Monday, January 21, 2013

Choice of Midwife Series book by Laurie Alice Eakes ends January 28th

About Laurie Alice Eakes

“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of  bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author with a dozen books and novellas in print and more on the way. A graduate of Asbury University with a degree in English and French, and  Seton Hill University, with a masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction, she also teaches writing and gives inspirational talks to women’s groups. She lives in Texas with her husband, dogs, and cats, where she enjoys long walks, rainy days, and knitting—rather badly.
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Read excerpts from her books at:

Please welcome my good friend, Laurie Alice Eakes. She is giving a way winners choice of any one of her Midwife books. Ask Laurie Alice a question or tell us about an interesting profession for woman that you know about to be entered in the drawing. 

Debbie Lynne and Laurie Alice with her 
wonderful four legged boy, Nick.

Professional Women

The not particularly amusing joke about working women is what is the oldest profession for women. Long before I grew interested in and began to research their work and lives, I realized that that joke was not only not funny because it’s just vulgar and a dis to women, but because I think it’s just wrong.

I think midwifery was the oldest profession for women. Eve was probably a midwife first for herself and then for other women who came along.

Perhaps this mouthy response that began when I was a child is where my interest in midwives and the historic professions of women began. Perhaps the notion my teachers tried to tell me, that women were suppressed and weren’t allowed to work, made me want to prove them wrong. Yes, I am a bit of a rebel.

Whatever the reason, I began a long-term quest to discover what work women engaged in other than midwifery and prostitution. Admittedly, not many women were allowed to work. Married women had limited control over property or contracts until the end of the nineteenth century in America and later elsewhere. Women didn’t have the vote until the twentieth century except in a handful of states. Yet many women managed to find work inside and outside of the home.

We can start with biblical women.

“She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”
Proverbs 31: 24 KJV

This ideal women is not only a weaver for her family, but she makes enough to sell it, and she sells it to the merchant herself.

“And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.”
Judges 4:4-5 KJV

Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome Cindy Nord author of No Greater Glory

Please welcome Cindy Nord to my blog this weekend. Cindy, it is great to have you here!

Merriam-Webster defines “reticule” (RET-i-kyool; also spelled reticle) as a woman’s small bag or purse, usually in the form of a pouch with a drawstring, made of net, beading, brocade, etc. Unlike today’s purses — in which we carry everything but the kitchen sink — the delicate bags popular during the Victorian era were large enough to contain little more than a handkerchief, a scent bottle, important keys, and perhaps a coin or two.

The material from which reticules were made varied based upon when a bag would be carried. Simple cotton handkerchief designs or patterned wools and canvas were suitable for everyday use. For evenings out, a well-dressed lady’s bag might be made of silk or satin with delicate beadwork, or even elegant silver mesh chainmail. Beadwork was particularly fashionable for much of the era, but only wealthy women could afford the price of an elegant hand-beaded reticule. The smaller the beads and the tighter their pattern, the more expensive the piece. Only the crème de la crème of society were able to purchase reticules bearing 100 beads per square inch.

Closures varied from simple drawstrings to more formal formed-brass metal headers with snaps. But always the item would be worn suspended from the wrist or attached to the waist by a clip to allow the lady’s hands to be free to support a fan (in the evenings) or a parasol (during afternoon outings).

As women of today look forward to the newest handbag from Coach or Louis Vuitton, the women of yesteryear perused the latest edition of Godey’s Ladies Book with glee. So anticipated were the delightful reticule patterns that each month’s collection offered several to choose from and usually included intricate beadwork examples, as well.
When a Victorian lady traveled, she carried ‘a metal-framed covered with leather’ bag called a Gladstone. According to, “the original Gladstone Bag [was] developed in the mid-19th century and represented a kind of suitcase built on a rigid frame that could be split into two separate parts.  It was usually made of very strong leather and was often ‘tied’ with lanyards also made of leather.”  The Gladstone bag was designed by leather craftsman J.G. Beard, who named the bag after Prime Minister William Gladstone [1809–1898], a popular politician renowned for his love of travel. Even Walt Disney’s beloved Mary Poppins knew how to ‘travel in style’ as she smoothly traversed the sky via her open umbrella…clutched in her hand was a Gladstone!

If you want to learn more about Cindy Nord's new release, No Greater Glory drop by her website. I will put a warning here for my followers. This is NOT a CBA novel. If you have any questions about it please feel free to ask Cindy. 

Indeed, true love awaits in the writing of Cindy Nord, whose work has won or finaled in numerous competitions, including the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Awards. For three & ½ months, her debut novel, NO GREATER GLORY, was the #1 Civil War Romance at Amazon. And recently, The Library Journal (buying digest for libraries in the U.S., Canada & the U.K.) gave her love story a stellar review, concluding with ‘a steamier Gone With the Wind’. A luscious blend of history and romance, her stories wrap both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters. If interested in a closer peek at her writing style, please visit her at her website -- or -- connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For Maria and Katia by Bruce Judisch ends January 16th

BRUCE JUDISCH is an analyst on contract to the Department of Defense.  His fiction includes the above-mentioned prequel to For Maria, Katia.  He is also the author of “A Prophet’s Tale” (The Journey Begun and The Word Fulfilled, as well as Ben Amittai: First Call, the prequel), a novelization of the story of Old Testament prophet Jonah.  He is also published in a Department of Defense professional journal, the IO Sphere.  His unpublished non-fiction includes more than 18 Bible-study booklets, as well as topical studies on the Seven Churches of Revelation, the Resurrection, and Discerning God’s Will. Bruce’s work can be found on his Web site at  He also reviews Christian fiction on his blog at He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his high school-sweetheart wife, Jeannie.  They are parents of three and grandparents of fourteen. *Note:  Ben Amittai has been pulled from the market and will become Part One of a revised The Journey Begun, currently under rewrite.
Please welcome Bruce back to my blog. Bruce is generously giving away TWO SETS of his books For Maria and Katia. Ask Bruce a question or tell us your favorite short quote to be entered to win.

“A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.”
—William Faulkner
 I was once asked at a book signing how important research is in writing historical novels. I replied that it was paramount, and then went on to describe some of the lengths I went to in order to ensure accuracy in my historical settings and events. The individual who posed the question was genuinely puzzled as to why a novelist would need to do research, since fiction is just made-up stories. That led me to assume the individual was acquainted with William Faulkner. I did my best to introduce him to Margaret Banning:
“Fiction is not a dream, nor is it guesswork. It is imagining based on facts, and the facts must be accurate or the work of imagining will not stand up.”
– Margaret Culkin Banning

There’s a covenant fiction writers establish with their readership when they type the first words of a new manuscript. It carries the same general provision someone expects from their auto mechanic or pastor: that artisans be true to their task, their calling, if you will.
Drivers buy more than new tires at an auto shop; they entrust their mortal existence to the dealer at 70 miles per hour. And church-goers invest more than a check in an offering plate; they entrust their immortal soul to the advice and leadership of this earthly shepherd. Likewise, readers lay much more than their hard-earned dollars onto the checkout counter at the bookstore. They commit precious hours they’ll never get back, lay vulnerable fragile emotions that can forever change them, and exert intellectual energy that will shape their perception of reality. That’s a sacred trust the author is obligated to honor. The author does so by adhering to Stephen King’s axiom that “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
The exercise of research doesn’t need to be heavy, though. Quite the contrary. One of the ultimate joys I’ve discovered in writing historical fiction is the research itself. Gathering data for my series “A Prophet’s Tale,” based in the 8th-century bc Middle East, led me from backtracking astronomical phenomena through the centuries via NASA’s Web site, to browsing dozens of ancient Assyrian cuneiform tablet transcriptions revealing political, economic, and social nuances from the era, and just about everywhere else in between. And neither need research be purely academic.
When researching Katia, I differed somewhat in approach, but not in importance. The story centers on a scene I personally witnessed in Berlin, Germany, on November 10th, 1989, at the fall of the Berlin Wall. One of my main characters describes those events as I saw them, but through his point of view. As an eyewitness, I know them to be accurate. Of course, there was further research needed for the surrounding story, but the writing was made much more delicious by the personal element. Unfortunately, not all writers have discovered this joy or recognize the obligation.
Researching For Maria gave me quite a different experience.  Whereas Katia only took me 30 days to get the first draft on paper, For Maria  took me a year and a half.  The subject matter was research intensive and emotionally exhausting.  There were times I needed to set the manuscript aside for weeks at a time just to regroup and press on.  However, the friends I made in the course of researching For Maria, those who actually lived the story, are priceless.
I once exchanged comments in an online forum with a writer who didn’t quite grasp Mr. King’s axiom. The individual’s WWII-based manuscript included a particular model of German bomber. The writer knew that the gun turret on the bomber was not built to swivel, that it was in a fixed position. The scene he was writing apparently depended upon the turret being movable, so he made it move. He lied, and I cautioned him that he was going to get caught. It would only take one reader who knew something about German bombers to read the scene, and the author’s credibility would go down in smoke and flames along with his bomber. Unfortunately, he took exception to my comment, and the exchange abruptly ended.
Readers, hold your authors accountable. You shouldn’t accept unbalanced tires or theologically flawed sermons. Neither should you accept lies within your fiction. You deserve better.
–  Anthony Ashley Cooper

“Seek the truth, embrace the pain, cherish the freedom.”
Spirited Madeline “Maddy” McAllister is a twenty-one year-old journalism major completing her year as an exchange student at the Freie Universität, in Berlin, Germany. She has a career to launch.
Stalwart Katia Mahler is a sixty year-old German invalid who grew up in post-World War II East Berlin. She has a story to tell.
Enigmatic Oskar Schultmann brings together the journalist and the storyteller. Maddy’s task: to chronicle Katia Mahler’s life.
All three of them discover more to Katia’s story than they bargained for.
Cultures and generations clash, as the young American and the German matron strive to understand each other’s present and past. Maddy learns more than a personal history; Katia receives more than a memoir. And always in the background is Oskar, who gets drawn into the story in ways he never intended.
Peek behind the Iron Curtain and over the Berlin Wall as Katia’s story—the story of a lost generation from a failed state—comes to life through the scribbled notes of a girl struggling to grasp the significance of what she has written for her own life as well as for future generations.

For Maria
December, 1939: The Gestapo haul Izaak and Maria Szpilmann away to the Lublin concentration camp, leaving their twin infant daughters behind to die. But the twins do not die. Rescued by a neighbor couple, Gustaw and Ròsa Dudek, they escape occupied Poland to Salzburg, Austria. They are not heard from again.
Today: Maria Szpilmann has survived Lublin, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. She is now grandmother to Madeline Sommers, a young journalist who, despite the odds, passionately clings to the belief that the lost twins are still alive. She makes it her single-focused mission to find and reunite them with her failing grandmother before it’s too late