the mercy of the horrible soldiers. She didn’t care. Running Beaver no longer breathed and would no longer smile. He must leave her behind as he went on his long journey to Kishelemukong’s village. Mired in her misery, she wished for death to come soon. Perhaps one of the soldiers who killed Running Beaver would kill her as well.

After a while, she lay exhausted and spent from her weeping. The flow of tears ended, leaving her hollow. The rumble of a heavy wagon sounded nearby. She glanced to the side and watched as the yellow hides lifted their wounded into the back of the vehicle. The man who gave her his jacket spoke to several other soldiers. He plainly suffered from the effort of speaking but the other men scurried about in obvious obedience. She wondered if he was a chief.

Two soldiers lifted her off her feet. Red Bird did not struggle or scream this time. If they were to kill her, she would die as courageous a death as any warrior. The men placed her in the wagon beside the man who must be their chief. He drew her hand in his. She did not pull hers away. He spoke to her in a whisper, but she did not understand his language. Perhaps he was telling her how she was to die.

The other women of her tribe stood with their heads bowed as the wagon lumbered by them. None of them came to her aid, and she did not expect them to put themselves in danger. A brief swell of panic nearly consumed her, but she fought against it. She would be strong, she would be courageous, and she would soon join her husband on the white road of stars.


About Penelope

Penelope Marzec grew up along the Jersey shore, heard stories about Captain Kidd, and dug for his buried treasure. Her adventure resulted in a bad case of poison ivy. Deciding books were better than buried treasure, she discovered romance novels and was soon hooked on happy endings. She became an early childhood educator and found her own hero in an electrical engineer who grew up in Brooklyn, played the accordion, and was immune to poison ivy. Now retired, Penelope either writes her stories or paints seascapes in oils. Sometimes she sings while her husband plays the accordion.

Penelope writes in several subgenres of romance. You can find her online at www.penelopemarzec.com read her blog at http://penelopemarzec.blogspot.com, become a fan at www.facebook.com/penelopemarzecbooks, or follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/marzecpenelope/


Giveaway**

**This giveaway is now closed**

Congratulations to our winner, Rory Lemond!!

Penny has graciously offered to giveaway an eBook copy of Patriot’s Courage. To enter the drawing, share with us a little known historical event or detail you’ve learned about in the comments below.

**Giveaway ends at midnight, Wednesday, October 7th, 2020**

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words by LoRee Peery

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

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

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


About the Book

 

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

Has God given her a chance at love?

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

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

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

Amazon   Pelican Book Group


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Westerns were favored movies by my whole family.

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

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

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

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

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


About LoRee

 

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

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


Give Away Alert**

**This Giveaway is now CLOSED**

Congratulations to our winner, Sharon!

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview with Angela Couch & a Giveaway

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

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

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

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


About Angela

 

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

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


About the Book

 

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

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

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

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group


Author Interview

 

Fast Five

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AC: Action. Adventure. Romance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autumn 1859

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Anthony!”

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

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


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now Closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Andrea DeDeaux!!

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

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

Author Interview with Ramona K. Cecil & a Giveaway

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

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

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


About the Book

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

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

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

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

Amazon     B&N     Pelican Book Group     Thrift Books     Book Depository


Author Interview

Fast Five

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

Author Q&A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RKC:  Christian, historical, romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott County Indiana, September 3, 1812

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Chick, chick, chick,” she called.

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

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

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

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

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

An owl hooted. It sounded close.

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

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

Pa.

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

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

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

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

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


About Ramona

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

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

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


Giveaway**

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Judy Attebury!

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

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

My Fascination with the Oregon Trail & a Giveaway!

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


About the Book

 

Why him? Why here? Why now?

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

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

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

Westward Hope is available for purchase on Amazon

 


My Fascination with the Oregon Trail

Guest Post by Kathleen Bailey

 

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

And every one of them had a story.

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

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

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

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

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

Well, why not?

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

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

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

Well, why not?

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


About the Author

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

 

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

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


Giveaway**

This Giveaway is now CLOSED!

Congratulations to out winner Stacy Meyers!

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

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

 

Christmas Novella, A Match of Sorts and a Giveaway!

I’m so excited to welcome Lucette Nel to Romancing History for the first time. “Lucy,” as she is known to friends and family, is not only a fellow Christian historical romance author, she is a dear friend and a critique partner. Lucy’s newest release, A Match of Sorts, released earlier this month with Harbourlight Books, an imprint of Pelican Book Group.

And, with Christmas just around the corner, she came bearing gifts! Lucy is generously giving away an Ebook copy of each of her novellas!  To enter, leave a comment or ask Lucy a question by Friday, December 15. I’ll choose one random participant to receive a copy of A Match of Sorts and another to receive The Widow’s Captive. Want to increase your chances? Sign up to receive Romancing History in your inbox and I’ll enter your name twice! Unfortunately due to a snafu with my IT department (aka hubby), I lost many of my subscribers. So if you signed up in the past but haven’t been receiving Romancing History in you inbox, this is a great opportunity to sign up again.

Before we chat with Lucy and learn more about her and A Match of Sorts, here’s a blurb about her latest novella.

As Christmas approaches, widowed Reverend Caleb Brennan needs a wife, or his vengeful father-in-law will take his young daughters. When his mail-order bride jilts him, Caleb grows desperate. During a storm, he finds an unconscious boy outside his home with signs of foul play. Despite his previous misfortune, obligation compels Caleb to lug the stranger inside. But as he provides first aid, he discovers more than he expected. Bounty hunter Grace Blackwell refuses to owe a debt to any man, especially one as charming as Reverend Brennan. To repay him for saving her life, Grace agrees to pose as his mail-order bride. If their ploy is discovered, Caleb could lose his daughters. But in their pretense, the reverend and the bounty hunter might just both lose their hearts.

RH: Welcome Lucy! Please 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? What are you working on now?

LN: Wow. I’ve been writing for 19 years this year, most of those years I refer to myself as a closet writer because I did it in secret. Only a selected few people knew I wrote.  In 2010 I started to actively study the craft. So far most of my works are or were historical romances set in pioneer America. Currently I’m published in novella length. My first novella, A Widow’s Captive, released in December 2016.

​I’m working on two full length novels​ ​at the moment and will be participating in February 2018’s #Faithpitch​ on twitter.

RH: What is your favorite historical romance novel? Author?

​LN: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers​

RH: That is an all-time favorite of mine. One of only a few novels I’ll take the time to re-read! What was the inspiration behind your recent novel, A Match of Sorts?

​I love marriage of convenience stories, and that was my inspiration for my recent release. And I wanted to match two very unlikely people.

RH: That is another thing we have in common. I am always fascinated by mail-order bride stories. When and where is A Match of Sorts set?

​Cedar Grove, Texas. It’s a fictional town. I sketched the town but let’s just say I should stick to writing and not sketching. LOL​!

RH: Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for this story?

LN: ​​I have a Pinterest board especially for A Match of Sorts where you can see all the images that helped inspire me! For Caleb Brennan I used Michiel Huisman from The Age of Adeline as inspiration! Beard and all! For Grace it was a little mix between Sharon Stone and Ingrid Bolso Berdal from Westworld.

RH: Were there any interesting historical facts you learned in your research you couldn’t work into your story?

LN: Not sure how it happened, but while I researched the treatment of wounds, I stumbled upon the history of the ice box. Let’s just say I love my refrigerator. Hee Hee!

RH: Anything else you’d like us to know about A Match of Sorts?

LN: On one side I wish I made it a novel and not a novella. I really enjoyed the characters.

Now that you’ve heard all about A Match of Sorts, Lucy’s provided a teaser. Here’s a snippet from Chapter One:

Cedar Grove, Texas

December, 1875

“She changed her mind.” Caleb Brennan dragged his fingers through his hair. His mail-order bride backed out of their agreement. After three months of corresponding with the young widow, she took one look at him and opted to marry a fellow passenger instead. Three months. Wasted! Numerous letters exchanged, arrangements made, money spent, and all to end with Mrs. Haddon heading to Austin in the very stagecoach that was meant to bring her to him.

“You can scowl at me all you want. It won’t change anything.” Trust his twin to state the harsh reality, without a touch of sugar.

“I’m still processing the sting, Luke.” Caleb scrubbed his face. His glower might intimidate Abby and Libby, his daughters, but it was useless on his brother.

“You should’ve told her sooner.” Luke collected the stack of wanted posters and thumped them thrice on his scarred desk to straighten the pages.

“I’m hardly a cripple.” Caleb rubbed his aching leg. The pain flared in concert with his frustration. He glanced at the far side of the room. Upright rusted bars like an iron fence separated the jail from Luke’s tiny office. The snores from the figure on one of the two bunks continued undisturbed.

Luke yanked a drawer open and shoved the papers in, and then rammed it. “She probably jumped to the wrong conclusion. Since you kept it a secret, she might wonder what other information you withheld from her.”

“Do you suggest I mention I’m a cripple in my next advertisement?”

“You’re planning to advertise again?” Luke frowned.

“I need a wife. What choice do I have?” And as far as he was concerned, whoever filled the position could have the face and personality of a fencepost, as long as her presence improved his chances of not losing his daughters to his embittered father-in-law.

“Miss Preston seems interested.” Luke studied the steam spiraling from the mug of coffee cradled between his hands.

“You’re loco. You know I can’t marry Miss Preston.” The seamstress might be the prettiest woman in town, but she was too young and too idealistic. His second marriage wouldn’t be one of love and companionship and his bride needed to understand and agree with the terms from the start. He’d experienced love once before. Almost from the moment he’d first laid eyes on Margaret, he’d loved her. And she’d returned his affections. Her death near destroyed him. Never again. His next union would be one of respect and remoteness. An alliance on paper suited him.

Luke drummed his fingers on his desk. “How about I ask Ellen to pose as your fiancée?”

“You want to ask your wife to pretend to be my fiancée?” Caleb blinked. The warmth in the sheriff’s office receded despite the old woodstove standing only feet away. “I can’t wait to hear what she’d think about this idea of yours.” He shook his head. He loved Ellen—as a sister—and she was exactly what Luke needed in his life. But she’d drive Caleb crazy with her endless chatter, even if it was only a fleeting charade. Her overtly bright personality would exhaust him.

“Don’t look at me like that. It’ll be a temporary solution. The girls love and know Ellen.” Luke shifted on the chair, scrubbing a hand along his jaw. “There will be certain rules, of course. Limitations. No kissing. No touching.”

“It was one thing swapping places as boys to play pranks on people. Having your wife pose as my fiancée is a different ball of wax.”

“She’d do it if it means you get to keep the girls.”

“She’s a saint. What did you do to deserve her?”

“Got the Lord Almighty to thank for that.” Luke grinned and dipped his head. “I’ll speak with her tonight. We don’t have much time—”

“Whoa. You expect the entire town to go along with it?” Caleb braced his elbows on the desk.

“We can try.”

“Will you throw those who refuse to play along in jail?” A rustle from the bunk drew Caleb’s gaze. The comatose drunk had rolled over, but audible snores still floated from the cell.

“Can you imagine the entire town in my cell? At least old Jeff would have company.”

“I’d rather not.” Caleb downed the last of his coffee. After putting so much effort into convincing his daughters how nice it would be to have Mrs. Haddon around, he now needed to tell them their plans had changed. He massaged his hip. The wound had healed, but the constant pain and distinct limp remained despite the doctor’s predictions that it would disappear.


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Lucy Nel is a coffee addicted work-in-progress daughter of the Lord Almighty. She’s a mommy to a rambunctious toddler and wife to her best friend and real-life hero. Along with three spoiled Pugs, they make their home in Gauteng, the smallest of nine provinces in South Africa.

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New Historical Fiction, Mattie’s Choice

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend and fellow historical fiction author, Gay Lewis. Gay’s newest release, Mattie’s Choice, released on September 15.

Before we chat with Gay, here’s a bit about Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

Welcome Gay! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing.

I’m a pastor’s wife and a mom. Before my writing career, I was an interior designer. I’ve always been creative and loved working with colors and words. When I retired, the first thing I did was to begin a book. The book was called Choices. I’ve written and rewritten it many times. It’s now Mattie’s Choice. I didn’t realize Mattie’s Choice was Historical Women’s Fiction, and I tried marketing it in the wrong genres. In the meantime, a kooky angel came to mind and I started writing Romantic Fantasy. The Sarah Series has been very popular. I’m hoping readers won’t mind the switch to this new genre for Mattie’s Choice.

I have 14 books listed on Amazon and other online book sellers. They are available in eBook. Many are available in print and audio. They’re all Christian and faith inspired. All my Sarah books are squeaky clean. So is my latest, Mattie’s Choice. Rather than list them all with blurbs, let me invite you to my Amazon Author Page.

What was the inspiration behind your recent novel, Mattie’s Choice?

My husband’s mother and his aunt. They lived during the days when women had no rights, weren’t considered equal, and most thought them inferior. These two women were married to abusive, controlling men and each made a different choice regarding their relationship with their spouse.

Why did you choose to set the story during the dust bowl/Great Depression?

This is the time when my husband’s mother and his aunt actually lived. I heard them tell stories about their lives, and many of those stories found their way into my book. Those years were difficult ones for people.

How do your character’s cope with the food shortages and unemployment that typify that era?

My story is set in Oklahoma. Will Rogers was able to raise $30,000 for the Red Cross during the Great Depression. These monies supplied wheat and a few other commodities for starving families. Many of the families lived in tent cities because they’d lost homes and livestock. People shared what they had with others. They had little, but they gave what they could spare. The construction of Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, put men to work during that time, and they were grateful for it, but not every man was chosen for the work.

Were there any interesting historical facts you learned in your research you couldn’t work into your story?

Too many to count. I found it difficult to believe Will Rogers could raise that much money during those times. I learned that women brewed coffee grounds over and over and the first pot was the treasured one of the day. I discovered people called the tent cities for the homeless, “Hoovervilles.” So named after President Herbert Hoover.

Anything else you’d like us to know about Mattie’s Choice!

The premise for Mattie’s Choice concerns choices, the way we interpret Scripture, right or wrong, and the choices we make based on what we perceive the Bible to say.  The choices we make have a ripple effect on the lives of others. I wrote this book to help abused women realize they have choices. Mattie Colby didn’t have many in 1925, but more exist today. Mattie believed her husband’s behavior was her fault. Women today often feel the same way. I’ve heard more than one say, “If I could only be a better wife, he’d love me more and he’d be kind.”

My mother-in-law was married to a controlling man. He refused to allow her to see her family—even her twin brother, but even this day-in-time, controlling men exist. One of my daughters married a man who physically attacked her. Talk about a shocker. That one was. I have a niece who also married a nutcase. Weirdos are out there. What choices can women make to change an ungodly situation? I hope this book will help them realize God has better plans for them.  There weren’t many resources in 1925 to help abused women, but they exist today, and I hope women will search for them. I’m also hoping that all of us females will bond together to help each other.

Here’s an excerpt from Mattie’s Choice:

“There’s just not enough decent food these days. Bobby, Adam’s friend from up the street, came over to play yesterday but he could barely move. I heard his stomach growl and gave him a bowl of beans. He wolfed them down in short order. Poor thing admitted he hadn’t eaten since the day before, I’m guessing their cupboard is bare. His father takes odd jobs and provides as much as he’s able. I sent biscuits home with Bobby. Where does it stop?”

Mattie enjoyed talking to Ella about current events. Many of Ella’s views differed from Jesse’s, but she liked hearing a different opinion and forming new ones of her own. “I didn’t mean to sound so dismal. Our house in Fossil Creek is gone, but we still have a roof over our heads. I ache for those poor homeless farmers who lost their homesteads.” Mattie sneezed into her handkerchief. “And these lollapalooza dust storms that never end. If the farmer wasn’t run off because of a lack of money, he had to abandon his farm because of the powerful dust storms. That prairie wind keeps blowing dirt everywhere.” Mattie shook her head and gazed about her as if to find a giant pile of mud in a corner.

“That’s true. Newspaper reporters are calling the Great Plains the Dust Bowl.”

Mattie grimaced. “I think Dirt Bowl is more accurate. Every time one of those gales blow in, we can’t even breathe. It’s like eating a mud pie.”

Ella nodded. “And about the time we get all that dirt out of the house, another one comes along.”

“Who will ever forget that storm a few weeks ago?”

Ella shook her head. “Black Sunday. They called it an ebony blizzard across the country. None of us could see five feet in front of us.”

“Dirt covered everything in this house, and I’m still finding it in odd places.” Mattie stood. “Let me get the pot so we can have another cup.”

Ella followed Mattie to the kitchen. “Children, you sure are making a mess. You’re supposed to put the oatmeal in your mouth, not on the table, and stop feeding Old Red.”

James spoke up. “Old Red is hungry too.”

“I know he is, but that food is for you. He’ll eat something later.”

Mattie smiled as Ella tousled James’s hair. They returned to the couch.

Ella sipped her coffee. “It’s been one disaster after another for seven long years. The Lord must have something in mind for these hard times, but I can’t imagine what it is.”

“Me either. We both know families who had to relocate to survive. It about broke Jesse’s heart when his parents had to move back to Kentucky. Did I tell you we had a letter from them the other day?”

“No you didn’t. How are they?”

“They’re doing okay.”

“How about your family?”

Mattie set her cup aside. “Mrs. Shuster wrote. She didn’t know what Mr. Winchester is doing these days since he lost the bank, but she assured me my father and Maury are all right. Papa never placed money in the bank.” Mattie gave a small chuckle. “Papa always said he’d never trust a bank.”

Ella sighed. “That’s good news. I’m glad to hear they’re surviving. Others must move but have no place to go. People are trying to make it to California, but they don’t have the means to get there.”

“Jesse talks to men at the station. Many of them are traveling around trying to find work. He heard that Oklahoma City has its own Hooverville. Those unfortunate folks are living in tents, boxes and rusted motorcar bodies.”

“Yes, I’ve heard that too. The Hooverville in Oklahoma City is huge. Tulsa hasn’t experienced as much suffering as Oklahoma City, but we have hobo villages too.”

“Have you seen those places?”

Ella brushed a tear from her eye. “I hear about them. It’s so sad. With no roof over their heads, people had to pitch tents, but folk in Tulsa aren’t the only ones. Tent cities have popped up all over the country. I’m a Republican who supported President Hoover, but he didn’t do enough to help the country’s economy. It seems fitting these drifter communities are named after him.” Ella glanced away and her lips trembled.

Mattie guessed Ella was envisioning the impoverishment she saw each day in the hospital.

Ella shook her head. “Families steal for food and clothes. We treat many cases of starvation at the hospital. Others, the elderly and babies, suffer from asthma due to the dust. If it weren’t for the Tulsa Chapter of the Red Cross, I don’t know what these families would do. The chapter helps with medical bills for destitute people.”

Mattie nodded. “Thank God for Will Rogers. He was a big help too.”

“Yes, and I do thank God for Will Rogers. That $30,000 he raised for the Red Cross with a benefit performance here in Tulsa a few years ago helped us immensely.” Ella sighed and water filled her eyes as if she had a bad cold. “The amount of human suffering overwhelms me.”

Mattie reached over and patted Ella’s hand. “You’re a first-rate nurse and patients benefit from your care and concern.”

Ella took a deep breath. “I just wish there was more I could do for them.” She finished her coffee and handed the cup to Mattie. “I’m off.” She walked to the kitchen, kissed her boys, and hugged the others. “OK, you big brood, be nice to Mattie today.”

The children beamed at her. When she wasn’t working, she brought fun and laughter to their midst.


 

A native Texan, Gay’s written and produced videos, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field. As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles. Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

Gay’s books are available in print, eBook, and audio. For more information, click here.

You can see Gay video trailers of her books and connect with Gay on her blog

on her Amazon Author Page, Facebook or Twitter.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. To follow Sarah, click  here.

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