New Release, Writing & Reviews

Good Morning, dear readers!

Today is a very special day. Today, The Good German Girl (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1) is available on Amazon! I am so thrilled to be able to share this new book with you. I’ve been waiting, hoping, and praying for this day for a very long time and now that it’s here, I honestly think I’m in a little bit of shock (heehee)!

This book was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written before. It deals with so much trauma from the second World War, the research of which sent me spiraling into darkness on more than one occasion. But out of that darkness, came light. All I can say is I hope my book inspires strength and faith. I hope it reflects the respect I wished to show those who survived and who didn’t and honors those who went through so much during that turbulent time.

I can’t wait to find out what you think about Margot and Bernie! I’m excited to know what it was like for you to walk with Margot through the gates of Auschwitz and race with Bernie across Europe from France to Germany. Excited and a little nervous, of course. 😉

The adrenaline rush of:

‘I just released another book!’

Never gets old, but is always quickly followed by:

‘Oh no … what if people hate it?’

I tell myself that, as the years go by, I’m developing a thick skin. I’m no stranger to rejection and one star reviews. But, no matter how many times I pep talk myself into being tough, seeing those bad reviews is still hard sometimes. But, at the same time, that’s the beauty of this journey. Not everyone is going to like what I write, and that’s okay. Because we are all unique. We are all different. I made a promise to myself when I started writing this series.

That I would write something that I, as a reader, would like to read. I stopped dwelling on and worrying about writing what I thought people expected from me and instead wrote exactly what my heart was telling me to write. Once I made that decision, the words flowed from me like a broken dam. Now, it’s finished and out there and while I’m nervous, I’m also more excited than I’ve been about a release in a really long time! This was the book that meant the most to me. The one that’s been on my heart to write for years but that I didn’t have the courage to let out until now.

Now, with its release, I’m anxious to complete Book 2 of this series, The Red Bird in the Tower! I’m getting excited again to introduce you to my three leading characters, Katya, Michael, and Alexei! Theirs is an unusual love triangle that has had me stumped on more than a few occasions. Trying to find the perfect way to leap between the years 1942 and 1948 to tell Katya’s story has been a struggle. Making sure the transition from 1948 New York to 1942 Stalingrad is a smooth one has been more difficult than I first anticipated. But I think I’ve got it now!

I’m so close to the end! It’s at my fingertips, I just need to smooth out a few wrinkles and find the perfect way to bring their story to a conclusion. I’ll be sharing more news on The Red Bird in the Tower with you before you know it!

I hope you’re as excited to read The Good German Girl as I am for you to read it! Check out what people are saying in these early reviews on Goodreads HERE!

And don’t forget to purchase your copy HERE on Amazon!

Back Cover Blurb:

Omaha Beach
June 6, 1944

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying, he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the soldier’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

Berlin, Germany

Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier, she’s shocked and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.

New Year, Cover Reveal, & Writing Goals

Drum roll please!!!

It’s a new year and with it comes a new cover for me! I am so excited to share the cover for the first book in my World War II series, The Good German Girl. This book definitely took its toll on me, emotionally and physically, but I can say most definitely that it is my favorite of all my books so far.

I think we all want 2021 to be a much different year from 2020. As we were approaching this new year, I tried to think of all the ways I could make this new year better than the old one. Even with all the determination all around me to make this year far better than the last, I must say it’s been difficult to think about this new year with a smile.

Perhaps it was from the mental and physical exhaustion of the past year. But one thing I kept coming back to–the one thing I always come back to in the end–is my writing. Even though I struggled to write anything at all during the last couple of months of 2020, my writing has continued to be a source of comfort. A source of motivation for setting and completing goals. Something to look forward to at the beginning and end of my day.

Which was why I made up my mind to set a goal for Book 2 of my World War II series, A League of Extraordinary Women. Book 2, titled The Red Bird in the Tower, is about halfway done and my goal is to write THE END by the time The Good German Girl releases on April 15th! I am very excited to finish this next book. It will have a very different tone from the first book but will hold fast to the research and essence of the mid to late 1940s.

Each book in this series is inspired by true events that took place during World War II. As I’m sure you’ve realized, The Good German Girl was inspired by the horrors of the Auschwitz II – Birkenau concentration camp as well as the journey our American forces made from Omaha Beach across Europe. Book 2, inspired by the battle of Stalingrad and the snipers recruited during that time. Book 3, the Marines who fought the Japanese in the Pacific and the spies who infiltrated Japanese-occupied Manila, and so on.

A League of Extraordinary Women is a fictional series of at least 5 books that will echo with true stories of the second world war. Every character born in my imagination by the extraordinary stories I discovered during my research of the war. My goal in my writing has always been to write about people who rise up out of tragedy and adversity in hope, faith, and love. I hope these stories depict such strength and inspiration.

Just to pique your interest a bit further, here’s a rough summary for The Red Bird in the Tower (A League of Extraordinary Women, #2).

Brooklyn, New York

Spring, 1948

Katya Rakovich has survived the worst of times. Hoping to begin fresh with her young son, she has worked and fought her way across the ocean to the land of the free. Following her husband’s instructions, she finds a small boardinghouse in a quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn where she hopes her new life can actually begin and the past can finally remain where it belongs. In the past.

Michael Donaghue has known his share of suffering and he lives with the painful memories of the war every day. But when the mysterious Russian redhead moves into his aunt’s boardinghouse with her toddler son, he starts to think life might be giving him a second chance after all. There’s something about Katya that stirs life inside him like nothing else since the war ended. But she’s keeping secrets. Secrets about her life before and during the war and, especially, about her husband Alexei Rakovich.

As her relationship with Michael intensifies, Katya realizes that some secrets cannot remain buried and in order to give her heart to him she needs to tell Michael everything. About the event that changed her life and the love she can barely speak of.

But most importantly, she must tell him about the Stalingrad sniper called the Red Bird.

The Red Bird in the Tower will ring more of historical romance than just historical fiction, but what I love about this book is its structure. We will jump into the past and relive Katya’s story as she’s telling it to Michael somewhere at the halfway point in the book. So, in the end, this is two love stories in one book. I’m very excited to finish this book and am crossing my fingers it works on the page the way it seems to be working in my head.

You will also get to revisit a character from The Good German Girl in this second novel, but to avoid spoilers, I’m not going to tell you who. 😉

This entire series is shaping up to be so precious to me and Book 3 is already in the works as I feel the end of Book 2 approaching. I can’t wait to share more with you as I continue this writing journey for this series and hope The Good German Girl will capture your heart and encourage you to read the rest of the books!

Don’t forget to add The Good German Girl to your 2021 reading list! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55674241-the-good-german-girl

Happy New Year!

Autumn, Thanksgiving, & Books!

Good Saturday Morning!

There’s nothing like sitting on a cozy couch in the morning sipping coffee and eating a pumpkin cookie (loaded with plenty of chocolate chips, of course!), on a cool Fall morning. I can hardly believe Thanksgiving is less than a week away! With editing and promoting The Good German Girl, along with crazy busy days at work, the weeks have just flown by. 2020 has been a crazy year to be sure, but with all the bad, it’s had its moments.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking about everything there is to be thankful for. This has been a lonely year, and coming from an introvert who sometimes prefers being alone, that’s saying a lot. But despite feeling a bit isolated, I’ve found myself on more than one occasion surrounded by people who care about me and make things better.

And one of the biggest things was, of course, finding out The Good German Girl (A League of Extraordinary Women, #1) is going to be published! I threw so much of my heart and soul into this book and was praying for months that it would be published. On the brink of publishing it myself, I was offered a contract from Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. for the series, making my dreams for this book come true.

Now, with editing pretty much finished and promoting in full swing, I’m looking forward to the start of the holiday season and everything 2021 will have in store for me! Planning the launch of The Good German Girl as well as looking into marketing options, I realized that all I really wanted to do was talk about my book. To share everything I worked so hard to accomplish with this story–everything I learned during the writing of it. From the shores of Omaha Beach to the women’s barracks at Auschwitz II – Birkenau.

Therefore, this afternoon at 3PM central time, I will be going live on Facebook in the first of a series of videos leading up to the publication of The Good German Girl. I will be sharing excerpts from the book itself, talk about any news on it’s publication, and discuss the research I did on World War II. I will also give you a bit of background on the characters themselves and I hope you’ll fall in love with them the same way I did!

This first video (and I hope it will be a very special one!), will focus on our hero, Bernie G. Russell! I will ask the questions:

Who is Bernie Russell?

How did I create his personality?

How did I choose the kind of soldier he would be?

Why was HE my hero and not his best friend, Bruno Agnelli (also a hero and so very dear to me)?

I hope you’ll join me! And don’t forget to add The Good German Girl to your to-read list on Goodreads!!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55674241-the-good-german-girl

Contracts, Editing, & Endorsements!

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it! (Heehee 😉 )

On Monday October 12th I signed a brand new contract with Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. for my World War II series, A League of Extraordinary Women! Which means Book One, The Good German Girl (which I have talked about multiple times over the past year), will be coming your way in 2021!

This is truly a blessing to me and I have found myself randomly crying almost every day over this. 2020 has been a hard year for all of us. My anxiety and depression has been through the roof lately which has made me more introverted and more detached from life, especially lately. When my sweet publisher reached out to me to ask me why I was thinking of indie publishing my series, my response to her was:

“I don’t have an agent anymore and it’s more general market with faith elements, I’m not sure it will fit your criteria.”

Her answer:

“You’re one of ours. Send me chapters and we’ll see.”

For someone who was feeling down and alone and who was struggling to write day by day, these words lifted me up in ways I can’t even describe. I felt like I belonged and that my talent for storytelling wasn’t at an all-time low as I thought. I also knew that even if she didn’t find my book to be a good fit, I’d been wonderfully uplifted from the darkness I’d been struggling through.

And now, I’m looking forward to the editing process! The Good German Girl should be coming your way early to mid 2021 (no official release date yet but hopefully soon!) and I can’t wait! This book is so dear to me. I put in hours–even days–of research, reading story after story about the experiences of survivors of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Digging deep into the dark and twisted mind of Josef Mengele. This book has a permanent, solid hold on my heart and I am so happy I get to share it with you in a few months!

Editing always makes me nervous, of course, but it’s a good nervous. I’m so excited to hear what my editor thinks of the story and to iron out all the flaws between the lines. You’ll probably be hearing from me as I cry and laugh my way through this next, long process. But like every other time, I know that all my tears will be worth it in the end.

One of my missions with this book was to show two very different perspectives of World War II. I wanted to include the journey of an American soldier from Omaha Beach to Germany, while also giving a peek into Berlin. But bringing this soldier and this German girl together? That was the real challenge and I absolutely loved conquering it! Margot and Bernie became so real to me as I wrote this story. They are my favorites and I hope they’ll be yours too!

Anxious for a little bit more detail? Here’s a brief (rough) overview of the novel:

When battle-hardened Private Bernie Russell witnesses a fellow soldier shoot a young German boy with his hands up point blank on the treacherous shores of Omaha Beach, he’s shaken to his very core. Then, as that same boy is dying he presses a packet of photographs and letters into Bernie’s hand and utters three words in English.

It must end.

After having the letters translated, he discovers they were written by the dead boy’s twin sister and the photographs within the packet reveal evidence of Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jews.

In Berlin, Margot Raskopf is a young art teacher, forced to conform to the education Hitler has designed. Then, when one of her sources with the underground resistance receives a letter for her from an American soldier telling her how her brother was killed, she’s shocked, and filled with renewed hope. But Margot has been harboring a secret. In her house, she hides a young Jewish woman she’s known since childhood, risking being discovered by the gestapo with each passing day.

As they begin a dangerous correspondence, both Margot and Bernie embark on treacherous journeys. One taking Bernie across Europe and right into Germany. Another taking Margot through the gates of Auschwitz … and under the scrutiny of Josef Mengele.

Now, before I say goodbye, I’d like to announce that I’m getting a head start on my endorsements! Editing is about to begin, but if you’re an author and you think you might be interested in reading and writing an endorsement for The Good German Girl, please private message me here or on Facebook! I’m being proactive so I don’t wait until the last minute (like I’ve done in the past, lol).

Thank you for stopping by!

The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me

So why Romance? What made me make the switch?

Before, I didn’t think Romance was much of an option for me. Because I realized, if I was going to do Romance, I was going to run with it to a level that people wouldn’t expect from me. I was worried for a very long time about being judged for that, so I avoided writing romance.

But no more!! I am so excited to be writing romance. I have a ton of ideas bottled up in this brain of mine and I can’t wait to share them with you. Now, I’d like to talk about some of the romance authors who have inspired me over the years. These authors went a long way in my making this switch, urging me with each page of their beautiful works to begin my journey toward the Romance genre.

As most of you know, my library was limited for a very long time to Christian Fiction. However, a few years ago, I decided to pick up a few books from the general market. And which category did I pick? Romance, of course. 😉

First, let’s talk about the Romance author who taught me what passion could look like on the page. That would be, of course, Christian author and one of my favorites, Julie Lessman. Reading her novels, Julie taught me so much about the romance genre. She was the first author who taught me that putting passion on the page could be meaningful and beautiful and have a real purpose. She turns up the heat while also weaving faith and hope throughout.

Now, we all know that every genre has their Queen (or King in some cases). For me? The Queen of Contemporary Romance is Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The first novel I pickedSEP Books up from a general market publisher was It Had to Be You. Then, I discovered it was the first book of a series so, of course, I had to read the rest! The Chicago Stars series absolutely blew me away and opened up a whole new world to me. The depth of feeling, the authenticity, of It Had to Be You was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and had me laughing, crying, and bubbling with excitement for more!

 

 

In keeping with my love of Historical Fiction, the second novel (or I should say series) I picked up from a general market publisher, was Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers seriesI have since read her Princes Trilogy, Maiden Lane series, and am looking forward to her Greycourt series! Her variety of characters, unique style, and her ability to draw you into a story has been a source of inspiration for me for the past four years and I am thrilled to call myself a fan of hers!

Another favorite who inspires me to mix humor and spice, Tessa Dare! My reading journey with Tessa began with the first novel of her Castles Ever After series Romancing TD Booksthe Duke. Tessa has had me in stitches on more than one occasion and every time I hear of a new release, I am right there pressing the pre-order button! These Regency era romances are true gems, mixing humor and passion in the most brilliant of ways. Without a doubt, Tessa will remain one of my top favorites in the Romance genre!

 

 

Now, on to two new-to-me authors!

I am a new fan of Sarah MacLean. After reading the first book in her Scandal & Scoundrel trilogy, I was hooked. I ate up the other two and immediately went online to purchase a whole bunch more! Let me just say, of the three books of her Scandal & Scoundrel series, book 3, The Day of the Duchess, was my favorite! That book was like a T&S Books 2punch to the gut (which is one of the marks of a great author, by the way!). I had a lump in my throat for most of it and I absolutely LOVED the ending!

Another new-to-me author is the amazing Talia Hibbert! I am still reading Get a Life, Chloe Brown and I am absolutely enchanted. This author’s ability to create characters you instantly love from the very first page is phenomenal. I have never read anything like this before in Contemporary Romance and I am racing through GALCB so I can move on to book 2, Take a Hint, Dani Brown!

 

Unlocking the chains I put around my own wrists, I have opened a whole new world to myself in the writing world. I am no longer afraid to write my stories the way I see them–no longer looking for ways to cut or edit around things I think people might judge me for. How people react–love or hate or disapproval–is up to them!

I came to realize that nothing I do will ever be considered perfect. While my crazy, OCD brain sometimes freaks out over the possibility that I will appear less than perfect–that I will receive a lack of understanding and judgment for human mistakes I make–I have to write what makes me happy. I have to write what makes my heart soar and makes the butterflies in my stomach run wild!

These authors went a long way to helping me discover this freedom.

 

Next Up: Ready for Romance? A Peek into My New WIP …

Coming August 8th!

The Start of Something New …

I have gone over and over what I want to say in this post. But I guess I should start with the obvious.

By the Book: Diary of a Bookaholic is no more. Other Worlds is no more.

I have transformed By the Book into a brand new blog with an entirely different theme. This decision was a long time coming. After a lot of thought, soul-searching, and prayer, I realized By the Book had to go. I started this blog a long time ago when I was very young and as I have grown and developed in my writing pursuits, I have also grown away from the blog that was primarily meant for book reviews. I tried to keep the blog (its name and its purpose) for a long time while also using it to talk about my passion for writing.

It didn’t work.

For months I wouldn’t even look at the blog, much less write a post. With the release of my latest novel Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen, #4) I didn’t even stop by to announce its publication. That was when I truly realized something was wrong here. I had no motivation to come by, not even to see if I’d had any recent visitors.

The same was going on for my Speculative blog Other Worlds. It did not receive the response or the results I was hoping for in order for me to feel it was worth my giving so much time to continue it. While that saddens me a great deal because I’d love to dedicate an entire blog to the promotion of a genre that could use the exposure, I simply cannot find the motivation to put so much of my time into it.

Something had to change. Recently, it seems everything is changing. Particularly with my efforts as an author.

Can change be scary? Absolutely.

Can it also be exciting & invigorating? Heck yeah!

I’ve realized over time that everything about my becoming a published author was rushed. I was twenty-three when all of this started. I was young, excited, and wanted to be published so badly! When a publisher showed interest, I jumped in. I’m not saying that was an entirely bad thing because, hey, I have five published books! Woo-hoo! What I am saying is that it all happened so quickly, I was completely unprepared. I didn’t know what I was doing which made it hard for me to build audience, platform, and promote properly.

Do I know what I’m doing now? Not entirely, haha. But I’ve got a pretty good idea where I want to start. Because that’s what I plan to do. I am going to start over. With the conclusion of my fantasy series, I’m ready to begin fresh and new with something that’s been on my heart for a while.

I am no longer going to base my style and themes on what other people want or expect from me. I am no longer going to conform my writing to what other people think I should be writing either. I am simply going to write the way I want to write–what is on my heart to write, and not worry about what people I don’t know or barely know might think of it. How that writing translates to the page, you’ll just have to wait and see and, hopefully, you’ll love it!

Am I saying I don’t care what my readers think or want? Absolutely not! I’m saying I was influenced too many times in my young life, before I was even published, into what others told me I should be writing or what I should be reading and, now that I’m older, I realize how stifling that was. How much it held me back from the stories I actually wanted to tell.

I have grown and developed from that girl who was so afraid of being judged. My stories have grown and developed as well. How I write them has grown and developed. This brings me to my next announcement …

You all know I consider Historical Fiction to be my primary genre. I still do. HOWEVER, my focus is now going to shift to the Romance genre and I am so excited!! Historical, Contemporary, you name it! I am turning up the heat, people, so watch out!!!

With this change, comes another one. I now have a brand-spanking new website and it is NOT a WordPress website! I decided to keep WordPress for my blog only and step away from it for my official author website. Want to check it out? Please do!

Click Here: https://www.ericamariehoganauthor.net/

With all of that being said, let me welcome you to my brand new blog: Coffee, Chocolate, & Romance: Turning Up the Heat on Every Page!

On this blog, I will talk about writing & reading romance and annoy you with my addiction to vanilla lattes & chocolate! I hope, with this new theme and this new start on my writing journey, you will be hearing a lot more from me than you were before! I also hope you will give this new direction I’m taking a chance and still enjoy visiting my blog.

I plan to post here at least twice a month, if not more. Check in to learn about my progress on new projects I’m working on and stop by my new website to learn about the WIP I’m working on right now!

Thanks for stopping by today! Happy 4th of July!!!

 

Next Up: The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me …

Coming July 25th!

On this Day, Historical Fiction & a Sneak Peek

On this day in 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Union.

I fell in love with history when I was a little girl. I grew up on films like Saving Private Ryan and documentaries like The World at War. Did I always fully comprehend some of the horrors of World War II when I was eight-years-old? No, of course not. But as I grew up and began to, there was always one major event in history that struck my heart at its core.

The Holocaust.

From the moment I realized I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to a write a book about the Holocaust. But nothing I was able to come up with ever seemed good enough. I wanted to write something that showed respect and passion not only for the men who fought and died to win the war, but also give a fresh perspective on Hitler’s plan to wipe out the Jewish population.

As a flawed human being, I tried over and over to write a story like that but never felt satisfied. I criticized myself for not doing history justice and never allowed myself to finish the project.

Until I wrote The Good German Girl.

I fought and cried and stressed my way through writing this story, constantly afraid I wasn’t doing justice to the truth behind the fiction. But the harder my doubts and worry Good German Girl Quotepushed their way into my mind, the stronger my resolve to keep writing and actually finish this story became. Something that never happened before when I attempted to tackle a story that involved the Holocaust.

In writing this story and choosing to have my character encounter one of the most monstrous figures in history, I had to do a lot of research on Auschwitz II – Birkenau. This research emotionally drained me to the point of nearly shutting down. I tell you in all seriousness, there were times when I was researching and I began to fall asleep at my computer in the middle of the day–as if my body was attempting to shut down and shut out the horrific things I was reading.

From learning about the heartbreaking experiences of Dr. Gisella Perl who worked as an inmate gynecologist in Auschwitz, to the horrendous experiments Josef Mengele performed on adults and children alike within the walls of the concentration camp, I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. Some nights, I slept like a baby–my way of escape. Other nights I lay in bed staring at the ceiling with the same stories replaying over and over in my mind.

But despite the pain of doing such intense research into Auschwitz, I battled through to finish a story I desperately wanted to write. The Good German Girl explores two very different perspectives on the war. One from the point of view of a battle-hardened sniper who lands on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and the other from the point of view of a young German woman who is silently resisting the Nazi regime while hiding her best friend–a young Jewish woman–in her house.

These two characters–Margot Raskopf & Bernie Russell–have imprinted themselves on my heart. Even with ‘The End’ written, I find myself thinking about their story in the Margot 2middle of the day. I sometimes look back and can hardly believe I was the one who wrote this story to begin with. I knew when I started that I wanted to write about extraordinary people–particularly extraordinary women–but I never realized how thoroughly these characters would engrave themselves on my heart.

Bernie Russell is my favorite hero I’ve ever written. He was so real to me during the actual writing of the story, I was blown away. His humanness struck me early on in the story. Bernie is not perfect. He’s not necessarily the hero who swoops in and rescues our heroine from the villains who torture her. He’s just a man, fighting for his country. Flawed, certainly, but who holds a sense of honor that keeps him moving forward not only toward victory, but toward justice.

And Margot? Margot Raskopf has the kind of strength and courage I wish I had. She doesn’t shrink under the weight of Nazi rule but instead struggles to fight back against tyranny. Her life was achingly difficult to write about. Because with as much strength as Bernie Russellshe has, she too is merely a human being who wants to save the people she loves and who will do whatever she must to make sure they survive.

These two characters are separated by thousands of miles, not to mention a war, but their connection is as strong as if they walked beside each other through their trials.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a love story, per say. The Good German Girl is a Historical Fiction that highlights some major events of World War II while weaving the beginnings of a great love into the mix.

From Omaha Beach to the Battle of the Bulge, we march with Bernie toward the end of the war and watch as he questions his own sanity after fighting his way through Africa, Sicily, and now France.

From the heart of Berlin to the barracks of Auschwitz II – Birkenau, we walk a painful path with Margot as she attempts to save her friends and her family from the monsters all around them.

The Good German Girl put me through the wringer, to be sure. But writing ‘The End’ was never more satisfying. I hope, one day soon, I will be able to share the entire story with you within the pages of a book.

For now, though, I will work on editing and perfecting the manuscript while also writing Book 2 of A League of Extraordinary Women–tentatively titled The Red Bird in the Tower–on the side.

Thanks for reading! But don’t leave yet! Scroll a little for a sneak peek at a scene from The Good German Girl!

 

 

She took a step across the room, staring into her mother’s eyes.

“Do you remember the Entartete Kunst Exhibition?” she asked, her voice catching on the horrible words. “I was too young to go, but I begged Franz to get me in so I could see what they were saying about some of my favorite artists. I cried for a week, Mama. What they did to those paintings … how they degraded such beauty and made our countrymen think they were ugly …”

“I remember,” Sofie whispered. “But Margot, by teaching Brigitte such things you are putting not only yourself in danger, but her as well.”

“How can I keep her from what is natural to her? How can I tell her that her passion is wrong? I won’t do it, Mama. I cannot. Because it’s just not true.” Margot returned to the window, hugging her arms tight across her ribs. “If I can help one child to know the truth, then I will. Even if I cannot help any of my other students, at least I will know I helped one child of the next generation to see the truth behind the lies ravaging Germany.”

“And when Joachim comes again? When he orders a more thorough search because he has no choice but to do so?” Sofie asked.

Margot stared at her reflection in the window. The way the glass made her golden-brown hair shimmer and caught the glittering flecks of blue and brown peppering her eyes. She’d never forget how Hans used to tease her about her strangely colored eyes. How she wished he was here now to comfort her with brotherly teasing! To put his big arms around her and tell her everything would be all right.

To reassure our mother I am doing the right thing. Margot closed her eyes, plunging herself into darkness. There was no day so horrible as the day her twin felt he had no choice but to put on a uniform and fight for the Führer.

“Go back downstairs, Mama,” she said, breaking the deafening silence. “Ilse shouldn’t be alone.”

Bitte, Margot …”

“Mama, I beg you, go downstairs.” A tear rolled down her cheek. She listened to her mother’s breathing, each one heavier than the last before the soft rap of her shoes on the wooden floor warned she was turning around. The door clicked softly when it opened.

“And Mama?”

Ja?”

Margot looked over her shoulder, wiping the dampness from her cheeks. Her eyes collided with Sofie’s, holding her gaze steadily.

“We will never speak of this again.”

The Old, the New and the End of 2019

Merry Christmas!!!

I can hardly believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! 2019 has been a tumultuous year for me. There have been equal amounts of tears and laughter this year, along with periods of grief and anger that made me wish to the heavens 2019 would come to a hasty conclusion so I could start fresh in 2020. That being said, I am sorry I have been so silent this year! I am hoping to blog a lot more in 2020 (I know, I know, I say that every year but hopefully this time it will actually happen!).

For now, I hope you will join me in looking back over my 2019 year!

Early in the year, I received a wonderful and overwhelming gift. My sweet, loving Me & MaMagrandmother made it possible for me to attend my 2nd ACFW conference. Shortly thereafter, this wonderful woman who I loved with all my heart passed away. I cannot even begin to describe what it was like, waiting for months after she passed to attend the conference, knowing I would not have been able to go this year if not for her.

Then, something beautiful happened. ACFW (America Christian Fiction Writers) often has a worship period during the meals they provide for the attendees. On the first night of the conference during the welcome dinner, we all stood up to sing during the worship. Standing next to me at the table to my left was a sweet older lady who kept glancing my way. Then, without a word, she reached across the space between me and put her arm around me.

Everyone–I kid you not–she was wearing my grandmother’s perfume. I nearly broke down in tears right then and there. Until that moment, I’d had a lot of trouble grieving for my grandmother. I have always been the type to grieve in private, but even that had been difficult for me this year. I thanked God over and over for that moment, because when that lady (who had no idea who I was or what I was going through) put her arm around me it was like my MaMa was giving me a hug! Finally, I allowed myself to grieve and I was so relieved.

This year, I suffered another loss. A friend who I hadn’t seen in a few years died tragically. I felt numb when I heard the news, because he was one of those friends you always think you’re going to see again someday, even though there are so many miles between you now. This added to the grief that made me want 2019 to come to a quick end. I miss him very much and hope he is at peace now.

This year, with as much grief as there was, there was also joy. I had another book release in June! Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) is now available to order on Amazon! I am so excited this book is available now, but also sad. Because this means I COF - 1have only one more book to tackle in this series before I officially close out my fantasy series and will no longer visit the land of Nfaros. I am hard at work writing Winter’s Light, the fourth and final book of my fantasy series. I’ve hit a few snags so far, trying to bring every character’s plot to an end in a satisfying way without leaving behind too many holes in the storyline.

Considering these books are made up of SO MANY characters, this is harder than you might at first think! I need to keep the story interesting while also tying up any loose ends from the previous books while ALSO creating intense situations for some new characters that were introduced in Crown of Flames. All the same, I am enjoying writing Winter’s Light and hope that, if I finish within the next two months, I will have a release date along with a cover to share with you soon!

Now I’m going to do some major self-promoting … 😉

That being said, have you had a chance to catch up on the first three books of The Winter WQ SERIES INSTAGRAMQueen Series? No? Why wait?

Catch up by reading Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1), Dance of Shadows (The Winter Queen Series, #2) Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) now! Want them the easy way? All three are available together on Amazon Kindle for $13.47!

Travel to the beautiful land of Nfaros and catch up with the fierce Sundragon sisters as they fight to regain their father’s throne. Journey with the courageous Jandry siblings across treacherous lands. And fly with the People of the Dragon over the Nfaros Sea in the first three books of my series and be prepared for Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen Series, #4)!

In September, as I mentioned above, I attended the ACFW conference, and what an experience it was! I was able to connect with some wonderful people AND I heard Frank Peretti speak! Along with his keynote address, I attended several amazing workshops and learned so much.

I was also able to connect with the lovely Laurie Lucking who was nominated for a Carol Me & LaurieAward for her novel, Common! I was so excited to meet Laurie because she has supported my fantasy series from Book 1 and has written beautiful endorsements for all three of the books for me.

She is such a lovely person and an incredible author! If you haven’t read her book, Common, then I highly recommend it! I am a lover of love stories, and this one was a great one! Not to mention it fell in the Young Adult/Speculative category, which I also love! As I say in my tagline: when it comes to genre, there are no limits. And I mean that in both writing and reading!

I met so many wonderful people at the conference this year and reconnected with some of my favorite people as well. I was especially excited to attend author Pepper Basham’s workshop! Pepper is one of my favorite authors and such a sweet person. She also endorsed my debut novel, The Lost Generation: A Novel of World War I, so when I had the chance to meet her at my first conference in 2017, I didn’t hesitate.

Speaking of The Lost Generation, have I mentioned the paperback is available on26536218 Amazon for $9.99? If you love historical fiction, then grab your copy now!

And speaking of historical fiction …

I did something else new this year. I wrote a World War II era novel. I finished it at a whopping 92,048 words and 350 (Microsoft Word) pages! It is currently titled The Good German Girl and I am so excited about it! I have stepped away from it for now because writing it was emotionally draining, but am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this novel.

I rediscovered my love for Historical Fiction while writing The Good German Girl and realized I wanted this genre to be my primary genre. That being said, The Good German Girl inspired several other World War II era stories that I have made a part of a series tentatively titled A League of Extraordinary Women Series.

NaNoWriMo WinnerThis led me to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time! And … I won! I wrote 51,346 words in November, beating my goal of 50,000 for the next book in my World War II era series in the month of November! What a satisfying feeling it was too, as I hadn’t written that many words in a single month in a while. I was very proud of myself and still am.

I loved participating in NaNoWrimo! I received so much support as I struggled through to achieve that very large word goal. I wrote even on days I didn’t want to write, and kept writing even when I felt like what I was writing was absolutely awful. As a writer, that’s very hard to do because I want everything about my story to be perfect. So when it’s imperfect, it’s hard to not simply stop and walk away for the rest of the day. NaNoWrimo pushed me to set a goal and stick to it and at the end, I was so very pleased.

Oh, and did you notice? I became a redhead this year! That’s right, I made the transition from brunette, to blonde, to redhead! And, may I say, this is my favorite color so far. Could it be? Have I finally made a permanent decision about my hair? Will I remain a redhead to the end of my days? You’ll just have to keep checking in on my blog to find out, I guess. 😉

Well, I think that’s all for now, folks. Thank you for stopping by and reading this incredibly long post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I’ll see you in 2020.

Coming Soon…

…from Elk Lake Publishing!

 

Three couples. Three countries. One War…

On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever.

When John, Jared and Will find themselves thrust together in France and Emma and Christy decide to seek out their missing husbands, the lives of these three families intertwine in ways that none of them could possibly have imagined. Working together in a field hospital, Emma and Christy learn to rely on and protect each other. Lost together in a strange forest and cut off from their unit, the three soldiers run and hide.

But the further they go, the more they realize that the chances of all of them making it out unscathed are nonexistent and Emma and Christy find that blood is not easy to wash off, but no friendship is stronger than that made during times of war, sacrifice and healing.

The Lost Generation

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I am so happy to reveal the cover for my soon-to-be released novel, The Lost Generation! This journey has been long and hard, but I’ve had such amazing support from everyone around me from my agent to my publisher to my friends and family. Being so new to the process was difficult and stressful, but with the right encouragement from those with more experience, I’ve finally reached my goals. Seeing this cover has made all of the hard work worth it as it has made what’s about to happen real.

I started writing The Lost Generation two years ago. I finished it within three months and then, I let it sit. I knew I’d have plenty of time to go back and edit it later. But even after two years, I wasn’t prepared for the work that needed to be done. When you put your heart into something, it’s very hard to change anything, even if you know it needs work. But after working for months with a wonderfully patient editor, we shaped The Lost Generation into a story that I still love with all my heart it makes me nervous to share it! Not because I don’t want my friends to enjoy it, but because I want them to love it as much as I do.

I am preparing myself to step onto a whole new path on this journey. The one where my book is shared not just with a few people close to me, but with everyone. It’s huge and exciting and utterly frightening. But I know that God has brought me to this moment and I believe that my stories are meant to be shared.

Thank you everyone for your love and support! I hope you enjoy The Lost Generation when it’s released.