Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kindred is…as Kindred is...With Anne Love

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables 
Today I'm thrilled to invite my writing friend and kindred spirit, Anne Love, to the blog! Anne is one of those people I instantly loved. We immediately knew we had much in common, and when we started to talk it was as if we had known each other for years.
I'm also excited to announce I have joined Anne, Jaime Wright, and Erica Vetsch on the Coffee Cups & Camisoles Blog as a weekly contributor (you can see my introduction post here). The blog is focused on history, romance, and community--three things I adore. I hope you'll join me there on Thursdays, and be sure to stop by on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays to get to know my blogging buddies, too. :)
Without further ado, here's Anne.
Anne and me at the 2013 ACFW
Genre Dinner Night

The fun of growing older isn’t sagging shapes, getting wrinkles , or being told you need glasses, and then bifocals eventually.


Each decade brings more and more opportunity to discover that life is full of kindred spirits. You just have to find them. You have to look for them. And the fun thing about finding kindred spirits is not only the bond of friendship, but learning about yourself in the process.

Kindred spirits aren’t just dopplegangers who show you a reflection of yourself. They aren’t just a mini-me. But they do “get you” in a special way that no one else quite can, and it’s mutual.

The word kindred can mean:  allied, similar, suitable, fitted, family, folks, tribe, clan, or “of the same blood.”

When you meet a kindred, though you may never have met before, you just “know” each other easily.

So it is with writers. Especially historical writers.

I first met Gabe at ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in Indianapolis, 2013. A whole group of writers who had connected in cyberspace met in the lobby as a group for the first time and went out for dinner. I was sitting across from Gabe and we struck up a fun conversation about history. I was hooked. I knew of all the wonderful new friends, Gabe was the one I’d love to have more time to chat with later.

Turns out we exchanged some writing and helped each other with some critiques in the following months. Since then, we’ve met again in 2014 in St. Louis, and shared phone calls and private messages.

Meeting literally hundreds of other Christian writers over the last seven years has truly been better than pen pals on steroids for me. Gabe and I are both in love with history and storytelling. We love it that we’ll never bore each other talking about historical events, museums, or fiction. So, this week at the blog I share with historical romance writers, Jaime Wright and Erica Vetsch, we are beyond thrilled to add Gabe as a weekly contributor at

Because Jaime, Erica, Gabe, and I are a tribe. We are a clan. We are of “the same blood.” We love history, all things vintage, Jesus, romance, and coffee. If you love those things too, we welcome you to stop by the blog and find your fit with us as we lift a cup of dark brewed coffee at our cyber cafĂ©!

Me and Anne at the 2014 ACFW
Gala Awards Dinner

...Writer of Love Notes...
 Anne Love writes full length Christian Historical Romance novels from rural settings of the 19th century. She works full-time in Northern Indiana as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and balances out her life as a wife and mother with writing, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and of course strong black coffee. She is a member of ACFW, has participated in Scribes critique groups and has attended ACFW conferences where she met her fellow bloggers and dearest critique partners ever. Her roots and faith are Mennonite, but neither she nor her heroines wear bonnets. In her spare time she enjoys reading, gardening, music, science, worship, and historical research. She is represented by Sarah Freese of WordServe Literary.
You can email her at loveae1967 at live dot com
Find her on Pinterest
Friend her on Facebook
Connect at Goodreads
Read old blogs at Love Notes
Follow her on Twitter
YOUR TURN: Who are your kindred spirits? Have you ever met someone you've connected with immediately? Do you believe in friendship at first sight? :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Winner!

Last week I had the privilege of hosting one of my favorite historical authors, Laura Frantz. If you haven't read the interview, go here.

Laura graciously agreed to give away a copy of one of her books to a lucky winner! And the winner is: Carla Gade!

Carla, I will be contacting you shortly. Be thinking about which book you'd like...

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. Be sure to check back here next Wednesday for another guest author and some fun news!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Interview with Laura Frantz & a Book Giveaway!

I've been looking forward to this day for weeks!! It's the day Laura Frantz visits my blog. :) I met Laura on the pages of her novel, The Colonel's Lady, and became an instant fan. She was one of the first authors I reached out to on my writing journey, and she's become a wonderful friend. Though we've not met in person, she has been a joy and encouragement to me along the way. The best part? Her books are amazing, and they keep getting better!!
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Welcome to my blog, Laura! I’m thrilled, as always, to have you here. Today I’m excited to talk about your latest release, Love’s Fortune, and find out what we can look forward to next.

Gabrielle, I’ve always felt a special connection with you, ever since you found me on Facebook and we discussed our mutual fascination with Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and all that rich history near your home and heart! That was, of course, only the tip of the iceberg! Now here you are, another novelist!

I remember that first conversation! It was the start of a beautiful friendship. You've been so kind to come alongside me and offer your support. 

First, let’s chat a little about, Love’s Fortune, which is the third and final installment of the Ballantyne Legacy Series. I shared my review last September when the book released, and when I looked back at it just now, all the wonderful feelings and emotions from the story returned to me. It’s a lovely tale that still tugs on my heart. How do you feel leaving the Ballantyne family behind to write new stories?

I’m thrilled Wren’s story reached you on an emotional level, always my heart’s desire. Leaving the Ballantynes was bittersweet as I had become quite attached to Eden and Silas and their descendants over the course of 3-4 years researching and writing about them. Ending their story in Scotland, the land of my hero’s birth, brought the series full circle and made it easier to type THE END. Publishing doesn’t give you a lot of time to catch your breath so it’s off to another storyworld…!

Your next novel, The Mistress of Tall Acre, will release in September 2015. The back cover copy sounds so intriguing! 

The American Revolution is finally over and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her closest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe and sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the point of breaking. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre? 

Oh, my! I can’t wait to read this story! Can you share with us where the story idea came from?
I’ve always wanted to write a novel about a hero who’s both a widower and a father. There’s something especially poignant about that to me – far more angst! So Seamus, grieving widower and war hero and single father, was the launching point for this novel. Since I love Virginia history, I set the story there, and modeled Tall Acre after Gunston Hall (George Mason’s estate). But the lovely house you see on the cover is quite different than Mason’s (Revell couldn’t use Gunston Hall due to copyright issues). My heroine is also older this time round as you will also see from the cover. I like that maturity very much and appreciate Revell nailing her look. I was able to choose the gown she’s wearing – the fabric is exquisite though the button are a bit taboo for that time period :), at least for women.
The cover is gorgeous, and I love the age and wisdom in the heroine's face! Can you share a few images you used for inspiration?
I really hoped to have the hero and his little girl on the cover. In fact, a dress was sewn for the child model but the heroine won out. This cover is very different than my others, less portrait-ish and more realistic. When it goes live it will be interesting to hear comments, ayes and nays ;). I really wanted to have the house, Tall Acre, a very fine, old Georgian estate incorporated and that did come to be. Tall Acre is truly the linchpin of the novel, perhaps more than any other aspect except the general’s little daughter, whose name is such a delight to me I wish I had one!
I had so much fun naming my own daughters--and it's just as fun naming my book characters! :)
I just read on your Author Facebook Page that you’re working on an upcoming novel set on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. There is so much about this bit of information that excites me! Many of your American stories have had a wee bit ‘o Scottish in them, but I know you’ve been longing to set a story in Scotland. It reminds me of Proverbs 13:19 “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” I have a feeling this story has been sweet for your soul. Can you share how this story idea developed, and give us a glimpse of what we can expect?
Oh, love that particular Scripture, Gabrielle. Very true of this Scottish story! Since my family lineage is Scottish and they came to the colonies in the early 18th-century, I’ve always longed to put that on paper. This novel will have quite a bit of suspense within and takes place on two continents. It begins on the Isle of Mull, a place I’ve had the joy of experiencing several times – and very atmospheric, complete with a whisky cave I climbed down a cliff to see at low tide! This is also incorporated into the novel. I just hope to do all that rich history justice!
I can't wait to read both of your upcoming novels! Thank you for visiting today, Laura, and thank you for sharing a glimpse into your writing world. Your stories, and your sweet heart, make you one of my all-time favorite authors.
Always a joy to spend time with you and reading friends here and share some book buzz, Gabrielle! Thank you!

Dear Readers! Laura has graciously offered to give away a copy of one of her stories! The winner's choice. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below.

YOUR TURN: Have you read one of Laura's stories? If so, which is your favorite? And what do you think of that lovely cover?!?!

Award-winning author Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Her family resides in Kentucky and Virginia.
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We have a winner from last week's visit with Jennifer Major!! The winner is Paula Moldenhauer!! Congratulations. I'll contact you soon.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jennifer Major!

Today I have the privilege of welcoming the very funny and very talented Jennifer Major to my blog. I "met" Jennifer here on my blog in 2012. I immediately liked her and looked forward to her witty comments. I was even more impressed when I discovered she wrote historical fiction (which she shares more about below).

We met in person at the 2013 ACFW Conference in Indianapolis, which was a very memorable conference for Jennifer (and all her friends), when she accepted representation from literary agent, Mary Keeley, who happens to be my agent, as well. I also spent time with Jennifer this past October at our agency retreat in Monterey, California, and we had many laughs together.

At the Books & Such Literary Retreat in Monterey, California
What I love about Jennifer is that beneath all the humor, and all the laughter, she has a heart of pure gold--as you'll see below. I'm blessed by her friendship and I can't wait for you to meet her.

Take it away, Jennifer! 

My name is Jennifer Major, I’m Canadian, and I pretend to be a grown-up. Like, every day.

I’m also part of the “We have four kids and…what do you mean you’re hungry, you JUST ate a side of beef! And shut the fridge!” club.

Only, I’m not as calm as Gabrielle, heretofore known as The Gabinator because umm, four kids. Besides, everyone needs an inator, right? Points if you get the reference.


Okay, now that we’ve established that I should not consume caffeine, I have four kids (12, 17, 21, 24), don’t look a day over 52, I’m Canadian (NO, I do NOT know Anne Shirley…but I have been kicked out of Green Gables) and I think P&F is brilliant…let’s talk writing, and reading.

I love to read deep, soul stirring stories. And I love laugh out loud stories. Yes, sometimes those are in the same book, but not often.

One would not look at me and think “Well, there goes a woman who writes about the most horrible event in the entire history of the Navajo Nation.” Otherwise known as “The Long Walk of the Navajo,” and the subsequent imprisonment of 9500 Navajo and 500 Apaches at a place called Bosque Redondo, in New Mexico. (1863-68)

But, I do. And the only source to whom I can attribute my literary obsession is God. He infused me with a physical need to tell this story as best I can.  He is my fuel. Because it’s not like I write comfy fiction that has an HEA for everyone, therefore not getting a kick to the gut every time I do research. If you want to get good and crushed, read up on something called The Doctrine of Discovery, and Manifest Destiny.

The years at the Bosque (boss-kay) decimated the Navajo. Roughly, 2000 people died in 4 ½ years. They refer to that place as “Hweeldi,” most likely a variant on the Spanish word for “fort,” which is “fuerte.”

Now, Navajo history is told “before Hweeldi” and “after Hweeldi.” 

There are few Navajo who don’t know about Hweeldi, but the ones who do, all know the same thing. Their people were herded there so that they could learn to become good Christians, and adapt properly to live among white settlers.

So, WHY do I write about it? Because if I can tell the story, if I can bring attention to it, and if I can shine the love of God into the darkness, maybe I can go back to those days in the 1800’s and tell those dear people what I want them to know…

What was done in the name of God, was not done with His blessing.

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Jennifer Major is a West Coast Canadian learning to handle life under 6 feet of snow in Eastern Canada. She speaks lousy French, and pretends she can speak passable Spanish. She and her handsome husband (of 26 years) have 2 grown kids, 1 high schooler, and a middle schooler who really needs his own TV show. Or not. She writes historical fiction based on Navajo history.
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To celebrate Jennifer's visit, she's giving away Canadian Chocolate to one lucky winner! (I've had this chocolate, and I'm bummed I can't enter this contest!!). Be sure to check out the Rafflecopter below. Thanks, Jennifer!
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Your Turn, Reader: Doesn't Jennifer's last statement send chills up your spine? "What was done in the name of God, was not done with His blessing." This statement is true for so many events in history. I love what she's doing with her writing. Do you have any questions or comments for Jennifer? 
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We also have a winner of Meek and Mild, by Olivia Newport! Be sure to check out my interview with Olivia here. The winner is: Wendy Newcomb. Congratulations, Wendy! I'll be sure to email you soon.
a Rafflecopter giveaway