Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And Sometimes You Fall Off the Earth... (Life & Book Update)

Has life ever opened up and slurped you into the vortex of dawn-to-dusk activities until you are just begging for one quiet cup of tea or a piece of chocolate? And heaven forbid you take the time for a bubble bath!

That was me during November and December 2016. Is me. Now.

Instead of imprisoning you to listen to the sluggish details, (an exquisite torture, I assure you) I'll just say:


Those of you who have moved from your home of ten years 250 miles or more into a fixer upper under construction (making four or five round trips) know exactly what I mean when I say, AAAAGH!!!

Those who haven't... Use your imagination to step into a 90 mph tornado and know that you are blessed.

All that to say, next time I foresee a huge two-month absence from blogging, I'll post a notice beforehand. I'm sorry for the awkward silence!

Writing Update:
Book edits with my publisher are (mostly) done, and THE PRE-ORDER OF MY NOVELLA IS AVAILABLE! YAY!!! *dancing like no one is watching, because it would hurt their eyeballs*

Not only is the collection available for pre-order, but for HALF-PRICE at $7.49. Woot!

Here's a veritable snack mix of pre-order links for your word-munching pleasure:
(Coming soon to a Walmart shelf near YOU!!!)

As for my 2017 blogging schedule?

I have NO IDEA what that looks like yet. But I will try to have something fun and interesting, maybe even educational for you guys to feast your eyes upon every Monday. 

I do know the New Releases List, Book Reviews, and Historical Tidbits are coming back, yay!! 

Maybe I'll make a new Questionnaire so you can tell me what you'd like to see more of here. But I will make an official post of it and announce when I get the new one up. Maybe I should even call it "The New Questionnaire" or Anonymous Questionnaire 2017? Yes I like that one. 

After all, YOU are the reason I write this blog! And God is the reason I write books. Two amazing audiences! :) I look forward to spending this year with you!

***If you'd like to skip the waiting for "Anonymous Questionnaire 2017" and don't mind being non-anonymous (say that three times fast, please), leave your opinion in the comments below! 

  • What would you love to see more of on the blog? 
  • Any new bookish ideas you want me to try in a post? 
  • Anything you noticed missing (besides me posting an actual blog post, lol) that you'd like to see brought back?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Of Rags and Riches Novella Research: Immigration Before Ellis Island ~ Castle Garden

I've got a history article up on the Heroes, Heroines, and History website, and I wanted to share it with y'all!

Here is a snippet:

While researching for my upcoming novella, I discovered Ellis Island didn’t open until January 1, 1892. What did immigrants do before then? My Polish-born heroine travels to New York in 1885.

Though I knew my plot and set word count wouldn’t allow me to chronicle her voyage and entrance into the country, I wanted to research those experiences in order to fully understand her character. Plus, I couldn’t have her arriving at Ellis Island seven years before it opened. Stranded on an island—mercy, where would the dear girl have gone?

Enter Castle Garden: fort, concert hall, immigration station, and, eventually, aquarium.
Castle Garden in its first form was called the West Battery, and eventually became the first official place used by the government to process immigrants in New York.

Its presence prevented any attack on New York during the War of 1812 without ever firing a shot. In 1815, the fort was...

Click HERE to go to the Heroes, Heroines, and History blog and read the rest! Pssst! There's a giveaway going on over there, so be sure to enter!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Story Cravings

Just because I love book-talk, I wanted to share with you a few of the books and movies I'm REALLY looking forward to watching/reading soon. I'm putting together this post in a rush, so no time to alphabetize or organize by release date. In no particular order, these are just a few titles that make my story-loving heart go pitter patter. :)


A Love So True by Melissa Jagears

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town’s red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn’t limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well–if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.
David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father’s companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he’s shown interest in Evelyn’s work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.
They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

Love Unseen by Nancy Kimball

In the shadows of pagan Rome, Laelia Ricarri’s recent blindness destroys her hopes of a betrothal to escape her abusive father. For Drusus, his new mistress is more capable, and beautiful, than she knows. Still tormented by the sins of his past, the only thing he fears more than falling in love with his mistress is failing her in his task. But his newfound faith has made him an enemy of Rome, and the reemergence of an old feud with a calculating rival threatens to ensnare Laelia within its dark grasp. As Drusus reawakens Laelia’s inner strength, his patient encouragement is awakening her heart. She’s learning to trust, as Drusus must also learn to trust in his God. When the indiscriminate tide of tragedy sweeps through Rome, Drusus and Laelia will have to put their faith in each other to survive. Even if that means being parted forever.

Worth the Wait by Karen Witemeyer
(A Ladies of Harper's Station novella)

Benjamin Porter is one of only two men allowed inside the women's colony of Harper's Station, Texas. A freighter by trade, he works closely with local shopkeeper, Victoria Adams, to transport the colony's goods to market. But it is more than profit that keeps him coming back. He's fallen hard for the shopkeeper and her son. Tori is brave, beautiful, and a savvy entrepreneur--the ideal partner not only for his business but for his life. Too bad she's under the impression that a man, any man, is the last thing she needs.

Despite Ben's consistent kindness, Tori continues to hold him at a distance. His towering height and muscular frame, while attractive, are also dangerous. And she's faced dangerous men in the past and vowed never again.

After Ben convinces Tori to partner with him in a new venture, delivering goods to area farms and ranches, he finally has a chance to woo her in earnest. But when an accident derails his plans, what once was a chance at love may be lost forever.

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira's gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart's calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira's people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she's denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Building Benjamin by Barbara Britton

Naomi desires to dance well enough to catch the eye of a wealthy landowner. Her father needs a substantial bride price due to the deaths of her brothers at the hands of the tribe of Benjamin. But when Benjamites raid the Ephraimite feast and capture young girls, Naomi is bound and carried from her home by Eliab, a troubled shepherd who needs a wife. As Naomi awaits rescue, she finds Eliab has a strong faith in God and a just reason for abducting her. A reason that affects all the tribes of Israel. The future of the tribe of Benjamin hangs in the balance, but if Naomi follows her heart and stays with Eliab to rebuild his lineage, she must forfeit her family and become a traitor to her own tribe.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half-gypsy, knows what it is to be hungry. Barely able to survive in the Edinburgh tenements, she and her three young siblings are starving. Between her gypsy father’s belief that their blood is cursed, and the faith her mother tried to instill fading, she resorts to the only thing she has left in order to get food for the bairns. But when her last hope brings a chance encounter, she is thrust upon a path to Holyrood Palace and the only man who may be able to change her fate—Alasdair Cairncross, an English Royal Horse Guard with long-buried secrets.
Alasdair has meticulously planned his life, but he never accounted that he’d be forced to transport a thieving gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. With his fiancĂ©e’s imminent arrival and his father’s greatest political goal within reach, the timing is disastrous. The journey threatens to consume everything he holds dear, and an encounter with superstition in an ancient village exhumes more than memories. As the gypsy’s prejudice begins to crumble and Alasdair’s sense of duty wanes, both must learn how to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts.


Recent Book Loves:

Recent Movie Loves:
 In the comments, share a few titles you're looking forward to reading or watching! I'm behind on a couple titles, so if you've read or watched any of these already, tell me how you liked them!!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

THE CAPTIVE HEART by Michelle Griep ~ Meet the Characters


I'm thrilled to have Michelle Griep on the Sweet South Blog today! She's answering interview questions as her heroine Eleanor Morgan from The Captive Heart.

Are there any children or pets in your life? What do you love about them?

Besides Samuel, two-year-old Grace is the love of my life. She’s as naughty as they come, but I am helpless against her smile. My favorite thing about the girl, while it may seem trivial, is the way she throws out her arms and dances in the sunlight. Oh, to be so free.

What is your dearest dream?

Funny, is it not, how dreams change the more years we add to our number. I used to dream of becoming the best governess in all of England—and so I nearly was. But la! Since coming to Carolina colony and marrying Samuel, I now strive to make the best possible life for him and little Grace.

Any current romantic interests?

Oh, yes. My husband, Samuel. Though I admit that at first I thought him a beast, I see him now through different eyes. He’s an interesting mix of strength and gentility. I love the way the world is set to rights whenever he enters a room. His penetrating brown eyes, his smell of leather and gunpowder, and dare I say the way his waistcoat stretches across his shoulders . . . oh my! Is it getting warm in here?

Where were you born? What other significant happenings surrounded this event?

My family roots are in Devonshire, but I was born just outside of London. I am told there was a blood moon the night I was born. Not that I am a superstitious sort, though if I were, it would explain the trials and tribulations I’ve experienced.

Are there any hardheaded people in your life right now? What’s the issue?

As much as I love my husband, yes, Samuel is quite hardheaded. When he sets his mind to something, he will not be turned, my tears or not. I understand his need for freedom—truly, I above all others do—but I cannot account for his risk-taking with the Sons of Liberty. In dangerous times such as these, no one is to be trusted, yet he trusts them with his life. I pray it will never come to that.


The wild American wilderness is no place for an elegant English governess.

On the run from a cruel British aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina backcountry is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . . Love.


Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: THE CAPTIVE HEART, BRENTWOOD’S WARD, A HEART DECEIVED, UNDERCURRENT and GALLIMORE, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery OUT OF THE FRYING PAN. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.