Friday, December 21, 2012

Countdown To Christmas Giveaway Winner – Final Week

Congratulations to Jes, the winner of the Countdown to Christmas prize pack. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed shortly!

Thanks so much to all who entered throughout the contest!

Merry Christmas,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cooking Edwardian Christmastide

One word best fits Christmas in Edwardian England – lavish. And nowhere was this lavishness more exhibited than in holiday cooking. Mrs. Patmore of Downton Abbey and Mrs. Bridges of Upstairs, Downstairs, was certainly glad to put her feet up and settle in for a (hopefully) quiet January and February.

Here is what Queen Victoria ordered to be prepared and served one Christmas day at Osborne, her country estate. This was for quite a large dinner party, by the way.

50 turkeys, a 140-pound baron of beef that took ten hours to roast over a spit, hundreds of pounds of lamb, dozens of geese, and crate after crate of vegetables. The vegetables had to be specially shipped from Windsor Castle.

And look at what all went into the mince pie. 82 pounds of raisins, 60 pounds of orange and lemon peel, 2 pounds of cinnamon, 330 pounds of sugar and 24 bottles of brandy.

Thankfully, the queen had more than one cook in her kitchen.

Plus, of course, the traditional deserts and biscuits, such as the time honored plum pudding, of which you will find a recipe below. I found an original recipe from Mrs. Beaton’s cookery book, but thought it looked a trifle complicated. But for all you Downton fans who would like to recreate a little holiday era festivity before season three comes out, this dessert should be just the ticket.

Plum Pudding

2 cups raisins

3 cups brandy

1 cup candied fruits

5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

2 cups day-old bread crumbs

1 cup blanched almond meal

½ cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 large egg

2 teaspoons molasses

1/3 cup Guinness Stout

¼ cup orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Soak raisins in brandy for at least 1 hour. Drain, reserving ½ cup brandy. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl combine raisins, candied fruit, butter, bread crumbs, almond meal, brown sugar, flour, orange zest, lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together egg and molasses, then add reserved brandy, Guinness, orange juice, and lemon juice. Add to fruit mixture and mix well until fruit is moist. Split batter between two greased 3 inch deep bowls, cover with waxed paper and then aluminum foil. Secure this with twine so no water can get into the bowls, then put bowls on a rack in a deep pot. Add enough boiling water to reach 2 inches up the sides of bowls. Cover pot and steam puddings in oven, replenishing water as necessary for 4 hours. Remove bowls from pot and let cool. Store puddings in cool, dry place for up to one week. This can be stored for as long as two years. Replace waxed paper before storing. To serve, reheat puddings by steaming them for up to one hour, then unmold onto platters or plates to serve.


There you have it. A plum pudding Tiny Tim or Queen Victoria would be proud to feast upon.


Happy Christmas to all,



I will not be blogging again until January 7th, due to the holiday festivities (and of course the preparation of that huge feast for when Her Majesty comes for dinner.J), but I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year full of joy and blessings. I have some fun surprises in store this upcoming year, so stay tuned and I’ll see you in 2013!


Last Countdown to Christmas Giveaway – This week, I’m giving away a copy of The Merchants Daughter by Melanie Dickerson, plus more Christmas cards. Leave a comment with your email to be entered into the drawing and I’ll pick a winner this Friday.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winner of The Joshua Covenant!

Congratulations to Diana, the winner of The Joshua Covenant by Diane and David Munson. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed shortly!

Thanks so much to all who entered!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spellbinding Legal Suspense with - Diane and David Munson!

Can you really write a Christian legal thriller? I was somewhat skeptical of this...until I met Diane and David Munson! They write sit on the edge of your seat legal thrillers, with intriguing twists and action packed plots. They’re John Grisham meets inspirational fiction.
I’m so excited to have them with us today and look forward to learning more about their writing, characters, and experience in the legal field.

And now without further ado, here’s our special guests - Diane and David Munson.  

 If you were in danger which of your characters would you want on your side?

You pose a superb question. In some ways it feels like our three main heroes/heroines are always on our side as they are a composite of real agents we’ve worked with through the years. Our FBI agent Griff Topping is a courageous loner. His wife died too young so he’s self reliant, fearing little. A federal ICE agent, Eva Montanna is a strong role model as she balances tracking down criminals with being a wife and mother to three children. Bo Rider travels the world as a clandestine CIA agent and relies solely on his wits. His wife knows Bo works for “The Agency”, but his teens do not, which makes for interesting scenarios. So given our wonderful cast of characters, who would we choose?

We both agree that if in trouble, we’d want Eva covering us. Why? While Eva is every bit as capable as the other two, her confidence and integrity spring from her faith in Jesus Christ. She seeks God’s help in her daily challenges. We want God on our side always. In all our novels we have fun writing plots so that Griff or Bo (and sometimes both) end up collaborating with Eva to bring evildoers to justice.

Not everyone who writes legal suspense has the hands-on experience the two of you have. How has your experience been an advantage and how has it been a disadvantage?

We delight in quipping, “David nailed ’em and Diane jailed ’em.” Beyond the humor, it is our experience in enforcing the law (in David’s case) and prosecuting criminal (in Diane’s case) that gives us a deep reservoir of experience to create plots and unusual characters. That’s also why we call our novels “factional fiction.” Each one of our thrillers is seasoned with true events from our cases or history. Then we weave a novel around these, making sure to disguise the people involved to protect their privacy, and adding a spiritual dimension so that our work is honoring to the Lord. Because of our careers in the law, we’ve never experienced “writer’s block”. Rest assured we have many more exciting plots and novels in the hopper.

Disadvantages? We have so many ideas that we need to decide what are the most compelling to fill the pages. Romance and Amish books are so popular at present. With our dangerous experiences, if we tried to pen romance or an Amish book, they would be filled with too much suspense. So, we write what we know: High Velocity Suspense (laced with a dash of romance for the romantics in all of us).

 What authors have influenced your writing?

This is an interesting tale, with a surprising twist. Diane grew up with a love of reading and a desire to write. David is a natural storyteller. Together we’ve read many of the classics by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. When Diane discovered Christian fiction written by Grace Livingston Hill and George MacDonald, she craved more as a reader. One day a friend shared with us the powerful series, The Zion Chronicles and The Zion Covenant, written by Brock and Bodie Theone. Around this same time, we were reading the Biblical account of Christ’s birth and genealogy. Reflecting on God being the Author of life and how He weaves together the lives of His people compelled us to search for our ancestors. This led Diane to write historical fiction, which led to us becoming published authors of suspense. God works in mysterious ways and we strive to be open to His Spirit guiding and moving us in our lives. He often works through the written word to convict us and to propel us forward.   

What are the pros to co-writing with your spouse? What are the cons?

From a selfish perspective, the advantage of having a co-writer is that when someone is critical of our writing, we can assure ourselves it’s the fault of our co-author. Or when someone compliments our creation, each of us can assume it’s due to our sole contribution. Just kidding.

You have heard it said, “Two heads are better than one.” This is true for us. David is more lighthearted and Diane more serious, so we combine our strengths. When one lacks incentive to write, the other is disciplined to keep going. We bounce ideas off one another and give honest critiques without worrying about a wrong motive. The disadvantage is sometimes one of us has to sacrifice a “perfect” idea to the other. All in all, we are having fun on this adventure.

How do you weave a Christian element into your novels?

This is the reason for our writing. Jesus is our strength and our shield. He is our Deliverer, our Defender, and our Shepherd. We desire to make Him come alive in our writing so readers experience His power and love when reading our work. We want our novels to be realistic so we fashion plots that mirror our lives. Except for those employed in the Church or a Christian company, many of us live and work with folks who have no desire to know or serve God. Some in fact are offended by spiritual things.

That said, some of our characters are believers and live out their lives among those who are not. For example in our first novel, Facing Justice, Eva Montanna’s sister has died in the Pentagon on 9/11, which sorely tests Eva’s Christian faith. How could God allow such a terrible thing to happen? God brings Eva a chance to find justice when she receives a tip about a man funding terrorists, but she is shocked to discover her target attends her mega-church. Through these twists and turns, Eva learns to trust in God’s plans even when she does not understand them.

In The Camelot Conspiracy we examine new evidence in the JFK assassination. This contemporary story is told through the eyes of Kat Kowicki, a single TV reporter who gets help from a police detective. While romantic feelings abound, the detective is initially cool toward Kat because she doesn’t share his faith in Christ. We strive in our writing to bring glory to the King of Kings. The faith element grows stronger in more recent titles. One character in Redeeming Liberty makes a crucial spiritual decision and in The Joshua Covenant, Bo Rider’s life is dramatically influenced by a Bible prophecy teacher.

How long does it take you to write a novel? Do you find co-writing makes the process take less time?

Normally, we research and write one book each year. 2012 is an exception. We released The Joshua Covenant in February and Night Flight in September. It is really possible for us to write a novel in about six months as we each write certain scenes. Then the process is slowed by our many edits and traveling the country where we meet readers at book signings, and speak at churches and conferences.

Do you “cast” your characters/pick actors and actresses to play them?

Yes, we visualize our characters and sometimes find “famous” people that look like them. For example, Eva’s husband Scott is similar in appearance to a national news reporter. Eva is tall and a lot like Nicole Kidman. But we try to kindle readers’ imaginations as our Special Agents travel the globe fighting crime and seeking justice.

Where can we find your books?

The Joshua Covenant, which you are offering in your drawing, reveals what happens when CIA agent Bo Rider is assigned to America’s embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. He brings along his family under the cover of being a diplomat and their very lives are threatened. In Bo’s desperation, he learns for the first time about God’s plan for his life and for the people of Israel. This international thriller is right out of the headlines, and like our other novels, is available in print and eBooks.

Autographed copies are available on our website: Readers can find print versions at Lifeway and other Christian stores and both print/eBook versions on Amazon, B&, and Christian Fans of NCIS will enjoy signing up for the blog on our website, where we critique the NCIS show airing each Tuesday at 8 pm. Those who sign up to receive our email newsletter can participate in contests to win books, NCIS caps, and other fun items. May God’s blessings rain down upon you and His people. Watch the book trailer for The Joshua Covenant at this link: 

Thank you so much for that insightful interview, Diane and David! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

 Giveaway – After being intrigued by The Joshua Covenant, you now have an opportunity to win it. Leave a comment with your name and email address to be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy. I will draw a winner on Friday and the book will be sent by Diane and David!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Countdown To Christmas Giveaway Winner – Week 2

Congratulations to Merry, the winner of the Countdown to Christmas week 2 prize pack. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed shortly!

Thanks so much to all who entered!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Writing Stellar First Chapters

Last writing post, we discussed the things that make a terrible first chapter. This week lets go through some things that make stellar first chapters. A boring first chapter full of errors will find me setting a book aside, but a good first chapter will definitely keep me reading. And if the book lives up to chapter one, I will probably want to read other work by that same author.

So without further ado, here are some “how to’s” for writing a stellar first chapter.
1 – A strong opening line – An intriguing first line is always a must and usually not very hard to come up with. Generally this line is dialog or something the character is thinking. Try to use your first line to set the tone of the entire story. If it’s a romantic comedy, make it quirky and fun. If it’s suspense, make it intriguing or action packed. If it’s historical romance, bring the reader into the era.

2 – Action/dialog on page one – I recently read a very old historical romance novel, where the author began by describing the drawing room the characters were sitting in. She went on for several paragraphs, almost a full page, about this drawing room. And after the first two or three chapters, we never again saw that drawing room. Please don’t make that mistake. Give the reader dialog and action as soon as possible. I confess, I skimmed the part about the drawing room and went to the first line of dialog. So although you want to give your reader a sense of time and place, don’t go on for more than a few sentences. Think of detail and description like powdered sugar on top of cookies. Too much and we’re choking on the sugariness. Too little and the cookie is bland.

3 – Likable Characters – Readers want characters they can identify with. Where they can look up from a page and think “I know just what he/she means, I totally get what they’re going through.” Characters we can’t like and identify with are not good characters. Even if the character has done terrible things or is not a very nice person at the beginning, find some way to make them likable or sympathetic. Bringing kids, pets, or some quirk into the picture is a great way to do this.
4 – Keep it short – Don’t write a huge first chapter. Keeping it to two or three scenes and one or two POV characters, makes the reader feel like they’re going somewhere and chapter one isn’t going to last forever. I try and keep my first chapters around 2,500 words.

5 – Creative Phrases – Make your writing sing! Don’t use the first phrase that pops into your head, but find new ways of expressing the same thought. And don’t use clich├ęs, either in plots or phrases. This should be done through the whole novel, but it’s especially important in chapter one.

These are only a few tips, but they’re ones I’ve found helpful. Hopefully, you did too. And remember, just like making cookies, practice makes perfect. J

Happy Writing,


This week I’m giving away a copy of “Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof. Along with that three of these beautiful embossed Christmas cards with matching envelopes. So just leave a comment with your email and I will pick a winner this Friday. This would make a great read for the start of the season or a great gift too!

Coming Next Week .........
Next Monday, December 10th, I’m delighted to welcome David and Diane Munson for an interview and giveaway of their book “The Joshua Covenant.” Diane and David write high velocity inspirational suspense novels that combine exciting cases into factional fiction by changing the names and places. David was an NCIS Special Agent and an undercover DEA Special Agent and Diane was a Federal prosecutor, so they’re very well qualified to write these fabulous legal thrillers! I met Dave and Diane at a writers conference recently and it was so cool talking to them, I thought it would be neat to have them on my blog. So stop by next week, to check out their interview and enter the giveaway!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Countdown To Christmas Giveaway Winner – Week 1

Congratulations to Cynthia the winner of the Countdown to Christmas week 1 prize pack. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed shortly!

Thanks so much to all who entered!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dream Dinner Party Guests – Regency Style!

Good evening my lords, ladies, and gentlemen. I am the Duchess of Wentworth, your hostess for this evening, and I’m so pleased you’ve all decided to join me. As you’ve surveyed my elegant dining room with its paintings by Reynolds and furnishings by Chippendale, you’ve probably assumed I hold many lavish parties. And you would be quite right. I am one of England’s leading ladies and have with me tonight some of the most esteemed members of England’s ton. Perhaps you’d care for an introduction to some of them. You would? Then allow me to show you about the room and introduce you. 

The Prince Regent, George IV – I started with our most illustrious guest as he is looking in our direction and waiting to be introduced. The Prince Regent or Prinney as he is often called, fell in love with and secretly married the beautiful Maria Fitzherbert in 1789. Their marriage was declared illegal by the Royal Marriage Act and in 1795, he married Caroline of Brunswick, although Maria remained his true love. Prinney is known for the lavish parties he gives at Carlton House, his London residence and the lovely Brighton Pavilion in Brighton. Despite his faults, he is a most affable and generous man, able to put anyone at ease.

 Lady Jersey, Lady Sefton, Lady Castlereagh, Lady Cowper and Mrs. Drummond-Burrell– The patronesses of the elite Almacks Assembly Rooms are all in attendance this evening, save Princess Esterhazy and Countess Lieven. These four ladies are some of London’s most elegant grande dames and although Mrs. Drummond-Burrell’s icy demeanor and Lady Jersey’s strictness, seem to overpower them, the other three are quite amiable and you will find both Lady Sefton and Lady Cowper wonderful conversationalists and very elegant.
Lady Caroline Lamb – Most noted for her great friendship with Lord Byron, whom Lady Caroline described as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”, Lady Caroline is a witty conversationalist and as she is married to the viscount, William Lamb, who is also in attendance, a great addition to our party.

‘Beau’ Brummell – The foremost authority of fashion himself, the ‘Beau’ as he is commonly addressed, is responsible for much of the attire you see here tonight. He set the fashion for neatness and simplicity in men’s attire – dark, plainly cut coats for evening wear and a perfectly tied neckcloth. He is very critical of appearance and his famous lifted eyebrow when he sees anything amiss, terrifies debutantes. (Thankfully, I discussed the choice of my gown this evening with Lady Sefton, so there will be nothing amiss with me.) Yet the Beau’s wit and social grace, can just as easily put a properly dressed debutante at perfect ease, as I know very well from my first Season.
The Duke of Wellington – Now, here is a man who I suspect will do great things for our beloved England, with the conflict approaching regarding Napoleon. It is an honor to have him here and you will find him a quiet, humble sort of man, who, I have heard from his fellow officers, cares more for the welfare of his men than any medals or accolades he might gain.

There is a fine assortment of other dukes, earls, and gentlemen of private means here tonight, with their ladies, but I won’t introduce you to everyone but instead, let you mingle at will. And now I must go, I do believe Prinney is telling Lady Cowper of his improvements to Carlton House, and I must hear them!

Au Revoir,
Amanda – or Duchess of Wentworth


Last year I did a countdown to Christmas weekly giveaway and since it was so popular and fun, I decided to do it again this year. So every week for the next four weeks I will be giving away a book with some really fancy Christmas cards. This weeks selection is called" A Kaufman Amish Christmas Collection" by Amy Clipston. It contains two Christmas stories. Along with that three of these beautiful embossed Christmas cards with matching envelopes. So just leave your comment with your email and I will pick a winner this Friday and mail it to you. This would make a great read for the start of the season or a great gift too!

Check back next week for another great post and another Christmas giveaway!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

First Chapter Blunders!

Why is it that some books draw you in and make you want to read more, while others are merely okay, or even flat? Although there can be many different reasons, a big one is what occurs in the first chapter, or how the story begins. A stories initial set-up can really make or break whether it draws in the reader and makes them want to engage. In the course of reading I’ve found that many novels, while they may have good middles and great endings, their first chapters lack pizazz.


Here are a few common first chapter mistakes:
1 – Boring Conversations – If within the first ten pages, the characters are having a long and dull conversation about everyday matters, some character we haven’t met (and don’t yet care about), or just a long conversation, I’m usually bored. Give me action and let me care about the characters, then they can converse all they want. To be sure, I’ve read novels with character conversations starting the book and have enjoyed the beginning, but they’ve always been done in such a way, where the conversation isn’t lengthy and other things besides talking are taking place.
2 – Lackluster First Lines – A first line isn’t everything, but the more intriguing the better. Don’t be weird or write something just to grab attention, but do be interesting. And if not the first line, then at least the first paragraph.
3 – Backstory – This is one that isn’t found alot in published novels, at least those written recently, but it's very common in unpublished manuscripts. Readers don’t need to be told everything right away. There should be mystery or a reason to read forward. Backstory is best dropped in as crumbs. Tiny bits here and there. You can have a bigger amount of backstory in the middle, but if there’s a lot in the first twenty pages, chances are your reader will skim, or worse yet, put the book down altogether.
4 – Confusion – On the flipside, there can be too little information, or too many characters. We don’t want to meet the whole cast by page twenty. Pick four or five characters and work on introducing those in chapter one. We want to get to know the main characters right away. Just like in a movie where we want to meet the people we’re spending two or more hours with in the first few scenes.
I generally do keep reading if I like the premise of a book, even if it has one or two of these elements. I’ll give it fifty pages and then reasses. But the truth is, most readers don’t. With the amount of books available, not to mention other media, the sooner you hook ‘em the better.
Next writing post I’ll give some techniques on how to write a stellar first chapter that will keep readers wanting more!
Happy Writing,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Period Fashion Gallery

I thought it might be fun to do a period fashion gallery post, maybe once a month, full of the lovely gowns from Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian times. Maybe even some chic flapper era gowns too. Because honestly, I can’t get enough of looking at the elegance that was 19th and early 20th century fashion and hopefully, after this post, you’ll love it just as much as I do.

Let’s see what lovely Edwardian gowns we’re modeling today. J 

Dress, Afternoon House of Paquin (French, 1891–1956) Designer: Mme. Jeanne Paquin (French, 1869–1936) Date: 1906–8

Dress, Evening Callot Soeurs (French, 1895–1937) Date: ca. 1911

Dress, Callot Soeurs (French, active 1895–1937) Date: fall/winter 1910–11
Evening dress, ca 1909 France


Undergarments early 1900’s
And lastly the costume a real lady would never dare appear in out in public.

Hope you've enjoyed this trip down fashion avenue!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Punctuation Part Two – That lovely colon

Some things in life are boring, but necessary, like doing dishes and taking a shower. (Sometimes even blogging can be like this! LOL) They aren’t thrilling and can be very tedious. Yet without them life would be messy. So it is with punctuation. As far as I’m concerned, I could write and write and then hand over my manuscript and let someone else deal with the nitty gritty punctuation stuff.

However if we want to be a successful writer, punctuation is a must. Especially in these days when writers must, to an extent, be their own editors. So lets take a brief (and possibly painful- if you don't like grammar) look at the correct way to use a colon.

Colon Rules:
1 – Use a colon after a complete sentence when introducing a list.

Example – When I went shopping I bought the following items: milk, frozen pizza, oatmeal, and sugar.
2 – Use a colon to direct attention to an appositive.

Example – She discovered there was only one thing she wanted: his true love.

3 – Use a colon after a complete sentence before a quotation.
Example – The beginning of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina brilliantly foreshadows what is to come: “
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

4 – Capitalize the first word after a colon if it:
A- Introduces dialog in a play.

Example – Don Pedro: I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.
Benedick: With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord. Not with love.
B- If the first word is a proper noun.

Example – The West children are as follows: Ann, Jerry, Elizabeth, and Joy.
C-If the colon precedes two or more related sentences.

Example – We will never succeed unless we do three things: Persevere during difficult times. Keep calm no matter what. Always trust the Lord.

 In Conclusion
So there you have it. Colon rules in a nutshell. Hopefully these help as you write your novels and maybe spare you some headache. Next week I will get back to the fun blogs about Edwardian England in all its finery and beauty!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We Have A Winner!!!

Congratulations to Ladette, the winner of A Hope Undaunted. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed to her shortly.

Thanks so much to all who entered!!!!

Happy Writing,


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Regency Remedies

Regency medicine was worrisome at best, dangerous at worst. It’s a wonder our dashing heroes and beautiful heroines managed to stay alive, especially if they made use of some popular remedies from the era.
Let’s peer into the apothecary’s workroom, perhaps the apothecary of Meryton and see what sort of cures he might be dishing out. Some are similar to things used today and some…well, are just plain strange. 
For a headache: This unpleasant pain may be prevented by wearing the hair short, and by washing the head daily with cold water; then rub the hair dry, and expose it to the air.
For a fever: Boil three ounces of currants, two of raisins carefully stoned, and an ounce and a half of tamarinds, in three pints of water, till it is reduced to a quart, strain it, throw in a bit of lemon-peel, and let it stand an hour.
For a sore throat: Soak in water a small piece of bread and mix it with a pinch of cayenne pepper; roll it up in the form of a pill and swallow it. Usually in three hours the patient will be relieved of all pain. In aggravated cases, a second dose may be requisite.
For a sprained ankle: Shower a sprained ankle with hot water, poured from a height of three feet. It will be cured in an hour.
For a nosebleed: Snuff up the nose vinegar or ice water.
For a toothache: A drop of oil of peppermint applied to the cavity of an aching tooth, and confined there with a pellet of cotton, will arrest the pain.
For a wound: Without waiting for it to stop bleeding, press the edges of the lacerated flesh together, and apply immediately a plaster made of soot and cream, binding it firmly on. This is not to be removed till healed.
For a burn: Nothing is more soothing than the white of an egg, which may be poured over the wound. It is the contact with the air which gives the extreme discomfort experienced from the ordinary accident of this kind, and anything which excludes the air and prevents inflammation is the thing to be applied.
For bruises: The best treatment of bruises is the application of water, of such temperature as is most agreeable. The degree of temperature varies with the temperature of the weather and the vigor of the circulation. In a hot day, use cool or cold water. If the circulation is low, use warm water. The bruised parts may be immersed in a pail of water, and gently pressed or manipulated with the hand or soft cloth for ten minutes, or even longer in severe cases. Then wrap up the parts in cloths wet with cold water, and keep quiet. This treatment keeps down the inflammation, and in nine cases out of ten proves a speedy cure.
And last but not least,
For insomnia: On retiring to bed, eat three or four small onions.
So there you have it. After reading and researching this topic, I’m certainly glad I live in the 21st century and don’t have to resort to drastic measures like these. I wonder how many of them did any good and how many actually made the problem worse. Oh, my poor characters! J
Happy Researching,

Friday, October 26, 2012

We Have A Winner!!!!!

 Congratulations to Lori, the winner of A Necessary Deception. She has been contacted and her book will be mailed to her shortly.

Thanks so much to all who entered and a BIG thank you to Laurie for doing the interview!!!

Happy Writing,


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Prequel We’ve All Been Waiting For!

Anyone who’s read even one of Julie Lessman’s novels knows that the characters instantly become like family. Especially Marcy and Patrick, the mother and father with a wonderful marriage, despite its many up’s and down’s.
But we’ve never gotten to read their love story. Until now.

Thankfully, Julie Lessman has penned a tale worth the wait. While not as lengthy as her previous novels, A Light in the Window is full of all the elements we’ve come to know and love about Julie’s books. A sigh worthy romance with a sweet and likable heroine, and a roguish but redeemable hero. Plus, some great dialog and romantic tension between the two resulting in some very swoon-worthy kisses. J Lastly, loveable secondary characters that will make you smile and stay in your heart long after you’ve turned the last page.

With a bit of family drama, a sprinkle of humor, and a hefty dose of romance, A Light in the Window has all the elements required for my favorite kind of story. I could go on and on but I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just let you dive into the pages yourself. You won’t be disappointed!

One Woman. Two Men.
One stirs her pulse and the other her faith.
But who will win her heart?

Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston's most notorious pursue her, she encounters a tug-of-war of the heart she isn’t expecting. Sam O’Rourke is the childhood hero she’s pined for, the brother of her best friend and a member of the large, boisterous family to which she longs to be a part. So when his best friend Patrick O’Connor joins in pursuit of her affections, the choice seems all too clear. Sam is from a family of faith and Patrick is not, two rogues whose wild ways clash head-on with Marcy’s—both in her faith and in her heart.

While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen—A Light in the Window—Marcy not only wrestles with her attraction to both men, but with her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family, and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. Her grandmother Mima cautions her to guard her heart for the type of man who will respond to the "light in the window," meaning the message of Christ in her heart. But when disaster strikes during the play, Marcy is destined to discover the truth of the play’s message first-hand when it becomes clear that although two men have professed their undying love, only one has truly responded to “the light in the window.”

RELEASING SOON! PLUS CONTESTS! .......             
If that whets your appetite you won't want to miss reading this awesome book which releases on November 9th. You can reserve your copy through Amazon today.

Want a free Kindle Fire? Julie is running some cool contests along with the release of this book. Check them out here:    
 GIVEAWAY! I’m giving away a copy of A Hope Undaunted, one of my favorite Julie Lessman novels. Leave a comment and your email address to be entered into the drawing which ends October 31st. This would make a great read or even a present for that special someone for Christmas!


Wow! Things are really happening this week on the blog. First Laurie Alice Eakes now Julie Lessman! Don't forget to leave a comment on each of these posts to win one of these great books!

Don't forget to sign up to receive all my posts about writing, historical eras in which I write, and more great interviews and giveaways in the weeks to come.

Happy Writing (and reading),