Monday, July 17, 2017

Love's Compass by Carla Gade ends July 24th

 Please welcome Carla Gade to my blog today. Carla has some fun an interesting facts she's shared. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter for her giveaway!

Picturing my Stories
I once walked into an antique store and found a box full of old photographs with a sign in front of it that read, “Instant Relatives.” When this writer looks inside a such a box, she sees instant characters! I’ve always enjoyed looking at old fashioned photos, especially the ones in sepia tones. These are the tintypes and daguerreotypes that were made in the in the 1800’s. It’s fun to browse online to find these kinds of photos for character inspiration. I have done this each time I have written a story set in the 19th century.

As I browse, I imagine the individual’s personality, which seems kind of silly, doesn’t it? After all, since quite often you will find that the subject of the photograph smileless and therefore depicting little personality at all. There is a reason for this, I found.  The process for picture taking took a relatively long time so the subject had to remain perfectly still to avoid a blurry outcome. Nevertheless, I usually manage to find a little nuance in the demeanor of the person that creates enough interest to spark my imagination.

But when I have a specific character in mind, I will enter a Google Images search for the specific physical traits that I had chosen and see what surfaces. That’s how I found Eliana, the heroine in Love’s Compass. As I was looking a photo after photo, one suddenly came up and I knew it was her. Everything about it was right, her coloring, her expression and even her attire, which was perfect for the southwestern locale. 

Next, I found Yiska, the half-native hero of the story. I needed a smart, good looking guy, with an attitude. I found him all right, but the joke was on me. This was a tintype, but it was made in the 1970’s! It a teacher’s website, showing himself as a teenager when he had the photograph taken with the special camera. So, I emailed him and asked if I could use it for character inspiration and he generously agreed.

I found the rest of my characters to inspire me as I wrote Love’s Compass, which included one of Eliana’s father smiling! A rare photo, but true to the character. Some of the other photos I used were not only for inspiration, but for authenticity. To write an authentic setting I research using books and photographs, especially ones from the specific time period. I find this essential to my writing as setting is a very important component of every story I write. 

I set up a story board on Pinterest for readers to enjoy for each of my stories. It is also a reference and inspiration for me while I write and blog about my novels and novellas after they are written. For book signings, I like to show readers a photo collage to give them a visual idea what’s inside the book. Here’s the collage for Love’s Compass that shows the main characters and some scenes from the story. You may like to check my
Pinterest Story Board for Love’s Compass sometime.

Carla is generously giving away a copy of her book, Love's Compass. If you'd like to be entered be sure to answer one of her questions below and leave your email address. If you are a feedburner follower be sure to tell me for an extra entry! 

Do you like to see visuals of how an author perceives her characters or do you like to leave it to your own imagination?
Photography is a personal hobby of mine. Do you enjoy photography? What hobbies do you have?
Colorado Territory, 1875 -
Daring Eliana Van Horn aims to make her mark by joining her father as his photography assistant--disguised as a young man--on a survey expedition to the remote Four Corners. Living in the shadows of his native heritage, trail guide Yiska Wilcox is thrown off course when the
shadow catcher's daughter opens up the uncharted territory of his heart. As they travel through dangerous terrain in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and New Mexico, Eliana and Yiska must learn to overcome the barriers of culture, faith, and ideals to discover common ground. Though they are worlds apart, will they stake a chance on love?

New Englander Carla Gade writes from her Victorian home in central Maine. With ten books in print she enjoys bringing her tales to life with historically authentic settings and characters. An avid reader, amateur genealogist, photographer, and house plan hobbyist, Carla's great love (next to her family) is historical research. Though you might find her tromping around an abandoned homestead, an old fort, or interviewing a docent at an historical museum, it's easier to connect with her online.

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels ends July 17

Where’s Maude? Why Does it Matter?

I’ve been having some fun up here in Mackinaw City, Michigan, and on Mackinaw Island, taking pictures of the cover of my new novel, My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring! I’m so excited about showing off my new “book baby” because God has helped transform her from a problem child into a lovely young miss! Only God could have done that with this manuscript which gave me fits. A few years ago, I prayed that the Lord would show me what to do with this manuscript and I stepped out in obedience to Him and got a lot of help. I told the Lord – this story is Yours but I need some help! If You want to see it published, You are going to have to show me what to do! And He did! 

 I’ve been taking pictures of different people, and myself and friends and family, holding either the book or a postcard of the cover. You see, only God could have put this story out there and I pray this novel will really bless people. I used to love that “Where’s Waldo” game and my nephew and I used to look through the picture books to find Waldo. Sadly, my nephew left this earth too early, this April shortly before his 42nd birthday, and is in heaven. But playing “Where’s Maude” makes that sadness a little easier to bear. 

Learning from friends that copies of Maude’s Mooring can be found at Barnes & Noble stores all over the country matters to me because once again, it shows what God can do with something when you turn it over to Him.  The members of the Avid Christian Fiction Readers on Facebook (a group moderated by Martha Artymenko and Tricia Goyer) have been a big blessing to me in telling me which B&N’s in their areas had the book (or not.) It matters when you have placement in a store, because readers can more easily get their hands on the book. And this is my first novel where the Lord has given me that kind of favor. It’s amazing what can happen when you get on board with His agenda even if it means humbling yourself and getting lots of guidance.

Question: Have you ever had a situation when you couldn’t get something accomplished and God showed you what to do? Did it feel good to give Him the glory when He helped you?

Giveaway: An autographed copy of My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring (USA only).

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at

Links to purchase:
Links to purchase My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring (Barbour Publishing, July 2017)


Monday, July 3, 2017

5 Confessions of a History Nerd Author And GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever thought it would be cool to live close to your favorite author? Or maybe spend a week –or hey, why stop there—a month hanging out with them?

Well, it may not be as rosy as you think.

My family deserves a lot of credit for putting up with me. Just ask my 11 siblings, I’m not always a fun person to have around. I have annoying quirks as a history nerd and author. So today, I’m going to do my soul a little good and confess a few of those for the readers wondering what it would be like to have one of us in the family.

1. I will interrupt your TV time to correct inaccuracies.

The family was gathered around for this lovely episode of Andy Griffeth. I was absolutely loving the way Andy was helping Opie and the boys to appreciate history. He was giving a colorful retelling of the midnight ride of Paul Revere when all of a sudden he did the unthinkable.

He called the horse Nellie.

That’s right. I know. It’s horrid. But breathe deep here and we’ll get through this.

Honestly, we history nerds should have an emergency alarm system that starts beeping before we open our mouths. WE INTERRUPT YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING FOR AN ALERT FROM THE ENRAGED HISTORY NERD. PLEASE STAND BY.

But we don’t. So my family was subjected to an interruption of their T.V. show while I had my little rant. “Lies! Lies! The horse didn’t belong to Revere. It was borrowed from a Mr. Larkin, and the horse’s name was Brown Beauty, not Nellie!”

My family has learned to be very gracious and accepting of me and my quirks. They only laughed a little and didn’t act too annoyed. Seriously though, ya’ll should appreciate those of us who point out the facts so that you don’t grow up thinking Paul Revere galloped through the streets on a horse called Nellie yelling “the British are coming!” But I digress.  

2. A vacation is incomplete and no fun without museums.

When I asked my family what the most annoying thing about me being a history nerd is, they referred to our museum visits. I LOVE museums. My perfect vacation is to some place historic with lots of opportunity for museums. Sure, the beach is nice, but I’d rather see the fort. Or the house of the Hawaiian princess. I’m going to choose the historical walking tour over the zip line every time. 

   3.       And, I’ll want to read every sign in the museum, or at least photograph it.
Have you ever read one of those “If you give a mouse a cookie..” books? Well, they could write one called “If you take an author to a museum...”
My family has literally begged me to leave a museum. “Please, Amber, can’t we go yet? We’ve been here for hours.” Is something I hear more often than I really want to admit. But I seriously want to read every sign, and if you won’t give me enough time to read them all, then I at least want to snap a picture so I can read it later.
And yes, I do actually go through my gallery on my phone and read the signs.
I may also take pictures of weird and seemingly mundane things.

   4.       Anything you say can and will be fodder for a book.
Although we don’t really like to admit it—even to ourselves—authors end up using daily experiences one way or another in our stories. It may be a situation, or a word here or there, or inspiration for a character quirk or personality.

   5.     Worse than that, you won’t know for sure when it happens.
Not only will you be used in future projects, but due to legal liability among other reasons, the details will be just vague enough that you won’t know for sure if we based that character (situation, etc.) on you or not. Like the sidekick in my upcoming release, Solve by Christmas, who my little sister is very suspicious was crafted with her in mind. *sly grin*

The good news is, it is possible to look past our annoying idiosyncrasies and love us anyway. My family is proof of that. And, if you can tolerate us long enough, you may come to enjoy our company after all.

Now it’s your turn. Confess a quirk! Or tell me about a quirky history nerd or author you know. Which may or may not be yourself. ;)

Before I go, I have one extra confession...

I LOVE Giveaways!

So today I’m offering an ebook copy of my book Dawn of Liberty to one commenter.

Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. 
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Monday, June 26, 2017

An Unlikely Governess by Christina Rich ends July 3rd

Please welcome Christina back to my blog. Christina is giving away a copy of her novella, An Unlikely Governess so be sure to leave a comment and your email to be entered!

Hello, beautiful people. How are you all doing? It’s okay, go ahead and answer. If you’re like the multitude of people I encounter most days, your response would be something like, “Okay, I guess.” Or “I’m upright.” You might also fall into the category of “I’m good” but the grim lines and downcast shoulders tell the truth.

So, how many of you actually said, “I’m good” and meant it? How many of you got out of bed ready to meet the day with joy and with intentional purpose? Something beyond “I have to go to work” or “I have to run errands”?

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

After being a stay at home mom and a housewife for almost 28 years, I found myself thrust into the work force. Since I hadn’t worked for almost three decades and my skills were limited. I honestly believed that I would have to start at the bottom rung of the ladder. And, in a way I sort of did, but God blessed me with a decent wage.

Anyhow, in the course of a conversation I remember telling someone that I had to work. Holy Spirit halted me. I didn’t have to go to work. I could choose to stay home. I could choose to lose my house. Choose to let the utilities get shut off. But I didn’t choose those things, I chose to go to work. I get to go to work. It is an honor and a privilege to go to work.

I’m sensing some eyerolling, and that is okay. I may not be walking in your shoes, but I am walking in mine, and… I must say, sometimes it feels like the soles are missing and I’m walking on thorns, but I’m not going to allow that to bump my joy. I know pain, I know grief, I know what it’s like to have a few pennies to my name, I know what it’s like to have both vehicles break down and no means to fix them, I know what it’s like to have my publisher close the line where I make 95% of my income. I know what it’s like to lose the love of my life to cancer, and let me tell you, not even his passing could steal my joy and peace.

Why? Because we are called to a higher purpose, and that is to keep our minds on things above and not on the earthly fleshy things. The Pharisees, who by the way were actively looking for the Messiah, sought from a flesh mindset and not a kingdom mindset. They weren't looking for God to encounter them on their level, rather looking for a man to lead them and I don’t want to be guilty of doing the same.

Bear with me a moment, I hope to tie this all together. I have spent a lot of alone time with the Lord over the last few months, this last year without my husband helping me decipher revelatory epiphanies, and Holy Spirit has shown me many things. One of the most recent territories I've been allowed to step in is that of a cashier (bottom rung on the ladder) where I sell cigarettes and alcohol. This is something I never would have considered a year ago, or even a few months ago. How dare I sell anything that might be considered a sin. That means I’m facilitating it, right? And partaking, right? ;)

But what is the higher thing here? I'm in the position of honor, a position of being able to speak life into hurting hearts. I'm able to sit at their table, so to speak, and affect change because my own personal convictions and the judgmental walls I carried are down and only the love of the Father stands. I can fully encounter them with kindness and joy because I understand that the flesh is not the temple of the Holy Spirit, but rather the heart of the man is the temple, and if I condemn him for what he is feeding the flesh, then I risk further wounding his spirit. The higher thing is the soul and its eternal destination, and God wishes that no man should perish but have everlasting life.

Everything God does is about the eternal. And we, as His heirs, need to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. Who am I to say how God chooses to reach the heart of a man?

So, you see, I get to go on assignment. Every day I wake up I have an assignment, whether it is taking my daughter to work at 4 a.m., watching my grandson from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. while his mama earns her paycheck, spending time with my mother-in-law, helping my mother do laundry, going to work, writing books, or even blog posts. Every day I get to choose whether to trudge through the day or rejoice for it is the day the Lord has made. It’s my choice. And no matter my choice, I affect people around me. I change their atmosphere. I would much rather leak joy into their lives, even if only for a few minutes, then add to their heap pile of depressed, self-pity, wouldn’t you?

Bernadette Chambers has one last assignment before graduating Harris-Spotchnet’s Finishing School of the Peculiar Kind, and unfortunately, she’ll need more than her training has prepared her for when it comes to being a governess to a small child who witnessed her father’s kidnapping, but her lack of preparedness with the child is nothing compared to the sparks ignited by the child’s uncle and his desperate desire to keep his niece safe.

Retired Society Agent Isaac Clanton Willoughby, knew his brother was on the verge of a scientific breakthrough to cure a disease that took his late wife when he disappeared days before the cure was to be unveiled at Andropogon’s Worlds Fair. Now it’s up to him to discern his brother’s secret codes, find out who took him, and ensure his niece’s well-being by hiring the perfect governess without becoming distracted by her beauty and intelligence. But when he discovers nothing is as it seems, can he push past his reservations and trust the woman to help him unravel the mystery left by his brother before it is too late?


Christina Rich is a mother of four children, a grandmother of one, a romance author with Love Inspired Historical, Forget Me Not Romances, a photographer, and a painter, and she is currently working on several non-fiction books. You can connect with her on Facebook at Author Christina Rich and on Twitter @Christinainspy