November Newsletter – Giving Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States and I would like to take this time to express my thanks to you, my wonderful readers. I am so grateful for your continued interest and support, for your kind comments on social media, and thoughtful personal e-mails. Your words, whether they are few or many, have brought more joy than you may realize. This holiday season, I encourage each of you to continue to spread messages of hope wherever you can. Write an encouraging note to a friend (perhaps even through snail mail), call a family member who you aren’t able to speak to very often, or maybe even send an anonymous gift asking nothing in return. The media is quick to focus on the anger and division in our world, but it is gratitude, kindness, and faith that unifies us. As always I continue to pray for each of you.

Latest News

Broken Lines Book Tour

The Broken Lines Virtual Book Tour was the first tour I’ve run and I’m pleased to say it was a great success. It’s always exciting (and a little nerve-wracking) to hear what readers think, and I was pleased to read all the wonderful reviews combined with so many lovely photographs. All the reviewers really made the cover of Broken Lines shine with autumn colors! If you missed any stops on the tour, it’s not too late. Giveaways have ended, but you can still check out the reviews and author interviews. Don’t forget, there are still two stops remaining!

If you’re on Facebook or Goodreads, next month I will be doing a takeover on the American Historical Novels group. Each day from December 13-18, I will be posting some special behind the scenes tidbits related to Broken Lines. As newsletter subscribers, some of the details you will have heard, but others are new. I will also be hosting a paperback giveaway with every comment another chance to win. 

And last, but never least, progress continues to go well for Unsettled Shores. I have taken my first pass at editing the first half and plan to finish drafting the rest by the end of December. Fingers crossed that I can get a draft to my beta readers by March 1!

Recommended Reads

Book cover for Some Through the Fire by Jennifer Q. HuntSome Through the Fire by Jennifer Q. Hunt

Being a writer of World War 1 fiction, I’m always interested to read a book during this time period, especially when it’s written by a fellow indie author. Some Through the Fire is far more than a standard Great War story though. Jennifer Q. Hunt manages to pack a lot into only 274 pages taking us from 1917 to 1920 in wonderful fashion. We follow our main character, Violet, over these years as she comes to terms with her family’s life being upended again and again and wondering if there will ever truly be a time of peace or a future with the husband she longs for.

The story begins with the Atlanta Fire of 1917, a historical event I had never heard of and found very interesting to learn about, especially after reading Jocelyn Green’s Veiled in Smoke earlier this year which focused on the Chicago Fire of 1871. Some Through the Fire takes the reader through the devastation of that event then quickly transitions into the horrors of the first world war, showing detail from the trenches to the home front while incorporating a wealth of research without feeling like an information dump. Next we experience the devastation of the Spanish Influenza followed by a quick romp through the early jazz age and a look at the Boston police strike of 1919, another event of which I was not aware. Given the current events of our world, I found the influenza and police strike riots to be timely, thought-provoking and well-written.

Although the book is ultimately focused on Violet’s journey, Jennifer Hunt makes us deeply invested in the side characters’ stories as well. Each one seemed completely relatable, even when I hadn’t experienced exactly what the character was going through. I think we can all relate to the concepts of loss, grief, physical pain, as much as joy, excitement, and love. At its heart, this is very much a Christian-centered novel where the characters are unashamed to discuss their beliefs, or lack thereof. There is even one atheist character who constantly challenges Violet’s firm Christian convictions, ultimately making her even stronger in her faith. I also loved that the author was able to incorporate humor throughout such an otherwise dismal time in these characters’ lives with many witty lines including one continuing joke about a pair of foo cats found in their uncle’s library. Watching these characters grow (either in good or bad ways) kept me flipping all 274 pages in a single weekend.

Also, this month only, Jennifer Q. Hunt is providing an opportunity to win one e-book and one paperback copy of Some Through the Fire. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by December 18. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “some through the fire” Giveaway Here

For more information on Jennifer Q. Hunt’s books, visit: http://www.jenniferqhunt.com

 

Second Chances by Valerie Howard

Second Chances continues Valerie Howard’s inspirational style of immersive characters and relatable family situations. Even though I read a beta reader version (aka: not completely polished), I still loved this story from beginning to end. The story follows Kate Wilson, a mom who according to her blog, has a picture perfect life when in reality she is barely managing to tread waters. Even though she’s lost her kids’ respect and her husband’s love, she continues to believe that she can somehow blog her way to a happy ending. It’s a familiar story in today’s world when many people choose to share a fake internet life with their 500 “friends” than risk vulnerability with a few loyal ones. As Second Chances demonstrates though, vulnerability is the only true way to develop real relationships, ones that depend on face-to-face communications and no technology to succeed. As a mother and wife, I think this story would be relatable to any parent who has ever felt less than,  wondered if they could ever measure up to the world’s expectations, and perhaps most importantly doubted if their past could ever make them worthy of God’s love. It’s a powerful story of redemption, faith, and family and one that I highly recommend.

Second Chances is the fifth book in Valerie Howard’s New England Inspirations series, but only the second of hers that I have read, with the first being Saving Faith. Although these books are part of a series, each contains unique characters and can be read on its own.

Also, this month only we have two giveaway opportunities! Valerie Howard is also providing an opportunity to win one e-book copy of Second Chances. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by December 18. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “Second Chances” Giveaway Here

For more information on Valerie Howard’s books, visit: https://valeriehowardbooks.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of Second Chances from the author; however, a positive review was not solicited or required. All opinions expressed are my own. 

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Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of the books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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October Newsletter – Book Tour Countdown

Tomorrow is Halloween which means a few things in our house: only one more day until sugar-induced craziness and several pounds of excess candy sent off to deployed American military and first responders. If you weren’t aware that this service is available, several organizations like Operation Gratitude, Operation Shoebox, and Soldiers’ Angels have drop-off locations across the country or check with your local law enforcement, fire station, or dentist. My family loves it because it’s an easy way to give back to the community and support our troops. Plus, last year we donated over seven pounds, which is seven pounds of sugar I was happy to say goodbye to.

Also, I know many of you may be nervous about trick-or-treating due to COVID. You need to do what’s best for your family, whether that means going out or staying home. My children will be wearing masks and distancing exactly as they would do at school, and as always I continue to pray that whatever festivities you partake in find you safe and healthy.

Latest News

Broken Lines Book TourWe’re only a few days away from the virtual book tour for Broken Lines. I am so blessed to have 22 amazing authors, bloggers, and bookstagrammers participating and am looking forward to hearing their reviews on my latest novels. Make sure to follow their pages to keep up with each day of the tour including additional author interviews, book features, and chances to win an e-book copy of Broken Lines.  A full list of tour stops is included below. Instagram or Blog are linked; however, many tour stops will also participate on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

Amanda M. Barrat

Amanda Tero

Another Open Book

The Book Distiller

Books and Tea with Me

Cart Full of Books

The Clean Read Book Club

Danielle’s Writing Spot

Diana Brandmeyer

Hasty Book List

Heather Manning

Jennifer Q. Hunt

Jenny Knipfer

Joy Within Pages

Leslie L. McKee

Living the Cozy Life

Living That Bookish Life

Marisa Joy

My Glitterary Retreat

Northern Reading

Sassy Bookish Mama

Splashes of Joy

In other news, the first draft of Unsettled Shores is now about 50% complete, which keeps me on schedule for completion by the end of 2020. Stay tuned!

Recommended Reads

This month’s reads included two wonderful historicals linked by a common theme: The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor and All That Was by Tanya E. Williams.

IMG_2851The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

I love historical fiction, but it’s especially enjoyable to read when it reflects a little known mystery of the past. The Paper Girl of Paris is exactly that. Although the Jordyn Taylor doesn’t include historical notes in her book, the minute I read this book’s blurb, I knew it was based on the true story of Marthe de Florian’s Paris apartment, locked up and unchanged since the Nazi occupation in 1942.

This emotional dual timeline novel switches between Alice in the present and Adalyn in the early 1940’s, telling an engrossing tale of Nazi-occupied Paris and the resistance efforts performed at the time. The story is both tragic and hopeful, switching between moments of victory sliding into moments of despair. Each woman had distinct characteristics and was strong in her own way, but had times of emotional vulnerability too. I did find it interesting how, even though Alice’s grandmother left her the apartment, her role was relatively minor in the overall WW2 story. Where she did play a major role was in highlighting how grief takes its toll on people in different ways. In particular, the author did a great job showing how that grief can cause someone with chronic depression to tailspin. She approached the topic in a kind way and showed that there isn’t one correct way to help our loved ones with mental illness, but that we shouldn’t be afraid to try.

For more information on Jordyn Taylor’s books, visit: https://www.jordynhtaylor.com/

BookBrushImage489All That Was by Tanya E. Williams

Tanya E. Williams’s latest novel, All That Was, released October 20, and I was thrilled to once again beta read for this fantastic author. This novel which I’m dubbing contemporary women’s literature with a historical flair, involves two women, one who can’t confront her ghosts in the present and an actual ghost who can’t let go of the past. Through an old church and a box of diaries, the two women discover all they are through all that was.

What I loved about this book, other than everything, was that it provides a realistic yet hopeful look at the all consuming power of grief. Emily, a lawyer in the present, believes by stifling the pain of her past, she’s moving forward, when in reality she is doing anything but. By comparison, Elizabet, after spending her entire life consumed by grief over her husband’s untimely passing, is now a ghost and refuses to “move on” due to her fear of possibly spending eternity without him. They are both stuck in place and although they do not realize it, have become comfortable in their idleness. Moving forward is frightening, so it is better not to move at all. Through a wonderful cast of supporting characters, All That Was shows the importance of grieving as a community, of having the courage to share our pain with others, and having compassion for those who are still in the midst of their grief journey. Although the two women are unable to physically speak to one another, they must work together to overcome their grief and finally allow themselves to truly live.

Also, this month only, Tanya E. Williams is providing an opportunity to win one e-book copy of All That Was. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by November 20. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page.

Enter the “All That Was” Giveaway Here

For more information on Tanya E. Williams’s books, visit: https://tanyaewilliams.com

Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of All That Was from the author; however, a positive review was not solicited or required. All opinions expressed are my own. The giveaway copy will be provided directly from Tanya E. Williams.

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of any of the books? All three can be read on their own or in order of publication. Click the photo below to grab your copy!

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The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

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/

Share the Book Love

Read it? Loved it? Tell others by writing a review!

Need a copy of either book in the Over the Atlantic duology? Click the photo below.Website Books

The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

April Newsletter – Writing in the time of Coronavirus

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.

Latest News

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.

Recommended Reads

71-29nCUOMLI 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.

 

The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020

March Newsletter – When One Series Becomes Two … and other news from quarantine

Fear not. Life isn’t finished with you yet.

~ From Broken Lines (War Across Waters #1)

Well, my readers, these are certainly crazy times we’re living in. We’re part of a historic moment and whether we consider that good or bad, it is certainly important. Our world has an opportunity before us, just as we do in any historic moment, to learn from what we’ve experienced and come out better for it. It may take time, and it may not be an easy road, but I believe in the end, we will indeed be better. Social media and the internet can be harmful in many ways, but in times like this, it also has the ability to unite us like no other time in history. Quarantine during the influenza of 1918 looked very different than quarantine now, and for that I am thankful. Have hope readers. Humanity is a beautiful species. We will prevail.

Latest News

In between seasonal allergies, homeschooling, and doing our part to social distance, I’m also managing to work on my writing each day. I always say that one hour a day will get the book done and that’s still my motto, even if that hour is broken into ten minute increments. During this time, I’ve been switching between administrative tasks for Broken Lines and outlining the next book, Unsettled Shores. Before the libraries closed, I also managed to check out a rather large stack of research material, which I aim to focus on in the next several months. And lastly, within all of these other tough decisions, I made one more: Hope or High Water is now officially two duologies.

Yes, you read that correctly. One world, two series. So, what exactly does that look like?

Series Outline

As shown above, Across Oceans and Twisted River are now under the series title, Over the Atlantic, while Broken Lines and the forthcoming Unsettled Shores will make up the series, War Across Waters. Based on reader feedback, these books can be read in any order, although several characters do follow through all four books. So, if Across Oceans’ Edwardian England just isn’t to your liking, start in St. Louis with Twisted River. Or if you prefer The Great War on the American home front, wait for Broken Lines, then read the first two as prequels. Take the journey any way you like!

And now is the best time to do so! From now until Easter (April 12), both books are on sale for 50% off ebooks and 25% off paperbacks. Get your copies here: Across Oceans and Twisted River.

Sale Beach

Finally, in case you missed it, last week I released a statement related to COVID-19 and the postponed upcoming release of my third book, Broken Lines. Although this news may be disappointing, newsletter subscribers will still have the opportunity to read the first two chapters on its original release date, April 25. These chapters will not be posted on the website or social media, so make sure to subscribe in order to receive this sneak peek.

Recommended Reads

Looking to add more reading material to your quarantine list? This month, instead of reviewing a new book, I’m going to provide a list of books which I found to be either positive, humorous, and/or uplifting. Because we could all do with a bit of inspiration and a few laughs, could we not?

Also, one of my favorite locally owned independent bookstores, Main Street Books, is currently offering free shipping for all orders placed in the United States. I was not compensated by Main Street Books to endorse their services. I just really love promoting small businesses and the historic district this one is located in. To order from them, visit: https://mainstreetbooks.indielite.org/

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The best way to receive this newsletter is through e-mail. If you were directed to this site via social media or a search engine, you can subscribe to updates by entering your e-mail on the Contact page. E-mail addresses are never sold or distributed. You may unsubscribe at any time.

COPYRIGHT © KELSEY GIETL 2020