Thursday, 29 November 2012

Author Spotlight - 1863 in History

Here is a list of some of the things that happened during the time Matthew and Rebekah's took their trip to Oregon.

Remember the Civil War was still being fought and there were several battles during this times as well.
I didn’t list them all.

May 1st - Battle of Chancellorsville, VA (29,000 injured or died)

May 1st - Confederate congress passed resolution to kill black soldiers

May 2nd - Stonewall Jackson attacks Chancellorsville, wounded by his own men

May 5th - Joe Coburn KOs Mike McCoole for US boxing title in 63rd round
May 8th - Confederación Granadina becomes Estados Unidos de Colombia

May 16th - Battle of Champion's Hill, MS-bloodiest action of Vicksburg Campaign

May 19th - Siege of Vicksburg, investment of city complete
Jun 2nd - Harriet Tubman leads Union guerrillas into Maryland, freeing slaves
Jun 5th - CSS "Alabama" captures "Tailsman" in Mid Atlantic
Jun 7th - Mexico City captured by French troops
Jun 10th - Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Miss; Nathan Bedford Forrest w/3500 defeats 8000 Feds
Jun 13th - Samuel Butler publishes 1st part of "Erewhon," Christchurch, NZ

Jun 17th - Travelers Insurance Co of Hartford chartered (1st accident insurer)

Jun 20th - 1st bank chartered in US (National Bank of Davenport Iowa)
Jun 20th - West Virginia admitted as 35th US state

Jun 25th - US General George Meade replaces General Hooker to be more aggressive

Jun 29th - George A Custer (23) appointed Union Brig-general

Jun 29th - Lee orders his forces to concentrate near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Jun 29th - Very 1st First National Bank opens in Davenport, Iowa

Jun 30th - Dutch colony Suriname counts population of 33,000 slaves

Jul 1st - Battle of Gettysburg, Pa; Lee's northward advance halted

Jul 1st - Free city delivery of mail begins in 49 US cities; postage 3 cents per oz

Jul 1st - Slavery abolished in Suriname & Netherlands Antilles

Jul 3rd - Battle of Gettysburg Pa ends, major victory for North

Jul 4th - Boise, Idaho founded (now capital of Idaho)

Jul 4th - General Lee's army withdraws from Gettysburg

Jul 6th - Northern Territory passes from New South Wales to South Australia

Jul 7th - 1st military draft by US (exemptions cost $100)

Jul 7th - Orders barring Jews from serving under US Grant are revoked

Jul 11th - Japanese battle cruiser shoots at Dutch warship Medusa, kills 4

Jul 13th - Anti-draft mobs lynch blacks in NYC; about 1,000 die

Jul 14th - Jews of Holstein Germany granted equality

Jul 15th - Pres Davis orders service duty for confederate army

Jul 16th - Utrecht-Swells railway opens

Jul 17th - Battle of Honey Springs - largest battle in Indian Territory

Jul 30th - Pres Lincoln issues "eye-for-eye" order to shoot a rebel prisoner for every black prisoner shot

Jul 30th - Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signs the Treaty of Box Elder, promising to stop harassing the emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah
Aug 3rd - Governor Seymour asks Lincoln to suspend draft in NY

Aug 3rd - Saratoga Racetrack (NY) opens

Aug 8th - American Civil War: Tennessee's "military" Governor Andrew Johnson frees his personal slaves. During the early 20th century, the day was celebrated by blacks in Tennessee as a holiday.

Aug 11th - Cambodia becomes French protectorate

Aug 12th - 1st cargo of lumber leaves Burrard Inlet (Vancouver, BC area)

Aug 15th - Submarine "HL Hunley" arrives in Charleston on railroad cars

Aug 15th - The Anglo-Satsuma War begins between the Satsuma Domain of Japan and the United Kingdom (Traditional Japanese date: July 2, 1863).

Aug 16th - Emancipation Proclamation signed
Sep 1st - RR & ferry connection between SF & Oakland inaugurated
Sep 5th - Bread revolt in Mobile Alabama
Sep 10th - George Bizets opera "Les Pêcheurs de Perles," premieres in Paris
Oct 3rd - Lincoln designates last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day

Oct 5th - Confederate sub David damages Union ship Ironsides.
Oct 6th - Dr Charles H Sheppard opens 1st public bath, in Brooklyn

Oct 15th - Cliff House opens in SF (1st of many on site)

Oct 16th - Grant is given command of Union forces in West
 VA

Oct 26th - Soccer rules standardized; rugby starts as a separate game

Oct 26th - Worldwide Red Cross organized in Geneva

Oct 26th - Football Association forms in England, standardizing soccer

Oct 27th - Dutch railway to Harlingen opens
Oct 29th - Intl Comm of Red Cross forms (Nobel 1917, 1944, 1963)

Oct 31st - The Maori Wars resumed as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the
Nov 17th - Lincoln begins 1st draft of his Gettysburg Address

Nov 19th - Lincoln delivers his address in Gettysburg; "4 score & 7 years..."

Nov 23rd - Patent granted for a process of making color photographs

Dec 4th - Storm flood ravages Nethe coastal provinces

Dec 8th - 2,500 reported killed as result of fire at Jesuit Church of La Compana Santiago Chile

Dec 8th - Abraham Lincoln's Amnesty Proclamation and plan for Reconstruction of South


Dec 15th - Romania is using for the first time a mountain railway (from Anina to Oravita)


******

Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and six grandchildren with another on the way.
Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. Her WWII story Trail of the Sandpiper won third place in the Genesis in 2003. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy and When Shadows Fall Book 1 in the Shadows Series are available through Desert Breeze Publishers.

To Catch a Shadow the next installment of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available, June 2013. To Carry her Cross will be available January 2013 and Then There was Grace a Sept 9/11 type story will be available Sept. 2013 and Christmas in Shades of Gray an offbeat Dickens type tale releases December 2013.

Blurb:
Matthew has braved the war and near death with one thought in mind… Rebekah. He won her hand in marriage, and now he has a few short months to make her see how much he loves her. How much he needs her. Given the wall she's put up between them, he prays he'll have enough time.

After fleeing the war, Rebekah is determined to go west to Oregon, only to be turned down when she tries to join the train. Matthew's proposal of marriage, in name only to help her west, becomes the miracle she needs. Loving him as she does, she dreads the idea of letting him go once they reach Oregon, but how can she ask him to stay with her, to love her? How could he love her once he's found out her secret? She must guard her heart and his.

My website -- http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook-- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103

Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
Shadowed Dreams

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall



Tina E. Pinson--
Touched By Mercy, In the Manor of the Ghost, When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams Twitter @Tina_Pinson My Website, My Blog
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD... " Jer. 29:11

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Food on the Oregon Trail

Now that we've dined on Thanksgiving dinner and started the hunt for Christmas gifts by hitting all the after Thanksgiving sales, I thought we might take a look at where those on the Oregon Trail might do their shopping.

Of course many of them hoped to over the mountains and into Oregon before the snows came, so they wouldn't be out looking for Christmas gifts, but they did have to stop at some of the towns and Forts along the way to replenish supplies.

As you know, those traveling on the trail loaded their wagons with many of their supplies for the trip. Early guidebooks advocated teach emigrant carry 200 pounds of flour, 150 pounds of bacon, 10 pounds of coffee, 20 pounds of sugar, and 10 pounds of salt. Basic kitchenware was a cooking kettle, fry pan, coffee pot, tin plates, cups, knives, and forks.

A daily menu might consist of the following: for breakfast, coffee, bacon, dry or pilot bread; for dinner, coffee, cold beans, bacon or buffalo meat; for supper, tea, boiled rice, and dried beef or codfish'. Because of the inability to carry fresh fruits and vegetables, scurvy became a big problem on the trail.

Dairy was usually gathered from the family cow or goat that traveled with the wagon.

Early on those who traveled the trail didn't have as many places to stop. They relied on the good graces of the Indians, and mountain men who passed. They caught fresh meat to add to their stores of grains and dried vegetables.

By the time Matthew and Rebekah joined the wagon train in 1863, they still had to make sure they loaded their wagons with many of the staples they might need and they might trade with Indians, trappers and mountain men along the way. But a few towns and Forts had sprung up along the trail where they could stop and replenish their stores if necessary.

Sometimes, due to high pricing, it was better not to stop at some of the stores and continue on to the next town or Fort. At the forts, like Kearney and Laramie, they not only found a place to rest with some protection, they were able to trade with several traders and tribes that came to the fort to sell their wares as well.

If the travelers had the chance to restock, they certainly tried because it could be weeks for before they reached another place with the necessities they might need.

It was most important how they stored their food and how they used it. They lived by the adage 'waste not, want not'.

We on the other hand, load up our refrigerators and freezers, we stock our pantries with dried good and canned goods, and when we run out of something, we get in our car, and drive a couple mile in any direction and run into a grocery store.

Thinking of your all the foodstuffs in your house. If you had to take a trip across country without a cooler, without the stores to stop at, and could only take 2500 pounds on your wagon, what would carry?
******

Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and six grandchildren with another on the way.
Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. Her WWII story Trail of the Sandpiper won third place in the Genesis in 2003. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy and When Shadows Fall Book 1 in the Shadows Series are available through Desert Breeze Publishers.

To Catch a Shadow the next installment of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available, June 2013. To Carry her Cross will be available January 2013 and Then There was Grace a Sept 9/11 type story will be available Sept. 2013 and Christmas in Shades of Gray an offbeat Dickens type tale releases December 2013.

Blurb:
Matthew has braved the war and near death with one thought in mind… Rebekah. He won her hand in marriage, and now he has a few short months to make her see how much he loves her. How much he needs her. Given the wall she's put up between them, he prays he'll have enough time.

After fleeing the war, Rebekah is determined to go west to Oregon, only to be turned down when she tries to join the train. Matthew's proposal of marriage, in name only to help her west, becomes the miracle she needs. Loving him as she does, she dreads the idea of letting him go once they reach Oregon, but how can she ask him to stay with her, to love her? How could he love her once he's found out her secret? She must guard her heart and his.

My website -- http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook-- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103

Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
Shadowed Dreams

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall



Tina E. Pinson--
Touched By Mercy, In the Manor of the Ghost, When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams Twitter @Tina_Pinson My Website, My Blog
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD... " Jer. 29:11

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Character Interview with "Caroline" from Shadowed Dreams

"Today I thought we'd talk to Miss Caroline St. James."

"Hello, is anyone out there? You who?" Shuffling of feet. The turning of a page "Oh I see you now. I had to come out of my book before I could though." Muttering, "If only someone would take me out--"

"What was that?"

"Oh nothing. So are we starting this interview? How many people will see me?"

"Yes we're starting and no, no one will really see you. You're a figment of--"

"You mean I got all dressed up for nothing?"

"Well, no… ah." Clearing of the throat. "Miss St, James--"

"Please call me Caroline."

"Alright, Caroline. How has your trip been going so far? Well, I hope."

"Well? Hmm. I wonder some days what possessed me to say yes to this venture."

"That bad?"

"It's certainly no Sunday picnic. There are bugs and dust, and snakes, and Indians, and bugs. The mosquitoes are ferocious. And there are these little prairie dogs that bark. Although, when they wave they're kind of cute. But did I mention bugs?"

"Yes, I believe you did."

"Mercy, they're everywhere; in my bed, in my food, in my hair, in my clothes, even in my knickers. And there is no place for privacy on this trail. Which makes traveling horrendous. Especially when you're pregnant."

"That must be awful. I couldn't even imagine, having to travel across country in a rickety wagon without air conditioning, let alone have to do with out a bathroom.

"Yes, well, that gives you a bit an idea of what I'm having to deal with. But the worst thing… thing…"

"What is it, it must be awful?"

"It's horrible, dreadfully horrible. Matthew, hired a man, Clay Colter, to help run one of the teams, and, well, I think I like him."

"Even though he dumped you in the mud?"
"Yes, even then. He's actually kind of nice and easy on the eyes. But I can't tell him."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm still married to Anthony?"

Hope you enjoyed this little look at Caroline and her journey. The cast and crew of Shadowed Dreams are the same as for When Shadows Fall. The first in the Shadow Series. You are welcome to take a look at them @
Characters for Shadowed Dreams.

******

Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and six grandchildren with another on the way.
Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. Her WWII story Trail of the Sandpiper won third place in the Genesis in 2003. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy and When Shadows Fall Book 1 in the Shadows Series are available through Desert Breeze Publishers.

To Catch a Shadow the next installment of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available, June 2013. To Carry her Cross will be available January 2013 and Then There was Grace a Sept 9/11 type story will be available Sept. 2013 and Christmas in Shades of Gray an offbeat Dickens type tale releases December 2013.

Blurb:
Matthew has braved the war and near death with one thought in mind… Rebekah. He won her hand in marriage, and now he has a few short months to make her see how much he loves her. How much he needs her. Given the wall she's put up between them, he prays he'll have enough time.

After fleeing the war, Rebekah is determined to go west to Oregon, only to be turned down when she tries to join the train. Matthew's proposal of marriage, in name only to help her west, becomes the miracle she needs. Loving him as she does, she dreads the idea of letting him go once they reach Oregon, but how can she ask him to stay with her, to love her? How could he love her once he's found out her secret? She must guard her heart and his.

My website -- http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook-- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103

Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
Shadowed Dreams

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall



Tina E. Pinson--
Touched By Mercy, In the Manor of the Ghost, When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams Twitter @Tina_Pinson My Website, My Blog
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD... " Jer. 29:11

Monday, 26 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Tina Pinson

STEPH: I don't know much about "Shadowed Dreams." What's it about?

TINA: Shadowed Dreams is the second in my Shadow Series. It is the continuing story of Matthew and Rebekah Cavanaugh. Book 1 When Shadows Fall, followed them through the battle and loss of the war, and on to Missouri where Rebekah planned to take the train west to Oregon. In book 2, Matthew has convinced Rebekah to marry him, under a contract of convenience, so he can help her west, with the understanding that they can call it quits once they reach Oregon. But Matthew doesn’t want to let Rebekah go ever, he hopes she'll become his wife in more than name. He hopes to win her heart. And he has six months on the trail to do so.

The Shadow Series is written much like Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Dreamhouse Kings, and Divergent, now that its dystopian or fantasy but the story continues to follow the main Characters and an ensemble cast through out.

STEPH:How long did it take you to write?

TINA: It took me a little over six months to write the whole 900 page story that Shadowed Dreams is part of. Because the story was so long, I couldn't get it accepted, so I split it into smaller sections.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

TINA: Shadowed Dreams and the whole series, took a bit of research for the Civil War and the Oregon Trail, more for the trail because the story spends a lot more of it's time there. Had to look up routes and forts and Indians. Did a bit of research on the wagons and what they carried. One wonders if you ever do enough though.

STEPH: How does the cover represent the story within?


TINA: The cover and title are integral to this part of the story and the dreams of the past that are haunting Rebekah. Those dreams keep her opening herself up to Matthew and love. Because, like I said earlier, she feels unworthy of him. The tree is a continuation from When Shadows Fall, it's barren still and the woman is looking out into the distant of her dreams.

STEPH: Rebekah is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

TINA: Rebekah is the Heroine, her strengths lie in the fact that she is willing to forgive and love. And she is pretty strong. She's also honest and kind. And has a gentle way about her. But like I said prior, she is afraid to open up and share her secret and let Matthew help her carry it. So while she's ready to forgive and help others, she's doesn't offer the same grace to herself.

STEPH: What does Matthew find appealing about her?

TINA: Matthew has loved her since she was young. Because of all the qualities mentioned above. Rebekah came from a harder background, so he's always wanted to care for her and protect her. He finds the woman inside, beautiful. Oh and she's pretty on the outside too.

STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?

TINA: The theme of the series would probably be facing the Shadows of life, whether good or bad. In this one, Rebekah has to face the shadow of her past. Of loss and sorrow. And Matthew tries to help her while he faces the trail and his own fears that he won't get through to his wife, and might lose her on the trail since it's so hard.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

TINA: I draw inspiration from life and a lot of things: stories I might hear, dreams I have, things I see. My biggest inspiration comes from God. I believe he gave me this desire to write and my imagination.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one.

TINA: I have a Kindle. An older edition, about three years old now.

STEPH: Do you have any holiday traditions you'd like to share? Do you put up a real tree or an artifical one? When do you put the tree up?

TINA: We like to gather round the tree, turn of the house lights and light candles and turn on the tree lights and read the bible story. Usually we have hot chocolate and maybe a birthday cake for Jesus. We used to go caroling, but haven't been in years. We also go to the candlelight service at church.

I have a fake tree. Started using one after we purchased two trees in the same year and they both lost their needles. We used get a permit and cut down our own, but it can be kind of tough finding a well-shaped tree. We would tromp around for hours in the snow. See tree that looked like a likely prospect, with full boughs and somewhat tall in height. only to get to it and find it was three trees. So hello fake tree.

******

Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and six grandchildren with another on the way.
Tina started her writing in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. Her WWII story Trail of the Sandpiper won third place in the Genesis in 2003. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy and When Shadows Fall Book 1 in the Shadows Series are available through Desert Breeze Publishers.

To Catch a Shadow the next installment of the Shadow Series about the civil war and the Oregon Trail, will be available, June 2013. To Carry her Cross will be available January 2013 and Then There was Grace a Sept 9/11 type story will be available Sept. 2013 and Christmas in Shades of Gray an offbeat Dickens type tale releases December 2013.

Blurb:
Matthew has braved the war and near death with one thought in mind… Rebekah. He won her hand in marriage, and now he has a few short months to make her see how much he loves her. How much he needs her. Given the wall she's put up between them, he prays he'll have enough time.

After fleeing the war, Rebekah is determined to go west to Oregon, only to be turned down when she tries to join the train. Matthew's proposal of marriage, in name only to help her west, becomes the miracle she needs. Loving him as she does, she dreads the idea of letting him go once they reach Oregon, but how can she ask him to stay with her, to love her? How could he love her once he's found out her secret? She must guard her heart and his.

My website -- http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook-- http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103

Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
Shadowed Dreams

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy
In the Manor of the Ghost
When Shadows Fall



Tina E. Pinson--
Touched By Mercy, In the Manor of the Ghost, When Shadows Fall
Shadowed Dreams Twitter @Tina_Pinson My Website, My Blog
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD... " Jer. 29:11

Friday, 23 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from: Safe & Sound


We hope you've enjoyed Christina's week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday, Sunday along with your email address and we'll pick one winner to receive a PDF copy of Safe and Sound and a mini stocking with a military theme. Enjoy the excerpt!

Moderator Steph

********

EXCERPT:

Safe and Sound by Christina Freeburn

Katrina fled down the small hallway leading to the back door. She slammed her hand onto the bar and the door shot open. Run. Don't look back. The pace of the words matched her heartbeat and she sprinted down the sidewalk.

Footfalls sounded behind her.

She pushed past people. Knocked into a young mother.

"What's your problem, lady?"

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Katrina ran. She couldn't waste her breaths on words. She had a few precious moments, one last time to outrun the past coming back to claim her. She scanned the area for a place to hide or seek help.

Across the street was an alley leading to the fire station. Safety. Katrina surged forward. A horn blared. Brakes squealed. She pivoted away from the car and leapt onto the sidewalk.



A twinge in her ankle sent her reeling forward. She grasped onto a parking meter and regained her balance. Ignoring the pain in her foot, she pounded down the sidewalk and made it to the opening of the alley.

Darkness surrounded her. She fought the instinct to stop instead of plunging into the damp, musty pathway. She was too close to change plans now. This was her one way to freedom and hope. A hand bit into her shoulder. She screamed and twisted. Her injured foot slid on something slick. The man tightened his grasp. He lifted her and pushed her against the building.

"You made this so easy." He pressed into her back, his body holding her against the brick.

Katrina stomped on his foot and jabbed her elbow into his stomach. He sucked in a breath but the pressure against her didn't decrease. A hand inched down her stomach and rested at the waistband of her jeans.

"How should I make this look? An assault? Robbery gone bad." He twisted her arm behind her back. "Let's just go with dumping you in the middle of nowhere. Don't have to worry about anyone looking for you. You're already dead."

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Christina Freeburn talks about writing a Holiday Setting

I love the holiday season: the decorating, the baking (not so keen on the 'regular' cooking), the wrapping, and even the shopping. And the reading. From Thanksgiving until January 8, I only read holiday themed or set stories. Since I adore these types of books, it seemed like a natural fit for me to write one. I like combining my 'loves' into my stories, but I was always afraid to use this time frame for a book.

Could I do the season justice? Would the season work as part of the story or would it feel forced...like I was writing a holiday setting story just for the sake of writing a holiday setting not that it mattered to the plot? Would I start and find out I couldn't pull it off?

For me, it was important that the story blended with the time frame. This time of year is filled with so wonder, love, forgiveness and renewal, it was important I did it justice. When I started Safe and Sound, I realized the emotions of the season fit with the emotions and changes the hero and heroine would explore and experience.

As I wrote, I found the setting really helped bring the story to life and I had made the right choice and was glad I put fear aside and gave it a try.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Character Interview with Hannah from Safe & Sound

Author: How did you come to this point in your life?

Hannah: I had no other option. I've made some very bad choices in my life so I understand why people don't trust or believe in me. There was no reason for a community to believe over a long-time member. Plus, the situation I found myself in started when I went against my husband's advice. When the worst happened, I did the only thing I could to protect Connor and myself...run.

Author: What lead you to make the changes you did in your life?

Hannah: The truth is kind of painful...basically I got caught. I don't know if I'd have faced the past if the man I wanted to outrun hadn't found me.

Author: What is your favorite quote or Bible verse.

Hannah: Psalm 10:17: "You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry." For so long, I've struggled through life by myself that it gave me hope to know God listened to me and wanted to encourage me. Especially after all the wrong I had done.

Author: What are you plans for the future?

Hannah: I think for now, I'm going to focus on the present. I've lived so long in the past, dreaded the future, I gave no attention to the present. I think for now the best thing is to brace what is before me and no longer focus on what was or what could be.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Christina Freeburn talks about Family Dynamics


Family. It's where we learn about relationships and start to feel what our role is in life. For some people it's a good place, a soft place to land, the place we return when we feel lost and adrift. For others family is a place of hurt and where they feel the worst about themselves. In the New Beginnings Series, especially in Safe and Sound, I show two different families and how they handle the rough times that happen in life.

As with all relationships, sometimes people can disappoint us and the way it's handle can make the situation worse or better. Because of the way her family dealt with problems and the way they viewed her, Hannah believes running...saving others from her...is the best choice. Connor knows he can rely on his family to help him, but in doing so has to deal with a consequence he hadn't intended...his cousin's distrust of Hannah.

The Stratford family is a loving, supportive, and overly protective at times bunch. Sometimes those qualities are a positive and a source of strength, other times as cousins Alex and Connor find it's the beginning of a major conflict and division. Acting in someone else's best interest doesn't always go the way a person plans, nor perceived as a good thing. I had wanted to explore this type of situation in a book and fit in well with this book.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Christina Freeburn

STEPH: I don't know much about "Safe and Sound." What's it about?

CHRISTINA: Book three of the New Beginning Series focuses on Connor Stratford who is still grieving the death of his wife. Hannah had gotten lost in a blizzard and the mountain claimed her. A woman's body was discovered after an explosion and Connor learned Hannah's death wasn't the accident everyone thought. One of the men responsible for Hannah's death is hunting down another woman. Connor decides to do everything in his power to save the young woman from the same fate as his wife. When the woman comes to Connor's home for shelter, he discovers the murderer's new target might actually be his wife.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

CHRISTINA: About six months.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

CHRISTINA: Most of the research I did for this book was about tracking and rescue dogs. I had done some for Led Astray as Connor made an appearance in that book but the research I did was minimal. Since Connor is a point of view character in Safe and Sound, I needed to do a little more in depth research as Connor trains the dogs. The surface research I did wasn't enough to get a feel for what Connor, or the dogs, could or would do in certain situations.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?


CHRISTINA: For me, the cover reflects the story because it features the cabin where Connor has secluded himself for the last four years and where Hannah goes to reclaim her life.

STEPH: Hannah is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

CHRISTINA: Hannah's strengths are her kind heart, seeing 'the big picture' and her willingness to do anything for others. Her willingness to do anything for others is also one of her weakness because at times she makes poor choices for herself if she feels it will benefit others. Hannah also brushes off the good qualities in herself too often.

STEPH: What does Connor find appealing about her?

CHRISTINA: He loves Hannah's willingness to freely give love and friendship even if it doesn't come back to her.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

CHRISTINA: Trust and forgiving yourself. For some people, forgiving others is easy but forgiving 'ourself' is hard and almost impossible at times.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

CHRISTINA: It can come from anywhere. Most of the times it's from a simple what if question that pops into my mind when I hear something on the news or out and about. For this story, the 'what if' popped into my head when I was editing Led Astray.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

CHRISTIN: 'regular' Kindle and a Kindle Fire though I mainly read on the 'regular' Kindle.

STEPH: Fun question: Do you have any thanksgiving traditions you'd like to share with us?

CHRISTINA: We're pretty much a go with the flow family when it comes to Thanksgiving, so don't really have any traditions...unless you count the bringing down the boxes of Christmas decorations from the attic the day after Thanksgiving.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "A Gentleman and a Rogue"


Thank you so much for supporting me during my week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday, Sunday, along with your email and I'll pick a winner on Monday to receive a PDF copy of Book 1 of The Windsor Diaries, "Victorian Scoundrel."

Enjoy the Excerpt!
Moderator Steph

********

Alice nodded and Edmund brought up the rear. They skulked down the hall, made a right, and Keira placed her hand on the study's knob, twisting it. "Locked."

Alice withdrew a long, thin hair pick, slid it into the lock and the door clicked. "Impressive," said Edmund.

Alice flashed him a slight smile.

Keira walked in. "Oh, dear, we need a light."

Alice dug into her reticule and removed a small slender cylinder. She pressed a button and a beam of light shot out.

"Amazing! How did you do that?" asked Keira.

"It runs on a battery that generates electricity." Alice walked over to the desk and examined the locks. She fussed in her reticule some more, pulled out some picks and went to work.

Edmund stood next to Keira and placed his hand in the small of her back. "She's brilliant, don't you think?"

"A girl after your own heart, I see."

"Alice may have popped my dirigible, but I respect her all that much more for doing it." "You are incorrigible."

"Come, let's talk." He guided her away from the desk and next to the window. The drapes were pulled back, allowing the dim, natural light from the stars and moon to filter into the room. Keira's heart pounded in her chest. Determined to stay strong in Edmund's tempting presence, she crossed her arms.

"Did you tell me everything back in my study?" she whispered.

He looked her over seductively, talking softly. "I told you I would the next time I saw you, and I have."

"Oh."

He placed his hand on her shoulder, trailing his finger up the soft skin of her neck, cupping her cheek. His eyes never left hers. "I want to see you again. Soon."

"It isn't wise."

"I know. I don't care." His voice grew low and husky.

Keira hesitated. Her body thrummed with warmth from his touch.
Uncomfortable heat pooled in her core. She tried to fight, to set her resolve and step away from him, but she couldn't. His gaze riveted on her face and moved over her body slowly. "I didn't forget you. I
couldn't. You're never far from my thoughts."

Logic. She needed logic. "You're from the future. I'm your past."

He shrugged. "I don't see it that way."

Her knees weakened. "How do you see it?"

"I see a woman who enjoys being around me, who looks into my eyes with honesty and sincerity. She's clever and knows her own mind. She accepts me for what I am -- mischief and all."

She swallowed. Edmund made her toes curl. His thumb gently stroked her jaw, stoking the growing desire for him in her heart.

"This is impossible. You and me and time traveling..."

"No, it's not. Look at Alice and Grayson. It works for them."

She placed a hand over his heart, unable to resist. "I have to find a man in my own time."

"You have. You've found me." He put his hand over hers and squeezed her fingers gently.

"Ed--"

Q FOR YOU: What do you think happens next? Does she kiss him or push him away? Don't forget to leave your email!

PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-366/The-Windsor-Diaries-Book/Detail.bok

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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-windsor-diaries-book-two-stephanie-burkhart/1113777499?ean=2940015869538

AMAZON (KINDLE:)
http://amzn.com/B00A5CF24C

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

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http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Jules Verne Wore Leather and Goggles

Jules Verne was steampunk when steampunk was contemporary. He wrote his stories during the Victorian Age and along with HG Wells is considered one of the Founding Fathers of steampunk literature. (umm...he looks a little like Alan Rickman as "Lord Ridgecroft," doesn't he?)

(side note: The Windsor Diaries pays homage to both Verne and Wells – Can anyone tell me where their statues are placed in the series?)

Jules Verne was born in France in 1828. His most famous literary works include:
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864)
Around the World in 80 Days (1873)

What makes Verne stand out is that he was writing about space, air, and underwater travels in a practical way before methods had been developed to do so. (He's also considered one of the Founding Fathers of the Science Fiction genre, too)

As a young boy, Jules' family had a summer home in Brains, France on the banks of the Loire River and it was here that he cultivated a love of adventure. This love of adventure would play into his writing.

Jules studied to be a lawyer, but he had no heart for it and dropped his studies to work on his writing. He even met with writing contemporaries Victor Hugo and Aexandre Dumas.

Jules got married in 1857 and had a son, Michel. Michel proved himself a pistol. The boy had 2 kids with an underage mistress, married and actress and buried himself in debt.

In 1862, Jules traveled through Sweden. "A Hot Air Balloon Trip Through Africa" was published in Sweden in 1863, making it his first full length book!

Shortly afterwards Jules met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, a very well known and important French publisher. Hetzel helped improve Jules' writing. Until Jules met Hetzel, he was repeatedly rejected.

What a Good Editor does for you:

Prior to working with Hetzel, Jules' writing was "too" scientific, too pessimistic, and not too enthusiastic about technology and human progress. Jules was a pessimist.

Hetzel insisted Jules' work always had an optimistic feel to it and Jules was so grateful to be published he willingly agreed to Hetzel's changes.

Interestingly, Hetzel rejected one of Jules' novels called "Paris in the 20th Century."


Jules wrote "Paris in the 20th Century" in 1863. It's the story of a young man who lives in a glass skyscraper with high-speed trains, gas powered cars, calculators, and has a high-speed communications network. Our hero, however, can't find happiness and comes to a tragic end. Hetzel suggested Jules wait at least 20 years before publishing it. Jules locked the story away in a safe. But can you imagine! This is why Jules is one of the fathers of science fiction and steampunk! Heck, he was writing about the Internet over 130 years before it came into existence! And one of the "core" elements of steampunk is the addition of "futuristic" gadgets in the story.

What Happened to "Paris in the 20th Century?"

The novel, rejected in 1863 was locked in a safe. Hetzel died in 1887 and Jules never did have a chance to revisit the story. He passed away in 1905.

Michel, Jules' son, published some of his father's stories after his death – "Invasion of the Sea" and "Lighthouse at the End of the World," but Michel being the pistol he was made extensive changes to the stories. The original Jules Verne novels were discovered and published in the late 20th Century.

In 1989, Jules' great-grandson found the safe Jules had stashed "Paris in the 20th Century." The novel finally found print in 1994. Jules Verne had come full circle.

DID YOU KNOW?

Verne is one of the top FIVE translated authors in the world?

Question for readers: What's your favorite Jules Verne story? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Reference for this blog post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules_Verne

PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-366/The-Windsor-Diaries-Book/Detail.bok

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AMAZON (KINDLE:)
http://amzn.com/B00A5CF24C

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

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PINTEREST:
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Author Spotlight - When Steam Rules The World...

…chances are you're reading a steampunk story. So what's a steampunk? Generally the story takes place between 1837-1901, during the reign of Queen Victoria, when the Industrial Age came into its own and steam powered the world. When it comes to setting, it's not limited to England. I've read stories set in the American West, Siberia, Brazil, and Egypt. Steam is what drives the story, thought.

There are "futuristic" gadgets to the time period, but not the reader. There's dirigibles, transmogrifiers, datamancers, and anything else you can come up with including a steam run coffee pot.

There's also a paranormal element to a steampunk story. There can be vampires and werewolves, but in "The Windsor Diaries," I use time traveling. Nothing like having good old fashioned brass and iron time machine, I say.

Never heard of steampunk, you say? The recent Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr., and Jude Law really capture the ambience of the genre.

Question: Have you read a good steampunk story? Seen a good movie? What the TV show "Revolution?" Where the world is thrown back to the time of steam? I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and recommendations.


PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-366/The-Windsor-Diaries-Book/Detail.bok

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AMAZON (KINDLE:)
http://amzn.com/B00A5CF24C

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Meet the Cast of "A Gentleman and a Rogue"

I enjoy casting my characters. For me, it really plants a great visual in my mind. If they let me cast the movie, here's my picks for "A Gentleman and a Rogue."

EDMUND WINDSOR – Robert Pattinson


Edmund's the hero. He's gone back in time with the intention of setting the time line straight, but all his plans might go out the window when he sees Keira again.

KEIRA RUSSELL – Keira Knightly


Keira is the heroine. She's managed to develop the practical applications needed for compressed natural gas to work, but she's got a lot of competition and Edmund proves a definite distraction.

RICHARD WINDSOR – Christian Cooke


Richard is Edmund's older brother and determined to put an end to Edmund's mischief making – until he meets Jocelyn.


JOCELYN DUNKIRK – Nina Dobrev


Jocelyn believes in her father's black oil project. Aside from her steampunk taste in clothes which includes leather skirts and poofy shirts, she's loyal to bone to her friends.

LORD RIDGECROFT – Alan Rickman


Jocelyn's father is very protective of her. He's grateful for her help with black oil. He's also a bit of a brass and iron inventor.

ALICE WINDSOR – Mena Suvari


Alice is up to her old mischief making tricks picking locks and planning to steal rivets.

GRAYSON KENTFIELD – Orlando Bloom


Grayson is right at Alice's side, but it's never easy trying to keep her from making mischief.

QUEEN VICTORIA – Emily Blount


What's Steampunk without a guest appearance from Queen Victoria?

PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-windsor-diaries-book-two-stephanie-burkhart/1113777499?ean=2940015869538

AMAZON (KINDLE:)
http://amzn.com/B00A5CF24C

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Stephanie Burkhart

QUESTION: What is "A Gentleman and a Rogue" about?

STEPH: The novel is set in England in 1855. It's a steampunk romance with an emphasis on brass, iron and coal. Edmund Windsor is the hero. After realizing his world isn't powered by compressed natural gas, he travels back in time to set the time line straight with his cousin, Alice. Edmund's reunited with the love of his life, Keira, but love is complicated. Can Edmund win Keira's heart and set the time line straight again? Queen Victoria is back and there's some new characters including Edmund's brother, Richard, and the eccentric Lady Jocelyn Ridgecroft.

QUESTION: How long did it take you to write?

STEPH: About three months.

QUESTION: Did you do a lot of research?

STEPH: I took two weeks before I started writing to research. I studied Victorian fashion, the setting, compressed natural gas and Shakespeare.

QUESTION: How does the cover reflect the story within?

STEPH: I'd like to think the cover poses the question – who is the gentleman and who is the rogue? Edmund or his brother, Richard?


QUESTION: Keira is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

STEPH: Keira is a sharp cookie. She understands what she wants to do with compressed natural gas. She also knows if she lets Edmund back into her heart it just might ruin her. Keira also knows she's not a very good public speaker and that exposes her vulnerabilities. She needs help in that department.

QUESTION: What does the hero, Edmund, find appealing about Keira?

STEPH: Keira is honest to the bone and Edmund finds that refreshing about her. There's no pretenses when it comes to Keira. He's free to be himself, warts and all.

QUESTION: What's the theme of the novel?

STEPH: Trust in love. It will never fail you.

QUESTION: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one.

STEPH: I own a Kindle and Kindle Fire. I love them both. I use the text to speech feature on my Kindle to read to me going to work. With the Kindle Fire my boys enjoy playing with the apps. I like to play Angry Birds on the Kindle Fire and download TV shows.

QUESTION: Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

STEPH: I am! My project is "Sunrise Over Brasov" It's book 3 of the Moldavian Moon series. Michael must rescue Rosa from an evil werewolf, however he discovers her memory has been tampered with. Can he make her fall in love with him all over again?

FUN QUESTION: How do you cook your turkey for Thanksgiving?

STEPH: I brine that bad bird a day in advance and we bake him. We used to fry the bird in peanut oil, but my 6-year-old son has a peanut allergy so we had to stop that. If anyone is interested in my brining recipe, let me know and I'll share it.

Q for Readers: I'd love to hear about your Thanksgiving traditions. How do you cook the bird? Do you have a favorite side dish you like to make? Pies like to bake? Feel free to share, especially if you have a recipe.

PUBLISHER'S BUY LINK:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-366/The-Windsor-Diaries-Book/Detail.bok

ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS:
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thewindsordiariesbookthreeagentlemanandarogue-996194-141.html

BARNES & NOBLE (NOOK)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-windsor-diaries-book-two-stephanie-burkhart/1113777499?ean=2940015869538

AMAZON (KINDLE:)
http://amzn.com/B00A5CF24C

FIND ME ON THE WEB AT:

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

TWITTER:
http://twitter.com/StephBurkhart

FACEBOOK:
https://www.facebook.com/StephanieBurkhartAuthor

GOOD READS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

YOU TUBE CHANNEL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/botrina?feature=mhee

PINTEREST:
http://pinterest.com/sgburkhart/

Friday, 9 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Blurb & Excerpt from "Rising Above"

Thanks so much for supporting Toni during her week in the spotlight. Enjoy this blurb and excerpt from her latest release, "Rising Above."

Moderator Steph

*******


BLURB:
When modern-day tomboy Wilda Stone is blown back through time to 1874, her hot air balloon crashes above the Owens Valley. Stoic undercover agent Hal Grantham comes to her rescue, promising to take her to the silver mining town of Cerro Gordo. A severe sand storm keeps him from keeping his promise and forces them to seek shelter overnight in a cave, compromising her reputation and forcing Hal into a marriage of convenience.

Wilda is a misfit in Cerro Gordo, too, where their turbulent marriage is filled with adventures, adjustments, and above all else, loving. Then a diphtheria epidemic sweeps through the silver mining town. This same disease felled Hal's first wife and child, so to guarantee Wilda a long life Hal secretly repairs her balloon, and then sends her back to her own time, shattering Wilda's heart. Is her love for her terse husband strong enough to bring this headstrong Caltrans flagperson safely back to Hal's time?


Excerpt:
While the borrowed garments hugged her body with unexpected softness, her reflected image in a long skirt stunned Wilda. She cared little for dresses, and had never worn long skirts. Even as a child, she'd avoided dress-up events. Give her a pair of well-worn jeans and broken-in boots and she was content.

How would she manage those crooked stairs without breaking her neck?

She tried to emulate the way she'd seen Dottie lift her skirt and glide up the stairs, but Wilda's awkward movements only served to hamper her instead. She would trip herself for sure, but she wouldn't need these skirts for long.

Once she found a way to leave...

How could she be certain she could find her way back to her home? Back to her own time?

If only the wind hadn't...

One moment the air was still. The next, she was rushing toward the forbidden magnetic field, the wind at her back and the flame of her furnace extinguished, her balloon out of control.

She had the unpredictable wind to blame for bringing her to Cerro Gordo, although at some future time she wouldn't mind at all visiting here, given the opportunity to choose the time.

The year 2012 would do just fine.

What year is this?

And how do I go about leaving here and returning home?

The room was growing dark. Wilda ran her hand along the wallpaper beside the door in hopes of finding a light switch.

She tried the other wall. Nothing.

At last she noticed the matches and oil lamp on the table, the lamp so like the treasured antique one her grandmother had prominently displayed. She'd overlooked it. Wilda lit the lamp, adjusted the wick, and admired her reflection in the clear glass globe.

The soft glow from the lamp subdued the color of her auburn hair. Highlights flickered in unexpected places. For once her generous proportions pleased her, softened to acceptable curves by the welcome circle of light. Her cheeks glowed with excitement -- or windburn -- but her stomach growled from hunger.

Someone tapped on her door. She took a hesitant step toward it. "Yes?"

"Miss Stone? Are you presentable? It's Dottie. May I come in?"

Wilda turned the key in the lock, slid the bolt, and finally opened the door. Dottie stepped in. Hal followed, quickly shoving the door closed.

"My, my, aren't you the pretty one," Dottie said, giving her a tentative smile, but Wilda hadn't missed the worried look her visitors exchanged. "Are you ready for dinner?"

"Oh, yes. I'm quite--"

"Look, Wilda," Hal said, impatiently interrupting her. "There's not much time to explain because we're late for supper. Just remember, whatever happens downstairs, follow my lead. Understand?"

What did he anticipate happening? They were only going to eat a meal. She gave him a puzzled nod.

"Good. You'll be eating at the table with Dottie and me." As if by habit, he touched the gun strapped to his hip. "I guess we're ready, then."

Wilda's heart gave an anxious flutter, but anticipation far outweighed any worry she entertained as she and Dottie trooped out into the hall. Hal followed. Ace fell in step behind when Hal moved out in front. At the head of the stairs they paused.

From below came the rumble of rowdy voices. Wilda's pulse quickened. To her surprise, she had no difficulty descending the stairs.

Dottie reached the main floor and ducked into a small room furnished as a parlor. The others followed, and all but Wilda engaged in a whispered conference. While waiting for them to finish, she noticed an Inyo County newspaper and a copy of Peterson's Magazine on the lamp table nearby.

Casually, Wilda unfolded and lifted the paper. The headline read "Lone Pine, California Rebuilds Following Disastrous Quake." Dated October 1, 1874, the lead article detailed the devastation that had occurred on March 26, 1872, when an earthquake shook residents of the quiet valley from their beds.

Is this October of 1874?

The corners of the newspaper were dog-eared from frequent handling, but the printed pages showed no sign of age. Wilda estimated the paper couldn't be more than a week old.

A hard knot formed in her stomach. Now she knew the year, she could no longer deny her worrisome suspicions.

Somehow, she had stepped back in time. Her pulse throbbed.

What else had happened in 1874?

The chase for gold in California had slowed to a crawl then and the Civil War had ended.

What else? Was California a state yet?

With all her heart she wished she'd paid more attention to her history lessons.
Why did it matter? Women weren't yet allowed to vote, she was sure.

Without giving Wilda sufficient time to absorb the reality of her predicament, Dottie turned toward the jumble of voices and entered a large paneled room. Wilda had no choice but to drop the newspaper and follow.

Oil fueled glass chandeliers hung from the ceiling. White oilcloth covered the tables arranged in three long rows. She remembered the shiny surface from her childhood. As Wilda entered, a hush fell over the room. A dozen miners sat at each table, their eyes all turned on her. Forks halted in mid-air. Although she followed close behind Dottie, Wilda's skirt caught on a chair leg, tripping her.

Her cheeks heated. Clumsy goose.

Hal, who had somehow wound up behind her, reached to steady her by placing his hand on her upper arm. Her cheeks burned hotter still. Careful now of every step, she watched the placement of her feet with lowered gaze.

From the corner of her eye she saw Hal stop long enough to hang his Stetson on a peg by the door. For some unexplained reason, she took comfort in the sound of his steps behind her.

Dottie led the way to an empty table, showed Wilda where to sit, and headed for the kitchen without waiting for her friends to take their seats.

Hal held Wilda's chair, bending to whisper in her ear, "Dottie's seeing to the food."
He took the place on her right and gave the occupants of the room an intimidating look. Wilda frowned.

Ace sat at the end of the table, surveying the room, his eyes never still, his shoulders tense, waiting, as if he expected something to happen.

What?

Wilda couldn't comprehend the need for a bodyguard, or for the whispered words and knowing looks she'd so far observed but, following Hal's instructions, kept her questions to herself.

Dottie and Chang Li placed white pottery bowls heaped with stew before the newcomers, and then Dottie sank into the vacant chair across from Wilda. The other diners didn't resume talking until Dottie began to eat.

Chang Li placed a cup of steaming coffee before Wilda. Delighted, she sipped the strong brew. In an effort to appease her raging hunger and to give her hands a task, she tackled her stew, a meaty concoction well seasoned with pepper and tasting of wild onions.

She finished it off quickly, along with the dark, yeasty bread.

"The lady has a healthy appetite," Dottie commented.

Wilda glanced around the table. Her bowl was the only empty one. Her cheeks took on new fire. Intense hunger had caused her to forget her manners.

"Everything is so delicious," she said lamely.

Hal and Dottie laughed at her flustered explanation, attracting attention of the miners seated nearby. The men stared at her with interest. One man's openly lascivious grin made Wilda's flesh crawl. She quickly looked away from him, right into Hal's unreadable gaze. After a moment in which her heart thumped wildly, he turned back to his stew.

Looking beyond the heads turned her direction, Wilda saw the evening sky through windows draped with forest green tapestry over sheer curtains of lace. A wide opening to the kitchen revealed the cook stirring a steaming pot on the massive black cooking stove.

The men began leaving the tables, slapping each other on the back, and politely tipping their hats to Wilda. She smiled at the courtesy.

Uh-oh. My mistake.

A toothless man whose shaggy growth of beard partially hid a wide grin separated himself from the group and headed for their table. Hal and Ace both came to attention.

"Evenin' Miss," the miner said, and preened. "Josh Buckston, at your service."

Hal narrowed his eyes at Wilda. She ducked her head, but tuned her ears to listen.

"Looks like the lady's finished with her food," Josh said, apparently for Hal's benefit. "Would you care to step out on the porch with me for a nice breath of fresh air?"

Wilda glanced up before she heard Hal gritting his teeth. "The lady's taken, Buckston," he warned.

"Can't blame a man for trying," Josh said, backing away.

He joined his friends waiting for him near the door. The men leaned in close to hear what he had to say, then stared back over their shoulders at Hal, who raked the cluster of men with a heated look.

Once the group had sauntered out, Hal turned to her, a small smile softening his features. "I'm sorry, Miss Stone," he said. "These men don't often have the occasion to see a pretty woman. I forgot how forward they tend to act at times."

Hal possessed way more gall than Josh Buckston. She was quite capable of speaking for herself. He might at least have given her the opportunity to turn aside the miner's attention, but no. He'd warned her not to speak to the men.

Well, she wouldn't allow Hal's presumptuous rules to run her life.

While no one previously crossing her path had showed any interest in taking her out, the miner who'd approached their table didn't hold any appeal to Wilda. She let her gaze travel about the room, much aware of everyone observing her every move from across the dining hall. She didn't see one she'd care to sit with. Certainly none she'd choose to walk with along a dark road.

Besides, not a man in the room held a candle to Hal. She glanced at him, now deeply involved in whispered conversation with Dottie.

He grimaced and a tiny frown marred the smoothness of his forehead. Somewhere, he'd taken the time to shave and slick his dark hair. It skimmed the collar of his newly laundered black shirt. She was aware of the shirt's aroma, lye soap and the scent of what she supposed was bay rum.

Hal glanced up and caught her smiling. His frown deepened into an aggravated scowl. He shook his head at something Dottie said, but continued to stare at Wilda, trying to communicate some unspoken message she failed to interpret.

Perhaps he'd guessed her thoughts. At the strong possibility, Wilda looked away, flushing, but his words replayed in her mind, and the way he'd looked at her when he referred to her as a pretty woman.

Another group of diners entered and Chang Li soundlessly scurried about, clearing tables and arranging clean place settings of tin utensils.

One of the new arrivals failed to take a seat, choosing instead to head directly toward the table where Wilda and her companions sat. A determined gleam flashed from his eyes, a cocky self-assurance his unwashed face and hands proved unjustified.
At the last minute, he dragged his hat from his head and came to a halt opposite her. He hesitated and squashed his hat against his chest. "Miss, you've done run off with my heart. Marry up with me?"

The miner's flowery speech triggered a grin Willa thought best she swallow. Beside her, Hal stiffened then cleared his throat. Fists clenched, his body half out of the chair, Hal announced to the entire room, "Miss Stone is promised to me."

Toni hangs out here:
http://twitter.com/toninoelwriter http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniNoel
http://www.ToniNoelAuthor.com/blog.html www.ToniNoelAuthor.com

And you can download her books here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-362/Rising-Above-Toni-Noel/Detail.bok
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok
And here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20
Or from your favorite eBook store.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Toni Noel talks about the setting for "Rising Above"

Come with me on a visit to the mountain where Wilda Stone's hot air balloon crashed in 1874. The air is crisp in the ghost silver mining town of Cerro Gordo, California, this time of year and gentle breezes blow across the mountain peak and over the crash site. In the distance you can see Owens Valley, and across the valley the snow-tipped peaks around Mt. Whitney.

Only an occasional vehicle turns near Swansea and makes the steep climb up the dirt road, so the only sounds you hear are the call of birds or a dog's bark.

The first thing a visitor sees is the manmade pyramid of rock outside the main shaft, a geologist's dream made up of ore-less rock removed to reach the good stuff. A small railcar once used to haul the rock from the mine dangles precariously over the pyramid. Scattered all around it is a graveyard of rusty, abandoned mining equipment left behind when the rich silver vein played out.

Further up the road is the real cemetery, burial place of a number of Chinese workers felled by sickness and an equal number of ill fated miners who met their maker in a mine cave-in, or staring down a gun barrel leveled to end a quarrel.

The mountain is dotted with home sites no longer occupied, most of them caves. Bottle collectors like to dig in the ruins of those sites, but there's not much left. Previous collectors have just about picked the hillside clean.

The history buff encounters something of interest at every turn. The smoke stacks of two ornate furnaces used for smelting the ore have withstood the elements and still stand, stately monuments to their builders.

The Yellow Road has been extended and visitors who favor rough roads in modern four-wheel drive vehicles go on over the hill and eventually reach Death Valley, but it's not a recommended you take that route because of constantly shifting sand.

The remains of Billy Crapo's store, the assayer's office and the American Hotel interest most visitors, as do the Chinese cook's house and the home Mortimer Belshaw built for himself, but since the owner of Cerro Gordo's death, the caretaker on site discourages visitors from lingering. The setting sun is kind to Cerro Gordo, extending the shadows and painting golden highlights on the few wooden structures in its path.

Toni hangs out here:
http://twitter.com/toninoelwriter http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniNoel
http://www.ToniNoelAuthor.com/blog.html www.ToniNoelAuthor.com
And you can download her books here:
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-362/Rising-Above-Toni-Noel/Detail.bok
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok
And here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20
Or from your favorite eBook store.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Author Spotlight - History of Cerro Gordo Mine

Los Angeles was still a sleepy pueblo when Mortimer Belshaw of San Francisco began financing mining operations at the Cerro Gordo mine on the mountain peak by the same name in central California. He built a steep and winding toll road he named the Yellow Road from the valley up to the mine, then built a smelter on the shores of Owens Lake to extract the silver from the rock miners removed with picks.

The silver ingots, obtained when ore-rich rock was put through the smelter ,were then shipped on oxen-pulled, teamster-driven wagons to the port of Los Angeles for shipment to San Francisco, or to the bank.

Eventually two competing furnaces were built in Cerro Gordo and used to separate the silver from the rock, thus avoiding sending heavy loads of rock down the often muddy Yellow Road. The ingots had to be transported at great expense over long distances, and several shipping companies went bankrupt doing it.

The miners risked their lives every time they entered the mines. Trees were scarce on the mountain, so wood was seldom used to shore up the tunnels and frequent cave-ins took many lives. When it rained the mineshafts flooded. The more industrious workers prospected on their own mountainside claims on their day off. Housing was one small room dug into the mountainside, with a tarp for a door and sod for the roof, which got heavy and collapsed when it rained.

For their five and a half days of hard labor, the workers were paid 4 dollars, two hot meals a day at the American Hotel, and a cold lunch eaten in the mine. Water was scarce and all food and supplies had to be hauled up the mountain by mule-pulled wagons. The teamsters who drove those wagons had the best paying jobs.

The twice-daily stagecoaches dropped off hopeful prospectors at the American Hotel and carried the discouraged ones ready to throw in the towel down the hill to seek a better life. The stage was robbed at least once a week.

Life in Cerro Gordo was hard, cold, and uninteresting for most of the residents until October of 1874 when Wilda Stone, the heroine of Rising Above, crashed her hot air balloon near the town and turned the life of the local lawman upside down.

Author Toni Noel hangs out here:
http://twitter.com/toninoelwriter http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniNoel
http://www.ToniNoelAuthor.com/blog.html www.ToniNoelAuthor.com

And you can download her books here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-362/Rising-Above-Toni-Noel/Detail.bok
And here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20
Or from your favorite eBook store.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Character interview with Hal Grantham, Hero of "Rising Above."

Author: Hal Grantham, I think everyone in Cerro Gordo wants to know where you were when you found Wilda Stone, the tall woman who rode into town behind you on your horse? Would you mind telling us?

Hal: The other side of Cerro Gordo Peak. I was moving in on the bandits who robbed the noon stage last week when she landed on me from out of nowhere. Those bandits got plum away, but with her help I recovered the loot.

Author: Did you ask her how she came to be there?

Hal: Couldn't get a believable answer out of that woman to save my life, and she was wearing the strangest clothes, the kind a teamster might wear, overalls, fancy boots, and something for her head she called a helmet, none of it suitable for a lady.

Author: How did you get her back to town?

Hal: On my horse, Satan. Took some doing though.

Author: She'd never been on a horse?

Hal: No, that wasn't the problem. She said all her neighbors in Riverside kept horses. I have no notion where that settlement is, though. Strong wind is what caused all my problems. It picked up tumble weeds and gravel and tossed it at Satan. Made my horse shy, and the blowing sand near blinded me.

Author: What did you do?

Hal: The only thing I could do. Covered everything but my eyes with my bandana and watched for a cave big enough to shelter us till it died down.

Author: Did you find one?

Hal: Just in time, it turned out. Wilda was about tuckered out, fighting that wind.
Author: How long before the wind let up?

Hal: Too long. I was cooped up in that cave with a restless woman and a thousand pound horse for two days and nights.

Author: Uh-oh.

Hal: Uh-oh is right. That woman can't just sit down and whittle like a normal person.
Had to be walking or talking most all the time, sometimes both.

Author: But when the wind died down you made it safely to Cerro Gordo, right?

Hal: Wrong. No unmarried woman is ever safe around those love-starved miners.

Author: Oh, dear. I forgot about them. Where is Wilda now?

Hal: Cooped up at the American Hotel and chomping at the bit to get back home, I imagine.

Author: Why is that, I wonder?

Hal: I proposed to the dang woman, but she turned me down. Claims she don't care if her reputation is compromised. She wants nothing to do with a forced marriage.


Author Toni Noel hangs out here:
http://twitter.com/toninoelwriter http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniNoel
http://www.ToniNoelAuthor.com/blog.html www.ToniNoelAuthor.com

And you can download her books here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-362/Rising-Above-Toni-Noel/Detail.bok
And here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20
Or from your favorite eBook store.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Toni Noel

STEPH: I don't know much about "Rising Above." What's it about?

TONI: In "Rising Above" a misfit heroine takes off in a hot air balloon race, is caught in strong crosswinds and forced back in time to 1874, where she's rescued by an undercover Pinkerton agent. A sandstorm forces them off his horse and to seek shelter in a cave. The wind continues to blow for two days. He insists their stay has compromised her reputation and demands she marry him. Wilda has no intention of entering into a forced marriage. She only wants help getting back to the 21st Century and her home in Riverside, California. The hero, Hal, is determined to keep her out of the reach of love-starved silver miners, and to guarantee her safety. That's difficult, since Wilda is accustomed to working outdoors, and is easily bored.
She agrees to let Hal court her, just to get out of the American Hotel, but falls in love with him, and they marry as soon as a preacher comes to town. Wilda has a lot of adjusting to do, and a lot to learn, but to occupy her time she opens a school for the miner's children and shares her knowledge with them until a diphtheria epidemic spreading through the town shuts down her school. Wilda argues that in her time she had childhood inoculations to prevent the disease, and tends the sick against Hal's wishes. He fears losing her to the sickness, the same one responsible for the sudden death of his wife and young son while he was away on a Pinkerton assignment, and secretly repairs Wilda's balloon so he can send her back to her own time.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

TONI: It took about six months to write this time travel historical. Writing a historical is easy for me, for I've lived through a lot of the history.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

TONI: We spent two weekends in the restored ghost town of Cerro Gordo, where I listened to tales of its history and bought a book put out by the local historical society. While photographing the town I decided to write the book, and absorbed as much of the local color as I could while I was there.

STEPH:How does the cover reflect the story within?

TONI: My cover is amazing, exactly what I asked for on the cover, but so much more.

STEPH: Wilda Stone is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

TONI: She was a tomboy growing up, but has never been asked out by anyone, not even the boys she grew up with. She's taller than the other women in Cerro Gordo, and strong willed, which causes Hal no end of problems. She's an excellent seamstress, but a hazard waiting to happen in the kitchen. This headstrong young woman has a big heart and a cheerful disposition, but you wouldn't want her washing your dishes.

STEPH: What does Hal find appealing about her?

TONI: The same characteristics that have him tearing his hair out endear Wilda to Hal. She's always ready to lend a helping hand, and to question his decisions.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

TONI: Love conquers all.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

TONI: I draw most of my inspiration from happenings around me. I never know when inspiration for a book will strike me, whether it's a boarded up house in a ritzy neighborhood, the hunky temp employee I interviewed and hired, or a decaying mining town.

STEPH: Do you have an eBook reader? If so, which one?

TONI: I have a NOOK and a Kindle, and alternate between reading on one of them and reading print books. I like the handy size of my Kindle, but prefer the larger screen on my NOOK.

STEPH: Fun question: What do you like to do for Thanksgiving? Is there something you like to bake? How do you fix your turkey? Brine it? Fry it? Bake it?

TONI: I'm like Wilda. My husband no longer lets me in the kitchen until after the meal. I devil the eggs and chill the green stuff -- a congealed salad with nuts -- ahead of time and help him get the turkey into a turkey bag for baking, then stay out of his way. Everyone comes home for Thanksgiving, wouldn't miss it, but just once I'd like to go to the Thanksgiving feast at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Author Toni Noel hangs out here:
http://twitter.com/toninoelwriter http://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniNoel
http://www.ToniNoelAuthor.com/blog.html www.ToniNoelAuthor.com

And you can download her books here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/Toni%20Noel/Page.bok
Here:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-362/Rising-Above-Toni-Noel/Detail.bok
And here:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Toni+Noel&x=13&y=20
Or from your favorite eBook store.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Paranormal Excerpt - The Secret Door

My "working" cover for visual
inspiration as I wrote for "The
Secret Door."

Here is a special "sneak peak" excerpt from "The Secret Door." The excerpt could change from the final publication. Leave a comment today, Saturday, and Sunday along with your email and I'll select one winner to receive a PDF copy of one of the Budapest Moon Books, The Hungarian, The Count's Lair, or Danube in Candlelight, winner's choice.

EXCERPT:

Footfalls near the door caught his attention. The sweet, innocent scent of apples teased his senses. He swallowed. This woman was not Inna. The door opened and the lovely Sophia Varga walked in. She offered him a small smile and placed the tray she held on the nightstand before taking a seat next to the bed.

"How are you feeling?" she asked.
"Unwell."
"You had a rough night."
"Indeed."

She held up her hand. "May I touch you?"

He nodded. Sophia placed her palm against his forehead. "You feel hot."

"A fever is typical after a transformation," he replied.

She withdrew her hand. "Yes, it is. I've brought lotions and the elixir you need. Will you allow me to attend you?"

He pursed his lips, concern and curiosity making an odd mix. Where was Inna? After a long pause he acquiesced. "All right."

She plucked a glass off the tray and presented it to him. "Your elixir. Drink up. I'm sorry I wasn't able to come sooner. Konrad and I worked as fast as we could. You're lucky your butler is so knowledgeable about your dietary needs. He was a big help to me in the kitchen."

"Inna taught him. Where is she?" He sipped from the glass.

"She has a concussion." Sophia paused, offering him a sympathetic smile. "She had a deep gash behind her ear when she came to us last night. Rita, Tomas' wife, stitched the wound, but her pupils are still dilated and she's dizzy. Rita's with her now. As soon as Inna's better, Rita will send her to you."

"I have your word that's the extent of her injuries?"

"Yes." Sophia slid off his pajama bottoms, leaving only his undergarment covering his manhood. Then she took the jar of lotion and scooped out a handful, positioning herself near the end of the bed where his feet rested. As a wolf he needed the lotion, made of rose petals, camphor, and aloe, to heal his skin. Usually Inna applied the healing crème. Zoltan scooted toward the headrest, positioning his back against the board as he finished his drink. The liquid warmed his throat and heated his stomach. The elixir accelerated his healing factor and augmented it, giving his muscles and joints a chance to recover from their distended positioning as a wolf. Even now he internally felt the muscles and bone coming together in the break of his arm, and he felt the skin mending in his shoulder. Still, it would take days for the injuries to fully heal, but days would be infinitely more tolerable than weeks.

He glanced at Sophia. Determination furrowed her brow. Zoltan appreciated her initiative and her desire to take Inna's place. Sophia had a giving heart, one Zoltan admired. He leaned over and grabbed the wooden tray off the nightstand, quite a feat for him since he wasn't that good with his left hand. There was a plate of food on it - eggs, chicken, milk, and potatoes – items that helped his healing factor as well. Starving, he shoveled the food awkwardly into his mouth.

Sophia rubbed the lotion onto his foot and Zoltan drew in a sharp, involuntary breath. Adrenaline rushed through his limbs, sparking his feral attraction.

You can find Stephanie at:

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