Such an exciting day! It’s finally here…August 5, 2014…Release Day for Caroline’s Secret!
Caroline’s Secret is the first book in my new series set in Wells Landing!
For more info, check out my page dedicated to Caroline’s Secret.
I think it’s time to share my lovely, lovely cover for Courting Emily. (Mainly because the publishing house posted it on amazon <g>) Courting Emily is the story of Emily Ebersol, the bishop’s daughter. I can’t tell you a lot about this story yet, but I will say that the look on “Cover Emily’s” face is perfect. So Emily–a little bit innocent, a little bit mischievous, a whole lot of spunk. I love it! What do you think?
I don’t have a lot of visitors to my blog. Let’s face it, with all the projects that I completed since the beginning of the year, I’ve barely had time to acknowledge that I even have a blog. But (there’s always a but, right?) I was scrolling through Facebook one day and ran across the cutest cover! The author was looking for readers to review the book. Sadly I was too late to get in on that. But I loved the cover so much I invited her to come to my blog during her release and share a little about the story.
Here’s the cover and the blurb–
Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole’s father has always focused on what she’snot. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.
Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole’s plans.
After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.
Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?
Now do you understand why I’m so infatuated? :)
Karen also graciously (during her busy time of release) sent me over a Q&A for a little more info about Full Steam ahead. If you have any other questions, Karen will be stopping in periodically to answer them.
In the mean time, I’m heading over to amazon to get my copy! :)
This may be one I have to get in print. :) Love love love that wonderful cover!
Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
1. What inspired you to write Full Steam Ahead?
As I brainstormed, I decided it would be fun to have a hero who was a bit of a “mad” scientist. The trouble was figuring out what kind of scientific obsession would make sense in 1800’s Texas. I wanted something exciting, something explosive. I thought to use a chemist—think laboratory experiments gone wrong—but my high school chemistry skills were too rusty. Then I remembered the steamboat disasters of the 1840’s and 50’s. Thousands of lives were lost every year due to the rush to expand commerce into the west using technology that wasn’t yet truly understood. So I put my hero aboard an actual 19th century riverboat, the Louisiana, on the day that its boiler exploded in New Orleans, and my mad scientist was born. Darius Thornton becomes obsessed with discovering ways to make steamboat boilers safe—to the point that he regularly conducts explosive experiments of his own.
2. You’ve spoken about what drives your hero. What about your heroine? Any interesting historical happenings motivating her journey?
Only if you consider pirates interesting. Texas was actually home to one of the most famous pirates of the 19th century – Jean Lafitte. After helping General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British attack of 1815 and thereby earning a pardon for his previous smuggling operations, Jean Lafitte moved his base of operations to Galveston Island, Texas where he set up a pirate colony. My heroine’s grandfather saved the pirate’s life by taking a bullet meant for him. Lafitte rewards his valor with the gift of his personal, jeweled dagger. The Lafitte Dagger became the Renard family legacy, and over time its legend grew. As Galveston underwent political turmoil – going from Mexican rule to the Texas Revolution, then becoming an independent republic, to finally joining the union– Renard Shipping flourished. People began to believe that whoever possessed Lafitte’s dagger would find prosperity in the port of Galveston. When a rival shipping owner sets out to steal the dagger, Nicole Renard, as the only heir, takes the dagger and flees Galveston in an effort to protect her ailing father. Only, instead of escaping to New Orleans to meet up with trusted family friends, she is forced to take a detour up the Trinity River and ends up on the same plantation as Darius Thornton, our obsessed scientist.
3. Most of your books have been set in the 1880’s. Was it a challenge to set Full Steam Ahead three decades earlier?
Yes, it was definitely a challenge. Being so familiar with the 1880’s, I took certain things for granted. Like the railroad, the telegraph, a simple cookstove—none of which were readily available in Texas in the 1850’s. Women’s fashion was drastically different as well. I had to relearn everything my previous novel research had taught me. One fun piece I ran across during all this research was a link between steamboat engines and the Great Exhibition going on in London in 1851, the same year my story takes place. I couldn’t resist incorporating this little jewel, so Darius and Nicole make a trip to England in the epilogue. I can’t say more without spoiling the ending.
4. What are some of the themes explored in this story?
Letting go of the past is the overall theme, based on the verse from Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Darius is so obsessed with redeeming his past failures that he blinds himself to the present needs of the people around him. He must learn to forgive himself and allow God to restore his brokenness before he can move forward. Nicole, too, struggles with issues from her past. Childhood insecurities haunt her due to a father she believed always wanted a son instead of a daughter. She must learn to let go of those beliefs and recognize her own value in Christ in order to claim her happy ending.
5. Will there be future books based on the characters of Full Steam Ahead?
Yes! One of the secondary characters in Full Steam Ahead is a young runaway named Jacob who is taken in by Darius and Nicole. In early 2015, Jacob’s story will continue in an e-novella entitled Love on the Mend. Jacob is all grown up, and after serving as a Civil War doctor, where more soldiers leave his surgeon’s table dead or missing a limb than mended, Jacob wants nothing more than to establish a quiet country practice somewhere and find peace. But peace will never be his until he buries the pain of his past. So he returns to Cold Spring, Texas for the first time in seventeen years . . . and discovers that his past is still alive and kicking.
Thanks for sharing, Karen!
Please take a minute and complete the following survey. I’m investigating (for my own use) why readers enjoy Christian romance. I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to add your own answer and leave comments. This is all about the readers. :) Thanks!
BTW–You can answer as many that apply to you. :)
We here all love the Amish. At least I assume you do or else you wouldn’t be reading this. But each of us has something special they love most of all about these conservative and inspirational people.
I can remember the first time I heard about the Amish. I was young–still young enough to be living at home–though I can’t remember my exact age. I thought the person who was telling me about the Amish was not telling me the truth. How could these people live without electricity? Wear old-fashioned clothes and drive horse and buggies? In the 20th century even. How was this even possible? But I started reading up on the Amish and found out what I could, which wasn’t a lot. (Keep in mind here this is before the internet and the world was a much larger place.) But I found out one very important thing–the Amish were real.
I still have that same awe about them now–one that makes me nearly tongue-tied whenever I have the opportunity to talk with them. (I know, right? Me speechless!) But to me they are that special, frozen in time. And yet not. They see the world around them , but they (for the most part) choose not to live in that manner. Instead they carve out their life in an old fashion way that is both commendable and charming.
So I’ve asked myself why I find the Amish so intriguing and each day my answer is different. But the gist of it is always the same. Community. I love the fact that they live together, depend on themselves, each other and God for almost all that they need. How much better a place the entire world would be if we paid more attention to community instead of just ourselves.
What is it about the Amish that intrigues you?
I think and plan by the day. Okay, sometimes by the week. so I guess it’s not great surprise when something sneaks up on me and I’m caught off guard.
Saving Gideon will be released in 35 days. 35 days!! I. Am. So. Excited. Here’s a little peek at Saving Gideon. Enjoy!
~*~*~*~ An Excerpt ~*~*~*~
Three dogs lay in the sunshine just before the cool, shadowy entrance to the barn—a beagle, a black and white border collie, and a spotty dog she guessed was some sort of heeler. None of them moved anything save a small wag of their tails as she passed them by. Her furry friend was nowhere to be seen.
Avery stopped just inside the door, taking a moment to let her eyes adjust to her new surroundings. It was dim even with the top half of the Dutch doors open on the other end. She could say one thing about the barn…it was neat. Fresh smelling, clean hay was scattered across the packed dirt floor and perfumed the air as she trod on it. And it was big, with a trussed roof and expansive loft stretching the length of the barn. And empty…except for a lone cow in one stall and Molly and Kate housed just to the left and opposite the tack room.
Okay, that was three things, but Avery was so proud of herself for remembering the term “tack room” that she wasn’t keeping count. She’d had an “uncle” over in Ft. Worth, one of her father’s associates, who had a sprawling ranch with lots of horses and such. Avery had gone out there once and toured the barn and rode a gentle mare…and she’d loved it. It was just so far out of Dallas. She often thought of going again, but there never seemed to be enough time. There was always a party to go to or a ribbon cutting ceremony or some sort of such.
He was sitting off to one side in the corner of the wide wooden stairs, so quiet and still that she almost didn’t see him at all. Or maybe the fact that he was just sitting there instead of milking a cow or throwing some hay that confused her. He seemed to be taking the slower pace of the Amish culture very seriously.
“I—” she started, unsure of what to say now that she had actually found him. “I was looking for you.”
“And you found me.” Louie V. lay at his feet as if he had found a new master in Gideon Fisher.
“Right.” Avery rocked back on her heels, enjoying the prickly feel of the straw beneath her feet. “I came to see if I could help you with anything.”
“No.” Simple man, simple answer.
“Yeah…well…okay. I just thought I could do something. I feel okay, you know. Farms are busy places…aren’t they? I mean, isn’t there always something to do, sun up to sun down and all time in between?” Why was she rambling?
“Well, then…what can I do?”
“It’s the Lord’s Day. We only do what’s required of us on Sundays.”
Avery nodded. “Right. I was wondering about that. Church and all. I mean, if you need to leave…” She couldn’t very well go with him dressed in her clothes or his.
She wasn’t sure, but she thought Gideon’s eyes hardened just a fraction, hiding that vulnerable light which crept into them when he thought she wasn’t looking.
“You don’t have to stay here for me.”
“Okay,” Avery said, not really believing him. She waited for him to load up another excuse, but he didn’t.
After several tense heartbeats, she turned to go. A pile of quilts and a pillow stacked on the landing next to her host captured her attention. She didn’t know much about horses or the soft equipment they used, but these surely didn’t look like horse blankets. And she had never heard of a horse needing a pillow. For anything.
She turned to face him. “Did you sleep here last night?”
“Here. In the barn.”
Gideon crossed his arms over his chest, his nonchalant pose of earlier vanishing in one fluid motion. “And what’s it matter to you if’n I did?”
“Well…” What truly did it matter to her where he slept? “It seems sort of silly to me that I slept on the couch and you slept in the barn and nobody slept in that big old bed in there.”
“It’s not silly.” He stood and even with the distance between them, Avery was impressed by his formidable height. “We are not married. We are not chaperoned. The elders will be vexed enough to discover you’re here with me. Sleeping in the house…” he shrugged. “That is not something else I need on my conscience.”
“What isn’t something you need on your conscience?” Avery eyed him warily.
“Compromisin’ your good standin’.”
Was he serious? “Because I’m here with you…alone.”
Gideon nodded. “Jah.”
He was serious! And Avery was touched.
“But I’m an Englisher,” she said remembering the term she’d heard Jack use to refer to non-Amish folk.
“Jah,” Gideon agreed. “But you are still a woman.”