Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Happy Birthday, Charles A. Lindbergh!

Happy 102nd Birthday, Charles A. Lindbergh!


Please join me at my group blog, Coffee Cups & Camisoles where I share why February 4th will always stay with me.

You can find that blog post here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

What Does it Mean to Have a Savior?

 
Today I'm blogging on my group blog, Coffee Cups & Camisoles. I'd love for you to join our conversation.

You can find that blog post here.

~ Gabrielle

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Until the Dawn, by Elizabeth Camden

I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Camden's writing. I never miss a book she publishes, so I was very excited when Until the Dawn arrived in my mailbox!


This book, like all the others by Elizabeth, is centered around a strong, intelligent heroine and a very masculine hero. There is a great deal of mystery, intrigue, and history.

I'm used to Elizabeth's stories taking place in metro areas, like Washington, D.C., so it was a bit different to have this book set in a remote village, in a palatial mansion called Dierenpark. I loved the setting, and had an easy time picturing it in my mind. The threat in the story is that the hero has arrived to tear down Dierenpark, but the heroine has practically grown up there, and she'll do anything she can to prevent it from being destroyed.

I loved the character of the heroine, Sophie van Riijn. She was sweet, gentle, and unassuming--yet very determined and strong. She flounders a bit for a purpose in life, but loves her work as a volunteer for the National Weather Service and as a cook for the staff at Dierenpark.

I wasn't quite as fond of the hero, Quentin Vandermark. He's a hard, angry man at the beginning, but slowly he's transformed into a man who is worthy of Sophie. It's a long transformation, and there are a few scenes that left me wanting to throttle the man! It only made for a sweeter redemption at the end and a more compelling love story.

Dierenpark takes on a character all its own and Elizabeth did an amazing job bringing the setting to life. It's one of those fictional places I'd love to visit! There is a great deal of mystery swirling about the estate and it's so much fun to find out the truth toward the end. The revelations do not disappoint.

The story begins a bit slow, but by the midway mark it picks up pace and I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to others.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: A Year of Firsts

What a year! 2015 will go down in (my) history as the year dreams came true. It was a year of many first-time experiences in my writing career.

In March, I joined Coffee Cups & Camisoles, a group blog with fellow historical authors Jaime Jo Wright, Anne Love, and Erica Vetsch.

In May, my first published story, Four Brides and a Bachelor in The Most Eligible Bachelor Collection released, and I happened to be with a group of Minnesota authors on release day! It was so much fun to celebrate with Erica Vetsch, Michelle Griep, Julie Klassen, and many other lovely ladies.

Erica and I are both in The Most Eligible Collection!

That's author Julie Klassen buying my book! :)


I also had my first book signing event in May!


Over the summer, I wrote my first story for Love Inspired Historical (an imprint of Harlequin Books) in their Blurb2Book Contest. I was one of seven people contracted during the contest and I signed my first contract with them. My story, A Mother in the Making, releases in September 2016.

In July, I became a "multi-published" author, when my second story released with Barbour. My novella, A Groom for Josette, released in The Convenient Bride Collection.

The moment my second book arrived on my doorstep!
In 2015, I wrote three complete novels. One has been contracted and the other two are sitting on editors desks under consideration. It was the first time I have written more than one novel over the course of a year.

On the home front, this was the year I took my daughters on their first airplane ride. We went to Washington, D.C. in May and saw so many wonderful things. In September, my twin boys went off to Kindergarten, and for the first time in eleven years, I didn't have preschoolers in my home. My oldest daughter had her tonsils removed and then a couple months later she got braces, my second daughter started homeschooling, and my husband took the girls on their first hunting trip.

My beautiful family!
2015 has been an exceptional year. I thank God that all of us are healthy and happy, and we've made some incredible memories. In 2016 we look forward to many more adventures to come.

Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. In 2012, I started this blog as a way to document my journey to publication and it's been such a blessing to see my dream come true. My prayer is that my journey would encourage you to take one of your own. If God has placed a dream on your heart, go after it! You never know what blessings He has in store.

Your Turn: What are the highlights of your year? What are your hopes and dreams for 2016?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Interview with Andrea Boeshaar

Today I'd like to welcome historical author Andrea Boeshaar to my blog. Andrea is a fellow author in The Convenient Bride Collection and she has a brand new release titled A Thousand Shall Fall. I'm excited to have her stop by and tell us a little more about herself.


Hello, Andrea! I always love to know about an author's journey to publication. How and when did you begin writing?

When my sons were young, I did a lot of reading—mostly secular romances. I had always loved to write and decided to try my hand at writing a romance novel. I got my first rejection letter in 1984. I learned then writing novels is much more difficult than it seems.

Then 7 years later, I came to Christ. It wasn’t long after that when I felt odd about writing secular romances. I wasn’t published yet, but working on a manuscript that did not honor God in any way. After attending one of Dr. Dennis Hensley’s 1-day seminars in Oak Brook, IL, I decided to write fiction and nonfiction that honors the Lord Jesus Christ.

My first book was published in 1994!

I'm thrilled that you write fiction that honors Christ. Can you tell us about your salvation experience?

I was saved by grace in 1991, although I had been searching for quite some time. A coworker, one of those "Jesus freaks" shared the Good News with me and I felt God tugging on my heart. I'm so thankful she obeyed the Lord's prompting to share biblical truth with me. My husband and sons were born again within six months of my salvation.

If you're anything like me, you have more words inside you than you know what to do with! Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.

Yes! I actually teach workshops to writers groups and speak on various topics at women's groups. In addition, I'm a writing coach, although I don't advertise. I mentor writers and help them realize their goals. I have more information about my coaching (and editing) on my website: www.andreaboeshaar.com
 
Speaking of authors, if you were to plan a writing retreat in which you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?

Wow, that's a tough choice. I know so many fabulous authors!! But I think I'd make it a Ladies' Night and I'd ask Francine Rivers, Robin Lee Hatcher, Beth Moore and my daughter-in-law. I admire these ladies' service to Christ. Each have touched my life in a significant way and I know I would learn more from them.

I saw that you're a writing coach. 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?

I tell them, "Go ahead and write it." Then I add, "If you want a coach, look me up."  J

As a writer, I'm sure you share many things from your own life and experiences. Can you reveal one thing about yourself that readers may not know?

I’m a college student. That’s right. I’m in my mid-fifties and I’m earning my bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Concordia University-Wisconsin via the school’s Adult Learning program (6 to 8 week courses). I plan to go on for my masters, but first things first: my BA. The class I’m presently enrolled in is Interpersonal Communications.

Congrats on going back to school! I'm sure that took a lot of courage.

Here's a fun question: what is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?

Several years ago, I spoke to a group at Country Memories Farm in Manitowoc, WI. I had looked over the schedule online but arrived there with no minutes to spare and didn't realize the schedule changed. I ended up talking into the other speaker's time. When I found out, I was so embarrassed; however, the other speaker was actually relieved. She hates speaking and was dreading it. So God worked it all out the way He always does!

I'm sure she was relieved!

Let's switch gears and have you tell us about A Thousand Shall Fall.

I'm very excited about this novel. I think it's the best historical romance I have ever penned! It's titled, A Thousand Shall Fall and it's about a young woman, Carrie Ann Bell, who goes searching for her runaway sister in the Shenandoah Valley. But instead of finding her, Carrie Ann finds trouble when she ends up in the middle of a skirmish outside of Front Royal, Virginia.

Where can we find your book, and how can we find you online?

The book is the first in my Shenandoah Valley Saga. You can go here to “Look Inside” and read a sample before purchasing the book.

Readers can find me online at the following:

My website at: www.andreaboeshaar.com


And Twitter: @AndreaBoeshaar

Also, there is a fabulous Kindle Fire HD 6” Giveaway to celebrate the release of A Thousand Shall Fall. You can find that here.

Thank you for visiting today, Andrea! It was fun to learn more about you.
 
Readers: I'd love to hear your most embarrassing moments!
 
About A Thousand Shall Fall
Nineteen-year-old Carrie Ann Bell is independent and spirited. The only thing she really fears are the Union soldiers fighting against her Confederate friends. When her youngest sister runs away from home, brave Carrie Ann is determined to find her and bring her back. Disguised as a soldier, she sets off--only to find she's fallen into the hands of the enemy.

Her childhood friend Confederate Major Joshua Blevins has warned her against these Yankees: they're all devils, ready to inflict evil on unsuspecting young women. When Colonel Peyton Collier arrests her for her impersonation of an officer, it seems to confirm all her fears.
Soon, though, she finds herself drawn to the handsome, gallant colonel. He rescued her, protected her, and has been every inch the gentleman. Carrie Ann discovers that her foe has become her ally--and more than that, someone she could love. But the arrival of Joshua in the Union camp as a spy will test her loyalties. Will she protect someone who has been like family or be loyal to this stranger to whom she wants to offer her heart? When her world is being torn apart around her, whom should she trust?
Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, A Thousand Shall Fall is framed around compelling characters and a very romantic setting in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Andrea Boeshaar’s extensive research guarantees historical accuracy and romance genre enthusiasts and Civil War buffs alike will enjoy the Christian perspectives on actual historical events.
 
About Andrea Boeshaar
Andrea Boeshaar has been married for nearly 40 years. She and her husband have 3 wonderful sons, 1 beautiful daughter-in-law, and 5 precious grandchildren.

Andrea's publishing career began in 1994 when her first novel was released by Heartsong Presents (Barbour Publishing). She went on to write numerous romances for the book club and was voted one of the line's "Favorite Authors" several times over.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Mistress of Tall Acre, by Laura Frantz


The Mistress of Tall Acre, a much anticipated novel by Laura Frantz, arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. To say I was excited would be an understatement. I have been waiting for this book since I finished Laura's last story, Love's Fortune, a year ago.
 
The moment I opened the package!
I don't squeal often, but I did then. :)
There is no question in my mind that Laura Frantz is one of the premiere historical voices in Christian Fiction today. Her books have a captivating quality that make you feel as if you are standing inside the story, watching it unfold from the best vantage point in the room. Intrigue, passion, and faith are artfully woven together with vibrant colors and textures. Her voice is stunning, her attention to historical detail is superb, and her characters are breathtakingly realistic. She brings early American history to life in a way few other authors achieve.
 
The very first scene of The Mistress of Tall Acre grabbed me by the heartstrings and I knew I was in for an emotional journey. As General Seamus Ogilvy, a hero of the American Revolution, meets his infant daughter for the first time, we fall in love with both the general, and the baby girl. This scene is a study in contrasts. Weakness and strength, protection and vulnerability, longing and satisfaction. I felt an instant bond with Seamus and I began to root for him, even before I knew who his enemies were. 
 
The second scene begins five years later, at the end of the Revolution, when we meet Sophie Menzies, General Ogilvy's neighbor. She is a woman broken in body and soul, but not in spirit. The war has taken almost everything from her, but it has not stolen her hope.
 
When Seamus comes home from the war, a widower with a young daughter to raise, he and Sophie agree to a marriage of convenience. Their neighborly friendship soon turns to something more--until a woman from Seamus's past arrives on his doorstep, and threatens the life they've built together.
 
As always, Laura's book mesmerized me. I read it in one day (thank you to my husband and children for the mini-vacation!).
 
 
I love so much about her stories--but I think it's the romance that enchants me so. I'm not exactly sure how she does it, but she makes me feel as if I'm falling in love right along with the characters--so when they rejoice, I rejoice, and when they mourn, I mourn. But there is always hope in the happily-ever-after, which Laura delivers with finesse.
 
I loved The Mistress of Tall Acre, and I highly recommend this book. But beware: you won't want to put it down. ;)
 
Happy Reading!
 
**I have a winner from my guest post with Karen Barnett! The winner of a copy of Beyond the Ashes is Edward Arrington! Congratulations, Edward. I'll be contacting you soon.**

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Historical Photos: Guest Post by Karen Barnett

Today I'm welcoming author Karen Barnett to my blog!! I had the pleasure of getting to know Karen better at our agency retreat last October in Monterey. Karen writes historical novels, so we had a lot in common. Today she's talking about finding inspiration in historical photos, something I'm fond of myself. My most recent novel, which I entered in the Blurb to Book Contest with Love Inspired Books, was inspired by a photo I found years ago of a father, his four children, and his wife who was in a coffin at their feet. It's an eerie picture, but one that inspired a whole story. Join me as we learn about a photo that inspired Karen!
~ ~ ~ ~
Karen: Sometimes readers are surprised to learn that even though I spend most of my time shaping words and chapters, I’m even more drawn to photographs. I love searching the Internet for interesting historical images. Every time I find a good one, my mind buzzes with story ideas.

I’m not unique, apparently. I’ve met several writers who have been inspired by photographs. Just this week, I met a woman at the Oregon Christian Writers conference who goes out and buys photos at antique shops so she can write stories about them. I love that! I always feel badly for the poor nameless pictures mixed in with the antiques. I want to know the people’s names and stories. Just recently I was able to reconnect a set of orphaned portraits with a ministry who desperately wanted them. It was a fun experience, and I’ll be writing about that Monday over at my own blog (www.KarenBarnettBooks.com).

Have you ever been inspired by an image? Here’s one that got to me.

(Photo courtesy of Stanford Medical History Center)
When I was doing research on Cooper Medical College and Lane Hospital for my recent release, Beyond the Ashes, I stumbled over an image of their surgical amphitheater. I was stunned. The imagery moved me: the eager medical students leaning in to watch, the proud surgeon in white, the glossy wood paneling, and (eww!) the lack of gloves and surgical masks. I could almost smell the ether and the cigar smoke.

I knew I had to capture this imagery in my novel. My character wasn’t a surgeon—he was a doctor working with X-ray technology. No matter. I’d find a way to get him in that room with the scowling surgeon. I had to.

It became a turning point in the novel. The tension visible in the image fed into the scene, creating a make-or-break moment for my character. I loved the amphitheater setting so much, I had another character visit it later in the book—and receive news that would bring her to her knees. If you’ve read Beyond the Ashes, you know what I’m talking about. (Don’t spoil it for anyone else!)

(Photo courtesy of Stanford Medical History Center)
Gabrielle Here: Thank you, Karen! I love seeing the images that inspired you. I know exactly how you feel about finding nameless people in photographs. It's almost as if they're begging us to tell their story.

Karen has graciously offered a free copy of Beyond the Ashes to one lucky winner! Share in the comments what inspires you about this picture of Union Station in 1923. What kind of story do you see? We’d love to hear your thoughts! (Don't forget to fill out the Rafflecopter. Sorry, due to shipping costs, only US Citizens are eligible to win.)

(Free image courtesy of HistoricalStockPhotos.com)
**The winner of a Novella Collection (winner's choice), from Michelle Ule, is Connie Saunders! Congrats, Connie. I'll be in touch.**

About Karen

Inspired by God’s devotion to His people and her own passion for research and learning, author Karen Barnett creates historical romances that explore her characters’ faith and how their experiences impact the way they view God.

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers “Writer of Promise” award. A former park ranger, she loves getting out into God’s creation. She spends her free time taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, decorating crazy birthday cakes and watching movies.

Karen, her husband and their two children live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

To learn more about Karen Barnett, visit karenbarnettbooks.com, become a fan on Facebook (KarenBarnettAuthor) or follow her on Twitter (KarenMBarnett).

About Beyond the Ashes
She’s had her love and lost it.
He’s still missing his heart’s desire.
Is it really better to have loved and lost 
than never to have loved at all? 

Where better to rebuild and face one’s fears than in 1906 San Francisco, a city rising from the ashes? Ruby Marshall, a young widow, is certain she’ll discover new purpose assisting her brother Robert with his cancer research, but she doesn’t anticipate finding new love.

Dr. Gerald Larkspur dreams of filling his empty home with family, but he’d always hoped it would be a wife and children. In the aftermath of the great earthquake, the rooms are overflowing with extended family and friends left homeless by the disaster. When Robert’s widowed sister arrives, the close quarters seem close indeed.

Ruby and Gerald’s fledgling romance is put at risk when Gerald develops symptoms of the very disease they’re striving to cure. Together they must ask—is it worth a second chance at love when time might be short?

a Rafflecopter giveaway