Happy Birthday to my first book baby, Hold Me Close! I feel like Frosty marching in the streets saying Happy Birthday. In December of 2018, Celebrate Lit Publishing set the course for Hold Me Close to become a reality that others could hold and read.
The reader begins the journey in the Revolutionary Faith Series set in Charles Town, South Carolina, 1772. Elizabeth Elliott, a young energetic girl, has no idea what faces her hometown. Nor is she ready for a handsome Frenchman, Louis Lestarjette who lands in the city with no plans to stay very long.
Hold Me Close introduces characters that continue in the next four books. I knew I could not leave Elizabeth and Louis as they were in the early pages. Hopefully, you want to continue the journey with them.
Summer Book Lover’s Day is August 9 and we are Celebrating ALL WEEK with a HUGE giveaway!
I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 35 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to hold you over until Christmas!
Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s 2nd Annual Summer Book Lover’s Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through August 15.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.