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Behind the Books

Louisiana and France’s Forced Colonization Experiment

Mon, 2017-01-09 11:53 -- Jocelyn Green
Decades before Marie Antoinette entered the scene, France was already in a desperate position. In 1714, the nation lost a thirteen-year war which had drained the royal coffers and disillusioned most of its military. Soldiers returning home had a hard time finding work. The weather hadn’t been cooperating with the farmers, driving rural people in to the cities to find other ways of earning a living. The streets of Paris teemed with poor. The monarchy didn’t like it. Vagabonds and the unemployed were arrested and thrown into prisons to keep them off the street. Prostitutes, too, cycled in and out of jail, and back in, and back out again. The capital city was rife was poverty, crime, and vice. Meanwhile, the French colony of Louisiana was practically dormant. After being claimed for France in 1699, the War of Spanish Succession soon tied up all of France’s resources, leaving the military outposts in Louisiana so bereft they would have starved to death had friendly native Americans not fed them and allowed them to winter in their villages. Now, the French king decided it was time for Louisiana to refill the French treasury, the way Mexico’s riches were making Spain wealthy. At the time, the territory of Louisiana stretched from Rockies to the Appalachians, from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Populating it proved to be a monumental task they never really mastered. When not enough French volunteered to settle the land—despite promises of gold, silver, fertile land and abundant game—France forced immigration. “We believe that We can do nothing better for the good of our State than to condemn [convicts] to the punishment of being transported to our colonies . . . to serve as laborers.” ~Royal Policy of France, January 8, 17191 Prisoners sentenced to the galleys were commuted to Louisiana instead. To relieve overcrowded prisons, they also sent military deserters, prostitutes, vagabonds who had been plucked from the streets after curfew. Because the men needed women to reproduce new settlers, shiploads of orphans and female convicts were sent over. In September of 1719, 184 female convicts were told to choose grooms from the same number of male convicts. They were forced to marry in a mass wedding ceremony, shackled two-by-two, and put onto the ship that would take them to Louisiana. The forced colonization scheme grew so out-of-hand that Mississippi bandoliers even began pulling people from the streets if they could not prove their employment. Riots broke out between the people and those charged with arresting them, resulting in injury and loss of life. After three years of the forced immigration (1719-1722), the crown finally decreed it unlawful. By then, however, Jean-Baptiste Bienville, governor of Louisiana, had his hands full managing the settlers France had sent. “It is most disagreeable for an officer in charge of a colony to have nothing more for its defense than a bunch of deserters, contraband salt dealers, and rogues who are always ready not only to desert you but also to turn against you.” ~Sieur Jean-Baptist Le Moyne de Bienville, 17192 It was under these conditions and with these challenges that Bienville founded New Orleans. With such a fascinating historical backdrop, I could not resist telling the tale of the people who struggled to survive and settle this town. The Mark of the King will bring you right into the middle of it all. Enjoy! Psst! For a free excerpt, video pronuncation guide and give-away (open til Feb. 16, 2017), hop over to my previous blog post here! For further reading: To learn more about this colorful chapter in American (and French) history, I’ll direct you to the two books which proved so helpful to me in my own research: Building the Devil’s Empire: French Colonial New Orleans by Shannon Lee Dawdy, and Indians, Settlers & Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy by Daniel H. Usner. Sources: 1. The Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History, Volume 1: The French Experience in Louisiana, edited by Glenn R. Conrad. (Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana), 115. 2. Ibid., 132.

New Video: The Mark of the King Pronunciation Guide

Fri, 2016-12-02 07:33 -- Jocelyn Green
In one month plus one day, The Mark of the King officially releases! Can you tell I'm just a little excited about this? :) Some people have already been reading the book through NetGalley, and it's so fun to see their reviews start popping up on Goodreads. (See what they thought of the book here!)  Today I'm delighted to share with you a six-minute video I hope will be come in handy when it's your turn to read the book! Because almost all my characters are French settlers in Louisiana, they naturally have French names. I tried to choose names that we English-speakers wouldn't stumble over when reading, but as you can see from this video, I had the wrong idea of how to say several of them, myself. Join me in this tutorial as my French sister-in-law Audrey sets me straight. Click below to begin watching. Did any of these pronunciations surprise you? 

Behind the Scenes with Author Laurie Alice Eakes

Fri, 2016-11-04 15:26 -- Jocelyn Green
I'm so pleased to have author Laurie Alice Eakes on the blog today! The first book I read of hers was Lady in the Mist, and I absolutely adored it. So much so, in fact, that after hearing that Laurie Alice offered book coaching services, I hired her to coach me through writing my first novel, Wedded to War! She is a very talented storyteller, and I can't wait to dive in to her new book, My Enemy, My Heart.  Laurie Alice has written a behind-the-scenes guest post for us today, but first, I want to share with you more about her new book. Here's the blurb:  The sea has always been Deirdre MacKenzie’s home, and the crew of her father’s Baltimore clipper is the only family she loves. She’s happier wearing breeches and climbing the rigging of the Maid of Alexandria than donning a dress and learning to curtsey. But, when the War of 1812 erupts, the ship is captured by a British privateer . With her father, the captain, dead, Deirdre sees her crew herded into the hold as prisoners-of-war. Their fate is the notorious Dartmoor prison in England. Her fate as a noncombatant prisoner is uncertain, but the one thing she knows—she must find a way to free her crew.  Kieran  Ashford has caused his family one too many scandals. On his way to exile in America, he is waylaid by the declaration of war and a chance to turn privateer and make his own fortune. But he regrets his actions as soon as the rich prize is secured. Kieran figures his best chance at redeeming himself in the eyes of his family is to offer Deidre the protection of his name in marriage. He has no idea that secrets from his parents’ past and Deirdre’s determination to free her crew are on a disastrous collision course.  Love and loyalty clash, as Kieran begins to win Deirdre’s heart despite her plot to betray him and his family.  While Kieran works to mend the relationship with his family, he begins to love his bride in spite of what lies between them. Sounds fantastic. You all know I'm drawn to war stories anyway! And now without further ado, I'm handing the post off to Laurie Alice Eakes. She writes: The play “The Mouse that Roared” could have been written about the United States going up against Great Britain for what has become known as The War of 1812 in the United States and not even talked about in Great Britain, except by military historians. We had 18 ships in our Navy, most of which weren’t even seaworthy, and the British had 506 or so, all commissioned. Half of our country was against the war, and the Army was a joke. Yet in June, 1812, the United States declared war on Great Britain. We lost nearly every land battle, had our capital burned, and our First lady and president sent fleeing for their lives. Yet we signed a treaty giving us everything we wanted. No one should have been surprised by this turn of events. For over half a decade, we had been building up to such a momentous and drastic decision to go to war. The British thought they owned the seas. They impressed our sailors, declaring they were British citizens, not American. They told us where and with whom we could trade our raw and finished materials. They were just generally arrogant about what was their empire—the entire world, if they had their way. We were just trying to survive as a nation. We had tried peaceful means of resolving these issues, from an embargo against British goods, which went over like a crowd volunteering for the flu—that is to say, it didn’t make Mr. Jefferson popular. Diplomatic means failed. That left war. Against this background, I have, for many years, wanted to set a book. The idea has lived in my brain and partially on my computer for well over ten years. What if an American lady ends up stranded in Great Britain during the war. But no, I had to make it worse. She had to be in Great Britain against her will. Into the research tomes I delved. Out of them I picked up bits and pieces of information about British privateers, noncombatant prisoners of war, and, most of all, Dartmoor Prison. Dartmoor was built in 1809 for French prisoners. When America declared war on Great Britain, the English began to cram Americans into this stone fortress built on the bleak and inclement wasteland of Dartmoor in Devonshire. That is near Plymouth in the West Country, maybe 40 miles east of Poldark country, for those who follow that series. It is still a prison today, and I could write more just about Dartmoor and the St. Bartholomew Day massacre. Another time, should Jocelyn invite me back to talk about prisoners of war. For My Enemy, My Heart, I don’t talk much about the battles or loss of ships and money; I focus on the human toll of the war. Deirdre loses her father, her crew, and the merchantman on which she has lived for most of her life. Losing her freedom and having to act like a proper lady is possibly the hardest thing she has ever done. Falling in love with an Englishman is worse, for Deirdre plans to free her crew from prison, but to do so, makes her a traitor to the family who have shown her nothing but love and kindness. The enemy is good. Her crew have always been her family. Deirdre is loyal to both. She must betray one or the other. I can’t tell you how My Enemy, My Heart ends, and I can tell you how the war ended. On Christmas Eve, 1814, we signed the Treaty of Ghent. The British stopped impressing our men. They stopped telling us where and with whom we could trade. And we stopped scarfing up their merchantmen like children at a Halloween candy bag. Yes, our Navy, though vastly improved by the war experience, didn’t win the war; our privateers did. We built fantastic and fast merchant ships we turned into fighting vessels and sailed off to scoop up rich, British prizes. Our vessels were so fast we could cut out those sluggish British merchantmen and sail them off as prizes. We took so many, the merchants of Great Britain hollered ‘uncle’ and demanded an end to the war. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Laurie Alice! I'm beyond intruiged. Happy reading, everyone! You can find My Enemy, My Heart at Amazon, Goodreads, ChristianBook, BarnesandNoble, and more. About Laurie Alice Eakes: “Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic Times of  bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author, with more than two dozen books in print. She has recently relocated to a cold climate because she is weird enough to like snow and icy lake water. When she isn’t basking in the glory of being cold, she likes to read, visit museums, and take long walks, preferably with her husband, though the cats make her feel guilty every time she leaves the house.

Interview with Heather Day Gilbert + Giveaway!

Tue, 2016-11-01 08:08 -- Jocelyn Green
Friends, I am so excited for two reasons. First, I turned in the manuscript for Free to Lean: Making Peace with Your Lopsided Life last night! Woohoo! (It releases from Discovery House in August 2017.) Second: today is RELEASE DAY for Heather Day Gilbert's amazing Viking tale, Forest Child! Find it on Amazon, BarnesandNoble, iBooks, Kobo, and Goodreads. I had the privilege of reading this early and endorsing it. Here's what I had to say: Forest Child is one of the bravest works of fiction I’ve ever read. Brimming with tension, yet laced with tenderness, this powerful saga is sure to keep you turning the pages far into the night. An ingenious blend of Viking history and timeless issues of the heart still relevant today. Heather graciously answered a few burning questions I had after reading Forest Child: Heather Day Gilbert 1) What first inspired you to write inspirational Viking stories?  I was interested in my Viking heritage (I'm allegedly related to Eirik the Red/Leif Eiriksson via my Norwegian blood), so I bought a copy of The Sagas of Icelanders. I read up on them and found stories of Viking women who did heroic things—one was a Christian named Gudrid, and one was a warrior named Freydis. 2) Well that is the coolest thing, being allegedly related to Eirik and Leif! I love both God's Daughter and Forest Child so much, but I think Forest Child is my favorite. Do you have a favorite character that you've written? If so, which one and why?  That is always such a tough question. I'm a little bit in love with each of my leading men (and some of the side men, like Leif Eiriksson and Snorri Thorbrandsson!). I think it's because I'm in my main characters' heads, so I'm writing men I know fit with that character—but the men, as you know, are far from perfect! I would say I love Thorfinn Karlsefni for a fave male character and probably Freydis for female in my Viking series, but don't tell Gudrid I said that! She would probably stew over that slight for weeks. Gudrid tends to ruminate on things, whereas Freydis just rushes right into situations. Let's just say I relate to Freydis a bit more. ;) 3) I had a hard enough time doing research on eighteenth-century France for my upcoming novel. How on earth did you research for these books?  It is tough, because there are limited written records of the Viking era. I based both novels so closely on The Saga of Greenlanders and Eirik the Red's Saga that the plotlines stemmed from there. One fantastic resource I discovered while writing Forest Child is the site. They study/replicate Viking weapons and warfare, but have also compiled some helpful articles on things like Viking farm life and the Althing council meetings. is another helpful online resource. And of course I've accumulated a lot of books on the period! As you know, when you write book 2 in a series set in a particular time period, you have a better grasp of the foods they ate then, materials used for clothing, houses, etc., so that makes those details easier to integrate the second go-round. 4) Freydis, daughter of Eirik the Red, was quite a strong, brave character! In telling her story, were you tempted to gloss over some aspects if her life or character? How did you handle that?  Oh, yes. Yes indeed. I would have loved to leave out one of the most defining moments of her warrior "career", but I knew that was impossible. Every Norse historian knows exactly the event I'm referring to—it was that famous. So I knew there would be no glossing over it! But because I have a strong Christian reader base, I knew I had to make sure the violence wasn't over-the-top and graphic. It was a real tightrope of balancing her real-life actions with a story that wouldn't make you hate her. It took years of pondering and a heavy blanket of prayers to finally break through and discover a reason I thought could explain why a woman would have taken the action she did. After I wrote that pivotal scene, I felt such a sense of relief. It still seemed a bit edgy compared to most Christian fiction, but I felt God helped me handle it in a way that (hopefully!) wouldn't alienate any of my loyal readers. And as it turns out, many of my readers are saying they love this book more than God's Daughter, so that is just evidence that God did this thing, not me! 5) I thought you handled that scene amazingly well. I'm so thrilled that you have another Viking tale coming out in March in the Message in a Bottle Romance Collection! Can you tell us just a little about what we can look forward to in that story? I'm so excited about this collection, because you know I'm dying to read YOUR novella that's in it! My novella shares the tale of a Viking, Ari, who sails to Ireland to take vengeance for his brother's death, but through a series of God-directed events, he winds up getting to know a rather solitary and bookish Irish princess named Britta. Will they learn to overcome their cultural differences and trust each other? I'd probably better stop right there, because I have a tendency to be a walking "spoiler alert"! Thank you so much, Heather! It's going to be a fantastic collection, I can't wait for it to release in March! Thanks so much for letting me visit, Jocelyn! And right now, I have four softcover book bundle giveaways going on to celebrate the release of Forest Child. Here's the link for your readers to check those out: ! Enter before November 13 for a chance to win!  Yes, these are amazing book bundle packages! See the photo collage below and then jump to the link Heather provided to enter the drawings! Congrats, Heather, on your truly wonderful new book.  

Character Inspirations for The Mark of the King

Tue, 2016-05-03 08:02 -- Jocelyn Green
I spent last Friday at Bethany House Publishers' offices in Minneapolis, and I'm getting so excited to see what they come up with for The Mark of the King's book cover! I will likely do the cover reveal through my newsletter (see sign up in the footer of this page) two weeks before it appears on all the retail sites. The book releases in January, but the cover will be finalized this summer. Yippee!  Now, since I don't have the cover quite yet, I thought I would at least show you some images that I've been using as inspiration for some of my main characters. Julianne is our intrepid midwife sent from Paris to New Orleans in a colonizing scheme. The three other men pictured all play really, really important roles in her life. I don't want to say what yet, because I fear I may spoil the story for you.  Two of these character images in the collage above come from the same movie. Do you know what it is? :) One of my favorites. Now that I have you, allow me to settle a little housekeeping issue. I feel I owe you an explanation for my hiatus on the blog during the last several months. I have two good reasons for being quiet. First, I was writing a novel: The Mark of the King. It's turned in now, so I have some time to breathe, and blog. Second, for months, I've been dealing with hackers on my Web site. They infected my site in such a way that visitors may also get infected by dropping by my Web site. So I certainly didn't want to invite you over until that was taken care of. Randomly, after one malicious hacker was taken out of the picture, the next issue was that all links on my site would redirect you to a British asparagus farm. I kid you not. So, again, not exactly motivation to blog.  Thankfully, my husband is a Web developer, so he re-created my Web site from scratch. There are some new things we added since the whole Virus-Asparagus Fiasco. Now on the "Books" page, there is a scrolling shelf of my book covers, and you can click on any one of them to get to that book's page. (The dropdown menus are still there, too.) In the "On Writing" page, instead of just recommending my favorite books for writers, I now have a little Amazon shop with my top picks so you can shop right from there if you are feeling anxious to get those books. On the "Free Stuff" page I added a collage of reader pictures! Send me your picture with one of my books and I'll add you to the rotation! We also added "Add to Goodreads" buttons in addition to the buy links on every fiction and nonfiction book page which I hope you will feel free to use. :) Last, we added another book that is now available for pre-order: Refresh: Spiritual Nourishment for Parents of Children with Special Needs. One more thing. For those of you who subscribe to the blog, I noticed it sent you a digest of the last ten blog posts last time. I apologize. I don't know why that happened--maybe feedburner thought they must have missed something because of my extended absence. Hopefully that won't happen again.  OK, I feel much better having gotten that off my chest. Onward!

Little Union Girl Touches the Heart of a Confederate at Gettysburg

Thu, 2015-07-16 07:02 -- Jocelyn Green
Edward McPherson Farm. Gettysburg farms like this one were used as field hospitals.
During my research for Widow of Gettysburg, I read everything I could related to the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) and its aftermath. I read so many gory descriptions of the carnage that I started to glaze over them. But one day, a sweet letter from a soldier to a Sunday school girl brought tears to my eyes. I want to share it with you. First a little background: during the Civil War, the Christian Commission (born out of the YMCA) encouraged Sunday school classes in the North to put together "comfort bags" which were distributed by delegates of the Christian Commission to soldiers. These bags were small cloth kits which included thread, sewing needles, small scissors, and scraps of material. Each child also included a note with the bag to encourage the receiving soldier. At Gettysburg, a wounded Confederate received one of these comfort bags from a little girl in Massachusetts. He wrote back to her: My Dear Little Friend--I received your present, the comfort bag, and it is thrice welcome, although it was intended for Union defenders. It was given to me by a Christian woman, who lost her holy anger against Rebels--for such am I--in her bounteous sympathy with the unfortunate. My little friend can imagine my thankfulness for the favor, when I inform her that I have no friends this side of heaven--all gone, father, mother, sister and brother, and I am all alone.   The dear comfort-bag I shall always keep as a memento of true sympathy from a generous heart in the loyal State of Massachusetts. I hope you will not be disappointed by this, coming as it does from a Rebel; for I was forced into the ranks at the point of bayonet, for I would not go willingly to fight against the dear old flag, whose ample folds have always shielded the orphan and made glad the oppressed.   I have read your note very many times over, and have wished it could rightfully be mine. "Do they think of me at home?" Silence--all is silence! Not so with the Union soldier; a thousand tokens tell him yes.   I was wounded in the second day's fight and am now packing up my all to be exchanged or sent back a cripple for life. I am seventeen years old, and now am turned out with one arm to carve my way through the world; but my trust is in my heavenly Father, who will forgive and bless. Hoping that God may in mercy reunite us all again as brothers and sister. I am your unworthy friend.   E--A--Co--. Miss. Volunteers This touching letter appears in many documents and books, including Gettysburg and the Christian Commission by Daniel Hoisington. Following the battle of Gettysburg, the United States Christian Commission provided spiritual and physical care to thousands of wounded and dying soldiers of both armies. More than three hundred volunteers came to the battlefield, leaving a legacy of “a thousand little nameless acts.” The book includes important contemporary accounts of the battle’s aftermath, including the first complete publication of the diary of John Calhoun Chamberlain, one of the first delegates at Gettysburg and brother of the hero of Little Round Top. Jane Boswell Moore’s letters provide a glimpse of women’s work among the soldiers. Andrew Cross’ official report describes the carnage of battle as “a most fearful judgment of God upon a nation and people.” In a postwar story, George Peltz tells of a return to the Second Corps Hospital eight years later on a final mission of mercy. For more about the Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War novels, visit the Web site.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of an Audio Book!

Thu, 2015-07-09 06:30 -- Jocelyn Green
Today I'm thrilled to be sharing an interview with the very talented Laura's Voice, who brings Widow of Gettysburg to life in audio book format! This is my first novel that has been made into an audio book, so I've been very curious about the process. I hope you'll enjoy learning about it from Laura as much as I did! Jocelyn: How do you choose which books you want to lend your voice to? Laura: Whatever I do, I want to help share a message that is inspiring, edifying, or juicily entertaining--or all three! Tell us about your process once you've contracted to do the narration. I like to print the manuscript and I still use a pencil--creating a character list of each one's first appearance and first speaking part, along with any notes from the text that describes his/her personality, voice, tone attitude, etc. In the margins, I make notes of any kind that occur to me--typos (as a former English teacher and technical writer, I simply can't help myself!), and other corrections, moments where I want to emote in a certain way--then I may add a smiley face, a sad face, exclamation points, etc. After an entire read-through, I'll go back to the author/publisher with any questions I may have. I create a sample for the client to listen to and get their approval and, if necessary, will also include a character sample to ensure he/she likes the voices I create for each character. Once we have final agreement on tone, character voices, pronunciations, and any corrections that alter the text, I record and edit the text, creating .mp3 files for the listener! [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1289", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-3349", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"550", "height":"366", "alt":"This markup picture shows where I had to switch from Harrison to a commanding officer to the young soldier who overstuffed his rifle and kept chanting to himself."}}]] This markup picture shows where I had to switch from Harrison to a commanding officer to the young soldier who overstuffed his rifle and kept chanting to himself.   I see you've noted Harrison's voice as deep but clear. That's exactly how I imagined it, too! How do you create the different voices and accents for the characters? In addition to what I described in the answer to Q2, when a character is said to be from a particular region, I study that region's accents (by listening to folks on YouTube) and practice, practice, practice! I love how you captured the various accents in Widow! How else do you mark up the text? I like to underline lines or phrases I especially like--just in case I have the chance to tell the author--it's always nice to hear what someone likes about your work! I have also printed pictures of places and maps of regions to have with me as I read the manuscript in order to get to know the content better. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1290", "attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter wp-image-3351", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"550", "height":"489", "alt":"LaurasVoicetext2"}}]] Take us behind the scenes on a recording day. How much time do you spend in a recording session, and how many times do you typically read the same passage? I like to have everything done to avoid interruptions--wait until the kids are on the bus, make sure the dogs have gone potty, wait at least a half-hour after brushing my teeth and have been drinking plenty of water so my mouth isn't dry, etc. I like to break the reading up into chunks--most easily by chapters, but if a chapter is particularly long, I find a good stopping point within the chapter. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1291", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-3353", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"550", "height":"310", "alt":"LaurasVoicestudio"}}]] Where the magic happens!   Now, if the section I'm working on has a lot of difficult voices--male, gruff, deep, or perhaps a character is sick, wounded--anything that would cause strain and take extra energy to act out--I may be limited to only about half an hour of recording. It could take several hours or even another day before I can return to recording! If a passage is difficult, it may be due to long sentences, multi-syllabic words, older style of speaking, or a number of character voice changes. Those may require several takes--so I'll stop, wait a couple of seconds, say "Take Two" (or sometimes three, four, five, six, grrrrr . . . . (and restart from a moment when there was a natural stop because of a paragraph break, punctuation, or breathing. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1292", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-3208 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"300", "alt":"widowaudible"}}]]I'm sure that different projects require you to strike different tones, from upbeat and energetic to slow and thoughtful. How would you describe the tone (or tones) you employed for Widow of Gettysburg? Widow of Gettysburg required a lot of different tones--from memories, life-changing considerations, guilt and regret, longing, love and loss, renewed love, evil and lust for power. There were times I had to read a passage to myself before recording to get into the right mood--maybe even practice the passage a bit to get just the right amount of remorse Silas felt, or anger and frustration both Bella and Libbie had with each other--especially as Bella kept her secret. Amelia was one of my favorite characters to capture her various tones depending on her audience the moment and the events and how they altered her perception--or clarified her position. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1293", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-3360 size-medium", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"300", "height":"200", "alt":"LaurasVoiceheadshot"}}]] Laura   Amelia was really fun to write! What do you think would surprise the rest of us about your work as a voice actress? Perhaps the people I've consulted in an effort to get the correct pronunciation for a town. A lot of terms I can Google--but not all! Taneytown, as it's pronounced, cannot be found ANYWHERE on the Internet! I ended up calling the Adams County courthouse and asked the first person to pick up the phone how she pronounced it! For other projects, I've consulted scientists for help with nine-syllable chemicals and related formulas; a banker and our local economic development corporation for help in reading aloud the acronyms for various programs and forms needed to obtain the correct licenses. That may be one of the most fun tasks is tracking down the pronunciation or accent that a story requires and once I've had success--! I usually have to call my mom to tell her I did it! My dogs just aren't quite enthusiastic enough. I think the other thing is that, locally, people are quite surprised someone in a town of less than 9K is the voice for books they very well might listen to--it's always nice to see the wonder on a person's face. :) That is so neat! Thank you so much for being with us and sharing how you do your job! I found it fascinating! Listen to the first scene of Widow by clicking "Play Sample" on this page. If you enjoyed this "behind the scenes" post, you may also enjoy: Behind the Scenes: The Making of a Book Trailer Revealed: Evolution of a Book Cover The Writing Life: A Single Scene in the Making

Gettysburg Diaries: Sarah Broadhead's Suspense in the Cellar

Wed, 2015-07-01 06:00 -- Jocelyn Green
On this day in 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, shed its small town tranquility as the most famous battle in the entire Civil War began. For three days, war would rage in fields and orchards, with farmers and townspeople alike caught in the crosshairs. Today I'd like to share with you one woman's perspective. The following is excerpted from my nonfiction book, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front: Suspense in the Cellar [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"677", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-228 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"124", "height":"179", "alt":"BB-homefront-cover_125"}}]]While Sarah Broadhead’s husband stayed in their Gettysburg home to protect it, Sarah and her child fled to a friend’s cellar in a “safer” part of town to ride out the fighting on the first day. There they remained huddled together all day, only emerging when the firing ceased. She recorded in her diary at the end of July 1: How changed the town looked when we came to the light. The street was strewn over with clothes, blankets, knapsacks, cartridge-boxes, dead horses, and the bodies of a few men, but not so many of these last as I expected to see. . . We started home, and found things all right. As I write all is quiet, but O! how I dread tomorrow. The next two days of battle, the Broadheads stayed together in their own cellar. Staying in the dark for hours at a time while the battle raged, the suspense was nearly unbearable. On July 3, Sarah wrote: Nearly all the afternoon it seemed as if the heavens and earth were crashing together. The time that we sat in the cellar seemed long, listening to the terrific sound of strife; more terrible never greeted human ears. We knew that with every explosion, and the scream of each shell, human beings were hurried, through excruciating pain, into another world, and that many more were torn, and mangled, and lying in torment worse than death, and no one able to extend relief. . . Who is victorious, or with whom the advantage rests, no one here can tell. It would ease the horror if we knew our arms were successful. As Christians, we are in spiritual battles of our own, and we see the physical evidence of sin in every corner of the globe. Man’s inhumanity to man is often incomprehensible, and natural disasters from floods to fires cause tremendous heartache and destruction. But unlike the Gettysburg citizens hiding in their cellars, we don’t have to live in suspense about who holds the ultimate victory. Jesus had victory on the cross, and He is victorious in the end. When you feel attacked, remember that you are fighting on the winning side! Prayer: Lord, I praise You that You are victorious—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, Almighty God! “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.” ~Revelation 19:6 ___________________________ [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"771", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-891 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"125", "height":"193", "alt":"Widow cover 3 125"}}]]Sarah survived the battle and offered her nursing help to the wounded soldiers being cared for at the Lutheran Seminary building. Her diary of the weeks during and after the battle has proven to be one of our most valuable eyewitness accounts of the civilian experience. Stories like Sarah's inspired me to bring these women's voices to life with my novel, Widow of Gettysburg, in which Sarah plays a small but important role. I am so pleased to report that just last month, a marker was dedicated at Sarah Broadhead's grave to honor her contributions. If you liked meeting Sarah, you may also enjoy 3 Heroines of Gettysburg. Learn more about Widow of Gettysburg here, or view the one-minute trailer below for a taste of the story.

The Civil War and Prosthetic Limbs

Tue, 2015-04-07 16:07 -- Jocelyn Green
“It is not two years since the sight of a person who had lost one of his lower limbs was an infrequent occurrence. Now, alas! There are few of us who have not a cripple among our friends, if not in our own families. A mechanical art which provided for an occasional and exceptional want has become a great and active branch of industry. War unmakes legs, and human skill must supply their places as it best may.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, M.D., “The Human Wheel, Its Spokes and Felloes”  If necessity is the mother of invention, it should come as no surprise that the Civil War, which produced some 45,000 amputee veterans, also prompted major progress in the development and production of artificial limbs. One of the characters in my novel Widow of Gettysburg is the recipient of one of these limbs. Let’s take a closer look at what was involved in this rehabilitation of amputee veterans. (You can see more on amputations in a previous blog post, here.) Once the stump was healed after amputation and the patient able to do without dressings, the surgeons' work was finished, and the patient was left to shift for himself in securing the best apparatus. But not everyone was a good candidate for a prosthetic. If the limb was taken off at the joint, such as the hip or shoulder, there was no stump to which an artificial limb could be attached. The surgeon may have performed the operation too high or too low on the limb for a good fit to be possible. Also, if the stump was prone to frequent infection, it would have been too painful to attach an artificial limb to it. For those who could pursue a prosthetic, in the North, the most popular artificial leg was a “Palmer” leg, named for Benjamin Franklin Palmer, who patented the design. A previous design by James Potts was made of wood, leather, and cat-gut tendons hinging the knee and ankle joints, and dubbed “The Clapper” for the clicking sound of its motion. Palmer improved upon this design with a heel spring in 1846, and his “American leg” was produced continuously through World War 1. Palmer’s leg cost about $150, a prohibitive amount for the average private, whose pay was about $13 per month. Add to that the cost of travel and lodging expenses to see a specialist, and the number of amputees who could afford it went down even further. The cost of an artificial limb for Confederate veterans was between $300-$500, due to the soaring inflation. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1196", "attributes":{"class":"media-image size-full wp-image-2943", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"496", "height":"600", "alt":"Wooden leg"}}]] Wooden leg   Since the majority of veterans had been farmers, planters, or skilled laborers before the war, the need for artificial limbs was, indeed, a crippling problem. To help address it, the U.S. government appropriated $15,000 in 1862 to pay for limbs for maimed soldiers and sailors. In January 1864, a civilian association in Richmond was established to pay for artificial limbs for Confederate amputees. After the war in 1866, North Carolina became the first state to start a program for thousands of amputees to receive artificial limbs. The program offered veterans free accommodations and transportation by rail; 1,550 veterans contacted the program by mail. During the same year, the State of Mississippi spent more than half its yearly budget providing veterans with artificial limbs. Many entrepreneurs who developed artificial limbs were Civil War veteran amputees themselves. In fact, one of the most successful pioneers in prosthetics was Confederate veteran James Edward Hanger, whose amputation in West Virginia was the first recorded amputation of the Civil War. He was 18 years old at the time. Union surgeons discovered him wounded and performed the amputation, giving him a standard issue replacement leg: a solid piece of wood that made walking clunky and difficult. Hanger’s adjustments included better hinging and flexing abilities using rust-proof levers and rubber pads. He also used whittled barrel staves to make the limb lighter-weight. He won the Confederate contract to produce limbs, and by 1890, had moved his headquarters to Washington, D.C., and opened satellite offices in four other cities. The company he founded – Hanger, Inc. – remains a key player in prosthetics and orthotics today. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1197", "attributes":{"class":"media-image aligncenter wp-image-2942", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"550", "height":"398", "alt":"hange-decker"}}]] The Civil War-era commitment to support veterans continues today through programs of the VA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to ensure ongoing progress in prosthetics design. The war set the prosthetics industry on a course that would ultimately lead to today’s quasi-bionic limbs that look like the real thing and can often perform some tasks even better. To see just how far we’ve come in the realm of prosthetic limbs, I invite you to take a look at the video below. This is a brief look at the story of Taylor Morris, the fifth quad amputee veteran in the U.S. Army. You will see Taylor, who is from my hometown of Cedar Falls, Iowa, go from the hospital bed shortly after his surgeries, to dancing with his girlfriend again at the end of the video. (Have a Kleenex handy!) For further reading: Hasegawa, Guy R. Mending Broken Soldiers: The Union and Confederate Programs to Supply Artificial Limbs. Southern Illinois University Press, 2012.

5 Pioneering Women Doctors and Nurses of the Civil War

Sun, 2015-03-29 14:43 -- Jocelyn Green
The truth is, all women who were doctors and nurses during the Civil War were pioneers in their field. Prior to 1861, nurses--and all but two doctors in the United States--were men. But when social reformer Dorothea Dix pointed out to President Lincoln that he had a scant 28 surgeons in the army's medical department to care for the 75,000 volunteers he'd just called for, he reluctantly conceded that women be allowed to serve as nurses. I want to introduce you to five remarkable women who blazed the trail for women in medicine.   1) Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. An English immigrant, Dr. Blackwell was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, and ran an infirmary for women and children near the slums of New York City. When the Civil War broke out, she realized the Union army needed a system for distributing supplies and organized four thousand women into the Women’s Central Association of Relief (WCAR). The WCAR grew into chapters around the county, and this body systematically collected and distributed life-saving supplies such as bandages, blankets, food, clothing and medical supplies. Blackwell also partnered with several prominent male physicians in New York City to offer a one-month training course for 100 women who wanted to be nurses for the army. This was the first formal training for women nurses in the country. Once they completed their training, they were placed at various hospitals. By July 1861, the WCAR prompted the government to form a national version—the United States Sanitary Commission. And it all started because Dr. Blackwell decided to mobilize the women of the country to help the Union.   [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1181", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-2890 size-medium", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"279", "height":"300", "alt":"Georgeanna-Woolsey"}}]] Georgeanna Woolsey   2) Georgeanna Woolsey. At 28 years old, Georgeanna should not have been allowed to serve the army as a nurse, but she got through the application process anyway. Against her mother’s and sisters’ wishes, she was one of the 100 women trained in New York City to be a nurse. Not content to sit in a parlor and knit or scrape lint, she was eager to go where the fighting was, to get her hands dirty in a way she had never been allowed to before as a wealthy, privileged woman. Georgeanna wrote many letters and accounts of her experiences, including this: “Some of the bravest women I have ever known were among this first company of army nurses. . . . Some of them were women of the truest refinement and culture; and day after day they quietly and patiently worked, doing, by order of the surgeon, things which not one of those gentlemen would have dared to ask of a woman whose male relative stood able and ready to defend her and report him. I have seen small white hands scrubbing floors, washing windows, and performing all menial offices. I have known women, delicately cared for at home, half fed in hospitals, hard worked day and night, and given, when sleep must be had, a wretched closet just large enough for a camp bed to stand in. I have known surgeons who purposely and ingeniously arranged these inconveniences with the avowed intention of driving away all women from their hospitals. “These annoyances could not have been endured by the nurses but for the knowledge that they were pioneers, who were, if possible, to gain standing ground for others. . ." Georgeanna Woolsey is the inspiration for my main character in Wedded to War. Woolsey nursed patients in seminary buildings, the U.S. Patent Office, and aboard hospital transport ships which carried wounded and sick soldiers from the swamps of the Virginia Peninsula. After the war, Georgeanna and her husband, veteran Union surgeon Dr. Francis Bacon, founded the Connecticut Training School for Nurses at New Haven Hospital.  She also published Hand Book of Nursing for Family and General Use and co-founded the Connecticut Children's Aid Society. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1182", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-2886", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"259", "height":"373", "alt":"mewalker4"}}]] Dr. Mary Edwards Walker   3) Dr. Mary Edwards Walker After volunteering as a nurse in 1861, and then as an assistant surgeon, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker earned a Union army commission for her services as surgeon in 1863. In 1864, she was captured by Confederates, suspected of espionage, and thrown into Richmond's Castle Thunder prison where she remained four months before her release. In 1865, she became the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor. Dr. Walker appears in Spy of Richmond. The newspaper article Mr. Kent dictates to Sophie about Dr. Walker's imprisonment is verbatim from the original story that ran in the Richmond Enquirer--including the comment about her "homely" appearance. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1183", "attributes":{"class":"media-image wp-image-2887", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"260", "height":"401", "alt":"Sally-Tompkins"}}]] Captain Sally Tompkins   4) Captain Sally Tompkins Sally Louisa Tompkins founded a private hospital in Richmond, Virginia, to care for the flood of Confederate wounded. During the war, her hospital cared for 1,333 soldiers and suffered only 73 deaths, which was the lowest mortality rate of any military hospital. The Robertson hospital, named for the judge who let Sally use one of his houses, returned 94 percent of its patients to service. Eventually Confederate authorities decided to close all private hospitals, declaring that soldier patients could only be cared for at government hospitals run by a commissioned officer with at least a rank of captain. When Tompkins heard the news, she called on Jefferson Davis and asked for an exception to the new rule. Since her hospital's remarkable record spoke for itself, Davis commissioned Tompkins a Captain of Cavalry, unassigned, making Robertson Hospital an official government facility. She was the only female commissioned officer in the Confederate Army. As an unassigned officer she could remain at the hospital permanently. The military rank also allowed her to draw government rations for her patients, but she refused to be added to the army payroll. [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1184", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignright wp-image-2628", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"270", "height":"318", "alt":"Clara Barton"}}]] 5) Clara Barton No list of groundbreaking nurses would be complete without her. Barton was fiercely independent, a self-appointed field-nurse for the Army of the Potomac. Working on her own, beyond the structure of the Sanitary Commission and Army Medical Department, she stockpiled supplies in her small Washington flat and then drove into the Virginia countryside, and into Maryland, to disperse them among the wounded.  At General Butler's request, she cared for the soldiers in the Army of the James during the summer campaigns of 1864, as well. Her work for soldiers and their families didn't end along with the war, however. She continued her service by opening the Missing Soldiers’ Office in Washington, D.C. to help family members find the remains of their loved ones. By 1869, she had identified 22,000 missing men and received and responded to 63,182 letters from those trying to locate their soldiers. Later, Clara brought a chapter of the International Red Cross to life in America. For more in Clara Barton, click here. A Woman's Place* [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"798", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-1085 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"206", "height":"297", "alt":"BB homefront cover200"}}]]*The following is excerpted from my nonfiction book, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front, to explain why women had such struggles as nurses at the beginning of the war. The clash between surgeons and women nurses which Georgeanna Woolsey described had its roots in how each group of people viewed the woman’s place in society. Americans in the mid-nineteen century commonly believed that men and women had their own separate spheres of activity. Men occupied the commercial, business and political fields. Women’s activities were relegated to home, church, women’s clubs and reform groups, and circles of female friends and relatives. But in which sphere did the hospital fall? Normally, when someone fell ill, a doctor visited the home, examined the patient, and left the nursing care to the female relatives living in the household. Wives, sisters, daughters, and grandmothers administered medicine, dressed wounds, and saw to the patient’s recovery. The only people treated in the hospital were those who didn’t have women at home to nurse them. Once the war began, medical care for soldiers had to be systemized since the troops could not recover at home (although many wives and mothers travelled hundreds of miles to personally nurse their own wounded family members). Male doctors held that the ward was part of the military hospital, so it fell under their dominion. Popular opinion also held that women would faint in the presence of war’s gruesome casualties, and that their innocence would be marred with exposure to the naked male body. Women nurses were convinced the hospital ward belonged in the female domain, since they were treating sick soldiers the same way they would in their own homes—and the home was unequivocally within the female sphere. More tension arose between men and women when the female nurses viewed the doctors’ advice as suggestions rather than strict orders, for at home, they had the freedom to follow or not follow the doctor’s orders as they saw fit. Over the course of the war, the surgeons and nurses came to accept and work with each other as both groups proved their mettle and shared genuine desire to save lives and speed recovery of the soldiers. Wedded to War (Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War Book One) [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"678", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignleft wp-image-229 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"125", "height":"195", "alt":"WeddedtoWarcover-125"}}]]Charlotte Waverly leaves a life of privilege, wealth–and confining expectations–to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she’s fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing?             [[{"type":"media", "view_mode":"media_large", "fid":"1185", "attributes":{"class":"media-image alignnone wp-image-2768 size-full", "typeof":"foaf:Image", "style":"", "width":"134", "height":"45", "alt":"add-to-goodreads-button"}}]]


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