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Happy Sunday evening, readers,Lady and the Officer, The

Last month I completed a fun interview for a friend’s blog. I was asked to answer questions from my character’s point of view. And since my book, The Lady and the Officer, is definitely a love story I loved answering from perspective of General James Downing. Here’s the interview: Do your hero and heroine have a favorite song?

I guess that would be the Battle Hymn of the Republic since both central characters are devoted to restoring the Union during the Civil War. He serves his country as a general, while she works first as a nurse and then as a spy behind enemy lines.

What’s the most romantic present your hero ever bought your heroine? My hero purchased my heroine’s pride-and-joy, a horse she raised from birth. Her horse was “procured” by cavalry troops that were desperate for replacement mounts. Despite being in between segments of a battle, General Downing pulls out all stops to find this horse among hundreds.

What simple gesture does your heroine do that melts your hero every time?

My heroine tucks a St. Christopher’s medal into the general’s breast pocket to offer protection during the upcoming battle. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers.

Who is most romantic, your hero or your heroine?

Definitely my hero is more romantic. General James Downing arranges a romantic dinner by the fire in a charming bed and breakfast (separate rooms, of course!), a trail ride into the spring countryside, and picks wildflowers in the meadow, all during wartime, no less. This is in addition to all the other hero-like feats like saving her life and proposing on bended knee.

What is the most caring thing your heroine has ever done for your hero?

 

My heroine risks her life behind Confederate lines to obtain intelligence that saves my hero’s life and the lives of his soldiers. She became a spy for the Union Army so that my hero could have advance warning of planned attacks.

Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?

 

My hero says “I love you” first. At the time, my heroine was a recent widow and not prepared to make the same commitment. But she soon fears she’ll never be given a second chance to make her feelings known.

If you hero and heroine end up married, where will they go on their honeymoon?

 

 This is nineteenth century America in the aftermath of the Civil War, so romantic cruises and tours of Europe are out of the question. James takes her to Philadelphia on their honeymoon to meet his parents, and then back to Gettysburg where he rebuilds her house that had been destroyed by artillery fire.

If you haven’t already done so, check out a copy of The Lady and the Officer at your local library or bookstore.

Have a lovely week, readers. We’re down to the final 7 days of summer….Enjoy!!  ~ Mary

Happy Thursday, readers,

I got together with my Amish fiction writer friends (idea from the awesome Jennifer Beckstrand) to talk about our latest books and the movies. Each author picked real life people to play the roles of their central characters AND also picked an actress (living or passed on) to play them in a movie about their lives. What fun we had with this question! Here are the answers:

Kelly Irvin: The actors for A Plain Love Song?

Clare Bowen (Scarlett from the TV show “Nashville”) would play Adah, my heroine. She’s perfect because she’s both an actress and a gifted singer and musician—everything Adah dreams of being. If Brad Paisley, the country music singer who does some acting, were younger, I’d have him play Jackson Hart, my would-be country star who woos Adah and teaches her to play the guitar. Zach Gilford (Matt Sorenson, “Friday Night Lights”) would be perfect for Matthew, the Plain man who loves Adah but can’t understand her desire to sing, play the guitar, and write songs. Again if he were younger.

I love this exercise because it plays right into my fantasy of A Plain Love Song becoming a Hallmark TV movie. A person can dream, right?

Kelly-2x3-Color<img class=”wp-image-3974 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Kelly-2×3-Color.jpg” alt=”Kelly-2×3-Color” width=”96″ height=”145″ />HEPBURN<img class=”wp-image-3973 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/katharine-hepburn-9-234×300.jpg” alt=”HEPBURN” width=”111″ height=”143″ />As for an actress to play me? Yikes. Totally wishful thinking on my part, but since reality doesn’t enter into this equation in any way, I would love for it to be my all time favorite actress, Katherine Hepburn. I love her movies and the way she aged with such grace and dignity, still playing great parts throughout her long life.

Amy Clipston: I love this question because I always have a celebrity in mind when I create my characters. Here are the celebrities I imagine for my upcoming Amish book, A Dream of Home.

Here’s a blurb for the book:

Moving to Pennsylvania wasn’t in Madeleine’s original plans. She should still be in California and should have married her pilot fiance a year ago-but death has a way of changing everything. Now the former Air Force flight nurse is living alone in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and working as a maid at the Lancaster Grand Hotel. She isn’t exactly a widow . . . but she sure feels like one.

Saul Beiler isn’t exactly a widower . . . but his wife is long gone. His eleven-year-old daughter, Emma, doesn’t know that her mother fled the Amish community-and married another man-but she does know that her dat is lonely, and that a pretty young maedel just moved in next door. Madeline’s numb heart begins to thaw as she spends more time with the innocent and ever optimistic Emma. The stronger her friendship grows with the young girl, the more intrigued Madeline grows about the humble, strong, man raising her on his own.

But even as a strange attraction pulls Saul and Madeleine across a stark cultural divide, they-and everybody else-have to wonder: What could they possibly have in common besides heartache? Will love allow Madeleine to finally find the home she’s been dreaming of all along?

And the characters:

Madeleine Miller – Mila Kunis

Saul Beiler – Andrew Garfield

Carolyn Lapp—Julia Stiles

Joshua Glick – Matt DamonJulia1<img class=” wp-image-3972 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Julia1-239×300.jpg” alt=”Julia1″ width=”100″ height=”126″ /> Amy Clipston Portrait<img class=” wp-image-3967 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Amy-Clipston-Portrait-230×300.jpg” alt=”Amy Clipston Portrait” width=”96″ height=”126″ />

I would love to see Julia Stiles play me, even though she’s a lot younger than I am. I just adore her!

 

Mary Ellis: For my latest Amish book, A Plain Man, I would love Josh Duhamel to play Caleb Beachy and Carly Rae Jepson to play his sweetheart, Josie Yoder. I would love Johnny Sequoyah (from the TV show Believe) to play Sarah Beachy and Johnny Galecky to play Adam Troyer.

photo 3<img class=” wp-image-3975 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/photo-3-255×300.jpg” alt=”photo 3″ width=”97″ height=”114″ /> 220px-Valerie_Bertinelli<img class=” wp-image-3965 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/220px-Valerie_Bertinelli-218×300.jpg” alt=”220px-Valerie_Bertinelli” width=”82″ height=”113″ />I would love the actress Valerie Bertinelli to play me, in a movie of my life. (What a sleeper that would be!!) I believe her sense of humor matches mine, and when I was much younger, everyone said that we looked alike. I don’t see any resemblance, but since she’s very pretty, I’ll happily take the compliment.

 Amanda Flower: From my Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series

Angie Braddock, English owner of Running Stitch, an Amish quilt shop in Holmes County, OH– Kate Hudson

Sheriff James Mitchell, English Holmes County Sheriff– Patrick Dempsey

Rachel Miller, Angie’s best friend and Amish wife of Amish baker–Alexis Bledel (from Gilmore Girls)

Jonah Graber, Angie’s best childhood friend and Amish farmer–Dan Stevens (from Downton Abbey)

anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635<img class=”wp-image-3968 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635-216×300.jpg” alt=”anne-hathaway-short-hairstyles-59977635″ width=”98″ height=”136″ /> Amanda Flower photo<img class=”wp-image-3966 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Amanda-Flower-photo-225×300.jpg” alt=”Amanda Flower photo” width=”101″ height=”134″ />If they made a movie of my life, I would like Anne Hathaway to play me. I think she could capture my quirkiness, and she seems to trip a lot in movies. I would need someone who could fall down well. I’m a klutz and stumble over my own two feet a lot.

Jennifer Beckstrand: My next book, Huckleberry Christmas, comes out on October 7. In Huckleberry Summer, Lily Eicher breaks Tyler Yoder’s heart. He is such a nice guy that I thought he deserved his own happily ever after. Enter Beth Hostetler, who doesn’t want anything to do with Tyler, or any man, for that matter.

Baby 1<img class=”alignleft wp-image-3976″ src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Baby-1-199×300.jpg” alt=”Baby 1″ width=”93″ height=”140″ />Tyler Yoder would be played by a younger Jason Priestley. Beth Hostetler would be played by Sarah Michelle Geller (the brunette version), and Beth’s son Toby would be played by my grandson Calvin, who was my inspiration for the character. (I know you’re just dying to see a picture of my grandson.)

Jamie Lee Curtis_3-1024x816<img class=”wp-image-3970 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Jamie-Lee-Curtis_3-1024×816-300×239.jpg” alt=”Jamie Lee Curtis_3-1024×816″ width=”134″ height=”106″ /> Jennifer Beckstrand 1<img class=”wp-image-3971 alignright” src=”http://www.jenniferbeckstrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Jennifer-Beckstrand-1-283×300.jpg” alt=”Jennifer Beckstrand 1″ width=”98″ height=”105″ />I have been told that I look like Jamie Lee Curtis. We can both be kind of goofy. She’s very cute. I am flattered by the comparison.

 

 

Now, readers, who would play you in a movie?

Have a great week and weekend!! ~ Mary

 

Good Monday morning, readers! Today Home Thoughts welcomes new author, Sandra Merville Hart. Sandra has just released an novella set during my favorite time in history, the American Civil War. First here’s a summary of A Stranger on My Land:perf5.000x8.000.indd

Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find a wounded soldier on their land after a battle which later became known as “The Battle Above the Clouds.” Adam, a Union soldier, has been shot twice in the arm. Though Carrie is reluctant to take Adam to their cave where her family hides their livestock from both armies, she cannot turn her back on him.  But her Aunt Lavinia, bitter over what Yankees have done to their land, urges Carrie to allow Adam to die. Carrie refuses, but cannot remove the bullets. Adam’s friendship with Jay softens her heart toward him. It’s not long until his gratitude and teasing manner spark a friendship between the young couple. Even though Carrie’s father fights for the Confederacy in far-off Virginia, her feelings for the handsome young soldier begin to blossom into love.  When Adam’s condition worsens, Carrie knows a Union surgeon is needed to save his life. How can she accomplish this and keep her family’s hiding place a secret?

Sandy Hart Here’s some info about fellow my Ohio author:Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.

To find her on Social Media:

http://devokids.com/category/stories/adventures-in-history/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

 To purchase Sandra’s book

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Stranger-My-Land-Sandra-Hart/dp/1941103278/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405606746&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Stranger+on+my+land.

I asked Sandra: What are you working on now? Historical romance is my favorite genre. My next story will be set in Gettysburg, a place that has captivated my imagination. It will be another Civil War romance which requires more research and thankfully (yea!) another visit to the historic city before writing it. A beautiful seamstress and a war-weary soldier would never meet if not for the battle that raged outside her Gettysburg home.

To win a copy of A Stranger on my Land leave a comment to answer Sandra’s question: My novella is set during the Civil War. Have you ever visited a Civil War historical site, either on vacation or locally? If so, which one did you visit?

This is a print book, and USA entries only this time.

It’s time to pick last week’s winner of Kelly Irvin’s book, A Plain Love Song Laura Potter…come on down. You’re our lucky winner. I will email you for a mailing address. Thanks to all my lovely readers who took time to leave Kelly a comment.

Good luck readers with this week’s drawing…and happy reading!  ~ Mary

Happy Wednesday, readers,Lady and the Officer, The

Sorry for the delay in picking the 10 winners from my newsletter contest. I had some glitches with Mail Chimp (that I hope not to have again!) and thus the newsletter was delayed until Monday. So I waited until today to assign numbers and pick names. Without further ado, here are the 10 winners of a signed copy of The Lady and the Officer: PtrcBnd, Jennifer Soukup, D. Stevens, Angel4God, S. Roskos, MBW225, Donna Mynatt, Quilted Dobro, Terry Schupback, and C. Pace. I have sent each of them an email and will send the books as soon as I hear back.

Don’t forget the drawing for Kelly Irvin’s book will be on Monday. Happy reading!  ~ Mary

Happy Monday, readers! Today we welcome author Kelly Irvin to Home Thoughts. Stay tuned to win a free copy of Kelly’s latest release, A Plain Love SongPlain Love Song AFirst, here’s a little about the story: Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to make music. It’s all she’s ever desired—to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That’s a dream that will never come true in the confines of her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and suddenly she sees the chance for a different kind of life…a real stage, a real guitar, and a real opportunity to sing her songs to a real audience! But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her faith, her family, and her community—and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can’t get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she’s ever known to pursue her dreams?

Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, three cats, and a tankful of fish.  A public relations professional, Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels and writes short stories in her spare time.

 

 

KellyFinal1 What are you working on now?

I’ve just turned in The Bishop’s Son to my publisher, Zondervan. It’s the second book in a new series, The Amish of Bee County, set in Bee County, Texas, where a tiny Amish District is located, the only one in the state. The galleys for the first book, The Beekeeper’s Son, arrived at the house today so I’ll be taking one last look at that book, which releases in January 2015. That leaves writing the third book in the series. I’m still doing a lot of thinking and only a little writing on that one!

Where can readers find A Plain Love Song? http://www.amazon.com/Plain-Love-Song-Hope-Amish/dp/0736954988/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399148095&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Plain+Love+Song+by+Kelly+Irvin

To be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy, please leave your answer to this question: Why do you think most Amish districts prohibit musical instruments?

Here’s where you can find Kelly:

http://www.kellyirvin.com

Follow me on Twitter

Drawing in one week, readers. Hope you’re having a great August!  ~ Mary

Good morning, readers, and happy August to you all! I am tickled pink because today is the release day of The Lady and the Officer, my next installment in the Civil War Heroines Series. Lady and the Officer, The

Here’s a blurb about the story:  Love, loyalty, and espionage…how does a lady live with all three? While a nurse in Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of Elliot Haywood, a colonel in the Confederacy. But even though she must soon move to the South, her heart and political sympathies belong to General James Downing, a Union Army corps commander. Colonel Haywood hasn’t forgotten the beautiful nurse, and when he unexpectedly meets her again in Richmond, he is determined to win her. While spending time with army officers in her uncle’s palatial home, Madeline overhears plans for Confederate attacks against the Union army. She knows passing along this information may save her beloved James, but at what cost? Can she really betray the trust of her family and friends? Two men are in love with Madeline. Will her faith lead her to a bright future, or will her choices bring devastation on those she loves?

I am truly honored that Fresh Fiction chose my book to be the August Fresh Pick. The Fresh Pick is chosen by a group of readers and is never a
purchased advertisement or promotion. I hope you’ll look for The Lady and the Officer at your local bookstore, library, or in electronic versions online.

August 1, 2014

http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Officer-Civil-Heroines-Book-ebook/dp/B00LFWFC6O/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1406908933

http://www.christianbook.com/lady-the-officer-civil-war-heroines/mary-ellis/9780736950541/pd/950541?event=Fiction

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Friday, Readers! Today Home Thoughts welcomes fellow Ohio author, Cindy Thomson. Cindy has a brand new book out from the Ellis Island Series. If you leave a comment for Cindy, or answer her question at the end of the blog, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of this book. Drawing next Friday, 7-18. First, tell us something about Annie’s Stories: AnniesStoriesCover

The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House. But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret. Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true. 1) Tell us how you got the inspiration for Annie’s Stories.I knew I wanted to write a story about immigrants set at the turn of the twentieth century. When I looked to see what was new at that time, I discovered L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900. Knowing what an impact that tale made and is still making, I knew I wanted to include it. I imagined that immigrants to New York City at the time, especially ones like Annie who came from rural Ireland, would have related to Dorothy Gale who was transported from Kansas to the odd and strange land of Oz. So I decided my character would read the book throughout the course of the story, and that she would love stories as the Irish do.

Cindy thomsonTell us about yourself:  Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com.

What are you working on now and when can we expect it? It’s difficult to promise something to readers at this point. But I am working on a third story set at Hawkins House. In addition I’m working on an idea for a novel that would alternate between the present and the past. The past is set in 1947 at Wrigley Field, and while it involves the Cubs, the main characters are not baseball players. In the present a young woman is learning about her grandfather’s past and the mysterious woman who for one summer made a huge impact on her grandfather and she’s trying to learn why. I know that’s vague, but I’m still working on it.  What I can promise readers are the short stories that are mentioned in the novel Annie’s Stories, but don’t appear there. Those will be available to subscribers to my newsletter. You can sign up on my web site: www.cindyswriting.com
To be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Annie’s Stories, please answer this question:  How do you define home?

Have a great week, readers!!  Mary

 

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