September Tea Party Winners: Janet Grunst's -- A Heart For Freedom for Chappy Debbie
audible of A Heart Set Free for Lucy Reynolds Roseanna White's is Wilani Wahl -- Debra E. Marvin's -- Kaily Behrendt paperback of Dangerous Deception, Carrie Fancett Pagels' -- The Victorian Christmas Brides collection goes to Nancy McLeroy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New Release Tea Party Time!

I’m Heather Stewart. Welcome to Stewarts’ Green, our ordinary located in the Virginia countryside. Please come in and help yourself to some scones, ginger biscuits, and Liberty tea made from local herbs. Coffee, cider, and water are also available.  
I'm excited to share about the October 1st release of A Heart For Freedom

By 1775, the conflict has escalated between Loyalists and Patriots throughout the colonies. The Stewarts’ ordinary and the surrounding Virginia countryside are not immune from the strife, pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other. Matthew Stewart has avoided taking sides and wants only to farm, manage Stewarts’ Green, and raise his family. But political tensions are heating up and circumstances and connections convince him that he should answer a call to aid the Patriot cause … with conditions. Heather Stewart, born and raised in Scotland, has witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. Threatened by the prospect of war, she wants only to avoid it, and protect the family and peace she sought and finally found in Virginia. The journey the Stewarts take is not an easy one and will involve sacrifice, and questioned loyalties. Lives and relationships will be changed forever. Ultimately the knowledge that God is faithful will equip them with the courage to face the future

Janet Grunst’s novel, A Heart For Freedom, is the sequel to A Heart Set Free.
 Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight who lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. Her debut novel, A Heart Set Free was the 2016 Selah Award winner for Historical Romance. Besides writing and reading, Janet enjoys serving in Community Bible Study and spending time with family and friends. 
You can connect with her at:
Leave a comment here on the blog for a chance to win a print copy of A Heart For Freedom. 
Roseanna M. White is celebrating the release of An Hour Unspent, the conclusion to the Shadows Over England series! Comment below for a chance to win a signed copy! (To US addresses only)
Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.
Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.
As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.
 Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Hi friends!  I'm back to celebrate my summer release, A DANGEROUS DECEPTION!
Jerome, Arizona Territory, 1899
When Andromeda Barr left her colorful past behind in pursuit of a normal—albeit solo—life, she didn’t exactly settle for the mundane. Performing is in her blood, and right now she has to believe she’s lying for all the right reasons—justice for the excluded, the overlooked of society—a debt she owes to the two unusual people who raised her.

Pinkerton Agent Connell O’Brien is on the trail of a wanted murderer holed up in ‘the wickedest town in the west.’ Hiding his identity is part of the job, but when he meets the surprising Miss Barrington, he begins to wonder how many secrets are too many.

Two close calls with disaster seem to suggest it’s time they both stop running from the guilt of the past and let mercy catch up, but will these two solo acts join forces before the danger of discovery becomes a matter of life or death? 

I'll be giving away ebooks and a paperback of A DANGEROUS DECEPTION today. I'm looking for fans of Western settings with surprises thrown in. I loved spending time with Andromeda and Connell and I hope you will too!  Find more stories, from colonial to contemporary, at my Amazon Author Page or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.


Carrie Fancett Pagels, Gabrielle Meyer, and Rita Gerlach are all contributors to this collection! Carrie had the privilege of hand picking some of her favorite authors for this Victorian era novella collection! The stories are the perfect length to read in the lead up to the holidays! 

The Sugarplum Ladies by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1867 Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan
When Canadian barrister Percy Gladstone finds his aristocratic British family unexpectedly descending upon him for Christmas, he turns to American social reformer Eugenie Mott and her fledgling catering crew for help.

Carrie is giving away a paperback copy of The Victorian Christmas Brides to one commenter on this party blog post!

A Christmas Vow by Gabrielle Meyer
London, England, Christmas 1899

Lady Ashleigh Pendleton is hosting a houseful of guests for Christmas when railroad executive Christopher Campbell unexpectedly arrives from America with a mysterious agreement signed by their fathers before their birth.

The Holly and the Ivy by Rita Gerlach
1900. Small town along the Potomac near Washington DC
A glass ornament. Love letters tied in red Christmas ribbon. Lily Morningstar and British antiquities expert Andrew Stapleton are drawn into a family secret that binds their hearts together.
CONGRATS to all the authors with new releases! 
A Big HUZZAH from Colonial American Christian Writers group!
Be sure to come by our Facebook Party today, Wednesday, September 19, 2018 from 3 PM to 6 PM Eastern Time! (Click here to join the party!)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Not Amish, Not Quakers ... Moravians!

Everyone has heard of the Amish. If you wander into a Christian fiction section of a bookstore, you won’t be able to escape the present-day fascination with “the plain people.” You’ve probably also heard of Quakers, well-known for their pacifism. But what do you know about Moravians? I’d guess most folks know very little, even though the church of over a million members is still in existence today. My research for my latest work-in-progress led me deep into the history of this unique Protestant European church.
Reformer Jan Hus
The movement began in ancient Bohemia and Moravia in the present-day Czech Republic with converts of Greek Orthodox missionaries. University of Prague Professor of Philosophy and Rector John (or Jan) Hus protested the practices of the Roman Catholic Church and was burned at stake in July 1415. By 1517 the Unitas Fratrum, Unity of Brethren, numbered at least 200,000 and printed the Scriptures for the people in their own language. Following a period of bitter persecution, Moravian families found refuge on the Herrnhut estate of Saxon Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. The people followed a simplified style of communal living and a watch of continuous prayer that ran for a hundred years.
Zinzendorf as young man
The revival of 1727 led to the Moravian Church becoming the foremost mission-sending organization of its time. Witnesses for Christ sailed to the West Indies, the Caribbean, the Arctic, Africa, the Far East, and North and South America. It was John Wesley’s exposure to a Moravian service that led to his heart being “strangely warmed.”
With the view of reaching Native Americans, the church established settlements in Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania in the 1740s. Congregations soon sprang up in Lititz, Philadelphia, and Hope, as well as in New Jersey, Maryland, and Staten Island, New York. In 1753, Bishop Augustus Spangenberg led a party to survey the Wachau Tract of North Carolina. This settlement included Bethabara, Bethania, and Salem (now Winston-Salem).
While Moravians believe largely like other Protestant churches, they did practice some unique traditions, especially during Colonial times. Want to know what living in a choir system meant? Or what it would be like to have your marriage plans “go before the lot”? Check back for future posts! And stay tuned for my upcoming novel, The Witness Tree, about a marriage of convenience in Salem that leads to an adventure in the Cherokee Nation. 
~ Denise Weimer, Denise Weimer Books
First timbered houses built in Salem, NC

Friday, September 14, 2018


My second novel A Heart For Freedom releases October 1st, 2018, It takes place in Virginia during the first eighteen months of the Revolutionary War. While this is a stand-alone story, it picks up five years after A Heart Set Free ended. Heather and Matthew Stewart live on their farm and now also manage an ordinary, providing rest and food for hungry travelers.

The Revolutionary War was America’s first civil war. By 1775, the conflict in the colonies had escalated between Loyalists and Patriots. John Adams was known to have said that about thirty-three percent of the American populace supported the Patriot cause, thirty-three percent sided with the Loyalists, and thirty-three percent were undecided.

While many men and boys took up arms against the British, those at Stewarts’ ordinary and the surrounding Virginia countryside were not immune from the strife, pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other.

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Matthew Stewart wants only to farm, manage his inn, and protect his family. But tension between the Loyalists and Patriots is mounting. When he’s asked to help the Patriots and assured his family will be safe, he agrees.

She’s seen the cost of fighting England, and she wants no part of it.
In Scotland, Heather Stewart witnessed the devastation and political consequences of opposing England. She wants only to avoid war and protect the family and peace she finally found in Virginia. But the war drums can be heard even from home in the countryside, and she has no power to stop the approaching danger.

The consequences are deadly.
When Matthew leaves for a short journey and doesn’t return, Heather faces the biggest trial of her life. Will she give up hope of seeing him again? Will he survive the trials and make his way home? What will be the consequences of his heart for freedom?

I hope those who read the story enjoy it and consider writing a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Now, I return to my writing cave to finish the third story which focuses on the younger generation and takes place toward the end of the war.

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight who lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. Her debut novel, A Heart Set Free was the 2016 Selah Award winner for Historical Romance. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader. 

Facebook Janet Grunst, Author                                                                        https://twitter.com/janetgrunst  

Monday, September 10, 2018

Myths and Facts Surrounding Indian Captivity

When I started researching the experiences of white captives among native tribes, I’m not sure what I expected. Most of what I knew already was drawn from Calico Captive, a story based on real-life people during the French & Indian War, which painted a not-entirely-unflattering picture of native (and French-Canadian) life. Over the years I did gather that motivations for taking captive varied both depending upon the tribe, the times, and the individual. Some were taken captive as slaves (more on this in a later post), some for adoption into the tribe, and some for revenge and/or human sacrifice. And the treatment of captives varied dramatically depending upon the intended purpose for that captive.

Some myths I ran across as I researched:

Native Americans (“Indians”) were all brutal, ignorant heathens. Research has revealed that while their code of honor was different from ours, and seemingly random brutality often took place alongside seemingly random kindness, a sense of honor and high standard of behavior did indeed exist among native peoples.

Native Americans were all honorable, noble people whom whites of the time greatly misunderstood. Plenty of misunderstanding happened from both sides, but make no mistake, the code of honor and morality among native tribes clashed with Christian sensibilities in many ways. Greed, pride, pettiness, abuse, and all other human vices flourished among native peoples as surely as they did among European settlers.

White (or other) captives were always treated badly. Eyewitness accounts prove otherwise. When natives took captives intended for adoption, they treated said captives with remarkable kindness. Captives intended for slavery or sacrifice were a different matter entirely. The contradiction inherent in the kindness extended one or more captives in a group while brutality was dealt others still boggles the modern mind, but it happened often. One account I read told of a woman taken captive, heavy with child and a toddler in tow, after her older children had been killed and scalped before her eyes. While on the journey back to her captors’ home, the toddler was considered a liability at some point and also killed, but when the woman went into labor, accommodations were made for her delivery and recovery. Jonathan Alder witnessed the death of his older brother, but he himself was spared and eventually adopted by a Shawnee and Mingo couple. Jemima Boone (daughter of Daniel Boone) and her friend spoke after their recovery of the kindness of their captors, as well, which leads me to the next myth ...

Indians always rape female captives. Patently untrue. I’m sure there were exceptions, but in nearly all accounts I’ve read, there were strict rules about how and when native men took white captive women as their wives, in a culture where courtship and marriage seemed to be handled much more casually than in ours.

A couple of facts I learned:

While native peoples seemed to consider the killing of an enemy a light matter indeed, when they chose to adopt a captive, they usually accepted that one into their tribe and family with a whole heart. Once the adoption ceremony was complete—which often involved a protracted scrubbing-down and change of clothing—the captive was considered family, with no difference between him and a blood-born child.

Some captives returned to their old lives, but some did not, and were happy in that choice. (Whether such behavior constitutes Stockholm Syndrome, as some would suggest, is up for debate, and I won't get into that here. I'm only recording observations.) Alder lived some 20 years with the native peoples, after his capture at age 9. He did eventually return to white society, in a process that can only be described as a slow drift, for reasons that he never fully explains. His Indian wife grew unhappy with the changes and eventually left him, and a few years later he courted and married a white woman, and raised a family with her.

I’ve only scratched the surface here, but I’d love to hear more myths and facts as you think of them!

A pair of sources I've found helpful and/or interesting:

http://sites.rootsweb.com/~varussel/indian/index.html (Emory L. Hamilton’s unpublished manuscript Indian Atrocities Along The Clinch, Powell and Holston Rivers of Southwest Virginia, 1773-1794)

A History of JonathanAlder: His Captivity and Life with the Indians, edited by Larry L. Nelson, which I drew heavily from while researching for my upcoming release, The Cumberland Bride.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Meet the Métis

Hi there! I’m Naomi Musch, a new member of the Colonial Quills blog team. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here. I write in a variety of time periods, but the American colonial period is where my heart beats strongest, especially when that story is set on the frontier. In light of that, I have a new book coming out next month titled Mist O’er the Voyageur. In it, the heroine, Brigitte Marchal, is a Métis girl from Montreal who sets out traveling west by voyageurs brigade into the Lake Superior wilderness where dangers, mysteries, and romance await. With her in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Métis.


The Métis are an aboriginal people group who emerged during the North American fur trade that took off in the 1700s when French and, sometimes, Scottish freemen (those without a company contract, also referred to as coureur des bois) began to travel into the unsettled interior of the continent via the Great Lakes waterways in search of better furs. Many of these men, who learned the practices and habits of the Native people, soon established families with First Nations tribes around the lakes. As they began to intermarry, they grew into a distinct people with their own established culture, history, territory, and language known as Michif.

Woodcut of a French Coureur des Bois
by Arthur Heming
From their beginnings, it wasn’t long until the Métis no longer saw themselves as extensions of either their maternal (First Nations) or paternal (French/Scottish) ancestry, but rather as a separate, distinguished nation. The Métis were some of the first settlers of Winnipeg, Canada, though they were eventually forced from their lands during the War of 1812 and for many years strove with Canada for their home lands and rights. The Métis have spread throughout the upper Midwest and Northwest since, making their settlements along the waterways around the Great Lakes, Ontario, and in other areas known as the historic Northwest including parts of the northern United States. Historically, many of the Métis remained involved in the fur trade as trappers, traders, and were often employed as voyageurs on the Great Lakes.

There have been many notable people among the Métis, from activists and politicians, to frontiersmen, authors, film-makers, and poets -- even body-builders and hockey players! The Métis were responsible for breaking the fur trade monopoly held by the Hudson’s Bay Company, who had been behind a lot of their early troubles. One Métis man, Louis Riel, became known as the father of Manitoba.
Louis Riel

In Mist O’er the Voyageur, my heroine Brigitte Marchal is born of this unique Métis heritage. She was born to an Ojibwe mother and a French fur-trader father. After the age of six, when her mother passed away, she was taken to Montreal to be raised by her French aunt and uncle and educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame. During her adventure paddling with the voyageurs into the western regions of Lake Superior to find her father, Brigitte has ample opportunity to meet other Métis people and learn more about her heritage and traditions along the way – as well as discovering some long-kept secrets.

Join me again next month, when I share some interesting bits about the Great Lakes Voyageurs and what it was like when they all gathered for the annual fur trade Rendezous.