Thursday, July 31, 2014

Contest, Giveaways and Scavenger Hunts - Christmas in July and August!

It's Christmas in July at Helping Hands Press!

Starting July 25th and going on until August 7th we are featuring two paperbacks: Best-Selling author Amber Schamel's "The Swaddling Clothes" and Linda Wood Rondeau's "Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street"! 
There will be contests, prizes, giveaways, and much more!

Go to the HHP blog page HERE and answer the questions to get in the drawing! They also have chapter samples.
On Monday HHP will announce the prizes and have more reading samples up for you to enjoy.


Let's start the contest for a variety of giveaways!

What are the prizes?

We will announce those on Monday! Be sure to follow HHP on Facebook and on the Blog so you don't miss out on the action!

Saturday we will have some Fun questions about Amber Schamel, so be sure to check back!

There will also be posts by the authors here on the main blog, who knows maybe some fun questions may come from them. http://myhelpinghandspress.blogspot.com/

Please have fun and enjoy!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Meet Samuel Adams! Summer Reading Blog Tour

We're having all sorts of fun on the Summer Reading Blog Tour! 

For this tour, we're interviewing the main character in our story. Here's an interview with Sam Adams, the patriotic hero and signer of the Declaration of Independence. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I have!


What is your name?
My name is Samuel Adams, but most folks know me as Sam. 

What one word best describes you?
If you ask the Governor, I'm hot headed and troublesome. But if you ask me, I am passionate and Patriotic. I am also known to be a speech maker, as you probably guessed at this long reply to your question. 

How did you first become involved in the story?
I was one of the first men to step up when the British began their tyrannical acts. Working tirelessly on committees,  writing for the Gazette,  and lobbying for Liberty became my occupation.  The people of Boston entrusted me with the task of traveling to Pennsylvania to join delegates from the other colonies to discuss our plight.

What worries you?
I fear the other colonies will not act quickly enough, and we shall be defeated by the British and forever enslaved. We must break the yoke of Pharaoh and follow the leading of God into the promised land of Liberty.

What's your favorite song?
 The Liberty Song. The words to this brilliant composition were written by fellow patriot John Dickinson. We published them for the first time in the Boston Gazette in 1768. The sixth verse of this American song of freedom is the first historical reference to the slogan "United we stand, but divided we fall."

What's your favourite food?
Anything my dear Betsy makes for me, but especially if it was grown from her garden.

What do you think of the other characters?
The other men in Congress are brave fellows, patriots in their own way. But only time will reveal their true courage and character. I think we shall soon see it, for the vote must be cast soon.
http://www.amazon.com/Remington-Colts-Revolutionary-War-Independence-ebook/dp/B00LF56PIU/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1405716105&sr=8-7&keywords=Amber+Schamel 
What do you think should happen?
Congress should unanimously adopt the Declaration.  It is well written, and we must adopt it and defend it at all cost.

Are you happy right now?
I will admit that I am quite anxious regarding the outcome of the vote. Yet, even in my worry, I find a peace that can only come from the Almighty.

What do you hope to do with your life?
If I may have a part in winning the freedom of these American Colonies,  I will feel I have accomplished my purpose in life.

Learn more about Sam and the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence in this best-selling series!

 

http://www.amazon.com/Remington-Colts-Revolutionary-War-Independence-ebook/dp/B00J5P86SE/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1405716105&sr=8-6&keywords=Amber+Schamel
Click to buy!
If you enjoyed this interview,  be sure to follow the blog hop for more! Here's the complete list in case you missed one.

Summer Reading Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 14 - Ruth L. Snyder  http://ruthlsnyder.com
Tuesday, July 15 Cindy Noonan http://CindyNoonan.com
Wednesday, July 16 Mishael Witty  http://bluebrownbooks.com/
Thursday, July 17 - Michele Huey http://christianwriterspage.blogspot.com/
Friday, July 18 - Patti J. Smith  http://gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/
Saturday, July 19 - Amber Schamel  http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/
Sunday, July 20 - Mark Carver   http://www.markcarverbooks.com
Monday, July 21 - Marian Baay  http://marianbaay.blogspot.nl/
Tuesday, July 22 - Jen Cudmore  www.jencudmore.com
Wednesday, July 23 - Tracy Krauss  http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/
Thursday, July 24 - Marcia Laycock http://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/
Friday, July 25 - Joy Davis  www.joyrossdavis.com
Saturday, July 26 - Travis Perry http://travissbigidea.blogspot.com/
Sunday, July 27 - Mark Venturini  http://markventurinijourney.blogspot.ca/
Monday, July 28 – Iola Kirkwood  http://iokirkwood.com/
Tuesday, July 29 – Marsha Hubler  http://marshahubler.wordpress.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Interview with Author Donna F. Crow and #BookGiveaway



I am pleased to welcome back to the blog, author Donna Fletcher Crow.
Donna is an author of historical novels including the epic Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place in Historical Fiction by the National Federation of Press Women. Donna lives and writes in Boise, Idaho.

Welcome Donna! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you, Amber. I’m delighted to be here. It’s always such fun to visit with readers. I’ve written forty-some books, mostly novels with a lot of British history in the background. Now I’m focusing on murder mysteries, keeping three series going. In my personal life, my husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last Christmas. We have 4 children and 13 grandchildren. And I love to garden when I’m not busy writing or playing with grandchildren.

50 years of marriage? Congratulations! How did you discover your calling to be a writer?
I became a writer because I was a passionate reader. I was devouring Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances when I realized how completely secular they were— one would think all the churches had been boarded up at that time, but I knew it was actually a period of great evangelical fervor. I wrote my first novel Brandley’s Search to set the record straight. That was 35 years ago and I haven’t stopped since.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Apart from the Bible, of course, the novels I have loved have been lamps to my path.  My love for Jane Austen led me to become an English teacher; Georgette Heyer launched my writing; P. D. James and Dorothy L Sayers were among those who led me to writing mysteries.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh, I would like to say Jane Austen, but I could never come close to her understatement or wit. I had an extended correspondence with the beloved American novelist Elswyth Thane when I was just beginning to write. Thane recommended books for me to read and gave wonderfully levelheaded advice about the writing life. I am using those letters in my next Elizabeth and Richard mystery The Flame Ignites

What is your favorite time in History?
Whichever one I’m writing about at the moment. Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, covers English history from the birth of Christ through the Reformation. I loved every minute of writing that. My Monastery Murders have Medieval Christianity in the background and the Lord Danvers series is Victorian. I adore being able to time travel!

What was the most outstanding thing you learned while researching for this novel?
Although one of the things I have always loved the most about Jane Austen is her wit, focusing on excerpts of her novels and letters that fit the various bits I was writing about brought this aspect of her style more sharply into focus for me. It seems Jane never wrote a word without a humorous subtext.

Please tell us about your book The Jane Austen Encounter:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1624820859/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1624820859&linkCode=as2&tag=wwwdonnafletc-20One of my goals as a writer is to give my readers a “you are there” experience, so this time I take my readers along with Elizabeth and Richard to all the homes Jane Austen lived in. Along the way we meet scholars, eccentrics, lovely people, rascals and worse. And see some beautiful English countryside as Jane might have seen it.

What do you want readers to take away from Jane Austen Encounter?
I hope readers will gain a new (or newly deepened) appreciation for Jane Austen and a feel for the sincerity of her Christian faith. I don’t believe Jane would have been the same writer without her underpinning of true faith. That’s something that tends to get overlooked in today’s society.

I believe you've accomplished that goal. Any fun behind the scenes tidbits you'd like to share with us?
My day at Godmersham Park was a special delight. Since Godmersham is not open to the public I am sincerely grateful to Gregg Ellis, the Estate Manager who gave me a personal tour and also recommended I add the “chocolate box village” of Chilham. Do take a look at my pictures here: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/aJaneAustenEncounter.php

Were any of your character's personalities based on real life people?
Most unusually, several of the people in this novel are real. An avid reader of all my novels, Arthur Langton, asked to be a character in one of my books, but he didn’t want to be the murderer or the victim. I hope he enjoyed being the young romantic interest. Then I was teaching a class on writing to my daughter-in-law’s students and they asked if they could be in a book. Stav, Nilay, Jack and Sahil turned out to be a great help when I needed a rescue team.

What is the next project you're working on?
Oh, yes— it’s always the vision of the next project that keeps me going. I am anxious to get The Flame Ignites, a Richard and Elizabeth prequel, off to my publisher so I can get on to writing Elizabeth and Richard’s adventures following the Jane Austen trail in London.
Also, A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary, book 4 in the Monastery Murders, will be out in a few weeks and I look forward to writing the next book in that series.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
To read more about all of my books and see pictures from my garden and research trips go to: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/ 
I would love to have you follow me on Facebook at: http://ning.it/OHi0MY

Thanks so much for sharing with us!
It was definitely my pleasure! Thank you for the lovely visit.

If you'd like to win a kindle copy of The Jane Austen Encounter, leave your name and email addy in the comments and I'll enter you in the drawing for this fun book! Winner will be announced July 23rd.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Homeschool Authors Kindle Giveaway

Hello Friends!


I wanted to let you all know about a great giveaway we're doing with Homeschool Authors! How would you like to win a FREE Kindle loaded with ebooks? Here's your chance!


Read-to-Win challenge!
How would you like to get a lot of books at a discounted rate?
Would like to help authors by leaving reviews on their books?
Would you like to win a brand new Kindle?
This summer, Homeschool Authors is hosting our first ever summer reading challenge and giveaway!
Every week a different author will be stopping by and their Kindle book will be discounted to $1.99 or less.
What could you win?
First Prize
Kindle loaded with a book by each of the featured authors
File:Kindle Paperwhite 3G.jpg
Second Prize
 Five digital books (winner gets to pick from a list)
Third Prize
Two digital books (winner gets to pick from a list)
Forth Prize
One signed paperback book
 Here is how you earn entries:
Buy the book on Amazon (make sure you get it while it is discounted)
Write a review at least 100 words long
Post that review on Amazon
Enter the link to your review in the Rafflecopter box
Requirements
For this huge giveaway, we will be verifying every entry. Make sure your entries fall with in these guidelines so they are counted.
The book must be a verified Amazon purchase (which means it was bought through Amazon)
The review must be at least 100 words long
The review need to be posted between June 1-August 31, 2014. 
Why are we making this a little more difficult than other times? Because we want to make sure that all entries are valid entries, and not just some people making things up to get a Kindle. We want YOU to win or at least have a really good chance. 
Are you ready? Here is the list of authors and books that will be featured (More details coming soon)
June 2 – Katie Daniels (Superhero of the Day)
June 9 – Jordan Smith (A Purple and Gold Afghan)
June 16 – Amber Schamel (Healers Touch)
June 23 – Jessica Greyson (Captive of Raven Castle)
June 30 – Nicole Sager (Hebbros)
July 7 – Jaye L. Knight (Resistance)
July 14 – Rachel Star Thomson 
July 21 –Elisabeth Grace Foley
July 28 – J. Grace Pennington (In His Image)
August 4 –Aubrey Hansen
August 11 – Rachel Rossano (Duty)
August 18 – Sarah Holman (A Different Kind of Courage)
August 25 – Alicia Willis (From the Dark to the Dawn)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review Jane Austen Encounter by Donna F. Crow

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:

Donna F. Crow

and the book:

StoneHouse Ink (February 2014)

***Special thanks to author Donna F. Crow for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donna Fletcher Crow, who lives in Idaho with her husband of 46 years, is the mother of four adult children, grandmother of 10 and author of thirty-some books, mostly novels dealing with British history. Her best known book is the epic historical novel Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place, Historical Fiction, by the National Federation of Press Women.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
A JANE AUSTEN ENCOUNTER is Book Three in The Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Series. BOOK DESCRIPTION English professors Elizabeth and Richard are celebrating twenty years of marriage with their dream vacation—visiting all Jane Austen’s homes in England. But not even the overpowering personality of their Oxford guide or the careful attentions of their new friends can keep the tour free from lurking alarms. When a box of old documents is donated to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, Richard volunteers to help sort through it. Later that night, however, he finds the Centre’s director bleeding on her office floor. Could the valuable letter that has gone missing really lead them to new revelations about Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript The Watsons?

Product Details:
List Price: $13.49 paperback $4.99 kindle
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink; 1 edition (February 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1624820859
ISBN-13: 978-1624820854


My Review:
I don't usually read cozy mysteries, but Jane Austen caught my eye. I really enjoyed reading A Jane Austen Encounter. It's the first book I've read by Donna, but she kept me guessing until the very end. 

Donna takes you to England to visit all the Jane Austen sites, and after reading the book, you almost feel as if you've been there. I learned a lot about the life of Jane Austen, as well as enjoyed a great mystery. 

Richard and Elizabeth are loveable characters that draw you into the story, and into solving the mystery. I'll just leave it at that, because I don't want to give away any spoilers. ;)

A Jane Austen Encounter is a murder mystery, but besides the fact that there's been a murder, it's a very clean read, which I really appreciated. It gets five stars from me. A book I will want to read again.

 
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:





 Chapter 1

            “Ah, Bath!” Elizabeth sighed deeply and ran her fingers through her cap of mostly still-black hair. “Twenty years! Can you believe it took us so long to get here? Where did the time go?”
            Richard’s eyes crinkled at the corners as he smiled at her across the teacups, then held up one finger in a wait-a-minute gesture and pulled his calculator out of his pocket. After a moment of keypunching he said, “I make it 10,000 lectures and 8,000 students between the two of us. That’s approximate, of course.” He started to snap his calculator shut. “No, wait, I forgot summer school.”
            “Richard!” Elizabeth grabbed his hand to halt his calculations. “Stop! The question was rhetorical. And you make it sound even worse than I thought. One thing’s clear, though— we’ve certainly earned this sabbatical.”
            “Is everything all right?” The soft English voice of their period-costumed waitress in a  white mob cap interrupted Elizabeth’s reminiscence. She looked at the floral china tier tray in the middle of their table. The scones were gone, but the tray still held an assortment of finger sandwiches and tiny cakes.
            “Everything is perfect.” Elizabeth smiled and gazed around the Regency Tea room above the Jane Austen Centre. “Well, perhaps we might have another pot of tea,” she amended.
            “And how many of those lectures were on the sublime Jane, would you say, my love?” She turned back to her companion.
            Richard started to reach for his calculator again, but Elizabeth stopped him. “No, no. I was joking. You can’t reduce Jane to simple numbers. Anyone would think you were a math professor instead of the most popular English literature lecturer Rocky Mountain College has ever had.”
            “Who had the good sense to marry his head of department.” Richard raised his tea cup to her. “Still, between the two of us, what with my class on the English Novel and your Austen seminar, we can hope to have produced our share of Janeites.”
            Elizabeth looked at the pale blue walls surrounding the roomful of tiny round tables where people sat sipping cups of tea and spreading scones with jam and clotted cream. She smiled at the portrait of Mr. Darcy just beyond Richard’s head. “And for all those years we’ve dreamed of this trip.” She took a sip of her milky tea and leaned back in her chair. “I can’t believe we’re actually here.”
            Richard bit into a salmon sandwich and chewed thoughtfully. “Twenty years. Any regrets?”
            Elizabeth sat forward so sharply she almost sloshed her tea. “Oh, my dear. Not a one.” Then she paused. She had spoken quickly. And from the heart. And yet. . . “Not any more. Truly.”
            She hid her contemplation under the activity of refilling her teacup from the fresh pot their waitress provided. Her words were true. There had been pain, but no regrets. Even the bad times were good because they had made both of them who they were today.
            For the first years of their marriage there had been the grief of not having a child, once it became clear that it was not to be. That had been a sharp pain— fear, even, for Elizabeth. Knowing that Richard’s first wife and child had died in childbirth made her want so desperately to make all that up to him. And then she hadn’t been able to. And she was so afraid he would be disappointed. As was she. 
            And Richard? There had been that student who had set her cap at him. Richard had resisted, but the fact that he could be tempted had left scars. Scars that made them both stronger and wiser.
            She gazed at the planes of his strong cheek bones, now softened a bit by time, and his still-rich brown hair, slightly less thick. But the thing that hadn’t changed at all was the burning intelligence behind his grey blue eyes. Or the way looking into them could make her heart leap.
            Still, was Richard truly happy? He had never given the slightest indication that it bothered him that she was the head of the English Department, while he remained a professor. He never seemed to be the least bothered by the fact that his scholarly articles on Dante and some rather obscure English poets got less attention than her publications on more popular topics. When she was honored as Outstanding Graduate by her California alma mater a few years ago no one offered more fervent congratulations than Richard. And never once did he indicate feeling neglected at not receiving similar kudos from his university in New England.
            Not often enough did she say Thank you for this truly good man. Their eyes met across the table. Did she read doubt in his?

            Richard returned Elizabeth’s gaze. After all these years he still felt a jolt of surprise at times that this dynamic woman was his wife. He had fallen head-over-heels in love with her at their first interview when he had struggled so to answer her academic questions instead of blurting out an invitation for her to have dinner with him.
            And then, that first year working together and his repeated proposals of marriage— always turned down with such gentle humor that he kept up the courage to ask again. And finally, that cold, wet  night at a mountain top resort and the unveiling of an audaciously wily murderer when she said, “Yes!”
            But had she been right? He was a rather dull fellow, he knew it: Given to prosing on about some abstract subject; always one to play it safe; never splash out and take chances. Would he have risen higher in his career if he had been more adventurous? Would Elizabeth be happier?
            But as the years rolled on at their dizzying speed with their lives so full of students and friends and colleagues and family times as they played aunt and uncle to Elizabeth’s sister Tori’s brood, he had come more and more to value their quiet times together. And suddenly here they were— celebrating their twentieth anniversary with the sabbatical they had always dreamed of, touring all the sites where Jane Austen had lived.
            Of course, for him it would be a bit of a busman’s honeymoon since Rocky Mountain required their faculty to produce works of scholarly research in order to justify granting a sabbatical.  And coming up with an appropriately erudite subject was his most pressing mission at the moment. Lucky Elizabeth, she was free of all that now.
            “Sure you don’t regret resigning your position as department head?” Richard cut in on her reverie.
            “Especially not that! What a relief to be free of the administration work. No, I’m definitely ready for a change of pace. A new challenge.”

            The words rang in Elizabeth’s own ears as she spoke them. A new challenge. Yes, that was what she needed. With all the busyness of finishing up the school year and getting ready for this trip, she hadn’t given the future much thought. But hearing the words spoken aloud— from her own mouth— made her wonder. She was only in her fifties— a young woman by today’s standards. As attractive as sitting around reading novels and eating bon bons sounded, she knew such shallowness would have her screaming in less than a week. If they had had children she might be expecting grandchildren now, but as it was. . .
            Richard raised an eyebrow. He looked almost worried, as if she had spoken the very words he had been thinking. “You weren’t bored were you?”
            Elizabeth chuckled. Richard knew well her low tolerance for boredom. She had turned down his first proposals of marriage under the misapprehension that he would be boring. How wrong she had been to mistake thoughtfulness for dullness. In twenty years life with Richard had never been dull.
            And she was determined to see to it that it not become dull now. Whatever new direction life took it must offer challenge.
            And, to be completely honest, their life had settled into something of a routine after the very exciting start their relationship had solving an actual murder at that mystery weekend that was intended to be merely a carefree intellectual puzzle. And then, only a few months later, facing down a murderer once more on their honeymoon. That had been the first scrape her sister Victoria had involved them in and there was the one other. . . Goodness after all that and some 8000 students, it was little wonder she felt they had justly earned an idyllic trip to England.
            She nibbled at a delicate cucumber sandwich and recalled those long-ago adventures to Richard. But they obviously weren’t lighthearted memories for her husband. He reached across the table and took her hand. “Don’t. When I think of you being in danger. . .”
            Elizabeth laughed. “I don’t think I was ever in serious danger. Still, I wouldn’t want to be chasing murderers again.”
            Richard gave her one of his wonderful, eye-crinkling smiles. “Little fear there, not with lovely, civilized Jane. No murder, no sex, no zombies.”
            “Definitely no zombies! You’ll find us all purists here. Guaranteed.” Elizabeth started at the clipped, English voice of the newcomer and looked up at a woman with blunt-cut iron grey hair, her broad shoulders encased in a shocking purple blouse.
            “Dr. Greystone?” Richard rose and took the hand the newcomer offered for a vigorous handshake. Elizabeth saw that she was almost as tall as Richard.
            “Call me Muriel. Please, don’t get up. I didn’t mean to interrupt your tea.”
            “No, not at all, won’t you join us? This is my wife Elizabeth.” Richard pulled out a vacant chair for their guest.
            Muriel Greystone accepted the chair Richard offered and the cup of tea Elizabeth poured when the waitress brought another cup. “No milk. Two sugars,” Muriel Greystone directed and accepted a sandwich from the tray Richard held out to her. “Sorry to be late. Trains from Oxford always unreliable. And then Gerri must stop in the loo. She’ll be along soon.”
            “Gerri?” Richard asked.
            “Geraldine Hammersley, my assistant, working on her PhD. Very keen on Jane, she is. Surely I mentioned her in one of my letters— writing her thesis on Jane Austen’s spiritual life.” The corners of her mouth pulled down in a near-grimace. “Sounds a bit wet, I know. But a valid enough topic, I suppose, what with Jane being a daughter of the manse and all that.”
            “We both enjoyed your article on Jane Austen’s use of landscape to exhibit character in the JASNA Quarterly, Dr. Greystone, er— Muriel,” Elizabeth said. Although the correspondence had been almost entirely between Richard and Dr. Greystone he had shared all her letters with Elizabeth after he began writing to the author of the aforementioned article following its publication by the Jane Austen Society of North America.
            Richard had been delighted when the noted academic had offered to be their tour guide to the sites of Jane’s homes. Elizabeth readily saw the advantage that offered for Richard’s sabbatical study, even though Muriel Greystone might not have been quite the first person Elizabeth would have chosen to accompany them on what was intended to be something of a second honeymoon. But at least they weren’t likely to have this time interrupted by murder as their first honeymoon had been.
            “So sorry to be late.” A short, plump woman with frizzy red hair in trousers tunic and flowing orange scarf scuttled into the empty chair at their table before Richard could stand to help her.
            “Never mind, Gerri. I made your excuses,” Dr. Greystone said. “Richard, Elizabeth, this is Geraldine Hammersley. Gerri, the doctors Richard and Elizabeth Spenser.”
            Geraldine pushed her tortoiseshell glasses back up on her nose. “I’m so pleased to meet you. I’m so looking forward to researching together.”
            Muriel Greystone took another sandwich but didn’t offer the tray to Geraldine. “Don’t suppose you want anything, Gerri, since you had tea on the train.”
            “Oh.” Geraldine looked uncertain. “Oh, no. No thank you.”
            Elizabeth wasn’t so sure. “Are you sure? We can easily ask for another cup.”
            “No, really. Thank you.” Geraldine studied the white tablecloth.
            “Well, then, if you’ve all finished—” Muriel finished her tea with a gulp and pushed her chair back. “I suggest we get on about our work.”
            Elizabeth eyed the pastry remaining on the tray, but rose obediently when Richard stood and placed a hand on the back of her chair to pull it out for her.
            “Told Claire— the director here, you know— I’d do the lecture for the next batch of punters. The potted history their tour guides here produce are all very well, but bit of a treat for them to get a real scholar’s view, don’t you know. Wouldn’t want to say no and I knew you wouldn’t mind.”
            “No, of course not, we’re delighted,” Richard said. “We haven’t done the tour of the centre yet. We’d be most honoured to have you guide us.”
                “Absolutely.” Elizabeth realized her smile was forced, but really, what possible objection could there be to

having an expert as a personal guide?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Special Guest: Joseph Max Lewis Author of John Hancock



Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my co-authors of the Declaration of Independence series! Today, Joseph shares some of his research and reaction to the critics of the Founding Fathers of this nation. 


Happy Fourth of July!

           
Imagine how the signers of The Declaration of Independence feel while looking down from heaven and listening to their critics. The thought never occurred to me until my publisher asked me to write a fictional short story relating how John Hancock experienced the 4th of July. Before starting, I read Herbert S. Allan’s even-handed biography of Hancock. Yes, the Founders were all human - Hancock was vain and a clothes horse, for example. But when you study the founding of America from the perspective of a Founder, the greatness of these men staggers you.

            “But they didn’t free the slaves and women and blacks couldn’t vote!”

            Guess what?  No one could meaningfully vote and everyone, everywhere, was in some form of bondage. The English themselves were “subjects.” Except for royalty and a small number of men in a handful of tiny Greek city states, no one had ever controlled their destiny. 

            Writing in the first person forces you to see things through the eyes of the character or historic figure, to imagine what they felt, wanted and thought. The Founders were operating in uncharted waters, laying the foundation to free all mankind and making things up as they went. They were doing it while at war with the most powerful Empire on the face of the planet. On January 1, 1776, George Washington discovered he had only 8,000 enlistments instead of the 20,000 planned. Georgia and South Carolina announced they would not sign if slavery were denounced, let alone outlawed.

            As I imagine Hancock saying, “The hard truth is we will not free the Negro slaves . . . not because we don’t want to, but because we can’t. The southerners would revolt . . . freeing the black man will require a war and the forces of liberty are barely able to fight one war, let alone two.”

            On July 4, 1776, the Founders were almost to a man well educated, affluent and doing quite well as subjects of Britain. In the 18th century, traitors were hung from a gibbet with their hands tied behind their back. Rather than breaking their necks, the traitor took about ten minutes to strangle to death. Traitors’ property was forfeit, so their families were left impoverished. While the Founders were signing their own death warrant, Benedict Arnold was trying to keep his army from disintegrating as he retreated from the disastrous Canadian campaign. "I have often thought how much happier I would have been," said Washington, "if, instead of accepting a command under such circumstances, I had taken up musket on my shoulder and entered the ranks.”  

            They were great men, yet consider the petulance with which they are treated. While reviewing “The Price they Paid” email about the Founders, the left wing site “Snopes” called it part true, part false. Why? Here’s an example: “Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.” Snopes - “yeah, well . . . she was already sick.” Seriously. I paraphrase, so check it out for yourselves. Part of the disdain appears to be petty racism, sexism and anti-Christianity - the Founders were white male Christians - but there may be something deeper. Writing about an attack on the Framers, Professor Walter Williams wrote, “If I believed in conspiracies, I'd say (Time’s) article is part of a leftist agenda to undermine respect for the founding values of our nation.” 

            Hancock might have said, “No doubt, those who hate liberty and embrace hate amongst the races will use this against us not only now, but far into the future. We can only trust this and future generations will be wise enough to detect the charlatan, understand his aim and reject his deception. That battle is for another time, and will be fought by other men. We must fight the one in front of us now.”

This is a column of opinion and satire. The author knows of no undisclosed facts.  Contact Lewis, the author of John Hancock, in Remington Colt's Revolutionary War Series, visit him at josephmaxlewis.com and click on Rimersburg Rules.  © Joseph M.  Lewis


To link to listen in on the blogtalk radio show with Joseph Max Lewis discussing “The Declaration of Independence”: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gelatisscoop/2014/07/03/joseph-max-lewis-discusses-the-declaration-of-independence

To stop by Mr. Lewis’ website and connect with him: www.josephmaxlewis.com