Monday, November 30, 2015

The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels ends December 7th

Welcome Carrie Fancett Pagels! It is so good to have you hear with me again at The Sword and Spirit Blog! I'm excited for my readers! I love character interviews. Readers, be sure to read down and find out how to enter the giveaway of Carrie's new release. Your choice of ebook or paperback.

The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I have a number of Christmas stories I really love. Two of them are A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life. I combined elements of these two stories as I wrote The Substitute Bride. Here’s the blurb and then I’m going to interview some of my characters from the novella!

A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan,

and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?

My background: I was a psychologist for twenty-five years and have done many interviews. Today I have some of the folks from my 1890s story, set in Shepherd, Michigan, only miles from where my great-grandparents were bringing up my grandfather and his siblings! In fact, they make a cameo appearance in the book!
Q: Louis Penwell, you’re my hero. Please tell me about your name.

A: My father used the last name Smith, which was his middle name, when we moved to Shepherd. He was trying to leave his checkered past behind. So I was known as Louis Smith when I lived here before. Thank God my father came to know Jesus before he died. But he was even buried as a Smith, something I plan to rectify with a marker bearing his proper name.

Q: How about the Penwell name?

A: That’s an unusual name and anyone familiar with my fiction world’s famous Penwells might have recognized Father. And with all the trouble he had, before we moved to Shepherd, he didn’t want to bring shame on the family name, either. So we both went by Smith. But when I went to college, I was encouraged to use my legal name, of course. So I did.

Q: Did you know that I took your last name from a gentleman who works at Gettysburg? And when I saw the name on his employee tag I thought this is a God thing because this is a PERFECT last name for my hero, because Louis’s surname—you were a pen pal to my heroine’s best friend. And you wrote amazing letters to Cora, so Penwell worked perfectly!

A: Here in storyworld Shepherd, Michigan, that feels like “Author Intrusion” so, no, I didn’t know that, and honestly I shall push it from my thoughts! Penwell simply is my name, ma’am.

CFP: Moving on here to Sonja Hoeke, whose name I borrowed from a wonderful reader/reviewer, let’s find out a few things.

Q: Sonja, you sent off a hasty letter telling Louis that you would be willing to be a substitute bride for him. Did you regret that?
A: Oh yes! But if my father’s behavior continued to get more erratic then I felt I might not have much choice. There is something wrong with his blood sugar but despite Mother’s best efforts to manage his diet, Father still had bad episodes of confusion and anger. Then he settles down and is back to his usual temperament. There weren’t very many single men in our area until the railroad came into town.

Q: What is your greatest wish?

A: I wish I had my dog back for one thing. I really miss him—especially when I substitute for my father on his mail route. And of course I’d love to have a husband and a family of my own, but I don’t know if that will be. So if I am to be a spinster, I wish I could have my father’s position as a mail carrier. He’s very stubborn and won’t retire despite his health problems. As it stands now, I have an offer of a position and would have to move, which means I wouldn’t be able to teach my Sunday School class, I’d not be able to help my mother and keep an eye on my father, and I’d miss my friends. But I’m trusting God!

CFP: Oh, I see Mr. Hoeke over there. I really want to chat with him!

Q: Mr. Hoeke, how are you doing?
A: I’d be a lot better if my last remaining daughter was married and I knew someone was taking care of her. And I’d sure enjoy having our house finally back to ourselves. All these years of marriage and all those girls—a man just wants some peace and quiet!

Q: I see. Sounds like on one hand you are concerned for Sonja but on the other you are also concerned about yourself.
A: That’s one way to put it. I’m so miserable most days, with this blasted sugar problem, that I don’t always think straight. But when I do, my first concern is that Sonja will have someone looking after her. I’ve sent every young man I can think of her way, but none meets her approval.

Q: I see you have an injury. And if you don’t mind me saying so, you seem a tad long in the tooth to be carrying mail throughout the county in all kinds of weather.
A: I have to provide for both a wife and a daughter—I’m not about to stop until I see her settled and taken care of.

CFP: Well that was enlightening! Maybe Mr. Hoeke isn’t just a grumpy old man! Sounds like he is concerned about Sonja, even though his choice of husband candidates for her is sorely lacking.

Question: Do you have a question for any of my characters from The Substitute Bride?

Giveaway: Ask a question to enter for the giveaway of a paperback copy of The Substitute Bride (or an ebook copy if preferred or if outside of the USA – void where prohibited by law.)

Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel -- but not all at the same time!
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Monday, November 23, 2015

Faithful Heart by Diane Kalas ends November 30

Please welcome Diane Kalas to The Sword and Spirit blog. Diane is giving away an ebook copy of her book. Be sure to read on down to find out how to enter. Don't forget to leave your email address and let me know if you are a follower for an extra entry.

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth. Answer: My computer sits on a 1890s ladies writing desk. I really need a much bigger workspace. I’m surrounded by files and reference books. Corner of living room and kitchen. I’m wearing blue jeans and green t-shirt.
What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Answer: For FAITHFUL HEART, Journey Home Series 2, I learned that Longhorn cattle have traveling companions for “going up the trail” on those drives to market. I’m hooked on research and there’s lots of interesting things about life on a Texas cattle ranch in 1865-66 in this book.

What is something that very few people know about you? 
Answer: When I’m stressed, I vacuum.
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair).
Answer: My mother’s childhood rocking chair made by her grandfather, my great-grandfather.
If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, past or future, when and where would that be and why?
Answer: I would choose America 1870, after the transcontinental railroad was completed, and settle in California. I would enjoy the adventure and industrial progress going on in our country.
If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?

Answer: You Can Do The Impossible.

What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?
Answer: The first time travel romance I read, back in 1979, was by June Lund Shiplett. Later in the mid-80s, I met her at a book signing near her home in Ohio and we became friends. I started to write my very first novel, a time travel-historical romance thanks to her. I plan to get that published in the future.

What is the biggest secret you ever kept (of course it can’t be a secret anymore)?

Answer: That a girlfriend was leaving her husband (years ago).

What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Answer: I agreed to live in a third-world, Muslim country, Indonesia, for 18 months.
What do you do for fun?
Answer: I go to estate sales with girlfriends and have lunch afterwards. 

Leave a comment and tell us what you do to have fun to be entered in the drawing.

FAITHFUL HEART- Journey Home Series 2

September 1865. Brice Bruton lost his farm to the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, while he served the Union Army. He’s angry with God and guilt-ridden, knowing his family had to flee their home before the Gettysburg Battle. Brice travels to Texas, to reunite with his wife and daughter before heading to Oregon, his lifeline of hope while a POW in Andersonville Prison.

Lainie Colbert, spinster, lives with her father and brother on a cattle ranch outside of Waco, Texas. Lainie’s been a foster aunt to Emily Bruton for two years and loves the child with her whole heart. When Brice Bruton arrives to take his daughter away, Lainie’s desperate to keep the little girl. She prays God will intervene and allow Emily to remain at the ranch.

Grief stricken to learn his wife died, while he served the Union Army, Brice knows he can’t travel with a child on his own, so he accepts a job as cowhand at the Colbert spread. Amid ranch life, Lainie and Brice clash over how to raise Emily. Lainie fears that Brice will leave and take Emily to Oregon. What’s worse, Lainie’s falling in love with Brice and knows he’ll never be attracted to her, a plain range woman.

Lainie’s love and devotion to Emily turns Brice’s opposition to admiration and romantic love. Brice goes up the trail with the Colberts’ herd, and decides he wants his own ranch and Lainie for his wife. Would Lainie accept him after all the arguments over Emily? He’s afraid to ask.

About Diane Kalas: 
Diane collects antique books written by men and women who lived through the American Civil War, and/or who pioneered out West. With a degree in interior design, she enjoys touring historical sites, especially Federal era homes with period furniture. Diane is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her biggest challenge is writing Inspirational Historical Romance. Her biggest distraction is her fascination with historical research.

Connect with Diane

Monday, November 9, 2015

When Lyric met Limerick by Dawn V. Cahill ends November 16th

Introducing the fabulous Luna Raquelle of When Lyric Met Limerick

By Dawn V. Cahill

Today I’m interviewing the talented Luna Raquelle, dancer and poet extraordinaire – Howard’s love interest in When Lyric Met Limerick. She’s visiting us from the pages of my novelette, released just this month.

Luna, her blond hair wound in a loose knot on her head, sits on my living room sofa and takes a sip of freshly-steeped Chai tea.

DVC: Hi Luna. I’m so glad you could visit with me and my readers today.

Luna: {sits back, flinging one thin leg over the other. The steam from the tea forms a gauzy veil around her face.} Thanks. I’m happy to be here. This tea is delicious.

DVC: I love your purple leotard and colorful peasant skirt. Is purple your favorite color?

Luna: No, pink is.

DVC: Then you must love my book’s cover.

Not only is it pink, it shows a couple holding hands, which begs the question: Are you Lyric, or Limerick?

Luna: {chuckles} I’m Limerick. Howard is Lyric.

DVC: Tell us more about your love for limericks.

Luna: When I was a child, my mom read me rhymes at bedtime. I grew up on Dr Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Ogden Nash. Eventually I started to wonder if I could write a funny rhyme, too. My first few attempts were pathetic. The cadence was all wrong, and they didn’t exactly rhyme.

DVC: But now you’re a pro.

Luna: Well, it took a lot of practice. Once I learned the importance of cadence, I was off and running.

DVC: You’re also an accomplished dancer. If you were forced to do only one of them rest of your life – limericks or dance – which would you choose? And why?

Luna: {squints into the distance, then meets my gaze} Limericks. Because even though my body will age, my mind doesn’t have to.

DVC: Now about Howard…

Luna: {ducks her head and giggles}

DVC: What was your very first impression of him when he approached your table that fateful day at Pike’s Place Market?

Luna: I didn’t see him at first. Then I looked up to see this cute guy checking me out. I knew he wasn’t there for a personalized limerick, but he tried oh-so-hard to pretend he was!

DVC: Howard’s the daredevil type, a risk taker. What drew you to him?
Luna: {wrinkles her brow in thought} I’d say it’s his charming tendency to make me laugh at the oddest times. Without even trying. And the fact that we think alike. He makes up lyrics in his head, I make up limericks.

DVC: Unfortunately for Howard, you already had a boyfriend at the time. Were you happy in that relationship?

Luna: I hadn’t been for a long time, but I was afraid to break up with him because he had a temper. Howard was a breath of fresh air.

DVC: What was the moment you knew he was the one?

Luna: That’s easy. The first time he called me Luna Tunes, I knew he was the one.

Giveaway details:

1) Subscribe to Dawn's blog for a chance to win her ebook. Winner’s name will be drawn at the end of the week.

2) Ask Luna a question for another chance to win!


It’s 1983. She’s a winsome poetess looking for work. He’s a moody songwriter asking for trouble. When their lives collide, explosions are bound to follow.

There’s only one problem.

He attracts trouble like Pike Place Market attracts tourists. Why would smart, gifted Luna want to be with a lying, thieving dreamer like him?

But without Luna, Howard faces a future as bleak as a Seattle winter. Will God give him a second chance to win the girl of his dreams?

Amazon link:

Author Dawn V. Cahill blogs about puppies, single parenting and substance abuse (sometimes all at the same time.) Speaking of substance abuse, she is addicted to dark chocolate and her morning frappuccino. She wrote her first story at age 5, and at age 8 heard one of her stories read on a children’s radio program. Someday she plans to finish the novel she started at age 11 called Mitch and the Martians. She has published a short story, written several newspaper articles, two Christian contemporary novels, and more limericks than she can count. Email her at, or find her on Facebook. She is a member of Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).


Monday, November 2, 2015

Vickie McDonough

Please welcome Vickie McDonough to my blog. Vickie is a wonderful friend and great writer. Enjoy the history she shares with you today!

I was born and raised in Oklahoma, and I’ve always been interested in the land runs, one aspect of our state’s unique history. In case you’re not familiar with Oklahoma, much of the state was designated as Indian Territory in the later half of the nineteenth century. Over forty Indian tribes were eventually moved there because white settlers in other states and territories wanted their valuable land.

Once much of the West had been settled, people started looking at Oklahoma as one of their last chances to get free land. They pressured the government to open the Unassigned Lands--land that had been promised to certain tribes, but no Indians had settled on it. The government finally agreed, and President Benjamin Harrison signed the paperwork for what was later called Harrison’s Hoss Race.

On April 22, 1889, over two million acres of land was opened for settlement in a land run. The homesteads were 160 acres and much smaller town lots were also available. Anybody twenty-one and older could ride—women, foreigners, and blacks included. The race began with the blast of cannon and gunfire and a cheer so loud your ears ached. An instant stampeded ensued. In less than a few hours, all of the homesteads had been claimed, leaving many people disillusioned and unhappy because they didn’t get one. In the first book in my series, Gabriel’s Atonement, my hero and heroine ride in the 1889 land run, which led to the settlement of Guthrie, Oklahoma City, and several other towns.

Joline’s Redemption is the second book in my Land Rush Dreams series, and it features the Cherokee Strip land run of 1893. The land rushes were a chance for many folks to start over, and that’s what my heroine hopes to do.

Sarah’s Surrender, the final book in the series, release next year, and it features the Oklahoma land lottery, which proved to be a less chaotic and dangerous way to claim the land.

Thanks for being here today.

Vickie McDonough

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Heroes, Heroines, and History blog: 

 Joline has fallen as far as any woman can. She once had lofty dreams of love and luxury, but she made a series of dreadful decisions, leaving her bereft of all hope. Jo has a long list of secrets to keep and has to continually look over her shoulder, as the man she’s running from may show up anywhere, anytime.

During the Oklahoma land rush days, a gambler seeking to absolve himself of guilt for accidentally killing a man, attempts to help the dead man’s struggling widow, but she wants nothing to do with him, no matter how badly she needs him.