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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.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

 

So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belong to you—whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. First Corinthians 3: 21-23

Offhand, I don’t recall ever reading the above passage in Scripture, but the pastor used it recently during a sermon. It’s not a passage that would stick with a person since we humans love to join different groups and affiliations. As America approaches another election year, it’s normal for people to side with the political group which best matches their personal and ethical convictions. I’m often at odds with fellow Christians because I agree with some, but not all, of a particular party’s platform. Yet this passage tells not to boast about following any particular human leader. That certainly goes against the tide, doesn’t it? We all want to strengthen the church’s influence on our beloved country, since America was founded on Christian principles. The more we remove God from the judicial and legislative branches governing our nation, the worse off our country becomes. In my opinion, God shone His grace on America when America worshiped and respected Him openly. Yet, something about politics today seems better designed to further political agendas and not God’s.

In my recent book, The Quaker and the Rebel, my underlying theme is that both sides of the horrific Civil War worshiped the same God and felt that He was on their “side.” Both my hero and heroine grew up Quaker and retained some, but not all, their doctrinal beliefs. When the war broke out, which side you were on was determined by where you were born, whether you were rich or poor and of course, black or white. Considering the atrocities committed by both armies, God wouldn’t have been pleased with either. Of course slavery needed to end, and unfortunately it took a horrific war to abolish it. So shouldn’t we follow today’s leaders who best exemplify Christian principles? After all, we still have many injustices that need to be addressed in our society. Perhaps each Christian must decide how “political” they wish to be. For myself, I’m confused and easily led astray. I need to turn to Scripture and bend my head in prayer for my answers.

Happy Thursday, Readers,

Today I’m sharing a blog with my fellow authors of Amish fiction. We all answered the same question: What was your most embarrassing moment? Enjoy the replies from my fellow storytellers about the Amish community:

empireJennifer Beckstrand: When I was seventeen, my neighbor set me up on a blind date with her nephew. He was really cute and really tall. He took me to see the premiere of “The Empire Strikes Back.” It was a hot summer day and we had to stand in an impossibly long line for the movie. He turned to me and said, “Would you like an ice cream or something?” I said no. I turned away from him and felt his hand on my shoulder. I turned back and watched as he fainted flat on the ground. He must have overheated. I didn’t know what to do, so I just stood there and watched as a complete stranger helped him off the ground and to a seat. I must admit, I considered pretending I didn’t know him. The good news is that the theater management let us go into the empty theater to sit and cool off. We got the best seats and free soda.

Shelley Shepard Gray: Unfortunately, I have a lot of embarrassing moments! I’ve fallen down more flights of stairs than I care to recall! But one that particularly stands out happened at a writers conference about ten years ago.

It was soon after I had sold my first book to Harlequin and I was going to my first ever Harlequin party. All the authors had directions on how to get to the party, which was basically to go out the front door of the hotel lobby and look for the correct shuttle, car, or van. So, there I was, all dressed up with my girlfriend Ann, going to our first publisher-sponsored party. Together we sail through the lobby, spy all the shuttles and such waiting out front, and see a very nice vehicle with a discreet sign on one of the windows saying ‘Harlequin’. Our ride!

Feeling like princesses for the night, Ann and I walk up to the fancy van, open up the door, hop in, and sit down. And then notice that we recognize every face. This wasn’t the newbie van. This was the VIP van, filled with very well known, award-winning, best-selling authors. We were in the wrong car. The really wrong car! They were all staring at us like we were crazy stalkers.

I froze. So did Ann! Then one of the authors’ handlers whispered something like, “Honey, you need to get out. Like, right now.”

Without a word, Ann and I scooted out of the van, got in the line for our correct bus, and then laughed until we cried.

I have to admit I still blush every time I see one of those authors!

Mary Ellis: What an easy question! After 30 + years, one afternoon stands out.sailboat

My husband and I were invited to spend the day with a work acquaintance & her husband on their sailboat. I am not a mariner by any stretch of the imagination. When we were pulling up to a dock for lunch, her husband asked me to tie the rope around the cleat. I stepped onto the dock with one foot while remaining on the boat with the other. With my weight balanced between land and boat, I attempted to tie a knot to his specifications. You guessed it….the boat drifted away from the dock and I fell into the water. I was wearing a swimsuit and can swim, but everyone eating lunch witnessed my foolishness. But truly, the other couple was more embarrassed than I was. They never invited us back for anymore outings.

Kelly Irvin: Embarrassing moments? It seems there is a plethora from which to choose! Most of them are work-related. There’s the time I was working as a reporter for a newspaper in Laredo, Texas, where the summers swelter with heat and humidity. So I wore a sundress to cover a City Council meeting. The zipper broke and left the dress rather backless and hanging off my front. I rushed out, raced home, changed, and raced back. Fortunately, the council members were so long winded I didn’t miss much. Unfortunately, the county treasurer was sitting behind me and witnessed the entire debacle.

Fast forward twenty-five years and there’s the time I did a face plant by tripping over a parking lot barrier in front of a Park Police officer and recreation center staff members while discussing an upcoming ribbon-cutting. Or the time I locked my keys in the car twice in one week, once with the car running.

The ultimate blooper, however, occurred very recently. I had coordinated a ribbon-cutting ceremony and I walked back to the parking lot, camera around my neck, purse slung over my shoulder, my hands full with a box of six full-sized gold-painted shears. I clicked my key remote in back of “my” SUV, set the box on the asphalt, and then opened the hatch. The woman sitting in the driver’s seat glanced in the rear view mirror and said, very calmly, “This one’s mine.” Only then did it hit me that the car engine was running. I stammered an apology, closed the hatch, picked up my box, and moved on.

Those are a few highlights from the Kelly Irvin blooper reel. I can think of several more.

Vannetta Chapman: Most embarrassing moment? There are too many to count, so I’ll go with a recent one.

Hubby and I went out to run errands and we even stopped for lunch. Ours is a little town, so you know everyone you see. Only when I got back home, did I notice that my shirt was on in-side out. I would like to say this is rare, but sadly it happens all too often. :)

Amanda Flower: My most embarrassing moment… it’s hard to pick. I’m pretty klutzy and had been known to walk into walls and trip down and up stairs. When I bought my first car, which was a long time ago, I was so nervous while writing the down payment check. It was a lot of money to me at the time. While writing the check, I dropped my pen. When I bent over to pick it up,  I cracked my forehead on the salesman’s desk. Ouch! It hurt! The salesman didn’t say a word about it, and I pretended nothing happened too.

school-busAmy Clipston: My most embarrassing moment took place in high school when I fell off the school bus. Since my stop was the first, the whole bus got to witness my clumsiness. Thankfully, my best friend since Kindergarten, Christine, was with me. We laughed the whole way up the street to our house. My knee was throbbing in pain, but all I could do was laugh!

Amy Lillard: I guess I don’t embarrass easily, but…You know when you are trying to appear professional and all-together? Early on in my relationship with her, I was emailing back and forth with my agent, Mary Sue Seymour. I start my email with “Dear Ms. Seymour, dada, dada, dada.” At the end of her response she wrote “Call me Mary Sue”. Good girl that I am, I picked up the phone and called, but got no answer. I emailed back and said that I tried to call but no one picked up. She responded with something to the effect of “we are busy and don’t always answer the phone. Email is a much better tool of communication for us.” Huh? Then why did she tell me to call her? I let the matter drop and stewed on it a couple of days. Then it hit me–she wasn’t telling me to  call her on the phone but to address her as Mary Sue. Still shaking my head over that one. LOL

We invite any and all sharing of most embarrassing moments in the comments.

You can learn more about these great authors on their websites. And be sure to like our Facebook pages too!

Vannetta Chapman: http://vannettachapman.com/

https://www.facebook.com/VannettaChapmanBooks

Amanda Flower: http://www.amandaflower.com/

https://www.facebook.com/authoramandaflower 
https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaAlanAuthor

Amy Clipston: http://www.amyclipston.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Mary Ellis: http://www.maryellis.net/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

Shelley Shepard Gray: http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray

Kelly Irvin: http://www.kellyirvin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kelly.Irvin.Author

Jennifer Beckstrand: JenniferBeckstrand.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbeckstrandfans

Amy Lillard: http://amywritesromance.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amy-Lillard-Author/177732292332322

 

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