Charis Michaels | What Is It About a Virgin?

When I revealed the title of my second book to one of my writing buddies, she wrote back: “Nice. Are virgins like the new dukes?” Apparently I’m not the only one name-checking virgins these days. She’d seen it on several other books, not unlike the proliferation of “dukes” of the last couple of years.

So, what gives? What is it about a virgin?

Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that not everyone loves a virginal heroine. In fact, some readers can’t abide them. Certainly, virgins-as-heroines are not as thick on the ground as they were back in the day, when I read my first romance in the late 1980s. In today’s contemporary romance, I’d venture to say that virgins are virtually nonexistent.

But my editor loved the title, THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT as soon as I suggested it, and as my friend said, I’m not the only author brandishing the big “V.” So perhaps this means that there are still a few of us virgin enthusiasts out there. Hey, I’ll admit, straight up, that one of my favorite romance tropes is a hero who believes a heroine is not a virgin, only to discover, after he deflowers her, that she is (or was). It’s out-dated and mysoginistic, and even I had to tone down some version of this trope (spoiler alert #1) to make my 1811-set Historical match modern sensibilities (although the resulting scene is still pretty devastating, if I do say so myself).

Regardless of who knows who’s a virgin, I still consider an innocent heroine—so long as she’s full of spunk and enthusiasm and healthy curiosity—to be playful and fun and totally sexy. She certainly offers a lot more interesting fodder for a love scene. Every romance author approaches these scenes a little differently, but for me, they must advance the story and up the stakes for the hero and heroine. In other words, they must be remarkable, worth spelling out in graphic detail. And nothing makes an interlude more worthy of remark or lengthy detail than the first time, especially for my over-the-top characters.

Also, virgins are historically accurate.

Also, we were all (or still may be) virgins, so we can relate.

Also, few sexual experiences are more wildly discussed, lamented, celebrated or (circling back) discussed than anyone’s first time. For better or for worse, we relish dishing about this topic. I defy you to think of your best friend and claim you have not heard the story of her first time.

Also—well, maybe this is more like a “primarily”—if you know me in real life, you know that I’m an old-fashioned kind of gal, and I simply prefer the virgins There, I said it. Or, at least, I prefer my eager, exploratory, and totally in-love virginal heroines. But hey—even if your not usually a fan of the virginal heroine, consider this: the leading lady in THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT (spoiler alert #2) does not know whether she is a virgin or not. Either way, I hope you’ll give Lady Elisabeth a try. And just like your best friend, let’s dish. Let me know what you think!

THE VIRGIN AND THE VISCOUNT by Charis Michaels

Bachelor Lords of London #2

The Virgin and the Viscount

The Virgin
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. But two days later, she was rescued by a young lord, a man she’s never forgotten. Now, she’s devoted herself to save other innocents from a similar fate.

The Viscount
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh, never breaks the rules. Well, once, but that was a long time ago. He’s finally escaped his unhappy past to become one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. The last thing he needs to complete his ideal life? A perfectly proper wife.

The Unraveling
When Bryson and Elisabeth meet, he sees only a flawless candidate for his future wife. But a distant memory calls to him every time he’s with her. Elisabeth knows she’s not the wife Bryson needs, and he is the only person who has the power to reveal her secret. But neither can resist the devastating pull of attraction, and as the truth comes to light, they must discover that an improper love is the truest of all.

Romance Historical [Avon Impulse, On Sale: July 5, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9780062412935 / eISBN: 9780062412935]

About Charis Michaels

Charis Michaels

Charis Michaels is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties.

She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.

The Bachelor Lords of London

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Alissa Johnson | 10 Best Fictional Boyfriends

Often when reading a romance, I’ll fall in love with a hero knowing full well that the very qualities I find attractive on the page would probably annoy me in reality. But there are definitely some male protagonists out there who could potentially make a great real life boyfriend.

In no particular order, here are ten of my favorite romance heroes who, for various reasons, I think make good boyfriend material:

  1. Whittaker Cole from TEMPTING FATE. Obviously, I’m a little bias where my own characters are concerned. But one of the things I love most about Whit is his determination to always do the right thing and, just as importantly, his willingness to admit when he gets it all wrong.
  2. Roarke from the In Death series—He has that sexy, sexy accent. Also, being able to take a private jet to your personal tropical island paradise whenever the whim strikes you can only be counted as a plus.
  3. Sir Harry Valentine from WHAT HAPPENS IN LONDON—Harry will make you laugh. Actually, nearly every hero in every Julia Quinn book will make you laugh. And sense of humor is, for many of us, an absolute must in a romantic partner.
  4. Gabriel Arkwright–Gabriel is the hero in the third book of the Thief Takers series, A DANGEROUS DECEIT. He makes the list for the simple fact that he is neat. Really neat. And if you’re anything like me (not entirely neat) you will probably appreciate having a boyfriend who isn’t opposed to doing a little extra work around the house.
  5. Derek Craven from DREAMING OF YOU. Derek is my all-around, go-to, all-time favorite hero who I didn’t make up myself. I admit, he might need some fine-tuning before I’d risk bringing him home to meet the parents. But I’d be willing to give it a shot.
  6. Any hero who knows his way around a kitchen. Any at all. A few years ago, I was permanently excused from having to contribute to the family Thanksgiving dinner after I nearly sliced my finger off while making, of all things, a salad. I envy and admire people with culinary skills. I also find them convenient to have around.
  7. Gideon Haverston from NEARLY A LADY—Gideon is the hero from the first book in my Haverston series, and he is another man with a well developed sense of humor. But while this former sea captain’s sense of the absurd will definitely tickle your funny bone, he gets his own spot because he’s also the kind of guy who’s just as eager to be tickled back. Who doesn’t appreciate a guy who laughs at all your jokes?
  8. Harry Rutledge from TEMPT ME AT TWILIGHT. He’s another fixer-upper if we’re talking about bringing him into reality, but he makes the cut anyway because he’s sharp as a whip. And smart people are just plain hot. Plus, he could finally solve that Rubik’s cube you’ve had lying around since the sixth grade.
  9. Connor O’Dwyer from SHADOW SPELL—He’s magic! I don’t know what else you could possibly want, but whatever it is, he could probably get it for you. Because he’s magic.

And last, but not least:

  1. Sir Samuel Brass from the second book in my Thief Takers series, A GIFT FOR GUILE—Because he’s an animal lover. Some people melt when they see a big, strong man with a baby in his arms. I melt when I see a man cuddling his dog. It can be a Pekingese or a Pit Bull. I really don’t care. If he treats his four-legged friend with love, kindness and affection, there’s a good chance he’s a keeper. On the page, or off.

GIVEAWAY

Who do you think would make good boyfriend material? One reader will get the first in the Thief Takers series: A TALENT FOR TRICKERY

About Alissa Johnson

Alissa Johnson

Alissa Johnson is a RITA-nominated author of historical romance. She grew up on Air Force bases and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She currently resides in the Arkansan Ozarks where she spends her free time keeping her Aussie dog busy, visiting with family, and dabbling in archery.

Thief Takers | Providence | Haverston Family

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A GIFT FOR GUILE by Alissa Johnson

Thief Takers #2

A Gift for Guile

She’s a liar.
She’s a con.
She’s a thief.
And God help him, but he’ll do anything to keep her safe.

Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything private detective Samuel Brass shouldn’t want.
Esther knows she’s put herself in terrible danger, but
nothing will stop her from making amends-not her family’s enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering, and undeniably handsome former officer of the
Scotland Yard. Yet whenever he’s near, Samuel makes her long
for a life that can never be hers…and wish she were worthy of being saved.

Romance Historical [Sourcebooks, On Sale: July 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492620532 / eISBN: 9781492620549]

Amanda Forester | A Proper Kiss

Thank you for inviting me to Fresh Fiction today. I am excited to announce the release of IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW, which features some of my favorite characters. Determined to avoid society as much as possible, Lady Kate has returned to London after leaving six years ago. Part of her departure, and certainly the haste with which she left, can be blamed on a certain John Arlington, the Earl of Wynbrook, for it was he who kissed her in a moment of trial. She had hoped to elude him when she returned but of course that didn’t work and she finds herself alone with him in the study.

Here is an exclusive excerpt from IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW of Kate and Wynbrook discussing the kiss—and Wynbrook trying to convince her to do it again—properly this time!

Wynbrook cleared his throat and motioned for her to sit in a chair beside the waning embers of the fire. He took the chair opposite her and Kate waited in silence.

“The last time you left was so sudden, I did not have the chance to say good-bye. This time, I wanted to be able to express my gratitude for your service to my family.”

Kate gave him a short nod. “Duly noted.” She knew this was not the reason he had wished to see here alone.

“I was surprised to hear you are leaving so soon,” commented Wynbrook.

“Our business is concluded. Our investors paid. There is no reason to trespass on your hospitality any further.” She attempted to keep her face neutral.

Wynbrook gave her a quick nod. “Then there is only one more thing to discuss.” He cleared his throat. “The kiss.”

Kate was so surprised, she gaped at him. “Whatever do you mean?”

“The night before you left six years ago—”

“Was terribly difficult for you,” said Kate, attempting to change the subject. “You had suffered a grievous loss. I am sure your recollections of that time are hazy at best.” She was giving him a way out. Take it.

“No, it will not do,” said Wynbrook after a moment’s pause. “I must beg your forgiveness for such inexcusable behavior.”

“Nonsense. You were sick with grief. If anyone took advantage, it was me,” said Kate.

“Do not be absurd. My behavior that night was unconscionable. As a gentleman, I cannot abide it.”

“But you have already told me you are no gentleman.”

John gave her a slow smile. “Very true. If anyone had seen my behavior, an offer of marriage would have been expected.”

“But no one did see it.”

“You could have told your brother. I would not have denied it. In truth, I do not know many young ladies who would not have confessed what happened, knowing the outcome would be a wedding.”

“If you think I would trap you or any man into marriage, you are very much mistaken.”

“Yes. You are unique in that.” He gazed at her with frank admiration in his eyes, bringing to the fore all the difficult emotions she had worked so diligently to repress.

“I have no desire for a proposal.” Was she telling him or reminding herself?

“I do not blame you for holding me in low regard. The only thing worse than kissing you when you were under the protection of my own house was to do the thing badly. I fear my kiss was poorly executed, and for that, I apologize.”

“It was not… That is to say…I would not have said it was poorly done,” she faltered.

“So you liked the kiss?” He sounded sincere, but his eyes blazed with mischief.

“You are incorrigible. If you would excuse me.” Kate stood. It was past time to make her escape.

John stood as well. “Forgive me, please. It is not my intention to cause discomfort, truly. Is there anything I can do to make amends?”

They stood in silence staring at each other. This was her last chance to have any interaction with the man who haunted her dreams and she could think of nothing to say. “You say the kiss was a poor one?” Had she said that out loud?

“One of my worst.”

It seemed a shame that if one kiss would haunt her dreams forever that it not even be his best. If she was to cling to one memory of a kiss for the rest of her lonely, celibate life, should she not at least taste what the man could truly offer?

“I am willing to attempt the process again, and you can judge whether or not my performance is improved.” He was so somber and matter-of-fact, she almost missed the fact that he had offered to kiss her again.

That will not be necessary. Those were the words she should say, but somehow they were stuck in her throat. Kiss me! was what she wanted to say, but she held that in check as well.

“In truth, I should beg your indulgence to give you a corrective kiss,” he suggested slyly.

“A corrective kiss?”

“Yes, one to correct the memory of the poor one I gave earlier.”

“You are asking to repeat the kiss?”

“Yes.” John smiled in a manner Kate bet few women could resist. “As a favor to me.” He stepped forward. “Lady Kate, may I give you a proper kiss?”

IF THE EARL ONLY KNEW by Amanda Forester

The Daring Marriages

If the Earl Only Knew

The chase is on in award-winning author Amanda Forester’s brand-new Regency romance series!

A sizzling scandal just waiting to happen…

Orphaned at a young age, Lady Katherine Ashton and her brother have spent most of their lives on the high seas, seeking to restore their family fortune through somewhat dubious means. After that kind of adventure, Kate knows she won’t ever be accepted as a proper society lady.

To the annoyingly clever, temptingly handsome, and altogether troublesome Earl of Wynbrook, society ladies are a dead bore. Kate, on the other hand, is scandalous, alluring, and altogether fascinating. And Kate can’t decide which she relishes more, the thrill of chasing fearsome pirates, or having Wynbrook chase after her…

Romance Historical [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: July 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492605492 / eISBN: 9781492605508]

About Amanda Forester

Amanda Forester

Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance was way more fun. A Publishers Weekly Top Ten author, her books have been given starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews. Whether in the rugged Highlands of medieval Scotland or the decadent ballrooms of Regency England, her novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. You can visit her at www.amandaforester.com.

Daring Marriages

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Top 10 Patriotic Reads for this Fourth of July

by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, Authors of America’s First Daughter

The American revolution is having a bit of a moment in the collective conscience and just in time for July 4th! Here’s a recommended reading list so that you can kick back and do a little “independent” reading during this patriotic holiday.

HAMILTON by Lin-Manuel Miranda

The hottest musical on the planet has tried to satisfy fans with a book that parallels the creative journey of making a broadway hit with the struggles and dedication needed to bring about a new nation. Gossipy, clever, and earnest by turns, this beautiful book just works.

Hamilton

The Revolution

Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.

Non-Fiction [Grand Central Publishing, On Sale: April 12, 2016, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781455539741 / eISBN: 9781455567539]

AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie

In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

America's First Daughter

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

Historical [William Morrow, On Sale: March 1, 2016, Trade Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9780062347268 / eISBN: 9780062347275]

AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER is everything a historical novel should be!

THE JEFFERSON KEY by Steve Berry

If you enjoyed the National Treasure movies, you’ll love Steve Berry’s modern-day sleuth, Cotton Malone, who delves into the secrets of our Founding Fathers to head off a presidential assassination. This thriller promises adventure, history, and a big dose of fun!

Cotton Malone #7

The Jefferson Key

Four United States presidents have been assassinated—in 1865, 1881, 1901, and 1963—each murder seemingly unrelated and separated by time.

But what if those presidents were all killed for the same reason: a clause in the United States Constitution—contained within Article 1, Section 8—that would shock Americans?

This question is what faces former Justice Department operative Cotton Malone in his latest adventure.  When a bold assassination attempt is made against President Danny Daniels in the heart of Manhattan, Malone risks his life to foil the killing—only to find himself at dangerous odds with the Commonwealth, a secret society of pirates first assembled during the American Revolution. In their most perilous exploit yet, Malone and Cassiopeia Vitt race across the nation and take to the high seas. Along the way they break a secret cipher originally possessed by Thomas Jefferson, unravel a mystery concocted by Andrew Jackson, and unearth a centuries-old document forged by the Founding Fathers themselves, one powerful enough—thanks to that clause in the Constitution—to make the Commonwealth unstoppable.

Thriller [Ballantine, On Sale: May 17, 2011, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9780345505514 / eISBN: 9780345530165]

LAFAYETTE IN THE SOMEWHAT UNITED STATES by Sarah Vowell

Funny, irreverent, and filled with historical tidbits that shed new light on America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman, Sarah Vowell’s book is a stark reminder of how America has been influenced by our heroes, and how America influenced them.

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Chronicling General Lafayette’s years in Washington’s army, Vowell reflects on the ideals of the American Revolution versus the reality of the Revolutionary War. Riding shotgun with Lafayette, Vowell swerves from the high-minded debates of Independence Hall to the frozen wasteland of Valley Forge, from bloody battlefields to the Palace of Versailles, bumping into John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Lord Cornwallis, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette and various kings, Quakers and redcoats along the way.

Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.

While Vowell’s yarn is full of the bickering and infighting that marks the American past—and present—her telling of the Revolution is just as much a story of friendship: between Washington and Lafayette, between the Americans and their French allies and, most of all between Lafayette and the American people. Coinciding with one of the most contentious presidential elections in American history, Vowell lingers over the elderly Lafayette’s sentimental return tour of America in 1824, when three fourths of the population of New York City turned out to welcome him ashore. As a Frenchman and the last surviving general of the Continental Army, Lafayette belonged to neither North nor South, to no political party or faction. He was a walking, talking reminder of the sacrifices and bravery of the revolutionary generation and what the founders hoped this country could be. His return was not just a reunion with his beloved Americans it was a reunion for Americans with their own astonishing, singular past.

Vowell’s narrative look at our somewhat united states is humorous, irreverent and wholly original.

Non-Fiction History | Non-Fiction Biography [Riverhead, On Sale: October 20, 2015, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781594631740 / eISBN: 9781101624012]

MISTRESS FIREBRAND by Donna Thorland

What could be more delicious than the idea of an American actress and playwright turning her poisoned pen against a British general in British occupied Manhattan in 1777? Not much. Thorland explores the unrest of an American city under occupation and gives a glimpse into the lives of brave women at the time the nation was founded.

Renegades of Revolution 3

Mistress Firebrand

British Occupied Manhattan, 1777. With her witty comedies, American actress Jennifer Leighton has been packing the John Street Theater, but she longs to escape the provincial circuit for the glamour of the London stage. When the playwright General John Burgoyne visits the city, fresh from a recent success in the capitol, she seizes the opportunity to court his patronage. But her plan is foiled by British intelligence officer Severin Devere.

Severin’s mission is to keep the pleasure-loving general focused on the war effort…and away from pretty young actresses. But the tables are turned when Severin himself can’t resist Jennifer Leighton…

Months later, Jenny has abandoned her dreams of stage glory and begun writing seditious plays for the Rebels under the pen name “Cornelia,” ridiculing “Gentleman Johnny” Burgoyne and his army—and undermining the crown’s campaign to take Albany. By the time Severin meets up with Jenny once again, she is on a British hanging list, and Severin is ordered to find her—and deliver her to certain death. Soon, the two are launched on a desperate journey through the wilderness, toward a future shaped by the revolution—and their passion for each other…

Romance Historical | Historical [NAL, On Sale: March 3, 2015, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451471017 / eISBN: 9780698166868]

A spy and a playwright come together over the dividing chasm of the American Revolution

JACK ABSOLUTE by C.C. Humphreys

The charming lover in Sheridan’s comedy The Rivals, is famous throughout London. However, this notoriety comes as a shock to the real Jack Absolute when he arrives in England after four months at sea. But there’s barely time for outrage before he’s forced to flee London and become a spy in America’s war of Independence. Thus we meet Jack Absolute–rogue, duelist, charmer and Captain in the Light Dragoons, from the field of honor in London through the pivotal battle of Saratoga to a hunt for a double agent in wintry Philadelphia.

Jack Absolute #1

Jack Absolute

A swashbuckling adventure of spies, Illuminati, and revolution

The year is 1777. As the American Revolutionary War rages across the sea, London is swept off its feet by Jack Absolute, the dashing rogue in Richard Sheridan’s comedy The Rivals.

When the real Jack Absolute, former captain of the 16th Light Dragoons, returns after years abroad he is immediately embroiled in an illegal duel over a backstage tryst at the Drury Lane theatre.

Jack escapes with his life, only to find himself pressed again into the King’s service as a spy for the British in the Revolutionary War.

With his Mohawk blood brother, Ate, at his side-and Loyalist beauty Louisa Reardon on his mind-Jack leaves England and sets sail for the wilds of North America.

When Jack learns there is a traitor in his ranks, he is dispatched as a double agent to root out the secrets of the Illuminati, a secret lodge within the Freemasons with their own agenda in the colonies.

With no one left to trust and more blood spilling with each passing day, it’s no longer clear if Jack is a spy…or the target.

From the streets of London to the bloody battlefields of Saratoga, from forest fights on the Hudson to the seedy corners of wintry Philadelphia, Jack Absolute marks the EXHILARATING BEGINNING of an epic 18th century adventure.

One of the best historical fiction novels of the Revolutionary War with a charismatic hero.

Historical | Mystery Historical [Sourcebooks Landmark, On Sale: May 7, 2013, Paperback / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781402280702 / eISBN: 9781402280719]

1776 by David McCullough

McCullough’s narrative non-fiction is so compelling that it reads like a novel and will have you on the edge of your seat, actually doubting that George Washington is going to pull off this war of Independence. Informative, exciting, and unforgettable!

1776

In this stirring book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence — when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper.

Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known.

Here also is the Revolution as experienced by American Loyalists, Hessian mercenaries, politicians, preachers, traitors, spies, men and women of all kinds caught in the paths of war. At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books — Nathanael Greene, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty-three, and Henry Knox, a twenty-five-year-old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter. But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost — Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.

The book begins in London on October 26, 1775, when His Majesty King George III went before Parliament to declare America in rebellion and to affirm his resolve to crush it. From there the story moves to the Siege of Boston and its astonishing outcome, then to New York, where British ships and British troops appear in numbers never imagined and the newly proclaimed Continental Army confronts the enemy for the first time. David McCullough’s vivid rendering of the Battle of Brooklyn and the daring American escape that followed is a part of the book few readers will ever forget.

As the crucial weeks pass, defeat follows defeat, and in the long retreat across New Jersey, all hope seems gone, until Washington launches the “brilliant stroke” that will change history. The darkest hours of that tumultuous year were as dark as any Americans have known. Especially in our own tumultuous time, 1776 is powerful testimony to how much is owed to a rare few in that brave founding epoch, and what a miracle it was that things turned out as they did.

Non-Fiction History [Simon & Schuster, On Sale: June 27, 2005, Trade Size / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9780743226721 / eISBN: 9780743287708]

CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl? As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion.

Seeds of America #3

Chains

If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight…for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.

Historical | Childrens [Atheneum Books for Young Readers, On Sale: January 5, 2010, Paperback / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9781416905868 / eISBN: 9781416998617]

BURR by Gore Vidal

This is a dishy and contrarian picture of the Revolution. Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. He was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. But now he is determined to tell his own story.

Burr

Gore Vidal’s Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers.

Burr is a portrait of perhaps the most complex and misunderstood of the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster by many. Burr retains much of his political influence if not the respect of all. And he is determined to tell his own story. As his amanuensis, he chooses Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, a young New York City journalist, and together they explore both Burr’s past and the continuing political intrigues of the still young United States.

Historical [Vintage, On Sale: February 15, 2000, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780375708732 / eISBN: 9780307798411]

THE TRAITOR’S WIFE by Allison Pataki

A riveting historical novel about Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and mastermind behind America’s most infamous act of treason . . .

The Traitor's Wife

Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

Told from the perspective of Peggy’s maid, whose faith in the new nation inspires her to intervene in her mistress’s affairs even when it could cost her everything, The Traitor’s Wife brings these infamous figures to life, illuminating the sordid details and the love triangle that nearly destroyed the American fight for freedom.

Historical [Howard Books, On Sale: February 11, 2014, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781476738604 / eISBN: 9781476738628]

Can you think of any more to add to the list?

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Avon we’re giving away a special Fourth of July celebration!

Prize includes:

  • Mason Jars: handpainted red, blue and white
  • Hamilton inspired cuff bracelet
  • Monticello Historic Plants/ Seeds in Mason Jar
  • Bookmark Made from the wood from Monticello–a tree he planted himself. (Tulip Popular)
  • Nerdiest necklace ever: United States Bill Of Rights Ten Amendments Constitution Patriotic American Art Pendant
  • AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER
  • and more!

Enter here

Shannon Lee Alexander | Defy the Stars

“Then I defy you, stars!” – Romeo

Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, and yet it found its way into both LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES and LIFE AFTER JULIET. There’s a funny T-shirt I’ve seen on Etsy that reads, “I think Romeo and Juliet could have handled the whole situation better.” That pretty much sums up how I feel about the play.

I’ve always thought it was such a shame that Romeo and Juliet felt so controlled by their fates that death felt like their only choice. The play ended on a hopeless note. I never believed that they had died for a greater cause—to stop their families from feuding. It felt like a cheat, and I don’t like authorial cheats.

Throughout the whole play, Shakespeare is trying to get these two crazy lovebirds together for the happily-ever-after, and then boom! Death. And more Death (and throw in a few more deaths for good measure). And I’m supposed to nod along and say, “Well, at least the Capulets and Montagues learned their lessons.”

No.

That’s not what I want.

I’ve spent years contemplating Romeo and Juliet’s actions. When I try to make sense of their deaths the best I can come up with is a dim understanding that sometimes love isn’t about the happily-ever-after. Sometimes, it has to be about the happily-ever-now.

That was certainly a lesson I wanted Charlie Hanson to experience in LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES. Charlie lived his life with his head stuck in the future. His every day decisions were made based on what would make his future better. He very rarely considered the fact that by putting off his life for the future, he was missing out on some important living (and loving) he needed to do in the now.

Becca Hanson, in LIFE AFTER JULIET, spends too much of her time lost in the imaginary worlds of books. She’s not focusing on any aspect of her own life—past, present, or future! She’s living purely to escape from her real life. She aches to be Real, to be part of the world around her, but she’s afraid. Like Juliet, Becca believes there’s nothing left in the Real world for her after losing Charlotte. She’s convinced there is no happily-ever-now or-after for her.

Shakespeare wrote at a time when people believed very firmly that fate was at the helm and people were but puppets to its whims. Romeo and Juliet certainly believed that about their own lives. There are numerous references throughout the play to fate ruling them. Even in the instant that Romeo shouts, “Then I defy you, stars,” he is giving in to fate, giving it exactly what it wants, his life.

In writing LOVE AND OTHER UNKNOWN VARIABLES and LIFE AFTER JULIET, I tried to be sure that Charlie and Becca were aware of their own will. I tried to be sure they understood that they were in charge of their own fates. There are many things in life that we can’t control, like freak accidents, natural disasters, and cancer, too. But we are always in control of our own choices in life. I hope that readers take away that understanding from both of these books. I hope that readers, like Charlie and Becca, find the will to defy the stars and find their own happily-ever whenever they choose.

About Shannon Lee Alexander

Shannon Lee Alexander

Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.

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LIFE AFTER JULIET by Shannon Lee Alexander

Life After Juliet

Becca Hanson is a reader-a voracious reader. And with all those fictional friends, she never had time for real ones. Plus real ones come with uncontrollable quirks, like constantly filling a room with song, drawing on any available surface, and worst of all, dying. Real friends are more trouble than they’re worth. Since her best-and only-real friend Charlotte’s death six months before, Becca has returned to a life of books in order to distance herself from heartache and constant loneliness as her junior year at Sandstone High begins.

When a class project forces her into the Drama Club, she attracts the attention of not one, but TWO guys involved in the production, onstage and off. Meanwhile, she’s still dealing with the grief of Charlotte’s death–the fact that Charlie is away at MIT–and that she finally has to build a life for herself on her own terms. Ultimately she learns more about who she is, what she wants, how she feels–and how to find what she’s looking for. (And while she isn’t sure what comes next, she’s pretty sure there’ll be more kissing involved.)

Young Adult [Entangled Teen, On Sale: July 5, 2016, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781633753235 / eISBN: 9781633753242]

Terri Reed | Sweet Summer Treats

Hello and thank you for hosting me today. With Fourth of July fast approaching many people will be hosting family and friends as we celebrate the birth of the United States of America. I remember growing up, my grandparents would have everyone to their house for a barbeque. There would be hamburgers, hot dogs and my grandmother’s fried chicken. Corn on the cob dripping with butter, slices of fresh watermelon straight out of my grandfather’s garden and dessert–we’d have my grandfather’s homemade vanilla ice cream and berry pie. Yum.

As an adult I found I didn’t like cooking the way my grandmother and grandfather did but I will occasionally make a few choice creations. One that I would like to share with you that would be perfect for a Fourth of July celebration whether a picnic at a park or a backyard barbeque. This is an appealing, do-ahead dessert that can be formed and frozen, ready to be thawed and baked the day you want to eat it.

Fresh Plum-Blueberry Turnovers

Makes 8 large turnovers

  • 12 ounces plums, pitted and sliced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 7-ounce package of almond paste
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • quick-cooking tapioca (if need as thickener for fruit)
  • 2 sheets of packaged frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg beaten to blend (for glaze)

Combine plums, berries, ½ cup sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until plum/berrys are soft, about 4 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until mixture thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Mixture should be very thick. If fruit mixture is still runny add a few tablespoons of tapioca to hot plum/berry mixture. Bring to boil again, about another minute. Cool. Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Finely grind almond paste in processor. Add cream and puree until smooth.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Roll out 1 pastry sheet on floured surface to 12-inch square. Cut pastry into four 6-inch squares. Spread scant 2 tablespoons almond paste mixture over center 4 inches of each square. Place ¼ cup plum/berry mixture on top at the center of almond paste on each square. Brush 2 sides with glaze. Fold pastry over filling, forming triangles and pressing edges to adhere. Press edges with fork to seal. Transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry sheet, almond paste mixture and plum/berry mixture.

Cut small hole and a few slits in top of each turnover to allow steam to escape. Brush turnovers with glaze. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Freeze for 20 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep frozen. Thaw 6 hours in refrigerator)

Position 1 rack in center of oven and 1 rack in top third of oven. Preheat to 375 degrees. Bake turnovers until golden, switch top and bottom sheets halfway through baking, about 30 minutes. Cool on baking sheets. Serve at room temperature. With ice cream :-)

Enjoy!

Giveaway

What are some fun traditions you have for this special holiday? Tell us below and you’ll be entered to win this wonderful prize from Terri!

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  • one signed copy of PROTECT AND SERVE
  • A purse size flowered journal
  • A Recipe card for Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares
  • A Harry and David Dark Chocolate Moose Munch bar

About Terri Reed

Terri Reed

Award winning multi-published author Terri Reed discovered the wonderful world of fiction at an early age and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream writing full-time. Her romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine. Her books have finaled in Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers The Carol Award contest.

She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children, and two dogs. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening and playing tennis.

Northern Border Patrol | Rookie K-9 Unit

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PROTECT AND SERVE by Terri Reed

Rookie K-9 Unit 1

Protect And Serve

PERSON OF INTEREST

When rookie K-9 officer Shane West and his German shepherd partner find the lead police dog trainer murdered, he’s determined to bring the killer to justice. But then he discovers Gina Perry hiding nearby—a pretty junior trainer who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill her boss. Gina insists her troubled brother is the real murderer…and this isn’t the first time he’s killed. And when Gina’s brother comes after her, Shane is assigned to protect her and uncover the truth. Suddenly, Shane—a cop who always hoped to join a big-city force—vows to stay by Gina’s side as a murderer lurks in the small-town shadows.

Rookie K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners.

Romance Contemporary | Mystery Pet Lovers | Inspirational Mystery [Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, On Sale: April 5, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781488008344 / eISBN: 9781488008344]

Police dog handlers under threat in this great romantic suspense series

Pamela Mingle | Regency Heroines Who Matter

Can heroines from the past be relevant in today’s world? A twenty-first century career woman coming home to a partner, children, dishes in the sink, and a hamper full of dirty laundry may find it difficult to relate to an early nineteenth century lady, whose every need is seen to by servants.

Writers of historical romance try to imbue their heroines with enough curiosity, gumption, and resourcefulness to make them relatable and likable. Ladies living in a different age didn’t have the same family responsibilities as we do today, but neither did they have the same opportunities, especially for education and employment. For an unmarried gentlewoman of the early nineteenth century, options were limited to a very few professions: most commonly, lady’s companion, governess, or shopkeeper. And we see these occupations often in historical romances.

But Regency writers have found clever ways to circumvent the lack of options available to their heroines. These fictional characters often have the requisite skills and interests to carve out a purposeful life. And if they are also engaging, beautiful, and admirable, heroes (and readers) find heroines to love.

As a result, we have female characters who are writers, philanthropists, artists, and scientists. We can also find, in the modern Regency romance, heroines who keep safe houses for abused women, solve mysteries, design landscapes and gardens, and manage estates they’ve inherited. Some historical romances feature thieves (always for noble causes), spies, owners of gaming hells, and courtesans. Most of these women are passionate about their work, and in many cases, though not always, that passion may be a huge obstacle in the relationship between the two protagonists.

Found less often are heroines with political interests. Women in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were excluded from many aspects of political life beyond the obvious ones of voting and holding office. During the eighteenth century, for example, women were not even allowed as spectators in Parliament. Not until the early nineteenth century was a compromise reached. But even this concession relegated women to the “Ventilator,” a roof space designed primarily to carry away heat and smoke. Nevertheless, there were often lines of ladies waiting for the limited seats.

Women were not highly visible during the eighteenth century enlightenment, but Mary Wollstonecraft argued persuasively that the values of the enlightenment suggested equality for women. Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (and distant relative of Diana, Princess of Wales) was a powerful philanthropist and lobbyist for a variety of causes.

The historian Sarah Richardson argues that the beginnings of political activism among women in the early nineteenth century grew out of their domestic life, especially among those who were well-read and came from families with political concerns. My heroine, Cass, comes from such a family. Women who travelled widely in Europe were also more likely to be involved in politics as petitioners and philanthropists. And those who could afford to often became political hostesses and patronesses.

In A FALSE PROPOSAL, Cass lived in seclusion for a few years after the public suicide of her fiancé. As the book begins, she has recently returned to London and the social scene. She’s spent several years tutoring her younger sister, but now she’s ready for a change. Adam, the male protagonist, is standing for a seat in the House of Commons, and Cass has always had a keen interest in politics. So, in this case, they share a passion for something, and it brings them together. Adam admires Cass’s fine mind and her knowledge of politics; Cass respects Adam for his desire to end the war. She questions him about the causes he would fight for, and his answers so impress her, she realizes her heart is at risk. More than anything—well, almost anything—she wants to be involved in Adam’s campaign for office. Eventually, Cass’s political acumen plays a big part in rescuing Adam’s ambitions.

Engagement in the real world beyond the home has now become a necessary ingredient in many Regency novels. Combine this with the age old elements of classic romance, and readers will love their historical heroines!

About Pamela Mingle

Pamela Mingle

Pamela Mingle has spent much of her professional life in libraries and classrooms. With a lot of persistence and a little luck, she’s found a new career as a writer. Pam is the author of A False Proposal, The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel, and Kissing Shakespeare, a young adult time travel romance. A self-proclaimed Janeite, Pam is Regional Coordinator for the Denver/Boulder region of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA).

Pam lives and works in Lakewood, Colorado. On trips to England, she and her husband enjoy walking from one town to the next. While those long treks have often been challenging, they’ve proved to be a wonderful way to discover new settings for her books.

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A FALSE PROPOSAL by Pamela Mingle

A False Proposal

A false proposal, a fake engagement–true love?

London 1812

War hero Adam Grey returns home with a burning ambition to run for Parliament. But he needs the support of the local baronet, who controls the seat. Adam’s plans are thwarted by his dissolute father, who has promised him to the baronet’s daughter in return for forgiveness of his debts. Adam wants nothing to do with marriage or his father’s problems, so he fakes an engagement to Cass Linford—his best friend’s sister.

Cass has been through hell since she last saw Adam. Her betrothed committed suicide, forcing her to withdraw from London society. Heartbroken, she’s given up on marriage. So when Adam suggests a temporary engagement, she agrees. He needs help with his campaign, and Cass can’t resist his charm or the chance to be involved in politics. It all seems so easy, until she finds herself falling in love with her fake fiancé.

Romance Historical [Entangled Select, On Sale: June 20, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633756267 / eISBN: 9781633756267]

Lisa Wingate | Finding Roosevelt’s Federal Writers

I never know where my stories will come from. While working on my first Carolina book, set on the Outer Banks, I became fascinated with the mystery of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke Island. You can’t spend time on the Carolina Coast without realizing that theories abound as to the fate of the 117 people who vanished from Sir Walter Raleigh’s ill-fated colony over thirty years before the Pilgrims would land on Plymouth Rock. While writing my second Carolina book, THE STORY KEEPER, I delved into the mystery of what early explorers deemed to be “blue-eyed Indians,” who were found to have been living in the Appalachian mountains decades before other Europeans pressed in. I knew that the third Carolina book would somehow bring these two fascinating bits of history together.

An interesting thing happened when THE STORY KEEPER hit the bookstores. Because the novel is about the discovery of an untold story, readers began sharing their own family stories with me. One reader mentioned that she’d traveled through the mountains many times as a child and one day had noticed that there were doors in the mountainside. When she asked about the doors, her father told her that during the Depression, families who lost their farms or had no place to live would often move into a nearby cave. Many salvaged doors, windows, and furniture from their repossessed homes before leaving and used those to outfit their new cave houses.

DSC_0074

I couldn’t resist researching that tale, but I found very little about Americans living in caves during the Depression. What I did come across were life history interviews written by participants in a little-known WPA program called the Federal Writers’ Project. The Project hired impoverished writers, academics, housewives, and reporters, then turned them into Field Interviewers whose jobs were to travel the hidden corners of America and record the stories of the common man. The adventures of these Federal Writers were equally as fascinating as the narratives and stories they discovered during their travels.

What might a modern woman discover, I wondered, if she were to happen to find the long-hidden missives of a relative who had left behind her wealthy family to become a Federal Writer? Could she possibly discover, among mountain stories handed down by oral tradition, not only her own family history, but a clue to one of America’s oldest mysteries?

FWPOfficeND

The process of answering that question became the genesis for THE SEA KEEPER’S DAUGHTERS. From there, the story developed largely from the geographical settings and the rich history there.

Appalachia is a place where the air fairly whispers with stories. So much of the world has become too fast-paced these days, too busy for sitting and listening, too preoccupied with the future to devote effort to retelling the past. But in Appalachian culture, there’s still a reverence for it.

There are still storytellers who can entertain a crowd at a ramshackle café, on a back porch, or at the kitchen table over coffee. That tradition of the importance of story is at the heart of Alice’s journey as a Federal Writer in the historical portion of THE SEA KEEPER’S DAUGHTERS.

Appalachia is filled with mist and mystery. It lends mood to a story. The mountains are dotted with isolated communities where people can live differently, undisturbed by outsiders. It’s also the place where mysterious “little races” like the Melungeons lived historically, and in some cases still do. Even today, the heritage of “blue-eyed Indians” discovered in the Appalachians by the first English and French explorers remains a mystery. What were the origins of their Caucasian blood? Were they descendants of shipwrecked sailors? Journeying Norsemen or Turks? The progeny of the Lost Colonists who vanished from Roanoke Island without a trace, decades before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock? The mystery fascinated me, and it pulled the story from me, and yes, both Roanoke Island and the Blue Ridge Mountains became characters in themselves as the dual storylines developed.

It’s always a challenge to balance dual time frames and a story within a story. It falls in the category of double-the-work and double-the-risk, but also double-the-fascination and double-the-reward. There’s twice as much research, but in doubling the research, you also discover twice as many interesting historical facts, unanswered questions, and nearly-forgotten true stories. Those things weave new threads into the story loom. For me, the biggest challenge was balancing the two stories, ensuring that both the narratives of both Whitney and Alice would be fully satisfying, and that the historical story would serve a purpose in modern-day characters’ lives.

THE SEA KEEPER’S DAUGHTERS was a magnificent story journey for me. In the end, from the biggest challenges come the greatest triumphs, in life and in writing. This story was a joy. I’ve loved watching book clubs and readers discover the works of the Federal Writers. Beyond that, my hope is that in discovering the works of these brave writers, those who are living today’s stories are inspired to preserve them for their families and for future generations. Our stories are the one part of us that survives in this world long after we are gone and each of our stories has valuable lessons to teach. It’s important that those lessons live on.

About Lisa Wingate

Lisa Wingate

Selected among Booklist’s Top 10 for two consecutive years, Lisa Wingate skillfully weaves lyrical writing and unforgettable settings with elements of traditional Southern storytelling, history, and mystery to create novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and Library Journal refers to as “A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe.”

Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time A CFW Carol Award nominee, a multiple Christy Award nominee, a two-time Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RT Booklovers Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award Winner for mystery/suspense. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Booklist summed up her work by saying, “Lisa Wingate is, quite simply, a master storyteller.”

Carolina Heirlooms

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THE SEA KEEPER’S DAUGHTERS by Lisa Wingate

Carolina Chronicles

The Sea Keeper's Daughters

From modern-day Roanoke Island to the sweeping backdrop of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Roosevelt’s WPA folklore writers, past and present intertwine to create an unexpected destiny.

Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney’s estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney’s only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything?

Inspirational | Contemporary [Tyndale House, On Sale: September 8, 2015, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781414388274 / eISBN: 9781496409812]

It Wasn’t Me That Won. Not Really.

Monday afternoon I won a Christy Award for my novel, THE FIVE TIMES I MET MYSELF. (If you’re not familiar with the Christy’s, it’s the Christian Fiction equivalent of the Oscars.)

And I didn’t win one Christy, I won two. First in the Visionary category, then Book of the Year—which I suppose is something like winning Best Picture.

Crazy cool. Stunned me to win. So deeply honored. But here’s the twist. I didn’t win. Not really.

My name is on the cover of the book. But so many other names should be there alongside mine. Three of those names? Amanda Bostic, Erin Healy, Darci Rubart.

Amanda Bostic

My editor. When I finished the first version of my manuscript and sent it in, Amanda wrote back and said, “Jim, it’s so hard to tell you this, but what you’ve written isn’t going to work. We’re going to have to start over. There’s a better book than this one inside you.”

I was devastated. But she was right. Oh how she was right. So I wrote the book again, 90 percent of it new. Amanda and I are friends. Would have been easier for her to say, “Yeah, okay we’ll work with it.” But she didn’t. She spoke the truth.

Erin Healy

My freelance editor. When she finished reading the new manuscript she said, “Love what you’ve done, but can I make a suggestion? I think you need to take the final chapters of the book in a completely different direction.”

What? Are you kidding? No, she wasn’t. But again, something was seen I wasn’t able to see. Erin’s changes? Brilliant.

Did I want to rewrite five chapters? No. Was it the right thing to do? Without question. (See opening sentences of this post.)

Darci Rubart

My wife. My counselor. Encourager. Supporter. Confidant. The one who talked me off the ledge countless times. Brainstorming partner. (The original idea for THE FIVE TIMES I MET MYSELF came from her.) First reader of scenes. I could go on, but you get it. No Darci? No book.

My Point

You’re probably already ahead of me.

Whatever we’re doing, whether it’s writing novels, or raising kids, or teaching, or leading a group, or part of the PTA … we can’t do it alone. No project is a solo effort. Never. We need people in our lives who will challenge us, support us, believe in us, speak truth to us, encourage us to be better than we thought we could be.

Our part? We need to listen. Be willing to change. Sometimes drop our pride and be willing to receive help. We are not an island. Won’t work. Ever. Yeah, I’m saying we desperately need the body of Christ.

And if we are willing, those people can guide us onto a glorious path we never imagined we’d travel.

THE FIVE TIMES I MET MYSELF by James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage. So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

Inspirational | Fiction Inspirational [Thomas Nelson, On Sale: November 10, 2015, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781401686116 / eISBN: 9781401686123]

About James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of seven novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

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Meet Author: Amy Clipston

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. We’d love to introduce you to Amy Clipston.

Writes: Amish fiction, with my latest release THE COURTSHIP BASKET , book #2 in my Amish Heirloom series, hitting shelves June 28, 2016

About: Forty-something romance author seeks readers for sweet and emotional Amish novel, with an outspoken, quick-tempered heroine who’s all but given up on love after having her heart broken and a workaholic hero, who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is burdened with caring for his six-year-old younger brother and chronically ill father.

What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match:

  • Their idea of the perfect date includes a Saturday night in with their e-reader/or paperback, a box of chocolate and perhaps a diet soda…
  • Dreams of horses and buggies
  • Falls easily in love with hardworking heroes dressed in suspenders and straw hats
  • Likes sweet, inspirational stories with touches of humor
  • Doesn’t mind reading about delicious recipes and baked goods
  • Enjoys a fast-paced, emotional plot
  • Wants to learn more about the Amish culture
  • Prefers family dramas with deep emotional themes
  • Thinks a visit to Amish Country is an ideal way to spend a family vacation
  • Loves family oriented movies like you find on Hallmark Channel

What to expect if we’re compatible:

  • Frequent books and novellas
  • Frequent giveaways via my newsletter and Facebook

THE COURTSHIP BASKET by Amy Clipston – IN STORES JUNE 2016

The Courtship Basket

Years ago, a picnic basket brought two hearts together. For Rachel and Mike, history may be about to repeat itself.

Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.

Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.

With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.

The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

Inspirational Amish | Inspirational Romance [Zondervan, On Sale: June 28, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780310342014 / eISBN: 9780310342724]

About Amy Clipston

Amy Clipston

Amy Clipston has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her fiction writing “career” began in elementary school when she and a close friend wrote and shared silly stories. She has a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and is a member of the Authors Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. She is the author of the bestselling Kauffman Amish Bakery series and Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel series with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Amy works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC, and lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, mother, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Amish Heirloom | Kauffman Amish Bakery | Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel

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