Romance, Research and Fun Factoids

Sandra Merville Hart is my special guest today. She writes Civil War Romance. I love historical romance. I’ve read a Stranger on My Land the first book in her Civil War series. I’m very interested in her newest release A Rebel in My House. Sandra tells us about it.SandraMervilleHart_Headshot2(1)

A Rebel in My House is set during the turbulent Battle of Gettysburg. The townspeople lived through a nightmare that extended months beyond the battle. This novel gives a glimpse of that suffering through the eyes of a Gettysburg seamstress. A Confederate soldier caught behind enemy lines after retreat needs her help. Sheltering him ushers in more difficulties than she ever imagined. Lines become blurred as her feelings for him grow. Loyalties threaten to divide them as Confederates seize the town.

Both have made promises to family members.

Some promises are impossible to keep.

How do you research for your book?

I read articles online to learn some initial facts. Then I check out nonfiction books from the library and take copious notes. I try to travel to novel settings. Visiting local museums and walking the historic streets piques my imagination. I learn the history and, along the way, the story is born.

What inspired you to write this book?

When it was time to write my next Civil War romance, I knew there was story waiting for me in Gettysburg. My husband traveled there with me. We spent long hours in the battlefields and attended several ranger tours.We took a private ranger tour with a Battlefield Guide who tailored the tour around my questions about Tennessee regiments. A hazy idea formed.

We visited museums in town and learned of the horrific nightmare the women and children endured. Then I knew I had to write their story as well as the experience of the Tennessee regiments.

Share a few Civil War factoids about Gettysburg most people are not aware of.

The Confederate Army gathered both runaway slaves and free citizens when they crossed into Pennsylvania in June of 1863. Many African Americans had fled by the time Confederate General Jubal Early entered Gettysburg on Friday, June 26, 1863, a few days ahead of the famous battle that began on July 1st.

After the battle, Confederates left behind 7,000 comrades too severely wounded to retreat.

The first Confederate soldier killed at Gettysburg was Henry Raison of the 7th Tennessee Infantry. The hero, Jesse Mitchell, in A Rebel in My House is from that regiment.

The Battle of Gettysburg ranks first among our bloodiest Civil War battles with over 40,000 casualties.

Now, I’d like to ask a few questions about you that my readers might find interesting.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8 (NIV)

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Start writing now. Don’t let someone else determine whether or not you follow your dream. Take writing classes. Attend writers’ conferences. Learn as much as you can about the craft of writing. Pray that God guides your steps.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My husband is amazingly supportive. If I tell him I need to go to Gettysburg for a research trip, he checks his work calendar to plan a week he can take off with me. I take photographs; he logs where the picture is taken. He helps me figure out directions and mileage between historical towns. When I’m baffled by some historical object in a museum, he helps me figure out how it might have been used. He is amazing.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I love to read romantic suspense, cozy mystery, contemporary romance, but my favorite genre to read for pleasure is historical romance.

About Sandra Merville Hart:

Sandra Merville Hart, Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com, loves to find unusual or little-known facts in her historical research to use in her stories. Her debut Civil War romance, A Stranger On My Land, was an IRCA Finalist 2015. Her second Civil War romance novel, A Rebel in My House, is set during the Battle of Gettysburg. It released on July 15, 2017. Visit Sandra on her blog at https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

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A Rebel in My House Book Blurb: Click to order.

When the cannons roar beside Sarah Hubbard’s home outside of Gettysburg, she despairs of escaping the war that’s come to Pennsylvania. A wounded Confederate soldier on her doorstep leaves her with a heart-wrenching decision.

Separated from his unit and with a bullet in his back, Jesse Mitchell needs help. He seeks refuge at a house beside Willoughby Run. His future lies in the hands of a woman whose sympathies lay with the North.

Jesse has promised his sister-in-law he’d bring his brother home from the war. Sarah has promised her sister that she’d stay clear of the enemy. Can the two keep their promises amid a war bent on tearing their country apart?

If you’d like to find out more about Sandra visit any of the links below.

Sandra’s Blog, Historical Nibbles:  https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Sandra’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Merville-Hart/e/B00OBSJ3PU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j3JI-wECyY&feature=youtu.be

If you enjoy these author interviews and want to see more don’t forget to subscribe to Jubilee Writer.

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The Many Marketing Categories of Your Novel

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Imagine we are in the hallway at a writer’s conference with a group of fellow-writers. We’ve been discussing highlights of the event and throwing out snippets of knowledge. Small incomplete bits that need further information. My post today is a snippet. One I need to understand more fully but thought you might find interesting. Or better yet you might have thorough knowledge and could share in the comments.

Marketing snippet

Here is my factoid about marketing. I’ve noticed it as I complete my second author kit for my upcoming Contemporary Romance. I’ve heard it mention by many publishers. I’m still a bit confused.

Authors define the genre their book falls in before they begin writing. We use that tag to focus our words toward those readers. This is the general category our book would be marketed in. Secrets & Charades is a Romance. More specifically a Historical Romance.

For marketing purposes, it can be placed in a variety of other categories. Because of its faith theme.

  • Christian Fiction
  • Christian Historical Fiction
  • Christian Romance
  • Clean Romance
  • Christian
  • Inspirational
  • Religious

Because of the cowboys:

  • Western Romance
  • American Western Romance

Amazon allows you to list your book under three categories. My understanding (this is where I remind you this is my hearsay in the hall) if you change the listing you could increase your sales. If a historical novel were a secular romance it might be categorized under some additional categories steamy romance, erotic romance, sexy romance.

Some of the categories cross over as far as audience appeal. If a prospective reader loves Historical Romance with lots of heat my novel might not be their cup of tea. But then again, they might love it because the storyline engages them.

My upcoming contemporary romance can be listed under Romance.

And because of its faith theme:

Christian Romance

Inspirational

My hero has a prosthetic leg so we can add Wounded Warrior Romance (yes, it is a thing).

It might even be classified under categories that appeal to dog lovers. My hero has a service dog.

Don’t choose wrong categories

Although we narrow our genre focus while we write our story we want to be sure we are marketing it to as broad a market as possible without missing the mark. My novels are not children’s books or sci fi. Neither contain gratuitous sex. Listing them as erotica will irritate perspective readers. (No need for angry reviews.)

Another example

A YA Sci Fi would be classified under YA fiction

Sci Fi

Fantasy

Dystopian

Again, if it has a Christian theme it might also be listed under Christian Fantasy

Christian Dystopian

Christian Sci Fi

Inspirational and Religious.

If there is a strong romance element it might be listed under YA Romance or Sci Fi Romance.

book genre cloud

Variety of categories draws more readers

Adults could find a YA book in the Sci Fi categories. Adults read YA, by the way. Men might find Secrets & Charades in the Western and my upcoming release in Wounded Warrior.

I’m too new to this publishing biz to have any idea what is the winning category. And some of the categories I mention may not be one anymore. Even so I need to have some alternative genre categories in mind to add in future marketing. And for me I leave the final decision to my publisher and my marketing gal. If your self-pub you might want to ask your successful Indie friends what they would recommend.

Okay readers, any of you have more snippets of information to share about this topic. Curious minds are desperate to know.

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Secrets & Charades book trailer:

A Visit with Novelist Janet Grunst

Today, I welcome Janet Grunst, another Jubilee Writer whose journey to publication was as long and full of life’s unexpected twists as my own. It’s a delight to have her join me today.

Janet S. Grunst 2

Share your journey with us.

In the early 80’s I wrote human interest columns for two local newspapers which got me interested in the vocation of writing. But I had a story that was germinating in my head and wondered if I could try my hand at writing stories.

I began reading books, writing fiction and asked God if that was the call I sensed He was giving me. With two very active preschool sons at home I needed to know it was His will and that He would make a way.

The Lord’s confirmation came through loud and strong and over the next year He provided the time for me to study the craft and research the historical era of the story.  I’m certain He helped me weave the tale. Then I studied how to market a manuscript to Christian publishers in an era when one didn’t need an agent. I submitted it unsuccessfully for several years.

I had to put the writing and searching for a publisher pursuit aside when life necessitated my getting full time employment to raise my sons on my own.

Many years passed, my children were grown, and my circumstances changed, including re-marriage. My husband read the story I’d written so many years before and encouraged me to once again try to get it published and continue to write.

So much had changed in the writing and publishing world in the intervening years. Lots of studying and editing ensued. I needed and found an agent who saw promise in the story and wanted to represent me. The advent of e-books, the need to have a platform, an online presence via blogging, websites, and social media required a lot of research, studying and developing a multitude of new skills.

Tell my readers, about your latest published project.

That original story, written so many years ago, was my debut novel published in December of 2016 ~ A Heart Set Free. I’m humbled and thrilled that it just won the Selah Award for Historical Romance in May.Other Cover A H S F - Copy(1)

Congratulations, Janet.

What kind of research did you do for A Heart Set Free?

When I started the story, it was in the era before the internet so I did a lot of research through libraries and reading everything I could get my hands on. I also visited an actual 18th century farm that was still operational not too many miles from my home. Since then, most of my research is via the internet or books.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

There are so many I love. Probably John 1:12 holds the most meaning.  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” This verse truly spoke to me when my faith in Christ changed from believing in Him to also receiving Him and allowing Him to be Lord of my life. My faith traveled those critical 18 inches from my head to my heart.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

I would tell myself to not fear writing because I couldn’t make a living at it. Do it as an avocation and see where it takes you.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing? 

My husband, Ken, is such an encourager and will read anything I write. He is a luthier (builds guitars) so he understands that pursuing one’s vocation often means many hours of isolation on a regular basis.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Historical fiction. 😊But I also enjoy biographies, devotionals, and other fiction as well as non-fiction.

Where is your favorite place to write? 

My desksigning my first book contract(1)

 

Here’s the back-cover blurb for A Heart Set Free

In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.

Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?

When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.

It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .

and love will finally set her heart free.

Author Bio

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, and bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.  She is represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency

Connect with Janet Grunst:

http://JanetGrunst.com                                                                                               http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/                                                                                       https://www.facebook.com/Janet-Grunst-Author-385405948228216/

Order A Heart Set Free at the link below

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Set-Free-Janet-Grunst-ebook/dp/B01MQK0SXR/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480454877&sr=1-2&keywords=A+Heart+Set+Free

There are more Author interviews coming this year. If you enjoy these inspirational stories and getting the scoop on new releases please subscribe before you leave this page. 🙂

 

 

Interview with Grace Award Winner Sandra Ardoin

Today I welcome Sandra Ardoin recent Grace Award winner for her book  A Reluctant Melody.  Congratulations, Sandy. Sandra Ardoin_Headshot

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

Thanks so much for letting me share a bit about myself and my writing with your readers, Cindy!

I began writing in 1986. (Yes, all the way back then.) I started out with greeting cards and poster quotes—even had the fun of seeing a poster with my quote in a MOVIE! After a while, I wrote short stories for children’s denominational publications, then for adults. While being a SAHM, I only worked part-time until about 2008-09. That’s when I felt God opened that door to writing novels. From then on, it’s been my full-time job.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, A Reluctant Melody, came out last year. It’s the story of a secondary character from my first book, The Yuletide Angel. In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes is a man saved from his wild lifestyle by grace. Now, he wants to open a mission for drunkards in a home owned by Joanna Stewart. Joanna, a woman whose affections he once stole from his brother, has yet to find that grace and must choose between protecting herself from a second betrayal by Kit and protecting her best friend from an abusive spouse. It’s a romantic story of secrets, second chances, and redemption.reluctant melody

How do you research for your book?

My research is mostly done online. There are some things I must know are possible before I begin the story—places, time frames, the best area to set the book, etc. However, many of the tiny details are researched as I go. It’s not an ideal way to do it, and I’m trying to get to a point where I can make a note and write on, intending to check the facts later.

A Reluctant Melody takes place in a fictional town, but is set in the North Carolina area in which I live, so setting wasn’t hard to write. And Google Books is my friend. I find so much information in the books of the era. I’ll even use them to check proper word usage. Chronicling America is a gold mine of information through the pages of the newspapers of the time. For instance, in my (as-yet-unpublished) novella about the Nome gold rush, I found quite a bit of detail through issues of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, including the ship my heroine would have taken from Seattle to Nome.

What inspired you to write your book?

I love reading a book and picking out a secondary character whose story I would like to read. This happens even in my own stories. I always find characters I think will make great heroes and/or heroines for another book. That’s how Kit came to be the hero of A Reluctant Melody.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I wouldn’t say I realized it was a calling. I consider it more a ministry. God has allowed me to do something I truly enjoy that helps this highly shy introvert to speak of the gospel. Writing was something I’d wanted to do for a long time and never had the courage to tackle. When I was still single, I took a writing class and thought I’d use it as a second income (hear me laughing!). I was hooked.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

I have several. Jeremiah 29:11 is a biggie for me with my writing, but Isaiah 55:8-9 are amazing for keeping my perspective as to who God is and who I am. Then, there are numerous verses in Colossians—one of my favorite books—such as Colossians 1:17 – “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Isn’t that encouraging?

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

“You got it all wrong, kid.” I’d tell myself that writing is harder than it appears. Finding a publisher is even harder. And NEVER EVER do it for the money. 😊

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

Other than writer friends who are incredibly encouraging, I’d have to say readers who leave reviews are my best support system. I don’t expect everyone to like my stories, but I’ve been blessed by good reviews so far. Even ones that are critical in some way are helpful, as long as they contain information I can use to make my next books better.

Available on Amazon

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

At this time, I write historical romance and it’s my go-to for reading. However, I thoroughly enjoy romantic suspense or mystery. I will read straight romance, but anything that has mystery and danger is tops on my reading list. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.

Where is your favorite place to write?

When my daughter moved out to be on her own, I took over her bedroom—something I’m not sure she’s gotten over yet. I painted, added my desk and other furniture, decorated with fun writerly things and antique knick-knacks, then shut the door on the real world.

How can people follow you and your work?

If anyone wants more info about my writing and what’s coming up, I’d be thrilled for you to sign up for my Love and Faith in Fiction newsletter and receive a FREE short story when you do. My emails go out quarterly, unless an exciting offer pops up that I think you should know about.

BIO:

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

 

A Reluctant Melody – 2016 Grace Award Winner

Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.

A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.

Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?

Links to purchase:

A Reluctant Melody

Readers, please share what comment of Sandy’s resonated with you?

There are more in depth interviews coming up and if you aren’t a subscriber you’ll want to sign up to meet some more awesome authors and learn their stories.

Do’s and Don’t of Book Reviews

 

woman reading book

Write a review it takes only a few minutes.

I last posted a how-to article on submitting book reviews on Amazon. Today I thought I’d do a refresher on the concept of a review—specifically reviews on Amazon and other book sale sites. In these reviews, don’t think you must retell the story. The book ad has a blurb describing the content. So, our job as the reviewer is to express to potential readers what we liked or didn’t like about a book.

Our review can be as simple as one line.

“I could not put this book down.”

“I read it in one day.”

“Not my cup of tea.”

None of these one-liners mention the story’s content. But, it’s their honest review. A friend asks you, “Did you see such and such a movie?” Your response might be. “It was cool.” Now if you know this person and you have similar tastes you’ll go see it.

A book review needs a bit more information because many strangers will be reading your comments. Two of the one-liners above tell me the book kept the reader’s attention and the third it didn’t. Add a line or two telling why.

Describe what you loved about it. “I loved not figuring out who done it before it was revealed at the end of the book.” If I am looking for a mystery this is a comment that gets my interest.

“Not sappy. Strong female characters. Interesting twists. More than a simple romance.” I love a romance with more than two people making eyes at each other.  So, this review has my interest.

“I learned so much about life during the Civil War. Well-researched.” I like historicals that are fact filled. I’d consider reading this novel.

Some reviewers copy exact quotes from the book. That is so cool. Tells me the writer is a great wordsmith if the reader is captured by the words enough to quote them.

glasses on paper-2

What not to review

I read a review of a thriller that I found odd. “Too creepy.” She said. The reviewer added she didn’t like being scared. Not sure why she read a thriller when the whole point is to scare the reader at least a little.

Don’t bother to review a book you haven’t finished. If you do, admit you couldn’t finish it and say why.

Don’t review a book from genre you never read unless you loved it. It’s not fair to the writer. You can’t give an honest review of a genre you don’t like. There are specific ingredients that make up each genre. If you only like pie then cake may never satisfy you even if it has won a blue ribbon.

There are rare occasions when I’m asked to review a book way out of my wheelhouse. And if I am surprised that the content interested me, I mention that in the review. But often, I’ll suggest the author find someone who loves their genre to review it.

Please don’t review a book you have never read because your friend told you it was terrible and ask you to help get the word out. The flip side is true too. Don’t give a 5-star rating to a book your friend loved but you never read it. Honestly, I’ve meant people who are lemmings when it comes to reviews. This is not fair to prospective readers.

Longer reviews

There are those who write wonderful long reviews that compare the book to others in the genre or other titles the author has written. This is helpful to many who follow a specific author.  These longer reviews can often capture the attention of a new readers. If the review of an up and coming Romance novelist is compared to Nicholas Sparks or Debbie Macomber their fans will probably buy the book.

Be kind

But you don’t have to wax poet or long. Just be honest. While you’re at it, be kind. Snarky lines only give you grief. I did that only once. The feedback from the irate author and his fake friends (he wrote more criticisms of me under various names.) was not worth the time it took me to be snarky. We are not Sisko and Ebert getting big bucks to be brash, so keep your criticism mellow.

Misspelling and confusion

Be sure if you mention a character that you have the name right. Someone praised my heroine using the wrong name. It’s easy to do. We get involved in the story and then the names get jumbled in our heads later. Try to have no typos, especially the authors name. Yes, I’ve done that too. I’ve caught myself misspelling a name. Yay for the edit button.

Recap

Be honest.

Be clear.

Be kind.

Be accurate.

Don’t give a bad review for a genre you don’t read.

Don’t review a book you’ve never read.

Don’t retell the story.

Final thought

Please, please, please don’t give spoilers. As much as you want to, don’t tell me the twist details.  Save those comments for your book club.

What are you favorite kinds of reviews when you are considering buying a book?

If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I hope you’ve posted a review. If you haven’t read it yet check it out. There’s a buy link below.

secret-charades-front-cover

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage

Click here to order

Connect with Cindy:

Facebook Author Page: https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff

Pinterest: yes

Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/117599590227912410637

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-ervin-huff

Twitter: https:// twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Interview with Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Catherine BrakefieldToday I’m excited to welcome Catherine Ulrich Brakefield to Jubilee Writer. She has a new novel I had the opportunity to preview. Swept into Destiny is a wonderful Civil War era novel. It releases May 16th.  I loved the Irish immigrant hero Ben so much because of my own Irish immigrant ancestors. Cathy did some wonderful research to bring this story to life. So, I asked her to come and share about her story.

Cathy, thanks for coming.

My first question is why the Irish? It’s not often we see them in forefront of Civil War fiction.

Swept into Destiny is a work of fiction; however, the story was inspired by my grandmother and mother.

My grandmother was of Irish, English decent with a little of Scottish peppered in for good measure and a hint of Cherokee Indian. Through my grandmother I learned about what the Irish immigrant endured. My grandmother’s ancestors were slave owners way back when, but it was my mother who told me that the Irish did the life-threatening work so the slaves’ lives would not be sacrificed.

Thinking about it, this is understandable. Slaves were expensive and Irish immigrants were a dime a dozen during the 1840s and ’50s!

How much research did you do before writing your novel?

I really began my research in 2005, after my children went off to school and Gran went to live with Jesus. Gran lived with our family for twelve years. I had written down tablets of information and at that time just for my children.  I then asked my mother about certain events, and she encouraged me to write a book.  I decided to write a historical romance and that’s when I began my book research.

You had a few historical characters interact with Ben and Maggie. Tell us why you chose each one and how it added to your story.

Lincoln is my favorite. His dogmatic pursuit for the common man, and not caring what the color of his skin wasn’t popular during the 1850s. But Lincoln stood his ground.  Of course, there was John Brown who had his method of helping the Negro. General Grant, my respect grew the more I researched him. I realized his determination to keep the United States together was his sole objective. And he showed so much of the caring side of his character in his actions at Appomattox. I had to put in George Armstrong Custer, he being from Michigan and the fact that he laid claim to an Irish marching song for his cavalry regiment. Sherman never got better with research in my estimation, but worse. Dr. Isaac Anderson, or Mr. Greatheart as he was often called, had just gone to be with Jesus when Swept into Destiny opens; however, I did find ways of showing his influence on the people of Maryville.

God moves in mysterious ways. I met my husband on a 747 going on a vacation to Hawaii, he was stationed in Oahu in Naval Intelligence and was originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up marrying.

Through my husband, I learned more about the South that you can’t find in history books. Their southern hospitality, charm, Christian values, and loyalties. Some people didn’t have a true perspective about Lincoln or Grant. I learned that not all southerners wanted to secede from the Union, but joined the Confederacy because of loyalty to the southern cause.

I loved the addition of singing to the Union camp scenes. Where did you find the lyrics for your Irish songs?

My grandmother knew a few songs and in 2000 my husband and I went to Ireland for foxhunting. I gleaned a lot of information about these fun-loving and fearless people. Wow! They can really foxhunt. I have a picture of one Irishman jumping over a stone wall right onto a road! I bought books, and asked questions, and did a whole lot of listening and writing.

Then I accompanied my father with the remnants of his World War II regiment to Gettysburg. Well, what did I see, but a Celtic Cross that stood 19’ dedicated to the Irish Brigade. In my author’s note in the back of Swept into Destiny I explain more about the cross.

Can you share a bit about your story?

One brave decision leads to serious consequences. Maggie is secretly educating the slaves at Spirit Wind Manor. But the manor’s serenity is soon threatened by abolitionist John Brown. A new republic looms on the horizon and with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, her countrymen’s anger escalates as secession spreads across the southern states. With the fires of civil war glowing on the horizon, Maggie is swept into its embers realizing she is in love with the manor’s hardworking, handsome Irishman Ben McConnell. Ben joins the Union Army and Maggie is forced to call him her enemy. An unexpected chain of events leads her into choosing where her loyalties lie. Conscience and consequence—did she care more for Ben or for her beloved South? As the battle between North and South rages, Maggie is torn. Was Ben right? Had this Irish immigrant perceived the truth of what God had predestined for America?

When I finished the book, it felt like there should be a sequel. Is a sequel planned?

Yes! I am excited to say this is the first book of a four-book series, inspired by my grandmother and mother. We will follow the generations beginning in the Antebellum Era, into the Spanish-American War, onto World War I, the Great Depression and World War II.

What motivates you to write?

I write to spread the truth about our Christian-American heritage. I hope to write America’s story one truth at a time.  Americans need to know that this nation is founded upon Christian principles, values, and as the Battle Hymn of the Republic so bravely says, “His truth is marching on … Glory, glory, hallelujah!”

Share your favorite writing tip?

Pray for God’s guidance and for Him to be the orchestrater of your words. Then write, write, write, from your heart and give the glory to Jesus!

What writer has had the biggest influence on you?

As a young girl, Louise May Alcott began my love for books. Jane Austen’s books gave me my love for the poetic language of words. I know the readers now like easier reads with less poetic and less scenery description. However, these books had the greatest influence and my inspiration in my writing.

Thank you so much for dropping by. Before you go can you tell us a bit about upcoming novels?

My next novel is Into Destiny’s Whirlwind and you get a glimpse of the first chapter with your purchase of Swept into Destiny. Into Destiny’s Whirlwind begins in 1898, just before the Spanish American War begins. Each book will have Book Club Discussions Questions for more in-depth study into the historical significance of the times.

More about Catherine

Catherine says, “My readers inspire my writing. She is the author of three faith-based historical romances; The Wind of Destiny, Wilted  Dandelions, and the first of a four book Destiny series, Swept into Destiny scheduled for release on May 16, 2017. She has also written two pictorial history books: Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

She enjoys swimming and horseback riding and lives in Addison Township, Michigan, with her husband, Edward, and their Arabian horses. Now that her children are grown and married, she and Edward are the blessed recipients of two handsome grandsons and a lovely granddaughter!

See www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com for more information

Her author Facebook page is www.facebook.com/CatherineUlrichBrakefield To purchase Wilted Dandelions and Swept into Destiny and for book promotions visit www.CrossRiverMedia.com

We are having a drawing for Swept into Destiny. One lucky reader will receive a paperback copy after it releases on May 18th. So I am running this giveaway until the 18th. That’s 7 days to allow more people  a chance to comment below. Tell us why you’d like a copy of Swept into Destiny. Share this blog on your social media for a second entry. Just leave another message that you spread the word.

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Click here to preorder on Amazon

What I Learned From My Live Book Launch

DSC_1202Last night was my live book launch. Not all authors do them. But for me, it was an opportunity to celebrate with friends, family, and co-workers. I wanted to share with you what I did. There are some basics everyone follows. The biggest of course, selling autograph copies. I’d read that book launches are more successful if they are not in a bookstore. So, I chose the fireplace room at my church. It had more of a living room feel.

S&C - invite postcard for social media(1)I post an invitation on FB multiple times. And passed out invitations to friends and co-workers. My hubby placed them on various bulletin boards in restaurants so perspective readers would be aware.

For the event, I decorated with a few flowers, table cloths that match my book cover. I served cookies and other finger foods along with coffee, lemonade, and water. I kept it simple and avoided crumblier fare like cupcakes.DSC_1208

My hubby set my book trailer to play on a loop. It showed on the big screen in the room during the whole event. That garnered more interest in the story.

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I share a few minute about my writing journey. Had a drawing for items that represented my story. I talked about the significance of each one in relationship to the story. (Each entry provided an email which gave me new names for my mailing list.) I read the first two pages of my book to the attendees.  Then we had a Q & A. The questions were interesting and a few silly. (My grandson who is 18 asked when his name was going to be in my book.)DSC_1196

Then I sat at a table and autographed books. My son took care of the money. I used a square so as not to miss any sales.

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Now I feel more confident about doing signings and other events in the future.

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What I could I have done better?

Advertised sooner and in more places. Mailed out some invitations.

Double check each item before I left. My husband had to run back for a few things before we started. Know the internet password. Fortunately, my son has a phone he can create an internet hotspot so we were saved when it came to square sales. It probably would be wise to look for that option for my phone when I’m out and about selling my paperback copies.

Less is more. I had way to many cookies and brought too many books. But both were an act of faith. Not a bad reason. I’d rather have too much than not enough. 😊

The event was encouraging and the comments from attendees were precious. This is what a real author does. YAY! I am a real author.

Link to my trailer and on the last frame is the link to order on Amazon

Love to hear from you in the comment section about your own book launches. Or any questions you might have.