Freedom Post #1

On July 1-5, I want to revisit the early days of America’s road to independence. I often wonder what I would have done. In 1772 when Hold Me Close (my first book of Revolutionary Faith) commences, the colonists had already faced quite a few setbacks. The Stamp Act appeared in 1765 and quickly joined other grievances in the 13 colonies.

The lines are being drawn in the cities, towns, families, and churches. Organizations spring up to educate and antagonize the situation. Although the urgency in not quite at a boiling point, individuals start asking questions.

Who do I support? The British and parliament or the colonies and local representation? What goods do I purchase? British, local, or other? Do I talk about it? Do I attend meetings? With whom do I discuss my feelings and thoughts?

This is what Elizabeth tells her father one evening: “Your opinions about this colony, this town, our people are wrong, Father. They will not—I will not—let the Empire continue to rule this world with no consideration for the welfare of its subjects. I’m sorry, Father, but I strongly believe in some measure of independence from the control of England.”

Wow, could I have done that?

This Independence Day think about what the early citizens had to determine at an individual level.

Would you have been vocal about your beliefs?

#amreading

It’s summer, and I am carving out lots of time to read. What about you? I grab an iced tea and hit the deck with a book.

Here is my present list of books at various stages of completeness:

Hold Me Close—I’m rereading my first novel for a book club talk! It’s so good the tenth time around.

The Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer. I really loved the first one. This takes me to a happy place although scary at times.

The Ice Swan by J’Nell Ciesielski. Only on page 20 but loving the drama of WWI in Paris with a doctor and a Russian princess.

The Storm Breaks Forth by Terri Wangard. WWI in the trenches along with lots of Homefront oddities. I’m astonished at what went on in the US.

At Her Fingertips by Kellyn Roth. An ARC of the next installment of Alice and Ivy’s story! The marriage mart versus a love match.

Well, I’m off to read for now. A little writing later if these stories will let me leave!

What are you reading?

Pets in Novels

Simba and Scout

Confession: I am a cat lady—not the cat lady—but a lover of cats. I love their antics, aloofness, entitlement, purring, sparring, hissing, personalities, independence, oddities, and beauty. Ant that does not cover it all. Yet, I only have two cats—rescues from a wandering, pregnant stray.

Do you enjoy pets or animals in your reading material? I do, not just in passing but ones who are included in the drama of characters’ lives. Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits—exotic or ordinary. I tend to write them into existence in my novels.

Cleo

Here is an example. In Hold Me Close—Book One in Revolutionary Faith—I introduce Cleo, a lively, comforting companion cat belonging to Elizabeth. She makes appearances throughout the five books. The real Cleo accompanied me on my writing journey, coaxing me to abandon my computer or writing pad when she needed attention, offering me glimpses into her realm, and coercing me to take time to enjoy the small things—a chocolate treat, a cup of tea, a reading break, a perch on the porch. Although she has passed on, her memory is forever captured in my books.

Tully and Simba

I now have a rescue puppy (14 months old, 62 pounds), Tully. I AM NOT a dog person, but I’m now a TULLY mom. I even have the shirt “Dog Mom.” I love him greatly. I had never written a dog into my novels until I had to include a few King Charles spaniels in my novel set in 1660 Hampton Court, England. Charles II’s dogs followed him from court to court. How could I not feature a pup or two? I will admit, the majority of animals I use are cats. Yet, as a dog mom, I now see the advantage of having a loyal, devoted, curious dog as a major character companion. I’ll see if I can give dog lovers a fictional dog to love.

I’m sending a huge “thank you” to authors who include animals in their novels. The creatures come in all forms. Which do you prefer—exotic or ordinary? Dog, cat, or weasel? Perhaps a mouse or a horse. Let me know as I prepare to write my next novel. I’m stumped about how to include a llama or a monkey!

Rereading Old Favorites

Do you ever reread books? Perhaps some favorites from your childhood or classics from recent years. I picked up one of my novels and started rereading it. Hold Me Close is Book One in the Revolutionary Faith series. It seems like I would have the book memorized but that is not the case. I’m reading it with new eyes and thoughts. So strange! As I read, I’m wondering what will happen. Really? Don’t I know what will transpire? But that doesn’t seem to matter. I’m reading it as if for the first time.

That made me think about other books I reread. In my library, I pulled out a few, knowing that I have read them a few times, some very recently. They never get old to me. Heidi by Johanna Spyri is one from my childhood that I read again after a trip to Switzerland. It was fresh and new—unlike my 1965 copy. I bought a new copy on my travels. Another one that stands ready to be read again and again is Little Women. My 1970 copy boasts a cover for the shelves of a little girl. Oh, to enter the lives of the four sisters and hope that there is a different ending for Beth!

I have all of my 1974 copies of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I do read them every few years, recently in French and Spanish. Madeleine L’Engle caught my attention later in life. When teaching reading for seven years, I had students read A Wrinkle in Time out loud. I’ve read all of the books in the series.

As a teenager and young adult, I was fascinated with King Arthur and his court. I devoured Mary Stewart’s books on Arthur and Merlin. The Last Enchantment, The Crystal Cave, and The Hollow Hills are definitely on my reread list.

Last but by far not the least is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and all of the others too.  Every year I pick up one of her books and reread it. Also, I watch all the films every summer. What a productive way to spend my time.

What have you reread?

Multi-author Giveaway–A Garden of Books

Hello Readers!

I know you have heard of a garden of flowers but have you heard of a garden of books? 

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular garden of over 40 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to create your own garden.

 Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s  A Garden of Books Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through May 15!

 

I have two books in the Giveaway! Hold Me Close and Wait for Me!

Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/10ab8/a-garden-of-books

Do you see any books you’d like to read? Please share which ones catch your eye.

April Because Fiction Magazine and Giveaway!!!

Hey, everyone! Here is the link to a giveaway on Because Fiction Magazine and a note from Sandy! https://mailchi.mp/…/becausefiction-magazine-april…#BecauseFiction

April Editions!Hello Readers!

Welcome to the April Edition of the BecauseFiction Magazine. Spring is here in Southern California. The weather has been on the warm side, and the flowers are blooming all over! Today we saw 22 baby ducks down at the lake. They were so cute!With the weather turning nice, it is fun to sit out on the balcony and read with a cup of coffee or a Diet Coke – I am game for either. I am on the hunt to build up my TBR list to read, read, read.To help you build your TBR list, we have some great reads for you this month! Be sure to check out each author’s update, enter the giveaways, and grab your free book.

Until next month, may God bless you richly! Sandy Barela

I’m giving away a copy of Hold Me Close. Read my article “A Reader First” here: https://www.becausefiction.com/marguerite-martin-gray/ and enter the giveaway.

April Giveaway

I almost let April slip away without a giveaway. But have no fear, I found the time to add one.

I loved Permelia Cottage by Carole Lehr Johnson. Travel to England and enjoy the quaint village with some unique characters, good food, and secrets.

I’m giving away a copy of Hold Me Close to start a lucky winner on the Revolutionary Faith Series. Join the characters in Charles Town, SC in 1772-73.

Make a comment here for your chance to win one of the two books. Comment by the end of April 25!

What setting in a novel is one of your favorites? England, US, France, an island, etc?

Because Fiction Giveaways and Articles

January 2021 Featured Article

Because Fiction—the Name

“I don’t know how this magazine’s name originated, but I love it. I am an avid reader of fiction, and I have been since a child in grade school, devouring as many books as I can. There will never be enough time to read all I want, especially since I stop to write novels myself…” continued with link above…

This is my giveaway at Because Fiction. There are many more authors and books in all genres.

Decorate with Books

I’m doing something I never thought I’d do. My husband and I own and run three Airbnb properties. My son told me five months ago, “Just try it, Mom. You might find you enjoy dealing with the different guests. You might even see it as a way to help during this time.”

Well, I knew the idea hung outside my comfort zone. What did I know about owning and hosting an Airbnb, must less three of them? Sure, I could keep a house for my family, but strangers? What needs would they have? Would I be able to meet those expectations?

One of my favorite parts of the project is the decorating. I feel I meet a need when I make it homey. I always include a variety of reading options. I place some of my favorite books by authors I follow in the rooms. I hope to entice the guests to read a good book and possibly find a new author. Whenever I stay at a BnB or Airbnb, I always gravitate to a bookshelf or a nightstand to browse the offerings. What better way to entertain my guests!

Perhaps you see a favorite author from my pictures of my houses. What books do you use as an entertainment for your family and guests?