I hope this newsletter finds you healthy and surviving our current “normal.” Please know that you are all in my prayers during this trying time. In particular, I thank God for all those on the front lines, putting their own lives at risk to ensure that we stay healthy and safe. Now that my own family is more into the groove of managing work, school, and a pandemic, I’ve had a little more time for writing.
First thing’s first. Tomorrow, April 25, was supposed to be the official launch date for Broken Lines before Coronavirus swept in and changed plans. I’m still providing the first two chapters in a sneak peek sent directly to my email newsletter subscribers, so if you haven’t signed up yet, you can still do so today.
The paperback proof of Broken Lines arrived yesterday and well, the colors aren’t quite what I expected. Unfortunately, that tends to happen when the digital file is converted to ink on paper. In fact, I had to adjust the coloring for Twisted River three times before I landed on the correct combination. So, it’s back to Photoshop until I get this one right too. And speaking of ways to stay in the know, I’ve now joined Instagram. Make sure to follow me over there for updates, book recommendations, and more.
Lastly, I had a particularly productive month and finished my detailed outline for War Across Waters Book 2: Unsettled Shores. I’m super excited about the unexpected twists the plot line is taking and also a bit overwhelmed as they require a lot more research than I anticipated. So, that stack of library books I said I checked out last month? Well, that’s only going to be a drop in the ocean of information I need to learn. To give you a taste, my currently compiled list includes topics such as treatment of war-inflicted injuries, convalescent homes, spy rings, French culture, and WW1 German occupation.
I had been looking forward to reading Veiled in Smoke ever since I saw the cover last fall. From the rose and grey colors to the woman’s gown to the smoke swirls encasing the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire, it’s a perfectly lovely combination. The story surrounds Meg and Sylvia Townsend, two Chicago bookshop owners whose father returned from the Civil War suffering from “soldier’s heart,” a 19th century version of PTSD. When fire sweeps through the city, he mistakes the resulting chaos for rebel invaders and, memory compromised, wakes the next morning accused of murder and locked in the city asylum. It’s now up to his daughters to discover what really happened the night of the fire and save their family from the ashes.
This is a wonderful intriguing book both inside and out. All of the characters were interesting in their own right, with the two sisters being distinct from each other, even though their day to day situations were often the same. The author transported me to several fantastic historical locations whose details painted a vivid picture without overloading the senses. One detail in particular that I liked was her accurate use of spectacles worn by the newspaper reporter, Nate. It may seem like a silly observation, but if you wear glasses, you probably understand the adjustments, cleaning, and tired eyes that can come with wearing them. I’ve found very few authors really nail that level of accuracy. Finally, as an author myself, I often see plot twists coming, but this story actually kept me guessing. Twice I thought I had it all figured out, then the author made me guess again, which I truly loved. I recommend reading her historical notes at the end which discuss her research for the story and distinguishing fact from fiction. She also includes a neat guide to real life locations on her website here. I believe there are two more books to this series and you can be sure I will be pre-ordering them.
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