Monday, June 22, 2020

THE BLACKSMITH BRIDES - Pegg Thomas, Amanda Barratt, Angela K Couch, Jennifer Uhlarik- One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’m so glad to welcome back a good friend, who is part of the Barbour novella collection, The Blacksmith Brides. Pegg and I were both authors in The Great Lakes Lighthouse Brides collection.

Welcome, Pegg. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
In a totally unexpected twist, I have felt the Lord calling me to write to the general market. That nudging has been coming for a while, but it really hit hard a few months ago. The idea for a story dropped into my head—from above, I’m sure—that is a modern-day parable on the sanctity of life. I had it written, edited, and to my agent within three months. That’s *amazing* because I’m the world’s slowest writer. At least, I used to be. For me, that alone is proof positive that I’m where the Lord wants me to be.

And I love the idea of modern-day parables. When Jesus told His parables, He never once referenced the Torah. He didn’t use religious-speak. He told stories in everyday language using subjects that non-religious people could relate to in illustrating the love and character of God. I’d love to be able to do that.

That is awesome. Tell us a little about your family.
Let me tell you about my family history. I have been blessed with cousins who are passionate about genealogy. We have my dad’s side of the family—both sides—traced back to the mid-1600s when they arrived on America’s shore. They came in the great Puritan wave. One side fought as Loyalists and the other as Patriots during the Revolutionary War. On my mother’s side, we have her mother’s family also traced back to the 1600s. We’re related to FDR through the Delano family. Her father was adopted, and I’ve yet to meet any cousins who have researched his actual family tree. But as you can see, my own family gives me a wealth of historical ideas to explore. My current WIP starts with the massacre at Fort McCord in Pennsylvania, which my ancestor survived.

I love stories based on incidents in our family histories. James’s cousin has traced their family back to 1099 when the Normans invaded England. And one of my cousins has traced the Nelson family back into the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden. The families emigrated to Minnesota in the late 1800s. I actually fictionalized a couple of events in my book Brides of Minnesota.  Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Working as the managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance has changed it more than my own writing. I find it very difficult to turn off my internal editor. It’s very annoying!

I so understand that. I do editing for other authors, and I experience the same thing. What are you working on right now?
I’m on the second book of a historical romance series set during Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763. This one is set at Fort Detroit in my home state of Michigan. I love writing stories set in areas I’m very familiar with. And I love my state!

What outside interests do you have?
The one I’m best known for spinning and knitting with my own sheep’s wool. I’ve raised Border Leicester sheep for 27 years. I love working with wool. I shear my sheep, wash and dye the wool, spin it, and then knit a variety of garments. My favorite is my signature shawls. I give away a shawl with the release of each of my books to one of my newsletter subscribers. People can subscribe to my newsletter here:

I’ve seen pictures of several of those. They are lovely. How do you choose your settings for each book?
My books all start with the history, so the settings are determined by that.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Probably Robert E. Lee. I know! I’m a northerner born and bred, but I’ve been fascinated with him since grade school. He was a brilliant man faced with an incredibly difficult situation. As a soldier, he was honor-bound to join the war, but when asked to lead the Union forces, he knew he could not raise arms against his family, his neighbors, and his friends. He chose family over country. Through it all, he retained his dignity and the respect of military people on both sides of the war. I have a book of his letters to his family. It’s fascinating reading.

Wow, I’ll have to look for a copy of that. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
If I’d known how difficult it is to write a book and get it looked at by a publisher … I never would have started! In this case, ignorance was bliss.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
The same old one … patience. And maybe boldness. Boldness to step out in faith into the general market and do it in a way that always honors Him.

You’ll do it. When He gives us a story like that, He makes a way. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Attend a writers’ conference. Yes, they are terribly expensive, but as with anything, you must pay for some education. You don’t need to attend the biggest, most fashionable, or farthest from your home. Pick one that is close, more affordable, and smaller. Frankly, the smaller conferences I’ve attended have been the best for actual learning. The large ones are great for networking, but in the beginning, you need to learn.

Take an editing class. There are some great online classes through the PEN Institute Learning to edit will help you avoid the pitfall mistakes so many beginner writers, and not-so-beginners, make.

Solidify your brand. Know who you are, what you write (your genre), and who you are writing to.

Tell us about the featured book.
I’ve always been fascinated with blacksmiths. As a child, my granddad’s cabin was close to an old smithy. He would tell me stories about them. When I had a chance to pitch a collection idea to Barbour with the theme of blacksmiths, I jumped on it. At that time, the collections were for seven novellas, but this proposal hit at the same time they were switching over to just four novellas per book. We had to do some changes, and I hope at some point Barbour still contracts the rest of the stories, but we wound up with—I think—four very strong novellas in this collection that sweeps about 100 years of American history.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Meg McCracken plopped onto the padded velvet seat next to her mother. She glared at her three older brothers as they squeezed their bulky frames through the narrow door and sat opposite her in their father’s coach. Her father, Callum McCracken, climbed in last and quirked an eyebrow at her crossed arms.

“Now, Meg―”

“Do not ‘Now, Meg’ me, Father. ’Tis they who need a talking to.” She tilted her chin towards her brothers, who had the gall to grin back at her.

“They are your brothers. They do only what any brother would do for his sister.”

“Is that so? And would you have me be a spinster, then? Because no man can get within a rod of me without one of these great lummoxes planting himself in the way.”

“Those who back off are not worthy of you, I say.” Jamie, the middle of her older brothers and her favorite, winked at her.

“He is correct, you know,” Father said. “You would not respect a man who ran off at the first sign of trouble. You have too much spunk for that. Just like your mother.”

The look that passed between her parents added to the heat in the carriage. A sigh slipped from Meg’s lips. She’d grown up watching these two people who were so much in love. Was it any wonder she wanted the same for herself? Those hulking brutes crammed onto the coach’s other seat, however, had blocked every possible suitor so far.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you for having me on your blog again, Lena. It’s always a pleasure to come and chat with your loyal readers.

And thank you, Pegg, for sharing this new book with me and my blog readers. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Blacksmith Brides -
Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories - Amazon Paperback
Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories - Kindle

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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Pegg Thomas said...

Thank you for inviting me back on your blog, Lena! I always enjoy visiting here and love getting to interact with your followers.

Betti said...

I live in Florida but was born in southwest Minnesota. I grew up in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario surrounded by history from the War of 1812. Thanks for the opportunity to know a little more about you, Pegg and also a chance to win this book.

Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for stopping by, Betti. There is so much more history from the war of 1812 around the Great Lakes than people think. Like the battle fought on Mackinac Island!

Patty said...

I grew up in MI, so I bet I would enjoy some of Peg’s stories!
I feel for poor Meg in the story!

Patty in SC

JMagers said...

Enjoyed the interview.

Melanie Backus said...

Great interview... thank you for sharing!
Melanie Backus, TX

Pam said...

This book sounds like a lot of fun! I loved the "first page".

Pam G in OH

Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for stopping by, gals! I'm glad you enjoyed the first page. Meg is a colorful character, and I enjoyed writing her.

rubynreba said...

All of my ancestors are from Norway and Sweden! I have a cousin who has traced back a lot of the family history. The Blacksmith Brides sounds like a book I would really enjoy!
Beth from IA

Vera Godley said...

I'd love the chance to read another of Pegg Thomas' books/stories. Her family history is fascinating. Thanks for sharing that in your review/interview, Lena. I also hold out hope to be the winning recipient of one of her lovely shaws.

Vera in central North Carolina

Pegg Thomas said...

Hi Beth and Vera! Glad you stopped by. Vera, I hope you do win one of the shawls! Keeping getting - and opening - my newsletters and it could happen. I use a random number generator on Google to pick the winners, so you have as good a chance as anyone.

Nancy Payette said...

Sounds like a great book. FL


Sounds like such a great book Thanks for sharing Sarah from Ohio

Lucy Reynolds said...

I’ve had this on my wish list as I would love to read. Thank you for the chance. Blessings from WV.

Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for chiming in, Nancy, Sarah, and Lucy. I'm so glad it's on someone's wish list!

Elly said...

Ooh! This collection looks good!
Elly -Indiana

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This is such a great collection of authors and their stories! Thank you for sharing and for offering one of us a chance to win.
Connie from Kentucky

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Pegg Thomas said...

Thanks for stopping by, Elly, Connie, and Sharon!