Monday, July 30, 2012

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green Ends August 6th


Jocelyn Green is an award-winning author and freelance writer. A former military wife, she authored, along with contributing writers, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and Faith Deployed . . . Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. Jocelyn also co-authored of Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan, which won the Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America in 2010, and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, which inspired her first novel: Wedded to War. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two small children in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at JocelynGreen.com.

I'm pleased to have Jocelyn Green on my blog this week. She is giving away a copy of Wedded to War. Leave a comment to be entered.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m in my office, still in my pajamas at 6:30 in the morning.

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
I found so many interesting things while doing this research, the first big one being the fact that nursing was considered a man’s job before the Civil War. Women who wanted to nurse were, at the beginning, seen as scandalous.

As for a funny story, I laughed out loud when I read that one soldier who was wounded in the thigh yelled at the field surgeon that if the surgeon had taken off his leg after his injury during the last battle, he wouldn’t have been hit! The surgeon said he found the logic hard to argue with. J

If you were told you were being sent back to live in the 19th Century, and you could bring one thing from today, what would that be?
Deodorant for everyone. LOL! Good choice!

What is something that very few people know about you?
I used to play and teach piano lessons.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
I love my Kindle, but if there was a fire (or a flood, which is at least as likely here in Iowa) I would grab our family scrapbooks first.

If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, when and where would that be and why?
The 1950s. Right after World War 2, it seems like the country was full of hope and opportunity.

Do you think birth order affects the way you write?
What a great question! I have never considered this before. I don’t know if it affects the way I write, but I can imagine it affects my inclination to write. (I have one older brother.)

If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?
The Long Way Home. Growing up here in Iowa, I used to think I would never, no never, want to live here again. I left after high school and lived in Indiana, Mexico, London, Austria, Washington, D.C., and then Alaska before deciding the Midwest is actually a great place to have a family. And my parents live here, which means they can have a close relationship with my children. Honestly, if we didn’t live here, 20 minutes from my parents, I don’t think I’d be able to write. They are so supportive by watching the kids when I’m on a deadline.

What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?
Little House on the Prairie. I loved those books.

 
When war erupted, she gave up a life of privilege for a life of significance.
Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combating more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday,  July 30th 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall Ends July 30th

We are having a week long celebration here at The Sword and Spirit for MaryLu Tyndall's new release, Veil of Pearls. In celebration, I've ordered our cake from my favorite baker. Today we are giving away a copy of  Surrender the Dawn. 
 

Don't forget it's not to late to enter any of this weeks giveaways just go to the post and leave a comment.




 
It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.

Born into one of Charleston's prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan's persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.

But Adalia's new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is she willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?


 Review by Kathleen L. Maher

This book has everything I've ever longed for in a story of the Old South. Romance is a given--Tyndall's writing is as steeped in flirtatious repartee and breathtakingly beautiful sweet romance as sun tea brewing on a Southern veranda. Candlelit soirees, moonlit strolls along Charleston's cobblestone streets, and the opulence of the landed gentry will sweep you off your feet.

But beyond the charm of the social season lies an undercurrent. A secret, a potential scandal. In a society where appearance and acceptance is everything, a young lady's true identity could spoil her fairy tale and repulse her prince.

Adalia Winston has come to Charleston to escape a terrifying past. Her pale complexion and position as Doctor Willaby's assistant belie the fact that she is an escaped plantation slave from Barbados. Her intelligence, audacious wit and indomitable spirit captivate Morgan Rutledge. Her stunning beauty steals Morgan's undying affections, despite being the son of a wealthy planter, expected to make a match with one of Charleston's elite.

Social conscience themes in this book transcend slave and master dynamics. The decimating power of cliques and social elitism translate to every arena and time period. Prejudices, strictures, and counterfeit values perpetuate a sense of enslavement in each character, and at times, it is hard to distinguish who is master and who is slave. Only the surpassing freedom of Christ, the power of unconditional love, and the confidence in one's calling end the cycle of enslavement.

Tyndall accomplishes a moving, believable tale of forbidden love and social angst. Few do homage to the Old South the way this seasoned writer can, and for that alone, this book has stirred my heart and left me breathless. With passages that hearken to Francine Rivers' classic Redeeming Love, and a masterful command of research and voice, Veil of Pearls is, in this reader's opinion, the historical romance of the year. 


Debbie Lynne here. A very special thanks goes out to my crit partner and wonderful friend, Kathleen L. Maher for allowing me to use her fabulous review!
 
 Today's Giveaway-- Surrender the Dawn
When the war of 1812 robs Cassandra Channing of her father and brothers, she must find a way to support her mother and younger siblings without being forced to marry a man she does not love. Determined to remain independent, she hires a privateer, captained by the town rogue.
Tortured by guilt for his parents’ death, Luke Heaton spends his time drinking and gambling. When Cassandra offers him enough money to fix up his ship, he sees an opportunity to redeem his reputation and help the lady he has loved from afar. Things go well until the British blackmail him into selling supplies to their ships. Still Luke cannot allow Cassandra’s family to be tossed on the streets. 
Cassandra has fallen in love with Luke. When she begins to suspect his nefarious activities, she is heartbroken. Hoping to prove her suspicions wrong, she sets out to catch him in the act. But what she doesn’t expect is to get caught up in a massive British invasion… and one of the most decisive battles of the war where lives, liberty, and the future of a nation are at stake. 


 MaryLu Tyndall's Bio 
A Christy Award finalist and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling pirates during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing that dream, she worked as a miserable, landlocked software engineer for fifteen years. Only by the grace and providence of God, did she decide to answer His call to write a Christian Pirate series. Today, while writing her eleventh novel, she manages a home, husband and six kids while battling three cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep!  She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation in life is to bring others closer to God.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday,  July 30th 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall Ends July 30th

We are playing guess what the character said next! Love this game!! MaryLu has posted two situations and given you 4 possible responses. You leave a comment with what you think the response is and get entered to win her book!

We are having a week long celebration here at The Sword and Spirit for MaryLu Tyndall's new release, Veil of Pearls. In celebration, I've ordered our cake from my favorite baker. Today we are giving away a Veil of Pearls. 

Don't forget it's not to late to enter any of this weeks giveaways just go to the post and leave a comment.


Today's Giveaway--Veil of Pearls!
It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.

Born into one of Charleston's prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan's persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.

But Adalia's new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is she willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?
Situation Setup:  Cassandra is a strong-headed, independent woman who is trying to find a way to support her family in a man’s world. Turned down by privateers looking for investors, she is making her way home when she is attacked by robbers. Luke Heaton, the town rogue, rescued her in an impressive fight during which Cassandra managed to strike one of the men over the head with a brick. Luke is escorting her home now, but she’s trying to avoid him due to his reputation.

Mr. Heaton scratched the stubble on his chin. “I was aware of the proceedings at the coffee shop tonight, miss. I would have been there myself looking for investors if I’d thought anyone in town would take a chance on me as captain.” Sorrow weighed his voice.

Cassandra took in this news and allowed it to stir excitement within her. If only for a moment. But no. Even if he would take her money, Mr. Heaton was not a man to be trusted. She clutched her reticule and started on her way.

Clearing his throat, he walked beside her. “You have nothing to fear from me, Miss Channing. I am no thief. A gambler, perhaps, even a libertine, but no thief.” He stumbled, but quickly leveled his steps.

Cassandra shook her head. How on earth had he managed to wield his sword so skillfully in his condition? She stopped and faced him. “You are drunk, sir.”

“Ah, yes.” He gave her a rakish grin. “How could I forget? Apparently, I’m also a sot.”

Cassandra searched for a glimpse of his eyes in the darkness, but the shadows denied her. How could he joke about such a disgusting habit?

“Wondering how I managed to fend off three men?” Luke asked.

       A. Her heart fluttered. "Indeed, it was quite impressive."
B. “Two.” She lifted her chin. “I took care of one of them.”
C. "No. I wonder why you bothered at all."
D. "I've already thanked you for your trouble. Now, I must be on my way."


Situation Setup:  Adalia Winston is of common birth (and an ex-slave, but no one knows that yet) and she has fallen in love with the spoiled son of a wealthy plantation owner. Morgan escorted her to his family’s summer party in the hopes of announcing his and Adalia’s engagement, but when he told his father, the man told Morgan he would disown him if he married Adalia. Morgan didn’t respond. Adalia overheard the discussion and now is leaving the party.  She never truly believed their two worlds could mix. She is a brave, independent woman.

Weaving around a newly arrived phaeton, she headed down the driveway, ignoring the stares that followed her. No doubt the elite were anxious for their daily entertainment from the lowly maid who’d forced her way into their formidable circles.
Boot steps pounded behind her. She hastened her pace.
“Adalia. Please stop.”
“Go back to your party, Morgan.”
“Adalia.” Gripping her arm, he swung her about.
Gone was the charming smile that always graced his lips. In its stead a mixture of panic and remorse thundered across his face. “I’m sorry you had to hear that.”
“No more than I.”  She tugged from him. “Now, if you please.”
“Do you intend to walk all the way back to Charleston?”
“If I have to.”
He caught up to her. “You don’t. Allow me to call for my carriage.” He blocked her path.   “I’ll explain everything on the way back.”
“I’d rather walk than share a carriage with you.” She skirted around him.
“Please Adalia.” He clutched her arm again, then led her to the side of the drive beneath an elm tree. He took her gloved hand and caressed her fingers. She wanted to pull away, to slap him for hurting her, but she couldn’t find the strength. This might be the last time she felt his touch. The last time she watched the wind tease the tips of his ashen hair, loosening a strand over his cheek like it always did. The last time his spicy, masculine scent filled her nose.
 “I’m sorry for my father’s cruel opinions,” he said, still holding her hand.

So what does Adalia say next?

A.    Her anger returned. “It was not his opinions that upset me. But your lack of them.”
B.     “Truly?” She breathed a sigh of relief. “Let’s put the incident behind us then, shall we?”
C.     “I will forgive him when he apologizes.”
D.    She began to sob. “Now, what is to become of us, Morgan?”


MaryLu Tyndall's Bio A Christy Award finalist and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling pirates during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing that dream, she worked as a miserable, landlocked software engineer for fifteen years. Only by the grace and providence of God, did she decide to answer His call to write a Christian Pirate series. Today, while writing her eleventh novel, she manages a home, husband and six kids while battling three cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep!  She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation in life is to bring others closer to God.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday,  July 30th 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gift Box Giveaway including Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall Ends July 30th



We are having a week long celebration here at The Sword and Spirit for MaryLu Tyndall's new release, Veil of Pearls. In celebration, I've ordered our cake from my favorite baker. Today we are giving away a Bath Gift Box. Ask MaryLu a question or leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.  We will be giving prizes away all week long so be sure to check in each day.
  I am so pleased to have my very dear friend, MaryLu Tyndall here with me this week. MaryLu mentored me and was huge influence on me. She was my guiding star as I started down the road of writing. 
As tribute to MaryLu and her love for tall ships I'm giving away a vintage collector's serving tray with other goodies. The package includes, tray, notecards, Twinings specialty loose tea, a tea ball, Ghiradelli hot chocolate, a small bath tin, a metal kitty bookmarker, and the giveaway wouldn't be comeplete without MaryLu's new release, Veil of Pearls.

How to add description to your story without boring your reader!

By MaryLu Tyndall
Let's face it, some of those old time novels could get mighty lengthy on the old description.  Zzzzzzzzzz.  Talk about boring. If you're going to spend a page describing the scenery, I've already closed the book and moved onto something else. Yes, I'm that neurotic!  More like OCD distracted. Besides, in the pre-TV past, people had more patience and more time, but in the age of instant gratification, we want to jump right into the action.
I'm not really a detail person. I like the overall picture, a hint of two about the scenery and characters and then let's dive into the DRAMA.  Love drama on TV and in books. Not so much in real life.  Anyway, so how do you give the reader a sense of the surroundings and what the characters look like without putting them to sleep?
Simple. If you can't write a story without description (which I don't recommend), then make description part of the story!
Just like turning setting into a character, you can transform description into part of the character's experience.  What you want to avoid is writing a laundry list of descriptors such as. . .She entered the room. Glittering sconces lined the walls and chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The foyer was large and crowded with people. An orchestra played.  Intricately carved crown molding lined the ceiling above Dutch floral paintings.
(Yawn....  Oh, sorry, I drifted off.) 
Here’s the same scene described as part of the action and the character’s emotions (Taken from  Veil of Pearls, my new release)
Light from hundreds of glittering sconces and chandeliers blinded her. She blinked as they greeted the host and hostess, both of whom barely acknowledged her. . . .The foyer was ten times the size of the Doctor’s and abuzz with chattering people who all shot their gazes her way to see what strange oddity Mr. Rutledge had brought to the party. Orchestra music drifted atop beaded and jeweled coiffures from a room to their left. A butler took Mr. Rutledge's cape and hat and her shawl before she could protest. She didn’t plan on staying that long. Mr. Rutledge patted her hand and led her into the massive ball room. The first thing Adalia noticed was how large the room was, the second, the intricately carved crown molding lining the ceiling above Dutch floral paintings and crystalline chandeliers—such beauty and lavishness she’d never seen. The third thing she noticed was that once again everyone turned to stare at her. In fact, the chattering faded to clandestine whispers as ladies leaned together behind fans.
The best way to write description is:
Show how your character reacts to his or her surroundings
Interject action among the description
Allow the setting to interact with the description
  • The lights are bright. They blind her and she blinks.   
  • Instead of just saying there were a lot of people, show how your character sees them and how they sound. Abuzz with chattering people.  
  • Instead of just saying that the character heard music, combine the music with an added description of the people.  Orchestra music drifted atop beaded and jeweled coiffures
  • Notice there's action incorporated into the description. A butler takes their cape and hat. Her escort leads her into the room.
  •  And finally we have the description of the crown molding and paintings, followed by her reaction to them, such beauty and lavishness she'd never seen.  You can almost feel her awe and wonder!
And the same thing applies to descriptions of people
The old, boring way: Mr. Rutledge seemed quite the don juan. He was handsome, wore a simple linen shirt, waistcoat and trousers tucked within high boots. He had wheat-colored hair, green eyes, and dark whiskers on his chin. 
A better way:  By the way the ladies lining the marketplace gaped at him, Adalia assumed Mr. Rutledge was quite the don juan. Perhaps he wished to add another feather to his cap with the new lady in town. No doubt most servant girls would swoon over any attention paid them by this handsome, wealthy rake. For he was handsome, indeed. Even more handsome than she remembered. His face no longer held that look of abject boredom so often found on the spawn of the tediously affluent.  In fact, he seemed much more alive. Maybe his common attire—a simple linen shirt, waistcoat, and trousers tucked within high boots—brought his usual arrogance down to a manageable level. In any case, it couldn’t hurt to enjoy the way his wheat-colored hair flung about him in wild abandon, the sprinkle of dark whiskers on his chin, and even the spark of mischief in his stark green eyes. Though she’d spurned him, he held himself with authority as he awaited her reply.  
  • By showing how others react to Mr. Rutledge, the reader gets a good feeling of his appearance. the ladies lining the marketplace gaped at him  and swoon over any attention paid them by this handsome, wealthy rake
  • This statement not only gives us a hint of his expression, but gives us great insight into our character's opinion of the wealthy.  His face no longer held that look of abject boredom so often found on the spawn of the tediously affluent.
  • Again, our character is reacting to the sight of Mr. Rutledge when she says brought his usual arrogance down to a manageable level.   The reader sees that his current attire is not as fancy as what he normally wears. Plus we realize she thinks he is arrogant.
  • We have the wind interacting with Mr. Rutledge's face:  wheat-colored hair flung about him in wild abandon,
  • And instead of just saying he had green eyes, we see them through our character's eyes.... she sees the spark of mischief. 
 So, don't bore your readers!  Jump into your character's skin and show us how he or she reacts to what they see. It takes a little more work but the result is worth it!
Happy Writing and Reading!


 Veil of Pearls!
It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.

Born into one of Charleston's prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan's persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.

But Adalia's new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is she willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?
              
   
 MaryLu Tyndall's Bio
A Christy Award finalist and best-selling author, MaryLu Tyndall dreamt of tall ships and swashbuckling pirates during her childhood years on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Unfortunately, instead of pursuing that dream, she worked as a miserable, landlocked software engineer for fifteen years. Only by the grace and providence of God, did she decide to answer His call to write a Christian Pirate series. Today, while writing her eleventh novel, she manages a home, husband and six kids while battling three cats who have decided that her keyboard is the best place to sleep!  She believes that without popcorn and chocolate, life would not be worth living, and her sole motivation in life is to bring others closer to God.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday,  July 30th 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.