Cozy up with three of My Favorite New Releases

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you all know I am a verocious reader. As such I am on occasion given an ARC copy and asked to post a review. I am happy to do it. Recently I reviewed two new releases and Michelle Shocklee and Jennifer Lemont Leo are now on my favorite author list. The third book I read was a novella collection with one of my favorite novella authors Pegg Thomas. Below you’ find my reviews, the back cover blurb and a buy link.

The Widow of Rosehill

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of the Widow of Rosehill. I am under no obligation to give it a good review. Which made me feel comfortable checking it out. I loved the first book in the series The Planter’s Daughter. But I didn’t care for the secondary character of Natalie. She was spoiled and spineless. She is the main character in the Widow of Rosehill. Six years later with the Civil War just ended and her horrible husband dead Natalie has grown up a lot. Her focus is raising her son. Being informed by an official decree that the south has lost the war and her slaves are free was an awakening for this southern belle. I loved Natalie’s willingness to change, work alongside the slaves who decided to stay and help her. Enter an abolitionist Colonel and the sparks fly between Natalie and Levi. Each learning that the other is not the enemy. It was fun to envision the hero with a full beard. Very much in keeping with the era. Michelle Shocklee has a gift with words. And her historical accuracy brought the story to life. I stayed up too late reading it and the plot haunted my dreams until I finished it. I look forward to more books by this author.


Widowed during the war, Natalie Ellis finds herself solely responsible for Rose Hill plantation. When Union troops arrive with a proclamation freeing the slaves, all seems lost. How can she run the plantation without slaves? In order to save her son’s inheritance she strikes a deal with the arrogant, albeit handsome, Colonel Maish. In exchange for use of her family s property, the army will provide workers to bring in her cotton crop. But as her admiration for the colonel grows, a shocking secret is uncovered. Can she trust him with her heart and her young, fatherless son?

Natalie Ellis is everything Colonel Levi Maish loathes: a Southern slave owner. When he and his men arrived in Texas with the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves still in bondage despite the war having ended, he feels little concern for the trail of plantation owners left in its wake without workers. But the plight of the beautiful Widow Ellis stirs to life his compassion and the heart he’d thought cold as stone after witnessing the carnage of war. While the army camps on her land, Levi finds himself contemplating a future with Natalie and Samuel. But when he learns where her husband perished during the war, he knows a life with Natalie is impossible. How could she ever forgive him for what he’d done in battle on the banks of the Bull Run?

Buy links:


Ain’t Misbehavin’ is the sequel to You’re the Cream in My Coffee. Sequels are not always easy to write, and they need to be every bit as good as the first one. I found Ain’t Misbehavin’ as engaging as the first book. I loved looking back to a by gone era. Jennifer Lemont Leo has sprinkled tidbits of culture, inventions and history throughout the story of Charlie Corrigan and Dot Rogers. We were introduced to them in You’re the Cream in My Coffee.

The characters struggle with their own versions of low self-esteem. Charlie was injured in World War I, feeling unworthy of any woman’s love.  Dot had a father who verbal abused her and she’s made some bad decisions leaving her convinced she is unworthy of true love. Many of the characters from the first book help frame Charlie and Dot’s story. Some giving great advice, others causing trouble. At one point I found myself saying “Oh no, Dot don’t do it.” When I’m talking to the characters then I’m totally hooked on the story.  The setting may be 1929 but the heart of the story is timeless.

I was given an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest opinion. I can honestly say this well-written, well-researched novel is well-worth the reader’s time.



In Jazz Age Chicago, Dot Rodgers sells hats at Marshall Field while struggling to get her singing career off the ground. Independent and feisty, she’s the life of the party. But underneath the glitter, she doesn’t believe she’s worth the love of a good man. Why would a strong, upstanding man want to build a future with a shallow, good-time girl like her?

Small-town businessman Charlie Corrigan carries scars from the Great War. After all he’s been through, he wants nothing more than to marry and start a family. But the woman he loves is a flamboyant flapper with no intention of settling down. She’s used to a more glamorous life than he can offer. As his fortunes climb with the stock market, it seems he’s finally going to win her love. But what happens when it all comes crashing down?

Buy link

Bouquet of Brides.

This novella collection spans from colonial times to the early 1900s. Every heroine has a flower name. Every hero has to win his flower. The backdrops of each story is very different. But the basic dilemma remains the same—finding love and declaring it amidst what appears to the characters to be insurmountable odds. Nice historical research and characters to root for.


Meet seven American women who were named for various flowers but struggle to bloom where God planted them. Can love help them grow to their full potential?

Holly and Ivy by Mary Davis (1890, Washington State)
At Christmastime, Holly Harrison accompanies her impetuous younger sister on her trip across the country to be a mail-order bride. But even as she tries to persuade her sister that loving a stranger is foolhardy, Holly loses her own heart to a fellow traveler.

Periwinkle in the Park by Kathleen Kovach (1910, Colorado)
Periwinkle Winfield is a hiking guide helping to commission a national park. But a run-in with a mountain man who is determined to keep the government off his land may place her in great danger.

At Home with Daffodils by Paula Moldenhauer (1909, Oklahoma)
When her childhood sweetheart returns to town, will Dilly Douglas accept the worthy heart he offers, or will the old wound he opens keep them apart?

A Song for Rose by Suzanne Norquist (1882, Rockledge, Colorado)
Can Patrick O’Donnell, a tenor disillusioned by the performance industry, convince Rose Miller that that there is more to music than her dream of joining an opera company?

Beauty in a Tansy? by Donita K. Paul (1918, South Dakota)
Tansy Terrell was named after a weed. When she opens shop next door, Arthur Blake recognizes Tansy’s need to be valued as a beautiful flower but fails to see his own worth as a maker of instruments and music.

A Prickly Affair by Donna Schlachter (1885, Arizona)
A rough-and-tumble cowgirl, “Cactus” Lil Duncan longs for true love, but is afraid to let down her prickly exterior when a city slicker from New York City, with less-than-honorable intentions, tries to win her heart and her hand.

In Sheep’s Clothing by Pegg Thomas (1702, Connecticut)
Peter Maltby might be all good looks and charm, working in the new mill fulling wool, but Yarrow Fenn fears he is the Crown’s agent in disguise who will destroy the only livelihood she has.
Buy link

I obviously love Historical romance. But I do read in other genres. And I will be blogging about those in the future. If you’d love to read more reviews don’t forget to subscribe so you can receive each new post in your email.


Introducing Jennifer A. David and A Give-a-way

Today I welcome Jennifer Cvalbar AKA Jennifer A. Davids.  She is a fellow-author with the Smitten Imprint for LPC historical romance writers. I am delighted she is visiting. This is my first author with a pen name. Welcome Jennifer. I’m curious to learn a little about your writing journey. Jennifer A Davids_photo

A ninth-grade creative writing assignment. That’s how it all started. I wasn’t expecting the story I turned in to be anything special. Honestly, I was just hoping for a good grade. So when my teacher stood in front of the class and said my story had gotten an A++ I couldn’t believe it. Especially since I had stayed up late the night before I turned it in finishing it. I’ve been putting words to paper ever since. Fast forward to February 2010 when my writing journey took a new turn and I was offered my very first contract with Heartsong Presents, the then book club imprint of Barbour Books. I published three books with them before the imprint was sold to Harlequin. You can find all of them in one book titled Brides of Ohio.

Since that last Heartsong book, a busy season of life happened. My two children went from being fifteen and eleven to being twenty and sixteen. But I did write another book, my first stab something longer than a Heartsong. It was quite a challenge but I’m so excited that A Perfect Weakness will be released by Smitten, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, on July 25, 2018.

Jennifer A Davids_Brides of Ohio _cover


Interesting.  How did A Perfect Weakness evolve?

The inspiration for A Perfect Weakness came from one of my Heartsong books. At the time, Heartsong Presents was still in business through Harlequin and I wanted to write another book for them. One of my secondary characters in Wounded Heart had great hero potential and I often wondered what he did after the events in that book ended. So I decided to find out. But as I started working out the story it grew and grew and became way too long to be a Heartsong length novel. So I erased any connection the story had to Wounded Heart and made it a full-length novel—well, almost. I may have left a small ‘Easter egg’ for a reader of Brides of Ohio to find. A very small one. I’ll have to see who catches it. J

Makes me want to read Brides of Ohio in preparation for this books release. Let’s talk about you. Here’s one of my favorite questions to ask authors. If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

“Sketch out the whole plot before you start to write.” I used to get so excited about an idea that I would start writing and then just stop when I got to a point where I had no idea what happened next. All the enthusiasm would leach away and there I would sit with just a beginning that headed nowhere. So I do a rough outline/draft of the whole book in Scrivener now. But I don’t act as if every plot point is written in stone. I let it move around and I’ll change something or go a different direction if need be. But it does give me enough of an idea of where the story is going so that I don’t abandon it.


Great advice. Do you have a favorite genre you love to read for fun?

OK that’s like asking which kid is my favorite. I write historical romance and while I do read a lot of that genre I don’t always read there for fun. It depends so much on my mood. If I want to read fantasy, I’ll default to The Lord of the Rings or the Narnia series. If I want a classic, Jane Eyre or The Count of Monte Cristo. I also enjoy reading Erik Larson who writes wonderful historical non-fiction.

Thanks for much for sharing. Now if any of you are curious about the Brides of Ohio series make a comment to be placed in a drawing for an e-book copy. I’ll draw a name on Friday and contact the winner. If you are new to my blog, please leave an email address written with the word at and dot in place of the symbols. I’ll forward your address to Jennifer.

More about Jennifer

Jennifer A. Davids is a self-professed book nerd. The shelves of her office are overflowing with books and there are stacks of them by her bedside. When she’s not reading, she’s dreaming up a new story to tell her readers. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in English Education. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband, two children, and two cats.

Connect wiht Jennifer A. Davids on Social Media

Web Page


Order Links for Brides of Ohio


Barnes and Noble:

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Marilyn Peveto Shares Her Writing Journey

IMG_6733z(1)Today I welcome Marilyn Peveto. Her debut novel When Your Heart Comes Home released recently. Welcome Marilyn, it’s always fun to share my blog with fellow-authors. Let’s dive right in.  How did your writing adventure begin?

Thinking about my writing journey now, I believe it began many, many years ago when our mother took the time to read to us when we were very young. Our small town didn’t have a public library but she made sure we always had books available to read. This began an interest and a love for reading, and then a love for writing.

I always liked to write in some way. In early elementary school I would pen little stories about the events of the day. Later I wrote some poetry and personal essays. But it was only after my children graduated from high school and left for college that I decided I wanted to write a novel.

Of course, wanting to write a novel and doing it are two different things. I knew I had the desire but I didn’t know where to begin. I read about an upcoming writer’s conference in a city near my home and decided to attend. There I learned that I had much to learn, but I also met other writers in my area and joined a local guild.

It took years to complete my first novel. I truly can’t say how many years because I didn’t write continuously during that time. My husband and I had the opportunity to care for all four of our sweet parents during those years so my writing projects were put on hold for awhile.

I’m excited to say my first novel was released on November 14th, 2017. And I’m currently working on the second book in the series.

Tell us a bit about the novel you completed.

When Your Heart Comes Home is my first novel and is set in East Texas in the area

where I live. Texas’s first industrial revolution began in the virgin pine forests of my region around 1880. Up until the beginning of World War II the timber companies drew thousands of families into the sawmill towns and lumber camps.

I chose the time period of 1906 because my grandparents and great-aunts and uncles were young children during this time and they loved to tell of their experiences growing up in the towns that were built around a particular sawmill location in the pine forests.

Even though I heard the stories many years ago, they made an impact on me and stayed with me through the years. There’s just something special about an oral history. The language and feelings that come forth in the storytelling are unique and not easily forgotten.

When Your Heart Comes Home tells the story of Sarah Andersson, a young wife and mother, who is a prominent member of such a tiny sawmill town in East Texas. The struggles she faces and the successes she gains are chronicled in this tale.

Was there a lot of research involved in creating this novel and how did you go about it?

As with most historical fiction novels there was a lot of research involved. There are a couple of museums about two hours from my home that I visited and learned much from the exhibits. The Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin, Texas has several permanent exhibits that were helpful. The Forest History Wing contained an exhibit entitled “Plain and Simple: Sawmill Folks at Home”. It represented life in a sawmill town in the early 1900’s. Another interesting display was the Sawmill Doctor’s office, an important part of any town during that time period.

The History Center in Diboll, Texas is another museum I visited and it has an extensive collection of photos of early sawmill towns.  They are displayed on panels in the exhibit area. The History Center also houses a library and research room with comfortable seating for reading and documenting information.

And probably the main source of research was the books that chronicle the events of the sawmill industry in East Texas. Many of those I already had in my library at home since I have always had an interest in the history of my region.


What inspired you to write your book?

I grew up surrounded by grandparents, great-aunts and uncles who loved to tell stories about their childhood in the early twentieth century. When I was a child we gathered on the front porch in the evening or after Sunday dinners and visited. Tales of life during the early 1900’s always intrigued me, probably because of the memories of those very special times with family.


A bit about When Your Heart Comes Home

Sarah Andersson’s immigrant husband becomes homesick for his native Sweden and insists on returning. A prominent member of tiny Pineville, Texas, Sarah decides to stay behind with their two young children. After her husband is killed before leaving American shores, she grieves his death but is asked to rescue the town’s main business, the sawmill.
When her first love, Thomas Carson, returns to Pineville after a five-year absence, Sarah must put aside the past and ask Thomas to do the same. They can only save their town by working together.
While Sarah grieves, cares for her children, and runs the sawmill, she discovers she has feelings for Thomas. But she worries he hides a dark secret.
Will she allow herself to love again?

Now we’re going to redirect the questions to help my readers learn a little about you.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

I’m always impressed with those who can say they have a favorite verse. I find that it’s taxing to try to narrow it to one. I think that at this time in my life and observing the world as it is today, I would have to say Ephesians 4:32:

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ

forgave you.” NKJV

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

I’m fond of historical fiction. Sometimes I think it is because I found such joy in the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a child. I love to be transported to a different time in our country’s history.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I find I do my best writing at home. Sometimes it’s on the back porch soaking up the sunshine. In the winter it may be in a chair beside the fireplace. When I feel the need to be more structured I sit at the desk in my little office space. But it’s always at home with the beagles nearby.

More about Marilyn

Marilyn Peveto is a lifelong East Texan from a family that has lived in the Piney Woods for generations. Growing up hearing tales of sawmills at the turn of the twentieth century made the region’s history a natural setting for her stories.

Her hobbies include reading, browsing in antique stores for her next treasure, and cooking her family’s favorite southern foods.

Marilyn enjoys life with her two adult children, a son-in-law, an adorable granddaughter, her husband of forty-one years and two geriatric beagles who snooze at her feet as she writes.

Thank you for visiting here on Jubilee Writer. Sounds like an interesting read. My reads can purchase When Your Heart Comes Home on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibooks and Kobo.

Marilyn will be giving a copy of her book away to one lucky winner. All you need to do is comment below to be placed in a drawing.  The winner will be notified on Friday.








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, 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

ARebelinMyHouse 500x750(1)

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:




Sandra’s Goodreads page:


Amazon Author Page:

Book Trailer:

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The Many Marketing Categories of Your Novel


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


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



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:                                                                                                                                                                  

Order A Heart Set Free at the link below

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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.


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 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

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