Monday, May 04, 2015

Blog Tour: The Most Eligible Bachelor!

Welcome to our "Meet the Bachelor" blog tour! We have some fabulous prizes, a gift basket with contributions from all the authors, and free books! Please check back for details on how to enter, and where you can read more about the various stories in this very fun romance novella collection.

And without further ado, may I introduce you to ... The Highwayman.


Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee
Bachelor's Name, Age, Occupation – Samuel Wheeler, early 20’s, apprentice wagonmaster (and handler of oxen--hence the adorable plush calf in the gift basket, from Colonial Williamsburg!) Visual inspiration: if you can imagine a young, blond Sean Astin, reminiscent of his role of Samwise Gamgee in Lord of the Rings, only decked out in colonial working-man's wear, with long hair pulled back in a queue, you'd have a good approximation of Sam Wheeler.
A Smith Shoeing an Ox (Dujardin: Wiki)
Story Setting/Era – the Shenandoah Valley, along the Great Wagon Road that ran between Philadelphia PA and Charlotte NC, on the eve of the American Revolution
What makes him so eligible? – his famed, if anonymous, heroism.
Does he want to be eligible, or is it something thrust upon him? – definitely thrust upon him! He’s getting a bit weary of his double life, truth be told ...
Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
Who are the ladies contending for the bachelor? – many would love to contend for him, but the only one he has eyes for is Sally (Sarah) Brewster, daughter of an innkeeper along the Great Road. Visual inspiration: Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre--the costuming is the wrong era, but the hair and eyes, with that saucy cleft chin, are very reminiscent of Sally.
What must the ladies do to win his hand? (Is it a competition, etc.) – Sally is shocked to find all she really has to do is be herself. With the colonial model of beauty running more to plump and petite, she believes she's too tall, too thin for attractiveness.
Painting by Wyeth ... Sam's coat?
Inspiration for the story – It all started with the transcript of a colonial wagonmaster's diary (see link above) which fell into my hands while researching for my first novella, Defending Truth. The diary offered some amazing insights into travel and daily life of the time. Later, as I contemplated the logistics of a person in this occupation leading a double life, all kinds of influences got thrown into the mix: The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro, Robin Hood, and even the modern TV series Arrow ... :-) Yes, I have something of a weakness for stories featuring secret identities!

Please take time to visit the other stops on the tour this week, and to enter our giveaway!

Monday, May 4th
a. Gabrielle Meyer (www.gabriellemeyer.com)
b. Shannon McNear -- HERE!

Tuesday, May 5th
a. Gina Welborn -- my blog "Shine!" (www.ginawelborn.blogspot.com) -- daily spotlights for each story
b. Susanne Dietze ~ Tea and a Good Book (www.susannedietze.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, May 6th
a. Connie Stevens -- "Heart Of A Writer" http://conniestevenswrites.com/blog/
b. Cynthia Hickey at Coffee Cups blog http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 7th
a. Amanda Barratt on Erica's blog. smile emoticon http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com/
b. Gina and Susie ~ Inkwell Inspirations (www.inkwellinspirations.com)

Friday, May 8th
a. Kathleen Y'barbo on Gabrielle's blog (www.gabriellemeyer.com)
b. Erica Vetsch -- Coffee Cups & Camisoles Blog reposting the rafflecopter giveaway and reminding folks the gift basket/signed book giveaway ends soon. http://coffeecupsandcamisoles.blogspot.com/

And don't forget to enter our huge Gift Basket Giveaway!

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Reflections on the Release of Another Novella

How does one promote a book, in good conscience, while the world is burning at the edges?
For that matter, how does one write, to start with, under those circumstances?
                Not an easy question to answer.
                The Highwayman was, as I told many people, my silliest story idea ever. Of course, that almost guaranteed that it would be the one my editor liked and bought. Though I was thrilled at receiving another contract, the first shattering news reports of ISIS attacks in Iraq were breaking as I wrote the first draft. More than once I questioned the MORALITY? of spending time on what felt so frivolous compared to world events.
                But when I’d take it to the Lord in prayer, the answer I received was ... keep writing. Just trust Me in this.
                Heaven knows I didn’t understand it. I wrote the first draft in a fever over just 18 days, not including a short break for a family visit. Writing was fun in ways other stories hadn’t been. After a short break, I polished it, sent it off to the editor, and when edits came, worked it over again in preparation for actual publication.
                Now, months later, ISIS is still at it. An earthquake has killed thousands. Our own country’s political situation feels more precarious than ever. But I’m obligated to spend time promoting the book now that it’s out.
                How dare I spend time on something so frivolous?
                The realization came to me that in spite of the story’s apparent lightness, the underlying theme is courage and strength. Specifically, having the courage to stand up to bullying ... to the terrorist mindset: “Let us have our way or else.” One man, who isn’t sure he measures up to the legend that has grown out of what started as “a lark,” finds that he’s called on to be courageous in ways he never has before ... and in turn, he inspires others to stand up to the wrong that seeks to have its way in one small community.
                Is this not what we are actually called to do, as believers? Maybe the story isn’t so silly as I first thought.
                Maybe ... dare I believe it? ... God worked this theme into the story, without me realizing it ...
                So ... I present you The Highwayman.
                A quick note about the history: I took a rather “glossy” approach to the whole “standing against tyranny” theme common in colonial-era fiction. I prefer showing more of the political complexity of the time, as I did in Defending Truth and my yet-unpublished long historical, Loyalty’s Cadence, but I ran out of time and word count. On the eve of revolution, my hero and heroine face a more immediate threat.

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Join me next week, May 4-8, for a blog tour and huge gift basket giveaway featuring all the items shown here, contributed by myself and my co-authors. Details Monday!