The Series is Finished—Now What?

Setting Two Hearts Free, the last story in my Revolutionary War series, was released in the fall of 2020, preceded by A Heart For Freedom in 2018 and A Heart Set Free in 2016. I began writing the series in the 1980s but put it aside for many years.

 

 

 

 

In the midst of that, I had the fun opportunity of writing a novella in

collaboration with three other Smitten authors. My story is The Year Without Summer in The Highlanders: A Smitten Historical Romance Collection which was released in 2019.

 

Authors can get very attached to their characters when they spend years writing a series. But then it’s time to move on to other stories and other characters, and in my case a different era. I am currently writing a story about the Irish potato famine which took place in the mid-1800s. It was during the potato famine that some of my ancestors emigrated from Ulster Ireland.

A time of starvation and emigration

There were successive potato crop failures but the famine of 1845-1852 was the worst. It is estimated that one million people died of starvation and disease and another million people emigrated. Many of those emigrating to Canada and other countries perished on the ships. Many, like one of my characters, emigrated to the United States.

This story has a twist that connects it to the novella and the series. I’m about three-quarters of the way through it so stay tuned.

Writing Reviews Really Does Help Authors


 

 

 

 

  I loved writing this Revolutionary War series and grew quite attached to the characters. I hope if you read any of these stories and enjoyed them that you would consider writing a review.

A Heart Set Free

In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.

Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown servant as his wife?

When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.

But in the Virginia countryside, Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . . and love will finally set her heart free.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33224574-a-heart-set-free

https://www.bookbub.com/books/a-heart-set-free-by-janet-s-grunst

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Set-Free…/dp/B01MQK0SXR/ref

A Heart For Freedom

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 convince him that 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 the future … with a heart for freedom.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40967736-a-heart-for-freedom

https://www.bookbub.com/books/a-heart-for-freedom-a-novel-by-janet-s-grunst

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Freedom…/dp/B07FB5J172/ref

Setting Two Hearts Free

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54458496-setting-two-hearts-free#

https://www.bookbub.com/books/setting-two-hearts-free-by-janet-s-grunst

https://www.amazon.com/Setting-Hearts…/dp/B085DRXFZY/ref

 

SETTING TWO HEARTS FREE ~ Releases October 6th

History has always fascinated me, particularly people and events that change the course of a nation or the world. When interpreting history through a Biblical worldview (Providentially) one sees God’s presence, provision, protection, power, and at times permission to accomplish His will. Our world has been polluted by sin since mankind’s fall, ushering in all manner of evil over time. And while God does not endorse these horrible events, we know that He often works through them or despite them to accomplish His greater purposes.

Discovering God’s direction and intervention in the years leading up to, during, and after the American Revolution inspired me to write a series of stories about the American Revolution. I’m delighted that the final book in the series Setting Two Hearts Free releases October sixth.

Setting Two Hearts Free is dedicated to all who suffer the invisible wounds of war and other trauma. And to their families and loved ones, sometimes struggling to best know how to help and cope.

A HEART SET FREE ~ A story of Forgiveness

1770 ~ Heather Douglas, a woman, disillusioned and desperate to escape her native Scotland, signs a seven-year indenture and flees aboard a British merchant vessel to the Virginia colony.

Matthew Stewart, a widowed farmer with two young children needs someone to help raise them. Is God leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife? How would these two individuals, from opposite sides of the Atlantic, each having experienced tragedies, bridge their differences to make a life together?

A HEART FOR FREEDOM ~ A story of Faithfulness

1775-1776 ~ When hostilities break out between the British and colonials, the antagonism between colonists and the British escalate to confrontation. Throughout Virginia, strife between factions loyal to the crown and those demanding independence pit friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Like so many others, Heather and Matthew’s world is turning upside down. Loyalties are questioned and odd and unexplainable events create doubt and suspicion. Their journey is filled with challenges but God’s faithfulness will encourage His people.

SETTING TWO HEARTS FREE ~ A story of Forbearance

1781-1783 ~ Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts are challenged by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

Setting Two Hearts Free

Two months from today is the release of Setting Two Hearts Free, the third book in my Revolutionary War series. For those who haven’t read A Heart Set Free or A Heart For Freedom, this is a stand-alone story, though you’ll better understand the characters’ background by reading the first two books.

Setting Two Hearts Free picks up in 1781 five years after A Heart For Freedom ends and focuses on the younger generation. The war is winding down but the danger and challenges the characters face haven’t—and some will last long after leaving the battlefield.

Here’s the blurb from Setting Two Hearts Free:

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

A Heart Set Free was a Selah Award winner. A Heart For Freedom was a Christian Indie Award winner.

For more updates here is where you can follow me:

​https://JanetGrunst.com                                                                                                                                              https://www.facebook.com/Janet-Grunst-Author-385405948228216                                                                                                                                                     https://colonialquills.blogspot.com/                                                                                                                                https://www.instagram.com/janetgrunst/                                                                                                                  https://twitter.com/janetgrunst                                     

https://www.pinterest.com/janetgrunst/ 

THE ART OF NARRATING AUDIOBOOKS

My debut novel, A Heart Set Free, was recently narrated by Cecily White. From an author’s point of view, I found the process of making an audiobook to be fascinating.

My publisher sent me some preliminary questions asking about the pronunciation of the characters’ voices, locations, and proper names. I selected the narrator’s accent-British-Edinburgh, age-adult, and style-feminine. Cecily read sample pages, and I was delighted. I answered some questions and she proceeded to narrate the entire book. I was amazed at the minuscule and truly minor corrections needed, and they were made. Narrators receive a percentage of sales of audiobooks. 

Perhaps, like me, you’re curious as to how someone decides to pursue this craft. Cecily White has generously offered to share some insights.

Cecily, please tell us a bit about your background.

I was interested in acting from a young age and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Theater with an emphasis in Acting from California State University at Fullerton.  Two years later, I became a Christian and thought that surely acting was a thing of the past because my values were now at odds with most of what could be found on stage and screen.  To get grounded in my new faith, I attended Calvary Chapel Bible College, Murrieta Campus, and earned a Bachelor of Biblical Studies.  I also met my husband there!

What motivated you to become a book narrator?

One morning about three years ago, I heard a voice actor being interviewed on a podcast. He mentioned that voiceover had changed and that most voice actors did their work in a home studio. This passing comment was like a flash of lightning for me.  You can act at home by yourself?! I’ve always delighted in reading aloud to my children and we have had fun listening to audiobooks together on occasion. I never thought that it was something that I could actually do as a profession until I heard that podcast.

What was the process of entering this industry?

I looked it up online, of course! I spent the next two years learning about voice acting and the technical production that goes with it.  I watched webinars and videos, read articles and forums, and took an online class. At first, I thought that I would not be able to do audiobooks because it appeared that narrators were recording entire books in just a few days.  While this is true for narrators who work full-time at it, there are also opportunities for narrators who have time restrictions.  In my research, I discovered ACX, Audiobook Creation Exchange, which is a forum that connects narrators with people who own the audio rights to a published book. When I felt I was ready, I made a profile, recorded some demos, and started auditioning!

How long and how many books and what genres have you narrated?

I have been narrating for just over a year and in that time have completed seven audiobooks.  I started with a short non-fiction title, which made it easier to go through all the learning stages that happen with a first book.  After that, I have narrated what can be categorized as Historical Christian Romance.

How do you prepare? Do you read the book or parts of it before beginning the project or do you start without any background on the characters or how the story develops?

Because I don’t want to voice any story that dishonors God, I read the entire book before accepting a contract.  I also take that time to find out what accents and special pronunciations (such as medical, legal, or historical terms) are involved. Once the contract is set, I read the book again and make a note about each character’s personality and jot down any information that the author gives about his or her voice.  Then I spend a recording session making a small audio file for every character who has more than one or two lines, giving each a unique voice and if possible a “tagline.” This “tagline” allows me to quickly snap into a character when I hear the line and repeat it, even if I haven’t voiced that character for a few chapters.  After that, I plug away at the book, chapter by chapter.

Being a narrator requires playing many different roles, both male and female. What do you find most challenging about your work?

The most challenging part for me at this point is time.  I restrict my recording hours to the early morning because of my family.  Therefore, I finish a book much more slowly than a full-time narrator.  My priority is to savor this time with my children because they are growing up so fast!  I’ll have plenty of long, quiet days before I know it.

Do you have a particular genre you enjoy reading/narrating?

The genre I am narrating, Historical Christian Romance is a really good fit for me.  I enjoy the sweet stories, the variety of settings, and learning about the past. I’m definitely open to narrating other genres, though. As for reading, I love to read just about any Christian fiction.  I’m on a big suspense kick right now.

Thank you so much, Cecily, for opening the curtain so we could learn more about your craft.

BIO:  Cecily White is a wife, mom of four, homeschool teacher, and audiobook narrator.  As such, she has been married for 17 years, is soon to have another driver in the house (yikes!), currently teaches her two youngest at home, and looks forward to bringing more and more books to life! She can be reached at cecilywhitevoiceover@gmail.com.

 

DISTRACTIONS AND OTHER NEWS

Dictionary.com defines Distraction as that which distracts, divides the attention, or prevents concentration: that which amuses, entertains, or diverts; amusement; entertainment: and division or disorder caused by dissension; tumult.

I’ve been living with distractions for a few weeks.

~  Laddie, West Highland White Terrier joined our family at the end of June. He amuses, entertains, and definitely diverts our attention, making getting much-done very challenging. We love the wee pup, and we are all in the process of “being trained”.

~  A bad bout of lower back and leg pain has distracted and prevented my concentration, along with not being able to sit at my desk or anyplace else. Fortunately, it is finally diagnosed and I’m being treated with meds and the proper physical therapy so it should improve … soon, I hope.

~  My website was down for nearly three weeks causing some division and disorder by dissension and tumult. I’m grateful to now have an up-and-running website.

The answer to all of the above is patience and perseverance.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”  Romans 5:3-4

 

I’m eager to share some news: A Heart Set Free was beautifully narrated by Cecily White. Cecily did a wonderful job and didn’t let the challenge of some of the characters’ Scottish dialects slow her down. More on that in a future post.

 

In a little over three months – on October 1, 2018, A Heart For Freedom releases. This is the sequel to Selah Award Winner A Heart Set Free. It is is a stand-alone book that picks up the Stewarts’ five years later, in 1775 when the American Revolution begins. Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

He longs for freedom, but he won’t risk those he loves.

Matthew Stewart wants only to farm, manage his inn, and protect his family. But tension between the Loyalists and Patriots is mounting. When he’s asked to help the Patriots and assured his family will be safe, he agrees.

She’s seen the cost of fighting England, and she wants no part of it.

In Scotland, Heather Stewart witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. She wants only to avoid war and protect the family and peace she finally found in Virginia. But the war drums can be heard even from home in the countryside, and she has no power to stop the approaching danger.

The consequences are deadly.

When Matthew leaves for a short journey and doesn’t return, Heather faces the biggest trial of her life. Will she give up hope of seeing him again? Will he survive the trials and make his way home? What will be the consequences of his heart for freedom?

A Heart For Freedom is available for pre-order on Amazon. I hope you will enjoy this story and consider writing a review.