England, Here We Come!

Tyntesfiled

Tyntesfield, the inspiration for Highland Hall

Hi Friends,

I’m packing my bags and preparing to leave on a trip to England and Scotland May 1 – 19.  I am super excited and wanted to share some of my travel plans with you. When I return I’ll share highlights of the trip and photos here on the blog, so I hope you will sign up to receive each post as an email so you don’t miss out!

The Governess of Highland HallSome of you may remember my husband Scott and I traveled to England in 2012 to begin research for the Edwardian Brides Series. We had a fantastic time touring Berkshire, the Costwolds, and the Peak District. Highlights of that trip included visiting Highclere where Downton Abbey is filmed and touring Chatsworth, Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly in the latest movie version of Pride and Prejudice.

Carrie and Cathy

Carrie and Cathy Gohlke

This time I am traveling with fellow author and good friend, Cathy Gholke, who writes wonderful historical novels for Tyndale Publishers, including Promise Me This, Band of Sisters, and Saving Amelie (coming out in June). We’ve been planning this trip for over 11 months, so you can imagine how much we are looking forward to it! We will be visiting the Bristol area to see Tyntesfield, the country estate that inspired the setting of Highland Hall in my current series of books. For more on Tyntesfield check out this post. To learn more about Cathy and her books, visit her website.

The Lake District

The Lake District, England

Then we travel up to Winderemer in the Lake District and visit Hill Top Farm and the sites connected with author Beatrix Potter who wrote all the Peter Rabbit stories. That is supposed to be a lovely area! The movie Miss Potter was filmed there. We have a fun day-long tour lined up, and we are looking forward to seeing all the beauty in that area.

After that we’ll join fellow author, Liz Curtis Higgs, for a 10-day tour of the Scotish Highlands and Islands. We’ll be touring with about 35 other women to explore castles, gardens, and historic sites all over Scotland. We’ll visit the Isle of Skye and Isle of Mull. Liz will be posting photos and updates about our trip on her My Scotish Heart Facebook Page.

Bagpiper Scotland

Bagpiper in Scotland

I hope you’ll check in there and see what we are doing! I will try to post photos on my Facebook Page too, so be sure you’ve liked that and check in to see some of those.

Happy reading until I return,

Carrie

 

Until That Distant Day

Until That Distant DayHi Friends,

Today I wanted to introduce you to Jill Stengl, the author of Until That Distant Day. Jill  is the author of numerous romance novels including Faithful Traitor, which was the winner of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award and Carol Award. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching high school literature classes, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Here’s a summary of Until That Distant Day:

Jill StenglParis, 1792

Colette and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.
Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

 How did you first start writing historical romance novels?

I began writing my first historical romance novel in 1991, shortly after my husband returned from the first Gulf War. We were living in England at the time and the Internet was still unknown to me, so communicating with publishers was a slow process. I did have a major CBA publishing house ask to see the complete manuscript of that first effort, which was encouraging. However, I have been thankful ever since that they turned it down. Yes, it was that bad!

What was your first published book?

I then decided to target a short contemporary romance at Heartsong Presents, writing about what I knew: military life in England. My hero was a fighter pilot based at RAF Lakenheath, naturally. I wrote the story by the publisher’s guidelines, printed it, and mailed it out in July 1994. After three months I telephoned Barbour Publishing and talked to Rebecca Germany, who sweetly informed me that yes, they had received my manuscript, and it was being read by their readers. I had no idea what this meant, but at least it was not a “no, thank you.” In July 1995, one year after mailing the manuscript off, I wrote a follow-up letter of inquiry, drove to the base post office, and dropped it into the mailbox. Then I walked over to check our P.O. Box, and—believe it or not—waiting there was my letter of acceptance! Eagle Pilot was published in autumn of 1996.

Then what happened? How many books have you published?

I wrote a total of eight Heartsong Presents books and eight novellas for Barbour Publishing, and they were wonderful to me! Some of my stories are now being reprinted in collections, which is fun. But after many years of writing genre romance, I burned out. The joy of writing was gone. I had no fresh ideas. So I turned my literary love toward helping other authors launch their own careers, which I found to be, in some ways, more gratifying than the success of my own books. And now those authors are returning the love by helping me! I am particularly proud of my daughter, multi-award-winning fantasy author Anne Elisabeth Stengl, who has taught me far more about literature and writing craft than I ever taught her!

So how did Until That Distant Day come to be?

Anne Elisabeth has been encouraging me for years to get back into writing and to push myself to write a longer, deeper novel than anything I had previously attempted. I tried and failed several times over before deciding to rewrite and expand one of my old novellas. This makes me laugh now, for Until That Distant Day resembles that original novella only in that both are set in Paris during the early days of the French Revolution. It required many drafts before reaching its current form—my daughter is easily the toughest manuscript editor I’ve ever had! But the end result is deeply satisfying to me, and I adore the cover!

You can learn more about and her books on Jill’s Author blog. Or on her Book page. She would also love to connect with you on Facebook and Goodreads.

You can purchase a copy of Until That Distant Day on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Happy Reading!

Carrie

Where Two Hearts Meet

Hi Friends,

I’m happy to announce my next book, Where Two Hearts Meet, is now available for purchase as a paperback and an eBook!

Two Sisters. Two Heartwarming Novellas . . . There’s no better place for romance, forgiveness, and second chances than the Sweet Something Teashop!

Where Two Hearts Meet

Tea For Two

Allison Bennett, co-owner of a financially strapped teashop in Princeton, New Jersey, receives a large anonymous check that saves her business. But she has no idea who sent it. Could it be from Peter Hillinger, the wealthy businessman who owns the shop next door and wants to win Allison’s heart? Or is it from Tyler Lawrence, Allison’s old boyfriend, who returns to town claiming a renewed faith and a changed life. Allison doesn’t know whom to trust. Should she follow her head or heart, or is there Someone else who can guide her toward the best path for her future?

Wherever Love Takes Us

After twenty-five years of marriage, Matt and Tessa Malone are struggling to recover financially and rebuild trust following a business failure. Then Matt inherits property in Oregon, and he wants to move the family there to make a fresh start. But Tessa can’t imagine giving up the cozy teashop she co-owns with her sister, or leaving her friends and family in Princeton. Whose dream will they follow, and how much will it cost their family? Can they resolve their differences and rebuild a love that seems lost?

Would you like to see photos of the setting and characters? Please visit my Pinterest board for Where Two Hearts Meet!

The lovely cover and interior of the book was designed by my friend Ellen Cranstoun who is a talented photographer and graphic designer! She did a great job capturing the feeling of these stories.

Tea for Two was orginally published in Kiss the Bride, and Wherever Love Takes Us was originally published in Wedded Bliss. These two novellas have been expanded and updated and put together in one book. I hope you’ll order your copy  and enjoy these inspiring stories!

Happy Reading,

Carrie

Easter Blessings!

Easter FlowersHi Friends,

I wanted to wish you all a happy Easter! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend and finding some special ways to celebrate the resurrection. We took part in a Messianic Passover Dinner on Friday night, and on Sunday we will be hosting an Easter breakfast at Calvary Chapel Living Hope and then enjoying a special worship service with friends and family. If you live nearby, we would love to have you come join us. Here’s a link to our church website with info and directions.

I love Easter! The arrival of spring and seeing nature come back to life is a great reminder of all Jesus did for us through His life, death, and resurrection. It gives me a renewed perspective on life and great hope for the future.

Spring in EnglandHere is a verse that talks about that hope: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope thorugh the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”1 Peter 1:3

Do you have that hope . . . do you know Him?

This weekend we celebrate Jesus . . . our awesome Savior and Lord, who loved us enough to leave all the wonders of heaven, walk the earth and experience life here, then He took the death penlty for our sin and rose from the dead to give us hope of eternal life. That’s a great reason to celebrate!

EasterWant to know more about Jesus and how you can begin a closer relationship with Him? Check out this link or email me through my contact page at the website.

Carrie

Visiting Highclere Castle Gardens

 

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle, the home of the Count and Countess of Carnarvon.

Hi Friends,

One of the highlights of our visit to England was touring Highclere Castle and gardens where Downton Abbey is filmed. What a beautiful spot! There are several sections to the gardens…so come along with me on a tour.

Just a short walk from the house we passed under the arched entrance where birck walls surround that first section of the garden. Climbing roses gave off a lovely fragrance, as did the lavender under the arches.

Walled garden at Highclere Castle

Climbing roses on the walled garden at Highclere Castle.

Highclere-Castle-Garden-brick-Georgian-Wall

Arched wall surrounding Highclere Castle Garden.

Several scenes in The Governess of Highland Hall take place in a garden and greenhouse like the one at Highclere, so I could almost imagine Sarah Ramsey and Clark Dalton stepping through the greenhouse doorway or Andrew or Millie Ramsey running down the garden path.

Carrie and the Greenhouse

The Highclere Greenhouse

roses in the greenhouse

Roses growing in the Highclere Castle greenhouse.

The next area we visited was the lovely all white border garden. I especially enjoyed seeing the large white hydrangeas.

All white garden

The all white border garden at Highclere Castle.

white hydrangea

White hydrangea bushes.

Then we saw the sign for the secret garden and followed the pathway into another delightful garden with curving borders of unique flowers.  Lovely!

The Secret Garden

Entrance to the Secret Garden

Entrance to Highclere’s Secret Garden.

highclere castle garden

The Secret Garden at Highclere.

Roses in Highclere garden

Roses in Highclere Gardens.

Butterfly Bush

Carrie and Scott at Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed

Carrie and Scott at Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed

The Governess of Highland Hall It was a very special day for us, and one we will long remember. Do you enjoy touring gardens? Would you like to visit Highclere? Even if you can’t fly off to England, you can experience life in Edwardian England by reading The Governess of Highland Hall…and next October, The Daughter of Highland Hall!

Until next time…Happy Reading!

Carrie

 

 

 

What’s on Your Bookshelves?

Hi Friends,

One thing I loved about our house the first time I walked through with the realtor was the built in bookshelves in the living room. In the past we stored all our homeschooling books there, but now they mostly hold some of my favorite novels and a few research books. People often comment about our collection when they visit, and I enjoy sharing books with friends.

My Bookshelves

This basket holds research materials for the novels I am working on now in the Edwardian Brides Series. I’ve had fun collecting books and maps from England on topics like country life, servants in the Edwardian Era, and Downton Abbey, which has been a great inspiration for The Governess of Highland Hall. I do most of my research before I write, but I often go back to check facts or find more information. It looks like I need a bigger basket!

Book Basket

Are you a book collector?  Tell us about your bookshelves and what we might see if we paid you a visit.

Happy Reading!

Carrie