April Tea Party Winners

Six Year Blog Anniversary WINNERS: Carla Gade - Pattern for Romance audiobooks go to Andrea Stephens and Megs Minutes and winner of Love's Compas is Terressa Thornton, PEGG THOMAS's signed copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection is Debra Smith, Janet Grunst's debut book goes to Kathleen Maher, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winner's choice goes to: Connie Saunders, Denise Weimer's print winner of, Angela Couch's winner's choice goes to Susan Johnson, Debra E. Marvin reader's choice of any of her novellas or a paperback of Saguaro Sunset novella -- Teri DiVincenzo and Lynne Feurstein, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's "For Love or Country" go to: Lucy Reynolds, Bree Herron and Mary Ellen Goodwin, Shannon McNear's winners are Becky Dempsey for Pioneer Christmas and Michelle Hayes for Most Eligible Bachelor, Roseanna White's winner for Love Finds You in Annapolis is Becky Smith.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Ojibwe of the Straits of Mackinac

Image result for ojibwe photosWho are these natives of the Great Lakes Region? They call themselves Anishinabe, which means "first people." Many know them today as Chippewa. The French, the first Europeans to settle among them, called them Ojibwe, also spelled Ojibwa or Ojibway.

In my current work-in-progress, my heroine is friends with an Ojibwe woman and her brother. Lucky for me, there are websites with Ojibwe names which include audio of their pronunciation. There are also many websites with the history - sometimes conflicting - of the Ojibwe people and their culture.

The Ojibwe were part of the organized movement against the British called Pontiac's Rebellion. My story is set at Fort Michilimackinac at the Straits of Mackinac where Lakes Michigan and Huron join at the top of Michigan's lower peninsula. The well-documented attack on the British-held fort by the Ojibwe was one of the victories for Pontiac's Rebellion. My characters will have to deal with the fallout of that attack.

My story will be part of The Backcountry Brides Collection releasing in May 2018. This will be a very special collection of authors who are all COLONIAL QUILLS contributors! Stay tuned to the blog in the months to come as our authors share their research with all of you readers ... who will then be able to read the stories in one handy collection. Huzzah!


Embattled Hearts, Pegg's debut novella, is part of The Pony Express Romance Collection. Her second novella, In Sheep's Clothing, is part of The Bouquet of Brides Collection releasing in January 2018. Her third novella will be part of The Backcountry Brides Collection releasing in May, 2018.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Six Year Blog Anniversary for Colonial Quills Blog!

Huzzah!!! We've been a busy crew this past year again since our 5th anniversary. (Click here to see that post.) Since last year, we've had some amazing things happening for our members. And of course we want to celebrate with lots of fun giveaways for our readers! Please join in the conversation by commenting after enjoying your visit with refreshments and book talk to be eligible for the giveaways.

Janet Grunst, one of our earliest CACW members, made her debut in Christian fiction with a colonial novel that is a finalist for the Selah Awards! Congrats, Janet!!

Last December, Janet Grunst was blessed with the release of her Debut Colonial Romance novel,
A Heart Set Free.

To celebrate, Janet is giving away an autographed copy of A Heart Set Free.
Represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency

Vicki McCollum also made her debut in Christian fiction with a novella this year with Forget Me Not Press! Congrats, Vicki!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor, one of our original founding CACW members is rejoining us on Colonial Quills! A big huzzah! Jennifer has seven published novels and three novellas. All of her full-length books are available in print, e-book and on audio. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. It and the sequel, Highland Sanctuary earned 4.5 stars from RT Book Reviews. Her latest trilogy begins in the colonial period with For Love or Loyalty, followed by For Love or Country and For Love or Liberty. Visit her at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net

Giveaway: In celebration of the Colonial Quills sixth year anniversary and our nation's upcoming Independence Day, she's giving away three print copies of For Love or Country (Book 2 in the MacGregor Legacy series) set during the American Revolutionary War along the North Carolinian coast. 

Debra E. Marvin's love of the colonial era will eventually come to a novella near you. With five published novellas (in multiple collections) she's stayed busy. A novel-length mystery, and a colonial set at Tryon Palace will be out later this year. She's giving away winner's choice of a digital novella or a paperback of  Saguaro Sunset, her first contemporary. Debra also promotes book bloggers and book reviewers on her group blog and personal website.

Roseanna White will see her 14th historical novel release this summer, and in the past year has been blessed to add "bestselling" to her name and a Christy Award nomination for The Lost Heiress to her accomplishments. Roseanna is another of Colonial Quills' founding members, and though her recent titles haven't been Colonial, she's still holding tight to a few more early American book ideas that she's determined to write one of these days!

To celebrate the CQ's sixth anniversary, Roseanna is offering a signed copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, her first historical romance, set in 1783 Annapolis, to a winner with a US address.

Pegg Thomas saw her debut novella, "Embattled Hearts," part of The Pony Express Romance Collection, release in April this year. It was a long time coming! In January 2018, her second novella, "In Sheep's Clothing" will be part of The Bouquet of Brides Collection. In May, her third novella will be part of The Backcountry Brides Collection with fellow Colonial Quills authors. Huzzah!

Pegg is giving away a signed copy (to a U.S. address) of The Pony Express Romance Collection to celebrate the CQ Anniversary.

This past year, Angela K Couch has been blessed with the release of her Colonial novels, The Scarlet Coat and The Patriot and the Loyalist, the first two books of her Hearts at War series! She's also been busy writing the last two books in this series, The Tory's Daughter and The Return of the Kings Ranger and is eagerly awaiting their releases!

Giveaway: To celebrate, Angela is giving away one ebook - winner's choice from this series!

Shannon McNear has been with Colonial Quills since 2013, shortly after being surprised with her first publishing contract. That first novella, "Defending Truth" from A Pioneer Christmas Collection (2013/2015), a Revolutionary War tale dealing with the aftermath of the Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780, was a 2014 RITA® finalist. She's working toward re-releasing her second novella, "The Highwayman," originally part of The Most Eligible Bachelor (2015). She loves sharing bits of story inspiration on Pinterest, Facebook, and on her personal website.

Giveaway: to celebrate Colonial Quills' sixth anniversary, Shannon is offering a signed copy each of A Pioneer Christmas Collection (2015 edition) and The Most Eligible Bachelor.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, founder of CACW and administrator of Colonial Quills blog, has been blessed and on a spree. Since last year, she released her colonial novel Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter (which received a starred RT Review!), was a finalist for published Romance Novellas in the Maggie Award in Excellence for The Substitute Bride, Just learned she is a finalist for the prestigious Holt Medallion Award for her Romance novella "The Steeplechase" set in 1810 Virginia in Williamsburg and Yorktown, and her novella "Requilted with Love" part of the Blue Ribbon Brides Collection (October, 2016 Barbour) became an ECPA bestseller. Her latest release is "Dime Novel Suitor” in Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands.  

Giveaway: autographed copy of The Steeplechase OR autographed copy of Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands, OR a copy of Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter.
Carla Gade, who designed the Colonial Quills blog, is excited to have her 10th book in print come September this year. When CQ began, Carla launched her debut novel. Love's Compass (originally titled, The Shadow Catcher's Daughter) has now been re-released by her publisher. Two of her novellas have been on the ECPA best-sellers list: "Tis the Season" from Mistletoe Memories, and Proving Up (1878) from the Homestead Brides Collection.

GIVEAWAY: To celebrate, Carla is giving away 2 audio copies of her colonial novel Pattern for Romance and 1 copy of Love's Compass to 3 commenters.

In the last year, Denise Weimer released her Restoration Trilogy, modern romantic suspense with historic back stories from three different centuries. She's been busy penning a number of novellas in collections, both modern and historical, that are currently pending with several different publishers. Look for more stand-alone novels coming from her in the next year or two. She's also very excited to have just signed a contract to act as one of the associate editors for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina's Heritage Beacon historical line!


Carrie here: This is a dream come true!!! When I started gathering up authors to start this group six and a half years ago, I always dreamed that one day we'd have a bunch of us in a collection of colonial era stories! Just this past week we were informed by my agent, Joyce Hart (Hartline Literary Agency) that Becky Germany (Barbour Publishing) had offered us a contract for the Backcountry Brides collection. Nine of the Colonial American Christian Writers/Colonial Quills members will be writing novellas for the collection which will be published in May, 2018!!! Can you send up a hearty HUZZAH!!! with us?

    Don't forget to join us later this evening at our anniversary drop in. Some of our Colonial Quills authors will be dropping by to chat with our guests in real time from 7 to 8 pm EST. Click on the image below to go to the facebook event page this evening.


Thank you, one and all, for joining us for our anniversary! In the comments below, please let us know how long you've been a friend of Colonial Quills and our authors. We appreciate your faithfulness. It is also nice to make the acquaintance of new friends and readers!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Noah Webster's Blue-Back Speller

Noah Webster by Samuel F. B. Morse
Have you ever heard of Noah Webster’s Blue-Back Speller? I hadn’t until I happened to run across a short article about it a few days ago. I did some research and learned that if you attended school in the United States during the late 1700s and well into the 1800s, you likely learned spelling using this book. Because it was usually printed with a blue cover, it soon became known as the Blue-Back Speller. It was the first of a three-volume collection originally titled A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Webster added a grammar in 1784 and a reader in 1785.

Noah Webster, Jr. (1758–1843) was a teacher, lawyer, editor, and author. He has been called the father of American scholarship and education. As a teacher, he learned to dislike American elementary schools because they were often overcrowded and the teachers underpaid. And textbooks, such as The New England Primer or Thomas Dilworth’s A New Guide to the English Tongue, either focused primarily on teaching the Bible or came from England. Webster believed fervently that the American Revolution was not only about changing the nation’s political and economic institutions, but also about shaping a new American identity. Therefore, American children should be taught using American books that fostered republican ideals.

The Grammatical Institute
Webster’s goal was to transform the way Americans were taught to speak and write English in order to extend the ideals of the American Revolution to language and literature. The American people were the proper judges of correct speech, he maintained, and spelling should be simplified to agree with how words were actually pronounced. Through his speller and dictionary he aimed to cut the nation’s cultural ties to Britain and establish an intellectual foundation for American nationalism that would maintain republican values and social stability.

Webster observed that children pass through distinct learning phases in which they master increasingly complex or abstract tasks, and that they learn most easily when complex problems are broken into their component parts so they can master one part before moving to the next. He consequently arranged his speller to present words and the rules of spelling and pronunciation in an orderly manner that progressed by age, beginning with the alphabet and moving systematically through the different sounds of vowels and consonants. Syllables followed, with simple words coming next, then more complex words, and finally sentences. The speller was also intentionally secular; it did not mention God, the Bible, or any biblical events, although later in his life he did add some religious themes.

Blue-Back Speller
Generations of Americans learned how to read and spell using Webster’s Blue-Back Speller. He revised it several times, in 1786 changing its title to The American Spelling Book, and then in 1829 to The Elementary Spelling Book. It was the most popular American spelling book of its time. By 1837 it had sold 15 million copies, and some 60 million by 1890. In fact, his earnings from the speller allowed him to spend many years working on his famous American Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1828.

After 1840 William Holmes McGuffey’s McGuffey Eclectic Readers began to challenge Webster’s books and eventually took over the market. But both Webster’s speller and dictionary changed American education dramatically by establishing the idea that spelling, grammar, and usage should be based on spoken language instead of on artificial rules.

When I was in first grade, I learned to read with the Dick and Jane books. I loved the pictures of Jane, Dick, Sally, Spot, and Puff and the stories that opened the world of reading to me. Every time I see pictures of the books, they bring back happy memories. Did you have a favorite textbook when you were in elementary school, and if so, why did you like it? Please share your memories!
J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 INDYFAB Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, released in April. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review of Denise Weimer's WITCH: Book Three of The Restoration Trilogy

by Tina St. Clair Rice

Jennifer Rushmore is excited. She is about to complete her first preservation job with the relocation of the 1787 log cabin home of the first Dunham doctor—by adding the home to the already restored property of Michael Johnson's ancestors' house and apothecary shop (as we read from the first two books, White and Widow).  As with restoration of the other buildings, things don't always go smoothly. In fact, someone doesn't want her to finish her job.  Why and what lengths will they go to stop her?  There were a couple characters that I thought may be the ones trying to put a stop to the restoration but then something would change my mind about one or two of them.  As the clues unfolded and things became more dangerous they pointed to a surprising person and why—not saying who.

Through treasures (I like that they found treasure from each part of the restoration project and included it for us readers) from the log cabin we step back in time via the portal of the diary of Verity Dunham as she chronicled her experiences—including a traumatic time that left lifelong affects on her (not giving details as I don't want to spoil it) and may even shed some light on events of present day occurrences.  I really felt for this woman, her family and all they went through.

It was good to see Jennifer as she continued to grow in confidence in her abilities as a restoration professional.  Her growth in her faith was evident in how she lived in her personal life as well as her professional one—loved seeing that.  She still has struggles, that is what makes her character so real. She is so much stronger than she ever thought and when her mother shows up at her door unexpectedly, bringing past hurts and emotions with her, they both are in for some challenges, but surprises as well.

Michael continues to have struggles as well with his past.  I like the changes I see in him as he starts to open up a bit to Jennifer and God.  However, he still has secrets that he needs to deal with as Jennifer as done with him.  He runs the risk of her leaving before he shares his love for her.  Can he open his heart fully to God's healing and the love Jennifer offers before it is too late? 

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book because of the title, Witch. However, it doesn't deal with
casting spells, etc, for which I was happy about, as I don't read those kinds of books—there is a reason for the title that I won't explain here...you'll have to read it to find out.  Denise Weimer has written a story spanning over two centuries with characters that are true-to-life with challenges and struggles much like we face today, family dynamics, career decisions which impacts life decisions, unexpected surprises, mystery and suspense, body/murder—recent or from the past?, strong community, forgiveness, learning to trust others and God, faith and love.  A recurring theme throughout the series is God's healing, forgiveness, restoration and love...which also is a recurring theme in the characters lives.  I appreciate the inspirational elements woven throughout the storyline and have enjoyed reading Jennifer and Michael's story.

~I received an e-book from the author via TBCN, (no monetary gain were exchanged), this is my honest review~