News and Reviews

Two on Tuesday with Melina Druga

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This week’s guest for the Two on Tuesday author spotlight is  historical fiction and nonfiction author and historical blogger, Melina Druga. Utilizing extensive research, her novel Angel of Mercy is the first in a trilogy following nurse Hettie and her family as they navigate the challenges and heartbreak World War 1 brings.  

Melina’s Two on Tuesday Facts:

  1. I wrote my first historical fiction novel when I was 10 years old. It was about two sisters in an 1840s Ohio canal town. I still have it, although the writing was done in pencil and, after more than 30 years, is so light I can barely read it.  It was the first of many novels. Angel of Mercy, however, is the first novel I’ve opted to share with the world.  But it won’t be the last.
  2. Angel of Mercy was inspired by the hard rock song “Mama” by My Chemical Romance from the album The Black Parade. The song references war imagery, and the album’s liner notes feature a sepia photograph reminiscent of World War One. If it weren’t for that song, Angel of Mercy wouldn’t exist and neither would any of my works-in-progress. (See below for the vlog discussion.)

Melina is available to connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, and Pinterest. More information on Melina’s books can be found at: https://www.melinadruga.com/

Calling all authors!

Are you an an author interested in being featured on Two on Tuesday? If so, please complete the form here.

Disclaimer: Authors featured within the Two on Tuesday Author Spotlight were not compensated in any way for their participation. Content included within each author’s current or future works or the legitimacy of any information provided within this spotlight are not the responsibility of Kelsey Gietl. Authors were provided book content guidelines prior to applying. Authors should be contacted directly with any questions.

Two on Tuesday with Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

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This week’s guest for the Two on Tuesday author spotlight is Midwest-based author of both historical and contemporary romance, Diana Lesire Brandmeyer. Known for featuring strong women characters in her novels, A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee, features the tagline, “She promised to protect her home and sister. He accepted a man’s property, neither of them expected an arranged marriage.” It is the first book in her Frontier Legacy series with the second available in September 2020. 

Diana’s Two on Tuesday Facts:

  1. I said I’d never write historicals and then I moved into a house built before the Civil War (see photo below). It used to be a roadside inn and I was hooked on stories that had to have happened there. There were rumors of the army camped in the front yard and Al Capone visiting a few times.
  2. Goats have always fascinated me since I worked at the petting zoo at Six Flags. I wrote about one in a children’s book, The Trouble with Ralph and more recently, the goat, Mr. Jackson, who is quite a character, appears in A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee. My neighbor had a goat for a while that would come to visit me and often tried to get into the house. Word of warning – never feed a stray goat; he’ll love you forever (see photo below).

Diana is available to connect with readers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. More information on Diana’s books can be found at: http://dianabrandmeyer.com

Calling all authors!

Are you an an author interested in being featured on Two on Tuesday? If so, please complete the form here.

Disclaimer: Authors featured within the Two on Tuesday Author Spotlight were not compensated in any way for their participation. Content included within each author’s current or future works or the legitimacy of any information provided within this spotlight are not the responsibility of Kelsey Gietl. Authors were provided book content guidelines prior to applying. Authors should be contacted directly with any questions.

Two on Tuesday with Jessica Marie Holt

This week’s guest for the Two on Tuesday author spotlight is historical and contemporary fiction author, Jessica Marie Holt. Her Unsung Legacies series is an interconnected series of family dramas centered around a small town in rural North Carolina, told in a lyrical, literary style.

Jessica’s Two on Tuesday Facts:

  1. I rely on music to inspire me and help me stay in the mood and vibe of a story. I will often pick a specific song that reflects a specific book, and listen to it often as I write. For example, I listened to Gregory Alan Isakov’s “The Stable Song” on repeat as I wrote Just Before Dawn, the first book in my historical fiction series. I live in a somewhat rural area of North Carolina, where my historical fiction books take place, and I will often drive through the countryside listening to folk, bluegrass and blues. Hearing the music, and passing by picket fences, ponds, wooded areas, and dilapidated hundred-year-old houses really connects me to the history and spirit of the setting.
  2. I do extensive research, and fuss a lot over historical details, like whether a specific tree existed in North Carolina in 1868. This leads me down some rabbit holes, and forces some rewrites. I was once researching whether indoor bathrooms existed in New York City boarding houses, and ended up learning about the history of bathrooms through the ages. And when I found out that many, if not most larger homes in rural NC had separate outdoor kitchens, I had to rewrite a number of scenes in Sunlight and Shadows to reflect this fascinating fact.

Jessica is available to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter. More information on her books can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/everywordmatters/

Calling all authors!

Are you an an author interested in being featured on Two on Tuesday? If so, please complete the form here.

Disclaimer: Authors featured within the Two on Tuesday Author Spotlight were not compensated in any way for their participation. Content included within each author’s current or future works or the legitimacy of any information provided within this spotlight are not the responsibility of Kelsey Gietl. Authors were provided book content guidelines prior to applying. Authors should be contacted directly with any questions.

May Newsletter – New Release Date!

Whew, another month has passed in our crazy world, and it seemed as busy as ever. As always, I continue to pray that this newsletter finds you and your families well.

Latest News

Broken Lines Cover - Final 4-25-2020 ebookLast month I mentioned how the proof copy of Broken Lines didn’t print exactly as I expected, requiring some additional color manipulations. In the process of doing so, however, I came across another version of my cover model that I felt fit the book’s main character even better. After swapping out the main photograph, touching up the background, and lightening the color, I now have the end result you see here. I hope you like the updates as much as I do.

In even more exciting news, Broken Lines has a new worldwide release date of August 29, 2020! The first book in the War Across Waters duology can be pre-ordered through all major ebook retailers via this link: Pre-Order Now. It will also be available in paperback format both online and (hopefully) at an in-person launch party. More details to come.

And for those of you who prefer not to purchase paperbacks through Amazon, I have good news. I recently upgraded all of my novels to Expanded Distribution, making it possible to purchase Across Oceans and Twisted River in paperback from Barnes & Noble online, order through independent bookstores, and request for purchase from your local library.

Recommended Reads

AndieNewton2One of the key questions authors often ask while marketing is, “How effective is social media at drawing in new readers?” Well, for me, I would say highly effective. Andie Newton is one of several authors I have purchased books from after following them on social media and luckily, her novel was worth taking a chance on.

The Girl I Left Behind tells the story of Ella Strauss, a young woman who works as a secretary for the Nazi government all the while stealing secrets in hopes of helping the resistance and saving her captured friend. At its heart, it’s both a spy novel and a coming of age story, and certainly an emotional read, especially at the end. Ella very much leaves her girlhood behind, trusting the best – and worst – people of her country in pursuit of what she believes to be right, even while the world around her tells a different story. Many of the World War II novels I’ve read lately have focused on British or American spies, so it was intriguing to read a novel that focused on Germans  instead, especially when they would have been raised from children to believe everything the Nazi party proclaimed as truth. My only complaint was I felt a few characters’ stories were left slightly open-ended, although I know that is one of the unfortunate realities of war – sometimes not knowing where people ended up. I’m hoping though that perhaps it actually means a sequel is forthcoming? (*Hint, hint, Ms. Newton.)

For more information on Andie’s books, visit: https://www.andienewton.com/

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Two on Tuesday with Jo Schaffel and Sara Webley

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This week’s guests for the Two on Tuesday author spotlight are Young Adult Historical Fiction writing team, Jo Schaffel and Sara Webley. In their novel, Somewhere Besides Denver, three seventeen-year-old girls, seeking a future more exciting than society parties and safe marriages, leave their Denver homes in 1907 to greet the new century on a Grand Tour in Paris and London.

Jo Schaffel’s Two on Tuesday Facts:

  1. Sara and I worked together at the Boston Children’s Zoo. We both love reading, writing, and old movies, so we decided to write a young adult book together. My father-in-law had told me family stories about his great-aunt, Josephine Marion, who chaperoned wealthy young women on European trips in the early 1900s. This was the inspiration for Somewhere Besides Denver. Josephine, who never married, was a Denver socialite and spoke several languages. She worked for the city of Denver—and had streets named after her! During the Depression, “Aunt Jo” remained in Paris, and died there in 1946.
  2. I especially enjoyed researching the transportation, clothing, city life, and time period of 1907–1908, when women’s roles, as well as art and music, were shifting. Fashion, too, was changing: women were rejecting stiff clothing and corsets.

Sara Webley’s Two on Tuesday Facts:

  1. Paul Poiret’s fashions freed women from wearing corsets. (See photo below.) His designs appeal to me because my dad was an industrial designer and artist, and my grandma Marie emigrated here from Slovenia in the early 1900s, when the suffrage movement was catching fire. Marie told me great stories, like being fooled by the “chocolate scam” featured in Somewhere Besides Denver. Marie was a dynamic, independent woman, like the characters Jo and I created.
  2. Fancy-dressed dogs appear in Somewhere Besides Denver. I loved researching the fad of dressing up dogs, popular in Europe in the early 1900s. Besides writing books for young readers, I’ve also worked as an animal technician in the zoo and aquarium field. So most of my writing includes animals: my recent fantasy Zo in the Roosting Tree is the story of a crow and a girl who switch places.

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Jo and Sara are available to connect with readers on Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads. For more info on Somewhere Besides Denver, visit www.somewherebesidesdenver.com and for more info on Zo, visit www.zointheroostingtree.com

Calling all authors!

Are you an an author interested in being featured on Two on Tuesday? If so, please complete the form here.

Disclaimer: Authors featured within the Two on Tuesday Author Spotlight were not compensated in any way for their participation. Content included within each author’s current or future works or the legitimacy of any information provided within this spotlight are not the responsibility of Kelsey Gietl. Authors were provided book content guidelines prior to applying. Authors should be contacted directly with any questions.