Praises for Paper!

Winner of the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and finalist in the 2015 ACFW Carol awards, Dawn Crandall’s beautiful novel the Hesitant Heiress, an intriguing historical romance, is now available on paper!

If you’re anything like me, this is a big thing. As much cuddling up with a digital device appeals to many, I am not ready to marry a android (no offence Mr. Data), or give up the four huge bookshelves that I just set up in my living room! I love the feel, smell, and look of a book-book (not to be mistaken with an e-book).

Back to Dawn and her books (now book-books), as the next two in her series are arriving in tangible form on the 6th of October and the 3rd on November. So mark those on your calendar as good days to raid Amazon. (Or, if you don’t want to wait that long, you can cuddle up with an electronic device as they are already available as e-books 😉 )

Dawn Crandall’s book-book, The Hesitant Heiress:

1.The Hesitant HeiressAfter being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother.

Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt’s Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men—Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother’s tragic death.

However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems…and everything she never knew she wanted. But can she ever really trust an Everstone man?

 

Dawn Crandall:

IMG_3368 (683x1024)A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010. That is the year she shared with her husband her long-time dream of writing books. He encouraged her to quit her job and to pursue her passion to write stories. Apart from writing books, Dawn also recently became a mother—she and her husband were blessed with a baby boy in March 2014. She also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

 

 

Connect with Dawn online:

www.dawncrandall.blogspot.com

www.FaceBook.com/DawnCrandallWritesFirst

www.twitter.com/dawnwritesfirst

www.APassionforPages.blogspot.com

www.pinterest.com/dawnwritesfirst

dawncrandallwritesfirst@gmail.com

 

Now for the most important question of the day…

Wait for it…

What do you prefer? E-books or book-books?

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I Always Cry at Weddings

I don’t do many actual book reviews here, but Sara Goff’s I Always Cry At Weddings stood out in a very particular way. You have to understand that usually I read Christian Historical Romance and even fifty years ago it was discouraged by the general population to have intimate relationships before marriage. Somehow in the past few years we have gone from that 61HmFdDarxLwonderful ideal, to premarital sex being almost expected. And it appears that is what Ava, from I Always Cry at Weddings, was also led to believe. Then she watches the deep excitement and love between a newlywed couple who have saved themselves for a real honeymoon, and her whole outlook begins to change.

I Always Cry at Weddings is the first Christian novel I have read that has really addressed premarital intimacy. Not as a “I have sinned”, but “this is something I have done, wish I didn’t do, and don’t want to do again, and this is why.”  With this theme woven tactfully into a entertaining story-line, I enjoyed this book from start to finish.

I want to thank Sara for being a voice to young woman (and everyone, really) who might question whether waiting for marriage is worth it when the media and society cry out that sex is something trivial — a fun way to express yourself. I want to join my voice with hers and say, yes it is worth waiting for! Sex is a wonderful, enjoyable, and powerful thing, given by God to strengthen marriage, and create children. It is sacred, holy, and beautiful when kept between a husband and wife as an expression of devotion and love.

So worth waiting for!

I Always Cry at Weddings: Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite’s son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn’t what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable–she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she’ll save sex for marriage.

She’s convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance…and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren’t the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live…and what in the world love really means

Interested? You can find this book on Amazon, and Goodreads.

The Kindertransport by guest author Johnnie Alexander

One of the several infamous dates of the World War II era is November 9-10, 1938. Known as Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, the horrific event was a turning point in the amount of violence unleashed on the Jewish communities throughout Germany. Synagogues, businesses, and homes were destroyed; people were killed; and about 30,000 Jews were shipped to concentration camps.

An orphanage in Berlin was also burned that infamous night. Thanks to the valiant effort of the British Jewish Refugee Committee, these children were the first to travel to England, arriving on December 2, 1938. Over the next several months, until Britain entered the war, about 10,000 children participated in the rescue operation dubbed the Kindertransport.

These young refugees arrived at the train station wearing a numbered cardboard square tied with a shoelace or string around their necks. Some children had relatives in England or pre-arranged sponsors. Those who didn’t were first taken to camps or hostels until foster families could be found for them. Older youth often went to work.

This quote comes from a page titled “Life in Britain” from the official Kindertransport Association website:

Many families, Jewish and non-Jewish, opened their homes to take in these children. Many of the children were well-treated, developing close bonds with their British hosts; however, others were mistreated or abused. A number of the older children joined the British or Australian armed forces as soon as they reached eighteen years of age and joined the fight against the Nazis. Most of the children never saw their parents again.My Knees were Jumping

When the children arrived at the train stations, they wore a numbered cardboard square around their necks tied with a shoelace or string.

I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for parents to send their children to a foreign country. Their own circumstances had to be horrific—and, of course, now we know that Kristallnacht was only the beginning of a concentrated effort to annihilate all Jews. Thankfully, a unified effort saved at least 10,000.

The documentary My Knees were Jumping: Remembering the Kindertransport is directed by the daughter of one of these surviving children.

If you’d like more information on this valiant rescue operation, please visit the Kindertransport Association website at http://www.kindertransport.org.

Johnnie AlexanderJohnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell), and her first novella, “The Healing Promise” (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), release in 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest). She volunteers as a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis Contest, judges various contests, and serves as marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.

A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons.

Follow Johnnie Alexander:

Blog     Facebook Profile (Friend or Follow!)     Facebook Author Page     Twitter     GoodReads     Amazon Author Page

Where-Treasure-Hides-682x1024 new cover

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.

Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.

As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

Read the first chapter here!

Or buy:     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Christian Book Distributors     Target     Walmart

The Gorgeous Georgette: by Carolyn Miller

I’ve always hankered for an era not my own. Growing up, some of my favorite authors included such notables as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Grant Bruce (an Australian author who wrote the Billabong series, about turn of the century Australian graziers—hello, I am Australian ), and of course, my favorite (perhaps because of her red-haired heroine): L. M. Montgomery. (Fresh thought: should I include a middle name for publishing purposes?)

The writing of these ladies varied, from flowery flights of imagination to pragmatic epistles of life on the land, but their skill in drawing the reader into their worlds made for many a pleasurable hour, envisaging Jo, Anne and many other spunky, imaginative girls from an era so different from 1980s suburbia.

My tastes matured, to appreciation for Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, and others who wrote evocatively about eras long gone. A more recent addition to my library is Georgette Heyer, an English novelist whose first novel, The Black Moth (written to amuse her sick brother), was published in 1921 when she was all of 19! Over the course of her life she published more than fifty books, many of them set in Georgian times.

Romance will always be a popular fiction genre, perhaps because it can be seen as a reflection of the hunger we all share for the God who is Love itself. Many historical romance novels, including those set in Regency times, tend to reflect modern (read: carnal) mindsets, with a lack of understanding of the moral sensibilities of the day. While Jane Austen could write about the times in which she lived, Georgette Heyer described settings and events that happened booksover a century earlier, yet did so with such finesse she could be considered to be one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent experts on Regency customs and language. Indeed, she is considered by many to have created the Regency genre of historical fiction.

Georgette Heyer is said to have amassed literally rooms of research – no Google searches for her! – a fact which further cements my belief in her brilliance. Books on everything from 18th century signposts to snuff boxes filled her shelves, her attention to detail so precise she is reported to have bought a letter written by the Duke of Wellington to ensure she could employ his manner of speaking in the novel An Infamous Army. Commitment indeed! Her zest for period precision is reflected in how she casually refers to events, such as the reactions of onlookers to the procession of Allied Sovereigns, as mentioned in A Civil Contract. Her depth of knowledge was such she could write with astonishingly accurate recall about the mid-18th century adventures of former Jacobites in The Masqueraders, all from a grass hut in Tangayika (Tanzania)!

Whilst Georgette Heyer does not write an overtly Christian worldview as presented in, say, Lori Wick’s English Garden series, her characters still exist within the moral code of the day, with definite consequences for actions. But despite her understanding of social structure and strictures, her novels offer hope, often displaying a form of redemption for those GHborn into unfortunate circumstances, or with pasts they now regret, and demonstrate that love and a successful marriage does not depend merely on emotional attachment, but the daily decisions that recognize the hero or heroine’s flaws, but chooses to love and bless them anyway.

My current favorite, The Unknown Ajax, tells the story of Hugo, an unpopular heir, whose long-estranged family become reconciled to his less than desirable heritage as they learn to appreciate his kindness, his generosity, and his willingness to turn the other cheek. Another novel, Frederica, sees a selfish marquis transformed, challenged by the heroine whose concern for her family overrides thought of her future. A Civil Contract shows how the thoughtful actions of a woman, who knows she is her husband’s second choice, can see a loveless marriage of convenience lead to a state of contentment, an ordinary life, which might not be “filled with moments of exaltation” BHbut consisting of times, not “very romantic, but they were really much more important than grand passions or blighted loves.”

If you want a little more period detail than what is provided by Jane (Austen, of course), and would enjoy some sparkling repartee without seeing any bodices ripped, be sure to check out Georgette Heyer. Like reading Shakespeare, it may require some time to tune your ear in, but if you value historical accuracy, you will enjoy the wit and wisdom of a writer who appreciated the value of love conquering all.

 

 

CMCarolyn (Ann) Miller

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of the Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her novels have won or finaled in over a dozen contests, including the 2014 RWA ‘Touched by Love’ and 2014 ACFW Genesis contests. Carolyn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

Connect with her:         Website        Pinterest        Facebook

 

Guest Author: Hallee Bridgeman – Bringing WWII to Life!

My love of the WWII era started in my early teens when I watched Casablanca for the first time. I became obsessed with magazines and newspaper articles from the 1940’s, with the fashion, with the lifestyles. Even now I enjoy looking look through old books and pictures and see how kitchens were set up and how homes were run.HAB_2014a

I’ve been writing for about 15 years now. My interests lay in suspense and romance, so writing romantic suspense just became a no-brainer for me. I can sit down at the keyboard and just let my imagination run. I enjoy coming up with scenarios and intricate plots that twist and turn and keep readers completely breathless from one chapter to the next.

When I started writing, I started researching writing a series set in Europe in World War II. So, while I was busy writing my contemporary romantic suspense titles, I spent any down time I had researching the 1930’s-1950’s Europe and America. When I finally reached a point in my work schedule to start writing my book, I sat down at my keyboard and expected to have the words just flow through me like they always have only to find out – they wouldn’t.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have a plot: espionage, female heroines, inspired by real women. I had the plot. What I didn’t have was the knowledge. I had no idea how much I didn’t know until I realized I didn’t know it. I couldn’t even begin because as much as I could picture my character in my head, I couldn’t be certain that what I had her wearing was something that she would actually wear. All of those years of research, looking into espionage tactics and military warfare had done nothing to prepare me to write about the most important thing in any novel: the characters.

What kind of school would she have gone to? What kind of shoes would he wear? What would she eat for dinner on a Friday night? How would they go from their apartment to that play?

As much as I had spent most of my life in love with that era, the little day-to-day things that help characters come to life in a story completely escaped me. I had to go back into research with a fresh eye for what was important and what details I needed to learn. Loving the era like I do, that research was fun and easy for me.

When I finally sat down again to write the series, with all of the proper research under my belt, it came much quicker and easier.

Tomorrow, the final episode in my Virtues and Valor series releases. Every book in the 7-part series was inspired by a different heroine in WWII history; every woman on the covers did something remarkable in the war. It has been an amazing journey to research and to dig into their stories.

7FlightOfFaith_800Flight of Faith: HELEN MULBERRY, the youngest child and only daughter of a wealthy Texas oil tycoon, has always had her every wish granted immediately. When the Germans march into France, no one denies her request to fly her plane to England and help free up a male pilot for combat. Her father’s influence opens doors, and 19 year old Helen joins the Virtues team.

Now under the code-name FAITH, she flies between Britain and France, transporting passengers, supplies, or performing reconnaissance. The Nazis guard their skies with vigor, and Helen learns to fly in combat, land in a field with no lights, and evade the anti-aircraft fire. She masterfully takes on each mission, despite the perceptions and chauvinistic attitudes of many of the male pilots.

Shot down over France during the mission to rescue the agent code named TEMPERANCE from the clutches of the Gestapo, Helen must make her way through enemy territory with no language skills and somehow come through with a means to get her team back to Britain. Can she save them, or will they all find that they have no way out?

Virtues and Valor Series:
In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

virtues

 

Hallee online:             Website        Twitter        Facebook        Google+     Amazon

Looking good in the 1940s!

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For this week’s blog I thought a visual ensemble might be fun. This month I have been neck deep in the late forties as I write the third book in a post World War Two series I’ve been working on. I have easily come to the conclusion that they had a great sense of style back then.

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Yes, I am fighting with that commandment “Thou shalt not covet.” Here’s a glimpse at some of the dresses I’ve been picking out for my heroine and her sister:

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I love this one and chose it for the heroine’s sister to wear to her prom. I love the lace bodice.

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My hubby likes the cut of this one.

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I like the color on this one, as does the heroine. Unfortunately she can’t wear it as she’s a strawberry blond.

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Perfect for the summer.

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Yep, coveting again. This is her favorite dress.

 

 

Now for the hair. You have to love those victory curls!

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Perfect for the big town dance when the boys start coming home from Europe. Especially if you’re going with the fiance you haven’t seen in four years.

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And then the look to convince everyone in town that you’re completely over him.

And for all those days in between:

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I think the most painful part of my research is the price point for all of this:

0cee3d5e6fd51677b64a7478f6d8ddeaI think it’s time to stock up on dresses!

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A picture is worth a thousand words, but can invoke 80,000

My husband follows “Classic Pics” on twitter and often shows me the most epic. A while ago he passed me his phone with this image:

hand brand

Considering that it is a hand brand used by the British during the 1600s … slightly cringe worthy. The British used branding for punishment and marking of criminals and deserters from the army until 1827 when it was outlawed. Almost. Army deserters were still branded until 1879. (Click here for more.)

That is, of course interesting enough, but what if …?

A secret mission for the British army gone wrong. A General bent on revenge after a twenty-six year feud. Punishment meted without allowing pause for defense. A young man’s life spiraling out of control because of the curse of his hand and the vengeance seared into his heart.

Spice with some romance and mysteries.

Yep, I’m writing another novel. Stay tuned!