Friday Musings

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This week has been a tough week all around with work and personal life and I haven’t had a whole lot of time for my Presidential Reading Challenge. Which of course is bothering me but I shall rally on and pick it up back this weekend. Having said that, I have made progress in an audio book I have been listening too-The Last Mrs. Parish and an ARC by St, Martin Press called, “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen.

I’m 54% done with Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen: This is a really good story! I’ve always wondered how the Union Army would be able to recruit ex-slaves-right after the civil war- to become Buffalo Soldiers knowing what they were going to do to the Indians. Or did they really have a clear picture in the beginning? It really had always baffled me. This story goes into that a little from what I’ve read so far and now I understand what the Union Army could have told the soldiers to make them fight the Indians. I’m kind-of dreading reading about what is going to happen once they get out west-already knowing its history. I shall prevail!

I’m almost done listening to The Last Mrs. Parish and boy oh boy there is a HUGE twist in the story. Not only that but the characters are disturbing to say the least! Wow! Good story though, really good. One of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while, I must say.

Have a wonderful weekend and see you on Monday!

Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

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A Time to Mourn: 19th Century by Janet Stafford

Today at Layered Pages I am featuring Saint Maggie by Janet Stafford.

Saint Maggie is currently $1.99 for the Kindle ebook, free on Kindle Unlimited and $11.90 in paperback at Amazon

A while back, Janet and I were talking about death in the 19th Century and how important it was to people how one died and how they were mourned during the Victorian era. The Victorians took death serious and rightfully so. Our conversation was so fascinating I wanted to learn more about this subject. I am pleased that Janet has provided passages from her story, “Saint Maggie”, that depicts a little of what we discussed. Below you will read about Janet’s book, entries from the story and view images of the cover, house that reminds Janet of Maggie’s Boarding House, the Locktown Stone Church” in Locktown, NJ (Delaware Township). But it once was known as “The Old School Baptist Church.”, the Delaware River by Lumberton, PA and a woman that reminds Janet of her character Maggie. -Stephanie M. Hopkins 

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About Saint Maggie:

Maggie Blaine, a widow with two teenage daughters, runs a rooming house smack dab on the town square. In 1860 this makes her a social outcast. Boarding houses are only semi-respectable and hers has a collection of eclectic boarders – a failed aging writer, an undertaker’s apprentice, a struggling young lawyer, and an old Irishman. In addition, she has a friendship with Emily and Nate, an African-American couple with whom she shares her home and chores. It is a good thing the town doesn’t know that Maggie, along with Nate, Emily, and Eli Smith (the free-thinking editor of the weekly newspaper) are involved in the Underground Railroad. When she is asked to house handsome, gifted Jeremiah Madison, the new Methodist minister, Maggie hopes that he will both revive the little church she attends and provide her boarding house with a bit of badly-needed respectability. But Jeremiah comes with some dark secrets that challenge Maggie’s resolve to love and respect all people. As the town’s people reel from a series of shocking events, the compassionate, faithful Maggie searches for truth and struggles to forgive and love. (Based on a historical event.)

 Entries from SAINT MAGGIE:

Maggie’s Journal, 7 December 1860

 Patrick McCoy and the undertaker have laid Leah out in the front parlor. She lies, wearing her best silk dress of rose as if she were asleep. But she is not lying in bed. She is lying on a cooling board with ice below.

According to custom, our family has gathered to sit and mourn. Samuel, Abigail, and their two sons have been weeping sedately and properly before the coffin, but I know that beneath the propriety their hearts have been torn to shreds. Jeremiah Madison, too, prays and weeps softly. But beneath his veneer, I know that he also is housing an utterly broken heart. He does love Leah. It is obvious to my eyes now. How could I have doubted his devotion to her? There is nothing left inside him. That is so clear. I find myself struggling with memories of how it had been when John and Gideon died – the empty shock, the complete loss of mooring for my soul. And now I have a dead, empty hole within me from my miscarriage. Why does death leave such hollowness, such nothingness, such aloneness? No words, no actions, nothing can touch the aching solitude.

There is little I can do for my brother and his family and for Mr. Madison but to sit, watch, and pray. I feel weary and battered in spirit.

I have found some comfort, though. The Bible says that the Holy Ghost will intercede when we cannot find words, and, oh, how I cling to that promise and rest in the hope that the Spirit is at work when I am unable to do a blessed thing!

Maggie’s Journal, 9 December 1860

 Leah Beatty Madison was buried in the cemetery behind the Methodist Church this shivery, cloudy day. We sent invitations – funerals are private affairs for mourners only and not for curiosity-seekers – and family and close friends came to hear the Presbyterian minister’s prayers and sermon. Everyone was in black, as is proper. As for me, I will wear black for the next three months. Leah was my niece, and I must go into mourning for her.

The procession was slow and solemn, as the four black-plumed horses drew the hearse toward the cemetery. We all followed quietly on foot. Our eyes were downcast and tear-filled. Eli, Nate, Edgar, Robert Beatty and Joshua Beatty served as pallbearers. The rest of us stood, braced against a cold, sharp wind, as they shifted the coffin from the hearse and carried it to the grave. The bleakness of the weather matched the bleakness of our spirits: a fitting setting for the loss of a life so young and another life unborn.

When the family tossed clods of dirt on the coffin, the finality of the act echoed through us all. I know that in the future we will be comforted by the knowledge that Leah is with her Savior in heaven and that we shall all see her again someday. But now, at this moment, there is only death and cold and damp.

About the Author:

Janet R Stafford

Janet Stafford is a Jersey girl, book lover and lifelong scribbler. She readily confesses to being overly-educated, having received a B.A. in Asian Studies from Seton Hall University, as well as a Master of Divinity degree and a Ph.D. in North American Religion and Culture from Drew University. Having answered a call to vocational, but non-ordained ministry, Janet has served six United Methodist Churches, working in spiritual formation, communications, and ministries with children, youth, and families. She also was an adjunct professor for six years, teaching college classes in interdisciplinary studies and world history.

Writing, history, and religion came together for Janet when she authored Saint Maggie, an historical novel set in 1860-61 and based on a research paper written during her Ph.D. studies. She thought the book would be a single novel, but kept hearing readers ask, “What happens next?” In response, Janet created a series that follows the unconventional family from the first book through three other novels and three short stories, all set in the traumatic years of the American Civil War. Janet also ventured into the contemporary romance genre, going closer to home (the church) for her source material. Heart Soul & Rock ’n’ Roll tells the story of 40-year-old Lindsay Mitchell, who led a rock band in college but for the past fifteen years has worked as an assistant minister. Besieged by mid-life crisis, Lins wonders if perhaps she isn’t called to something new. But could that “something new” be a relationship with Neil, a man with a messy life and a bar band called the Grim Reapers?

Author Website

Layered Pages Interview with Janet

L.A.P. it Marketing

The Book Exchange: An Independent Book Store

I had a wonderful time at an author’s event hosted by The Book Exchange in Marietta Georgia on March 15th. I love meeting southern writers and learning about how they became writers and how the stories they tell are important to our American culture.

 

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The Book Exchange is a treasure trove and I could spend hours in there! The booksellers that work there are kind and helpful. I had discussed on my Facebook wall about reading stories where there were male protagonist a couple of months ago and Jennifer-the store owner of The Book Exchange told me she carried the Hornblower Saga-which I am highly interested in reading. When I went to the store for the author event-I mentioned above-and asked her about it, she remembered the titles of the books! I was thrilled!

Hornblower

The Vain Conversation: A Novel by Anthony Grooms

Inspired by true events, The Vain Conversation reflects on the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia from the perspectives of three characters—Bertrand Johnson, one of the victims; Noland Jacks, a presumed perpetrator; and Lonnie Henson, a witness to the murders as a ten-year-old boy. Lonnie’s inexplicable feelings of culpability drive him in a search for meaning that takes him around the world, and ultimately back to Georgia, where he must confront Jacks and his own demons, with the hopes that doing so will free him from the grip of the past.

In “The Vain Conversation”, Anthony Grooms seeks to advance the national dialogue on race relations. With complexity, satire, and sometimes levity, he explores what it means to redeem, as well as to be redeemed, on the issues of America’s race violence and speaks to the broader issues of oppression and violence everywhere.

Out of the Blues (Detective Sarah Alt #1) by Trudy Nan Boyce

“A fresh, gritty debut. Boyce unveils one of the best new series characters in ages. . .  A book that combines fast-paced suspense with moving insights.”—#1 New York Times-bestselling author Lisa Gardner

From an author with more than thirty years’ experience in the Atlanta Police Department comes a riveting procedural debut introducing an unforgettable heroine.

On her first day as a newly minted homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt is given the cold-case murder of a blues musician whose death was originally ruled an accidental drug overdose. Now new evidence has come to light that he may have been given a hot dose intentionally. And this evidence comes from a convicted felon hoping to trade his knowledge for shortened prison time . . . a man who Salt herself put behind bars.

In a search that will take her into the depths of Atlanta’s buried wounds—among the city’s homeless, its politically powerful churches, commerce and industry, and the police department itself—Salt probes her way toward the truth in a case that has more at stake than she ever could have imagined. At once a vivid procedural and a penetrating examination of what it means to be cop, Out of the Blues is a remarkable crime debut.

The Policeman’s Daughter (Detective Sarah Alt #3)

From author Trudy Nan Boyce, whose police procedural debut was hailed as “authentic” (New York Times Book Review) and “exceptional” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), returns with a stunning prequel to the Detective Salt series, the story behind the case that earned Salt her promotion to homicide.

At the beginning of her career, Sarah “Salt” Alt was a beat cop in Atlanta’s poorest, most violent housing project, The Homes. It is here that she meets the cast of misfits and criminals that will have a profound impact on her later cases: Man Man, the leader of the local gang on his way to better places; street dealer Lil D and his family; and Sister Connelly, old and observant, the matriarch of the neighborhood. A lone patrolwoman, Salt’s closest lifeline is her friend and colleague Pepper, on his own beat nearby. And when a murder in The Homes brings detectives to the scene, Salt draws closer to Detective Wills, initiating a romance complicated by their positions on the force.

When Salt is shot and sustains a head injury during a routine traffic stop, the resulting visions begin leading her toward answers in the case that makes her career. This is the tale of a woman who solves crimes through a combination of keen observation, grunt work, and pure gut instinct; this is the making of Detective Salt.

Book Exchange Facebook Page

Book Exchange Website

 

Georgia’s Hightower Trail

Me in Summer time 2017Last Monday my daughter and I drove by a Hightower Trial Marker heading towards Roswell on Shallowford. I was captivated by seeing the marker and remembering the history. It is a fascinating one and yet sad at the same time…

Learning about old roads and trails people in our own history used is extraordinary. So much happened along those roads and there were many settlements around them. Who were theses people? How far would they walk? How did they live? What did they experience? These questions always flood my mind and my thirst for learning more intensifies when I see these markers.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Hightower marker II Cropped

Text from website about the Historic marker: “Already a well-established route in the 1700s, the Hightower Trail was a major Indian thoroughfare and part of a network of trails connecting Augusta with the Etowah River area and Alabama. The path crossed the Chattahoochee River at a shallow ford below Roswell, traveled in a west and northwest direction through Fulton County, crossing Willeo Creek to enter Cobb County. It traveled over land later developed as the Mountain Creek subdivision and connected with present-day Shallowford Road near its intersection with McPherson Road. Shallowford then closely follows the original path through East Cobb. Pioneers also followed the ancient trail into the region transforming the footpath into a wagon road, remnants of which were still visible to 20th century residents living here when the area was still rural.”

Website

Hightower (Etowah) Trial – Fulton Co., GA – Ancient Traces and Roads

Thinking Roads

Q&A With Alfred Woollacott, III

Alfred with book resized to 300

I’d like to welcome Alfred Woollacott, III to Layered Pages today. Alfred retired from KPMG after a career spanning 34 years, choosing to reside full time at his summer residence on Martha’s Vineyard. Being “45 minutes from America” and with a 50 – 60 hour per week void to fill, he began dabbling into his family history. His dabbling grew into an obsession, and he published several genealogical summaries of his ancestors. But certain ones absorbed him such that he could not leave them. So, he researched their lives and times further while evolving his writing skills from “just the facts ma’am” to a fascinating narrative style. Thus, with imagination, anchored in fact and tempered with plausibility, a remote ancestor can achieve a robust life as envisioned by a writer with a few drops of his ancestor’s blood in his veins.

When not writing, Al serves on several Boards, and keeps physically active with golf, tennis, and hockey. He and his wife of 44 years, Jill, have four children and ten grandchildren.

Thank you for talking with me today, Alfred. Please tell you how you got into story-telling?

My blessing to spin a good story comes from my namesake, Alfred Sr., sprinkled, at times, with humor — genes from my maternal grandmother, Gracie. Beneath an extemporaneous exterior, lies a logical, results-oriented mind that spent a career at KPMG, an international accounting firm, researching facts and forming conclusions. So when I retired, dabbling in genealogical facts came naturally, and I got hooked. For a few on my ancestral tree, the facts cried out, “There’s a story here, add more leaves to the branches.” So I allowed the extemporaneous to spin a yarn around the facts and brought an ancestor to life

Tell me about your book, The Immigrant.

The Immigrant

The Immigrant is a fictionalized account of my seven-greats grandfather, John Law, who came to The Colonies in chains, a Scottish prisoner of war captured during the Battle of Dunbar. Upon his arrival in the winter of 1651, he began his indenture at the Saugus Iron Works and concluded it as a public shepherd for the town of Concord. Freed from his indenture, he began life anew to endure a Puritan Theocracy, English bigotry, and Native American dangers. Throughout all his ordeals, he wondered if God ever heard him. One day, he did.

 

Tell me about your book, The Believers in The Crucible Nauvoo.

The Believers In The Crucible Nauvoo

The book is the second of a planned trilogy, whose protagonist, Naamah Carter, like me descends from John Law. After enduring early parental deaths, she discovers renewed meaning to her strong Christian beliefs through Joseph Smith’s testaments. His following in Peterborough, New Hampshire flourishes, yet Naamah, her beloved Aunt Susan, and other believers suffer family strife and growing community resentment. She leaves her unfriendly situation and journeys to Nauvoo to be among thousands building their Prophet‘s revelation of an earthly Zion on a Mississippi River promontory. There, her faith is tested, enduring loss of loved ones and violence from those longing to destroy Nauvoo. With the western exodus imminent, she faces a decision that runs counter to her soul and all she holds sacred – whether to become Brigham Young’s plural wife.

The novel weaves the momentous events of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom and Brigham Young’s succession with Naamah’s story and offers differing perspectives to create a mosaic of Nauvoo, the crucible out of which arose today’s Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

In your story, The Immigrant, you introduce an historical figure John Law, a young Scotsman captured by Cromwell’s forces during a well-known battle “The Battle of Dunbar.” For those who have not heard of John Law, can you please tell us a little about him historically and what his faith is?

Yes, John law is a historic figure, yet deemed too insignificant for the historian’s lens. The Immigrant has brought him to life and, since he’s symbolic of 10,000 Scottish men at Dunbar 3 September 1650, their lives have been discovered in some way.  His father died in 1649 when John was thirteen. An only child, he and his widowed mother managed for a year until the War Councilor appeared in summer of 1650. “He’ll be back in time for harvest,” was the Councilor’s remark as John left. John would never see his mother again, and she would never know John’s fate.After John’s capture, he endured a ‘death march’ into northern England, a horrific six week incarceration at Durham Cathedral, and a life-changing, Trans-Atlantic crossing to the Colonies. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established with a wave of English, the great Migration 1630-1640. Except for the indigenous, they owned a virgin paradise to craft to their liking until John Law and a few Scots trickled in as immigrants. Since then, waves of immigrants have come, even still today. Each new wave has encountered prejudice, but far less blatant or extreme than what John endured. In 1660, Mary Dyer and William Leddra were hanged on Boston Common because they were Quakers. We all are aware of Salem and 1692 witch trials.

Since John was fighting with The Covenanters against Cromwell, he was most likely a Presbyterian.

How much research went into The Immigrant?

I am a CPA turn genealogist, so a lot! Some of John Law’s genealogy down to myself has been published in two-parts in MASSOG, a genealogy-register — 16 pages with over 200 footnote. Dry as dust, yet available on my website if you’re interested. John is presumed to be a Scottish POW, which I attempted to prove through research on early Scots at NEHGS, reading books on the Saugus Iron Works, reading 1600s Middlesex County court reports including John’s will, and perusing passenger lists of the Unity and the John and Sara ships that brought Scottish POW to The Colonies. And while I know of his life from 1655 on, I can neither prove nor disprove how he got here.

I visited the Saugus Ironworks, learned how iron was made, and romanticized while at the intersection of Lawsbrook Road and School Street in Acton, MA, where John lived.  The influence of my Lawsbrook visit are the concluding scene in The Immigrant.

Who are your secondary characters in your story?

Obviously, Lydia Draper, John’s wife. During my research, I found more snippets about the Drapers than I did about John Law to wrap a story around. Lydia’s POV occurs often, particularly during the birth of their first born, later with the loss of an infant son, and during King Philip’s War. Mary Rowlandson’s capture and release had a profound effect on Lydia.

Nagoglancit, a Nashobah Native, is complete fiction. Like John, he is an outcast, and ironically unlike John, an outcast in his native land. But these two ‘outcast’ form a unique bond, tested, at times, when Lydia reveals a past encounter with natives and during King Philip’s War.

John Hoare – during my research I came to love this guy, so he is throughout the book. He counsels John to do the right thing and make an honest woman of Lydia Draper, rescues Mary Rowlandson, and builds a dormitory for the ‘friendly’ Nashobah during King Philip’s War much to Concord’s dismay.

How long did it take to write your story?

Excluding the research, which seems continual since I can be a bit anal, about a year or so.

In your story, The Believers in The Crucible Nauvoo you introduce Naamah Carter. What a beautiful name! Could you please tell us a little about her?

Naamah, wife of Noah, meaning pleasant because Naamah’s conduct was pleasing to God. Naamah Kendall Jenkins Carter was named for her aunt who died three weeks before she was born, which created an immediate bond and early interest in the afterlife.

We first meet Naamah, age 6, placing flowers on her father’s grave. There, she asks her grandfather, Reuben Law, a question, the answer to which comes years later as Naamah grapples with a life-changing decision. Precocious in her Christian beliefs, she soon found traditional teaching uninspiring until she meets Elder Eli Maginn, a Latter-day Saint missionary. The strength of her faith continues to ebb and flow as she endures life until she finds lasting solace in Temple life.

Her life is mostly among women – her mother who dies early, her sister, and her LDS sisters. Like all the women of Nauvoo, she has the resiliency needed to endure the pain and suffering that was the crucible Nauvoo. While inexperienced in dealing with men, she marries only to have her husband die soon afterward. Thus, when she meets the powerful ‘lion of the Lord’, Brigham Young, she’s at first ill-prepared, yet perseveres to forge a unique relationship.

Where can readers buy your books?

At Amazon, or discerning book stores like Bunch of Grapes, Vineyard Haven, MA, or on my website

What is up next for you?

Reuben Law and the trilogy’s last book. You have met Reuben in the first and last chapters of The Immigrant. He’s on Jarmany Hill in the opening scene of The Believers In The Crucible Nauvoo and sprinkled throughout. He’s the lynchpin between the two novels. For more about Reuben, visit my website. I sensed John Law’s presence when I paused on Lawsbrook Road, but I sensed Reuben even more. Here is a link to what I experienced in September 2009.

Is there a message you would like to give to your readers?

Historical novelists research and pour their heart and soul into their writings, as do I. But my heart has a few drops of their blood and my soul has part of their DNA. My characters bore witness to King Philip’s War, The American Revolution, and Joseph Smith’s Martyrdom and encountered prejudice for being a Scottish POW in a Puritan Theocracy or a believer in a scorned prophet. I trust that the tingles I experienced at Lawsbrook Road or on Jarmany Hill came from erstwhile dormant DNA exploding thoughts that coalesced to say, “There’s a story here.”

Author Links:

Facebook Page

Twitter

Website 

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

What is L.A.P. it Marketing?

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L.A.P. it is a social media platform that applies to a variety of professions-such as-Literature, Art and Photography. The practicalities of Internet life can be tricky for many, not everyone is computer savvy and would prefer to solely focus on their craft or they have a tight budget but need help in this arena. How does one market their own work if they have little money or they don’t understand how the market works or both? There are so many entities out there charging fees that are not doable for most or they promise what they cannot deliver. L.A.P. it has created a new concept of social media marketing and provides a unique service to showcase writers, artists and photographers work. L.A.P. it will also work with publishers, independent presses, artist/photographer galleries and other entities that involve the three areas mentioned.

L.A.P. it Marketing Website

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Bookish Happenings and Sound Advice in The World of Book Reviews

Me III have been picking up on my reading lately seeing as I have a lot of reviews to get through. One of my favorite publishers to review for is Severn House Publishing. I have several form them I hope to crank our reviews for in the next few weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for those. Currently I am reading, I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott and I hope to post a review on Layered Pages by the end of the week. It is a big read but totally absorbing. There, I gave you a little teaser of how I’m progressing with the story.

Today I received an ARC through NetGalley by the publishers of Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli and I am delighted! Great cover by the way…

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Freedom's RingAbout the book:

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Christian, General Fiction (Adult)

Pub Date 08 Aug 2017

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

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Now on to something that is on my mind of late and I have talked about this many times before but I think it needs a refresher. As a book reviewer it’s my policy to be honest how I feel about a story. I know there are authors out there who don’t like that and they do what they can to make themselves the victims to the reviewer in question by posting “poor me” on their social media sites. They even try to declare that person who reviewed the book is not qualified to make opinions other than, praise worthy comments, about their stories. Or they try to get their friends and supporters to vote down the review as “not helpful” on Amazon. If that is the case, then a writer shouldn’t publish at all. How is doing all that putting the writer in a good light and expanding on their fan base? Better yet, how does one grow in their craft of writing? Think about it. Is it really worth taking that risk in losing your reader base or potential ones by responding to reviews like that on social media or on your blog?

I do realize there are REALLY nasty reviews out there but one must take those with a grain of salt and realize that not everyone is going to be at least respectful. The best thing to do is too not reply to those or bring your complaint to even your friends on social media. Some of the best writers I know in the book industry do not say a word about reviews regardless of the reviewer’s opinion whether it is praise worthy or not. They are truly right and smart in not doing so. Now they might privately rant, in their homes or on the phone to their friends or via emails to their fellow colleagues. Or drink large quantities of wine. I get that and that is okay. I would probably do the same as an author if someone didn’t like my book.

I completely understand it hurts to see someone not enjoying the story you wrote like you want. You put your heart and soul into your craft. I totally get it. However, once you have published your work, it belongs to the reader-as an experienced and seasoned writer has said to me on my Facebook wall.

You control how it is going to affect your response and how you deal with it. Be strong, be courageous and know that you are always going to be working on growing as a writer. Don’t give up. Another thing, negative reviews actually help your sales believe it or not. I know, a shocker!

Regardless of what people think of my opinions about stories, they are valid because they are what I came away with the story. They are my experiences alone. You don’t have to agree with them but they are mine. I will never bully authors or insult them but I will always be honest. If one feels a less than praise worthy review is insulting to a writer, then the author’s craft in writing stories is not being honestly portrayed.

Yes, there are different ways I receive book to review but my process does not change. If I did, then no one would respect me as a book reviewer. I receive books to review from authors, publishers, and NetGalley-both indie and mainstream. For my honesty, I get daily requests to review people’s work. I even have authors on a daily basis wanting to talk about their WIPs with me and they are often times inspired by some of the suggestions I give them. That is truly an honor and joy. Another reason why I conduct many authors series on the craft of writing.

Authors, please know I am in awe of your courageous efforts, and that fact alone that you published is remarkable in itself. Yes, I know anyone can publish these days, but it still takes guts. So continue that bravery when it comes to people’s reviews and keep writing your stories! Readers need you.

Please note: I do realize there are trolls out there that do nothing but post negative reviews on everything! Best thing to do is ignore those. People should be smart enough to spot those and not take their reviews seriously.

Have a lovely Wednesday and see you all back here tomorrow for my latest cover crush!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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Book Spotlight: Paintbrushes and Arrows (A Story of St. Augustine) by M.C. Finotti

Paintbrushes and ArrowsPaintbrushes and Arrows: A Story of St. Augustine

by M.C. Finotti

Print Length: 96 pages

Publisher: Pineapple Press (October 1, 2016)

Publication Date: October 1, 2016

In 1875, Ahkah, a 9-year-old Comanche girl, is the only child in a group of 72 Plains Indians brought to the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine for “re-education.” Callie Crump, a 14-year-old who has never so much as seen an Indian, begins to teach art classes to the prisoners. At first she is reluctant, but it doesn’t take long before she finds herself fascinated by the lives of the Native Americans at the fort. All the while, Akhah longs to return home, but finds comfort in learning an old skill, making bows and arrows to sell to tourists.

Paintbrushes and Arrows follows the lives of these two girls and their crafts, which bring them closer together than either could ever have guessed.

A common core teacher’s manual for this book is available through Teachers Paying Teachers.

Book available on Amazon

About Author:

M.C. Finotti is a journalist and former teacher who grew up imagining what it would be like to live in the “olden days.” Ms. Finotti lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida, with her husband and two children. She is the author of The Treasure of Amelia Island, winner of the Florida Historical Society’s Horgan Award for children’s historical fiction.

My thoughts:

I had the great pleasure talking with M.C. this weekend on the phone. I met her through Lou Aguilar. Previously I was talking with him about wanting more historical fiction stories set in Florida. That state is rich in history. Low and behold, he happened to know an author who wrote a story set in St. Augustine and gave her my phone number. This weekend I have been brainstorming ideas to promote work such as Finottis’. I look forward to what is to come out of this venture. 

Paintbrushes and Arrows is a story for children but I think all ages would enjoy it. I aim to find out shorty by reading the book and writing a review. Be sure to be on the lookout for it!

Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and for supporting reading, authors and book bloggers.

Stephanie M. Hopkins