Posts Categorized: Guest Authors

Mackinac Island Inspiration & Book Giveaway

A Grand Design 3

Tiff_headshot_lowresI’m excited to share a guest post from author Tiffany Amber Stockton today! Tiffany has agreed to give us a peek behind the scenes of her new novel, A Grand Design. And she’s giving away a copy!

 Behind the Scenes of A Grand Design

By: Tiffany Amber Stockton

Ever since childhood when I first saw the film, Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and Christopher Reeve (Superman), I dreamed of visiting Mackinac Island (pronounced Mak-i-naw). If you want to step back in time and experience a little of life in the past, Mackinac Island won’t disappoint. (more…)

World War ll Flight Nurses

Albanian rescue cropped
Author Sarah Sundin

Author Sarah Sundin

I’m excited to welcome our Guest Author, Sarah Sundin, to my blog today. Sarah has agreed to talk about some of the research she did for her latest historical novel, In Perfect Time. And she’s giving away a copy! But first, I’d like you to . . .

MEET SARAH!

Sarah Sundin is the author of six historical novels, including In Perfect Time (Revell, August 2014), plus a novella in Where Treetops Glisten (WaterBrook, September 2014). Her novel On Distant Shores was a double finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Awards. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to tennis and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

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War brings change.

The chaos and necessity of wartime spurs innovation and raises up pioneers. In my Wings of the Nightingale series, I highlight some pioneering women—the World War II flight nurses. (more…)

Story Building and Book Giveaway

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I’m excited to have bestselling author Lauraine Snelling with us today. How does a story present itself to an author? Where do the ideas come from?

You may Lauraine Snelling for her historical fiction, in particular, her Norwegian immigrant series. Here, Lauraine shares the story building process for her new contemporary novel, Heaven Sent Rain. And she’s giving away a copy! (more…)

Legend of Lady Detectives & Book Giveaway

Sadie’s Secret Cropped

I’m excited to introduce my author-friend, Kathleen Y’Barbo, as my guest today. Kathleen is talking about Lady Detectives, a subject in her newest book, Sadie’s Secrets.

The Legend of Lady Detectives

by Kathleen Y’Barbo

When I set out to write a heroine equal to the task of catching the charming villain Will Tucker in Sadie’s Secrets, there was no doubt Sadie Callum, the well-bred Louisiana-born daughter of sugar cane planter, would be a Pinkerton agent. After all, what other nineteenth century organization allowed women not only to populate their ranks well before they could vote, but also made great use of their unique talents? (more…)

The Birth of Book Ideas by Cara Putman

Shadowed by Grace Banner

Cara Putman

 

Today, our Guest Author is Cara Putman, who agreed to chat with us about The Birth of Book Ideas and share with us her creative process for her newest book, just released this month–Shadowed by Grace.

 

Shadowed by Grace, Monuments Men Series

Shadowed by Grace, Monuments Men

When a book is born, there’s a scary moment, hour, or week. As an author, I sit at the computer with the germ of an idea, a blank document page, and a blinking cursor. Somewhere, somehow, I have to find 90,000 words that will communicate a story that will captivate me…my editors…and eventually readers.

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Ireland History in Fiction

Heirs of Ireland Series large

Happy New Year to you, my friends!

Michael Reynolds, Author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy

Michael Reynolds, Author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy

 

The first Wednesday of every month, I feature an author and giveaway a copy of their latest book. It worked out that today, the start of our new year, is a  Book Birth Day for our guest author. It’s my pleasure to welcome my friend, Michael Reynolds, author of the Heirs of Ireland Trilogy.

 

  • I first met Michael at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference were we’ve both served on the faculty.
  • We’re both clients of the Books and Such Literary Agency.
  • He writes stories set in the 1800s like moi.
  • His debut series spans the Potato Famine in Ireland and the American Civil War.
  • Flight of the Earls, Michael’s debut novel, came out just a year ago and recently was nominated as 2013 novel of the year by RT Book Reviews in the category of Inspirational Romance. (more…)

Oregon Trail Story

Home at Trail’s End Cropped

Who can resist a good covered wagon or Oregon Trail story? And Melody Carlson is one of my favorite authors. So when Melody’s third book in her Homeward on the Oregon Trail released, I asked her to write a post about what inspired her to write stories about the Oregon Trail. She said yes! AND she’s giving away a copy of A Home at Trail’s End. (more…)

1920s Pharmacies and Soda Fountains

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While researching the 1920s for Mistaken, I was intrigued by the growing importance of the local pharmacy. When the neighborhood bars closed because of Prohibition, many people turned to the corner drugstore/soda fountain as the new gathering place, trading “hard” liquor for “soft” drinks—at least until the speakeasy opened.

The corner drugstore seemed like the perfect place for my characters to spend time. Four features made 1920s drugstores unique to the era.

Compounding prescriptions: In the 1920s, pharmacists were just beginning to order manufactured medications, but most prescriptions were still prepared by hand. It took careful precision to measure the ingredients and blend them into the proper formulas. Each pharmacy had its own methods, so potency, quality, and dosing varied. (more…)

19th Century Mercantiles

Carol Mercantile interior – AZ Historical Museum
Guest Author: Carol Cox

Guest Author: Carol Cox

19TH CENTURY MERCANTILES

Some of my earliest memories involve shopping trips with my mother, back in the . . . well, let’s just say it was a few decades ago. She’d make a list of all the places we had to go—the hardware store for the screws and bolts my dad needed for a project; the paint store for pink paint to touch up the wall in my bedroom; the drugstore, where we’d pick up a prescription for my grandmother—and maybe have time to cool off with an ice cream float at the soda fountain before heading on to the grocery store.

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The Role of Art in the Westward Expansion

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Glorifying the Wilderness Experience

So many things drove the westward expansion of the 1800s. The lure of a better life. Cheap land. Adventure. The railroad. Art.

Art?

Wait a minute. How did art drive the westward expansion?

Home in the Woods by Thomas Cole (1847)

Home in the Woods by Thomas Cole (1847)

In the mid-1800s, a new wave hit the artistic community, a desire to show nature in its most glorified state. Known as the Hudson River School, this movement focused on dramatic landscapes painted with romanticism and wonderful uses of light and detail to make the subject even more attractive than it might usually appear. It derived its name from the original locales that were painted–such places as the Hudson River Valley, Catskills, Adirondack, and the White Mountains. As the movement grew and inspired a second generation of painters, however, the landscapes they painted encompassed wilderness areas from as far away as South America and Syria. The themes of the paintings fit so perfectly with the American persona of the time—themes of discovery, exploration, and settlement. And for a growing number of east coast citizens, the appeal came in viewing untamed landscapes and idyllic nature scenes so different from the bustling cities to which they had become accustomed.

Thomas Cole is considered by most to be the father of the Hudson River School, but it was his prize pupil, Frederic Edwin Church, who became a true celebrity. Some of the finest works from the Hudson River School were painted between 1855 and 1875, and Church’s works constituted the majority. His paintings are truly stunning. I must admit that I fell in love with them myself. Here are a few of my favorites:

Niagra Falls (1857)

Niagra Falls (1857)

The Natural Bridge - Virginia (1852)

The Natural Bridge – Virginia (1852)

Twilight in the Wilderness (1860)

Twilight in the Wilderness (1860)

You really have to see larger images to do them justice.

In the 20th century, the term luminism was coined to describe this style. It is characterized by attention to detail and the hiding of brush strokes so that nothing distracts from the vision of nature being depicted. Artists in the Hudson River School for the most part believed that nature in the form of the American landscape was a manifestation of God. Therefore they painted highly realistic yet idealized renderings of what they had seen on their travels.

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New!

In Stealing the Preacher, Joanna Robbins’s mother was an art teacher back east who was greatly influenced by the Hudson River School. It is her dedication to this style of art that drives her to leave her safe city life to search out her own wilderness to paint. This, of course, eventually leads her to Texas and the wild man who will become her husband. She passes her love of art on to her daughter. Joanna embraces this passion, though she finds she has a better eye for capturing people than landscapes on her canvases.

What type of art speaks to your heart? I’ve always preferred realistic landscapes that capture the glory of God’s creation. That’s probably why these paintings gripped me so completely. What about you? Do you have a painting or print in your house that you just adore? What painting would you buy if money was no object? I’d love to hear about it.

We have a winner! Candice Valdez will receive the giveaway copy of Stealing the Preacher!

MONA: Thank you, Karen, for this fabulous peek into the art that inspired folks to people the West! We appreciate the Book Giveaway too!

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