Beginnings…

IMG_0185Joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

I love the morning, a new beginning. I cherish my front porch time to study and read. To muse. To relax. Beginning are exciting and full of anticipation, whether for a new, full day or an adventure with family, friends, career, or mission. I do admit it is nice to arrive at the middle and see the end and then to complete a task and say well done. But the beginning always has such potential and so many challenging, unanswered questions.

IMG_0186My most recent beginning was the beginning of summer–I’m a teacher. Need I say more? Eight weeks to regroup, renew, rest, and rev up for a new year. Now I’ve seen what I accomplished and set my eyes on the finish line which turns into another beginning.

Another place I love beginnings is with a novel. The beginning leaves me with 300 pages to figure out the answers, to meditate on the circumstances, to fall in love with the characters, and to soak up new knowledge.

Hold me Close front (1)Here is the beginning of my novel Hold Me Close (Hold Me Close link) in the Revolutionary Faith Series, Book One:

Charles Town, South Carolina

September 1772

Louis Lestarjette stepped off the ramp onto dry land after weeks on the Sainte Claire. A line of carriages awaited weary travelers on the other side of the dusty boulevard. But none were waiting for Louis. With his luggage stored for the day at the dock, he set out with an address in hand. As he headed down Bay Street toward Church Street, he tried to adjust his legs from the rolling ship’s deck to dry land.

He was here. After five weeks and four thousand miles, he wanted to believe success lurked around the corner.

Turning onto Tradd Street, Louis breathed in the humid air of Charles Town. He walked for several blocks at a brisk pace, looking to his left and right. Finally, he spotted Wilson’s Mercantile. Welcome or unwelcome, he had finally reached his destination. Nothing he had seen looked familiar or even remotely similar to Paris. Even the tree-lined streets with mansions hiding private gardens paled in comparison to his homeland…

Talk about a beginning: a new country, a new job, an unknown environment. I don’t quite want that dramatic beginning, although I have moved before, taken a new job, started over without friends in a new city. Exciting and scary…

Do you have a new beginning story? 

 

Not an ordinary vacation activity

IMG_8599Recently I joined my three sisters on a much-needed vacation and sister time in Charleston, South Carolina. We always include yummy restaurants and a beach journey if possible. After walking and walking in this beautiful, historic city, we enjoyed the relaxation each evening with a movie in our little rented house with a coveted dessert or two.

IMG_1181Part of my research for my books and for genealogical information included searching the cemetery at St. Philip’s for ancestors. I had done this before with my husband with no luck. Finding a tombstone that is legible from 1760-1780 is difficult. My father had seen it around 1952 and later in the 1960s. But the church has no records of where my relatives were buried just the fact that they were buried in the cemetery.

My father gave us instructions before we left for our trip. “I want pictures of you in the cemetery searching for the graves.” He laughed. And I’m sure we were a sight taking off across the graveyard scouring all the headstones for a familiar name or two. I promise not one of the four of us thought about not completing this task.

Growing up with Daddy and traveling with him led us to many cemeteries. Mama and the four of us would follow him around, listening to his stories or family or historical events. I still do this. For some odd reason, I like visiting the grave sites of historical figures whether in Europe or the US.  From the elaborate tombs of Elizabeth I or the missing headstone of an Uncle Jack in North Louisiana.

After my sisters’ left, I stayed a few days and found myself in the Pioneer Cemetery in Orangeburg, S.C. I found some family members and one stone with unrecognizable lettering on it. Records show that Louis and Elizabeth Lestarjette (major characters in my Revolutionary Faith Series) are in this cemetery with their children but the graves are unmarked, disappearing through the 200 plus years. I will be back to try again to see if I can find out more.

I wondered as we roamed cemeteries, if anyone else does this strange activity on vacation or anytime. Do you have something you include in a vacation that might be a bit odd? Share here.

 

First Things First

IMG_9580How I love summer! I use the time to do something different from teaching. Since I have completed the preliminary draft of a novel and submitted it to the publisher, I’ve been thinking and planning for my next novel. I spent a week in Charleston, S.C. with my sisters for four days then myself for three days. Beautiful, inspiring, lots of ideas!

I write historical fiction where the characters roam and live in a factual historical world. I always use a venue that I have traveled by walking the streets, visiting the sites, and researching. I’ve discussed my library before when I was writing the first four books in Revolutionary Faith Series–35 sources. On my latest venture to Charleston, I added more sources. I will have to scour the pages, formulating a plot, developing characters, outlining a historical backdrop. I’m so excited about this process.

IMG_9749So in the month of July, I’ll read and highlight my new books from Charleston. But the first book I am reading is an old 1906 book that will not receive any highlighting because of its value. Charleston The Place and the People by Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel is a treasure, one found in my parents’ library. I’m sure there are quite a few interesting observations discussed by Mrs. Ravenel.

I bought my books from two wonderful shops in Charleston–Historic Shops of Charleston on Meeting Street and The Preservation Society Shop on King Street. Time spent in both shops is a thrill. One book I bought is South Carolina and the American Revolution: A Battlefield History by John. W. Gordon. I’ve read another of his books for research and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I advance in my plot for the next book, I decided to add A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780 by Carl P. Borick. I want to know what it was like living in a city under siege by the British.

Two historical figures have fascinated me as I’ve researched and written them into my novels. One is William Moultrie, an American General in Charleston. I added  Crescent Moon over Carolina: William Moultrie and American Liberty by C.L. Bragg.

One of my favorite characters that I have already used in my novels is Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox).  I found The Life of General Francis Marion by Brig. Gen. P. Horry and Parson M. L. Weems. I’m hoping for some interesting insight into this extraordinary man.

IMG_9744Research–I LOVE the process. I’m rubbing my hands together in excitement wondering which book I’ll read first.

Do you have a project that you really anticipate with joy? 

Thank You

IMG_7178I need to stop and thank everyone for a successful release of Bring Me Near. The flowers are for you! I could not have done it without so many people working to make this publication special and memorable. The process of publication is long and arduous but so very worth it to finally hold the book in my hands.

Thank you to my publisher and editors at Celebrate Lit. You kept me on track and worked diligently to create a beautiful book. Roseanna White once again created a gorgeous cover. I’m so pleased with all three of the covers for the series.

IMG_7114 (1)My advanced readers, or my street team, are awesome. I hope I didn’t scare you off from joining me again for the next novel. Thank you for your time, your critiques, your reviews, and overall support. I received many comments that I will use over and over to inspire me to continue writing. My team of readers for Bring Me Near was Katie G., Boots M., Sarah H., Charlotte P., Sally M., Terri W., Melissa W., Mary C., Donna G., Nancy W., Diane F., Gloria B., Judy K., Katherine H., Linda M., Dot G., Sandy D., and Becky S. You are the best!

My blog tour with Celebrate Lit ran from February 28- March 13. Thank you to all of the bloggers for your time and reviews. It is always a joy to work with such a dedicated group of readers, writers, and bloggers.

img_e7187-2.jpgNext is a new release book signing on March 23 at the Avenue Christian Bookstore in Ruston, Louisiana. I hope to see many family and friends at this event.

I will continue to promote the Revolutionary Faith Series at book clubs, book events, festivals, and social clubs. I am over half way in the writing of Book Four Draw Me to Your Side. Keep your comments coming as we continue this journey together.

Let me know what you think about the series and what you expect for Book Four!

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Elizabeth, Revolutionary Faith Heroine

Lestarjette home 4Bring Me Near, Revolutionary Faith Book Three will be released on February 26 in print and eBook form. How exciting! I hope all of you will purchase a copy and get involved in Elizabeth’s life. As I researched the American Revolution period, I knew I wanted a strong feminine character. A real one! What would a girl, a woman really be doing on a day-to-day basis on the brink of war and then during a war. Voila, the appearance of Elizabeth.

 

In Hold Me Close, Revolutionary Faith Book One, Elizabeth is eighteen-years-old, a loyal daughter in a Loyalist family. I’m not going to spoil the plot for anyone who has not read the first two books. She has light-brown curly hair and deep blue-gray eyes, about five-foot-five (I wanted her taller than I am!), talented (music) and a lover of gardening. This delightful girl runs head into the colony’s volatile dilemma. I’ll let you be the judge of her character in Surround Me, Revolutionary Faith Book Two as the situation escalates.

I enjoyed researching Elizabeth’s dresses. I’ve included a few for you to see. Her favorite colors are green, yellow, and purple.

 

As the heroine, Elizabeth experiences many difficult dramatic events. She does her best with what she knows and how she feels God is leading. Some of her comments and thoughts in Bring Me Near are: “I choose joy for you, even in the valley.” “Bring Sarah so near to You that she feels Your arms around her.”  “Here she was making shirts for soldiers and singing of God’s mercy and blessings.” “Yet, mundane chores brought simplicity and importance to an otherwise chaotic existence.” “History was not made over casual ladies’ after-dinner gossip. Or was it?”

Enjoy Elizabeth’s journey in Bring Me Near.

Do you have a favorite color for clothing? Would you want to wear a dress from 1770?

Hold Me Close plus a Giveaway

Promo 3 Hold Me CloseWe all have a lot going on this month. I hope you can find some time to relax and pick up a book. I have a suggestion–Hold Me Close. With the release of Bring Me Near is a few weeks, now might be the time to read Book One in the Revolutionary Faith series. The journey in 1772 Charles Town, South Carolina is an adventure that poses many questions about loyalty, comfort, conformity, dreams, and hopes. Order your copy today and begin the journey with Louis Lestarjette and Elizabeth Elliott.

Opening paragraph:

Louis Lestarjette stepped off the ramp onto dry land after weeks on the Sainte Claire. A line of carriages awaited weary travelers on the other side of the dusty boulevard. But none were waiting for Louis. With his luggage stored for the day at the dock, he set out with an address in hand. As he headed down Bay Street toward Church Street, he tried to adjust his legs from the rolling ship’s deck to dry land.

Hold me Close front (1)

Also, I have a giveaway opportunity on Goodreads. Enter for your chance to win one of five print copies of Hold Me Close. If you know someone who might like the book, please share the giveaway and my website.

Hold Me Close Giveaway Hold me Close front (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you read Hold Me Close?

Have a great weekend!