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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Scottish Historical Author, Cathy Macrae Talks About Her Debut Novel

author photo- Cathy Macrae

Cathy Macrae and I met on a Scotland tour and bonded over our love of reading and writing. She is a member of RWA where she serves as PRO liaison for her local chapter and is also a member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers where she is newsletter co-chair. Cathy, also, won the 2011 Golden Claddagh in the Celtic category. She has a writing style that leaves you on the edge of your seat in anticipation for what will happen next. Thank you for sharing with readers today. It is a joy to have you on my blog!

CaSondra, thank you so much for having me here today! I have been a fan of yours since we met in Scotland last year and I am so excited to share my book with you.

How does it feel to have your debut novel hit the market?

Oh, it was surreal for a bit, then wow! But I love seeing it up on Amazon and reading the reader’s reviews. It’s a lot of fun, really.

Mary is an independent, young lass. Tell us more about the heroine in The Highlander’s Accidental Bride.

Mary is the 16 yr. old companion to Laird Barde’s daughter. The daughter of the castle chatelaine, she had no expectations or desire to marry above her station, and has always thought, once Lady Miriam married, that her life would be spent quietly loving the man she chose. That is, until the morning she woke in the laird’s bed.

That would be quite a shock for any woman! What about Eaden, Laird of Scott Castle, will cause readers to find him a swoon-worthy hero?

I have to admit Eaden isn’t very a sympathetic hero in the beginning. He is under a lot of pressure from the king to marry his arch enemy’s daughter, but after he discovers he has married the wrong woman, he does his best to convince Mary that life with him could be good despite their rocky start. He is very sincere with her and offers her a chance at happiness. There are a few ups and downs, but he does his best to woo his unwilling wife. *sigh*

He definitely grows on you (in a good way 🙂 ) as the story progresses. Tell us more about The Highlander’s Accidental Bride.

The Highlander’s Accidental Bride, set in 14th century Scotland, is a sensual romance with period dialogue and mild language. Sexual tension between the hero and heroine spice up the journey of two people from very different stations in life as they struggle to build a life together. Meanwhile, a jealous ex-mistress and a secret from Mary’s past threaten to keep them apart forever.

What inspired you to write Scottish Historical Romance?

That’s a good question. I want a happy ever after in my books, so, of course, the romance genre. Scottish historical? Well, somewhere between a love for strong heroes and feisty heroines came the kilts and hunky Highlanders. I mean, who can resist? 🙂

Who can resist a happy-ever-after? Not me. So what are you currently working on?

I am currently writing the third book in the Highland Bride Series.

Ranald, Eaden’s younger brother, is a captivating character. Would your readers be amiss to hope to see him as the main character in a future book?

Ranald is the hero in the next book J The working title is The Highlander’s Reluctant Bride.

Sent by the king to secure a strategic castle on the Firth of Clyde, the lairdship of the Macrory clan is promised to Ranald Scott if the current laird dies before his son returns from war in France. But to bind him to the clan, he must wed the laird’s rebellious daughter who has her own plans and a secret that could destroy them.

That is great to hear! He quickly became a favorite. There is an abundant amount of research for historical romances, not to mention learning the language of the period. How do you keep all that information at your fingertips?

I have several websites on my browser that I use on a regular basis and a ton of others in the wings, so to speak. I also have awesome critique partners who are very quick to catch any anachronisms that might slip in or who I can call on if I can’t find something. I don’t like to jump back and forth while I’m writing, so I do most of my research before I start and pick up the odds and ends along the way.

Do you have a favorite writer(s) that influences your writing style?

There are several authors I love to read that certainly influence the way I write. I love the imagery of MM Kaye, and the action found in the writing of several current authors in the Scottish Historical Romance genre. I’d hate to start listing them all! My style is to jump in, become a part of the story, and take off running!

So readers can get to know you a wee bit more, what is your favorite Scottish meal?

Wow! Surely you aren’t referring to how long it took me to try haggis when I was in Scotland, LOL! I think just about anything I ate there was great, and the breads and scones were absolutely fabulous. Of course, that brings back memories of clotted cream and strawberry jam….Yum!

Where can readers connect with you online?

Readers can visit me at Soul Mate Publishing, on my blog, Celtic Queens Blog, and on Facebook.

The Highlander's Accidental Bride-Cathy Macrae.

Thanks again, CaSondra! It has been fun chatting with you!

Thanks, Cathy! Congratulations on The Highlander’s Accidental Bride and for climbing to the top of the Amazon Hot New Releases in Historical Romance. If I hadn’t told you yet, that is a beautiful cover! Now, I must go in search of clotted cream. 🙂 Yum!

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Interview with Author and Lecturer- Nancy Dane

Nancy Dane is an author and lecturer, residing in Arkansas with many accolades to her name and books. She spent ten years compiling a history book on the Civil War in Arkansas entitled, Tattered Glory, which her series is based upon.  The Arkansas Library Association named her Tattered Glory series the 2011 winner of the Arkansiana Fiction Award. Titles in the series include: Where the Road Begins, A Difference of Opinion, A Long Way to Go, and An Enduring Union. The series, although historical fiction is considered so accurate in the language and details of everyday life during the Civil War, it is used in the curriculum of many schools and colleges. She has a condensed version of Where the Road Begins appearing in newspapers around the country in the Education Selection. Nancy’s second book in the Tattered Glory series, A Difference of Opinion was nominated by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg for the Michael Shaara Award, as the best Civil War Fiction of 2009. Currently, she has written a new serial for the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation about a Civil War orphan named Sarah Campbell and is based on a real person.  You will be able to find it in newspapers as a chapter serial this spring.

Following is an interview with Nancy Dane about her books, lecturing, and personal interests, including an excerpt from Where the Road Begins. I’m certain you will find her and her work interesting. I sure do!

Nancy, your books have piqued my interest in the Civil War. What inspired you to write historical fiction on the Civil War in Arkansas?

First of all let me say thank you, CaSondra, for asking me to be a guest on your blog.  It is an honor.  And I’m delighted the books piqued your interest. 

I’ve always been intrigued by the Civil War and I love to read.  Historical fiction is my favorite genre and Gone with the Wind one of my all-time favorites.  When I first began writing, the war seemed the perfect starting point for a series of my own.  It occurred to me that although I knew some about the war in general, I knew next to nothing about the war in Arkansas where I live.  Since I’m a perfectionist I wanted the true story, not just what someone said happened so began my ten years of searching for source documents.  The search ended with a documentary history book titled Tattered Glory.  That is where the fiction series gets its name.

Tell us about each of your books in the Tattered Glory series.

Book one, Where the Road Begins, is the first two years of the war, written from the Confederate perspective.  The protagonist is a young man from the hills, Elijah Loring, who is conscripted into the Confederate army.  The story embraces his family, the mountain community, and his sweetheart Cindy.  (Yes, there is romance in each novel, but not enough to discourage male readers.  Judging from emails, I have more male fans than female! )  Although the battles of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove, the major battles in Arkansas, are accurately portrayed as well as minor military engagements, my main focus in the novel is to portray the plight of civilians… one of the most important and yet unknown aspects of the war in Arkansas.

(Excerpt for Where the Road Begins. Thanks for sharing, Nancy!)

In the dark cold loft, Elijah turned back the covers and peeled off his outer shirt.  Tonight the woolen long-johns and the heavy quilt would feel good.  In the darkness, he breathed in the loft’s spicy odors.  Bunches of dried herbs and braided strings of dried onions, garlic and peppers hung from the rafters alongside long threads of leather britches–green beans strung raw and hung to dry.

Before climbing into bed, something caught his eyes.  He walked closer to the small window and stared a long while into the night.  Suddenly he jerked on pants and boots, ran across the floor, and bounded down the ladder.  He missed the last rung and fell.  The thud echoed loud in the silence.

“Ma!” he hissed.  “Hand me the gun, quick!  There’s someone messing around the smokehouse.”

Becky sat straight up in bed.  “Elijah!  Don’t go out there.”  In spite of her protest, she reached for the shotgun kept by her bed at night and handed it to him.

“I can’t let them steal our meat.”

Becky whispered to his departing back.  “Meat is not worth getting killed for–or for killing someone either.”

He paused.  “Food’s what keeps us alive, Ma.”

Although they had not yet butchered, there was a ham and two smoked shoulders left hanging from the year before.  Elijah was determined to keep them.

A shoat grunted, moving about in the pen.  Something had disturbed it.  Over ground crisp with frost, Elijah crept closer.  He could see nothing.  His mouth was dry.  He could hear nothing except his heart pounding in his ears.  There was no moon–probably the reason the thief had chosen this night.

Elijah was thankful to know his way in the dark.  With silent tread, he stepped around the big iron hog scalding pot.  Just then someone stumbled.  Elijah froze.  The culprit was close.  The muttered oath had come from just beyond the rain barrel.

Elijah squatted behind the barrel and waited.  The dark blotch grew closer.  Now he could make out the shape of a man.  The fellow was tall and bulky.  The foul smell of stale sweat preceded him.  When the thief was almost even with the barrel, Elijah stood.  He held the shotgun cocked and ready.

“Drop it.”

The man froze.  A knife clattered to the ground.

“Doc, you weren’t aiming to cut down our hams with that knife were you?” asked Elijah.  He did not lower the shotgun.  Anger swept him.  The old thief!  He ought to blow Doc’s legs off!  He and Pa and Ma had worked their fingers to the bone and Doc intended to stroll in and take it all without sacrificing even a drop of sweat.

Doc turned slowly.  He gave a nervous laugh.  “Now Lige,” he wheedled, “when a man’s young’uns is hungry, he gets desperate.”

Elijah snorted.  “How come you don’t raise your own hogs?  And how come you don’t grow a garden on that place of yours?  Guess it’s just easier to steal, huh?”

Doc talked fast.  “If you let me go, I won’t never bother ya again.  I promise!”  Then he pleaded, “Please, Lige!  Things has been bad lately.  Ever’ living thing I turn my hand to goes wrong.”

Elijah’s jaw hardened but Doc rushed on, “But I promise I’ll get me some hogs and grow some feed corn.  And next year, I’ll grow me a big garden and then things will be better for us.”

Elijah caressed the shotgun hammer with his thumb.  What would Pa do in a case like this?  He was not sure.  “If you ever set foot on this place again, I’ll shoot without even giving you a by-your-leave.”

“That’s fine, Lige,” Doc said, almost dancing with relief, “that’s fine.”   He started off at a trot, his fat belly bouncing, but suddenly he stopped and called back in a loud whisper, “Please don’t name this to no one…Salvicy and the young’uns would be so shamed.”

His boots quickly pounded away in the darkness.  Elijah sank down, his back against the rain barrel.  With his boot he pushed at the long knife lying on the ground.  Had he done the right thing, letting Doc go?  Doubt grew.  He stood and looked after Doc.  It was too late now.  He stealthily made his way back to the cabin, going a different route than he had come.  Pa had taught him it never hurt to be extra cautious.

Book two, A Difference of Opinion, is from the Union perspective.  The protagonist is a young woman, Nelda Horton, a town dweller, who assists her father (an avid Unionist) run the local newspaper.  Nelda is soon spying for the Union, and Allen Matthers is her unlikely love interest.  Surprises and intrigue are sprinkled throughout their story.

Book three, A Long Way to Go, is the sequel to book one and the conclusion of the story of Elijah and Cindy.

Book four, An Enduring Union is the sequel to book two, the Nelda and Allen story.

Lecturing can be overwhelming for writers. When you began lecturing on the Civil War in Arkansas, did it come naturally?

My gracious, no!  That is a story in itself!  Maybe more than you want to know.  I was terrified at the thought.  Although I was an A student in high school and college, I was willing to take an F rather than stand in front of the class.  And yet, in order to be a successful author, I knew public speaking would be a necessary evil.  Personally, I am a praying woman, so I cried out to the Lord and asked him to take my fear and give me his power.  Because I felt led to write in the first place and because this career was his will for me, he did a miracle.  My first speaking engagement was at my university in front of many prominent businessmen, professors, and even the president of the university and his wife!  I was as calm as could be and even enjoyed it.  I’ve now been speaking for six years, often to crowds of hundreds, and I love it.  Only the good Lord and I know what a miracle that truly is!

Lest anyone think my books are traditional “Christian Fiction” perhaps I need to clarify that they are not.  They are secular books, no sex scenes but some language and graphic violence, very realistic to the time, and that is why they are being used as curriculum in many public high schools and colleges.

Which book in the series was your favorite to write?

Hmm…That’s sort of like asking a mother which is her favorite child.  I’ve loved writing every one… that is after they were written! LOL.

LOL. That is certainly true! Was one book more challenging to research than the others?

As I said before, I spent ten years researching before I began the series so I did the basic research all at the same time.  Of course I did individual research on certain aspects included in each novel.  I don’t recall any one being particularly harder than the other.

Doing the basic research on all the books at the same time really pays off. What about the characters, if you had to pick one favorite character from your books, who would it be?

Oh dear, that is a tough one.  If I must choose, it would have to be Granny.  She is a big favorite with my readers too.  I had a fan from California write asking if Granny was going to die in the last book, and if so she couldn’t bear to read it.  I had to laugh.  By the way, Granny didn’t die in the last book.

Another favorite with my readers is Allen Matthers (books two and four).  This delights me, because I meant him to be only a minor character, but he had a mind of his own and became a very major player.

Just last week I received one of my all-time favorite fan emails.  It was from a girl who said she is fourteen and lives in Tennessee.  She said she loves all the books and her favorite characters are…  She went on to name almost every single character in every book!  At the risk of sounding immodest, I agree with her.  I love ’em all!

I must confess, Granny is my favorite too. In Where the Road Begins, you truly captured the dialect and by-gone phrases once used, such as ‘weaned on vinegar’ spoken by Elijah’s tobacco spitting Granny when talking about Viola. Your use of language truly pulls readers back into another era. How did you go about learning the usage and dialect of the period?

I was fortunate to have lived in the Arkansas hills and had interaction with elderly people who still spoke this way.  The dialect and phrases seem authentic because they are.

You were blessed to have such a valuable living history so near. Thanks for passing that on in your writing so readers could benefit as well. So we can get to know you more, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to read.  I love to fish.  I love to spend time with my husband and our large family, four children, their mates, and our twelve grandchildren.  We spend a lot of time together at our cabin in the mountains, very near where my characters live.

It sounds as though you are a very busy woman, but writers must write. 🙂 What are you working on now? Is it a historical centered around the Civil war in Arkansas or another time period?

My new historical series moves forward about ten years to feature the time of the timber boom in Arkansas as well as the coming of the railroad.  I am writing the first novel now along with doing lots of research on the era and enjoying it very much.

One last probing question, because inquiring minds want to know. Where can readers connect with you online?

My web is www.nancydane.com and my fan-page on Facebook is www.facebook.com/nancydanebooks. Be sure to click the like button to be entered into drawings for free autographed book!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Nancy. It has been educational and FUN! I look forward to your new series, as I’m sure many other do too.

Below are Nancy’s books from the Tattered Glory series. Just click on the cover to purchase from Amazon. Nancy’s books are available wherever books are sold. And don’t forget to like her Facebook page for a chance to win a FREE autographed book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Guest Blogger: Naomi Musch- Romance, Friendship, Vengeance…

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Naomi writes from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin where she and husband Jeff live as epically as God allows on a ramshackle farm near their five young adults and three grand-children. Amidst it, she writes about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles, whether the story venue is rich in American history, or along more contemporary lines.

She invites readers to say hello and find out more about her stories, passions, and other writing venues, or to enjoy other excerpts at http://www.naomimusch.com. Friends and fans can also look her up on Facebook (Naomi Musch – Author) and Twitter (NMusch).

Romance, Friendship, Vengeance…  The Rose and Its Many Colorful Meanings

By Naomi Musch

People have been attributing significance to the colors of flowers — roses in particular — for centuries. But it really became the rage to give a particular colored flower as a means of implying a message during the Edwardian era — roughly 1890-1914. The message in flowers might be meant to captivate, titillate, or agitate. Collecting rose bushes for their color variations was an equally compelling and even romantic hobby of the period. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Of course, not every color boded well…

In my latest historical novel The Black Rose, I enjoyed playing off this theme. In one scene of the book, Corianne Beaumont, who’s found out her beau has been unfaithful with her twin sister, is explaining the colors of the roses in her mother’s garden to another young gentleman visiting her family. They’d been sharing a bench seat and learning more about each other. Here’s an excerpt:

Cori’s heart fluttered and she came to her feet. “Would you like to know about the roses?”

“You’re a horticulturist?”

“No. I don’t mean about how they grow. I’ll explain the meanings of their colors.”

“Oh, yes. I do understand that sending posies with deep and sometimes nefarious meanings is all the rage these days.”

“Yes, something like that.” His dimples returned, and she blushed. She held up the rose in her hands.

It had been yellow, but its edges had faded to a brittle, washed out hue. “A yellow rose is a symbol of joy and friendship.” With a little hesitation, she held it out to him. “It might be a rose I’d give to you.”

He stood and accepted the rose, grasping the stem just above her fingers so their hands touched. A tingle passed through Cori. She took a quick breath and looked away.

“There’s a pink one,” she said quickly as she pointed. “It can stand for grace and elegance, or be a simple symbol of appreciation or even admiration.”

She flicked him a glance and moved on down the path. He ambled along behind her, his nearness doing something to her she hadn’t expected.

“What about that one? It looks nearly orange, or is it just a deeper yellow?”

She looked where he pointed, though she knew the bush he had found. “No, you’re right. It’s one of my mother’s favorites. Papa brought it home for her on their anniversary a couple of years ago.” She dared not look at him. “It means passion and excitement. It’s a symbol of fervent romance.”

“Ah.” His deep chuckle reached into her again. “I can see why it made the perfect anniversary gift.”

She cleared her throat. “Yes.”

“I thought the red rose stood for romance.”

“Oh, it does. It’s the most common, popular rose, of course. It’s best given to say ‘I love you.”

“It looks like your mother planted lots of red ones.”

“Yes. There are different types, sizes, and so on.”

“That one must have been a very delicious red.”

“Yes.” She faltered at his description of the deep, dark flower, still open, but beginning to lose its petals.

“You might think of it differently, however, if I told you it’s called a black rose because its shade of red is so dark.”

He frowned. “Oh… it symbolizes death, then, I take it? Somberness and gloom?”

She couldn’t help giggling. “Yes, and revenge.”

“So beautiful, yet so sinister.”

“Yes. Not unlike some people.” She thought of Jesilyn. So beautiful, yet so wicked. She turned to face him. “There are others.” She forced a laugh and spoke in a prim voice. “But that’s your lesson for today, class. I’ll give you a test next week.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She swung away to walk up the path, but stumbled on the edge of a paving stone. Jamie’s hand shot out, and he grasped her arm. She pulled in a startled breath.

“You’d better take my arm. Apparently rose gardens can be dangerous places for ladies to walk alone.”

“Perhaps.” She looped her arm in his and smiled at him as thoughts of Clay slipped far, far away.

I think it would be fun to send secret messages in flowers to someone, but nowadays I doubt many meanings would be caught. Still, I love these little gems in history. Have you explored any of the other meanings found in the colors of the rose, like white for Innocence, Secrecy, or Reverence? How about peach for Modesty, or blue for Impossible? There are many more. Plus, combinations of colors have significant meanings too, such as red and white together for Unity. How patriotic!

What color rose would you like most to give or receive? Are you intrigued by any romantic or daring historical traditions you wish continued today?

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing an inviting scene from the third book in your Empire In Pine Series, The Black Rose. It would so be nice (if not conspiratorial) to exchange roses and their meanings again. There’s definitely a higher level of intrigue and romance associated with doing so. And what a beautiful cover! Congratulations on your latest release.

Naomi Musch’s books are listed below.

Historical, Inspirational Women’s Fiction from Desert Breeze Publishing:
EMPIRE IN PINE:

Book 1 – THE GREEN VEIL
Book 2 – THE RED FURY
Book 3 – THE BLACK ROSE
Contemporary Inspirational Women’s Fiction:

HEART NOT TAKEN
A novella from Black Lyon Publishing
PAINT ME ALTHENA –  Coming August 2013 from Desert Breeze Publishing

and are available for purchase at the following links:

Desert Breeze Publishing

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

CBD

Sony

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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