Thursday, December 01, 2022

THE LOST MELODY - Joanna Davidson Politano - One Free Book

Bio: Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne DisappearsA Rumored FortuneFinding Lady EnderlyThe Love Note, and A Midnight Dance. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

About the story: After the death of her father, concert pianist Vivienne Mourdant is surprised to learn she is now responsible for an adult ward at Hurstwell Asylum whom she knows nothing about. The woman’s portrait stirs old memories from Vivienne’s childhood dreams. When the asylum claims that the woman was never a patient there, Vivienne resolves to find the woman no matter what.
As she becomes an aid and is soon admitted against her will to Hurstwell, a place forgotten by the outside world, the edges of sanity and madness blur, leaving her unsure of what is real. Music plays for her ears alone, letters full of rose petals are delivered, and secrets beyond the ones she seeks are revealed. Will the woman’s history ever be revealed?

Fan-favorite Joanna Davidson Politano casts a delightful spell with this lyrical look into the nature of women’s independence and artistic expression during the Victorian eraand now.

Welcome back, Joanna. Can you please provide a brief summary of your novel The Lost Melody?

The Lost Melody is about a concert pianist who sees the entire world in terms of music. She sees the people around her, the good and bad circumstances of her life, even the atmosphere of a place, as a song with all its unique traits. She enters Hurstwell Pauper Lunatic Asylum as an aid to find a mysterious ward she never knew about—and who the asylum claims was never a patient there. Because her father has paid for this woman’s keep for many years, and because Vivienne herself recognizes the woman’s portrait, she cannot keep from searching out the truth. She’s seen this woman and heard the haunting lost melody she plays on the piano, yet no one seems to know her or what became of her. She discovers more than she ever imagined she would, pairing her skill in music with a place deeply in need of healing, and we get to see through Vivienne what impact music has on people’s minds and bodies—and what impact light has in darkness.

What inspired the story of a woman searching for a mysteriously missing patient? I had a dream once—that’s how so many story ideas start—that I woke up in some prison cell for speaking out about God. It was terrifying and emboldening, and I felt I had a mission, even within these odd circumstances. In the morning, I wrote out the details of what I’d experienced, then I started asking “what if?” I made it a story idea, and thought about why someone might find themselves trapped in an asylum. I tossed out the overdone ideas and thought of more. What put her there? What happens next? Then what? And since this came from a dream, I thought it would be a fun twist to have the mysterious character the heroine searches for be from a dream too. A pianist who played a distinctive song in the middle of the night, and only the heroine heard it. I had no idea where I was going with the idea, but it was an interesting place to start!

The Lost Melody is set in the Victorian era. What drew you to this time period? Of all the books I’ve read, some of my favorites were written during the Victorian era. I feel at home in that slice of history, and I just love the nuances and climate of the time. Things were vastly different then, especially for the poor and for women, but humanity remains the same. There are so many insights into our life here and now through the lens of Victorian England.

Your character spends a great deal of time at an asylum. What type of research was required to accurately portray this time period and the location? I read a lot of nonfiction material concerning asylums, including myth-busting statistics and evidence. I also read journalist Nelly Bly’s account of her time in a “mad house,” as she called it, and everything she experienced. Her story took place in New York, so I mostly used her impressions and thoughts rather than the historical details that wouldn’t have necessarily matched British asylums, but it was incredibly helpful in setting the tone in my head.

What I found most helpful were the journals written by various asylum inmates, mostly men, in Victorian England. Those accounts were raw and heartbreaking, especially when I recognized everyday conditions in the patients described in the pages. There were also records of items patients left behind as well as early photographs of their faces, and that added a human element to my research. I couldn’t set these stories aside. I couldn’t forget about the people and their lives. And through all this research, I found a great deal of hope and beauty.

Your main character, Vivienne, is a concert pianist. What compelled you to write about a musically talented character? When God invited me into a very dark-sounding premise, this asylum setting, I wanted to contrast it with something intensely beautiful. One of the most beautiful things I could think of within that time period was music—especially piano music. Whenever I write, or even when I’m homeschooling my small children, piano music permeates the atmosphere and somehow grounds us all. It’s calming but also full of life, and that’s exactly what I wanted to put into this story that could otherwise be quite dreary. The music ended up becoming a huge component of the story, and adding so much light and hope and fascinating historical elements that I can’t wait to share with readers. The music portion of my research and my preparation was a real delight to my music-loving heart.

There is an element of psychological suspense in The Lost Melody. Do you find it challenging to add in this type of suspense? Very much so! I always start out knowing the ending of my stories—but then discover I’m wrong at some point in the drafting stage. I add twists and change outcomes all the time, and it feels like I’m uncovering more layers than I even include in the finished novel. So as I’m writing these stories, even the simple plot twists, they really mess with my brain. All the possibilities, the what-ifs, the impossible scenarios, the dots that suddenly connect . . . they just dance around in my head, twisting this way and that until suddenly all the pieces are in place and there’s an entire story laid out.

Honestly, I never think the story will work itself out, or that a resolution will be possible, until it happens and it’s there. A writing friend once told me that our brain hates an unfinished story, and that’s how this one especially went for me—I couldn’t get it out of my head until I’d untangled every last twist and saw everything clearly. Then, of course, there’s the matter of going back through the whole thing and making sure all the details add up and actually point to the right conclusion!

Do you identify with Vivienne in any way?

Absolutely. I’ve played piano for as long as I can remember, and the way music gets under her skin—in a good way—is somewhat from my own life. I’m not a performer, but I absolutely love to play and listen to music. Beyond that, I felt her spiritual struggle heavily. The idea of having a strong purpose in life, then being derailed, finding yourself trapped in circumstances that were nowhere near what you’d planned . . . and realizing the interruption was as important as the previous mission you were on. Perhaps more so. I’ve been in some long seasons I didn’t understand, didn’t like, and after crying out to God with all my questions and probably more than a few complaints, I realized each time what freedom I still had within the prison of those circumstances.

What do you hope the reader takes away from The Lost Melody? A sense of freedom within the constraints of circumstances. At some point we all find ourselves mired in a place we don’t want to be, trapped by someone else’s choices or by unforeseen events. We fight it, complain about it, then something happens and we settle into the season and maybe even realize this interruption was the point all along. That our purpose and mission are found right in the midst of the place we never wanted to be. Or at the very least, that we can have a great deal of freedom within that difficulty. What freedom is available to God’s people, especially within their heart, no matter what’s going on around them.

What do you love about writing historical fiction? I love the characters! I always start with them. Then I look at what’s going on in the world around them and how that might shape who they are, their motivations, their heart questions. Humanity remains largely the same over time, broken but beautiful, but there’s something irresistible about stepping out of your own world and visiting another, spending time with the people there and seeing humans from their perspective—then seeing the similarities to ourselves in modern culture.

Where can our audience go to connect with you? My newsletter is where I share everything first, and you can connect with that on my website: jdpstories.com. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram as Joanna Davidson Politano. I also create Pinterest boards to help readers visualize my stories.

Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your novel on my blog. I have a lot of readers who love historical novels.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Melody-Joanna-Davidson-Politano/dp/0800736915/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1669912756&sr=1-1

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

THE SEASONING OF ELIZABELLA - Tamera Lynn Kraft - One Free Book

Bio: Award winning author and Mt Zion Ridge Publisher Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. Forks in the Road, Lost in the Storm, and Red Sky Over America, Alice’s Notions, and Resurrection of Hope are among her published works. She also designs book covers, and hosts Themed Facebook parties and book launches. In her spare time, she loves to watch classic movies, drink quality teas, and ride on roller coasters, but not while drinking tea.

Tamera been married for a very long time to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and four adorable and smart grandchildren. She was a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is now the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum including Building Foundations. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

Welcome back, Tamera. Tell us about your salvation experience. I was 13 years old and was in a bad home situation. I heard this church had a lot of cute boys. There were, so I kept going back. The church also had a bus ministry and a thriving youth ministry. I gave my heart to God during one of the youth services. I was the first in my family to be saved.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why? I have gleaned a lot for my writing from Steven James and James L. Rubart, so I would choose them. I would also enjoy writing with Susan May Warren because I know I would learn a lot. Michelle Levigne has been my business partner for four years now. She’s a lot of fun and very knowledgeable, so I’d definitely include her.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that. My speaking ministry is Revival Fire for Kids. I teach children’s pastors how to have an effective children’s ministry and how to lead children into the presence of God. I also write Building Pentecostal Foundations Children’s Church Curriculum, do children’s revivals, and have an Ignite Kidmin Podcast.

At one period in my writing life, I wrote children’s curriculum for two years for several age levels and included all the take-home papers as well. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it? When I was 15 years old, I took dance lessons. I was doing a tap dance for the performance review and the strap on my costume broke. I kept going on with the dance while holding my costume up with one of my hands.

People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that? Spend a lot of time writing and learning the craft, but don’t expect to publish the first thing you write. Also, read a lot of books in the genre you write.

Tell us about the featured book. The Seasoning of Elizabella: A Jamestown Bride Story

Elizabella can’t imagine anything worse than being a Jamestown bride -- but her sister is determined to do just that. On the way to the ship to stop her sister, she witnesses a brutal murder and must flee for her life. She takes refuge on the ship, pretending to be her sister, intending to leave as soon as she is safe. Before she knows it, she is headed for the New World, trapped by desperation and deception.

Miles fled to Jamestown with his family to escape the shame from their father's actions. Tragedy has tested his faith, including the loss of his wife and newborn son. His grief makes him more determined than ever to keep his one remaining brother from following in their father's footsteps.

Will God heal their pain? How can their love grow when Elizabella desires nothing more than to return to London, and Miles desires nothing more than to remain in Jamestown?

Please give us the first page of the book.

London, England

November 1619

Elizabella Clark gave her sister the fiercest look she could conjure. “Why didn’t you inform me about this earlier?”

“Because I knew you would try to stop me.” Honesty didn’t even offer a glance as she escorted the burly cart driver to where her trunk sat in front of the large loom in the center of the room.

“You speak truly.” Elizabella shivered, but ’twas nothing to do with the cold. The main room used as their seamstress shop contained a fire blazing so exceedingly well, she sometimes longed to open a window, no matter how frigid the outside air.

She glanced at the nearest wall where unused bolts of satin, silk, and embroidered linen cloth she’d ordered from a costly weaver lined the shelves. When she first opened the shop, Honesty and she had spent more time weaving than sewing to make ends meet. Tightly woven cloth sheets and blankets went for a fine price, and she’d learned to make short work of them. Now, they had more sewing jobs than they could handle, and the loom often sat idle.

Her stomach knotted into a tight ball. Without Honesty by her side, how could she hope to fill all the orders in a timely fashion?

Two rocking chairs sat empty in front of the hearth, a sewing basket beside each chair. They’d been hired to sew at least a half dozen gowns for the royal ball, and only one was finished. They should have been laboring over the dresses instead of wasting time on this folly. If only her sister would listen to reason.

“I can’t stay.” Honesty’s voice cracked. “After my heartbreak with Sir Robert, it would be too painful. Come with me.”

“Nay, I could never leave our home.” Elizabella turned so her sister wouldn’t see her watery eyes. “Wounds heal. You’ll see. You’re so young, barely old enough to wed at fifteen. Once word is out that you no longer have a suitor, gentlemen and tradesmen will flock around here like pigeons at the marketplace. Time enough to acquire a husband more suited to your station.”

“My station. I tire of hearing I’m not worthy of the mighty Weathersby family.” A tear rolled down Honesty’s cheek, and she swiped at it.

The carter leaned under the weight of the trunk, seemingly unsure of what to do.

“Fiddlesticks. They’re not good enough for you.” Elizabella desired nothing more than to give the eldest son of Lord Weathersby a scolding he’d never forget.

Asking for Honesty’s hand in marriage, then retracting the offer when his father disapproved of the union, was reprehensible. If he hadn’t been a nobleman, she would have had him arrested for breach of contract.

“Every one of them lives in leisure while doing nothing to help those they consider their inferiors. You’re well rid of Sir Robert.”

“He isn’t that sort. He just… His parents are concerned about our upcoming nuptials. He desires to honor them.”

“He should have upheld your honor.” A lump rose in Elizabella’s throat. He wouldn’t defend her sister any more than her father protected her. “He lacks the courage to be a good husband.”

Honesty dried her eyes with her pink embroidered handkerchief made of scraps from one of the gowns she’d sewn. “All the more reason to start a new life in a new land.” She turned to the carter and handed him a coin. “I’ll need it delivered to the London Merchant at Saint Katherine’s Wharf.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

http://tameralynnkraft.net

http://tameralynnkraft.com

Thank you, Tamera, for sharing the release of your book on my blog. I love your story.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Seasoning-Elizabella-Jamestown-Bride-Story/dp/1955838488/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1669826489&sr=1-4

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

THE BLACKOUT BOOK CLUB - Amy Lynn Green - One Free Book

Bio: Amy Lynn Green has always loved history and reading, and she enjoys speaking with book clubs, writing groups, and libraries all around the country. Her debut novel, Things We Didn’t Say, was nominated for a 2021 Minnesota Book Award, won two Carol Awards, and received a starred review from both Booklist and Library Journal. Amy and her family make their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

About the story: An impulsive promise to her combat-bound brother lands Avis Montgomery the position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Never much of a reader herself, Avis starts a book club in hopes of keeping library doors open when dark times threaten to close them down.

At first glance, the rag-tag group of women who attend the first meeting couldn’t be more different. But as the women face personal challenges and band together as war comes dangerously close, they find they have more in common than they think.

As growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

Transporting readers to a fascinating and complicated time in world history, Green highlights the power of story in this thoughtful tale that Susan Meissner and Lisa Wingate fans won’t want to miss.

Welcome to my blog, Amy. All three of your novels take place during WWII. What about this era fascinates you, and what do you believe is the draw for readers? WWII is brimming with stories and drama, whether overseas or at home, and I think readers never tire of the high stakes and fascinating details about the era. All three of my novels have focused on different aspects of the American home front—conflict around prisoner of war camps, the sacrifice of conscientious objectors, and now the U-boat battle in the Atlantic and the importance of Rosie the Riveter workers during the war years. I love telling lesser-known historical details that took place on this side of the Atlantic, and the United States setting allows for a few more lighthearted and humorous moments than the understandably more somber stories set on the front lines or in occupied countries.

Can you tell us a little more about who or what inspired you to write this story? Most of my stories start with a historical fact that intrigues me, and this one is no different. I learned that a group of civilians with sailing experience—from Prohibition rumrunners to wealthy yachters—volunteered their time and their vessels to patrol the East Coast for U-boats to aid the Coast Guard. This “Hooligan Navy,” as it was nicknamed, plays a small part in the novel, but I loved including it, and that’s what inspired me to set the novel in beautiful coastal Maine.

The Blackout Book Club has been called “an ode to books and libraries, but also an ode to human connection.” What purpose does the book club serve for these women in your novel? That was my favorite part of this novel, actually! There are four main characters in the novel, from very different backgrounds and social standings, thrown together in this book club. Each of them has a reason to isolate themselves, and each slowly learns how to trust each other, form friendships, and find community through the stories they love. Plus, it was a wonderful chance to include a variety of heated opinions on books of the time that I loved (or hated).

As a book lover and author yourself, what do you find valuable about book clubs today? As an author, I’ve been privileged to speak with many book clubs around the country, and as a reader, I’ve enjoyed participating in them. What has struck me every time is the depth and richness that the diversity of opinions brings to the discussions. Everyone has thoughts and interpretations and experiences that make a book come to life in new ways. It’s so much more than the fun of a shared hobby (though we all need people who understand that “just one more page” is usually a lie). It’s about loving books even more after hearing others’ perspectives on them. I hope real life book clubs enjoy meeting Avis, Ginny, Louise, Martina, and the rest—and hearing their thoughts on some classic stories.

What aspect of home front life from your research was your favorite to work into the novel? I especially enjoyed writing about the Victory Book Campaign, where citizens donated millions of books of interest to the troops to fill base libraries and to be distributed to men on the front lines. Popular topics ranged from textbooks to classics to Western to mystery novels. This was a huge morale-booster for the men, often starved for entertainment, and one soldier declared that books were more popular than pin-up girls! Many credit wartime initiatives like this one with making reading a common pastime for the average American, not just an elite few.

What lessons do you hope readers will gain from reading The Blackout Book Club? I hope readers come away with a greater appreciation for the support and encouragement of people in their lives, whether that’s family, longtime friends, a faith community, neighbors, or even book club members. As I wrote, I found myself challenged to be better at asking for help, seeking advice, and living life with those around me. We really do need each other.

What are you working on next? I’m midway through writing a novel that starts with an all-female Midwestern swing orchestra . . . that eventually travels to the desert front of North Africa with a USO camp show to entertain the troops there. It’s been a joy to travel to Morocco and Algeria through my research and slip in some of the incredible and dangerous experiences that real performers had as they put on a show for the men overseas.

How can readers connect with you? Much like some of my characters, I love letter writing, so always feel free to drop me a line via the contact page on my website, amygreenbooks.com. You can sign up for my newsletter there as well, which goes out quarterly with updates and bookish fun. I also share historical fun facts on my Facebook page and glimpses into my writing and personal life on Instagram.

Thank you, Amy, for sharing this book on my blog. WWII is a popular genre right now.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Blackout-Book-Club-Lynn-Green/dp/0764239562/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1669760250&sr=1-1

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BOOKMAS Starts Thursday, December 1


Starting on December 1 and continuing through December 12, one of these authors will have a free e-book for everyone. Be sure and bookmark this blog post, and make a note to claim your free Christmas book every day.

Days

Dec 1 - Lacy Williams, Christmas Homecoming https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0963XK6KB/ 

Dec 2 - Shanna Hatfield, The Christmas Bargain, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A71KP8O/ 

Dec 3 - Julia Ridgmont, The Christmas Switch, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077T4B9YH 

Dec 4 - Vickie McDonough, Beloved Enemy, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KPQC3C4 

Dec 5 - Misty Beller, Freedom in the Mountain Wind, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YX9DCJ5/ 

Dec 6 - Lorri Dudley, The Duke's Refuge, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XWRK345/ 

Dec 7 - Kathleen Denly, Waltz in the Wilderness, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZG15XCJ/ 

Dec 8 - Lena Nelson Dooley, A Heart's Gift, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08JD3MX9N/ 

Dec 9 - Keely Brooke Keith, The Land Uncharted, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MW7Z1QW 

Dec 10 - Linda Ford, Austin, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0952VGFP9 

Dec 11 - Kit Morgan, The Christmas Mail-Order Bride, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FVGRX9O 

Dec 12 - Kari Trumbo, A Sugar Plum Christmas, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09L7CCZ3R 

WINNERS

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Some people don't read the instructions of how to enter. Unfortunately, they don't have a chance to win. so next time you come and leave a comment, be sure to read all the instructions if you want a chance to win.

Jeanie (AZ) is the winner of Beneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick. 

Jan (TX) is the winner of The Captain and Mrs. Vye by MaryAnn Diorio.

Lucy (WV) is the winner of Falling for the Cowgirl by Jody Hedlund.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.

If you won an ebook or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to. Remember, you have 2 weeks to claim your book.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

WINTER AT THE WHITE QUEEN - Denise Weimer - One Free Book

Welcome, Denise. Why do you write the kind of books you do? Stories that honor the Lord, whether contemporary or historical—some with deeper spiritual themes and some lighter and relaxing—are my goal. I’ve felt the calling to be a writer since middle school. To frame my stories, I enjoy finding unique settings and little-known aspects of history, mostly in my home state of Georgia.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life? The clearest answer to that would be my wedding day and the births of my two beautiful daughters, both in college and grad school now.

We also only had two daughters. They’re both grandmothers now. How has being published changed your life? My first novella was released when I was in my late twenties, then after some time passed, my first series came out. That started my publishing journey with author events on weekends, speaking and teaching engagements, and learning how to market online … and led to me becoming an editor as well. So it’s definitely become a career path—one that has paired well with being a mom.

What are you reading right now? At the moment? Nothing except my Bible. J We just completed a move, and I’ve been working on editing projects as well. Editing takes so much reading, I usually don’t read for pleasure except when I’m not deep into a project.

What is your current work in progress? See answer above. LOL. However, I am in the brainstorming and early research phase for a new trilogy of Southern frontier romances with my publisher. Book one is complete. By the time this article is posted, I’ll probably be writing book two.

What would be your dream vacation? We’ve gotten to take some of our dream vacations through my husband’s job in the past, including Ireland, Alaska, and a Mediterranean cruise. We hope to go out West to Glacier National Park soon. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Scotland, Austria, or Switzerland or returning to Italy.

How do you choose your settings for each book? As mentioned above, most of my books are set in Georgia or neighboring states. We have so much variety here, from the mountains to the coast, from the big city to small towns. And fascinating history from Colonial times to contemporary. I’ve yet to run out of inspiration.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why? I guess I’m not much of a super-fan. No one is coming to mind. Being surrounded by friends and family and a supportive church and writing community is what warms my heart most.

I’m with you on that. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading? Little towns with cute gift shops, antique stores, coffee shops or tea rooms, and historical sites are always calling my name. I love hiking (especially to waterfalls) and, in general, being in the mountains.

Something I often pair with book events is living history. I’ve worked part-time as a historical interpreter and maintain connections with local historical sites and museums, and I also have a group of friends with whom I’ve done 1800s dance performances. Nothing like wearing a corset and smelling wood smoke to get my creative juices flowing.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it? If we’re being completely transparent? I find the biggest obstacle to writing the small amount authors make overall, especially on e-books. So much time goes into the research and writing process, but even when publishers are generous in royalty percentages as mine is, authors only receive a tiny portion of the overall pie due to editing, design, printing, distribution, and marketing costs. This is true even for veteran authors, unless you’re a huge bestseller. I became an editor to supplement our income, but happily, I’ve found it’s just as much my “thing” as writing.

What advice would you give to a beginning author? Your path to publication might look quite different from someone else’s, and that’s completely fine. Just make sure you are informed of current writing style and marketing expectations, whether you are self-publishing or pursuing traditional publication. This could mean taking classes, working with a mentor or experienced critique group, or paying for an editor you can learn from. You also must curate an online presence—website, a couple of social media outlets, and eventually, an author newsletter. Guest blog, do author swaps in newsletters, and participate in online giveaways and parties to build your connections.

Tell us about the featured book. A Winter at the White Queen is the first novella in the Romance at the Gilded Age Resorts series with Wild Heart Books. It’s a foray into the “Age of Wonder,” as I like to call the time when the old ways met the new and exciting inventions changed daily life forever. While I hope readers will enjoy a chuckle or two at Ellie’s story, some deeper themes are also explored.

Ellie Hastings is tired of playing social gatekeeper—and poor-relation companion—to her Gibson Girl of a cousin. But her aunt insists Ellie lift her nose out of her detective novel long enough to help gauge the eligibility of bachelors during the winter social season at Florida’s Hotel Belleview. She finds plenty that’s mysterious about the suave, aloof Philadelphia inventor, Lewis Thornton. Why does he keep sneaking around the hotel? Does he have a secret sweetheart? And what is his connection to the evasive Mr. Gaspachi, slated to perform at Washington’s Birthday Ball?

Ellie’s comical sleuthing ought to put Lewis out, but the diffident way her family treats her smashes a hole in his normal reserve. But when Florence Hastings’ diamond necklace goes missing, Ellie’s keen mind threatens to uncover not only Lewis’s secrets, but give him back hope for love.

Please give us the first page of the book.

January 1910

Ellie Hastings didn’t need to be as sly as the heroine in her favorite detective novel. Dora Myrl combined skill with beauty to achieve her objectives, but Ellie could rely on the invisible cloak of plainness.

She’d been sitting at a table in the train’s dining car next to Lewis Thornton’s for a full ten minutes, and he hadn’t once looked up—not even when the waiter brought her tea. But perhaps that wasn’t personal. Alternating his attention between his steak and a small book open at his right hand, the bachelor her aunt deemed a prime candidate for her daughter Ada also failed to acknowledge the curious glances of businessmen or tittering mamas with female offspring in tow.

Ellie stirred sugar into her teacup and drew a blank square of paper closer. She plucked her pencil out of the spine of the leather notebook where she kept observations of potential suitors for her cousin—loose-leaf, so she could organize them in order of preference. Lewis Thornton, she wrote.

Nibbling her lower lip, she studied the mechanical engineer from under her pale lashes. Tall and blonde, square-jawed, firm-lipped, Thornton bore himself like a man of the new century. Suave. Aristocratic. Confident. Aunt Florence had heard he’d made a fortune off some invention for the railroad. Florence had no idea what kind. She’d been snagged the moment a friend uttered the word fortune. And he didn’t reside so far from Pittsburgh as to prevent the continuation of a courtship Lewis and Ada might begin during Hotel Belleview’s upcoming winter season.

Ellie scratched on her paper. Pros: Handsome. Wealthy? Philadelphia.

Surely, Ada couldn’t dismiss this one on looks. Or style. His stiff collar and four-in-hand tie countenanced society’s dictates enough to please Walter Hastings, while the gray-striped pants he’d paired with his black frock coat—popularly termed “mixed cheviots”—should satisfy Ada’s panache.

Traditional. Stylish.

Cons? None visible upon brief observation. She might be forced to talk to him. She could wait until he got up and make her departure at the same time, but the idea of employing her usual dropped-item tactic made a knot form in her stomach. She wasn’t a brainless female. Why did she submit herself to such indignities? She firmed her lips. She knew well why.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

My novels and novellas span the Colonial era through the contemporary, ranging from lighthearted to serious and spiritual, and are mostly set in Georgia. If you would like to learn more, please visit: https://www.deniseweimerbooks.com.

I would love to connect with you on social media or through my author newsletter.

https://www.facebook.com/denise.weimer1/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/denise-weimer

https://twitter.com/denise_weimer

https://webs.us19.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=16c561f75e5036405879c9836&id=b58acc62a5

Thank you, Denise, for sharing this novella with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Winter-White-Romance-Gilded-Resorts/dp/1942265727/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1669226389&sr=1-1

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

HIS DELIGHTFUL LADY DELIA - Grace Hitchcock - One Free Book

Bio: Grace Hitchcock is the award–winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing and a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in history. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, and their son and daughter.

About the story: Delia Vittoria’s mother has lost her voice at last. After five years of being her diva mother’s understudy, it is time for Delia to assume her place as the lead soprano onstage behind the Academy of Music’s faded velvet curtain. And she is all that stands between the Academy and its greatest threat—the nouveaux riche’s lavish new Metropolitan Opera House.

Kit Quincy never misses opening night, but when his sister begs him to help get her husband out of an Italian opera star’s arms, Kit confronts the wrong Lady Vittoria. When he happens upon the stunning young diva again at Mrs. Astor’s dinner party the following night, he attempts to make amends and is instead pulled into a plot to win the great opera war.

To draw attention to Delia Vittoria as the new soprano star, Kit is convinced to act as both Delia’s patron and the enigmatic phantom who once haunted the Academy years ago. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s rising career is threatened.


Welcome, Grace. Please provide a brief summary of your new novel His Delightful Lady Delia. His Delightful Lady Delia is a sweeping romance that follows our dear Kit Quincy. Blackmailed into posing as an enigmatic phantom, Kit is tasked with saving the Academy of Music by furthering a rising Italian opera star’s career. But when a second phantom appears, more than Delia’s future is threatened.


Can you tell us a little more about what or who were the inspirations behind this book? I was researching for the American Royalty series when I came across an article following the great opera house wars between Mrs. Astor, who supported The Academy of Music with its knickerbocker opera patrons, and the nouveaux riche, who built The Metropolitan Opera House as a solution to the knickerbocker’s exclusive ways.

What about New York during the Gilded Age first captured your imagination? I loved that women were finally getting more freedom in the Gilded Age, which allows me to place my heroines in occupations they wouldn’t find themselves in even a few decades before. In the midst of great change for women in society, there is still the element of sweet romance with suitors and ballrooms, beautiful gowns, and handsome gentlemen paying call to woo their sweethearts.

What did you enjoy most about delving into the world of music and theater for this novel? I have been listening to opera and Broadway since I was fourteen, so it felt like returning to an old friend in the research. My first Broadway show I ever attended was The Phantom of the Opera in the historic Saenger Theatre in New Orleans at the age of five, and I have been enchanted ever since.

Also, I am from a large Italian family, so learning about the Italian opera companies was especially fun to delve into.

Did you do any research for your novel? Did you learn anything new about the Academy of Music or the Metropolitan Opera House while writing? Every book I write, I do intense bouts of research, making certain I have the correct names for roads in the past, where buildings used to be, the architecture of historical houses, opera houses, hotels and rooftop gardens, along with what operas were playing in what theater at the time. One of my favorite resources was referencing old newspapers during the debut of the new opera house. Very helpful and fun! I’ve a scene in the book featuring an ice cream shop, Horton’s, which I found advertised in a newspaper from 1883.

What about the character of Delia Vittoria do you think your readers will most resonate with? Delia has experienced deep hurt in her childhood with her father’s abandoning her and her mother, making it difficult to trust any man. I think her journey to healing in Christ is something a lot of us can relate to in some form or another.

Without giving away any spoilers, what makes the Academy phantom such a thrilling mystery? How did you work to build suspense within your story? Well, there is the fact that I changed the real phantom’s identity about three times (ha-ha), so his identity was a surprise even to me in the end! Hopefully readers will enjoy the suspense leading up to the grand finale.


Did you explore anything new as a writer while working on His Delightful Lady Delia? What continues to motivate your writing? Storytelling has been a part of my life for so long, I have quite the list of stories to write next, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever reach the end of it! So I’d say my motivation is that I simply can’t NOT write.

As for trying something new, I used a lot more Italian phrases than I have ever used in a book before and had to do significant research to ensure I got the tense correct, as well as the vernacular of the time.

What lessons do you hope readers will gain from reading this novel? I’m hoping to offer the reader a clean, entertaining story with deep characters and their journeys toward healing and love, while also delivering a twist or two that readers do not see coming.

How can readers connect with you? Readers can sign up for my newsletter here: http://gracehitchcockbooks.com/authornewsletter/. I can also be found on Bookbub, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you, Grace, for sharing this new book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

https://www.amazon.com/Delightful-Lady-Delia-American-Royalty/dp/0764237993/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1669134865&sr=1-1

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 2 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link: Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

WINNERS

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Some people don't read the instructions of how to enter. Unfortunately, they don't have a chance to win. so next time you come and leave a comment, be sure to read all the instructions if you want a chance to win.

Abigail (VA) is the winner of The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright. 

Lucy (WV) is the winner of Alaskan Escape by Maryann Landers.

Lourdes (NY) is the winner of Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... and this blog. Thank you.

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Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.

If you won an ebook or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to. Remember, you have 2 weeks to claim your book.