Cemetery Cheer

IMG_4503I know this is a strange subject. Who goes around talking about cemeteries? Well, if you grew up in my family, it seemed visits to graveyards appeared on our schedules. As a writer of historical fiction, I find cemeteries and records as an excellent source for plots, dates, facts, and characters.

A recent conversation at my local post office started me thinking about this subject and how other people might view cemeteries. The conversation went something like this:

Post Mistress: I saw you walking this week.

Me: I’m not surprised. I love to walk around the neighborhood.

Post Mistress: But I wouldn’t do that.

Me: Oh, I don’t go at night unless I’m with my husband.

Post Mistress: I wouldn’t walk where you walk even with my husband at any time of day.

Me: Why not?

Post Mistress: The cemetery. How can you walk around it? I hate even driving around it.

Then, I understood. It wasn’t the time of day or the neighborhood or walking alone. The cemetery was the culprit and all that it symbolized in her thoughts. I wanted to give her my positive spiel about all my fun experiences associated with graveyards, for I realized she had her own opinions for a reason. So, I chuckled to myself as I left the Post Office and went for a walk around the cemetery.

My experiences with cemeteries go way back to childhood as my parents, my sisters, and I explored family plots, old cemeteries in foreign countries and domestic destinations, even catacombs in Rome and Paris. Nothing scary or Halloween-like.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here.” Luke 24:5-6

A promise of resurrection from Jesus for His followers. Not anything to fear! His promises always come true.

So, I continue my walks around the cemetery. I’m on our old cemetery’s board where I get to care for the headstones and the grounds. My parents and my faith provide a healthy relationship with cemeteries where memories, tears, prayers, and history collide…but not fear…

What are your thoughts about cemeteries?

 

Giveaway on Goodreads NOW

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/307666-draw-me-to-your-side

Draw Me to Your Side cover (2)I’ve posted a Giveaway of Draw Me to Your Side on Goodreads until June 18, 2020. Follow the link above and enter for your chance to win one of ten print copies. Don’t miss this chance.

If you don’t win, you can still order a copy from Amazon link or personally from me at margueriteg@att.net.

Happy reading. I appreciate your support.

 

 

Draw Me to Your Side by Marguerite Martin Gray
Draw Me to Your Side (Revolutionary Faith, #4)
by

Marguerite Martin Gray (Goodreads Author)
Release date: Feb 25, 2020
Enter for a chance to win one of 10 print copies of Draw Me to Your Side by Marguerite Martin Gray, Book Four in the Revolutionary Faith series. The novel opens in January, 1776 Charles Town, South Carolina with the continuation of the Lestarjette family and the Patriots.

 

My Summer TBR Stack

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I really cannot believe summer is almost here. We all know where the spring went. although it was very “unspringlike” to me since I am a teacher.

I’m excited about my summer book stack. Four of the authors are new to me. So, let’s get started with a familiar author, Melanie Dickerson, and The Piper’s Pursuit. Of course, a plague of rats and missing children.

I know that Days of Messiah, The Messiah’s Sign by Amber Schamel will be an inspiring Biblical journey with a plot of leprosy, unfaithfulness, schemes, and a son.

Give me a princess and I’m all in. Give me another princess, even better. Foremost by Jody Hedlund is Book 2 in The Lost Princesses. The prequel and Book One were fun reads.

Cities of Refuge Book Three, Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette takes the reader to the Old Testament in the time of Joshua and the setting of the conquest. If it is anything like the first two, I will be entrenched in Israel in a little while.

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin takes place in 1944 Normandy. Sundin is a first-time author for me although she has written many novels. Fun!!!

Mary Ellis is also a new author for me. Magnolia Moonlight takes place in Natchez, Mississippi. A mystery in a town I love. Actually, I lived seven miles from Natchez for twelve years. Ah, can’t wait.

A Place at our Table by Amy Clipston is an Amish Homestead Novel.  She is a new to me author that I’m sure to enjoy.

And number eight! The Duke’s Dilemma by Elaine Manders. I love Duke tales as well as Princess drama. I’ve never read any of Manders’ duke stories, so here it goes.

Do any of these sound interesting to you? What will you be reading?

 

 

Review and Giveaway for The Socialite

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Tour page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  The Socialite

Author: J’nell Ciesielski

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: April 14, 2020

 

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This is the second book I have read by J’nell, and I loved it! There are so many novels set during World War II. I have many favorites from that genre. Each is so different and moving. The author has found her niche with her unique plots and characters. The Socialite focuses on the rescue of a beloved daughter and sister from the evil clutches of a Nazi madman. Just writing the word Nazi vibrates with potential drama and action. Two spoiled rich entitled sisters meet their match against the tyranny of Hitler.

I usually do not include quotes from the novel, but this one is full of phrases that capture the true essence of the novel. “Never in a hundred years would she have dreamed of life plopping her here in a beautiful city thrown under a merciless shadow with a trained saboteur as her bodyguard.” Wow! I know you want to read it now.

“The aristocracy pride themselves too much on what is not spoken… I’m finding what’s left unsaid is most often what we regret.” The lines of societal class are wavy or non-existence during this war. It does not matter who the characters’ fathers are. It is war.

Enjoy this novel set in Paris, 1941.

About the Author

With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

 

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉

Blog Stops

For Him and My Family, May 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 24

Connect in Fiction, May 24

Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 25

Life, Love, Writing, May 25

Livin’ Lit, May 26

Robin’s Nest, May 26

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 26

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Betti Mace, May 27

Maureen’s Musings, May 27

Where Faith and Books Meet, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 28

Book of Ruth Ann, May 28

Remembrancy, May 28

Read Review Rejoice, May 29

Quiet Workings, May 29

Mia Reads, May 29

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

deb’s Book Review, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

Texas Book-aholic, May 31

Books I’ve Read, May 31

Batya’s Bits, June 1

Blossoms and Blessings, June 1

Splashes of Joy, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Moments, June 2

Pause for Tales, June 3

Andrea Carmen, June 3

Just Your Average reviews, June 3

To Everything There Is A Season, June 3

Fiction Aficionado, June 4

Lis Loves Reading, June 4

Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa09/the-socialite-celebration-tour-giveaway

Please leave your comments here. Enjoy!

Review and Giveaway of On A Coastal Breeze

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Tour Page on Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  On A Coastal Breeze

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

For Madison Grayson, life is good. Newly licensed as aOn A Coastal Breeze marriage and family therapist, she can’t wait to start her practice. Despite the unfortunate shortage of eligible bachelors on the island–they’re all too young, too old, or too weird–Maddie feels like she’s finally found her sweet spot. Not even one panic attack in the last year. Not one.

And then Ricky O’Shea drops in. Literally. Floating down from the pure blue sky, the one man in the world she hoped never to see again–the one who’d been her archnemesis from kindergarten through her senior dance–parachutes into town, landing on Boon Dock, canopy draping behind him like a superhero. Ricky O’Shea. Now Pastor Rick, the new minister on Three Sisters Island.

Time to panic.

With wit and a bit of whimsy, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Three Sisters Island where family, forgiveness, and a second chance at love await.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I love the setting: Three Sisters Island, Maine. A tiny island with a hundred inhabitants. I’m from a small town of a thousand or fewer, so I understand the concept of a small community with challenges and struggles. This island is the home of three sisters—Cam, Maddie, and Blaine. This is book two and focuses on Maddie and her new business on the island and her possible relationship with Rick, the new pastor.

I have three sisters, and I’m the oldest. The similarities are amazing in the fact that each sister is so different in personality. It doesn’t matter that the parents are the same. The girls in the novel can’t help being different which brings challenges in relationships and family dynamics. Such a mystery in real life! As a side note, I’m married to a pastor; therefore, those problems being in the fishbowl are so true. Reading them on paper hit home.

On the island, where life should be simple and slow, things get heated with the arrival of the new pastor. The sisters have life problems that island life doesn’t help. Even though this is book two, Suzanne does an excellent job of introducing the characters that must have been revealed in book one. I liked this one so much that I’ve ordered number one. I’ll enjoy getting to know the characters better. And I hope there is a book three.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling suzanne woods fisherauthor of more than thirty books, including On a Summer Tide, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, The Deacon’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs. She lives in California. Learn more at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

More from Suzanne

Dear Reader,

The minute you step off the ferry and onto Three Sister Island, magic begins. Crisp ocean air acts like an elixir. Stress starts to evaporate, like a wisp of steam from a cup of hot tea. Happiness moves in, and you’ll feel more cheerful, more positive about the future.

And then there’s time! Somehow, there seems to be plenty of it.

Little things will catch your notice—finding seashells on the beach, watching waves crash against the rocks, gazing at the star-studded night sky.

Life just starts to slow down…and you wonder if you really want to ever leave Three Sisters Island.

Nor do you have to! That’s the beauty of books—they are the perfect escape. Always available, just waiting to be picked up. Always ready to transport you to a fresh and new state of mind.

On a Coastal Breeze is that kind of a read. The Grayson Family saga continues as they move to Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine for a fresh start. Maddie Grayson takes center stage in this story. Life is finally coming together for Maddie. On the very day she opens her counseling practice, she spots a billowing skydiver. Parachuting in is Ricky O’ Shea—the one person on earth Maddie hoped she’d never see again. But Rick’s the new pastor for the island’s only church and he’s not about to leave. That’s when sparks start to fly.

Join me for a getaway by the sea that will leave you in a happy, relaxed, vacation-y state of mind…without leaving your home. Once you board the Never Late Ferry, even in your imagination, the island will take it from there.

Warmly, Suzanne

Blog Stops

Blossoms and Blessings, May 23

reviewingbooksplusmore, May 23

Connect in Fiction, May 23

Remembrancy, May 24

Writing from the Heart Land, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Blessed & Bookish, May 25

Inspiration Clothesline, May 25

Back Porch Reads, May 25

For Him and My Family, May 26

Jeanette’s Thoughts, May 26

Daysong Reflections, May 26

Spoken from the Heart, May 27

Mary Hake, May 27

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 27

Simple Harvest Reads, May 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Older & Smarter?, May 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 30

EmpowerMoms, May 30

Pause for Tales, May 30

Batya’s Bits, May 31

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 31

Hallie Reads, May 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a copy of her book to five winners!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fb52/on-a-coastal-breeze-celebration-tour-giveaway

Be sure to leave a comment!

A Research High

Does anyone else enjoy, I mean really enjoy, researching? Well, it’s not a big secret at my house how much I LOVE and thrive on research. That is one reason I love to plot and write historical fiction. All those facts weaved in with fiction. What a combination! Another plus of stay at home–joining my Jane Austen binge, NaNoWriMo writing, and gardening–is research.

IMG_5166I usually have to wait until the summer or Christmas break to read and study all the books for a new project. A blessing during quarantine has been my research on 1740s France during the Enlightenment era with characters such as King Louis XV, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Madame Dupin and her salons. I chose the period before the French Revolution to add a glimpse of what led to the downfall of the monarchy.

IMG_5165I set my new work at the Chenonceau château–my favorite place on earth! No, really. This castle is called the Ladies’ Château for most of the owners have been women. In 1740 the famous woman was Louise Dupin who is known for her enlightening salons where celebrated and want-to-be philosophers met and expounded on their thoughts and theories. I’m using this search for knowledge and truth as the background for my characters facing “truth” in its many forms.

IMG_5167Even though I’ve started writing my novel, I continue to research. When I rewrite it, I’ll include any tidbits that I need to ground it in history. I always feel down when I’ve finished a research project.

Bring on the non-fiction research materials. I purchase my research books so that I can glean more from them at any point. For Whispers of Wisdom (Book three in Gardens of Time) I’ll read and use about twenty resources.

IMG_5168Oh, and did I mention that part of my research always includes a personal visit to the sites that I include in my novels? I continue to show up on the Chenonceau property to wander the rooms and stroll the avenues and gardens.

Is there any research you are passionate about when you have time to explore? Vacation planning, ancestry, how to….

How does your garden grow?

IMG_4819Gardening anyone? Recently in my blog, I have shared two things that I have done during “Stay at home”–NaNoWriMo (writing) and my Austen binge. Another area that has benefited from my extended hours at home is my yard. How about yours?

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.” Jeremiah 29:5

IMG_4989I have always worked outside the home teaching during spring. I planted a few items on the weekends, but never anything that took extra time. I did not have any time to spare. But now…oh my, I had no idea spring could be so productive while at home. My garden has reaped the benefits of time and attention.

“Let us cultivate our garden.” Voltaire

Seeds, bulbs, bushes–they are all flourishing. My first zinnia and gladiola bloomed today and a nasturtium yesterday. The color splashes make me happy as I lean over my deck and watch them explode in health.

For the first time ever, I planted potatoes and onions. I cannot wait for the harvest. My husband added okra and they will appear this summer. Last fall, I put a pumpkin and its seeds in the dirt just wondering what nature would do. Now, I have a huge pumpkin plant with two baby pumpkins on the vines. I do not know how it will do during the heat, but nature kind of took over. My squash plants are blooming, and I see baby yellow squash growing. Tomatoes and peppers are growing, and I will get to reap the harvest.

Well, I miss my students and my teaching assignment, but God gave me time to spend with His creation and the opportunity to enjoy the produce.

Do you have a garden whether flowers or veggies or fruit?   

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