History

Meet Jennifer Lamont Leo Author of The Violinist in The Highlander’s Collection

Posted by on Oct 29, 2019 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meet Jennifer Lamont Leo Author of The Violinist in The Highlander’s Collection

Jennifer Lamont Leo is one of the authors of The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. Her story, The Violinist, the last story in the collection.

Please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

I’ve always loved reading and writing, but I didn’t start writing fiction in earnest until we moved to Idaho about thirteen years ago. My first novel started out as Nanowrimo project (National Novel Writing Month), where participants are challenged to write a 50K word novel in a month. By the time the story was published it was almost unrecognizable from that early attempt, but I still recommend Nanowrimo to new writers as a way to light a fire under an idea and get the words flowing.

Is The Violinist your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?

It’s my second novella. I found it as challenging to write as a novel, but in a different way. In a novel, the action has to be sustained over a longer span, but there’s room to explore different characters and ideas. A novella, being shorter, needs to be more concise and focused, which presents its own set of challenges.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m very much a plotter. While some things may change as I go along, I need to start out with a pretty detailed road map. (Which is the way I drive, too, so at least I’m consistent.)

Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?

As a child I was given violin lessons and played in the school orchestra, but I didn’t love it. So I was surprised that the violin played such a central role in the story.

Did you determine the storyline first or the era?

I knew I wanted to set it against the backdrop of the early 20th century, my favorite time period to write about. It was an era of great change and drama in the U.S. and elsewhere, with two world wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and all sorts of social upheaval. But for the novella, of course, I had to narrow it down. When I chose to bring my Highlander to Idaho as a logger, I set the story in 1915 since that was the heyday of logging here in the Northwest and fit with other events I wanted to include.

Please tell us what the story is about.

In 1915, Scotsman Callan MacTavish is working as a logger in northern Idaho. Beneath his rough plaid flannel shirt beats a homesick heart –a heart soothed only by the sweet violin of the local music teacher, Rose Marchmont. In order to spend time with Rose under the watchful eye of her disapproving family, Callan signs up for music lessons, with a surprising outcome that will tug at readers’ heartstrings.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

People are not always what they seem at first glance. We shouldn’t be too quick to judge based on outward appearances.  Everyone has a story.

What are your social media sites?

Website: http://jenniferlamontleo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferLamontLeo/
Twitter: JennLamontLeo
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jennyleo/


Author Bio:

Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She’s the author of You’re the Cream in My Coffee (winner of an ACFW Carol Award) and Ain’t Misbehavin’, both set in Roaring Twenties Chicago. In addition to historical fiction, she writes magazine articles on history-related topics and hosts two podcasts, “A Sparkling Vintage Life” and “North Idaho Nuggets.” She is also a copywriter, editor, and playwright. The Chicago-area native now writes from her mountain home in northern Idaho, which she shares with her husband, cat, and abundant wildlife.

 

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Meet Naomi Musch Author of A Tender Siege in The Highlander’s Collection

Posted by on Oct 22, 2019 in Blog, Books, History | Comments Off on Meet Naomi Musch Author of A Tender Siege in The Highlander’s Collection

Naomi Musch is one of the authors of The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. A Tender Siege is the second story in the collection.

Please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

How long? Hm…I don’t remember when I didn’t write stories. I’ve been writing since elementary school, and all my adult life, in various venues.

Is A Tender Siege your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?

I have written several novellas, though not all are published yet. My first published novella was Heart Not Taken, published in 2010. I wrote the story of a high school English teacher struggling with his faith and a beautiful landscaper who renovates his heart and spirit along with his cabin property as an exercise to challenge myself in shorter form, because yes, I find writing novellas to be a very unique challenge. A novel gives the writer a lot of room to develop character arc and numerous tangled story threads. In a novella, it’s challenging to show an entire character arc and to limit the use of multiple story threads. I’ve simply been at the novel-length form longer. That said, I feel pretty confident that the story and character arcs in my new novella A Tender Siege are successfully woven.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I definitely use a plot, especially when I’m plunging into that first draft. That doesn’t mean I can’t veer from it if I experience a voila moment. I often do. Occasionally I swing substantially wide of the outline. If I begin to feel like I’m floundering or can’t quite get my character to tell me what to do next, then I return to the plot—the drawing board, as it were.

Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?

I’m most often surprised by secondary characters. They have a tendency to walk onto the screen and get involved in ways I haven’t plotted or expected. Maybe it’s because I haven’t spent as much time thinking about them (though I usually do after the fact). Maybe it’s because they help me to see my main characters better, through the eyes of someone important to them. I had at least one such surprise in A Tender Siege.

Did you determine the storyline first or the era?

I determined the era first in this particular story. I knew I wanted to write about Pontiac’s War, and I knew that there were highlanders involved (quite a bit during the French and Indian wars, in fact). I had to figure out which battle would best work for a character, and then I had to figure out the back story of that character—who turned out to be Lachlan McRea, of his Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders. Lachlan is a widower. His backstory plays into his reason for being there as well as his reasons for behaving as he does.

Please tell us what the story is about.

It’s August of 1763. Wounded in battle at Bushy Run in the American wilderness, Lachlan McRea of His Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders pleads with God, yearning to be reunited with his lost wife and child. As death hovers near, he is discovered by Wenonah, a native widow doing all she can to survive alone while avoiding the attentions of a dangerous Shawnee warrior. In aiding one another, their perils increase. If Lachlan can let go of the woman he once loved, he might find healing for both body and soul.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

A Tender Siege is certainly a story of second chances. Lachlan’s deliverance demonstrates how God comforts wounded hearts and even wipes away tears in ways and places we seldom expect.

What are your social media sights?

Let’s get better acquainted! My website is easy: NaomiMusch.com Please sign up for my monthly newsletter Northwoods Faith & Fiction for non-spammy news and updates and follow on the social media platform where you most like to hang out: Bookbub, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Author Bio:

Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine, Lake Superior northwoods, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues on topics ranging from homeschooling to homesteading, her great love is historical fiction. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi would love to meet with and speak to your group. She would also enjoy connecting around the web.

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Meet J’nell Ciesielski – Author of Night Fox in The Highlander’s Collection

Posted by on Oct 15, 2019 in Blog, Books, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meet J’nell Ciesielski – Author of Night Fox in The Highlander’s Collection

Over the next few weeks, I’m featuring one of the authors of  The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection. This week, I’m pleased to introduce J’nell Ciesielski, author of Night Fox, the first story in the collection.

J’nell, please tell us something about yourself and how long you’ve been writing.

Like most writers, I can tell you that I’ve loved reading for a very long time, but it wasn’t until I was a junior in college when I started to write my first real novel. It took a few years to actually finish and it wasn’t very good, as most first novels aren’t. Then I started my next and then my next. It wasn’t until six years ago when I got my agent and then two years ago when I landed my first contract. It’s been a long journey and one I’m excited to see where it’ll go next!

Is Night Fox your first novella? Did you find writing it more or less challenging than writing a novel?

Night Fox is my second written novella, but the first one I’ve had published. It was both challenging and easier than a full-length novel. More challenging because you have to cram an entire story into a very short amount of words, and easier because you can strip away all the extraneous lines and focus on the central story. And for a romance writer, that means more love.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I’m a planner in life and on the page. That being said, while I do have a plot it’s not necessarily written line for line without room for budging. I have certain plot points I want to hit, but I don’t always know exactly how I’ll get to them until I’m actually writing the scene. This can often lead to fun little surprises that I never considered before but can make the story more wonderful.

Was there anything that surprised you about writing this story?

How much fun it can be to write a female vigilante. I’ve never written one before and most stories have the men cloaked in black and holding roadside stick ups. No one expects a woman to be terrorizing the town!

Did you determine the story-line first or the era?

I’m most comfortable writing in the Jacobite Era of Scotland, specifically around the 1745 rebellion. For Night Fox I wanted to touch on something a little different and so chose the lesser-known 1715 rebellion. Once I had that, I settled on a fun take of Robin Hood by giving it a different spin with the woman as the thief.

Please tell us what the story is about.

After the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, war-weary Deven McLendon returns home to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any other. When Rooney Corsen sets out to steal jewels to repay her family’s debts and keep a roof over her little sisters’ heads, never does she imagine snagging the laird’s heart instead.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

Sometimes people do the wrong things for the right reasons. Try not to judge them too harshly.

What are your social media sights?

http://www.jnellciesielski.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jnellciesielski

https://twitter.com/JnellCiesielski
https://www.goodreads.com/jnellciesielski

https://www.pinterest.com/jnellciesielski/

 

Author Bio:

Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days writing heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.

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Never Underestimate the Heart of a Highlander

Posted by on Sep 14, 2019 in Blog, Books, History | 2 comments

I’m excited to announce that The Highlanders is now up for ebook preorder.

I was delighted when Pegg Thomas, Publisher for Smitten Historical Romance, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas asked me to be part of this novella collection. None of us knew what the other authors were writing about or in what era it took place so it’s been such fun reading the other’s stories. 

Here’s a preview of what our Highlander tales are about.

Night Fox             By J’nell Ciesielski

After the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, war-weary Deven McLendon returns home to discover a thief creating chaos on his lands. But this thief isn’t like any other. When Rooney Corsen sets out to steal jewels to repay her family’s debts and keep a roof over her little sisters’ heads, never does she imagine snagging the laird’s heart instead.

A Tender Siege        By Naomi Musch

Pontiac’s War, August 1763: “I beg Ye to take me.” Wounded in battle in the American wilderness, Lachlan McRea of His Majesty’s 42nd Highlanders pleads with God, yearning to be reunited with his lost wife and child. As death hovers near, he is discovered by Wenonah, a native widow doing all she can to survive alone while avoiding the attentions of a dangerous Shawnee warrior. In aiding one another, their perils increase. If Lachlan can let go of the woman he once loved, he might find healing for both body and soul.

The Year without Summer            By Janet Grunst

Shoved off his family’s land in Scotland in 1816, Grant Cummings looks for work in Ulster, Ireland. He needs money and a home to raise his young brother. Molly MacGregor loses her father and his income, but she has no time to grieve as she sews and spins to earn enough to keep her and her young brother alive. Renting out the hut on their land might be the answer, but only if she can overcome her prejudice against the handsome Highlander who moves in. Her heart might soften toward him, but not when he plans to set sail for America.

The Violinist           By Jennifer Lamont Leo

In 1915 Idaho, homesick lumberjack Callan MacTavish despairs of ever seeing his Scottish homeland again. With kindness and patience, music teacher Rose Marchmont reaches a part of Callan’s heart he’d long ago locked away. She sees beyond his rough exterior to the artistic heart beneath. He longs for more than he can offer her, but she doesn’t know about the secret trauma that keeps him from crossing the sea.

Choosing a cover can be very challenging. So many options displayed more of our Highlander than seemed appropriate for our stories. So we were thrilled when one of our authors, Naomi Musch, suggested her son might fill the bill.  That’s the story behind our handsome cover model.

If you enjoy reading novellas please tell us why.

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War’s Respite and Love’s Kindling

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019 in Blog, Book Reviews, Books, History | 6 comments

I’m pleased to feature Elaine Cooper the author of several Revolutionary War period books. Her Deer Run trilogy, Saratoga Letters and Fields of the Fatherless, all stories that linger in your mind long after you’ve read them.

Last week the first two stories of her Dawn of America Series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut released War’s Respite, a prequel novella, and Love’s Kindling.

What inspired you to write the Dawn of America Series?

“A ‘chance’ discovery while researching online revealed a historical incident that occurred during the American Revolution in Connecticut: The British troops attacked three towns along Long Island Sound in 1779. I had never heard of these battles before and was amazed by the significance of them. Yet the stories of the residents of New Haven, Fairfield, and Norwalk, Connecticut, seemed buried in the annals of history. I couldn’t wait to unearth the past, set in a fictional format!”

That reminds me a bit of Fields of the Fatherless, another little-known but significant event that took place at the same time of the battles of Concord and Lexington.

What made you decide to start the series with a prequel novella?

When I signed my contract with Burnett Young Books, the publisher wanted Book 1 to be a Prequel to Book 2, Love’s Kindling. I’d never written a prequel before and I found it completely enjoyable to go deeper into the back story of my characters. That’s how War’s Respite was birthed, as an introduction to the entire 4-book series.

War’s Respite

In 1763, the war with the French came to a close. While most Connecticut colonists breathed in relief, others are faced with unexpected conflicts as battles of a different nature ensue at home.

Veteran Abijah Whitney regrets leaving his pregnant wife behind when he was called away to war. The news of her death during childbirth, as well as the ugly brutalities of war, have left their mark. His only comfort is the knowledge that his daughter survived. But his plans for her upon his return will cause an uproar in many lives, including the aunt who raised her.

Primrose Allan’s sole consolation after the death of her sister in childbirth is the baby girl who lived. The aunt raises the girl as her own, fearing that one day the girl’s father might return for her. But Primrose never imagined the nightmare that would ensue.

Dr. Isaac Northrup is a friend caught in the middle of the turmoil. Always desiring to bring healing, he feels helpless in the events that cause pain and heartache to others, as well as himself.

Jonas Wooding, the town’s blacksmith, is caught in the strife, made all the worse by a serious epidemic. Bound by constrictions of local law and forced to face his own grief, Jonas’s trust in God is stretched beyond endurance.

When all seems lost, will faith endure?

War’s Respite drew me in immediately. Elaine’s thorough research of history was evident. She presented intriguing characters with overwhelming circumstances that kept me turning the pages to find out how they would be solved.

Love’s Kindling

During the American Revolution in 1779, Aurinda Whitney lives with her cold and calloused father, an embittered veteran of the previous war. Aurinda’s life changed forever when her father returned for her after that war, taking her away from the only place she’d ever experienced affection. Since her father blamed Aurinda for the death of his wife in childbirth, Aurinda is convinced she is unworthy of love.

Zadok Wooding believes he is a failure as he tends the smithy at home while others go to battle against the British. Just when he has an opportunity to become a hero, he is blinded in an accident. Now he fears he will never live up to the Biblical “mighty man of valor” for whom he was named.

When the couple meet they are both challenged to overcome adversity as well as their inadequacies. Unexpected secrets of their past emerge that can change their lives forever. But can they look past their present circumstances to heal—and find love?

Love’s Kindling is another well-researched Revolutionary War story filled with engaging characters, war action, broken relationships, and budding romance. The characters are plagued by the war around them but also battle emotional and physical challenges which threaten their growing attraction. The issues they face are not relegated to the eighteenth century, they’re timeless. There are faith lessons readers will remember long after the story ends.

We will have to wait for Books 3 Winter’s Ravage and  4 Courier’s Return. 

 

Elaine Marie Cooper has two E-book releases January 18, 2019: War’s Respite (Prequel novella) and Love’s Kindling. Paperback version of Love’s Kindling will be available. These books are the first two novels in the Dawn of America Series set in Revolutionary War Connecticut. Cooper is the award-winning author of Fields of the Fatherless and Bethany’s Calendar. Her 2016 release (Saratoga Letters) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She penned the three-book Deer Run Saga and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. You can visit her website/ blog at www.elainemariecooper.com

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A Heart For Freedom

Posted by on Sep 29, 2018 in Blog, Books, History | 4 comments

Releases October 1, 2018

In writing a book series, it’s important that each story stands on its own. Readers may not have read the previous story, nor do they appreciate cliff-hangers for the next installment.

When I wrote A Heart Set Free, I planned for two more stories in this Revolutionary War saga.

A Heart For Freedom continues the Stewarts’ story five years after the previous book ends.

By 1775, the conflict has escalated between Loyalists and Patriots throughout the colonies. The Stewarts’ ordinary and the surrounding Virginia countryside are not immune from the strife, pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Matthew Stewart has avoided taking sides and wants only to farm, manage Stewarts’ Green, and raise his family. But political tensions are heating up and circumstances and connections make him question whether he should answer a call to aid the Patriot cause … with conditions.

Heather Stewart, born and raised in Scotland, has witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. Threatened by the prospect of war, she wants only to avoid it, and protect the family and peace she sought and finally found in Virginia.

The journey the Stewarts take is not an easy one and will involve sacrifice, and questioned loyalties. Lives and relationships will be changed forever. Ultimately the knowledge that God is faithful will equip them with the courage to face an uncertain future … with a heart for freedom.

I’m currently at work on the final story in the trilogy. 

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