Keeping you posted

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It’s been quite a whirlwind week for me, and for those of you who haven’t heard the news, I’ll give you an update this week. I  promise that my historical posts leading up to the release of The Representative’s Revolt will come next time.  The cover may appear here on the blog somewhere in there, but you’ll be prepared by the time The Representative’s Revolt is released in April.

Ok then.

It all started off on Feb. 13 when Publisher’s Weekly released  a Valentine’s Day list by the wonderful Ms. Beverly Jenkins who posted her ten best historical romances.  I was thrilled to discover she included The Preacher’s Promise.  I’m so grateful to be listed there with giants, including Ms. Bev herself. Thank you!

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/tip-sheet/article/65591-10-best-historical-romance-novels.html

This selection certainly did wonders for the sales number of The Preacher’s Promise.  I had planned a Book Bub ad for the following Tuesday and gave The Preacher’s Promise another sales boost.  I even got to chart as an Author in both the Religious/Spirituality category and even in the Historical category. I was stunned, but it was such fun!

Some of this recent spotlight attention has resulted in new opportunities for me.  You may be hearing these opportunities in upcoming weeks.  I just wanted to convey my thanks to each and every one of you.  I appreciate your support of my efforts so very much. God bless you all!

Meet Mags! Book #2 of Migrations of the Heart Cover Reveal

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The cover for the story of Margaret “Mags” Bledsoe has had quite a reaction, with a lot of people saying they’ve never seen anything like it.  There will probably be a similar reaction to her story as well.  Here then is the cover reveal for A Most Precious Pearl and an unofficial blurb follows.

Winslow, GA – Summer 1919

Asa Caldwell is an embittered veteran of The Great War. As a Negro, he received no thanks for his service, and only has a lost leg to show for his sacrifice. Dishonorably discharged because he did not obey orders of his commander, he is sure that God has abandoned him in his hour of need.   He feels as if he has nothing to live for. With little remembrance of his career before the war, as a crusading journalist for The Pittsburgh Courier, he believes he has no purpose in life. To rouse him to action and give him a purpose, a church friend tells him about a spate of lynchings occurring in Georgia, in 1919–the start of Red Summer.

Mags Bledsoe is a devout woman who, over the course of The Great War, had worked her way up to management level in the textile mill of her hometown of Winslow, Georgia. Now that the men have returned, she has to give up her management job and go back to the ranks of the regular workers. When Asa Caldwell takes her job at the plant, they clash, because Mags doesn’t want to give up her job and prefers doing things her way better. Asa’s presence undermines her plan of revenge against the mill’s owner for the lynching of her childhood sweetheart.

Neither one of them can fight the growing attraction for one another, nor can they ignore the events of the Red Summer of 1919. Will Asa find a purpose in life that will compensate him for his lost leg?   Will Mags want to give up her idea of revenge in exchange for a new life in a strange place? Do they know how God’s love and understanding is working to bring them together?

Coming September 8, 2015

F.E.W. Harper: the case of a forgotten black woman writer

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Another unusual thing about F.E.W. Harper is that there are a lot of pictures of her. She’s younger in this one, about in her 40’s.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the greatest black woman writer was Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Yes, exactly.  Who?  And that’s the shame of it.  Anything can make such a seismic shift in over 100 years.  Or more.

Harper was a writer who wrote both prose and poetry in the latter half of the nineteenth century. She is credited with being the first African American (man or woman) to write a short story called “Two Offers.” If you have a chance to read it, it still holds up—the basic premise is that women shouldn’t marry for anyone old reason.  Keep in mind, she was writing this in 1856.

She was long credited with being the first African American woman to write a novel, Iola Leroy in 1892.  Scholarship showed someone else did it in 1859.  Still, even when that discovery occurred, scholars discovered Harper bested her own novel writing record when in the 1990’s it was discovered that she had published three novels in serialized form in the 1870’s in The Christian Recorder, a newspaper widely circulated in the A.M.E. membership.  Serialization was the same way Charles Dickens published his novels, and yet, no one forgot him.

This woman, born to free black parents in Baltimore could have easily lived her writing life without worrying about anyone or anything else. She did marry and have a daughter. This personal hallmark, coupled with her incredible output of multiple volumes of poetry, serialized novels, essays, short stories, and the success of Iola Leroy, was enough to keep any woman writer busy. But Harper also had a very busy lecturing career.  She managed in her public persona, to win friends and influence by lecturing against slavery.  After the Civil War, she continued to lecture…sometimes twice a day, on lecture for temperance, and the education and welfare of the freed slaves.  Not everyone was receptive to hearing a black woman speak in public in the latter half of the nineteenth century, but most who heard her heard her agree—Harper had a magic touch.

So why don’t we know her now?  Literary fashion changed in the United States after Harper’s death in 1911.  There’s also the “problem” that she was equally gifted in two different genres of writing.  Literary circles tend to prefer writers write one thing and stick with it.  Scholars question anyone who can do both—except for Poe.  He did both and didn’t get a hard time and we still know him.  Could it be that we have forgotten Harper and her achievements for other reasons?  Scholar Frances Smith Foster thinks so and says so in her introduction of the Harper compendium A Brighter Coming Day. “Harper is but one of many writers, particularly women, whose literary reputations have suffered because of this shift in values, or perhaps more accurately, the ascendancy of a literary elite in partnership with the publishing industry.”

Such an amazing woman would be a favorite poet of an educated woman like Amanda Smithson.  So when Harper comes to visit Milford College in The Representative’s Revolt, it’s very likely that these two women will find a great deal to bond over—including their daughters who are of similar age.  I hope you look forward to their meeting on the page as much as I do.

 

Go on The Mayor’s Mission

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You may have missed it in the Christmas holiday run up and the downturn afterward:  Book #2 in the “Home to Milford College” series was released! The Mayor’s Mission continues the love story between Virgil and Amanda and sees them through some rough patches in their marriage.

I’ll keep you posted as to when I have the print version uploaded!

Book 2 available now!

Book 2 available now!

 

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mayors-Mission-Home-Milford-College-ebook/dp/B00RGVPM9A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420935944&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Mayor%27s+Mission

Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mayors-mission-piper-huguley/1120968964?ean=2940149855735

My word for 2015

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I did not even notice that she put Shine in a different color thread. Wow.

I did not even notice that she put Shine in a different color thread. Wow.

I don’t know where the custom started, but it’s a good one.  Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, people will select a word that they hope will shape the year. My word in 2013 was Perseverance (the word of the year always goes in caps–lol), in 2014 it was Risk.  Given that 2014 was a great year in terms of my writing endeavors, I had pondered keeping my word, but then just the other day something occurred to me. At almost every point whenever I had a success in 2014–my second Golden Heart nomination, my books hitting the Amazon bestsellers lists, my two Emma nominations–I always felt compelled to apologize in some way for it. It has been a real struggle for me to just take in the high points without apology, explanation or even a slight feeling of embarrassment.

These emotional reactions have to stop.

So I have selected a new word for 2015 that I hope will help me with my issue–Shine.

Shine is a word that does have some negative meanings, even racially, but I’m going to explain what it will mean for me this year.

I was raised by a very wise woman who taught me to reach far and to seek accomplishment, but once those goals were attained, then the accomplishment should be downplayed so that other people would not feel uncomfortable.  My beautiful mother, who was one of the first black female business executives in the Pittsburgh area, steeped herself in this principle and I followed her example.  However, I’ve learned a particular codicil to this belief.

It doesn’t matter what you do or say, there will be some people who cannot deal with it.  I experienced this directly on Twitter when someone, who I thought of as supportive, engaged in subtweeting (talking about something that I said without referring to me directly). If someone has a problem with something that I’ve said, I would expect for them to engage me directly. So disappointing.   This experience convinced me that I need to do and say what comes from my heart.  No matter what, there will always be someone who has a problem. But that is their problem.  Not mine. I do not need to be, or desire to be, “in your face” about what I do, but I don’t believe my mother wanted me to feel embarrassed or apologize for it.  I know this is true because “This Little Light of Mine” was one of her favorite spirituals.

When my mother’s illness changed her appearance, my cousins wanted to honor my mother with a quilt where everyone created a block representing how they felt about her.  They were sneaky and made her make her own block that represented advice that she would give to the children of the family.  She chose to paint and embroider (in her creative way) the block that I’ve shown here.  It’s in the center of the quilt.  Also, as I reflect upon the true meaning behind her philosophy, there are other songs that she liked that were always referring to bringing light–“Shine, Jesus, Shine” and “We Are Singing for the Lord is Our Light.” Ahh.  Now I get it.

So. Shine. No more explanations or apologies about the choices I’ve made in terms of the publisher I’ve chosen to put forward the three Bledsoe Sister books later in 2015, no more embarrassment about taking Milford College into the 20th century this year, just–do it to bring light.

Embracing Shine will not be easy.  It was hard for me to even write this post.  It’s an every day battle to reinforce the belief that I have a voice worth listening to, or a point of view that matters. But I believe that Shine will help me with this in 2015. And it starts in 2015 with the first blog post that discusses the next Milford book–The Representative’s Revolt.  Onward and upward!

 

 

 

Meet Ruby! Cover Reveal of A Virtuous Ruby

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Rubies are the birthstone for July and that is when A Virtuous Ruby, my 2014 Golden Heart nominated story,  will appear as an e-book publication. Those of you who are long time followers of this blog know that the “Migrations of the Heart” series represents a different kind of historical romance.

VirtuousRuby-A300

 

The blurb:

1915 – Winslow, Georgia thought shame would keep her from speaking out against lynching–they were wrong.   Town troublemaker Ruby Bledsoe resolves never be quiet, loving her baby, no matter how he had come into the world.  However, when she seeks help for her sick son, she doesn’t anticipate meeting a handsome stranger who offers Ruby a way to help her son and a brand new life.

Dr. Adam Morson had always felt shame as a mixed-race child–shame enough to masquerade as something that he wasn’t.  However, something powerful draws him to protect the beautiful and fiery activist who shows him how to be true to himself.  Some unknown force unknown compels him to offer Ruby a job in his practice up north and Ruby has to decide if she should stay and fight for the soul of her hometown, or if she should seek her own happiness with the handsome stranger.

Coming from Samhain- July 8, 2015

A guest post– Parker J. Cole

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While I’m counting down the days to the release of The Mayor’s Mission, I would like to introduce a friend of mine, Parker J. Cole.  She has a new release coming out as well!

 

The Other Man Leah Westwood loves her husband Jacob with all her heart, even as the smoldering glances of her ex-flame Vincent Miller continue to affect her. What she once shared with Vincent threatens to rip apart the bonds she is trying to build with her husband.

Jacob’s heart belongs to Leah, but his body refuses to accept that. Rachel is the one who has been his mainstay at the most difficult times in his life. How could he leave her alone?

Vincent wants Leah back and all he has to do is watch and wait as Jacob and Leah’s relationship unravels.

Ultimately, Leah must make a choice . . . between fantasy and fidelity.

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/parker.j.cole4125

Twitter: @parkerjcole

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+ParkerJColeAuthor

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Parker JParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com