I (heart) history – Sandra Merville Hart shares the research that brings her writing to life!

I’m honored to introduce you to another amazing author, Sandra Merville Hart! She writes Historical Romance in the Civil War time period – one that’s always fascinated me.

Her latest release, A Stranger on My Land, is a great novella, and now we get to see a glimpse behind the curtain into her life. Here’s a quick look at her bio before I introduce you. Enjoy!

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Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and ChristianDevotions.us. Her inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014.  It’s available on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1941103278

Hi Sandra! For those who haven’t read it, tell us a little bit about your latest release A Stranger on My Land. I love how the cover is a sneak peek into the story!


My inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released on August 21, 2014. Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find Adam, a wounded Union soldier, on their land after a battle near their Lookout Mountain home. Carrie takes Adam to the cave where her family has been hiding from the soldiers. Before long, she falls in love with him, but she can’t save his life. He requires a surgeon. Carrie weighs the potential danger of revealing her family’s hideaway with saving Adam’s life.

What was your inspiration behind this novella?

While researching for another Civil War novel, I read many biographies and diaries of soldiers from both sides. Among the surprises were many instances of families in the South living in caves for safety when the armies marched into town. The soldiers remarked about how cozy the women made these dwellings. When I discovered that some families on Lookout Mountain moved into caves, the idea for my story was born.

What made you begin writing Historical Fiction?

I love to read historical romance novels, especially when it gives natural glimpses into the way things used to be. My love for writing this type of book sprang from a love of history.

What spurs you to write?  

I actually get depressed when I can’t write. After a week’s vacation, I’m ready to get back to my current writing project. Writing feeds my spirit. I really enjoy it.

I can so relate to that! When God instills the gift of writing inside you, writing becomes part of what keeps you sane! What are you currently reading?

I have a stack of over ten books waiting for me to read. I will either read The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown, A Little Bit of Charm by Mary Ellis, or The First Christmas Carol by Marianne Jordan as my next “for pleasure” read. It seems almost all of my reading is research related these days.

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea?

Some ideas have come to me just as I’m waking up in the morning. You know, that kind of half-awake, half-asleep state before you crawl out of bed. It seems the creative part of my brain keeps churning away while I’m sleeping and I often wake up with fresh ideas.

What is your next project?

My next novel will be another Civil War romance. It will be set in Gettysburg, a place that has captured my imagination. I’m planning a trip to Gettysburg to research for it. A beautiful seamstress and a war-weary soldier would never meet if not for the battle that raged outside her Gettysburg home.

Thanks, Sandra! It was great to talk with you!

And now for the readers… it’s your turn to share comments, tidbits, or other questions you have for Sandra!  Just CLICK THE PINK HEART,  and leave a comment!


Missional Romance? Jennifer Slattery gives us the inside glimpse!

I’m thrilled to introduce you to another amazing new author, Jennifer Slattery! In addition to being an excellent writer, she’s doing amazing things to reach the world with God’s heart!

Her latest release, Beyond I Do, is a terrific read, and now we get to see a glimpse behind the curtain into her life. Here’s a quick look at her bio before I introduce you. Enjoy!


Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions. She also maintains a personal blog at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com and writes and edits for Christ to the World Ministries, an international ministry that shares the gospel, via radio waves, with thirty-two countries.

Hi Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a Midwestern transplant married to a handsome and hilarious railroader. We’ve got a teenage daughter that fills our home with laughter and the occasional eye roll. I love to read, have relatively little patience for movies, and believe every day must start with a ginormous amount of flavored coffee.

Now for those who haven’t read it, tell us a little bit about your latest release Beyond I Do.


I’d love to! Beyond I Do is about a pharmaceutical representative whose quest for security caused her to lose of who God created her to be.

 Will seeing beyond the present unite them or tear them apart?

Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

Writing very much comes directly from my relationship with God. I really believe He gives me the inspiration, and I can sense His abiding presence as I write. I especially love it when He leads me to a verse or passage that speaks hope to my characters and to me. He’s great at reaching us both at the same time!

What are you currently reading? I just finished Unplanned by Abby Johnson. Wow, that was a tough book, but also inspiring, especially the last chapter when she connected all the God-dots. It reminded me to keep doing whatever it is He is calling me to do, trusting He’s working out His eternal picture at every moment.

Is there a recognizable quality in your books, which makes them distinctly your own? Yep! I write missional romance, which means there’s always an outreach/missional angle. Because I’m all about outreach. After all, that’s the whole reason we Christians are still here, right?

I’m expecting big picture edits to come through on my second book, When Dawn Breaks, this month, so I’m excited about that. Here’s a bit about that book:

Jacqueline wants purpose and restitution, but must she relinquish her chance of love to find it?

A hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate. Looking to begin again—and reconnect with her embittered daughter—Jacqueline heads north. Reconciliation is hard, but she has a handsome new friend to lean on. Most importantly, she knows God is standing beside her.

When her daughter rejects her, three children abandoned by their mother open their hearts. But can God use a woman who dashed the hopes of her own child to bring hope to someone else’s? 

Thank you so much for having me!

Thanks, Jennifer! I’m glad you stopped by!

And now for the readers… it’s your turn to share comments, tidbits, or other questions you have for Jennifer!  Just CLICK THE PINK HEART,  and leave a comment!

Choose your favorite opening paragraph!

I need your help! I’m writing my latest work-in-progress and can’t make up my mind on the opening paragraph. Will you please tell me which you like best?

My working title is A Pony Express Romance and this first section takes place on November 30, 1860, in Ellwood, Kansas.

Option #1:

     The prick of his horse’s ears was Josiah English’s only warning of impending danger.
     His muscles tensed as his eyes scanned the roadside for whatever had the horse on edge. A rabbit about to dart from the bushes? A snake in the grass? Or a mountain lion about to strike?
     From nowhere, a rope settled around his shoulders. What? Josiah reached to pull it off, but before he could get a hand up, it jerked tight, strapping his arms to his sides. With a violent lurch, he was pulled from his horse, landing hard on the ground. The breath fled from his lungs and he pushed hard, fighting the weight that threatened to smother him.


Option # 2:

     “Don’t move, or I’ll shoot yer toes off one by one.”
      Josiah English froze.
     The rope that had settled over his shoulders tightened, strapping his arms to his sides and cinching up his chest. With a violent jerk, he was pulled from his horse, landing hard on the ground. The breath fled from his lungs and he pushed hard, fighting the weight that threatened to smother him.


 Or maybe you like a combination of these openings? Feel free to piece together your favorite intro, and leave it in the comments below. Thanks for your vote!

A Journey Without Borders

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.

These words (from the Hillsong song Oceans) have been my prayer – my mantra – for the past year. In all areas of my life, but especially my writing journey.

I’ve always loved books, and reading, and the power of the written word, but I never really imagined myself a writer. There was no way I had anything close to the talent of a real Author. Right?

old books

But a couple of years ago, I was doing some soul searching. Making a list of things that were important to me and what I wanted to do before I exit this crazy life – a bucket list you might call it. “Write a book that is actually published” made it to the list, and thus my journey began.

I won’t go into all the details here of my rough initiation into the art and craft of storytelling, but I will say that I found my passion. I discovered my love for writing. Pouring words onto a page and seeing how they weave themselves into images and scenes and stories that could touch people.


And as my journey continued, I realized that this love and passion for writing was a gift that God had placed in me. He began to open doors for me in places I’d never imagined. Doors that I didn’t know existed.

And through this expedition into publishing, I have learned that amazing things do happen when God is leading. The major challenge for me, however, lies in reining in my controlling nature. I’ve finally diagnosed myself as a control-freak, and they say the first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem. So “trust without borders” has become my daily prayer. Lord, please help me to rely completely on You to make things happen. Not to constrain You by my limited hopes and dreams. I’m so excited to be sharing this trek with you. And now I’d love to hear about your own journey!

Where is God taking you that you never would have imagined?

It’s a Kick-off Party!!!

birthday-collageIntroducing… (drumroll, please)  The official kick-off of my blog! I’m looking forward to getting to know each of you, and celebrating our common love of books.

Through the next few months, I’ll introduce you to some of our favorite authors, give you behind-the-scenes peeks at the publishing process, and share the inside scoop on what’s really going on between Anna and Jacob. (and if you don’t know who they are, boy do I have a treat for you!) And you might even get to help me plot out my next book…

But first we need to kick this thing off right! And what better way to celebrate a grand opening than to give something away free? So… To join the party, just CLICK THE PINK HEART and leave your comment below with your email address.

I’ll put your name in the hat for a free gift card! Yes! $25 at either Amazon, iTunes, or Starbucks – your choice! (Imagine how many Kindle books you could buy with that!)

And while you’re here, sign up on the sidebar to automatically receive new blog posts. We’re going to have some fun!