Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels

This week I'm featuring the first novella in The Backcountry Brides Collection, titled Shenandoah Hearts, by the woman who started it all! Carrie Fancett Pagels founded the team blog Colonial Quills 7 years ago this month (we celebrate TOMORROW with another tea party), and an all-colonial novella collection has been her dream for quite a while now.

Shenandoah Hearts is set in 1754 on the Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia down into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Of the setting, Carrie writes:

Jacob Owens is a prosperous merchant, owning and running a Philadelphia shop. He’s had the wonderful ladysmith, Madga Sehler, working with his family for years. But the Sehler family is relocating to the Shenandoah region of what is today Virginia. This backcountry area was dangerous. Beautiful but dangerous. Far from Jacob’s home. And did I mention dangerous?

In romance we always have the “why?” and the “why not?” I’m a big proponent of understanding the characters’ backstories. So what do we have in Jacob’s present day and in his backstory that would lead him to abandon his livelihood in Philadelphia? Jacob’s parents lived in Philadelphia and brought him up there. But wait – his grandparents had lived in the backcountry. And every visit to Philly brought tales of the glorious beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. So his grandparents had lived there in the early 1700's, my oh my – and what adventurers they had to have been. Jacob’s eldest brother is, in fact (and fiction!), living in western Virginia, developing a forge and iron working business in which Jacob will share partnership.

But…Jacob’s next eldest brother is in the military. He has been sent to the western area of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, to guard against encroaching French interests. And he tells Jacob this is an area brewing with trouble. These two brothers are particularly close. And Jacob’s brother has planted the notion that if ever Jacob should wish to journey to their grandparents’ former “backyards” that he’d be welcome in the milita. Or as a supplier to the forts, which was badly needed.

What’s a man to do? When Magda leaves with her family, apparently accepting an offer of marriage from the older wagonmaster, many a man might decide – she’s made up her mind. But a wise customer shares her advice. And Jacob seeks God’s direction in his life.

Want to know what happens?  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the collection! Also, don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway, which runs through May!

Shannon notes: This story is companion to the Colonial Quills serial, A Forted Frontier Holiday, which ran November 2012 through January 2013. A richer understanding of Carrie's novella is gained by reading the serial story alongside. :-)

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time!

Carrie's Website: www.carriefancettpagels.com
Carrie's Pinterest page for 18th Century clothing:  https://www.pinterest.com/carriefpagels/18th-century-clothing/

Other places to connect with Carrie:

Where to find our book:

Christian Book Distributors

Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too

~*~*~

LAST TWO DAYS FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!!
Enter HERE!

 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Love's Undoing, with Gabrielle Meyer

Continuing with the settings of the Backcountry Brides novellas, today I'm hosting Gabrielle Meyer with Love's Undoing. Gabrielle writes:

My story begins in what would one day become central Minnesota on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River in 1792 at a Scottish fur post. Abi is the daughter of a Scottish fur trader and an Indian mother. Early in the story, she leaves the post and travels to Montreal to find her sister. She and the hero, Henry, are accompanied by a Chippewa guide, Migizi, and the man her father hopes she’ll marry, Robert. She longs to get away from the confines and expectations of the fur post and see what the world has to offer.

I loved creating the setting, especially at the beginning when they are in the fur post. My daughter and I visited The Northwest Company Fur Post in Pine City, Minnesota, and that was the inspiration for the McCrea fur post in my story. I live in central Minnesota, so it was easy to set Abi and Henry along the lakes and rivers I know so well. They travel from central Minnesota to Montreal by dogsled (also known as a cariole), and the countryside they traverse becomes almost like another character. It was fun to bring early Montreal to life, as well. It’s the first city Abi has ever seen, and because of that, she experiences it in a way others probably wouldn’t—with complete awe and wonder.


Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. You can learn more about her and her upcoming releases by visiting her website: www.gabriellemeyer.com or her Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/AuthorGabrielleMeyer.

~*~*~


This is the last week for our Rafflecopter giveaway ! If you haven't already, click on the link to see all the ways you can enter to win.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Land of the Noonday Sun, by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Welcome to the next installment of The Backcountry Brides settings, and welcome to Jennifer!

~*~*~

Annis Shunk, b. 1832
Deep in the mountains of western North Carolina is an area where the sun’s rays only reach the ground when it is directly overhead during the middle of the day. The Cherokee Indians called this land Nantahala, which means “land of the noonday sun.” This is where I set my Backcountry Brides novella, Heart of Nantahala, in 1757. The Cherokee built a town in Nantahala and called it Aquone, or “by the river.” It consisted of a church, a school, a post office, and a couple of cemeteries. Very little is known of the people in Aquone, as it now lies beneath Nantahala Lake, a man-made lake built in 1942 for electrical power.


In 1835, President Andrew Jackson decided to forcibly remove about 15,000 Cherokee from the eastern states of NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, TN, and marched them by military escort to a reservation in Oklahoma. This removal was gruesome, on foot, and hard on the Cherokee. Over 3,500 died on the 1,200 mile journey, which became known as The Trail of Tears. They suffered whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation.
A Cherokee house

After forced removal of the Cherokee, their homes and property were confiscated and opened as homesteads to white settlers. In spite of these cruel injustices, a small band of 800 Cherokee refused to leave and hid in the Appalachian Mountains. Their descendants became known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

They now live in the Qualla Boundary, a chunk of land that has been transformed into an Indian reservation where they have their own nation, government and laws. Most of their income is from tourism and their casinos are outlawed everywhere else in the state. If you visit the Cherokee today, they have a teepee where you can get your photo taken with a Cherokee Indian. This is purely a tourist attraction, but the truth is, the Cherokee never lived in teepees. Instead, they lived in small houses.

To protect the natural habitat of the area, the Nantahala National Forest was established in 1920, covering multiple counties with elevations ranging from 1,200 to 5,800 feet. Part of this forest merges with the Appalachian Trail where hikers flood the area in autumn during peak season and visit the many waterfalls.

Bennie Thomas Hudson, left
The Cherokee have always fascinated me, as I can only imagine what it must have been like to be forcibly removed from their homes. What must they have endured while hiding out in the mountains to stay here in North Carolina? I believe they were strong-willed, determined, and loyal to each other. If it is true what my great-grandfather told us, that his mother was full-blooded Cherokee, I hope I have inherited that inner strength from my ancestors.

My husband's family is from the Nantahala area and I have always enjoyed visiting the beautiful mountains where my father-in-law was born and raised. In fact, I have included a photo of his ggg-grandmother. She is also from Nantahala, and to me, she looks very Cherokee.

The hills and Blue Ridge parkway call to a writer's muse. I am always inspired to write when I visit, and for a long time I’ve wanted to write a story set here. I hope you get the opportunity to read Heart of Nantahala in the Backcountry Brides novella collection.

Sources:
Trail of Tears, The History Channel
Nantahala, North Carolina, Wikipedia

Jennifer notes:

The historical image of the woman is my husband's ggg-grandmother who lived in the Nantahala area near the Cherokee Reservation. Her name was Annis Shunk (b. 1832). I believe she is most likely Cherokee. 

The photo of the two men is of my great-grandfather, Bennie Thomas Hudson, on the left. He is half-Cherokee. 

The image of the log cabin is of a North Carolina Cherokee home. Contrary to popular belief, the Cherokee did not live in teepees. They built more permanent structures

~*~*~*~


Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of inspirational fiction set in historical Europe & the Carolinas. She provides keynotes and presentations on the publishing industry, the craft of writing, building an author platform & digital marketing.

Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the Holt Medallion Award for Best First Book and she has had reviews in USA Today, Publisher's Weekly & the Library Journal. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, RT Book Reviews, The Military Trader and USAir Magazine. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications/Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, visiting historical sites, horseback riding, cycling, long walks, genealogy and reading.

Jennifer's website: 

Amazon Author Page:

Jennifer's Twitter:


Jennifer's Pinterest: 


Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A Visit from Debra E. Marvin

Fort Niagara stands at the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into the last great lake, Lake Ontario. Nowadays, that’s Youngstown, New York, USA, and across the river is Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada—land once known only to First People tribes and fur traders. In 1678, the French Explorer LaSalle crossed the lake to begin a small fort. It is said he was given permission to build a ship, and when the ‘Griffon’ was complete, the French sailed away.  Almost a decade later, the French Commander, Marquis de Denonville, returned to begin work on a larger fort. Despite some success, the next winter’s harsh conditions found them without food and sympathy from the Seneca, so with only a handful of survivors, the fort was once again abandoned.

 Finally, in 1723, the current Fort began to take shape. The impressive stone quarters called The Castle was built to look more like a French Chateau than a fort. But it was a fortress nonetheless with massive walls and a gun deck concealed behind third floor windows. The fort flourished as a trading post until the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) when French and British animosity filled the Niagara Frontier. It was captured by the British in 1759.  My story, A Heart So Tender, is set in 1764 at the time of Sir William Johnson’s “Great Gathering”. As Indian Agent for the Crown, Johnson sought peace between the settlers in the area and the many tribes along the frontier. He could no longer ignore Pontiac’s Rebellion to the west, and the Massacre at Devil’s Hole a few months prior. 


The British held Ft. Niagara during the Revolutionary War and only gave it up by treaty in the 1790s but fought for it again during the War of 1812. Again American forces captured Fort Niagara from the British. Until… December of 1813 when the British won it back.

Unfortunately, no one was interested in spending a winter along the lakeshore, and the British abandoned the fort. In 1814 it was officially handed over (once again) to the Americans and eventually saw some new reinforcement during the American Civil War when there were concerns that the British (fearful of the impact of war on their much-needed source of cotton and tobacco) would work on behalf of the South.
 
Today Fort Niagara is a beautiful step back into history, and the oldest continually occupied military fort in North America. A history of war, yes, but a history of perseverance too. Please keep it in mind if you visit the Niagara River area. And for a taste of its history, read A Heart So Tender, one of the eight frontier stories found in The Backcountry Brides collection.

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction, and Barbour Publishing...and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.

You can connect with her here:
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DebraEMarvin
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebraEMarvin/

Be sure to enter our huge Backcountry Brides giveaway, going on through the end of May!


Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Release day ... party time!!

I'd honestly planned to post the next piece on setting for Backcountry Brides, but I drove to Omaha and back over the weekend for a writer's conference ... and I am tired!!! So, instead I present you ..


Come join us over at the Colonial Quills blog, and on Facebook! Giveaways on both--including a BIG Rafflecopter giveaway with all kinds of neat items--so please stop in to look.


At the Facebook party, I'll be chatting about my novella, The Counterfeit Tory, at 2 PM EDT. (Others will be there on the hour from 1 PM until evening.) The main part of the chat will be half an hour, but I'll be hanging out for a little while afterward to answer questions, etc. I hope you'll join me!