Sandra Melville Hart shares a bit of History about Abilene, Kansas

In case you missed my previous posts my latest release is part of Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys. I’m one of four authors in this collection that releases August 15th. Today I’ve asked Sandra Melville Hart, another author from the collection to give us a peek into her story Trail’s End setting.

Trail’s End set in Abilene

by Sandra Merville Hart

My brother married a Kansas girl and moved to that beautiful state soon after their marriage. On a family vacation to Kansas, we visited Abilene.

The town had been a wild Cowtown in its early days. Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal of Abilene in 1871. My sister-in-law had ancestors who lived there. One of them was friends with Wild Bill—what a surprise!

I learned a little history of the wild western town and wanted to learn more. Who knew that a family vacation would spark an idea for a future book? I had put aside my dream of writing years before. When my editor asked me to write a cowboy story set in the West, my imagination flew to Abilene.

Research held many surprises. The town was so wild that it had a hard time keeping a marshal. Some hired at breakfast left by suppertime.

When town leaders offered the position to Tom Smith, the lawman rode the streets. He then accepted the job on one condition—the cowboys had to be disarmed.

In 1870, Marshal Smith asked storekeepers, saloon-keepers, and hotel owners to post signs and collect their customers’ guns. His rule made the town a safer place.

This strong man so inspired me that I set my story in 1870 and gave him a small part in it. I love using actual historical characters in my stories. It brings them to life for me—and hopefully for my readers.

Sandra’s bio:

Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories A Musket in My Hands, a Civil War romance where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, is 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a 2019 Selah Award Finalist. A Rebel in My House, set during the historic Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Readers’ Choice Award. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger On My Land, was IRCA Finalist 2015. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” is set during the 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” released August 15, 2019.

Find her on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Trail’s End Blurb

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother. Buy link

Don’t forget I’m having a giveaway of $10 Amazon Card from one lucky commenter. Answer my question who’s your favorite cowboy or make any comment about cowboys you would like. The comment has to appear on the blog to qualify. You can go back to my blog post and Jennifer’s and post and read more about The Cowboys and have two more chances to enter. Thursday is release day Yahoo!! and I’ll have a repost from Award -winning author Linda W. Yezak the fourth contributor to our collection. That will give you one more chance to enter my giveaway.

 

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Who Doesn’t Love Cowboys? And a Giveaway?

It’s coming! Tomorrow will be August. On the 15th The Cowboys will be released. I’m so excited. In this post I thought I’d share the WHAT IF moment behind my novella Healing Hearts that appears in this collection.

Don’t you just want to ride off into the sunset with hm?

My editor Pegg Thomas, from Smitten Historical Romance (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) asked me if I’d be interested in being in a collection where the main character is a cowboy. Who doesn’t love a good cowboy story? Three other wonderful authors joined me in the adventure: Jennifer Uhlarik, Sandra Melville Hart and Linda W. Yezak, all wonderful, award-winning authors.

In romance the female character is the first character you met. The book starts by introducing her. But The Cowboy starts with scenes of the male lead. So that was an interesting challenge. Kansas was chosen as the setting for all the stories in the collection. After some emails circulating between the four authors we each chose our main characters setting, time period and dilemma. Cowboys rescue damsels in distress. 😊

A cabin in a blizzard Pixabay

My setting

I decided Healing Hearts would be set on an isolated ranch. The year 1866 sets me up for wonderful possibilities with the Civil War barely over.

Lonnie Holt and Jed Holt are identical twins. so this pic serves for both.

 

My Cowboy

I decided I wanted to introduce two cowboys. Identical twins Lonnie and Jed head to the Kansas ranch they inherited from their late uncle. Both brothers are pacifists. When the war broke out Jed chose a chaplaincy in the Union army. Lonnie chose to stay on the family Texas ranch and not take up arms. Both paid a price for their stand. They only have each other and the hope of a new start.

Lonnie is physically scarred and full of guilt and regret. Jed still has strong faith even with his physical weakness due to time in a confederate POW camp. My hero, Lonnie’s focus is helping his brother get well and keeping him safe.  He has no time or patience for anything else. He’s a bit of a grump, and very protective of his remaining family member.

 

The woman who tames him

Now I needed to have a strong female character to become Lonnie’s love interest. Genny Collins grew up in wealth only to live in poverty because of her father’s gambling addiction. Her past is full of secrets and helpful experiences that play into the plot.  She is weary of men and afraid for her future.  The twins come upon her in their cabin and you’ll have to read the story to discover how she got there.

Genny Collins my heroine

 

Add plot twists

Once they met I had to keep the two stubborn characters together long enough to get to know each other. Voila, a blizzard. Now they can’t send her packing.  Then I added illness, a bit of mayhem and personality clashes to create a good start to a sweet romance. Throw in a few twists that tear at their hearts and Lonnie and Genny find their happily-ever-after. I love these characters. They were so fun to write.

 

A few historical tidbits I’ll mention that you’ll find in the book.

  • Beef was growing as a food staple back east since the railroad made it easier to transport cattle from the west. Ranching would become a very profitable business in the nineteenth century.
  • Marriage Licenses did not exist until 1867. This is a year after the setting of my novella. Until that time writing the name and date in the family Bible might be the only record of a marriage.
  • Without refrigeration many ways were discovered to preserve eggs. The best method recommended and still used by those who prefer a pioneer lifestyle today is slat lye. Unwashed eggs were placed in a slat lye water mixture in a crock. It preserved them through the winter.
  • Sourdough starter was the most common leaven for baking. It was easy to create and could be substituted for baking powder and soda as well as baker’s yeast.

If I have your interest:

Links:

Here is a link to the first chapter of Healing Hearts. The Cowboys is available for preorder. If you want to order an autographed copy from me here is a link to that page. You can order autograph copies of any of my books at this same link.

Over the next two weeks I’ll be posting guest blogs from my three co-authors. If you’ve not subsribed do it now so you don’t miss those posts.

Giveaway: Everytime you post a comment and share the posts about The Cowboys on social media over the next two weeks you’ll be put in a drawing for a $10 Amazon e-card. Today I’ll give you something to comment about to get you started. (All comments mjust be in this blog site to qualify.)

Tell me in the comments whose you’re favorite cowboy. I’ll start. Sam Elliot. His look and voice are the epitome of the imagine in my mind of the American cowboy.  If you know a real life cowboy share a bit about him too.

You’ll have three more chances to enter when Jennifer, Linda and Sandy stop by for a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Schlachter newest novella and a Giveaway

MissAdventure Brides Cover(1)

Today I welcome back Donna Schlachter to talk about her newest release Detours of the Heart part of  The MissAdventure Brides Collection. Welcome Donna, let’s dive in. Tell us  a little bit about the collection.

The MissAdventure Brides from Barbour Publishing is a a novella collection that features seven young women who don’t let romance get in the way of their adventures—and vice versa.

How did you research for story?  I travel a lot, so when I visit a location, I take lots of pictures, visit museums, walk the streets, and try to get a feel for what story this place wants to tell. For The MissAdventure Brides, I also visited the Denver Public Library Archives for information on Fred Harvey and his endeavours to stop native jewelry counterfeiting, which I’d read about in another book. That became the main suspense plot in my romance. I also watched several movies and documentaries even remotely connected to the topic, the time period, and the place.

How interesting. I had no idea people were counterfeiting native jewelry back then. I’d only heard the history of the Harvey House Girls. Why did you choose this setting?

I love the era of the Harvey House Girls, and I love the area near Albuquerque, New Mexico where the Acoma (pronounced a’-coe-ma) people live, so when the opportunity came up to write an historical novella, that location jumped to mind.

Donna, I lived in New Mexico for a few years as a child. It’s a beautiful place. The white sands are spectacular.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?  Jeremiah 29:11 is my life verse, and was many years before it became so popular. I constantly remind myself to pass everything through that verse. Some days I’m more successful than other days.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?  I have so many stories in my head, but I still get lazy and want to do other things. I keep going back to this question: am I making the best use of my time for the Lord?

About Detours of the Heart in The MissAdventure Brides Collection:

Millie Watkins, a tour guide for the Harvey House Detours in Albuquerque, enjoys pretending she is a star in the brand new silver screen industry. Peter Duncan, son of itinerant farmers, wants to settle down and have a family. He dates lots of girls, but Millie is his favorite. However, she sees a playboy, which is fine—she has no intentions of staying in Albuquerque. Will they discover that sometimes life offers a completely different detour, or will they go their own way and settle for second-best?

To win a free print copy (US Only, please) of missAdventure Brides Romance Collection, leave a comment, and we will randomly select one person to receive the book.

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About Donna:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 25 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, and Sisters In Crime; facilitates a critique group, and teaches writing classes. Donna ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

Follow Donna at:

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Purchases her books:

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

  Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a copy  of The MissAdventure Brides Collection. I’m sure you’ll not only love Donna’s offering Detours of the Heart but the other six as well. I love these Barbour collections. They are historically accurate and so fun to read. Come on now, make a comment for a chance to win.

 

 

A Peek into the Writing life of Author Susan G. Mathis

Susan G. Mathis is my guest today. Her journey from journalist writing to historical fiction is an encouragement to all writers that there is a season for everything. And she has had many seasons. Welcome Susan, let’s get started with one of my favorite question.

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

I can’t remember not writing. I’ve taught Language Arts for nine years to 4-8 graders, had my own newspaper column, wrote missions curriculum, and have written just about anything God put in my path.

Before I jumped into the fiction world, I served as the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and the former Editor/Editorial Director of 12 Focus on the Family publications. My first two published books were nonfiction, co-authored with my husband, Dale. I also authored two picture books and am published in various book compilations including five Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Ready to Wed, Supporting Families Through Meaningful Ministry, The Christian Leadership Experience, and Spiritual Mentoring of Teens. 

I swore I’d never write fiction, but never say never! My hubby and I went to a book talk/signing, and after we left, I jokingly said, “I could write a story about a quilt!” I then proceeded to tell him the entire story, and he said, “Well, write it!” Thus, began my journey of writing historical fiction. I currently have two published historicals, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and Christmas Charity.

I love hearing the diversity of your writing journey. What is your latest published project?

Katelyn’s Choice is the first in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series releases March 15, 2019 with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Sounds very interesting. I love the idea of adding actual historical characters to your work.

How do you research for your book?

A few years ago, my husband and I visited Wolfe Island, Pullman Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island. We met some wonderful people who kept the intriguing Thousand Island history deep in their hearts, and I gleaned all kinds of valuable information and made special friends in the process. My historical editor is the president of the Thousand Islands Historical Association and a Thousand Islands author herself. Seeing and experiencing the area as I wrote made my writing come to life, and my historical editor keeps the history accurate.

I love hearing you have a fact checker for you historical details. This is so important for any writer. Even contemporary genres need those go to people to be sure the descriptions are accuate.

What inspired you to write your book?

I grew up in the Thousand Islands and there are so many wonderful stories to tell. The Thousand Islands Gilded Age is full of wonderful islands and characters like George Pullman, Frederick Bourne, and hundred of famous people like J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt and others. So, I aim to tell at least some of them.

Sounds so interesting. I’ve read about some of these historical celebrities so it will be interesting to visit them in the pages of your books.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Quite an inspirational verse for writers. Thanks for sharing.

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

My husband, Dale, is so supportive, loving, and patient. He encourages me, puts up with me spending hours on the computer, and listens to all my crazy creative thoughts. He’s a saint!

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write at my kitchen table overlooking the beautiful Rocky Mountain Front Range. I usually have a scented candle and cup of tea keeping me company.

Sounds wonderful, I’m envious of your view.

Tell us about your next project.

Book two of the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series comes to life in Devyn’s Dilemma. It’ll release in April 2020. Here’s the summary of the story: Twenty-year-old Devyn McKenna is nervous about working on Dark Island in the imposing Castle called the Towers, a 28-room structure complete with dungeons, underground passageways, and castle secrets. Devyn struggles to find the self-confidence she needs to carry out her duties as a housemaid in the summer home of the wealthy president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Frederick Bourne. As she serves the likes of Brig. Gen. Cornelius Vanderbuilt III and others, her curiosity for learning grows. But when she is accused of stealing his plans for expanding the NYC subway and learns her brother ‘borrowed’ the plans and the man she loves believes she was the culprit, her faith is tested like never before.

Wow! I’m definitely interested. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your books with my readers. And readers grab a copy of Katelyn’s Choice and if you have a moment post a review for Susan.

Susan’s bio:

Susan G Mathis is a multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in Upstate New York. Katelyn’s Choice, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, and Christmas Charity will transport you to a time and place few have visited. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her husband, Dale, and relishes time with her four adorable granddaughters. Find out more at www.SusanGMathis.com.

Buying links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katelyns-Choice-Susan-G-Mathis/dp/1946016721/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1548078303&sr=1-1

 Barnes & Nobles: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130536525?ean=9781946016720

Lighthouse Publishing: https://www.shoplpc.com/product/katelyns-choice

 

Connect with Susan at:

 

Website: www.SusanGMathis.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susangmathis

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/108568340293012416399

 

 

 

 

Katelyn's Choice by Susan G Mathis cover

 

Sand Creek Serenade author Jennifer Uhlarik shares her writing journey

I had the pleasure of meeting today’s blog guest, in person, last week at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. She’s one of my online critique partners. It was such a delight to spend time with her and hug her neck. Welcome, Jennifer. Could you tell my readers a little about your writing journey?juhlarik-HR-3(1)

How far back do you want me to go? LOL I truly believe that I had the writing bug from the time I was a toddler on. There are pictures of me, still in diapers, scribbling on a pad of paper with the most thoughtful look on my face. By the age of twelve, I really realized I wanted to write when “playing pretend” with my friends was no longer cool. I loved to make up stories and act them out, and once I realized I could make up those stories and write them down instead, then the writing bug really hit me. I wrote all through high school, majored in writing in college, but then my writing life hiccupped when I jumped into adulthood. I married, worked various jobs, had a child…and generally lost track of my writing for a while. It was when my first husband and I separated/divorced, and I became a single mom that I threw myself into my writing again to escape the stress at the end of each day. I published a few things during a 5-year span between 1999-2004, but due to circumstances from my lack of money to promote my work to the publishers folding, none of my projects met with any success.

That pattern of work-by-day/write-by-night went on until I took a job teaching school for several years starting in 2006. That was another one of those hiccups in my writing life. I was far too exhausted to write during those three years, but God had made it abundantly clear to me that, for that season, I was to be a teacher. When the teaching season ended, a lot had changed for me. I’d married my real-life hero Dave in 2007, and our financial situation was such that we no longer needed my income to stay afloat. So, my sweetheart gave me the opportunity to stay home and chase my dream. Starting in 2009, I wrote a novel (still unpublished), found an agent, and plotted out and began writing other projects. During this time, I attended writing conferences and entered writing contests. In 2013, I had the great pleasure of winning my category in five contests! My agent was shopping my completed western novel. Surely I was on my way! And I was…but the journey looked far different than I thought it would.

In late 2013 or early 2014, a call for submissions came across my path for a few different novella collections with Barbour Publishing, so I put in a couple of ideas. To my great surprise, both proposals were accepted—one just a few days before my birthday in June 2014, and the second a month later. Both collections came out in 2015. I still hadn’t gotten any serious interest on my novel. So, I whipped out my first two novellas and went back to work on other (novel-length) projects. Since my first two novella contracts came in, I’ve had at least one novella contract per year, and in between times, I’ve worked on a bunch of other projects. There have been a lot of rejections of those longer projects, but I’ve been bolstered by the smaller successes with the Barbour novella collections. And finally, in March of 2018, I received a contract for my first full-length project! It took nearly a decade from the time I was able to come home and write full time to finally see a novel with my name on the cover out in print. It wasn’t an easy road, nor was it a fast road—but it was all worth it!

All those projects made you the stellar writer you are today.

Tell us about your latest published project.

Today is the official release day for Sand Creek Serenade—my first full-length novel. It is a historical romance set in 1864 Colorado Territory. My heroine, Sadie Hoppner, is a female doctor who practices medicine at Fort Lyon. The hero, Five Kills, is a half-Cheyenne brave who, along with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, has camped beside the fort while awaiting word of a peace treaty promised to them by the Army and Colorado Governor. But not everything is as it appears, and Sadie and Five Kills’ new friendship and burgeoning love is put to the test when the ultimate act of betrayal is committed against the Native tribes.

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What kind of research was needed for Sand Creek Serenade?

This particular story required a lot of research in several different areas. The most obvious is to know the history of the Sand Creek Massacre—the historic events before, during and immediately after the tragedy. I found a couple of great resources that dealt specifically with that—particularly two books. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, and Ned Wynkoop and the Lonely Road from Sand Creek by Louis Kraft. Both were hugely helpful in learning the ins and outs of this historical event.

The second area I needed to research was life among the Cheyenne. What they ate, how they dressed. Details of their camps, their tents, and so forth. Again, I found some wonderful resource books. The main one I used was The Mystic Warriors of the Plains by Thomas E. Mails. This book was invaluable for knowing the fine details of Cheyenne and Arapaho culture.

And the third area where I had to do a lot of research was in the medical details that Sadie might have used. I have any number of great books on my bookshelves on Civil War era medicine, but so much of what I needed to know for this story was when a particular procedure came into practice. For that, I used the internet, learning of the origins of the procedures. Then, when it came to depicting my woman doctor doing a particular procedure, I watched YouTube videos to get a feel for how things would be done. (Thank goodness I’m not the squeamish sort!) LOL

Seeing it all written out like this, it sounds like a LOT of work, but the truth is, I loved delving into these areas as I was writing!

I had no idea there were Youtube videos of medical procedures. Ewwww.

On to something less squeamish, I hope. What inspired you to write your book?

I was supposed to be plotting a novella for a collection with the theme of “women doing male-dominated jobs.” Thus, my heroine was a doctor at a time in history when very few women practiced medicine in any formal setting. But I needed some kind of an event that would allow her a big platform to use her medical skills. It was late one evening when I stumbled on a brief mention of the Sand Creek Massacre and thought it would make the perfect setting. Immediately, the hero, Five Kills, began to take shape in my mind. But in the days after that, I dug further into the research of the Sand Creek Massacre and realized just how much history there was to cover. It was not the topic for a novella! And I wondered if it was even a good topic for a novel. But the story called to me, and after praying through the idea, I knew it must be written. So—Sand Creek Serenade was born.

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

As I said above, I think I was called to write from the womb! LOL I have always loved stories and books, and I’ve long been fascinated with paper pads and writing utensils. I have memories of sneaking out of my bed late at night when I was four or five years old and “writing books” about earthworms and other creatures. (The “books” were not so much stories and pictures with some scribbly lines underneath—but I was young and hadn’t learned to write yet!). But it was that 7th grade year when the writing bug really grabbed hold of me. I had a friend named Holly who I’d often spend time with after school. We’d spend the night at each other’s homes, and we were always together at school. During one overnight stay at Holly’s house, she showed me a spiral notebook and announced that she was writing a book. My competitive streak came out then, and I thought to myself that if she could write one, so could I! And so, I began writing down those wonderful imagined worlds and characters. When I showed my English teacher what I was working on sometime later, I got such praise and encouragement to keep going! Thankfully, that encouragement egged me to keep on in my pursuit, and by the time I reached high school, I’d been so bitten by the writing bug that I couldn’t wait to share my words and stories with people.

Jennifer, do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Luke 1:45—Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

This verse, originally spoken by the angel to Mary when he told her she would bear the Son of God, always speaks so strongly to me about keeping faith in the things God says. There have been times that God has promised me things—but then the promise tarries, and my faith begins to wane some. That’s when I go back to Luke 1:45 and refresh my faith. God never goes back on a promise. It’s my job to hold fast to faith and wait it out.

What an inspirational thought for all writers. Thanks, Jen.

Now on to one of my favorite questions. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

I think I would tell myself just to be prepared for the wait. The writing industry moves about as fast as a hibernating snail—or it seems so when you’re waiting to hear their answers on a submission. LOL If I could, I’d tell my younger self not to expect anything to happen quickly, but to keep the faith that I would eventually realize my dream of seeing stories I’d written get published. Don’t let the hiccups in my writing life worry me but put on a smile and know that writing is my true calling, and I’ll always return to it, even if a particular season takes me away from it. These are the mindsets a career as a writer requires, and I wish I’d understood that aspect earlier, so I could’ve handled it with more grace at times.

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

Oh, goodness. There are many! But to name the closest ones—my wonderful husband, Dave, who gave me the best opportunity to be a full-time writer and to chase my dream. A friend, Shannon, who I’ve known since my son was just a toddler, and who reads almost everything I write, usually when I’m bleary-eyed from a late-night writing session and mired in self-doubt. She is always full of great encouragement and fantastic constructive criticism. And my critique group, a set of gals who have read at least some of every published story I’ve put out so far (and a bunch of unpublished ones too) and helped me hone and shape the stories into something other people would want to read! I couldn’t do what I do without these handfuls of people. I love them all!

I’d like to ask, what is your favorite genre to read for fun?

Give me a Louis L’Amour western, and I’m a happy girl!

I am not surprised. LOL

Where is your favorite place to write?

One of the things my husband did to bless me when I finally got to come home and write was to help me turn one of our bedrooms into my personal writing space. I’ve got a small desk and office chair for my writing stints, two large bookcases with my myriad of research books close at hand, and a futon for when I want to get more comfortable for reading, researching, or even editing.

I am so jealous. Sounds wonderful. Thank you for joining me today. I am so excited about your novel and it’s next up on my to-read list. Readers grab a copy of her newest release Sand Creek Serenade the link is below the bio of my awesome friend.

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenuhlarik/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferuhlarik/

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946016853/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

If yoou have any questions for Jennifer post them in the comments.

 

Cozy up with a Christmas Novella

The Holiday season can be a busy time of year. For me it’s not Christmas without reading a few Christmas novels. It’s a tradition as beloved as watching the cheesy Hallmark movies. If you can’t read a whole novel why not a novella?

Let me share a few I’ve read this year.

A Door County Christmas

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All four novellas are set in Door County, all have a Christmas cactus in the mix and each has healing framed in humor.

Backcover copy

.In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

 

If you only have time to read one Christmas novella I strongly recommend The ornament Keeper.

The Ornament Keeper.

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Eva Marie Everson is a fav author of mine. She writes southern fiction that keeps the reader engaged and in the scene until the last word on the last page. The main characters in this novella are married with a family and a messed-up relationship. As a reader we get to see the problems. It takes the couple a bit longer to figure it out. Ornaments play a key role in revealing things to the reader. I loved it. Read it in a few hours.

Back Cover copy:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

For all my historical romance readers you’ll love Mary Conneally’s collection.

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift, and The Christmas Candle.

Three aweet stories that take you back to a different time and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. I was particularly interested in The Sweet Gift as it is based on her great grandparents love story.

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Back cover copy:

Three previously released Christmas novellas.
Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

Grab a blanket, your favorite beverage and snuggle up with a Christmas story. Share in the comments your favorite Christmas novel, novella or collection. Maybe it will inspire someone for a last minute Christmas gift.

 

 

 

A Visit with Naomi Musch

Today I’m featuring author Naomi Musch. Like me she discovered her calling to write novels later in life. Welcome, Naomi, have a seat and let’s get started. Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

Author Naomi Musch-6

I’ve been writing since I announced to the world at ten years old that it was my intention to become an author. While I pursued that diligently and wrote in various venues over the years, publishing news articles, essays, and blog posts, it wasn’t until I was in my forties that my first novel was published. In the twelve years since, I’ve been blessed to see eleven of my novels find publishing homes.

How exciting for you to see your dream materialize. Sounds like for every year you waited you’ll soon have an equal number of books published. Tell us about your upcoming twelfth project.

I’m SUPER EXCITED to tell you that my current work is just a few days’ shy of release! On October 10th, Mist O’er the Voyageur launches, a true novel of my heart. The story is a romance set during the fur trade era among the voyageurs and fur traders of the Great Lakes, primarily between Quebec and the head of Lake Superior.  (Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter prize drawing at the end of the post!) Here’s the cover blurb:

After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long.

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country. 

Can’t wait to read it. As a history geek and a writer of historicals I want to know how you did research for your book?

I live in the Lake Superior region, and I’ve known some history of the voyageurs and area forts and fur trade history for a long, long time. Years ago, I read a YA novel called Song of the Voyageur written in the 1950s by Wisconsin author Beverly Butler, and I started falling more in love with the period. It was such a beautiful story.  I wish I could get my hands on that book again! Then about twenty years ago, we took our children to visit Fort William near Thunder Bay in Canada, and took part in that “living history” experience. Something spoke to even me then about setting scenes of a story there someday. As someone who loves research, I found more information in library books and online than I could ever use, and I had to figure out what would be important to leave in the story and what wouldn’t. Besides researching the route of the voyageurs from Montreal to the forts at the head of Lake Superior, I also used Google earth (of all things!) to help me map the journey (realizing, of course, that some topography has changed since the early 1800s).

Sounds like you had fun researching. Now, I love to learn what inspires writers. So, Naomi what inspired you to write your book?

I think it was my love of the period combined with having written a different novel that sort of related. My first novel was called The Casket Girl, a tale about the “King’s Girls” who were sent by King Louis of France to encourage population of New France (Canada & Louisiana in the 1700s). I had planned to write a sequel set in Canada, but as I continued my research, the story began to morph into something else entirely. I can’t tell you just where the idea came from, but it was seeded sometime back then. A lot of the plotting took place from a cold deer stand one snowy November.

A deer stand…well, I’ve never heard that before. How interesting. Writers do get their inspiration at odd times and unusual places. When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

As I mentioned before, I was ten years old. I’d already ruled out becoming a ballerina or an architect. Writing stories allowed me to become anything I wanted to be. (And I’m humming “In my own little corner, in my own little room, I can be whatever I want to be” as I write that. –Cinderella, Rogers & Hammerstein) LOL! Love it.

Obviously, you love music, do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Oh… so many! Psalm 40:1-3 sums up my life’s testimony — and I think it has subconsciously summed up the lives of some of my characters as well:

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.”

Let’s take another turn in this interview. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

There are probably many things I wish I’d known about writing and doing the work of a writer when I was younger, but most importantly, I would tell myself, “Do not procrastinate! Submit, submit, and submit again!” I think there were too many times I stopped too soon.

I can so relate.

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

My best support system is my family. My husband Jeff allows me as much room as I want to pursue my love for writing. He knows that no matter what becomes of it, it’s what God gave me to do. I believe God is pleased when I practice the gift He’s given. My five adult kids, too, are very supportive. They don’t even like to ask for babysitting if they know I’m in the throes of a work-in-progress. They’re all very sweet and encouraging. I also belong to a fantastic writers group called the Upper St. Croix Writers.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

My heart beats strongest for historical fiction with a strong romantic thread. The more realistic and rugged the story, the better I like it.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I write from an easy chair in my living room. I gave up working at a desk in 2007 when I hurt my back. However, when the weather holds, my very favorite place to write is in my vintage camper. The atmosphere is cozy and quaint, and though it still needs some work, I find it a very peaceful place to hole up and let my imagination fly while a story takes focus. While I’m in there, I manage to stay free of the distractions of housework that always beckon.

Sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for stopping by. Tell us what coool gift we get fro signing up for your newsletter and your drawing and how my readers can sign up for a chance to win.

Those who sign up for Naomi’s newsletter will receive her award-winning short story Ellie Hollis Gets Her Man in the November issue.

OFFICIAL Mist Cover (2)

DRAWING!

Naomi will give away THREE eCopies of Mist O’er the Voyageur in October, one each on the 10th, 17th, and 24th of the month. On the 31st she’ll give away a Grand Prize Package which includes: a Signed Paperback Copy of Mist O’er the Voyageur, 8×10 watercolor print “Estuary” by northland artist Viola LaBounty, Philippians 4:13 Blue Soul Scrips Flex-Cover Journal, Flowered Note Card Set, and Miscellaneous Swag.

Use the Rafflecopter to enter, and follow her blog hop for repeat chances to enter: Click on blog names to read more about Naomi and enter again.

Oct. 5: Colonial Quills

Oct. 10: More Reason to Write

Oct. 16: Stitches Thru Time

Oct. 17: Linda Brooks Davis

Oct. 27: The Over 50 Writer

Oct. 29: Linda Yezak

Oct. 30: Winner announced at naomimusch.com

Here is your first chance to enter click the link below.

[Rafflecopter]

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/NDIzMGJhZDAyZDExN2NlM2UzZmZmMDgzNDFkYzcwOjI=/?

 

More about Naomi Musch

Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of thirteen grandchildren. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. She is a new contributor to the Colonial Quills blog. Though she has written in a variety of venues, her great love is historical fiction. Her new novel, Mist O’er the Voyageur, releases from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in October 2018 and is available for pre-order. Naomi would love to connect with you around the web. Visit her at naomimusch.com

FB: Naomi Musch – Author

Twitter: @NMusch

Instagram: Naomi Musch

Goodreads: Naomi Dawn Musch

Pinterest: Naomi Musch

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/naomimusch

 

 

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