Interview of Tavin Knox and Gemma Lyfeld from The Reluctant Guardian, a LIH Regency.

susie coverThe pair arrive in the drawing room of a Mayfair townhouse. After exchanging pleasantries, taking our seats and pouring tea, we begin with small talk.

Novel PASTimes: Gemma, I like your red cloak.

Gemma: Thank you, ma’am. So do I.

Tavin: I wish you’d have worn something else. That cloak has caused naught but trouble.

Novel PASTimes: Trouble?

Gemma: Mistaken identity. Someone else has one like it.

Tavin: Someone dangerous. And it almost cost your life.

Gemma: Well, it didn’t, thanks to you.

Novel PASTimes: Can you elaborate?

Gemma: A female smuggler who operates near my home wears a red cloak like this, and a smuggling ringleader known as The Sovereign thought I was she. Since I am not—and I saw his face and can identify him—there is some concern I might be in danger. Which I am not. The Sovereign does not know who I am, and dozens of ladies wear red cloaks. Besides, he is in Hampshire, and I am now here in London for my Season.

Tavin: I agree that you are not in danger, but I still say you shouldn’t wear that thing anymore until things are. . . settled.

Tavin’s gaze occasionally flickers to the door and windows, as if certain someone will barge in on our interview.

Novel PASTimes: Let’s move on. Where were you born?

Gemma: Hampshire. The New Forest area. ‘Tis beautiful, so green.

Tavin: Scotland.

Novel PASTimes: Oh? I detect no noticeable Scottish burr.

Tavin: I was educated in England. My mother was English. It was important to her family that I sound English. I haven’t been to Scotland in years.

Novel PASTimes: Would you like to go back shortly? To visit family?

Tavin: I’m a little busy these days.

Novel PASTimes: Ah, yes. You’re a spy for the Revenue Agency.

Tavin: No, you’re mistaken. I’m in the import business.

Gemma: *shaking head*:We may speak freely here, Tavin. She won’t tell anyone. *Turning to interviewer* Of course he’s a spy. “Import business” is a euphemism for his secretive work for the Revenue Agency. He was hunting down the Sovereign when I intruded upon his investigation. He’s been ordered to guard me for the time being.

Tavin: I’m not accustomed to playing nursemaid. I should be back in Hampshire to bring that rogue to justice.

Gemma: If it was up to me, you would be. Believe me, I do not like you watching me, disapproving of everything I do.

Tavin: I don’t disapprove. Unless you’re careless. Which you are, far too often for my liking.

Gemma: You’d have us live in a cage. The boys cannot be confined.

Novel PASTimes: The boys?

Gemma: My brother’s children. They adore Tavin. Their parents allowed me to bring them to London with me for the Season. They’re my greatest joy.

Tavin: She’s more of a parent to them than their own mother. And they love her, those imps.

Novel PASTimes: You’re smiling, Tavin. Thinking of the boys?

Tavin: They’re a mischievous pair. They love castles and knights and making trouble. I’m. . . fond of them. In my line of work, a family is out of the question. Perhaps spending time with them is making me realize what I shall never have.

Gemma: You could, someday.

Tavin: Not in my line of work, and I’ll not leave it until—well, that is neither here nor there. I have one occupation: capturing The Sovereign.

Gemma: Then let us finish this once and for all. Let’s make a plan I shall return to Hampshire and lure the Sovereign out. If he wants to kill me because I can identify him, he is sure to take the bait—

Tavin: Ach, no—that’s the maddest thing I’ve ever heard—

Novel PASTimes: Wait a second—I hear a trace of Scottish burr in your voice that I didn’t detect before, Tavin.

Gemma: That happens when he’s upset.

Tavin: *scowling* Forgive me.

Gemma: There’s nothing to forgive. It’s the real you.

Tavin: *still scowling* Next question?

Novel PASTimes: Um, all right. There’s been gossip about town regarding your relationship. People think you’re courting.

Tavin: As I’ve said, a man like me cannot have a family. I’ve had to stay close to her to protect her, but everyone has been told we are family friends. ‘Tis no lie. Those gossipmongers say what they like.

Gemma: His closest friend is my brother-in-law.

Novel PASTimes: So you wouldn’t be together at all, ever, by choice?

Gemma: No. I mean—if circumstances were different. . .

Tavin: I—well, I suppose not.

Gemma: But we are friends, are we not?

Tavin: Of course. And it hasn’t been all bad, spending so much time together.

Novel PASTimes: So you’re friends and that’s all? You’re sure there are no romantic feelings underlying things here?

Tavin: No. Next question.

Gemma: None whatsoever. Our relationship is strictly platonic. A matter of business ordered by the Crown. Tavin doesn’t. . . and I do not. . . there are no feelings of that nature.

Novel PASTimes: That’s not what your book says. I see a kiss on page—

Gemma: Oh my.

Tavin: That’s enough. Interview over.

The Reluctant Guardian Blurb: When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she’s rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her…

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he’d be.

SD author photoSusanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s the award-winning author of over a dozen historical romances who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.

If you would like to connect with Susanne Dietze, you can sign up for her newsletter or visit her website, Facebook, Twitter or Amazon pages.


Character Interview with Minnie Geneanne Smith from The Blacksmith’s Daughter

TBD-LDWhat a pleasure to have Minnie Geneanne Smith with us on Novel PASTimes today. We’re excited to get to know you and find out all about you and your book, The Blacksmith’s Daughter.

Novel PASTimes: Can you tell us about your friends?

Minnie: While I lived in Portland, my poppa was my best friend. I’m afraid at that time there were girls who would have been my friend, but until I moved to Gunther City, I couldn’t get past hurtful things some of the girls did to me in school, and I’m afraid I judged them all unfairly. The train ride to Oklahoma taught me that to have friends required I be a friend. Now, I can happily say my dear friends are Dixie, Lou Lou, Martha Grace, Jane Anne, and even Helen. Widow Drummond and I are still good friends and sweet Wilma Gunther.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have any enemies?

Minnie: Oh. Jet Butterfield and his horrible men: Hayden Gray and Alford Graves. But they all got their due diligence. Jet’s in prison and well, I can’t tell you what happened to the men, it would spoil the story before you read it.

Novel PASTimes: Are you involved with anyone?

 Minnie: I found my happily ever after in Gunther City, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I can’t say any more without spoiling the surprise.

Novel PASTimes: What person do you most admire?

Minnie: Gosh. Right off the top of my head, I’d say my poppa. He built a successful blacksmithing business, raised me by hisself after Momma died, and wasn’t afraid of anything or anybody. He made me who I am today.

Second, I’d say Dixie Levine. She grew up an orphan and grew to be a lovely person. She’s sweet, loving, loyal, and a dear friend. We are a different as a stick and a tree, she’s five foot nothing, and I’m, well, I’m six feet tall in my bare feet. But I love her like a little sister.”

Novel PASTimes: Overall outlook on life

Minnie: *Sighs* When I lived in Portland, I was happy living with my poppa and learning his blacksmith trade. Life has a way of filling in your in-completes, even when you don’t realize you needed anything added. While I miss my Poppa and Momma like you can’t believe, I have such a rich life in Gunther City.

Novel PASTimes: Do you like yourself?

Minnie: *Pauses* I grew up thinking I was a freak, because I’m the spitting image of my poppa, who was a really big man.” *giggle* But when I moved to Gunther City . . .

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

Minnie: Hmm. There was a day when I could have given you a laundry list of things, but now. . . I can’t think of a thing.

Novel PASTimes: How are you viewed by others?

Minnie: *shakes head slowly* I’d have to let others answer that question. I know that I take after my poppa and I’m a really tall woman, which surprises people when they first meet me. I’d like to think, once people get past my size, they think I’m a good person. I’m good at working iron and I’d like to think, because I’m a woman, I can make simple iron work into a prettier thing, which other women like to have. For example. I can take an iron rod, and with just the right manipulation, I can peal it like a banana, so to speak, and make a rose. I then attach those roses to fences and lamp posts. The women love that accessory in the design of a simple thing like a gate.

Novel PASTimes: How much self-control do you have?

Minnie: *hangs head* I’ve been know to lose my temper. But, most of the time, because of my size, I can just stand tall and put my hands on my hips, and people will back down.

Novel PASTimes: Fears?

Minnie: Oh gosh. Being alone. Again, I grew up being called horrible things for my height and girth, I guess my biggest fear is being completely different and not having a place where I fit in.

Novel PASTimes: What is your favorite food and drink?

Minnie: My momma made such a delicious, melt-in-your mouth dumpling. When you add them to a meat stew…Oh my, it’s absolutely my favorite. Mrs. Forrest makes an amazing lemonade that I find I crave.

Novel PASTimes: What is your favorite book?

Minnie: Oh listen, I’ll read anything, but I especially enjoy Dixie’s books that she brought from Maine. They are adventurous, and romantic, and fun to read.

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

Minnie: Hmm. . . I appreciate anything someone wants to take the time to make for me.

Novel PASTimes: When are you happy?

Minnie: *Smiles* It wouldn’t be ladylike to tell you that.

Novel PASTimes: What makes you angry?

Minnie: injustice

Novel PASTimes: What makes you laugh?

Minnie: Dixie’s dachshund, Mr. Darcy. There’s nothing he can’t manage to get into.

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

Minnie: Hmm. Once I told Helen Baird my momma made a better tasting bread than her momma. It was the truth, but I said it to hurt Helen cause she’d told me I should be in the circus. It wasn’t kind of me to say it.” *hangs head* “But she deserved it and it was the truth.”

Novel PASTimes: Biggest trauma

Minnie: My momma died when I was ten years old. It was the most. . . I just can’t talk about it.

Novel PASTimes: Do you have a secret?

Minnie: In my story I have a secret.” *looks at author and nods* “I snuck down to the blacksmith’s shop at night and completed the jobs that Samuel was so far behind on, because he had been badly injured and couldn’t get out of bed for many weeks. People don’t think a woman can do such strenuous work, and so I had to do it in secret. I didn’t expect Samuel to accept me doing such a thing. I was terrified how he’d react, but I couldn’t stand to see all that work piling up.

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

Minnie: I told you Dixie is my favorite person. She’s just such a hoot. Her and that dog, Mr. Darcy! *laughs* They get into more trouble.

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

Minnie: Well, I don’t like to speak bad about people, but Helen Baird. . . well, she’s go a long way to go to become a kinder person. That’s all I can say.

Novel PASTimes: Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you

Minnie: Because of my big feet, I have to order men’s boots. My seamstress had to order extra yardage. But the most embarrassing thing is when I walk up or, especially, down stairs I have to turn sideways. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve lost my footing and either fell down the stairs on my back side, or knocked my self silly, hitting my head on the header above the staircase.”

Quick facts:

Physical appearance:

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Mousy brown

Voice: I have a deep voice for a woman, I suppose it’s because I’m big like my poppa.

Right- or left-handed? right-handed

Parents: Eugene and Annie Smith

Siblings: none

Places lived: Portland, Maine

Jobs: Blacksmith’s apprentice

Thanks for sharing with us today, Minnie. If you would like to find out all about Minnie’s journey, get her story on Amazon.

LD photoLynn Donovan spends her days chasing after her muses, trying to get them to settle down and behave long enough to write down their words and actions. The results are numerous novels, anthologies, and short stories.

Lynn enjoys reading and writing all kinds of fiction, paranormal, speculative, contemporary romance, and time travel. You never know what her muses will come up with for a story, so you could see a novel under any given genre. All that can be said is keep your eyes open, because these muses are not sitting still for long!

You can check out Lynn’s Blog or visit her on her Facebook or Amazon pages to find out what she is working on currently.


Fictional Character Interview: Helena, Her Encounter with Jesus Terrified Her

Today we will meet Helena, a 1st century biracial character from Regarding Tiberius by Bartholomew Boge.
Novel Pastimes: Thank you for taking time to be with us today, Helena. First off, what language would you prefer we conduct this interview in?
Helena: I am perfectly fluent in Greek, Latin, and Persian and have a basic conversational fluency in Aramaic and Armenian. I know a few basics in a handful of others. Will Greek work for you?
Novel Pastimes: Certainly.  (the rest of the interview is translated from Koine Greek). Let’s begin with your name: Helena Mithridates Kleopatra.
Helena: My first name is, of course, an homage to the great character of Greek legend and history, Helena of Sparta. It is said that she was so beautiful that hers was “the face that launched a thousand ships,” which, of course, refers to the siege of Troy by the forces of Menelaus when Helena was stolen from him. Now I do not claim to have such beauty, as scarred and lean as I am, but I do share Helena’s experience with the arts of war, as it is supposed that she trained with the men as a Spartan warrior in her youth.
Novel Pastimes: And the middle name, “Mithridates”?
Helena: That is my family name. I am from the line of Mithradates VI, the last great Pontic king to defy Roman rule in Asia Minor. After his demise, all of his descendants were to have been executed by Roman law. An exception was made in my case, obviously. In fact, rather than rebel against Roman rule as my ancestors have, I have logged years of service in Rome’s Third Gallic Legion as a translator and transcriptionist of Persian documents, mostly receipts for goods purchased by the legion.
Novel Pastimes: “Kleopatra”?
Helena: That was just a pet name given me by my father, Nikophoros, King of Eupatoria, which means “Glory of Her Father.” I am of Ethiopian and Persian descent, and have no relation to the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra who ruled Egypt.
Novel Pastimes:  So you are of royal descent?  That explains your high level of education.
Helena: Indeed. My parents bore no male heirs, so I was thoroughly trained in law, rhetoric, history, geography, and the arts of war—all critical fields of study for a would-be monarch.
Novel Pastimes: And languages?
Helena: That was more a family tradition than preparation for rule, although being a polyglot holds many advantages for a queen. In fact, my ancestor, Mithradates VI, was said to have been fluent in all 26 languages of his realm.
Novel Pastimes: Where were you born?
Helena: A small principality called Eupatoria, a city-state under Roman jurisdiction in the province of Pontus (editor’s note: modern north central Turkey). The Romans sacked it in 20 AD, smashing every structure to rubble and killing the entire population. Today only ruins remain.
Novel Pastimes: The Romans destroyed your homeland, yet you served in their legions?
Helena: Not by choice, initially. I was the only member of the royal family spared, and one of only a handful of citizens left alive after the slaughter. A centurion, Tiberius, orchestrated my clemency and took me as his slave.
Novel Pastimes: This is the same Tiberius you wrote your account about?
Helena: Yes. We had met once, prior to the sacking of Eupatoria, when I was a princess and heir-apparent to the crown. He took me as a war captive, but generally treated me more like a colleague than a slave. He was a brilliant tactician, Tiberius. He made a way for the governor of Bithynia, Pontus Pilate, to negate my slave status and restore my Roman citizenship.
Novel Pastimes: Wait—THE Pontus Pilate? The one who had Christ crucified?
Helena: The same. Before he became governor of Judaea, he was first given command of a lesser province in Asia Minor, Bithynia, just west of Pontus. I’ve had several run-ins with him over the years.
Novel Pastimes: Did you ever meet Jesus of Nazareth?
Helena: Twice. Once before his crucifixion, once after.
Novel Pastimes: What were your impressions?
Helena: I was never more terrified of another human being in all my life.
Novel Pastimes: Terrified? Why?
Helena: I’m a strategist at heart. Being a woman, I am usually underestimated as such, and I typically benefit from mistakes made by adversaries who don’t take me seriously. Jesus of Nazareth was different: he knew me to the core of my being, even my every thought and feeling. How can one ever hope to best a foe who knows your every whim?
Novel Pastimes: You were adversaries?
Helena: Not in a military sense, but in an emotional and spiritual one. He cut through my every defense and exposed my deepest, darkest longings for vengeance. It was unsettling. I avoided him after our first meeting as best I could, but was confronted by him once again, after his resurrection.
Novel Pastimes: And how did that go?
Helena: Better. (smiles)
Novel Pastimes: You are from a royal family in Asia Minor, yet you have a very dark complexion.
Helena: My family line comes from Ethiopia and Persia. I bear more a resemblance to my African ancestors.
Novel Pastimes: You mentioned scars earlier.  What from?
Helena: Some are from minor hand-to-hand combat wounds, simple scratches. The worst are on my stomach, where I bear disfiguring scars from being mauled by a Caspian tiger in my youth.
Novel Pastimes: You survived a tiger attack?
Helena: I was wearing leather armor at the time, which is the only reason I’m still here to engage in this interview. My private security detail managed to dispatch it before it could finish me off, but I am fortunate to be alive. As are my men—my father was quite displeased that none of them got so much as a scratch while his only daughter was bloody and torn open like a sack of grain!
Novel Pastimes: Well, Helena, thank you very much for your time.  One final question; what would you say is your best quality, aptitude, or gift?
Helena: The ability to think rationally under pressure. That may sound like an incredible gift, to think with perfect logic and clarity under stress, but rest assured that it’s often as much a curse as a blessing. On more than one occasion it has been a horrible quality to possess—particularly when the stakes are life and death.
Thank you, Helena, for this fascinating look at the life of a woman in Biblical times.
image3Originally known for applying his creative vision to the composition of Christian art-rock epics, Bartholomew Boge has found a new niche writing historical fiction. Whether it be through music or literature, Bartholomew challenges his audience to examine the depravity of man and the redeeming grace of God, bought with the shed blood of Christ.

In his debut novel, Regarding Tiberius, Bartholomew explores questions of justice, mercy, unconditional love, and forgiveness. Set during the time of Christ, this fast-paced story moves through several locations within the Roman Empire, including Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Judea. Confronted with the brutal death of her parents and the destruction of her kingdom, Bartholomew’s female protagonist, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, undertakes a clandestine mission to avenge the slaughter of her people by assassinating the Roman commander who ordered their pitiless liquidation. Success would mean death for herself, her lover, Tiberius, and her only son, Marcellus. Will she do it? Should she? Which is more righteous–justice or mercy? How can one forgive an unforgivable crime, or receive forgiveness for one? Helena must answer these timeless questions along the way to fulfilling her bloody destiny.

Bartholomew Boge lives with his family in northcentral Wisconsin.



I’d love to tell you that I can pronounce friggatriskaidekaphobia, but let’s be real. At least I know it means fear of Friday the 13th. Since we’re a history blog, let’s look at why this date is so vilified – and has been for centuries.

Legend has it that Eve handed Adam that dastardly little piece of fruit on Friday the 13th. Well, yeah, that wasn’t a good move, but there was no known calendar when Adam and Eve frolicked in the Garden.

Another legend says that the Temple of Solomon was desecrated on Friday the 13th. Ignore the fact that the calendar of that time was not the same as what we use today, that was a history-changing event.

Many people believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday the 13th. Since that’s Good Friday, I think we can cancel it out. Even if it was on the 13th, let’s agree that having a Savior isn’t a bad thing.

Probably the best-known legend is that the Knights Templar were rounded up by France’s King Philip IV on Friday, October 13, 1307. After being tortured and forced to confess to all sorts of evils, the survivors were burned at the stake. Okay, that one’s in the ghastly column. Egads! That was just 710 years ago today!

Let’s look at some more recent events that happened on Oct. 13ths:

1775 – The Continental Navy began.

1792 – The cornerstone of the White House was laid.

1845 – Texas ratified a state constitution.

1943 – Italy declared war on Germany.

1950 – Jimmy Stewart starred in Harvey. (Disclaimer: This is one of my favorite movies.)

1967 – The American Basketball Assn. debuted.

2010 – Chilean miners were rescued after 69 days underground.

On balance, I’d say there have been more good events than bad events on this day in history … so don’t be afraid to venture forth and enjoy the day!

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


Meet Eleri of The Fury of Dragons by Renee Yancy

smallestNovel Pastimes: Good morning, Eleri. So nice to have you with us. I know it isn’t easy to get time off from working in the Fortress of the Britons.

Eleri: Thank you. God’s greetings to you this morning. May I correct your pronunciation of my name?

Novel Pastimes: Certainly.

Eleri: It’s Ah-LAIR-ee

Novel Pastimes: Very good. So where were you before you came to the fortress of the chieftain Coroticus in Roman Britain?

Eleri: I was a slave in the household of Lorcan, in Eriu, until the day I was abducted by pirates on a slaving raid and taken back to Britannia, where I was born.

Novel Pastimes: And where exactly were you born?

Eleri:  In a small village called Maia, at the far western edge of Hadrian’s Wall.

Novel Pastimes: Who were your parents? If you don’t mind my asking?

Eleri: My father was Rogatos, a Roman British decurion. My mother was Deira, one of the Deer people of the Carvetti tribe, a branch of the Brigantes. I never saw them again after I was abducted and sold into slavery in Eriu.

Novel Pastimes: By Eriu, you are referring to Ireland?

Eleri: Yes.

Novel Pastimes: And how did you end up in Roman Britain?

Eleri: I was abducted by British pirates on a slaving raid, on the same day that Patrick baptized me.

Novel Pastimes: What education have you had? Did you have a favorite subject?

Eleri: My father taught me some simple Latin as a child. I never went to school, until my master Coroticus graciously sent me to Whithorn to receive instruction in Latin at the monastery there, under the supervision of Father Ninian.

Novel Pastimes: Are you married, or dating anyone?

Eleri: What is dating? I am not married. Slaves generally do not marry.

Novel Pastimes: Who do you most admire?

Eleri: Patrick, who led me to salvation in Christ, Viventius and Mavorius, my teachers at Whithorn. And Father Ninian, my mentor.

Novel Pastimes: Is there anything about your life you would change if you could?

Eleri: It depends on what period of my life you are speaking about. In the beginning, I would have given almost anything to return to Ireland and my mistress, Ciara. She was with child when I was abducted, and I have no way of knowing if all is well with her.

Novel Pastimes: That sounds difficult.

Eleri: It was, until Viventius pointed out to me that I will see her in the next life, when all Christians are reunited in heaven with Jesus.

Novel Pastimes: What are your duties in the fortress of the Britons?

Eleri: Maid, cook, and I read letters for Coroticus.

Novel Pastimes: Do you have any enemies?

Eleri: Coroticus was my enemy in the beginning. No longer.

Novel Pastimes: What can you tell us about Coroticus?

Eleri: He has an imposing, formidable appearance, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

Novel Pastimes: He sounds a bit scary.

Eleri: He certainly can be.

Novel Pastimes: If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get that scar on your wrist?

Eleri: It’s a brand on the underside of my wrist with the Latin letters CQ, for my master Coroticus Quintillius. It marks me as his property.

Novel Pastimes: Wow! That must have hurt.

Eleri. It did. I swooned from the pain. But there are worse brands. There is a slave in the fortress with FVG branded across his forehead, for ‘Fugitivus,’ to mark him as a runaway slave.

Novel Pastimes: What would you say is your strongest and weakest character trait?

Eleri: I work hard to please my master. Sometimes, however…I have trouble controlling my tongue. It’s gotten me into trouble several times lately.

Novel Pastimes: What is your greatest fear?

Eleri: I fear being sold again.

Novel Pastimes: Let’s talk about something a little more fun. What collections or hobbies do you have?

Eleri: I don’t know what you mean by hobbies. Slaves don’t collect anything. But I do possess a wax tablet and stylus, a gift from Ninian. And a parchment with a verse he wrote for me.

Novel Pastimes: Favorite food?

Eleri: The honey and poppy seed pastries Tarian the cook makes are my favorite things to eat. And wild boar stuffed with dormice is quite nice, if there’s any left over after the master’s feasts.

Novel Pastimes: Books?

Eleri: I do not own any books. That would be unlikely for a slave. But since I have learned to read Latin, occasionally I can read one of my master’s scrolls.

Novel Pastimes: Favorite color?

Eleri: The tunic of purple silk that Primus bought me in the market at Luguvalium has a very pleasing color.

Novel Pastimes: Best way to spend a weekend?

Eleri: Slaves never have a day off.

Novel Pastimes: Most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?

Eleri:  I can think of several humiliating moments in my life. Standing naked on the auction block and being whipped in front of the household of Coroticus.

Novel Pastimes: What is your relationship with God?

Eleri: My relationship with God has been the saving grace of my life.

Novel Pastimes: What is your overall outlook on life?

Eleri: In all things I try to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing.

Novel Pastimes: What do you hope your readers will learn from your story?

Eleri: That I am a weak and vulnerable girl who chose to walk out her faith in difficult circumstances, trusting that the Lord would work out all things for good in my life.

Thanks for joining us today, Eleri!

renee-posedRenee Yancy is a history and archaeology buff who works as an RN when she isn’t writing historical novels. She traveled to Ireland, Scotland, and England to research the sites in her first ancient historical. She loves most periods of history but has a special love for the ancient civilizations of the Irish, the Egyptians and Roman Britain.

Interview with Amelie Leclaire and Pierre Girald from The Oregon Pursuit by Jenna Brandt

The Oregon Pursuit1

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

Amelie: I can’t imagine such a luxury since my parents died. I would love to go into Oregon City and pick out some new clothes.

Pierre  winks: You mean a regular day for me. I am kidding. I do have some responsibilities. I usually go out for the evening with friends after I handle my business affairs. *He turns to Amelie* By the way, I can take you into Oregon City any time you like and make that happen.

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

Amelie: Both the man and woman have the same ideas and beliefs and they need to respect one another, allowing each to be their own person.

Pierre: Finding someone who makes you happy and you love them not despite their flaws but because of them.

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

Amelie: I’ve been able to take care of my younger sister after our parents’ deaths.

Pierre: I’ve done my best to protect the people I love.

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

Amelie: I refused to accept help from those who offered and I ended up putting myself in a dangerous situation because of it.

Pierre: I refused to see the reason why the two women I loved in my life both picked God over me.

Novel PASTimes: What do you believe about God?

Amelie: He is always there for me. His strength and love is what got me through the loss of my parents.

Pierre: I was raised without God. I continued on that road until I met Amelie Leclaire. She showed the power of God’s love and mercy.

Amelie blushes: You flatter me. I’m glad to see the changes in your heart.

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

Amelie: I want to travel to France one day and see where my parents came from as well as sample French cuisine.

Pierre: Since Amelie wants to go to France, I would love to take her there. I can’t help giving her whatever she wants.

Amelie: I have to admit, he loves to spoil me.

Novel PASTimes: What’s the worst thing that’s happened in your life? What did you learn from it?

Amelie: Both my parents died in a tragic accident. I learned to lean on God as well as the friends God placed in my life.

Pierre: I lost the woman I thought I loved to another man. I learned that what we consider an awful turn of events often can be a blessing in disguise. If I had ended up with Margaret, I never would have met Amelie. She is the true love of my life.

Novel PASTimes: Tell me about your best friend.

Amelie: Debbey McCoy is funny, loyal and a good Christian. She had been my friend since as far back as I can remember. Her father is the pastor of West Linn’s only church.

Pierre: William Almonbury speaks his mind, loves adventure and thinks he’s witty, but between you and me, he’s not as funny as he thinks. However, he is a good and loyal friend.

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

Amelie: I judged someone before I knew them. I thought all the women who worked at the local saloon where disreputable women but due to circumstances, I ended up working with them. As I got to know the women, I realized I was wrong. Just because you have to do certain things to survive doesn’t make you a bad person.

Pierre: I belittled their beliefs. I didn’t understand why they were so important to them and instead of asking why, I just avoided it.

Novel PASTimes: Describe your ideal mate.

Amelie: I’m drawn to tall, dark haired men with a handsome smile. He has to enjoy my independent nature and love the Lord as much as me.

Pierre: *He looks at Amelie* I am glad to fit your description. For me, I love a smart and loyal woman. I also tend to be drawn to when with strong faith and gumption. Physically, I don’t really have a type but after meeting Amelie, I would say my favorite combination is golden brown hair with blue eyes.

Novel PASTimes: What are you most afraid of?

Amelie: My aunt will take my sister, Elise, back to Paris with her if I can’t manage to take care of her.

Pierre: Failing the people I love.

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

Amelie: I like that I am loyal to my friends and family. I wish I could stand up for myself, especially with my aunt.

Pierre: I like my protective nature. I wish I was better at accepting rejection.

Novel PASTimes: One last thing. Will you share an excerpt and blurb from your book The Oregon Pursuit as well as a buying link?


Surrender to destiny: a window to heart opens, when one door closes.

The Oregon Pursuit (Book 4) After Amelie Leclaire’s parents pass away in a tragic accident, she must return home to West Linn, Oregon to take over the family bakery. Amelie was training to be a midwife but must give up her plans in an attempt to provide a stable life for her younger sister. Pierre Girald, the Vidame of Demoulin, is traveling to West Linn on business. A chance meeting at the bakery and Pierre is instantly intrigued by the alluring Miss Leclaire, she on the other hand, is less impressed until she gets to know him. Through many trials and setbacks, will the couple be able to form a lasting relationship or will his past and her financial problems put an end to their potential?

Window to the Heart Saga: a recountal of the trials, adventures and relationships of the family and friends of Lady Margaret. The first three books detail her journey and book four focuses on the cousin of her best friend. The series has compelling themes of love, loss, faith and hope with a supremely gratifying conclusion in book 3 and 4.

Exceptionally sincere and wondrously engaging, The Oregon Pursuit shows the journey between letting go of a troubled past and finding new hope.

This book can be read on its own as a stand alone book or as part of the series.


“I am glad you allowed me to take you to dinner tonight, Amelie.”

“I am glad you asked me to join you.”

“You have no idea how badly I want to lean down and kiss you right now, but with your aunt sitting in the carriage watching us, I will abstain. I do not want our first kiss to be a spectacle for others.”

“How considerate of you, but how do you know I would let you kiss me in the first place?”

He gently let his hand travel along the length of her upper arm and felt her skin prickle under his touch. “Because if this happens when I touch you,  I know you want to know what will happen, as much as I do, when we kiss.”

If we kiss,” Amelie corrected, with a playful smile.

“Oh, I am certain, mon étoile, it will happen. It is only a matter of when,” he stated as he moved towards her, as close as proper etiquette would permit, “and how.”

Amelie looked up into his eyes through her bounty of thick, dark lashes, and Pierre felt himself go weak in the knees. This woman had an effect on him unlike anything he had ever encountered. Every time he thought he had the upper-hand, she managed to cause him to become off kilter again.

You can buy The Oregon Pursuit on Amazon

About the Author:


Jenna Brandt would love for you to follow her on Amazon. Just click the above follow button. She 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. You can find out more about her any time at and sign up for her newsletter.

She has been an avid reader since she could hold a book and started writing stories almost as early. Jenna has been published in several newspapers as well as edited for multiple papers and graduated with her BA in English from Bethany College where she was the Editor-in-Chief of her college newspaper. 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’s active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team as well as writes for the church’s creative team.

Visit Jenna on her Website, Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads



Meet Priscilla of Rome from A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott

Priska Front Cover Amazon

NOVEL PASTIMES: Greetings! We are so happy to have you answering questions for readers today. What an honor to meet and talk with one of the most-mentioned women of the early Church. But, to begin, I’m a little confused about your name. What can we call you?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  My friends call me Priscilla. Pet name, like Betty for Elizabeth.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  What is your proper name, then?

PRISCILLA OF ROME: Priska. Old family name, and you can go to Rome even in your century and see the catacombs and tomb complex that my family built. Still there. Here’s a painting on one tomb. Some say it’s me.

priscilla catacomb

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Definitely an aristocrat with all the privileges thereof! I’ve read about you in the Bible. What an extraordinary thing!  You taught one of the most learned men of your time, Apollos. And the times your name is mentioned with your husband’s in Scripture, you’re listed first in the majority of cases. Wow. That’s very unusual for the ancient world.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Yes, those things are true.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Could you expand on that?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  No, pretty much the facts.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  You are a tent maker, and you’ve worked with Paul?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  And with my husband, Aquila. All tent makers.

NOVEL PASTIMES: You, uh,  seem to be a woman of few words.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Actually, I’m a woman of many words. One good thing I’ve learned in my life is not to say them all.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Well, this may be a short interview, then.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Suit yourself.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  But I’ve read some of the things you’ve written about in the Epistle to the Hebrews!  Such imagery! Such regal language! You have debated with some of the greatest minds of your time. The philosopher Philo. And apostles like Peter and Paul. And your classical education and training and vocabulary—it all shows up in your writing. Surely you can dispense some of that wisdom for us!

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Wisdom?  I only know what the Holy Breath taught me.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Now, we’re getting somewhere!  You’ve had conversations with the Holy Spirit?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Well, the ones at first I wouldn’t call conversations. More like ambushes.

NOVEL PASTIMES:   But it produced Scripture, right?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  You read Greek?

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Not really.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  When Peter says that prophecy and revelation happen when people are “moved along” by the Holy Breath, it’s like a typhoon driving a sailboat. That’s how you get Scripture, as you call it.

NOVEL PASTIMES: But I think of the Holy Spirit as gentle, comforting.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  You do, do you?  How about how He literally picked up poor Ezekiel, and later my friend Philip, and dumped them miles away?  And what He did to Jesus – Mark says He drove Jesus out in to the wilderness, like a bouncer throwing somebody out of a bar.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Are you sure about that?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Look it up. Get somebody to help you with the Greek.

NOVEL PASTIMES: Okay. Why do you call Him Holy “Breath” instead of Holy “Spirit”?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  Same word in Greek.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  We’re back to few words.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  I guess Paul and I have that in common. We can write, but conversationalists — not so much.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Look, there are so many scholars that believe you, Priscilla, wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews.  And that the explanation of why it’s seemed anonymous for so many years is that it was because a woman wrote it.

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  I myself tried to get rid of the scrolls I wrote on. But people memorized it because they believed it was Scripture, so then they wrote it out again.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Really? Why would you do get rid of them?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  You think it is easy living in a world where people are healed all around you, but not the people most important to me? Where a Holy Spirit takes over your life and you write what He says? There’s a reason, I found out, why the Old Testament prophets called communication from God, the prophecies, “burdens.”

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Are you saying you wouldn’t do it all over again?

PRISCILLA OF ROME:  One thing is worth it.  And that is Jesus Christ.  He is everything.  And He’s better than anyone, ever.

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Can you expand on that?

PRISCILLA OF ROME: Yes.  Here’s how the Breath and I conspired to put it:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.  So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say,“ You are my Son;  today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

NOVEL PASTIMES:  Yes. Yes. Amen.

PRISCILLA OF ROME: Any other questions?

NOVEL PASTIMES:  I think that pretty well covers it!

Buy the book here.

Book description:  In a richly-textured, controversial and provocative literary work, award-winning author Latayne C. Scott examines: What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved – to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible?


Latayne C. Scott is the author of about two dozen books, most of them controversial. Her first book, The Mormon Mirage (Zondervan), is a nonfiction that has stayed in print through various revisions for almost 40 years. Her first novel, Latter-day Cipher (Moody) is a murder mystery, and her latest book, A Conspiracy of Breath (TSU Press) is stirring up discussion too. She blogs at, and you can find her on Facebook as Latayne C. Scott.















Meet Tyrell and Emma Jaine from With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown


Book Cover Front -Centered (2)

I understand you two are the main protagonists in With Music in Their Hearts. Could you describe each other for readers please?


1940s mens outfits2 freeTyrell Walker:  The first thing that struck me about Emma Jaine Rayner was her hair and color-changing eyes. That red hair certainly goes along with her personality! Spunky, as well as caring, smart and a hard worker, she’s been called bossy by her sisters. The fact is she has a good reason to be. When the sisters’ mother died, Emma Jaine stepped in to care for them and her father. Starting a boarding home was a good idea too. It keeps her busy and provides needed housing for those needing it during WWII. It’s too bad I suspected her—reluctantly—as a spy.


Emma Jaine Rayner:

Tyrell is definitely a tease. At first, he was very annoying with his 1940s outfits 2 freeself-assurance, but as I got to know him better, and once I got over what I thought of as a love affair with a budding actress in my boarding house, I realized his worth. He was gentlemanly, fun to be with, a good cook—smile—and a wonderful preacher and Christian. I’m so glad he showed up in my life.




Tyrell, why didn’t you enlist for service during WWII?

Tyrell: That’s still a sore topic for me. But even though I was rejected for service, I was asked to serve as a civilian spy and specifically in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sometimes it seemed as though it was harder than enduring the hardships of fighting the enemy overseas because I couldn’t let anyone know what was going on. I had to keep my spying secret, and I knew others wondered at my non-service.

Emma Jaine, why did you open a boarding house in your family’s home? Didn’t that make for an awkward situation at times? 

Emma Jaine: I longed to do more for my country, and with our big house, it seemed appropriate to provide housing for those needing it during this time period. I insisted on it being a homey place, with music—my sisters and I all love music—books and arts and as little conflict as possible. For the most part it worked fine. 

Emma Jaine, what did you think of Bette Williams?

Emma Jaine: Oh, dear, must I answer this one? All right. She wasn’t a very likeable person, but I tried to do what Tyrell urged me to do: pray about her, which didn’t seem to do much good. I do understand she was a girl all alone in a big city and not very successful in getting her acting career going, so I could forgive her for some of her actions.

And, Tyrell, what about you? How did it make you feel when you saw Hamilton Blake courting Emma Jaine?

Tyrell:  Grrr. He was such a loser, so built up with his own personal worth, I found it hard to like, let alone get along with him, well, I would hardly call us best friends. Still, I suppose women found him attractive enough.

Now, a fun question for you both: who was/is your favorite boarding house guest?

Emma Jaine (laughing): That’s easy. I love Gertie Hanover. Outspoken and seemingly rich—we’ll probably never know the truth about that!—she’s a fun person. She brooks no stupidity and dislikes petty people, but she has a good heart and is faithful to church even if she does like to sit in front and wear large hats that prevent the view for those behind her.

Tyrell:  And my favorites are the Rayner sisters, Josie and Claire. I had no siblings, so taking an interest in Emma Jaine’s family is a special favor to me. They’re both so interesting and vocal, in their own ways, about their special talents and others’ opinions. I find them quite entertaining.

Could you give us a brief excerpt from your book?

Both:  Love to!

And one last thing. Would you two share the blurb for your book and a link to buy the book?

Both chorus together:  Sure.

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

 While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

 Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Buy the book here:

carole-brown.jpg About Carol Brown

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

Personal blog:







Amazon Author Page:

I also am part of several other blogs:

Stitches in Time:

Word Sharpeners:

Thank you for joining us today!