8 Year Anniversary party winners: Joan Hochstetler's book winner is -- Caryl Kane, Naomi Musch's ebook goes to Crissy Yoder Shamion, Roseanna White's winner is -- Connie Saunders, Pegg Thomas's "A Bouquet of Brides" goes to Deanna Stevens, Debra E. Marvin's winner is -- Becky Dempsey, Carrie Fancett Pagels' giveaway of Colonial Michilimackinac: Michigan State Parks goes to Wilani Wahl, Carla Olson Gade's winner is Leila Reynolds, Shannon McNear -- Kaitlin Covel

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Review by Tina Rice of "Mercy in a Red Cloak"

Review by Tina Rice of Mercy in a Red Cloak 
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Mercy Clarke is the daughter of a circuit-rider preacher in 1700’s Pennsylvania frontier. She is a woman of faith, hard-working, strong courageous woman and honorable. She often sacrifices much of her own interests for her father, Jonathan, and is often left alone as he performs his circuit-rider duties. I admire her strength and courage as she is often alone on the frontier; I don’t know if I would have handled it as well.

Shadrach Clark is a handsome, highly skilled colonial scout and a little confused and disappointed when he first meets Mercy and her father. Part of the confusion is that they each have the same last name but spelled a bit differently. The disappointment comes when Shadrach learns that they are not his family he has spent years searching for. I admire his courage and strength as a scout at such a young age and his dedication to finding his family.

I enjoyed watching as their friendship slowly turns to courtship and possibly more. But their sweet courtship is filled with danger and often times of separation. When Mercy’s father and Shadrach both are missing this courageous woman embarks on a long journey to Mackinac Island on the Michigan frontier. On her long arduous journey she faces many challenges, hardships, sacrifices, some unexpected surprises and dangerous situations, but nothing will stop her from searching for her loved ones. Will she find them in time before the increasingly unsettled climate escalates and she finds herself in a far more dangerous situation than she previously experienced?

Mercy in a Red Cloak is an action-packed story filled with dangerous times of a harsh frontier life, sorrows and joys, love, historical facts woven within the story-line and faith. I appreciate the spiritual elements woven throughout the story-line and the characters lives. The reader is taken on a journey from Germantown, Pennsylvania to Mackinaw Island, Michigan and to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of 1700’s frontier. The author portrays these historical locations and events with vivid detail that captures the elements of the time and this reader. A wonderful, heartwarming story. 

Giveaway: A kindle or paperback copy of Mercy in a Red Cloak will be given away to one commenter.

Tina St.Clair Rice is Colonial Quills reader/reviewer. Tina is a wife, mother, and grandmother and a former nurse. She lives on the east coast with her family and is an active supporter of Christian fiction writers. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

John Valentine Haidt: The Preaching Painter

First Fruits, 1760, shows people of 25 nationalities, converts of Moravian missionaries, in heaven.

With my last post, we explored the German folk art fraktur, a topic that came out of research for my upcoming novel, The Witness Tree (Smitten Historical Romance, September 2019). Today I’d like to introduce you to a little-known German artist painting during Colonial times, John Valentine Haidt. 

Haidt was truly a master painter, but most of his work is only available for viewing in the Pennsylvania towns of Lititz, Nazareth, and Bethlehem.

Born in Germany in 1700, Haidt studied drawing at the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin at the expense of the King of Prussia. Haidt’s travels to the great cities of Europe had introduced him to the highest forms of art, but in his heart, he wanted to be a minister. He joined the Moravian Church after a profound experience at a London love feast. Shortly after, he appealed to Moravian leader Count Zinzendorf to become a church-sponsored painter rather than a preacher. The count responded by requesting ten paintings.

Portrait of a Moravian Girl
In 1754, Haidt moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. There he focused on paintings (30 known) and portraits (40 known) until his death in 1780. Copies of his moving depictions of the suffering and death of Christ were often taken by missionaries into the field.

The Moravians at the Springplace mission to the Cherokees documented the effect of such a painting in their diaries on Good Friday, March 27, 1812. “After the first service, the painting of the Crucifixion was shown to everyone present and the children were told, ‘See, in this manner, God’s Son suffered out of love for humans and shed all of His blood!’ They seemed completely astonished and did not speak a word. … After this service Mr. Hicks spoke especially with Brother Gambold and to his great joy expressed ... his desire for Holy Baptism.”

Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s a managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:

Lamentation Over the Body of Christ, 1758

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fiction and the Trope of the "Noble Savage"

Have you heard of it--the concept of the noble savage? I wondered about this, as so many of my stories involve Native Americans in historical settings. Nowadays, when our culture is at odds against itself in so many ways, when we are leery of stepping on nearly anyone's toes, when many of us really do want to "get it right" when it comes to history, I had to look deeper into this idea and determine whether what I am reading and--more importantly--what I am writing, is accurate regarding Native Americans in history, even in fiction.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

The "myth of the noble savage", as it's been referred to, is a literary concept that came about in romantic writings long ago, during the 17th and 18th centuries. Some say earlier, in fact. Some pin the idea on Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a Swiss-born philosopher and writer. In fact, Rousseau was so influential, his writings and ideas are credited for marking the end of the Age of Reason. Others say he is not to blame for painting an ideological picture of natives that is far from reality.

So what, exactly, is this ideology of the "Noble Savage"? It is the presupposition that native peoples left alone in a primitive state are basically good, as long as civilization doesn't come along and corrupt them. It paints a picture of natives that is romanticized, idealized, and sentimentalized. The Noble Savage concept for Americans is the notion that most Native Americans would have lived forever in peace and harmony had European invaders not turned their culture on its head by inciting greed, lust, corruption, and so on. 

Of course, I would disagree with this philosophy. All mankind is in a sin-fallen state, and we are easily given to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I John 2:16) regardless of outside influence. Be that as it may, the concept of the Indian in an unsullied society supposedly would not struggle with those things. Don't we all know better?

Nevertheless, it causes me to wonder about how we, as writers and readers of romantic or historical literature, view some of the heroes and heroines of Native American culture. Do we write them honestly? Do we understand them to be fully human, capable of all the goodness and the evil that lurks within the heart of every man and woman? 

History bears out the brutality of all civilizations and cultures on the globe, if we choose to look at it. Men and women of all colors: red, yellow, black, and white, have murdered, robbed, pillaged, and done every form of evil to their fellow human beings. They have also offered love, compassion, and mercy. I only bring this up because, even now, as I am working on upcoming books, I want to do so with an honest view of mankind in all his states. 

God did the same in His Word. Some of Scripture relates stories fraught with horrors told very plainly. Through them, we get a greater understanding of God's overwhelming and undeserved Grace. 

Whenever I sit down to write a story or read someone else's, I want to enjoy my heroes and heroines in light of truth. Everyone is broken. We're all a little or a lot messed up. I love a dashing hero as much as the next reader, be he warrior, highlander, farmer, cowboy, soldier, or tailor, but I like him even more when he's also written as a conflicted sinner coming to terms with a God greater than himself. 

Don't you? 


I am thrilled to announce the conclusion of my Echoes of the Heart series. The Brightest Hope, a post WWI romance, releases on August 1st. I hope you'll enjoy this story of an anti-hero whose complexity, personal demons, hopes and triumphs--I believe--are some of the best I've written. I think you'll enjoy a few surprises also.

The Brightest Hope is available for $2.99 pre-order and the first two novels in the series are also on special sale (ebook) during July for just $2.99 each. Say what? 1000 pages of historical romance for under $10! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

How "His Highness" George Washington Became "Mr. President"

During a recent conversation about history, the subject was mentioned of how the term "Mr. President" came to be. That sent me to Google, thinking it would make a great topic for CQ, and my search yielded this amusing and engaging article, which includes a bit about the origins of President's Day:
How 'His Highness' George Washington Became 'Mr. President'
My apologies for simply putting the link here for your perusal ... I just returned this evening from a youth conference out of state and am on a very tight book deadline ... doubly my apologies for the site and surrounding subject matter. I hope our dear readers will enjoy, regardless!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Celebrating the 4th of July ~ Some History

This July fourth, Americans celebrate 243 years from when our nation was born. But why commemorate it on the fourth each year when the Continental Congress declared independence on July 2, 1776, and the Revolutionary War began in April of 1775?  Thomas Jefferson had submitted the first draft in June of 1776 but it wasn’t until July 4, 1776, was when the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. 

The Declaration was first publicly read at Independence Square in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. It wasn’t until August 2, 1776, when the document was signed by fifty men, and months later before the final six signatures were added.

How did America begin celebrating this auspicious day?

On July 3, 1776, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail his vision of how the day should be spent. “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

A year later, Congress adjourned and the city celebrated in an orderly manner with bonfires, fireworks, lit candles, thirteen rockets, muskets firing, and ringing bells. Boston also celebrated with fireworks that same year. To commemorate Independence Day, on its anniversaries, General Washington gave double rations of rum to his soldiers. Fireworks became more widely available to communities by 1783 the year the peace was signed with our former adversary.

Over the next three decades, many towns observed the Fourth of July with the reading of the Declaration, concerts, processions, military demonstrations, speeches, picnics, games, and fireworks. But it wasn’t until the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain that this significant patriotic event became popular throughout the country. The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States would often be played as part of the July fourth celebrations.

In 1941 Independence Day or July 4th became a federal holiday in the United States.

Today, we commemorate Independence Day with social gatherings, parades, barbecues, fireworks and in many of the same ways as they did centuries ago. 

What special traditions do you have to honor our great nation?