Balancing Justice and Mercy

Hi Friends,

It’s been a busy month with the release of Shine Like the Dawn, and I’ve had lots of opportunities to connect with new reading friends. One question I’m often asked is, how does your faith impact your stories, and how do you weave in faith elements? So I thought I’d tell you about the spiritual themes from Shine Like the Dawn.

I’ve enjoyed writing several English historical novels set in the Edwardian era over the last few years including The Governess of Highland Hall, The Daughter of Highland Hall, and A Refuge at Highland Hall. They all contain family drama, romance, and inspiration. But in my latest novel, Shine Like the Dawn, I decided to also include a mystery. And for my heroine, Maggie Lounsbury, solving the mystery becomes a very personal search for justice.

As I wrote the story I found inspiration in the theme verse, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, and your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5 – 6

Cragside, the inspiration for the hero’s estate, Morningside Manor

Maggie suffers a great loss at the beginning of the story, and her search to understand why it happened and who is responsible are key plot points in the novel. Maggie’s losses shaped her personality, and she has become stronger and more determined because of them. Those losses also hardened her, and she distanced herself from the Lord. She questions God’s love and justice, and is determined to find the answers to her questions herself. But through the kindness of the hero and wisdom shared by her grandmother, Maggie’s heart begins to soften. As she continues on her journey to solve the mystery she eventually sees the way God balances Justice and Mercy. This renews her relationship with God and opens the way for forgiveness and restoration.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading Shine Like the Dawn and feel as though they’ve been swept away to Northumberland, England in 1903, but I also hope you’ll be challenged to explore what it means to forgive and reflect God’s mercy to those who have hurt you in the past. Those are lessons that touched my heart as I wrote this story, and I trust they will touch my reading friends too.

Shine Like the Dawn is available in paperback, eBook, and audio. The Dutch edition will release in June. To read the first chapter, purchase your copy, and see more images of the characters and setting please visit this page.

Until next time . . . Happy Reading,

Carrie

Giveaway ~ Shine Like the Dawn

 

Hi Friends, 

My new English historical novel, Shine Like the Dawn, released earlier this week, and we are continuing the celebration with a fun Prize Package Giveaway for my readers! Please read on to enter the giveaway, but first here’s a description of the story:

“In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister, Violet. Several years earlier, a terrible event shattered their idyllic family life and their future prospects. When Maggie discovers her father’s journal she begins to wonder if what happened to her family might not have been an accident.

Maggie’s childhood friend, Nathaniel Harcourt, returns from serving in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to Maggie’s family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll, and Maggie is uncertain if she can trust her old friend, especially when his family may be tied to the tragedy that changed the course of her life. Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate–and being reconciled with God? Will the search for the truth about the tragedy draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?

Enter the Prize Package Giveaway by filling out the Raffllecopter form below and help us spread the word about Shine Like the Dawn. The prizes include a set our journals, a pen set, a reading journal, and a copy of Shine Like the Dawn! The Giveaway runs through March 6th. Good luck to you! 

You can read Shine Like the Dawn’s prologue and first chapter on this page. Visit your local bookstore or order your copy online.  

 

I’m also delighted that Shine Like the Dawn is being featured on a Celebrate Lit Blog Tour February 21 – March 6. Follow the tour and enter the giveaway! For more info visit the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour Page.

Thank so much for purchasing your copy of Shine Like the Dawn and joining in the celebration with me!

Until next time . . . Happy Reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shine Like the Dawn Quotes

Hi Friends,
Today I wanted to share some quotes from my new English historical novel, Shine Like the Dawn. I hope they will give you a taste of the story. You can read the first chapter and find out more about the this new novel by visiting this page.

I hope you’ll join in the book launch celebration this week! I’m chatting with friends each day at 3:00 pm EST, 2:00 CST, 1:00 MST, and 12:00 noon PST on my Facebook Author Page and offering a daily giveaway. Click on over to this post and find out more about the Facebook Live Chats, blog tour, and special giveaways for you!

Thanks to my early readers, Rebecca Maney, Jordann Renee, and Rebecca Tellez for suggesting these special quotes!

I’d love to hear your favorite quote from Shine Like the Dawn!

Blessings and Happy Reading,

Carrie

Shine Like the Dawn ~ Book Launch!

Hi Friends, 

It’s Release Day for my new English historical novel, Shine Like the Dawn, and I can’t wait to share this story with you! Please read on for some fun events and giveaways happening this week and next!

When you read Shine Like the Dawn you’ll be swept away to England in 1903 with family drama, inspiration, romance, and a mystery. Visit your local bookstore or order your copy online.  Here’s a summary of the story:

“In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother’s millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister, Violet. Several years earlier, a terrible event shattered their idyllic family life and their future prospects. When Maggie discovers her father’s journal she begins to wonder if what happened to her family that day on the lake might not have been an accident.

Maggie’s childhood friend, Nathaniel Harcourt, returns from serving in the Royal Navy and inherits his father’s estate, Morningside Manor. He also assumes partial control of his father’s engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to Maggie’s family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll, and Maggie is uncertain if she can trust her old friend, especially when his family may be tied to the tragedy that changed the course of her life.

Can Maggie let go of the resentment that keeps her from forgiving Nate–and being reconciled with God? Will the search for the truth about the tragedy draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts?

You can read Shine Like the Dawn’s prologue and first chapter on this page.

I hope you’ll join me on my Facebook Author Page Tuesday – Saturday, Feb. 21 – 25, at 3:00 pm Eastern for some fun live video chats. I’ll be talking about the story behind Shine Like the Dawn, the characters, the setting, and more. You can ask questions and leave comments, and I’ll have a new giveaway each day. Even if you can’t listen live you’ll have 24 hours after each video posts to leave a comment and enter the drawing. Here are some of the fun prizes you could win: A lovely garden tea towel, A Keep Calm Tea Canister Set filled with some of my favorite teas, one of two pretty mugs, and pen and note set.

 

The Book Launch Celebration continues with a prize package giveaway hosted here on my blog February 25 – March 6.  Stop by and enter for your chance to win some lovely prizes including a signed copy of Shine Like the Dawn, a journal set, a pen set, and a lovely reading journal.

 

I’m delighted that Shine Like the Dawn is being featured on a Celebrate Lit Blog Tour February 21 – March 6. Follow the tour and enter a four-book giveaway! For more info visit the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour Page.

Thank so much for purchasing your copy of Shine Like the Dawn and joining in the celebration with me!

Until next time . . . Happy Reading!

Carrie

Listen and Enjoy Audio Books

Hi Friends, 

When my novel, The Governess of Highland Hall, came out as an audio book in 2013, I decided to try a free trial membership at Audible so I could listen and see how the narrator had interpreted the characters and story. Once I started listening, I discovered I loved the audio book experience! Even though I knew my own stories so well, it was really enjoyable to hear someone else reading it aloud.

Since then I’ve listened to a new book each month, including old classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice; and new novels by some of my favorite authors like Cathy Gohlke, with Secrets She Kept, and Laura Frantz with The Colonel’s Lady and Moonbow Night.

 

All three books in the Edwardian Brides Series are available on audio and Shine Like the Dawn is also releasing in audio, eBook, and paperback on February 21st. Anne Flosnik is the narrator of the audio version, and I’m so pleased that she was chosen to read Shine Like the Dawn!

 

Anne is an accomplished British actress with lead credits for stage, TV, commercials, voiceovers, and audio books. She has over 450 audio book titles, in all genres, to her credit, along with several awards and distinctions. These include an American Library Associate Special Service for Children Award, three AudioFile Earphone Awards, USA Today Recommended Listening, and four Audie Nominations, including “Anna And the King of Siam,” the book on which “The King and I” is based.

Do you enjoy listening to audio books? What are some of your favorites?

Until next time – Happy Reading and Listening!

Carrie

 

Cover Design for Shine Like the Dawn

Hi Friends,

Did you know it takes a team of people several months to create a book cover? I’m grateful for the team at WaterBrook Multnomah who have given me such great covers for my Highland Hall novels and now Shine Like the Dawn. Each cover is unique, yet there are are some design elements that tie them together and let readers know this is a Carrie Turansky novel.

Early in the cover design process I fill out an author questionnaire and share my ideas. I use Pinterest to save images of my characters, settings, clothing, and anything relevant to the time period and story. These are a great help when it comes time to give the artists, editors, marketing team, and photographer my ideas.

I was an fine art major in college, and I enjoy being invited into the cover process. I’ve help choose the models that represent the heroines and give input about their clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, and hats. Those are fun assignments, and I enjoy exchanging email with WaterBrook designer, Kristopher Orr. He connects with freelance photographer Mike Heath, and together they orchestrate a cover shoot and put together several cover mockups to show the team at WaterBrook.

 

Shine Like the Dawn is set in Northumberland, England, and many of the scenes take place in the beautiful garden at Morningside Manor Estate. Kristopher decided on a garden setting, and I chose a royal blue edwardian dress and hat for our cover model to wear. These are some of the images Mike Heath captured during the cover shoot. Aren’t they great? The team at WaterBrook chose the image below because of the lovely color combination, garden background, and the heroine’s expression, which shows a sense of mystery, and that’s an important element of this story.

The cover model is Brittany Nichole Stuart. She lives in Colorado and is a photographer who also does modeling. She blogs at Miss Beautymark and likes to encourage women through art, faith, and fashion. Thanks, Brittany, for capturing the spirit of Maggie! 

Shine Like the Dawn releases February 21! I hope you’ll preorder a copy and take advantage of the special BOGO offer to receive a free copy of one of my Highland Hall novels. If you’ve already read all three, consider ordering one for a friend as a gift!

Blessings and Happy Reading, Carrie

Cragside ~ Shine Like the Dawn’s Morningside Manor

Hi Friends, 

Early in my research for Shine Like the Dawn, I was looking for an English estate that would give me an inspiring setting for the story. A photographer who had taken the photo of Tyntesfield that was used on the cover of  The Governess of Highland Hall and A Refuge at Highland Hall suggested I might like to investigate Cragside. I did a Google search to see what I could discover about this estate and the family who built it. The more I learned about Cragside, the more it captured my imagination! 

Cragside House, with its beautiful gardens and woodlands, is situated near Rothbury, in Northumberland,  England, not far from the border with Scotland. It was the family home of Lord William Armstrong, Victorian inventor and industrialist. Cragside was the first building in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, and a walk around the property reveals a wealth of ingenious inventions including fire alarm buttons, telephones, a passenger lift, and a Turkish bath suite.

Armstrong was a landscape genius, and he constructed five lakes and planted over seven million trees and shrubs.  Built on a rocky crag high above Debdon Burn (river), the estate has more than 30 miles of footpaths and one of Europe’s largest rock gardens sloping down the valley to the Debdon Burn. The Iron Bridge, one of the oldest of its type in the UK, crosses the burn. Cragside’s garden is breathtaking, whatever the season, but especially in the spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas bloom. 

Today this magnificent estate is owned by the National Trust and can be explored on foot or by car. Visitors will love the tall trees, tumbling streams, and beautiful flowers. Visit the National Trust website for more information.

The mysterious house with it’s jumbled rooms and unique inventions provided the perfect setting for Shine Like the Dawn. A few of the events in the story are taken from events I read about in the biography of William Armstrong, but most come from my imagination. However, the lovely house, beautiful gardens, and quirky inventions are real and were fun to include.

If you’re ever in Northumberland, I hope you’ll stop by Cragside for a visit. Be sure to take lots of photos and share them with me! Until then, take a look at my Cragside Pinterest board and watch this video tour of Cragside Gardens below. Oh, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Shine Like the Dawn so you can read how I wove these details about Cragside into the story! It releases February 21, so there’s not too much longer to wait!

Blessings and happy reading!

Carrie

 

Pinterest 101 for Writers & Readers

I have a background in art and I’m a very visual person. I’ve always collected photos for my characters and settings, so when I discovered Pinterest . . . it was love at first sight or should I say first pin! For me, it’s a great way to take a break, relax, and see some beautiful images . . . as well as build connections with readers.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media networks in the world. It’s now number three behind Facebook and Twitter. So it makes sense for writers and readers to learn the basics and use Pinterest to connect with reading and writing friends.

So what is Pinterest? It’s a visual discovery tool that people use to collect, organize, and share ideas for projects and interests. People create and share collections (called boards) of images (called pins). Any time you find an image on the web that you like, you can pin, or lately they say save, that image to one of your boards to view again later or share with others. You can also download images from your computer to Pinterest, but the first method is better because it links back to the place you found the image.

Maggie’s Millinery Shop

Shine Like the Dawn Releases 2/21

 

How can authors use Pinterest? Kimberley Grabas, author of Your Writer Platform Blog says, “Your goal should be to teach, entertain and inspire your audience on Pinterest. In return, Pinterest will grant you the ability to increase awareness of your author brand, drive more relevant traffic to your website, and increase your book sales.”

People head to Pinterest to find solutions, get ideas, and be inspired. Plus pinners are buyers . . . so authors can use Pinterest as a marketing tool. But like all social media, it’s important to avoid too much self-promotion. Pinterest is a quieter platform where you are mainly sharing images and connecting with readers who share similar interests.

Here are some specific ideas for authors. Create boards for each of your books and feature the cover, characters, setting, clothing, and events that happen in the story. Link those images back to your website and blog to help readers connect with you and purchase your books. These boards can be a great help to the artists who designs your covers. Visit my board for Shine Like the Dawn, my next English historical romance that releases February 21.

Morningside Manor

Northumberland, England

 

Since I write historical novels I have boards for different time periods with clothing, cars, people, and events from those eras. Those boards are a good place to keep images that link back to research articles. Authors who do this exceptionally well are Lori Benton and Laura Frantz. Check out their book boards! 

My last three novels and Shine Like the Dawn are set in the same era as Downton Abbey, and one of my marketing goals is to reach out to fans of that show. So I have a board for Downton Abbey and another for Highclere Castle, where Downton was filmed. Those are my two most popular boards with the highest number of images saved. They have helped me connect with many Downton Fans and introduce them to my books.

You can pin/save images from your blog posts or author email newsletters and link people back to your website. Pin images that lead readers to 5-star reviews and blog interviews. When it’s time for a cover reveal, launch week, or a special promotion, pin those images and share them with those who follow you on Pinterest.

You can also create boards that allow you to share your interests with others on Pinterest. I have boards for Tea Time, English Country Gardens, People I admire, Favorite Authors, Romance, Books Worth Reading, Favorite Recipes, To Your Good Health, Childhood Memories, Kids, Favorite Movies, Doors, Christmas, Favorite Verses and Quotes, Places I’d Like to Go, Scotland, England. These kind of boards give readers a taste of who you are and offer added value. Take a look at my boards.

Morningside Manor ~ Cragside

Ancient Hadrian’s Wall

 

For a great step by step tutorial on how to set up a Pinterest account, get started, and use Pinterest visit Your Writer Platform.  And for more great ideas about how you can use Pinterest to connect with readers visit: http://www.copyblogger.com/pinterest-marketing/

Are you active on Pinterest? Leave a comment below with a link to your boards and we can connect there!

Until next time, Happy Reading . . . and pinning!

Carrie

September Giveaway for Readers

Hi Friends,

Each month this year I’m giving away two books to reading friends who are subscribers to my author email newsletter. To enter the giveaway please sign up for my email newsletter in the box on the right at the top, and then leave a comment below. If you are already a subscriber, just mention that in your comment.

This month I’m giving away my newest release, Mountain Christmas Brides, a nine-novella collection by various authors and Room for Hope by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Both are inspirational, historical, and set in the US. To learn more about these stories and their authors just click on the cover below. Because of mailing cost, US entries only.

Mountain Christmas BridesRoom for hope

Until Next Time ~ Happy Reading!

Carrie

British Blooms and Books Giveaway

BritishBloomsandBooksCoverGraphic

Hello, Gentle Reader, and welcome to the first annual British Blooms and Books giveaway! This week, we’d like to celebrate the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show with you. After enjoying this post, please visit each of the other five authors’ websites (links provided below) and, after a bit of reading fun, follow one simple instruction given in each post, and then leave a comment on each to be entered to win a fabulous, British Blooms and Books prize. (US entries only, please, due to shipping the petit fours.) Thank you for stopping by!

Visiting English Gardens

Hi Friend, Carrie here….

Highclere-Castle-Garden-brick-Georgian-Wall

The Garden at Highclere Castle ~ Downton Abbey

I’ve been blessed to take two research trips to England in recent years, and visiting gardens there has been one of the highlights of those trips for me! In September 2012 my husband and I visited Highclere Castle and spent time in the gardens before we toured the house. We walked through the walled flower garden, the all white garden, and the secret garden. What a fun experience to see where Downton Abbey was filmed and imagine the characters there with me.  In The Governess of Highland Hall several scenes take place in the gardens and greenhouse, so I had those memories of Highclere to help me visualize my characters as I wrote those scenes.

IMG_1543

Tyntesfied with Cathy Gholke and Carrie Turansky

Cathy Gohlke and Carrie Turansky visit Tyntesfield ~ Highland Hall.

In 2014 I returned to England with my author friend Cathy Gohlke and we visited Scotland, The Lake District, and Tyntesfield, the estate I had in mind as I wrote the Highland Hall novels. Touring the house and gardens there was very inspiring! In The Daughter of Highland Hall the heroine, Kate Ramsey, and her aunt visit the Royal Horticultural Society Exhibition in London, which was held on the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital. It was so successful that the Chelsea Flower Show has been held there since 1913. I enjoyed reading about the history of the flower show and adding some of that information to The Daughter of Highland Hall, including the Royal Family’s appearance at the event.

Highland Hall Series

The third book in the series, A Refuge at Highland Hall, takes place during World War One. Penny Ramsey brings orphans to Highland to escape the bombing in London. Taking the children outdoors to spend time in the gardens and parkland was one of the ways Penny kept the children busy. Those memories of my visits to Highclere and Tyntesfield helped me bring those garden scenes to life in my books.

Carrie and Cathy in the Inverarary Castle gardens in Scotland.

Carrie and Cathy at Inverarary Castle, Scotland

I hope you enjoyed this virtual garden tour! To enter the grand prize drawing: Please sign up for my newsletter (the sign up box at the top on the right of this page) and comment below. If you are already a subscriber just mention that in your comment.

One grand prize winner who comments on each of the six authors’ websites and agrees to the boldfaced condition posted at the end of each post will win a signed copy of the six books plus delivery of six English hat petit fours to enjoy while you read! Winner’s name will be drawn via random.org after May 28th.

Tea Hat Petit Fours.

Tea Hat Petit Fours. (Photo from Divine Delights)

Finished? Well done! Please visit these five other fabulous authors of English historical novels to see what flowers mean to them and their heroines.

Sandra Byrd’s Page: http://www.sandrabyrd.com/british-blooms-and-books-giveaway/

Melanie Dickerson’s Page: http://melaniewrites.blogspot.com/2016/05/british-blooms-and-books-6-book-giveaway.html

Kristi Ann Hunter’s Page: http://www.kristiannhunter.com/#!british-blooms-and-books/dtpk9

Julie Klassen’s Page: http://inspiredbylifeandfiction.com/british-blooms-and-books-giveaway/

Roseanna White’s Page: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/2016/05/british-blooms-and-books-contest.html