A Look at Wilmington, NC, of the 1860’s

Traveling to the location where my book takes place is an important part of research. And it’s also the most enjoyable. After all who doesn’t love to be on vacation while learning wonderful tidbits of history? To write my latest historical romance, The Last Heiress, I visited Wilmington on four different occasions. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a week, but each time I took plenty of photographs. However time does not stand still, not even in nationally registered, historically protected sections of a city. The Wilmington of today still contains the flavor of the mid-nineteenth century, including many buildings intact. But my visit to the Cape Fear Historical Society at 814 Market Street showed me the neighborhood has changed during the last 150 years.cape fear 2

Janet Davidson, Museum Historian, was kind enough to furnish me with images taken during the 1850’s and 1860’s. I hope you’ll enjoy this walk down memory lane in a town whose beauty has withstood the ravages of time. This museum is a must-see during your visit to New Hanover County. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble telling my photographs from those sent to me by Janet. Enjoy, readers….Mary

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Visit the Latimer House ~ my setting for The Last Heiress

The Last HeiressI’m often asked where I get the settings for my stories. From real life is my usual answer. Today I’ll take you to visit the Latimer House on 126 S. 3rd St. in Wilmington, NC, home of GEmy fictional Jackson and Abigail Henthorne of The Last Heiress. Having a real life mansion as a model makes setting the stage easier and far more accurate. The gardens, both side and back, the entrance to the subterranean level, the slave quarters, the interior rooms, and the porches all feature into my story. Of course, I embellished or changed a few details, because that’s what fiction writers do. But if you visit to the real life Latimer House, now home to the Wilmington Historical Society, I think you’ll agree I got the grand opulence of the mansion right-on-the-money!GE

GEThe Latimer House, built in 1852 by local merchant Zebulon Latimer, is open to the public as an historic house exemplary of upper-class life in Wilmington during the Victorian period. With 14 furnished rooms the Latimer House lets you step back in time to a more elegant era. The house, built in the popular Italianate style, was designed with a central hallway on each floor with identical layouts on either side. The first floor contains the formal sitting and dining areas on the north side, used for entertaining and special occasions, and the less formal sitting rooms to the south.

GEIf you are looking for a charming place for your meeting, luncheon, or party, then GEsearch no further than the Latimer House! The Victorian inspired garden is perfect for your special photography session, while the tearoom can accommodate guests in a historic atmosphere. Available seven days a week, but reservations are required. Call 910-762-0492 for more information or e-mail us at info@latimerhouse.org.

Unfortunately, the house is not handicapped accessible. Next week, readers, we’ll be visiting downtown Wilmington, NC, where my handsome hero, Nathaniel Cooper had his delightful store. Stay tuned, and stay warm….. Mary

Release day of The Last Heiress is almost here!

Happy Tuesday, readers. I do hope you’re keeping warm wherever you are. It’s all of 11 degrees here in Ohio, but at least it has stopped snowing.

The Last HeiressI’m thrilled to announce my new book is about to release, The Last Heiress, which I researched both in England and Wilmington, North Carolina. My 2008-05-22 07.41.18British pal, Carolyne Way, inspired my story during my last visit to the U.K. Carolyne told me about her great grandfather who owned a coal mine near Manchester. This mine supplied the lucrative garment industry along the western coastline. She also relayed the true story about a mine collapse which killed both miners and textile workers alike which figures into my story. My book is about twins who become estranged when one sister, Abigail, elopes with an Southern cotton broker from North Carolina. My heiress twin, Amanda, sets off for America to restore shipments to her textile mills curtailed by our Civil War.

When Amanda meets Nathaniel Cooper, a Wilmington shopkeeper, her desire to conduct business and return home changes. Amanda’s family deems the hardworking merchant harbor 2unsuitable for an accomplished heiress. And when Nate loyalties regarding the war begin to shift, Amanda has her own battle on her hands. As the Union noose around Southern ports tightens, Nate contemplates joining the Glorious Cause—not in support of slavery but to watch his brother’s back. Class distinctions, political loyalties, and family obligations guarantee a turbulent romance for Amanda and Nate.

The Last Heiress is available for pre-book from CBD and will ship the same day books arrive in their warehouse. It will be available in electronic formats on February 1st. Here’s the link for a hot-off-the-presses print copy at 25% off retail:

http://www.christianbook.com/the-last-heiress-mary-ellis/9780736950527/pd/950527?product_redirect=1&Ntt=950527&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

I hope you’ll look for The Last Heiress at your favorite library or bookstore. Happy reading! ~ Mary

Ever read an interview of fictional characters?

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

The Lady and the Officer is Fresh Fiction’s August Fresh Pick

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

 

 

 

 

Writing Process Blog Tour

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, readers,  I hope you’ll join me in thanking all the men and women in the US. military for their service to their country!

clipstonpublicityRecently, I was invited to participate in a blog tour by my good friend, Amy Clipston. Amy writes awesome romantic fiction set in the Amish community for Zondervan and Harper Collins and has won numerous awards. Amy’s latest book is A Mother’s Secret. She asked me to share my answers to four questions that authors from all over have been answering in this Writing Process Blog Tour.  Here are my answers:

What am I working on at the moment? Right now, I’m putting the last touches on book two of the Civil War Heroines Series, called The Lady and the Officer for Harvest House Publishers. While serving as a nurse in Gettysburg, Madeline Howard saves the life of a colonel in the Confederate Home Guard. Even though Maddy’s heart belongs to Union General James Downing, Colonel Haywood never forgets the beautiful nurse. When their paths cross in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, he’s determined to win her heart. Maddy has been busy eavesdropping on army officers and war department officials in her aunt’s palatial home. When she hears plans for Confederate attacks in northern Virginia, she passes the information along to Union officers, betraying the trust of her family and friends. Two men are in love with her. Will Maddy’s choices bring devastation on those she loves?Lady and the Officer, The

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Most fictional stories set during periods of political unrest assume a particular posture. Although my lead heroine will share my anti-slavery convictions, I attempt to portray the complexity of social issues. Usually there are no truly “good guys” by the time a war is over, no matter how well-intended people’s original motivations.

Why do I write what I do? I love to create stories about cultures I admire (I’ve written a dozen books set in Amish communities throughout the United States.) and romances set during turbulent periods of America’s past. I’ve always loved history and the way it has shaped laws governing us today. And love does have a way of surviving even during wartime, no matter how dire the circumstances.

How does my writing process work? I travel to the area where I plan to set a story to get details only available in person. In the case of historical novels, I research several times because there is always so much to learn. But in the end, I still end up making a few mistakes because so much information is ambiguous or incorrect. I’ve even seen two different accounts as to who won a particular battle at Civil War interpretive centers.

The Lady and the Officer is available for pre-book at Christianbook.com.

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

I hope you’ll drop by next week’s blog tour participants: Kathleen Fuller and Carole Brown.

Kathleen Fuller writes lovely Amish romances and historical romance for Harper Collins. http://www.kathleenfuller.com/

Carole Brown writes for Lighthouse of the Carolinas. Her book, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman was nominated for a Selah Award. http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Drop by an see what these great authors have to say! Have a great Memorial Day weekend, readers. ~ Mary

 

 

My historical short story available as FREE download

Happy Tuesday, readers, and welcome to April. Today is the release of A Plain Man, my Amish romance from Harvest House, along with the debut of Romance on the River for free. That’s right, free for Kindles or other electronic device downloads. And this is not an April Fool’s joke. Romance on the River is a sweet little short story set in Marietta, Ohio in the early days of the Civil War…a bit of a prequel to The Quaker and the Rebel. If you’re thinking you might like to try my brand of historical fiction without going into debt, you can’t beat free.  Romance on the River

Here’s a summary: Summer 1861—Emily Harrison is finding life a bit overwhelming. Alone on her family’s farm, she must take on the roles of both housekeeper and farmer. She cares for the garden, makes plans for planting the fields, and milks the cows, all the while creating havoc in the home her mother used to keep immaculate. That is in addition to providing a safe house as part of the Underground Railroad. In the midst of this whirlpool of swirling tasks, she is getting ready to greet very important dinner guests—the love of her life and her pastor and his wife. Will Matthew finally propose? What news does Reverend Ames bring that turns Emily’s world upside down? How does the new war between the North and South impact her life? And…will the goose be cooked in time?

Here is the link from Amazon for your free download. Remember, Romance on the River is available for other electronic reading devices as well.

I hope you’ll get your free copy and let me know what you think! Have a super week, readers, and don’t forget my Amish romance A Plain Man is also available today for electronic download from all outlets.  ~ MaryQuaker and the Rebel, The

A Plain Man