Two of my favorite new authors and why I love them

They say it’s important to read best-sellers and study their work to see how they did it. “They” can often miss some great gems in the leasser known authors. As I said before, I read alot. I love stories, I love learning things and when they can be combined in wonderful novels I’m especially blessed. I write historical romance and I reading how other historicla authors create their worlds teaches me things even if the author isn’t on the NYT best seller list. Below are four books I read over the last few months that really resinated with me. One is a series by Naomi Musch and the other is by Denise Weimer. Both excellent historical writers with other wonderful books available.

The Echoes of Heart series takes place in the first part of the twentieth century, a time less written about. Here are hNaomi Musch’s three books and my reviews of them.

Echoes of The Heart Book # 1 The Deepest Sigh by Naomi Musch

Seventeen year old Marilla Eckert has been in love with Langdon Prescott, her family’s hired hand, since she was fourteen years old. Determined to win him, she’s blissfully unaware of the secret passion he feels for her older sister Delia. But when Delia weds a longtime beau, Lang settles for Marilla and marries her anyway, despite his continued longing and intent to someday win her sister away from her husband. It isn’t long before Marilla realizes where Lang’s devotion truly lies, yet she presses on, giving everything she has to offer, convinced she can still gain his love.

Then America steps into the Great War. The men are sent a world away to fight, and Marilla’s cares, coupled with the lack of her husband’s favor, finally wear her thin. When heartache and disaster strike on every front, and Marilla’s hour of need leads her elsewhere for comfort, will all of them wind up too broken to ever find their hearts’ true homes?

My review

The setting is Wisconsin dairy country during the time of World War I. It’s the retelling of the Biblical story of Rachel and Leah, but it’s not. I found myself disliking Langdon Prescott right from the start. But that was good, because when he changes for the better I’m cheering. My heart went out to his longsuffering wife Rilla, who loved him from the moment she first lays eyes on him. This historically accurate, well-crafted story was everything I wanted to see despite a few detours before reaching it’s satisfying ending.

Book #2 The Softest Breath

Modern girls seemed always in a hurry. Now one of them has slammed into Jacob Hessman on the street near St. Paul’s Union Depot and boarded his train. He knows her type: flapper-chic in her bobbed hair and stylish dress, so different from the sweet, country-bred kind of girl who once filled his heart.

Gwendolyn Smith’s narrow window of time to escape Hugh Phelps is closing fast. Performing in speakeasies and underground clubs has left her mistrustful of most men, but the big fellow she plows into on her flight to the station seems safe enough to attach herself to for short-term protection.

Friendship unfolds, but Gwen hides behind lies, wishing she might deserve such a God-fearing man as Jacob, and Jacob’s pursuit of a perfect wife conflicts with his mounting concern for Gwen. Meanwhile, Hugh is catching up. For Jacob and Gwen, trapped in their pasts and misconceptions, the time for truth and love is running out.

My review

Jacob Hessman, the longsuffering friend of Marilla in The Deepest Sigh get his happily ever after. I was fond of Jacob and his desire to always do the right thing. And that conviction presents all sorts of problems when he determines to help the mysterious Gwen Smith. Loved the characters. The prohibition era setting made it so interesting. Naomi Much captures the timeframe and keeps you there through the whole story. I enjoyed the twists and turns the plot takes before the two are truly ready to tie the knot.

 

Book #3 The Brightest Hope

Five years after the Great War…Holly Allen is a well-adjusted war widow with a knack for running the family press. She’s over the days of waiting for a white knight to ride in and sweep her away from her cares. Besides, if Hugh Phelps is a knight, he’s certainly a black one—with his prison record, personal demons, and the ghosts of war that haunt him. When Holly hires Hugh, despite her reservations, it isn’t long before she sees the man he could really be, and as Hugh finds his niche at Allen’s Printing, he finds his lady boss equally appealing. Despite the attraction, however, Holly won’t let herself fall for a faithless man, and Hugh isn’t on gracious terms with God. Then, just when new beginnings seem possible, old heartaches from the war come calling. Now it might only be in letting go of everything dear that they both discover what real love is.

 

My Review

I’ll admit I was surprised when Huge Phelps, the villian, from The Softest Breath becomes the hero in this story. His reformation is not quite complete until he truly learns what sacrificial love is as he finds himself falling for Holly Allen. The surprise in this plot left me saying “oh no!” and turning the pages to see how it would all work out. A satisfying ending not only to this story but the Echoes of the Heart series.

 

Denise Weimer’s The Witness Tree

Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.

Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets.

 

 

My review

Denise Weimer brought the Moravian culture from the early 1800s to life for me. I learned so much about the time period while following the Kleists into the wilderness of Georgia and the Cherokee nation. Wonderful surprises and plot twists. The sprinkling of German and Cherokee words throughout the story added to the realism. Following the struggles of the arranged marriage of John and Clarissa kept me turning the pages. Many actual historical figure mingled into the story added the realism that made this story truly engaging.

My thoughts on Naomi Musch and Denise Weimer

Naomi Musch

Both of these authors captured the time periods beautifully. Showing the culture and the mind set of those from history. I learned a great deal as a lover of history and a writer of Historical Romance. And as a reader getting swept away into another time is absolutely the best experience ever.

Denise Weimer

 

 

Have you discovered any awesome authors that aren’t on the NYT Best-Sellers list that you love?  Share in the comments.

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

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Goodreads: Naomi Dawn Musch

Pinterest: Naomi Musch

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/naomimusch

 

 

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