Thursday, July 20, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Sandra Merville Hart

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Sandra Merville Hart

Linda:  Your latest book is the second in your Civil War Romance series. Where did you get the idea for your story?

Sandra: I had a feeling that there was a story waiting for me in Gettysburg. My husband and I went there to find it. We started at the battlefield where I found Tennessee regiments that fought the initial battle on the first day and were part of Pickett’s Charge. We attended ranger talks and tours. An idea began to form.

Gettysburg has many wonderful museums—we visited them. We took evening walking tours and walked the town’s streets around the “Diamond” where women and children lived through a nightmare. Then we returned to the battlefield.

Standing on Cemetery Ridge at dusk, I stared at the open field crossed by Pickett’s Charge. Though the land is peaceful now, it still tells a story. I also wanted to show what the townspeople endured. The idea for A Rebel in My House was born.

LM: You are an editor for How does that affect you as a writer?

Sandra: Besides editing the few submissions we receive, I write a lot of historical articles for The three main areas I write for on the site are Adventures in History, God’s World, and Holiday Traditions. This task has honed my skills for writing articles. Even a 200-300 word article requires research; I’ve become a better researcher. Learning where to find free images to enhance the post helped me for my own Historical Nibbles blog.

LM: Your website is full of fascinating historical information. Have you always enjoyed history or did something in your past spark an interest?

Sandra: Thank you! I’m thrilled that you like my blog. I had a great history teacher in high school. She brought history to life. It was the first time I thought of historical figures as people who struggled and triumphed as we all do. Then I took an elective in college for World War I. The teacher grabbed my attention the first night and held me spellbound with fascinating, behind-the-scenes, glimpses of the history.

My fascination with the Civil War began as a child with stories of brother against brother and father against son. I wanted to know more, even when in elementary school.

LM: Do you have an intriguing research story to share?

Sandra: When I went to research in Gettysburg for this novel, I decided to pay for a private ranger tour. I asked our Battlefield Guide, Clay Rebert, if there were any Tennessee regiments in the battle. I told him I was researching for a novel and didn’t have a clear idea of the story line yet. I study the history first and then the story solidifies. Our guide tailored the tour for my research and even missed part of his lunch hour. I had offered him my homemade chocolate chip cookies during the tour. He declined. My husband assured him that my cookies receive lots of compliments. He was very gracious and knowledgeable, answering all the questions I had at the time. When he missed part of lunch because of our tour, he accepted a couple of cookies and a bottled water. I hope that tided him over! 

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Sandra: I write in my office. I turn on a box fan to mask background noise. That helps me focus.

LM: You seemed to have done a lot of traveling. If money were no object, what is your idea of the
ultimate vacation?

Sandra: Most of the traveling I’ve done has been for family vacations, conferences, and research. Often I don’t look for inspiration—it finds me. People and places with a history inspire me. Many stories fester for months and years before they enter my conscious thoughts. I’d love to tour Revolutionary War cities like Boston and Philadelphia. I’d also love to travel Route 66 at some point to see some of the family businesses that survived all these years. There’s a story idea there …

LM: What is your next project?

Sandra: Thanks for asking! I am writing a Civil War novel set primarily in Tennessee. A friend told me that a husband and wife served in the Confederate Army together. That sparked lots of research! An idea was born for a very different story. My working title for the new novel is A Lady in My Regiment.

LM: That sounds intriguing! Where can folks find you on the web?

Sandra: Thanks for hosting me, Linda! I’d love for folks to visit me on my blog, Historical Nibbles. I'd love to connect on Social Media too:

Amazon author page:

Watch the trailer here

Buy the book! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: A bit of inspiration

Traveling Tuesday: A bit of inspiration

Thanks to the internet I was able to visit England without leaving my chair, a necessity if I was going to get locations and other details correct in my novel, Under Fire, that releases a week from today. Because the story is set during WWII, facts such as which Tube stops were unusable due to bombing raids were important. I couldn't have my protagonist Ruth catching the train in the wrong place. When I was able to finally visit London and Hastings in 2015, it was thrilling to walk and stand where Ruth had been.

Ruth's story begins in a small, fictional town on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, a town very similar to my own.

A view of the mountains from Lake Winnipesaukee

A waterfall on one of the islands

A summer cottage Ruth might have
seen while canoeing with Lill

Then she follows clues to London...

Hyde Park: One of the place's Ruth loved to visit.

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge from outside the Tower.
Ruth would have seen this when she followed Roger
to the docks on the River Thames

Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell
inside Elizabeth Tower) that Ruth would have
seen while prowling the streets for stories

Victoria Memorial that Ruth would
have seen as she walked past
Buckingham Palace

I hope you've enjoyed your virtual tour of London. Be sure to read about Ruth's adventures in Under Fire, available from eLectio Publishing.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Mary Ellis

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Mary Ellis

Author Mary Ellis
Today, I am welcoming author Mary Ellis, writer of mysteries, romance, and Amish fiction. Draw up a chair and get to know this busy lady!

Linda:  Mary, thanks for joining me today. Your latest book is the fourth in your Secrets of the South mystery series. Did you set out to write a series or did that just happen?

Mary: I did set out to write a series, because I find the South infinitely more “mysterious” than the beautiful Ohio countryside where I live. But I didn’t figure it would stretch into six books. I started with three favorite cities: New Orleans, Memphis, and Natchez. Then I added Savannah, Charleston, and Pensacola. I’m in the process of choosing a seventh city.

LM: You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Mary: Typing the words “The End” at the end of the manuscript. Seriously, I love the creative part, in other words, making up the story. I am definitely not fond of the editing process. But every author must check over his/her work before they send the book to their editor. Lest our publishers discover what bad spellers/grammarians we are.

LM: Most of your novels are contemporary. What made you decide to write the series set during the Civil War?

Mary: All my life I’ve been a history buff, the American Civil War in particular. As a Christian, I’m flummoxed by the fact that officers on both sides were devout Christians and believed God was on their side of the conflict. I’m so glad my publisher allowed me to write three books set during this tumultuous and paradoxical period.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Mary: I always have a candle burning and romantic music playing. I have a playlist of my favorite romantic songs like Evergreen, The Way We Were, The Rose, I Will Always Love You, etc. Love is the basis for almost every story ever written—love for a spouse, love for our children, or the greatest (true) story ever told, The Bible, love for our Lord.

LM: Research plays a huge part in preparing to write any book. Do you have an unusual research incident to share?

Mary:  Around a year ago, while doing a final fact check for Sunset in Old Savannah, my husband and I got separated by dozens of blocks while walking around a crowded city. Armed with bad maps, we had to find each other on foot in a sea of tourists. This might not have been difficult, but I have bad knees and hubby has a horrible sense of direction.

LM: LOL! What skill would you like to master? (e.g. learning a different language, carpentry, etc.)

Mary: I would love to speak French since I plan to go to Paris someday.

LM: Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

Mary: I love riding all three, so I guess my answer depends on the distance. Going around the lake in my town? Horse! Taking the scenic path in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area? My twelve-speed! (however, I only use 3…) Going on a research trip down south? I’ll take my car every time!

LM: What is your next project?

Mary: I just finished book five in the series, Night Falls on Charleston. I am about to start the mystery set in Pensacola, tentatively titled Sweet Taste of Revenge.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


Thanks again for stopping by! It was such a pleasure getting to know you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Those Who Have Gone Before

Wartime Wednesday: Those Who Have Gone Before

As men headed overseas or moved into the defense jobs during WWII, a void was created in every industry from agriculture to manufacturing. Initially, employers were reluctant to hire women, instead using prisoners of war, interned Japanese-Americans, and males too old or too young to go into the armed forces. Eventually, companies realized that without using women, production goals would never be met.

However, there was one industry that seemed to have no shortage of men: journalism. Nearly every newspaper and magazine in the U.S. from tiny weekly periodicals to national publications employed a man who covered the conflict on location. In order to be allowed in a war zone, a reporter had to be accredited. Accreditation was a long, tedious process, but by the end of the war over 1,473 men and 127 women had achieved that coveted status.

Martha Gellhorn and
then husband Hemingway
Despite their approval, many female correspondents faced scorn, derision, and opposition in the form of refusal to transport them to the front, as was part of the “deal” of being accredited. Instead, they had to coerce, bribe, or charm their way onto jeeps, trucks, or ships. Collier’s journalist Martha Gellhorn wrote in a letter to military authorities, “I have too frequently received the impression that women war correspondents were an irritating nuisance. I wish to point out that none of us would have our jobs unless we knew how to do them, and this curious condescending treatment is as ridiculous as it is undignified.”

Dickey Chappelle
Unable to get to Normandy on D-Day any other way, Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship. When told by one hard-nosed general that he didn’t want his Marines to have to pull up their pants because she was around Dickey Chappelle responded, “That won’t bother me one bit. My object is to cover the war.” And ex-fashion photographer Lee Miller managed to make her way to Dachau where she captured pictures of the camp’s liberation. These women the other 124 correspondents exhibited grit and grace to get the job done.

My forthcoming release, Under Fire, features War Correspondent/Amateur Sleuth Ruth Brown. It is my hope that her story will honor those correspondents who forged the trail for future generations of women who can now choose to do or be anything they want.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cover Reveal and Giveaway

Cover Reveal and Giveaway

I am very excited about the upcoming release of Under Fire, the first book in my trilogy about WWII War Correspondent/Amateur Sleuth Ruth Brown. Before I show you the cover and tell you about the #giveaway, let me share a bit about Ruth and what she's going to get herself into...

As a journalist for the newspaper in her small town, Ruth is relegated to writing society columns and other incidental news. She longs to be taken seriously by her editor, so she ferrets out stories where she can. When her sister is reported missing and then declared dead after a boating accident, Ruth is convinced Jane is still alive. Using her investigative skills, Ruth pokes around the company where her sister worked and manages to get herself assigned to report on the union negotiations. When things grow contentious, Ruth decides there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

Following one clue after another, she realizes the trail leads to England, a country in the midst of a war. Convincing her editor to assign her to London as a correspondent, Ruth juggles reporting on the war with getting to the bottom of her sister's disappearance. By the time she uncovers what really happened she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters, and the IRA - all of whom many want her dead.

Sound intriguing? You can find out what happens by picking up your copy on July 25th!

Now...ready to see the fabulous cover?

I absolutely love the design. I hope you do too.

So, about that giveaway I mentioned...I would appreciate your help in spreading the word about Under Fire. By doing so, you can enter a drawing to win a copy of my two historical novellas, Love's Harvest and On the Rails.

To enter, share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media outlet, then leave a comment on the post telling me where you shared it. (You'll receive one entry for each location where the post is shared.) I'll draw a winner on Friday, July 14th. If a U.S. winner is chosen, the prize will be paperback versions. If an international winner is chosen, the prize will be eBook versions.

 Thanks for your help!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Blog Tour: Finding Love

Blog Tour: Finding Love

Purchase your copy here.

About the Book


Book: Finding Love
Author: Toni Shiloh  
Release date: June 28, 2017  
Genre: Contemporary  

Delaney Jones has finally started to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her husband, Parker. Just as life enters a new normal, in walks Army soldier, Luke Robinson. Just when she makes the decision to trust him, life deals her a heavy blow. Sergeant First Class Luke Robinson can’t get over his part in the death of Delaney’s husband. In hopes to assuage his guilt, he offers to lend a hand. Only, he never counted on the feelings she evokes with just a smile. Will his secrets widen the gulf or will he finally find absolution?

My Thoughts:

Finding Love effectively explores themes of forgiveness, God's mercy, and his plans for people's lives while covering topics of interracial relationships, military service, and widowhood. I loved the main characters, Luke and Delaney, and especially enjoyed the close relationship Delaney had with her brother. I thought the strong attraction between Luke and Delaney showed up a little too early in the story, but the characters are both in their late 30s, so perhaps at that stage in life, you're more equipped to know when that special someone shows up. The dialogue was natural, and I enjoyed the descriptions Ms. Shiloh used such as "his insides felt more twisted up than tangled fishing line." The scenes when Luke interacts with Delaney's sons made me laugh, and I teared up at the moving scene with the three of them near the end. There were a couple of plot twists that were "Oh, wow" moments, and I was anxious to see how they would be resolved. The discussions about spiritual concepts were well-written, serving to encourage and exhort at the same time they pushed the characters' development forward. A highly enjoyable story.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit Publishing, and I was not required to provide a favorable review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author


Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

Guest post from Toni Shiloh

I’m so excited about this book tour for Finding Love. This book holds a special place in my heart. The pathway to writing Finding Love was not as easy as I thought it would be. For the most part, my brain has an idea or characters share their story, and bam, I’m off and writing at my laptop. I decided to write Finding Love when I got the contract for Buying Love, the first book in the series. I figured fans would want to read another story in the fictional Maple Run, Virginia. I also figured that Shorty and Nikki’s story would be the second book, but alas, they refuse to talk to me. The reason I love Finding Love so much is because it’s about what every person is searching for: love. We search for it in families, in friends, and in that romantic ideal of happily ever after. And even greater, it’s a testament of God’s love for us. Sometimes, love is scary. To let another person in our heart, bare our secrets, and hold our breath waiting for them to accept us…makes a person’s heart quake. With Delaney, she wasn’t even trying to find love, but it rode in on Harley seeking for forgiveness. I loved watching Luke and Delaney fall in love and I pray you do as well. Blessings, reader friends!

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining stops on Toni's blog tour:

July 9: A Path to Joy


To celebrate this tour, Celebrate Lit Publishing is giving away three $15 Amazon gift cards!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Dana Mentink

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Dana Mentink

I'm pleased to have multi-published author, Dana Mentink, with me today. Draw up a chair and your favorite beverage and get to know this interesting lady!

Linda:  Thanks for joining me. Your latest book, Dangerous Testimony, sounds intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot?

Dana: I'm a huge fan of the 'stuck on a deserted island/remote mountaintop/space station, with only your wits to get you out' kinda story. I'd been reading up on the Channel Islands and it sort of materialized in my imagination.

LM: You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Dana: I love that moment when you get the "ah ha!" idea, that special twist or plot reveal that you know is going to thrill your reader! I've been known to get out of the shower just to write it down!

LM: Your novels have featured a variety of locations. When you write, how do you go about choosing which location to use, and do you have a favorite?

Dana: Being a California girl, I tend to default to my own coast, but really any setting that interests me will work.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Dana: I have to have QUIET. To that end, I get up early before the Mentink bear cubs, and in the afternoon I work outside in the garden. Thank goodness for the ipad!

LM: You live in California where you say “the weather is golden.” If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Dana: Well, I would like to go to spring training in Arizona and see my beloved Giants prep for the season. I'm saving up my dimes in a 2 liter bottle because someone told me if you fill a 2L all the way up with dimes, it's the equivalent of $500. You know what? It takes a REALLY long time to fill up a soda bottle with dimes!

LM: Ha! I'll be it does. What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Dana: Oh my. Well, I'm a third grade teacher so I've been to work dressed as a blue M &M. Does that count?

LM: Definitely! What is your next project?

Dana: I'm deep into a cowboy suspense series for Love Inspired. The first releases in November, I believe, entitled Cowboy Christmas Guardian. I also write lots of ebook mysteries and romances which are available online via Amazon.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Dana: All the usual 'cyber stops' via my website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Right now I'm encouraging people to sign up for my newsletter (I do a lot of subscriber exclusives) and I am usually running a contest via my YouTube channel. Right now we're in the middle of a cross country candy road trip. Yum! Thank you very much for having me. 

Twitter: @danamentink
YouTube Channel: