Two on my historical romances available dirt cheap in e-books

Happy Monday, readers,

Quaker and the Rebel, TheAnybody who prefers reading books on their electronic devices can find two of my historical romances on sale. The Quaker and the Rebel will be $.99 for the entire month of September for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, and Google Play formats. And book two of the Civil War Heroines series, The Lady and the Officer, will be $1.99 from September 1-30 as well. Now’s the time to give historical romance a try if you haven’t already done so.Lady and the Officer, The

 

 

 

You prefer Amish fiction to American history? Remember, Love Comes to Paradise is still $1.99 at Amazon. Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Comes-Paradise-Beginnings-Book-ebook/dp/B00B03M54U/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441035324&sr=8-1&keywords=love+comes+to+paradiseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enjoy these waning summer days. Fall will be here in 3 short weeks, and I am so not ready!!

Best regards, Mary

Real Life Lady Spies of the Civil War

Happy Last Day of Summer, Readers!!

Lady and the Officer, TheIn my historical romance, The Lady and the Officer, Madeline Howard had never intended to become a spy. But when military intelligence practically falls into her lap, how could she not serve her country behind enemy lines? While researching this novel, I discovered plenty of real-life spies whose lives of intrigue provided plenty of inspiration. Here are brief bios of 5 of them:

Harriet Tubman was a former slave known who led 300 people—including her elderly parents—to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. She was also a Union spy. Tubman volunteered for the Union as a cook and a nurse before recruited by Union officers to establish a network of spies made up of former slaves. Tubman became the first woman in the country’s history to lead a military expedition. In June, 1863, Col. James Montgomery and Tubman led several hundred black soldiers up the Combahee River in gunboats, avoiding remotely-detonated water mines. When they reached the shore, they destroyed a Confederate supply depot and freed more than 750 slaves from rice plantations. After the war, Tubman tried to collect $1,800 for her service but was unsuccessful. Due to the service of her late husband, she did receive a widow’s pension of $8 per month beginning in June 1890 until the government authorized a payment of $25 a month beginning in January 1899. Following her death in 1913, she was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York. Born in New Orleans, Pauline Cushman was a struggling 30-year-old actress in 1863. While she was performing in Louisville, Kentucky, Confederate officers dared her to interrupt a show to toast Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy. Cushman approached the Union Army with a plan to ingratiate herself to the Confederates and become a federal intelligence courier. The Union immediately sent Cushman to federally occupied Nashville, where she gathered information about enemy operations. She was arrested by the Confederates after identifying several Confederate spies and sentenced to hang. Saved by the arrival of Union forces at Shelbyville, Cushman was forced to stop spying due to her notoriety. After the war, Cushman tried acting again and gave monologues on the war, wearing her uniform with pride. Probably the most famous Confederate spies, Belle Boyd, had been born to a prominent slaveholding family near Martinsburg, Virginia. At age 17, Belle was arrested for shooting a Union soldier who had broken into the family’s home and insulted her mother. Though Union officers cleared her of all charges, they watched her closely. Young and attractive, Boyd used her charms to gain information, which she passed along to the Confederacy. After repeated warnings to stop covert activities, Union officials sent Boyd to live with family in Front Royal, Virginia. Soon after her arrival, she began working as a courier between Confederate generals “Stonewall” Jackson and P.G.T. Beauregard. Jackson credited the intelligence Belle provided with helping him win victories in the Shenandoah Valley. In July 1862, Boyd was arrested and sent to Old Capitol Prison in Washington, D.C. She was released a month later and deported to Richmond, but she was soon caught behind federal lines and imprisoned for three more months. In 1864 she was arrested while trying to smuggle Confederate papers to England. She fled the country and a few months later married Samuel W. Hardinge, one of the Union naval officers who had detained her. Hardinge returned briefly to the United States and was imprisoned as a suspected Southern spy. He died soon after his release. Boyd, now a widow, wrote a book and embarked on an acting career, often telling of her clandestine experiences during the war.

Rose O’Neal Greenhow was a Washington socialite when she began spying for the Confederacy. Greenhow obtained information about Union military activity and passed coded messages to the Confederates. One of her most important messages, hidden in her hair, helped Gen. Beauregard win the First Battle of Bull Run. Suspicious of Greenhow’s activities, Allan Pinkerton, head of the federal’s new Secret Service, gathered enough evidence to place her under house arrest. But Greenhow continued her espionage. In January 1862, she and her daughter were transferred to Old Capitol Prison. Several months later she was deported to Baltimore where Confederates welcomed her as a hero. President Davis sent her to Britain and France to gain support for the Confederacy. In September1864, Greenhow was returning to the South on a British blockade-runner with $2,000 in gold. With a Union gunboat in pursuit, the ship ran aground on a sandbar near the North Carolina shore, and it ran aground on a sandbar. Against the captain’s advice, Greenhow tried to escape in a rowboat with two other passengers. The boat capsized and she drowned, presumably weighed down by the gold she carried. Her body washed ashore the next day and was buried in Wilmington with full (Confederate) military honors. Born to a wealthy Virginia family, Antonia Ford was 23 when she provided military intelligence to Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart. Ford gathered information from Union soldiers occupying her hometown, which was halfway between Washington, D.C. and Manassas, Virginia. In October 1861, Stuart gave Ford an honorary written commission as aide-de-camp and ordered that she “be obeyed, respected and admired.” In March 1863, that document was used to accuse her of spying for John Singleton Mosby. Mosby’s partisan rangers had captured Union general Edwin H. Stoughton in his headquarters—one of the most famous cavalry raids of the war. The Secret Service suspected Ford was involved in planning the attack because Stoughton and Ford had spent time together. When the Secret Service sent a female operative, pretending to be a Confederate sympathizer, to meet Ford, Ford showed her Stuart’s commission. Ford was soon arrested with smuggled papers hidden in her clothing. After months at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington, Ford was released thanks to the efforts of Union major Joseph C. Willard—one of her captors. Willard resigned from the Union Army, and he and Ford married in March 1864, after she took an oath of allegiance to the United States.

Thanks to the Smithsonian Magazine for providing biographical information. Have a lovely fall, readers. My-oh-my, where did the summer go?? ~ 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

We have our 10 newsletter drawing winners!

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

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

 

 

You can go back again…with plenty of caffeine

Happy Thursday readers, a frequent question writers are asked when they’re first published: Is this the first book you ever wrote? Often on television talk shows we hear about so-and-so’s first book hitting one of the coveted bestseller lists. Although there are exceptions to the rule (J.K. Rowling comes to mind….) in most cases, the book in question is the first published work. The writer might have penned any number of novels before creating a story that resonated with an editor or agent, and then finally with readers. For me personally, I was first published in romantic suspense set in the South. Then I happily changed genres to Amish romances since I’d been fascinated with their simple lives for years. After twelve novels set in the Amish world I was ready for another change, but didn’t wish to venture too far from romance. Everyone falls in love, right? Including people in bygone eras whose lives were simpler than how we live now.

So I decided to dig out two historical romances I’d written first, a dozen years ago. “Should you do that?” asked my practical husband. “Can you go back to something you wrote before you learned all the ‘rules’ and developed your voice?” He was giving me the same look like the time I announced, “I think we should retire in Costa Rica where the cost of living is less.” I assured him that I could do this. After all, I loved those stories when I created them, even though my agent said no one was interested in Civil War fiction at the time. The Quaker and the Rebel, first in the Civil War Heroines series, was my first baby. I dusted her off and breathed in new life with better plotting, sentence structure, and inner conflicts, and reduced redundancies and unnecessary verbiage. Bottom line? The rewrite took twice as long then if I burned the manuscript and started from scratch, and required more high-test coffee than I drank in four years of college.Quaker and the Rebel, The

I know what you’re thinking: Hubby was right. But I ended up preserving every sweet nuance and historical detail that had originally intrigued me, in an easy-to-read structure and format. The best of both worlds! Would I do it again if I discovered two more novels waiting to be revived in my sock drawer? Only if I’m sitting on the beach in Costa Rica, sipping a cool drink, with plenty of time on my hands.

The second book in the series, The Lady and the Officer, releases this summer from Harvest House Publishers.Lady and the Officer, The

Happy reading….Mary