Interview with Adam from Love’s Mending Embrace

Love's mending embrace final finalNovel PASTimes: If you were sent to a deserted island what three things would you take?

Adam: My Bible, a pocket knife, and a letter from Karen.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a hidden talent?

Adam: I’m great at blending in and getting people to trust me. I guess it comes with the territory, being a former spy.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a habit you wish you could break?

Adam: Not trusting people. Because of my training, I tend to always suspect people have hidden motives for their actions.

Novel PASTimes: What features do you like the most about yourself?

Adam: I’m loyal and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect the people I love.

Novel PASTimes: What feature do you dislike the most about yourself?

Adam: *averts his eyes* I wish I could change my choices when I was young. I let people manipulate me into doing their bidding even though I should have objected to what they wanted me to do.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a hobby?

Adam: I like to work with my hands. I built an entire farmhouse for Karen and I to live in once we were married.

Novel PASTimes: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Adam: I hate when people get involved in a situation which is none of their business.

Novel PASTimes: What is your favorite food?

Adam: I’m partial to anything Karen cooks or bakes. *a giant grin forms on his mouth* I especially love her “Apple Brown Betty.”

Novel PASTimes: Tell me something no one else knows about you?

Adam: I was a spy and was trained to infiltrate and deceive. I hurt a lot of people in the line of duty and I wish I could take it back. I try to make up for what I did every day by being a good person and helping others in Sweet Grove.

Novel PASTimes: If I asked you to write an entry in your journal what would it be about?

Adam: I’ve been trained not to write anything down. I keep everything up here. *taps the side of head* 

Novel PASTimes: What is your idea of a perfect day?

Adam: I love picnicking with the Webber Family in the surrounding meadows in Sweet Grove.

Jenna Brandt’s website: www.jennabrandt.com

Her books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Brandt/e/B0711MSFXW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1497269877&sr=8-1

Like her on Facebook www.facebook.com/JennaBrandtAuthor

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Look her up on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16847426.Jenna_Brandt

Get the first two chapters of her books on Wattpad for free https://www.wattpad.com/user/JennaBrandtAuthor

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Jenna Brandt is a Christian historical fiction author and her books span from the Victorian to Western to WWI eras with elements of romance, suspense and faith. Her debut book, The English Proposal, released in May 2017 and it is the first book in her series, The Window to the Heart Saga. Book 2, The French Encounter released in June 2017, the third in the series, The American Conquest, released in July 2017, the fourth book, The Oregon Pursuit, released in October 2017 and her novella, The Christmas Bride, from the same series, is set to release in the Christmas anthology, Under the Mistletoe.

She has been an avid reader since she could hold a book and started writing stories almost as early. She has been published in several newspapers as well as edited for multiple papers. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English from Bethany College and was the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper while there. She’s an on-going contributor for The Mighty Website and her first blog was published on Yahoo Parenting and The Grief Toolbox as well as featured on the ABC News and Good Morning America websites.

Writing is her passion, but she also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, engaging in social media and spending time with her three young daughters and husband where they live in the Central Valley of California. She is also active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team as well as writes for the church’s creative team.

 

 

Book Review: Swept Into Destiny

Swept Into Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Released May 24, 2017 from CrossRiver Media Group

Book Description from Amazon:

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

My Review:

Catherine Ulrich Brakefield’s flowing descriptions pull you into Swept Into Destiny and keep you immersed in the world of the Antebellum south and beyond. This isn’t just a world of beaus, belles, and balls, but of moral ambiguity and searches for truth. As much as the readers are shown the beauty of Spirit Wind Manor, deep struggles are also revealed.

Maggie Gatlin secretly teaches the slave children to read and cares for them in real ways. The kindness she and her mother show to the slaves wins them more enemies than friends amidst the southern economy.

Enter Irish immigrant, Ben McConnell, who values freedom and principle above wealth and ease. Treated like dirt by those who hire him, his father, and friends for menial labor, such as clearing the swamp, he readily identifies with the plight of those enslaved.

As Maggie and Ben become attracted to one another, the war separates them as Ben fights for the Union Army. Maggie struggles with the questions of unity versus secession; all the while clinging to the Savior they share. Will the war separate Ben and Maggie forever?

Brakefield has researched the era well and adds details to evoke the reality of suffering at the time of the Civil War, bringing actual historical events and people into play through much of the novel. With a romance as tumultuous as the war that divides Maggie and Ben, Brakefield doesn’t leave any loose ends. Fans of historical fiction with a strong faith message will greatly enjoy Swept Into Destiny.

Meet Charles McIntyre, hero of Heather Blanton’s Romance in the Rockies Series

 

romance in the rockies

Please, tell us a little bit about your story.

My name is Charles McIntyre and I used to be a bit of a scoundrel. Used to be? Does a man who has hoed the rows I have, ever really let go of his dark-side? I built the lawless, godless mining town of Defiance practically with my bare hands, using some pretty unsavory methods. A past like mine does not stay buried.

During the war, I spent five years covered in blood and guts for my beloved South, only to walk away from everything in the end. I don’t mean just my family plantation, our wealth, our culture. I walked away from civility, from the ideals of honor, chivalry, and simple decency. Demoralized by the brutal conflict, I told myself there would be no more lost causes. Going forward, I would rule in hell rather than serve in heaven. I hacked Defiance out of the Colorado wilderness and allowed in only those souls willing to accept this was my town. I was king. I was the law.

And I was lost.

A few years into my reign over Defiance, three good, Christian sisters showed up at my doorstep. I allowed them to stay because I wanted a spur line. Unless some civility was restored to this godless-free-for-all, the rail road, however, would never agree to it. I could not have guessed how three women could impact the town. How one could turn me into a new man. Was it Shakespeare who said, “And though she be small, she is fierce?” The bard knew women and their earth-shaking influence over us.

Where did your Author come up with this idea?

Well, now, that is an interesting tail. The whole Defiance concept was born of Miss Heather’s love of three things: westerns, old movies, and her sister Susan. Miss Heather is the youngest of three sisters and when her sweet middle sister died in 1999, she found herself pondering the loving relationship they had all shared. These reflections gave way to daydreaming (which writers are known to do) and that led to a story of three good, Christian sisters stranded in a very bad town run by one very handsome, but hard, ambitious scoundrel.

I am an anti-hero. I am the best and the worst of men like Rhett Butler, Quirt Evans, Wyatt Earp, and yes, Han Solo.

Do you feel like she portrayed you well?

Generally speakin’, yes. My fan mail attests to the popularity of a bad man trying to be strong and tender, firm but gentle, a follower of Christ, but the Lord of one mean town. I would like to see more of my background story thrown into Book 4. I often speak lovingly of my mother, yet it is never relayed to the reader how, when, or where she died. I have expressed my great displeasure with Miss Heather over this deficiency and she has promised to alleviate my concerns in the next novel.

Do you have any hobbies?

Prior to the sisters’ arrival in Defiance, my hobby was building my kingdom and making money. I owned every gold stake, cathouse, saloon, and mercantile in Defiance. My priorities began to change not long after, of course, and now I find myself trying to figure the ins-and-outs of building a family. Recently I went fishing with my son, an activity I have not engaged in since I was boy in Savannah.

Who is your enemy and why?

Ah, Miss Heather knows me so well. Perhaps better than I know myself. In all three books, she has provided me with a nemesis of profound depth and darkness. However, she has woven the real truth throughout all the stories—I am my greatest enemy. My personal demons turn and fight more often than I have them retreating. And, yet, somehow, Miss Heather manages to provide me with a happy, if not ideal, ending in each book.

Who do you most trust?

Naomi Miller McIntyre. I will never have the words to express my gratitude at the salvation she has afforded me, both through her tenacious love and her fearless expression of the gospel. She has never once expected me to be perfect, merely willing to believe both she and the Lord care about me, no matter what I have done. In my past, I have committed the darkest, the most profane acts. Nothing was sacred to me. Nothing. Or so I thought, until I realized I would do anything to save Naomi. Surrendering myself for another person revealed an amazing truth to me: True love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. Not even at the door of my worst failure.

What annoys you?

I suppose it is my pride that bedevils me here, but I hold great disdain for men who think they can ignore a direct request from me. Regardless of my personal journey to faith, the fact remains Defiance is my town. I run it now to the benefit of others, as opposed to simply garnering personal gain. That said, the rowdies, the belligerents, the trouble-makers are not welcome and they will only get so many warnings.

Will you be in another story?

I believe there would be a small riot if Miss Heather chose to right a Defiance novel without me. In fact, nearly ALL the correspondence that has come in since the release of Book 3 has been kind but clear—the ladies want more of Charles McIntyre. She has promised she will oblige.

Thanks for joining us today on Novel PASTimes, Charles!

heatherI write Christian Historical Western Romance. Yes, that often entails the use of firearms in a threatening manner. Sometimes there are fistfights. There may even be politically incorrect but historically accurate language. But also, there is always an inspirational message and strong allusions (at least) to the gospel. A former journalist, I am an avid researcher and endeavor to skillfully weave truth in among fictional story lines. I love exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. I have walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in my hand. I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne Westerns. My most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to my daddy, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester! My daddy also taught me to shoot and, trust me, I can sew buttons on with my rifle.
“Heather Blanton is blessed with a natural storytelling ability, an “old soul” wisdom, and wide expansive heart. Her characters are vividly drawn, and in the western settings where life can be hard, over quickly, and seemingly without meaning, she reveals Larger Hands holding everyone and everything together.” MARK RICHARD, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, AMC’S HELL ON WHEELS, and PEN/ERNEST HEMINGWAY AWARD WINNER
 
Contact:

Spending time with Abigail Harrington from Abby and Joshua

abbyjoshua.pngNovel PASTimes: Can you tell me about your parents?

Abby: Dead

Novel PASTimes: Do you have siblings?

Abby: Dead, as far as I know, or worse

Novel PASTimes: How would you describe yourself?

Abby: I’m nobody special. I’m too pale, almost sickly looking, compared to that young nanny the Babbitts hired. I’m someone who’s been knocked about by life, but I’m still standing, crooked though I might be.

Novel PASTimes: What are your fears?

Abby: Children are a blessing from God, but after being with child six times in nine years, I’m plumb worn out. My body can’t handle another one.

Novel PASTimes: What do people like best about you?

Abby: I’m a good cook, nothing fancy, just plain, hearty food.

Novel PASTimes: What’s your favorite food and drink?

Abby: Well, who doesn’t love fried chicken, dumplings, dressing, and butterbeans, with biscuits fresh from the oven? Biscuits are probably my favorite, cooked in an iron skillet. Take a hot one off the plate, slather it with freshly churned butter, and add a little apple jelly, and there ain’t nothing better.

Fried apple tarts are a close second. Why, they’re just biscuit dough filled with apples and fried up — almost like that biscuit with jelly.

For drink, I reckon a fresh glass of buttermilk.

Novel PASTimes: Do you read books?

Abby: I never had much time for reading, not with all the work I’ve had to do — cleaning house, doing laundry, taking care of babies. Being pregnant six times in nine years took a toll on me. With young’ns around all the time, pulling on my apron strings, I never found much time to read.

Novel PASTimes: What would a great gift for you be?

Abby: Well, Joshua gave me the perfect gift. After my husband ran off, and the doc wanted me off my feet for the last month of my confinement, I figured I could at least do a little sewing. Joshua bought me a sewing basket. Not only the basket but all colors of thread and lots of needles and thimbles — he overdid it, but it about made my heart burst wide open.

Novel PASTimes: When are you happy?

Abby: I’ve had a rough life but there’s been some happy moments. My husband didn’t like crying children, and I often walked down to the pasture where the horses are kept. Funny thing, those horses quieted down my children, and somehow, quieted my spirit, too.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing you have ever done to someone and why?

Abby: I swung a frying pan upside a fella’s head. He deserved it, but I didn’t kill him.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a secret?

Abby: Yes, no one knows what happened to me ’cause I ain’t ready to talk about it yet.

Novel PASTimes: Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you.

Abby: My husband ran off with the Babbitts housekeeper. You know how folks are. I heard their whispers, blaming me for not keep my husband happy at home, all except for Joshua and his family. They’ve been dear friends to me.

You can purchase Abby and Joshua on Amazon.

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Excerpt from Abby and Joshua

Mrs. Franklin entered her room with a young lady. “I’d brought Miss Williams by to meet you.”

Abby’s heart sank. Miss Williams couldn’t have been more than twenty and had a vibrant beauty. Her aqua-colored eyes contrasted with her dark, glossy hair, mostly pulled sedately back in a bun. Sprigs of curly hair framed her perfect face. Rosy cheeks and naturally pink lips made her a picture of health and vitality. Abby touched her own lips, remembering how pale they’d appeared only a minute before when she’d seen herself in the mirror.

She became aware the two ladies awaited her response. “How do you do, Miss Williams? Please let me know if my children do not attend properly to their lessons.”

“Oh, I’ve met your children! They’ll do fine, I’m sure. And such beautiful children! Your daughter looks so much like you.”

“Thank you,” she said automatically. She wasn’t sure Miss Williams spoke the truth. Susie looked a lot like George as did Tait. Wade favored her the most.

“I’m so sorry you’re confined to bed. I’ll come back to visit when I can,” Miss Williams said.

Abby smiled and nodded. “Your company would be a pleasure.”

“I must hurry back to the children now. We begin our first lesson today. It was so nice to meet you, Mrs. Harrington.” Miss Williams gave a smile, revealing straight white teeth and hurried away.

Mrs. Franklin fetched the breakfast tray and set it across Abby’s knees. “Now, what would you like to talk about?”

“Are you from around here?” Abby asked.

“About ten miles south, as the crow flies. My husband and I had a small place, big enough for the two of us. God never blessed us with children. My husband passed last year, and I moved into town. When I saw this place needed a cook, I knew the Lord truly answers prayer. So, here I am!” She beamed at Abby and without prompting continued. “When I heard children lived here and a baby, with another on the way, my joy could not be contained. I love the wee ones so!”

A nod and smile was all that was needed for Mrs. Franklin to prattle on. Abby ate her breakfast, one of the best meals she’d ever tasted, and thought of Joshua. Miss Williams would be perfect for him. She was beautiful and young, and most importantly, not encumbered with a bushel of children. Why would Abby even think for a moment he’d be interested in her?

Any attention he’d shown was simple pity. Her husband had run off with the housekeeper, and gossip was rampant on the ranch. He’d merely felt sorry for her and tried to be kind. Obviously, he was a God-fearing man.

Anyway, if she did like him, as she admitted she did, she’d only want his happiness at heart. Miss Williams would make him far happier than she ever could. And once he got a look at her, he’d never give Abby a second glance.

sheila

About the Author: At the age of ten, Sheila Hollinghead discovered a treasure trove of books hiding in the furnace room of her family’s house. These books, westerns, mysteries, fantasy, and the classics, opened her mind to the power of story.

Being the daughter of a soldier, she lived many places, none home until she returned to south Alabama. She lives with her husband, three dogs, and two cats near the farms where her ancestors lived and loved.

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Introducing Stephenia H. McGee’s character, Ella, from her latest release, In His Eyes

In His Eyes: A Civil War Romance By Stephenia H. McGee

In His Eye coverHer heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.

Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.

Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.

Hi there, Miss Ella. It’s nice to finally be able to sit down with you and get to know you. This is such a beautiful home here at Belmont Plantation. From what I hear and see, you’re a true Southern lady. Can you tell me what your life was like growing up?fun pic Stephenia w model for IHE

Ah, yes, my Momma was a proper Southern lady and would be so happy knowing I haven’t forgotten everything she taught me before she passed. She and my Papa met when he was breeding horses at my Momma’s family plantation. It didn’t take long before they fell in love. Since he was a Scottish immigrant and working with horses, my grandfather wasn’t too pleased they wanted to get married, so they ran off and started a small horse farm of their own. Although it was a struggle for my Momma to have to work so much on the farm, she did it out of pure love. That’s the kind of love I’ve always dreamed of.

What happened to your parents?

Momma got sick with a terrible cough, and there just wasn’t anything the doctor could do to stop it. Papa missed her so much after she passed that he took to the bottle. And then the War Between the States began and Papa died. The farm was destroyed. I took the train as far north as I could go. I ended up in Parsonville and worked at the Buckhorn Inn scrubbing the kitchen just for food and a place to stay.

Wow, you’ve really had a lot happen before coming to Parsonville! Of course, I’ve read your story about how you ended up here at the Remington’s Belmont Plantation. It sounds like God directed your steps with that little wee one you call your son.

Praise God! As soon as I caught Lee coming from his birth mother’s womb, I knew he would be a special child. Why, he was the most beautiful boy on earth! Then I started doubting my ability to be responsible for this little child when I couldn’t even take care of myself! But from the moment I met him, not once have I doubted my love for my son from the heart.

So what did you think of this beautiful home, the Belmont Plantation, when you came with baby Lee to seek a wet nurse?

Why, for heavens sakes, it was the finest of homes! Well, until I saw those Yanks banging on the front door. That’s when Sibby and I met. Oh my, that was frightening. She needed to be rid of the Yanks and I needed a wet nurse. Definitely a scary moment for both of us.

What do you think you’ve learned by telling others your story about your baby boy and Major Remington coming home to a wife he didn’t marry? What would the theme of your life be?

I think we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy at times. Sometimes we forget who we are and whose we are, and it can lead to all manner of insecurities. In the telling of my story, God encouraged me to never forget that no matter what else goes on in life—good or bad—my identity is always grounded in Him.

About the Author:

Stephenia H. McGee (1)

Winner of the 2012 RONE Best Inspirational Book of the year (2012) and author of six Historical novels, Stephenia H. McGee has a fascination with hoop skirts and ball gowns, Greek revival homes and horse-drawn carriages, quirky Southern sayings, and home-grown recipes. She currently lives in Mississippi with her husband and two boys, (accompanied by their two spoiled dogs and mischievous cat) where she writes stories of faith, redemption, and stories steeped in the South.

Social Media Links:

Visit her website at www.StepheniaMcGee.com and be sure to sign up for the newsletter to get sneak peeks, behind the scenes fun, the occasional recipe, and special offers.

FaceBook: Stephenia H. McGee, Christian Fiction Author

Twitter: @StepheniaHMcGee

Pinterest: Stephenia H. McGee

 

Meet Becky Hollister of Under This Same Sky

Book cover - finalNOVEL PASTIMES: Today we meet Becky Hollister from Book One in the Prairie Sky historical romance series: Under This Same Sky. Welcome Becky! It’s so good to have you here.

BECKY HOLLISTER: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

NOVEL PASTIMES: First of all, could you tell us when your story takes place and where?

BECKY HOLLISTER: I’ll be happy to. My family and I made our home in a log cabin five miles outside of Miller Creek, IL. My story begins in the spring of 1854 when I was seventeen and takes readers through the next year of my life.

NOVEL PASTIMES: I love reading about that time period. There is so much rich history in it. As the heroine of Under This Same Sky, you must have quite an adventure to share. Can you tell us what spurred author Cynthia Roemer to write about you?

BECKY HOLLISTER: I do indeed. It’s an adventure that began with tragedy, but ends with renewed faith and hope. My family and I endured a terrible tornado that killed my younger sister and mother. Pa lost his sight as the result of a head injury. His desire to learn to be self-functioning took us away from our beloved prairie home to the Missouri Institute for the Blind in St. Louis.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Wow! How did you feel about all of that?

BECKY HOLLISTER: I was hurt and bitter toward God. I didn’t understand how the Lord could allow such tragedy. It wasn’t until later, I came to realize He doesn’t cause hardships, but He is able to bring about good through them.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Such as?

BECKY HOLLISTER: My faith was shallow at best before the storm hit. I never wanted to leave the prairie, but I wanted what was best for Pa. When I started taking my eyes off of my own troubles and began investing my energies in helping others, I realized the Lord was using me in ways I never could have been used had I not endured the loss.

NOVEL PASTIMES: That’s wonderful. It’s such a blessing when God is able to use our grief to minister to others. What helped you come to that point?

BECKY HOLLISTER: Several things really. First and foremost, would be Pastor Matthew Brody. He was such a blessing to us after the storm. He rallied the entire community to clean up our ravaged home and rebuild our cabin. He also accompanied us on our trip to St. Louis. He was wonderful throughout the entire hardship. We couldn’t have made it without him.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Aah! Do I detect a bit of attachment in your words?

BECKY HOLLISTER: (Smile) Possibly. Matthew and I grew quite fond of each other as we traveled to St. Louis. One of the hardest parts of relocating away from home was being separated from him. But we kept in touch through correspondence.

NOVEL PASTIMES: You mentioned several things helped you work through your challenges, who besides Pastor Brody encouraged you to change?

BECKY HOLLISTER: A special young man named Jimmy Bodine. Though a blind orphan, he had the best outlook on life. His faith was so strong. When I wavered, he always had just the right words to encourage me. He was the best friend ever.

NOVEL PASTIMES: He sounds very special indeed. Anyone else?

BECKY HOLLISTER: Oh, the blind students. Each one had such an impact on me, their courage and will to learn. And Nettie. She was such a sweet soul. I loved her dearly. I could go on and on, but to get the full story, you’ll have to read for yourself.

NOVEL PASTIMES: I’ll be sure to do that. It sounds fascinating!

BECKY HOLLISTER: You won’t be disappointed! It truly is a story to inspire.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Thank you so much for joining us today, Becky. It’s been a pleasure.

BECKY HOLLISTER: Thanks so much for having me.

 

BOOK BLURB ~ AUTHOR BIO AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Book Blurb: Under This Same Sky

~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~

Illinois ~ 1854

Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.

Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.

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AUTHOR BIO: 

Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under This Same Sky is her debut novel.

 

Digging deep with Clementine Hutton from Treasured Bride

51Lu9QxVOXLNovel PASTimes: If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

Clementine: I would love to spend the day searching for new specimens for my rock collection. I’m a closet rock hound, much to other people’s chagrin. It’s simply not done for a decent young lady to be playing in the dirt. *grins widely* And I adore it!

Novel PASTimes: What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?

Clementine: I think they believe I am clumsy or shy.

Novel PASTimes: What’s your idea of a good marriage?

Clementine: I believe having acceptance and friendship makes a good marriage. People aren’t perfect. I don’t believe you should expect perfection out of yourself or a spouse. Love them for who they are.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most proud of about your life?

Clementine: My strength and perseverance.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most ashamed of in your life?

Clementine: Believing that I had failed as a wife with my first marriage, when in fact, I had the wrong husband the whole time.

Novel PASTimes: Do you believe in God?

Clementine: Absolutely! I had once thought I was abandoned but then he brought me my own angel.

Novel PASTimes: Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?

Clementine: I think perhaps I would like to discover a new rock formation or mineral

Novel PASTimes: What was the best and worst thing that’s happened in your life?

Clementine: Worst was when I was lost. I fell and was trapped. I almost died! The best thing? Finding myself and my Micah.

Novel PASTimes: Tell me about your best friend.

Clementine: Oh, that is easy! Micah. I have never had anyone support me like he has. He loves me unconditionally and it amazes me every day.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?

Clementine: My goodness! Well, I… uh… I disobeyed my first husband. I guess that was the worst? He would get really angry when I acted out of line. I hate disappointing people so I try to treat everyone like they are family.

Novel PASTimes: What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

Clementine: Very simple: Beloved wife and mother.

Novel PASTimes: Describe your ideal mate.

Clementine: Understanding, loving, strong morally

Novel PASTimes: What are you most afraid of?

Clementine: enclosed spaces

Novel PASTimes: What do you like best about yourself? Least?

Clementine: The best: I particularly like how strong I have become mentally and how much I feel like I have grown. I have been through a lot and feel like I can handle just about anything now. What do I like least? I hate being antsy or nervous.

Novel PASTimes: What do you like best and least about the other characters in your book?

Clementine: I found a few new acquaintances in Virginia City. Doctor Brown and his wife were a godsend! Such a warm and loving family. They took me in when I had no one and nothing left. I think they were my guardian angels when I needed them.

Novel PASTimes: We have enjoyed having you share with us Clementine. Good luck with your endeavors in Virginia City.

Author bio: Ginny Sterling is a pen name for an Indie romance writer. She has lived in several different parts of the United States and settled finally in Kentucky. She spends most of her free time writing, quilting, shopping or watching a select few television shows.

Ginny has a twisted fascination with collecting Starbucks coffee mugs from all over the country and adores the smell of coffee brewing. Her collection has literally filled over six kitchen cabinets…and does she stop? No.

Ginny loves to write (and read) books that make her smile, laugh, or cry. She has been known to cry at Hallmark commercials and still cannot watch the movie “Titanic” or “The Notebook” to this day without bawling for hours. Softy!

If you would like to learn more about Ginny, you can reach her on her website or on Amazon.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a forgotten day for most Americans. Why? Probably because it’s not a 3-day weekend nobody knows – and few care about – the origin of. But being the history buffs we are, let’s look deeper into Veterans Day.

Originally called Armistice Day, the first observance was November 11, 1919. It commemorated the first anniversary of the armistice – the unofficial end – that stopped the fighting in World War I. Congress made it an annual observance in 1926 with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

Armistice Day became a national holiday in 1938, differing from Memorial Day in that it honors the living soldiers – as well as the deceased – who have served in times of war and peace. In 1954, after the end of WWII and the Korean War, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name to Veterans Day to include all veterans.

Note the lack of a possessive apostrophe in the name. That’s because it’s not a day that belongs to veterans. It’s a day to commemorate all veterans.

Oh, and we can thank President Gerald R. Ford that Veterans Day wasn’t made into just another 3-day weekend, another reason to BBQ and party. Congress moved it to the 4th Monday in October in 1971. President Ford, understanding its powerful significance in our history at the end of the Vietnam War, reversed that in 1975. Bless him.

Pegg Thomas – Writing History with a Touch of Humor

Managing Editor for Smitten Historical Romance, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Find Pegg on Facebook and Amazon

  

Spending time with Laurel Grace (Campbell) MacLayne from In Search of Shiloh

65254014_High Resolution Front Cover_7217277 (1)Novel PASTimes: Physical appearance

Laurel Grace: I’m slightly built…thin, but not skinny.

Novel PASTimes: Eyes

Laurel Grace: They are gray, with green and gold flecks when emotions creep in.

Novel PASTimes: Hair

Laurel Grace: Long, tawny masses of curls tamed by a braided coronet around my head when Mac will allow it.  He hates my braids and so I have to let my hair down most of the time.  Those long curls are a real bother on the trail.

Novel PASTimes: Can you tell me about your parents?

Laurel Grace: I’m an orphan.  That’s why I got married six weeks ago.  My papa, Mark Campbell died in mid-March of this year 1857 of consumption.  He’d been really sick for about four months, and I’d been taking care of him at our homestead.  My mama died about twelve years ago giving birth to a baby sister who’d been named Mary.  Mama’s name was Leah. I remember her being really beautiful, like an angel.  Papa has a drawing of her by his bed.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have any siblings?

Laurel Grace: No one’s home anymore but me.  I do have a brother named Daniel who moved to Texas few years ago with his new wife.  My brother Samuel died two years ago trying to break a horse.  He got bucked off and broke his neck.  He’s buried next to mama and Mary at the Hawthorn Chapel Cemetery.

Novel PASTimes: Where have you lived?

Laurel Grace: I was born in North Carolina but when I was almost twelve, papa moved us to Arkansas to homestead in the Boston Mountains in the Ozark Region.  We been here ever since.  These mountains are really beautiful, and we’ve had a really good life here since we came. At the time of creation, God decided the Arkansas Ozarks would be one of his masterpieces, I know.

Novel PASTimes: Do you work?

Laurel Grace: Since I was fourteen, I have been the woman of my father’s household.  I fix the meals, clean, store food for the winter, garden, care for our animals, make our clothes, and whatever it takes to run our homestead.  I finished common school early so I didn’t need to go to school anyway.

Novel PASTimes: Tell me about your friends.

Laurel Grace: I have a best friend.  Her name is Rachel.  We saw each other lots when I went to school at Hawthorn school, but now only on Sunday a little.  She married my cousin Josh and has four kids and doesn’t have much time to visit now.  I love to tell Rachel things…when we can talk, which isn’t often. I have wonderful memories of our friendship.  Then there is Elizabeth Wilson who lives down the road a piece.  She’s about my papa’s age, but she’s a good companion, and she’ll listen to me when I need to talk about woman stuff.  She’s our local healer, too.

Novel PASTimes: DO you have any enemies?

Laurel Grace: No, I don’t think I do…some people don’t like me much.  When I went to school, they called me names.  They said I was too smart and the teacher’s pet.  They teased me because I wore glasses.  I still do.  But not really enemies, I don’t think they are anyway.

Novel PASTimes: Are you involved with anyone?

Laurel Grace: Here at Hawthorn Chapel people can’t believe I got married at all.  They don’t know I know, but everyone calls “the Spinster of Hawthorn” behind my back.  It used to make my papa really angry when he heard anyone whisper about me like that.  My preacher almost wouldn’t marry us…my husband Patrick and me…because we only knew each other four days, but my papa was so sick and it was his dying wish to see us married.  He and my uncle Matthew Campbell had arranged a marriage of convenience with his friend Patrick MacLayne.  That’s how I got to be Laurel MacLayne about six weeks ago.

Novel PASTimes: Overall outlook on life.

Laurel Grace: There is so much about my faith I still am learning, but I do believe that the Lord looks out for me every day.  I don’t know why Patrick came across the state to marry me, but I know the Lord sent him so I consented to marry him, and I am sure that eventually I will understand how everything is supposed to work out.  Romans 8:28 is the verse that I recite to myself when I am most puzzled.  “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (1850 King James Version Holy Bible)

Novel PASTimes: Do you like yourself?

Laurel Grace: Yes.  I’m a good person. I like that I am independent and I can take care of myself.  I’m plain.  I am smart, but because of that people don’t seem to like me much.  I put myself in the background of life because I don’t like to draw attention to myself.  I will defend myself when I get pushed into a corner though.  I surely ain’t better than anyone else, but I don’t guess anyone is any better than me either.

Novel PASTimes: What, if anything, would you like to change about your life?

Laurel Grace: I wish society would let me be my own person.  My papa wanted me to marry Mr. MacLayne because he knew if he died, I’d be without anyway to provide for myself.  The stupid state law would not let me inherit our homestead so I could go on living here and taking care of myself, even though I am perfectly capable of doing so.  Just because I am female!  Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate Mr. MacLayne.  He is a kind man…a God-fearing man.  He’s quite attractive…too attractive to have a wife as plain as I am, but marrying a stranger is difficult even under the best of circumstances.  Only the Lord knows what the future holds for us, but we’ve made vows.  We’ll try to make a good marriage in the eyes of the Lord.

Novel PASTimes: How would you describe yourself?

Laurel Grace: An average twenty-seven-year-old woman trying to survive the best I can, relying on myself, my faith, and others when I have no other choice.

Novel PASTimes: What are your strongest and weakest character traits?

Laurel Grace: My strongest character trait is independence and determination to survive.  My weakest trait is self-worth.

Novel PASTimes: What are your fears?

Laurel Grace: Rejection, travelling to make a home three hundred miles across the Arkansas wilderness in Northeast Arkansas.

Novel PASTimes: When are you happy? Angry? Sad? Laugh?

Laurel Grace: I try really hard not to let emotion dictate my life.  I take care of business and do what has to be done. If the going gets too hard, I try to let the Lord handle it.  I do lose my temper once in a while, but always regret it so I really try not to.  It’s better to just live one day at a time and try to stay the course.  Of course, I must admit, Mac does make the days more enjoyable when we talk or when he teases me or sometimes he even sings me that silly song he made up about “Annie Laurel.”

Novel PASTimes: What has been your biggest trauma?

Laurel Grace: I still don’t remember all the details…but that terrible Harvest Festival when I fourteen and the nightmares that I’ve had for years.  Patrick has pleaded with me to tell him what causes them, but I don’t know why it scares me so much.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a secret?

Laurel Grace: Yes, but if I tell it and Mac finds out what it is, it could cause an end to our marriage so I’d better not share it with anyone else yet.

Patricia Clark Blake, The Author

 

 

About Patricia Clark Blake:

Professing Christian…United Methodist, RetiredProfessional School Counselor, First Time Novelist…The Shiloh Saga, Native Arkansan, Traveler…whenever she can. To find out more about Patricia you can visit her on her blog or Amazon.

Meet Ruth Brown from Under Fire by Linda Shenton Matchett

Small Under Fire Cover

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

We’re excited to be sitting down today with Ruth Brown. It’s such a pleasure to meet you and hear about you and your book, Under Fire.

Quick Facts:

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Auburn

Right or left-handed: Right

Parents: Mel and Deborah Brown

Siblings: Younger sister Jane

Younger Brother Chip

Favorite Color:  Turquoise

Favorite Actor: William Powell, I love his sassiness

Hobbies: Kayaking, Hiking, Snow shoeing.

Home town: Hazelton Falls, NH

Job: Reporter for The Gazette

Novel PASTimes: Tell us about your best friend, and what would she say about you?

Ruth: My very best friend is Varis Gladstone. We met in the nursery at church when we were just babies! I don’t know what I’d do without her. She’s no bigger than a minute and really sweet, but strong-willed, and she has amazing faith. She’s beautiful, too and a real fashion plate. (Looks off into space). What would Varis say about me? Hmmm. She accepts me as I am, but she would probably say that I’m too curious and impetuous for my own good. She’s had to help me out of more than a few scrapes. (Laughs) But isn’t that what friends are for?

Novel PASTimes: What person do you most admire?

Ruth: That’s an easy one-Nellie Bly. No matter what it took, she got to the bottom of the story. Did you know that she went undercover in an insane asylum as a mental patient to unearth the fact that conditions were appalling? I want to be just like her-reporting the truth and bringing news to the public.

Novel PASTimes: What makes you happy?

Ruth: Being outside. Nothing brings me greater joy than to be in the woods or on the lake under a crystal clear blue sky filled with puffy white clouds.

Novel PASTimes: What makes you angry?

Ruth: Injustice and sneakiness are a tie.

Novel PASTimes: What is your greatest accomplishment? Being taken seriously as a journalist. When I first started working for the newspaper, Mr. Isaacs only let me work on the society pages and fluff pieces, but I exposed some corruption in the school board, and when it came time to follow clues about Jane to London, he signed me up with the AP.

Novel PASTimes: Speaking of London, you experienced some terrible things over there. How has that changed you?

Ruth: It has been awful. Bombing raids and the constant fear of invasion creates unending tension which makes it difficult to sleep, so everyone is exhausted. And there is such deprivation. The Land Army is running the farms, but in the city we eat a lot of tinned food. I can’t tell you the last time I saw an orange or an onion. I no longer take my safety or my food for granted. I thank God every day I am still alive and have something to eat. I also live in the moment, because you never know when it’s going to be your last. Relationships also are more precious. (shakes her head) I’ve seen some awful things I will never forget.

Novel PASTimes: You spoke of rationing, and a great number of items are either rationed or not available. What is the one thing you are finding difficult to do without?

Ruth: Fresh vegetables! It is very rural where I live in New Hampshire, and everyone had a garden of some sort. My mom loved to grow flowers and vegetables, and a huge portion of our back yard was a garden even before Victory gardens were the thing to do. Her butter beans were the biggest, sweetest bean I’ve ever eaten. (rubs her stomach). I’m making myself hungry just thinking about them!

Novel PASTimes: You’ve been in England several months now. What is your favorite place?

Ruth: Any of the parks, but Hyde Park is probably my favorite. There are benches along Serpentine Lake, and I can sit and watch the water for hours. It’s very peaceful and somewhat reminiscent of home.

Novel PASTimes: If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be?

Ruth: I wish I could be sweet like Varis. I am a candid person and sometimes that can seem abrasive. But I’m working on changing!

Novel PASTimes: Where would you like to go next with your career?

Ruth: Even though it has been difficult to live in a country devastated by war, I have loved my time in England. It is a beautiful country, and the people are gracious and stalwart. I’d love to stay as a foreign correspondent, although there are rumors that once the war is over there will be a trial, and it would be very good for my career to cover that.

Novel PASTimes: Totally different subject…what traits do you hope your future husband will have?

Ruth: (laughs) Well considering that I’m not in the market for a husband, that’s a tough question. But if I had to pick a couple I’d say that he had to accept that I want to work for a living. I don’t want to stay home as “the little lady.” I want to continue to pursue a career in journalism or writing. And of course he would have to be a believer in Christ. Everything else is gravy!

Novel PASTimes: Thanks for spending time with us today. If you’d like to help solve the mystery of Ruth’s sister’s disappearance, get her story on www.amazon.com /dp/163213408X/ or http://www.electiopublishing.com/index.php/bookstore#!/Under-Fire-Paperback/p/88329129

linda-eLinda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

 

 

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