Monday, September 10, 2018

Sisterly Gifts & Judging a Book By Its Cover

We're talking about some interesting tidbits I stumbled across with gifts exchanged between Bloody Mary and Elizabeth Tudor on the HHHistory blog. Here's a preview of the article. 
 
Mary and Elizabeth Tudor are a fascinating pair of sisters. Same father, but rival mothers and seventeen years apart, it is surprising how affectionate the two were throughout most of their lives. One of the main ways that the sisters expressed their affection was through gifts exchanged. We can learn a lot about their situation and relationship from each of these. 
Mary, as the elder sister, often sent Elizabeth spending money and cloth for making clothes since King Henry often neglected attention to such details. She also gave Elizabeth many pieces of jewelry, some of these pieces can be found in museums today. Her gift giving became so much of a custom, that when the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth turned hostile, Mary’s councilors told her she should send Elizabeth away with a gift so she wouldn’t suspect something amiss. Mary gave her a beautiful sable hood and some pearls before she departed to Hertfordshire. 


Click HERE to read the full article.


Also, I'm pleased to announce that 12 Sisters Who Changed History has been nominated for the Book Cover of the Month Contest at All Author! But we need your vote. Would you take a moment to click over and cheer us on? I am grateful for all your support!  https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/2361/

Friday, August 3, 2018

Why Did Elizabeth the Great Never Marry?

Why Did Queen Elizabeth I Never Marry?

Elizabeth I Darnley Portrait

This a question has fascinated people since Elizabeth the Great was alive. Considered one of the greatest monarchs in English history, an intelligent and pleasing woman, deemed a beauty during her time with a knack for fascinating men, it is a true curiosity. She had at least half a dozen men fall in love with her and had many offers of marriage from English poets to monarchs from allied countries, so a lack of suitors was certainly not the culprit. Why then did this woman choose to rule alone during a time when that was unthinkable? Elizabeth intentionally left a lot of ambiguity on this subject, never admitting a hard answer, but there are three main theories. 


Read the entire article on HHHistory.com here. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

New Release and Giveaway!

In case you haven't heard, 12 Sisters Who Changed History is now available on Amazon & Smashwords! To celebrate, we're giving away a $10 Amazon gift card as well as a paperback version of the book. You can enter to win using the rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends August 8th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Book:


The remarkable lives of twelve sisters who changed the course of history.
Historians paint pictures of amazing men and women who influenced the world, but seldom do we hear about sister duos that forever altered the course of history. Whether fighting together—or against each other—these twelve women set armies to flight, guarded homelands from invasion, transformed countries and religious systems, and begat nations. From mythical Athena and Artemis, to the English thrones of Mary & Elizabeth Tudor, the influence these women left behind is taken for granted. Join us on an inspirational journey through time as we explore the extraordinary lives of Sisters Who Changed History.
*Athena & Artemis (Ancient Greek Mythology)
*Rachel & Leah (Ancient Palestine)                                                        
*Tru’ng Trac & Tru’ng Nhi (Vietnam)
*Mary & Anne Boleyn (England)
*Mary & Elizabeth Tudor (England)
*Angelina & Sarah Grimke (United States)

What Reviewers are Saying:

 "5 Stars - This is an interesting and thoughtful look at 12 sisters who changed history." ~Becky S.

"I found it captivating. Many thoughts and perspectives that had never crossed my mind." 

"This book really got me thinking! It was interesting learning more in detail of these sisters! I really enjoyed Rachel + Leah, and Sarah + Angelina's stories the best, but they were all very interesting! Like everyone else, they went through struggles and hard-aches! Not all of them turned to God for help, but those who did found great benefits in doing so! It wasn't a hard book to read. I would recommend it!" ~ R.A. (Goodreads Reviewer)




Saturday, May 26, 2018

History, Mystery and Faith with Linda Shenton Matchett

Welcome to the Story Sparks Multi-author Blog Tour. Between May 21-26, 2018 readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors. Linda Shenton Matchett is today’s featured author. A lucky winner will get a copy Love’s Harvest. Today, Linda will be talking about History, Mystery, and Faith. Read on to discover what sparks Linda’s creativity and to enter the rafflecopter to win her heartwarming retelling of the biblical book of Ruth.


*****

I’ve been making up stories since I was little. In fact, I recently found my notebooks from back then and had quite a laugh reading my childish scrawl and teenaged angst. Even then, my fertile imagination was apparent.

During interviews and speaking engagements I’m often asked where I get my ideas. The short answer is: I find them everywhere. But that’s not very informative, so I’ll let you in on my secret. I’m constantly on the lookout for “what-if” kernels-sparks, if you will.

For example, if I’m in a public location I people-watch. Not in a creepy, stalker kind of way, but rather “I wonder what those two people are talking about because one of them looks happy-sad-stressed-angry-insert-other-emotion.” In fact, I can usually lasso my husband into the game if he’s with me.

Other things that spark my imagination are newspaper or magazine articles, books or movies I think should have ended or been written differently, historical events, and incidents that happen to me, my family, or friends.

Here are the sparks for each of my books:

Love’s Harvest: I got the idea to write a modern retelling of Ruth from Francine Rivers’ book Redeeming Love which is based on the book of Hosea.

Love Found in Sherwood Forest: The Love Inspired line was open for submissions. They provided myriad locations and trios of objects from which authors could select. (e.g., England, arrows, flowers, and a secret passage or Virginia, a winery, an antique car, and a stolen painting). LI didn’t pick up my story, but another publisher did.

On the Rails: We visited the Grand Canyon about ten years ago where I learned about the Harvey Girls-young women who traveled from the East to be waitresses for the Fred Harvey Restaurant company during the late 1800s and early 1900s. I was intrigued and did a bunch of research which led me to some of the women’s memoirs.

A Love Not Forgotten: I was asked by a publisher to write a story that culminated with a Spring wedding. While brainstorming, I saw a sitcom on which one of the characters was hit on the head resulting in amnesia.

A Doctor in the House: I was reading a book about the English country homes that were requisitioned by the government for use as barracks, hospitals, evacuee centers, etc. Having also read several books where the Americans were criticized for “being late to the last war, and late again,” I decided to throw an American into the mix to ratchet up the tension.

Under Fire: This is one of the first manuscripts I wrote, and it came about as a result of my coursework with Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild and attendance at the Crimebake Mystery Writers’ Conference. Classes about brainstorming and panel discussions ignited several ideas that culminated in the eventual plot.

See how easy it is? Take a look around today, and make a list of how many sparks you find.


*****
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. Linda is also a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.
www.lindashentonmatchett.com
www.stitchesthrutime.BlogSpot.com

Friday, May 25, 2018

Cover Reveal and Giveaway Story Sparks Blog Tour



Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-Author Blog Tour. 
Between May 21-26, 2018, readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors. T It's my day today. :) 

 A lucky winner will win a copy of my 2018 Christian Indie Award winner, Solve byChristmas, PLUS I have a cover reveal to share.

Read on to discover what sparks my creativity and to enter the rafflecopter to win her inspirational mystery with a Sherlock flare.

“Too many books, not enough time” is a two-fold saying for me. On one hand, there are so many good books to read, and on the other hand, there are so many ideas to write. For me, ideas come from everywhere. They can come from passing a mailbox, walking by an abandoned building, overhearing a conversation in the grocery store, day dreaming, reading the Scripture, or from history reading. Other times the idea is just dropped into my mind like a Valentine from God.

Usually though, the best ideas come from a combination of the above. With Solve by Christmas, the recent winner of the Christian Indie Award, I had a vague idea of a story. I wanted something with a tight timeframe that would create urgency. I’ve always loved detective stories, and those go perfectly with tight timeframes, so I started with that. From there, I wasn’t sure where to go…Then I thought, ‘what if Christmas was the deadline, and a Sherlock-ish detective had to stop some tragic event BY CHRISTMAS?’

From there, I didn’t really know where to go. Until the next piece dropped into my mind and stuck like a burr to a wool sock. What if the case the detective had to solve, wasn’t a case like he was thinking at all? What if he had to come up with a “case” for a loved one to continue living?

The Lord had given me an issue to address, and I knew it would be a hard one to pull off.

From there, I hit the history books. Researching the time period and location, I found all kinds of great information that added to the story depth. Such as the labor and Union wars in Denver during the 1910’s, which added great opportunities for tension and villains. Then the infanthood of detective work added to my character’s difficulty and need to prove himself. Researching organized crime and the development of the major detective agencies formed the backstory that drives Detective Jasper Hollock, even though it isn’t seen on stage in the book.


When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?


So, for Solve by Christmas, I guess you could say that it was a series of sparks that resulted in that story. Kinda like one of those fireworks that has multiple explosions.

History is one of my favorite places to look for inspiration, and I always hit the books when I come to writer’s block, even during a story. I love it so much, that I’m actually getting ready to release my very first non-fiction work, 12 Sisters Who Changed History. And today I’m revealing the cover! Would ya’ll like to see it?




I was researching Jane Austen and some other great heroines of history when the idea for Sisters Who Changed History came to me. Being the second born of twelve children, siblings are often on my mind. All the time we are taught of famous individuals and the impact that they had, but what about those that were sisters and how they influenced the world? A blog series was born, which then developed into a book of its own. The book will be releasing July 17th

Let me know what you think of the cover, and the oddest places that you have found inspiration in your life! 



Thanks for joining us today. Here’s the Rafflecopter:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 24, 2018

What Sparks Catherine Castle's Creativity? Story Sparks Blog Tour


Today we continue the Story Sparks multi-author blog tour with guest Catherine Castle. Between May 21-26, 2018 readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors.  Catherine’s winner may choose an ebook from any of her three books listed above on her book spine. Today Catherine will talk about the story sparks that started each of these books rolling. Read on to discover what inspires Catherine’s creativity and to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway .

*****

Hi, everyone!
I began my writing journey as a stringer for a local weekly newspaper. The hardest thing about that job was finding ideas to write about. I was in Writer Heaven when the editor called with a story idea. It was like getting a bright, shiny gift topped with a beautiful ribbon. The problem was those editorial gifts didn’t come in as fast as I wanted them to when I first started writing. So, I had to figure out where to find more ideas to write about. And of course, the burning question back then was, “How do I find an idea?”

It’s also the question most people ask me when they find out I’m a writer. Now I know the answer. J

After I published my first book, a multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense titled The Nun and the Narc , my daughter bought me a tee-shirt that read Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. I’m not sure if she knew how true that quote is, but I suspect she did, because whenever I’d hear, see, or read something interesting, she heard me say, “There’s a story somewhere in that.” For me story ideas are everywhere and within everyone.  I find story spark ideas in: the things I’m interested in, in other stories, in the news, in things people do, in things people say, at museums, in places I visit, in places other people visit, in magazines, and even through the tidbits of information on the backs of cereal boxes.

The Nun and the Narc originally started with the heroine as a missionary to Mexico building houses for the poor. I’d been working on some news articles about Habitat for Humanity for the newspaper, which probably spurred the original story plot. But the story wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the missionary heroine. Then a critique partner suggested I consider making the heroine a novice in the Catholic Church.  Now, I am fascinated by nun stories. “The Sound of Music” is my favorite musical, and I loved the television series “The Flying Nun.” As a stringer for the local newspaper, I interviewed a nun who left the order to marry, and, in real life, I knew a nun who had also left the convent to marry. I do admit to having a curiosity about how those women dealt with leaving the convent, and I think part of that curiosity spurred my story.


The Nun and the Narc

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.
  
 Although the book was a hard sell—the Christian market doesn’t usually like you to name denominations—the story was so intriguing to me, because of my interest in nuns, that I wrote it anyway, knowing it might never leave my hard drive. It was a book of my heart—inspired by my own interests and my feature stories for the newspaper.

My second book, a sweet romantic comedy with a touch of drama entitled A Groom for Mama, got its inspiration from a radio play my husband and I wrote years ago, entitled a “Bride for Mama.” The original play finaled in the contest, but my hubby and I never did anything more with it. When I was searching for something new to write, I remembered the radio play. I asked my husband if he minded it I took the original premise—a dying mother wants her son to find a bride before she leaves this earth—and turned the plot on its ear, creating a new story. He agreed and A Groom for Mama was born. I found inspiration in another story.

A Groom For Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

My most recent release, a contemporary inspirational romance entitled Bidding on the Bouquet, was ripped from an internet headline about a bride who was making her wedding attendants bid for places in her bridal party. My story, however, bears little resemblance to the news story. With plot twists and character changes I created a new story. All I needed was spark of an idea provided by the Bridezilla who wanted to get money for her wedding.


Bidding on the Bouquet

The chance to catch a bridal bouquet containing a solid gold rose makes underprivileged, down-on-her-luck grad student Marietta Wilson pawn everything she owns to come up with a bid to win a bridesmaid spot in the most prestigious wedding of the season.

When he discovers his sister is auctioning off bridesmaid spots in her wedding party, wealthy, elitist Chip Vandermere is appalled. Not only is it in poor taste, but no self-respecting lady would stoop so low as to bid. Convinced Marietta is a gold digger, Chip sets out to thwart her plans.

A social climber and a social misfit. Can a bridal bouquet unite them?


So, you might want to be careful the next time you ask a writer, “Where do you get your story ideas?” They might just say, “Why, from you, of course.” Because everything is fodder for the imagination of a writer.  


Thanks for coming by today and don’t forget to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win books from these six authors: Carole Brown, Catherine Castle, Linda Matchett, Amber Schamel, Terri Wangard, and Jodie Wolfe.
(Catherine’s bio below)


About the Author:
+Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, and quilting. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her books The Nun and the Narc, A Groom for Mama, Bidding on the Bouquet  and Trying Out for Love boxed set on Amazon. Connect with Catherine on her website and blog, FB, or Twitter @AuthorCCastle