Joy to the World!
So, it’s almost Christmas! Who else is glad that this crazy year is almost at an end? Today I hope to spark a little joy in your world by talking about my latest release: Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas collection.
This collaboration with Amanda Barratt and Erica Vetsch sees each author take a line from the beloved Christmas carol ‘Joy to the World’ and create a story from it. My story, ‘Heaven and Nature Sing’ was a lot of fun to write as I delved into Regency-era versions of Christmas songs, and some of the traditions of this time.
Did you know that Christmas trees were not really a thing in England until the mid 1800s? Prince Albert, the German born husband to Queen Victoria, is generally thought to have helped popularize decorated Christmas trees, even though there is evidence the English royal family decorated Christmas trees many years earlier. Most families during Regency times (1810-1820) used evergreens for decoration, and it was fun to look at traditions like mistletoe and kissing wreaths and incorporate these into my story. In fact, if you want to know how to decorate in a Regency traditional way, then by reading this story you can learn how to make a kissing ball, a special kind of wreath that uses mistletoe to help romance on its way!
I also really enjoyed researching the types of music used at Christmastime during this historical period. It was interesting to learn that some of the music used in familiar carols is quite different to what we’re used to hearing today. Even some of the words aren’t exactly the same, which astute readers will notice when they read Heaven and Nature Sing.
Of course, a good story is not just about the information you read, but also about the emotion evoked. In ‘Heaven and Nature Sing’ we see a story of reunions and rekindled romance, as two music lovers separated by family circumstances, are reunited at a Christmas country house party. It’s a story of music, Regency Christmas traditions, forgiveness and all the romantic feels as God works in two hearts to bring them together.
Want to know more? Here’s the backcover copy:
Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they overcome their obligation and fears to find their way back into each other’s arms?
This heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance from three popular inspirational authors is the ideal stocking stuffer for a very marry Christmas! Based on lines from the beloved Christmas carol, these novellas have depth, faith and satisfying stories. Curl up with these tales of love and joy for a break from all the business that surrounds the holiday season.
THANKSGIVING BOOKS & BLESSINGS
Hey, y’all. Caryl McAdoo here, always praying my story gives God glory! Those who know me are aware I do not celebrate or acknowledge almost all of the holidays most Christians do. It isn’t because I belong to a specific denomination, but for what Holy Spirit revealed to me and my husband more than thirty-five years ago regarding their origins.
This is only one of the reasons I have come to love Thanksgiving so completely. All of my grandsugars grew up knowing that Thanksgiving Day belongs to Grami and O’Pa. For all the other holidays, they spend—without one concern for us—with whichever parents or in-laws they choose, but when November rolls around, they all come to wherever Grami is!
In 2013, the year my title VOW UNBROKEN was fixin’ to come out, I decided to have a big “Thanksgiving Books & Blessings” multi-author party. I invited different new author friends to join me for the virtual event, and we celebrated our books, giving thanks to God. It continued each year thereafter.
With the fifth annual TB&B Party coming, I wanted to make it more special and started inviting authors to write a book with Thanksgiving as a major gathering in the story, a major point of the plot. And so for three years, there’s been a collection of Thanksgiving stories.
In 2018, I released GONE TO TEXAS, book one in the first Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection, adding seven other authors with the special holiday stories! “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (Psalm 26:7)
This year, 2020 is the third annual collection and includes best-selling returning author Heather Blanton, Donna Schlachter, and Kimberly Grist joining me with CAROLINA HOMECOMING, A PINK LADY THANKSGIVING, and MAGNOLIA’S MEASURE, respectively.
Mayflower Pilgrim figurines often grace our Thanksgiving mantles or tables in November. I remember learning of them in elementary school; how the Indians taught them to plant corn and shared their food with the starving pilgrims at Plymouth.
That might indeed have been America’s first Thanksgiving way back to the early 1600s, but scripture tells us that “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God,” (Nehemiah 12:46) so many offered thanksgiving to God long before America even existed!
The Thanksgivings we celebrate today were finally established on the fourth Thursday in November in 1942 by an act of Congress under Franklin D Roosevelt. Prior to that, though individual Presidents changed the holiday’s date at their whim, it was celebrated nationally on and off since 1789 from when George Washington issued a proclamation. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln decreed it as a yearly appointed national day of “Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” to be the last Thursday of November.
Seven years later, Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the Holidays Act, making is an annual federal holiday in Washington. Fifteen more years passed before in 1885, Congress made it a paid holiday for federal workers. I know that in my family, Thanksgiving Day has been a special day since I can remember—so many sweet memories!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family to gather, inviting others whose family might be far away, and break bread! The McAdoos’ tradition is that each family brings food, so it’s like a huge, covered dish dinner that travels to different homes each year! My first grandsugar-girl Naomi, a first grade school teacher, has volunteered her home for this year’s celebration, so O’Pa and I will be traveling to town.
Besides all the turkey, ham, dressing, potatoes (white and sweet), salads, countless vegetable casseroles (always the green bean and onions and mushroom soup), and enough desserts to feed a small army, Thanksgiving is “Picture Day”! Remember picture day each year at school? So, we all dress up and take hundreds of pictures of the whole, the parts, and ‘wesies; (no selfies) with all those favorite people!
And then there’s Thanksgiving football—a game of backyard flag football with all the cousins as well as the traditional television games that afternoon and evening. School football rivalries in Massachusetts played a game on the holiday and became a holiday staple in the 1890’s. I must admit here I’m not a fan–can’t follow the ball.
From one of the 2018 Collection One authors, Kristin Holt, I learned Linda Marie Child, the writer of the well-known “Thanksgiving” (yes, that’s correct) song, Over the River and Through the Wood, (You just sang it in your head, didn’t you?) is also credited with an 1829 recipe (or “receipts” as they were called back then) in a book entitled “The American Frugal Housewife.” Re-enactments rely heavily on Ms. Child’s book for methods and recipes used in hearths and for roasting on a spit. Living historians demonstrate her cooking methods and enjoy the hearth-cooked feast.
This year’s Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection Three includes my TEXAS TROUBLES the fifth book in my Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga as well. It opens with two young friends about to go into a barn dance. AND IT’S ON SALE November 30 through December 4th! Only 99 cents! All of this year’ titles will be 99 cents during this time!
While the heroine has never said it aloud, her best friend has told anyone who would listen that she loves Aaron Van Zandt, but rumor has it that the dashing young man has taken part in a vigilante justice over downtown Dallas and two other nearby cities burning almost to the ground on the same day.
Here are the linked titles of this year’s Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection Three:
A PINK LADY THANKSGIVING
GAME: And for those of you who love word games, check this one out! So much fun! https://thewordsearch.com/puzzle/1388058/
Marguerite Martin Gray
A pivotal time
In life, whether of a person or a nation, there are times that are pivotal, that will change everything. For the United States, the year of 1775 was one of those years where everything one believed was questioned ant tested. Also, in the lives of individuals the year of decision carried heartache, doubt, excitement, hope, and any mixture of emotions. Extremely dramatic!
Bring Me Near exposes the trials of breaking from tradition and a way of life rich in history and deep in roots across the ocean. The Lestarjette family attaches to the role of the Patriots, the ones forming a preliminary route to separation. Their hearts, lives, resources, and beliefs soar with the rise of conflict.
Although the reader knows the ultimate outcome of the Revolutionary War, the questions posed in this novel confront us with the personal ones. What would I have believed in 1775? Would my family be Loyalists or Patriots? What would I have been willing to sacrifice? Would I have been willing to give up my home, my finances, my loved ones, or my life for something non-tangible? What would my belief system have allowed me to do? Would I have married, had children?
Do you know where you would have stood in 1775? You would have had the choice to return to Britain, go west, disappear, join the military…
As I wrote this series, I asked myself all these questions. Honestly, I had empathy for the Loyalists, especially the mothers and wives. How heavy their hearts must have been.
Join the journey toward separation and a new nation in Bring Me Near, Book Three of the Revolutionary Faith Series.
Misty M. Beller
Why Christian Historical Romance?
It’s such a pleasure to spend a few minutes with you! I pray regularly for my readers, that God will bless your life abundantly. I write romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love.
I don’t know about you, but my life can get crazy…busy…chaotic. Historical fiction gives me a haven, allowing me to immerse in a simpler time and place. Add in remote mountain settings—log cabins and horses and snow…what could be better? Sometimes I wish God had let me live a couple centuries ago, but then I remind myself He knew exactly what He was doing. And He even lets me go back to that simpler time through stories!
If you’re reading this, you probably enjoy immersing yourself in a good book, too. Story can be such a powerful thing! Becoming an intimate part of the characters’ lives, feeling their struggles—the desperation, the elation, the emotions, the love.
I enjoy reading and writing Christian romance because it provides a place where I don’t always have to be concerned about inappropriate language or too-graphic love scenes. It’s a “safe zone” where my imagination can escape, living out exciting times and experiencing God-orchestrated happily-ever-afters—without having to clean-up at the end of the day. Can you relate?
I’m looking forward to experiencing these great Christian stories with you!
Wild Heart Books featuring Blossom Turner
The Story Behind Katherine’s Arrangement by Blossom Turner
From the time I was a little girl I had a love for reading, a wild imagination, and the desire to write. At twelve, I received my first Bible and read all the way through a King James Version. My love for Jesus was cemented. I day-dreamed of a Cinderella happily-ever-ever story. The traumatic childhood I was living in was gentled by the dream of being whisked away by a handsome prince and truly loved. Put that all together, and the building blocks for writing romantic fiction are all in place.
But how did I get to writing historical romance? Well that was for one reason only…I loved reading stories of arranged marriages and wanted to write one. The drama, the tension, the love that can flourish out of nothing, I just loved the concept but…the scenario had to be believable to me. Thus, the wheels of imagination started turning. What better than right after the Civil War, in the Shenandoah Valley where houses were burned and people left destitute? I’m Canadian and had a smattering of knowledge of that time period, so had to do extensive research to pull it off. To be historically accurate was much more difficult than writing my first novel, Anna’s Secret, set in today’s era. Now I am hooked on writing historical romance. I’m both a sensitive and an old soul and it fits my personality perfectly. Who knew? God did.
I think when you read Katherine’s Arrangement, you will agree that the drama that brings this couple together is both believable and engaging. I am so excited to write this five-book series on five sisters and their love stories, as I come from a large family with six sisters and one brother. I write from family dynamics I know all about.
The reason I write is two-fold. I believe when writing fiction that one must deliver a love story that touches the heart, that draws people in, that makes them both laugh and cry. The entertainment value must be there. Then, I weave in my love for Jesus in a non-preachy, realistic way, with the hopes and failures of everyday people. The resounding theme in Katherine’s Arrangement is that God can work all things for good when we choose to place our life in His trustworthy hands. It is uncanny how love can grow in the fertile soil of good choices. But don’t be fooled, as with most of us, Katherine had to go through her gamut of bad choices before she surrendered.
I pray you will find a little bit of your story in Katherine’s story, and that, above all, you will enjoy the read.