Peyton’s Promise: Art Nouveau?

As Peyton works on reupholstering furniture in Calumet Castle, Art Nouveau fabric becomes a focus. But what is Art Nouveau?

It was a popular aesthetic movement from 1890-1910. It was meant to modernize the Victorian-era with geometric and organic themes, elegant designs, and the natural beauty taken from nature. Here’s an excerpt from Peyton’s Promise that explores this movement:

Patting her pocket, she surveyed the bolts. Sure enough, Art Nouveau fabrics littered the pile. Running her fingers over the heavy material, her excitement grew. She’d use many of them, some with modern geometric shapes of arcs, parabolas, and semicircles. There was lavender ribbon with pink roses, rosettes, and other flowers on a cream background for the great hall. And even bolder fabrics with peacock feathers and poppies.

Behind her, Patrick ascended the ladder, humming, “It is Well With my Soul,” a song that had become her papa’s favorite. Sad, melancholy, yet uplifting and reverent at the same time.

 “Patrick, do you know the story behind that tune you’re humming?” Papa had related it to her just last week. Perhaps sharing it now might soothe ruffled feathers.

 Patrick paused, shaking his head as he stopped filling a nail hole. “Nae, I don’t. Please tell.”

Peyton drew closer, as the touching tale did not lend itself to shouting. “There was a man who lost his little boy in the Great Chicago fire of 1871, the fire that also hurt his business badly. Two years later, he sent his family to England, but the ship sank, and all four of his daughters died. Only his wife survived and told him of the tragedy in a telegram. When he went to meet her in England, his ship passed near where the girls died, and he wrote this song about it.”

A woman’s voice commented instead of Patrick’s. “I didn’t know that. How tragic!”

Peyton spun around to find Mrs. Emery with a man who she assumed to be her husband.

Caught shirkin’, as Rachel had called it. Peyton’s face heated, and she curtsied low. “Forgive me. He was humming my papa’s favorite tune, and my tongue flew into the tale.”

The missus laughed. “And an interesting story it was. No harm. This is Mr. Emery.” She inclined her head toward her husband. “We’ve come to examine the fabric I’ve chosen.”

 

 

Meet author Sarah Hamaker

Sarah Hamaker has romantic suspense novels and nonfiction books published as well as stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She’s a member of ACFW; ACFW Virginia Chapter, and Faith, Hope and Love, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.

Tell us about your newest book.

After nine years searching for his missing sister, attorney Henderson Parker uncovers a clue that leads him to Twin Oaks, Virginia—and podcaster Elle Updike investigating the case. Partnering with the journalist is the last thing Henderson wants, until mysterious thugs make multiple attacks on both their lives. Now they’ll have to trust each other…before the suspected kidnappers make them disappear for good.

What inspired you to write Vanished Without a Trace?

I’m not sure where the idea of an investigator podcaster helping a brother find his missing sister originated in my mind—sometimes, these stories just appear as a glimmer, and as I begin to think about the characters and start writing, the story takes form.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

A missing person case. A new clue. And a fight for survival.

What genre do you focus on?

Romantic suspense is my favorite genre to write because I love the blending of the mystery to solve (who’s trying to hurt/kill the hero and/or heroine?) with falling in love. I like to describe it to readers as “The hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.”

Why do you write?

I couldn’t not write. I’ve been writing in some form or another all my life. I still have my scribblings from my elementary and teen years (my kids got a kick out of reading those stories and half-completed manuscripts), and I have nearly a dozen novel rough drafts on my computer that I may or may not ever revise. Writing is my happy place. I love creating characters who grow and struggle and overcome danger and come out of it with love and a strengthened faith.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

About two years ago, I realized I was leaving my writing time to the “leftovers” of my day. I’d start my day with checking email, and then the other things on my to-do list. Not surprisingly, at the end of the day, I would be too tired to write or had run out of time to write. So I switched things up. Now I get up a half hour early, so I can exercise, eat and dress for the day before booting up my computer to write for at least 45 minutes. That has been a game-changer for getting words on the page, since I don’t check email or anything else during that dedicated writing time.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Seeing my name on the cover of a book. That makes me so happy! Also, talking to or hearing from readers. I love to read reviews from happy readers who loved what I wrote. Talking to readers at in-person events is always fun too.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

When I was a teenager, my parents began taking in foster kids. A few years ago, my husband and I became foster parents ourselves. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do because I saw how great the need was as a teenager and young adult. Fostering isn’t easy but being a foster parent has stretched and grown me in ways I could not have imagined.

What is your favorite pastime?

Probably like most writers, I love to read! Favorite genres include Christian romantic suspense, World War I-era historical fiction, and a smattering of nonfiction (whatever catches my attention). I also enjoy listening to audio books, both classic British mysteries (can’t get enough of Agatha Christie!) and contemporary mysteries and suspense. My teenagers gave me a subscription to BritBox streaming service for Christmas, so I’ve enjoyed watching my favorite British crime shows while knitting. Current knitting projects include an afghan for my high school senior to take to college and bookmarks for reader giveaways.

Do you have other books?

We’d love to know. Yes! My romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder, Illusion of Love and Protecting Her witness. I’ve also written two nonfiction books, Hired@Home (about working from home) and Ending Sibling Rivalry (about how to help your children learn conflict management).

Website: sarahhamakerfiction.com

Link to book:

Social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsarahhamaker
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-hamaker-7295a01/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sarah-hamaker

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1804799.Sarah_Hamaker

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002TIARBS

Twitter: @sarah_hamaker

 

 

 

 

 

Meet author Carol Heilman

Carol Heilman, a Kentucky coal miner’s daughter, married her high school sweetheart, a farmer’s son. She began writing family stories for newspapers and magazines. One day her mother said, “We don’t have any secrets anymore!” Carol’s book series, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, Agnes Hopper Bets on Murder, and Agnes Hopper Tackles Mayhem at the Manor, was inspired by her mother’s spunky spirit and her dad’s sense of humor.

What inspired you to write Agnes Hopper Tackles Mayhem at the Manor?

I’ve always had a heart for innocent people who have to endure the scorn or ridicule of others who are convinced of their guilt. In this book, Agnes is confronted by two people who seem guilty in her eyes, but will the facts support her gut feelings or prove her wrong?

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Agnes Hopper, as the new owner of her retirement home, Sweetbriar Manor, thought her life would be as enjoyable as sharing a cup of tea with her best friend and love interest, Smiley, but when she discovers money missing from the cash box she immediately suspects the Manor’s administrator, Mr. Lively, as the thief. Before she can untangle her thoughts, a woman, Zelda Dee, appears from the local halfway house and assumes Agnes will hire her as a manicurist for the residents. Agnes sends her on her way. Add to the unsettling mix a fire, a kleptomaniac, and a storm of the century bearing down upon the town and mayhem is the result.

What genre do you focus on and why?

The Agnes Hopper series is considered both cozy mysteries and women’s fiction.

Why do you write?

I attempt to write for those who won’t or can’t speak for themselves. In the beginning, I didn’t even realize I was doing this until an author friend pointed this out.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Agnes Hopper. Her spunky, ‘take charge’ spirit is inspired by my mother. Her maiden name was Hopper.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I have learned to write whenever and wherever I can these days. Even though my husband and I are retired, my schedule is flexible to include time to take long walks together or to go out for lunch or dinner. And we love spending time with our young grandsons who live nearby.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Self-promotion & social media. Why? I’d rather be writing or reading.

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

Meeting other writers, authors and readers. Why? They are generous, giving people who will share their knowledge, their insights, and their encouragement.

What’s one thing your readers should know about you?

I grew up in coal mining camps of eastern Kentucky.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

I think so, but part of the joy of writing is stretching myself to learn something new. It’s a never-ending process.

What is your favorite pastime?

Walking either in the low country of SC or in the mountains of NC.

Do you have other books?

Yes. A self published nonfiction book, Just Go!, about a missionary serving in Haiti. We’d love to know.

What are you working on now?

Something completely different for me. A historical fiction book, A Faraway Place, set in Appalachia in the 1920’s. Hattie Mae Sizemore yearns to read scores of books, but her dad forbids any  influence from the outside world coming into their holler, into their lives, into their minds. When he discovers Hattie reading a book she had found in a barrel of used clothing, he tosses it into the woods. After her mother gathers most of the pages, Hattie hides it underneath her mattress. Until the night she leaves.

Website:

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZKDKS4B

Social media links:

Email: carolgheilman@gmail.com

Website: www.carolheilman.com

Author Page: amazon.com/author/carolheilman

Facebook www.facebook.com/carolgheilman

Meet author Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer’s story-devotions have appeared in multiple publications including The Upper Room, Power for Living, and Guideposts’ All God’s Creatures and Miracles Do Happen. She is a bestselling, multi-published author of inspirational Western romance, former award-winning journalist, and sought-after speaker for women’s events. She makes her home along the Front Range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with mouse detectors Annie and Buffalo Bill.

Tell us about your newest book.

Always Before Me – 90 Story-Devotions for Women, is a three-month collection of brief, day-warming inspirations that focus on hearing and seeing God in our everyday lives. A moment of insight is sometimes all it takes to find strength in the struggle.

What inspired you to write Always Before Me?

During my nonfiction years as a journalist, I wrote inspirational reflections for the religion page in my local newspaper. Over time, these reflections became part of my blog and appeared in several national publications. It was time to collect some of them in a devotional book, and I was honored to have you, Susan G. Mathis, write the foreword for this book.

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Every place we go, God has been. Every circumstance we face, He has seen. The same Voice that spoke the world into existence speaks in our hearts today, and we can hear Him if we learn to listen. We can see Him if we learn to watch.

Why do you write?

I write because I absolutely have to. All these novels in my head and heart must get out somehow!

What is the hardest part of being an author?

For me, the hardest part of being an author is everything else I have to do besides write the story of my heart. I refer to the hours of marketing, promotion, and advertising as “underground construction.”

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

I love living in the story while I’m writing and putting it all on paper/screen. I also enjoy meeting readers and listening to what they have to say about my books whether they enjoyed them or have informational comments.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

I was married to a professional rodeo clown and bullfighter—hence my love for all things cowboy. One summer in Estes Park, Colorado, my husband, Mike, was injured saving a fallen bull rider and could not return to the arena for several days. However, we had contracted to provide comedy routines during the rodeo performances as well as bullfighting. I dressed up like Mike and worked the clown acts. But I didn’t run in front of the bulls. Mama didn’t raise no fool!

What is your favorite pastime?

Music is the love of my life. I sing and play the keyboard with my church worship team and I’m blessed to do so.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

All of my books are listed on my website with descriptions and buy links, as well as on my Amazon author page. I write primarily historical Western romance, but a few contemporary cowboy love stories showed up along the way, as well as inspirational nonfiction.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on Book 5 of The Cañon City Chronicles. It continues the family saga of the Hutton twins, Hugh and Caleb, and the struggles, challenges, and loves they find on Colorado’s front range in the 1910s.

Website: https://www.davalynnspencer.com

Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735074152/

Social media links:

Free Book and Quarterly Author Update: https://bit.ly/3b4eavB

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/davalynn-spencer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5051432.Davalynn_Spencer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/davalynnspencer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davalynnspencer

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/davalynnspencer/boards/

 

 

 

 

 

Peyton’s Promise: A Surprise Reunion

Here’s an excerpt from Peyton’s Promise. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and enjoy…the rest of the story.

“As I live and breathe, could it be the fair young lassie who stole my heart while I was still in breeches? Where be your buttercream braids and toothless grin?”

Peyton almost dropped her heavy basket of treasured upholstery tools—the tailor’s chalk, rubber mallet, scissors, stapler, and so much more she’d worked so hard to obtain. She spun around searching for the owner of the familiar voice. High atop a ladder that had to be ten feet tall, a man chuckled, backlit by the morning sun shining through the window. She couldn’t identify his face or make out his features, but she knew that voice, that endearing tease in his deep Irish lilt.

“Paddy? What in heaven’s name are you doing here?” Setting the basket at her feet, she moved closer toward her long-lost chum.

She’d not seen him in nearly three years, ever since he’d taken a carpenter’s apprenticeship in Ogdensburg, New York, fifty miles north. A year later, she’d traveled twenty miles south to Watertown for her upholstery apprenticeship with Mr. and Mrs. O’Cleary. She’d heard tales of Paddy’s success as a finish carpenter, working for the famous architect, J.B. Reid. Yet she’d not been informed of his return nor that he’d be working on Calumet Island in the castle with her.

 “What are you doing here, Miss Peyton Quinn?” Paddy descended the ladder and stood mere feet from her.

She wobbled back on her heels and gasped. He was much taller and handsomer than she remembered, and his shoulders had broadened. His short, well-trimmed beard appeared soft to the touch, not wiry like her father’s. When did that scrappy lad become a man?

“Peyton Pie? Aye, did you lose your tongue, my fair lass?”

He stepped closer and scooped her free hand into his, planting a kiss on it and holding it until she replied.

“I … I am bewildered at your presence, is all. No one told me you’d be here.”

Peyton’s heart raced and she swallowed hard, blinking back her surprise—and her ire at the memory of their last curt words, words that cut to the very depth of her heart. She withdrew her hand.

“Are you vexed, oh dearest of my childhood friends? I hope not, for I believe we will be working toward the same goal of preparing this fine castle for the grand affair in just two months.” He winked, sending her nerves soaring like he always did. “And it is Patrick Taylor, if you please. Paddy was a skinny, silly Irish lad who finally grew into this strapping man you now see.”

When he thumped his chest, chin high and smile wide, she giggled in spite of her ire, relaxing under his easy way she so well remembered. “Patrick, it is. Or is it Mr. Taylor, since you’re the Calumet Castle carpenter?”

“Patrick, please. We’ve too much history to plod through formalities.” He shrugged, waving toward three empty chairs perched against the wall. “Shall we? Just for a moment?”

Meet author Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, laugh-out-loud whodunits and romantic suspense. Awards for her novels include: a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, a Daphne DuMaurier Award of Excellence, a Holt Medallion Award of Merit, a National Readers’ Choice Award, and several Canadian Christian writing awards. When not writing, Sandra hones her imagination by playing make believe with her young grandchildren. She also enjoys gardening, sewing, knitting, crocheting and woodworking.

Tell us about your newest book.

After spending the last twenty Christmas seasons in California, native Georgian Jillian Green celebrates returning to her family’s antebellum mansion by joyfully decking the halls of Belle Haven for the upcoming Moss Hollow Merry Mansions Tour. However, Jillian’s holiday cheer takes a nosedive when she discovers Herbert Gordon, a new friend of her great-aunt Cornelia’s, dead at the base of a tree while he’s helping string lights outside Belle Haven.

Although at first Herbert’s death appears to be a tragic accident, Cornelia insistently blames foul play, and handsome local coroner Hunter Greyson soon confirms her suspicions. Needled into action by Cornelia, Jillian takes a break from making merry to pursue a murderer. Unfortunately, Jillian quickly realizes that this case is more tangled than a strand of twinkle lights, and lead after lead winds up in a dead end.

Stressed out by exploring the limbs of Herbert’s family tree, helping a Chocolate Shoppe Bakery customer track down his high school sweetheart, and worrying about her grandmother, Bertie’s, odd behavior, Jillian feels her holiday spirit slipping away. However, she knows the best way to restore her festive mood is to uncover the killer before someone else in Moss Hollow gets hurt—if she doesn’t, Herbert’s night might not be the only one silenced this Christmas.

What inspired you to write Boughs of Folly?

Boughs of Folly is part of a special three-book set—Jingle Book Mysteries—releasing just in time to celebrate Christmas in July. They are set in the world of the Chocolate Bakeshop Mysteries by Annie’s Fiction and I was invited to write the first book. Once I acquainted myself with the characters of Moss Hollow, Georgia, and with Georgia’s Christmas traditions, I decided to create a cozy mystery that would be a twist on the ghost of Christmas past.

What genre do you focus on?

I write mysteries and romantic suspense because I love creating fast-paced plots that keep readers guessing to the end.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

My main character’s name was already established by the previous series, but I chose names for all the new characters I brought to Moss Hollow, like my poor victim Herbert Gordon. His first name just came to me, and when I looked up its meaning—noble—I decided it suited my character both in meaning and by sounding like an older person’s name. For his last name, I searched common surnames in Georgia and then chose the one that fit best. Gordon was #120 on the list.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Writing the story. I love brainstorming the plot and creating twists and turns and I love editing it once it’s finished, adding extra layers to intensify the emotions and suspense. But the actual writing is hard slogging. It has become somewhat easier with writing for Annie’s since they require a chapter-by-chapter outline be approved before I start, since other authors are simultaneously writing books with the same characters later in the series timeline. But inevitably, while writing I still hit a point where I’m sure the plot isn’t working, something’s missing or …something!

What’s the best part of your author’s life?

I love the ministry opportunities it affords me—meeting people from all walks of life, the amazing stories I get to hear from my readers, the opportunities to pray for them, and I so very much appreciate the support of my readers and those in the writing community, especially the amazing prayer cover they gave our family during the difficult months after Jed’s accident.

What’s one unusual fact about you?

Although I graduated from university with an Honors Arts and Science degree, people are usually surprised to hear that I majored in mathematics—my favorite subject.

How have you changed or grown as a writer?

Turning to God for inspiration and guidance as I crafted stories that would have an impact on readers came naturally. What I didn’t expect was that messing up my characters’ lives and making them face themselves, their dreams, and the lies they believe would teach me so much about myself and how I need to change and grow.

What is your favorite pastime?

My newest hobby/passion grew out of the research into herbs and herbal remedies I did for my Port Aster Secrets Mysteries a few years ago. It inspired me to start growing herbs and wild-foraging for food, teas and medicines. The last couple of summers, I especially focused on infusing oils to create pain-relieving salves and drying herbs useful for sore throats, hormone balancing, respiratory issues and to boost immunity and nutrition, as well as making natural soaps and hand lotions. Given the pandemic, it proved to be a timely hobby.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

Boughs of Folly is my 25th published novel and this interview is part of a whirlwind blog tour to celebrate, during which I’m also giving away 25 books to randomly selected newsletter subscribers, Facebook followers and via a rafflecopter giveaway. I have a dozen titles from various multi-author series available through Annie’s Fiction. I have seven Love Inspired Suspense titles and two trade-book length mystery series—Port Aster Secrets set in Niagara, Canada, about an herbal researcher, and the Serena Jones Mysteries about an FBI agent, who specializes in art crime investigations. This fun series has been described as Miss Congeniality meets White Collar.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working a trio of romantic suspense for the McCades of Montana series, a multi-author series from Annie’s Fiction. The first novel will also be a Christmas story, set at a guest ranch inn and Christmas tree farm. I love writing Christmas stories!

Website: www.SandraOrchard.com

Link to book:  https://sandraorchard.com/books/1-jingle-bell-mysteries/

Social media links: www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard https://www.pinterest.ca/AuthorSOrchard/https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sandra-orchard

Rafflecopter 10 book giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ad4cf14d11/