What a way to start a Monday! First, my latest book -- Henrietta's Journal: A Life of Compromise -- just became available for pre-ordering on Amazon's Kindle page. As a pre-order, you can get it for $2.99, and your copy will automatically appear in your in-box on September 19th. Of course, you can wait till September 19th and order it for immediate delivery (if you are into instant gratification) , but by then the price will go up to $4.99. The special price reduction is for anyone who already wants to read this story of a young English woman who marries into a cotton-dealing South Carolina family in the 1830s. The book follows her day-to-day musings as her slave-owning new family disintegrates into the turmoil of seduction, rape, murder, opium addiction, and kidnapping. There's a bit of something there for everyone!
The other good news this morning comes in the form of an announcement that sometime in the middle of last night, this website has hit a milestone marker -- TWO MILLION page views in the past seven years.
Thanks to everyone who faithfully reads these blogs posts and checks out the book announcements at Katzenhaus Books.
When I’m getting ready to start writing a new book, I take
the time to find out what was going on during the historical period in
question. Normally I’m looking for wars,
major battles, presidential elections, economic crises, inventions, new laws—any
event that might change the lives of my characters. When my story is set in Charleston,
South Carolina or the Low Country between Charleston and Savannah, I check the
weather conditions, too. That’s a region prone to hurricanes, major temperature
fluctuations, insect infestations, earthquakes, and lethal epidemics.
This time, however, I was in for a surprise. I was getting
reading to write Henrietta’s Journa
set in Charleston in the 1830s, and I wanted to know if there had been any
hurricanes. The period turned out to be relatively quiet on the weather front.
Only a couple of tropical storms threatened, and those barely brushed the city.
I was not expecting to find two major astronomical events. They were both so
spectacular that I had to write them into my story. What caught me most off
guard was the realization that just as I would be getting ready to announce the
upcoming publication of this new book, two similar events would be
happening in South Carolina in 2017.
The first event was a massive storm of meteorities witnessed
all across the South on November 13, 1833. No mere meteor shower, this! People
were terrified, many declaring that the world was coming to an end as the
sparks seemed to be falling all around them. The occasion was the Leonid
Shower, which occurs in mid-November every thirty-three years. In 1833, the
earth’s orbit took it very close to the orbit of the comet Tempel-Tuttle and was said to have caused some 100,000
shooting stars per minute. Another legend says that the song “Stars Fell on
Alabama” was written to commemorate the event . And witnesses declared that this famous woodcut was an accurate depiction of what happened.
Now, in 2017, we are told that an even greater
meteor storm will fill the skies on Saturday, August 12. This one
comes from the Swift-Tuttle comet and is called a Perseid shower. Although
articles on the internet are claiming that it will be the brightest shower in
human history, its expected 300 shooting stars per hour cannot hope to rival
what Henrietta Ainesworth witnessed in 1833. Still if you want to get a feel
for what Henrietta’s experience was like, it wouldn’t hurt to look up at the
sky on Saturday night.
Stay tuned to hear about the second event.
Now that the Katzenhaus Summer Promotion is officially over, we’ll be moving on to some major announcements about upcoming books. Let’s start with the answers to last week’s quiz questions.
Henrietta Ainesworth is a fictional character, which is why no one successfully “googled” her. She is the main character in my next book. She was born in 1832 in Oxford, England. Her father, Sir Ephraim Ainesworth, is the Keeper of Medieval Manuscripts at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. His office in Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room oversees scholarly access to such priceless holdings as the Digby 209—a twelfth-century manuscript containing the works of several prominent churchmen of the period. (Digby 209 is a little different in that the scribes who copied it did a lot of doodling in the margins—and some of the doodles are quite funny and more than a little pornographic.)
In 1832 Henrietta meets Julien Beauchene, an American from Charleston, South Carolina. His family has made a fortune by acting as cotton factors—which means they buy up cotton crops from plantation owners, store it in their warehouse, and then sell it for the highest possible price to textile manufacturers in England and France. When Henrietta and Julien fall in love, Henrietta faces several dilemmas. She is violently opposed to slavery; he is a slave-owner. She has led a sheltered, scholarly life in Oxford; he comes from the brash, energetic, and business-oriented new United States. Henrietta’s only role model as a wife is her mother, who is a take-charge, controlling woman who dominates her meek librarian husband. Julien’s mother died when her children were small, and Julien has grown up with the example of a strong and dominating father.
Is there any hope for the marriage of Henrietta and Julien? The answer lies in the up-coming book. We’ll do a title and cover reveal in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.
Book of the Week
May 29 - June 2
Beyond All Price is a
historical novel, based on the real life story of Nellie M. Chase, a Union
nurse during America’s Civil War. She had eloped at the age of nineteen with a
man she later discovered was a "drunk, a gambler, a liar, a forger, and a
thief." She was strong enough to escape from that potentially abusive
relationship and resourceful enough to find a job as wardrobe mistress for a
theater. The woman with whom she shared a single room in a squalid tenement
took an overdose of opium in an effort to escape a life of prostitution. Nellie
joined the Union Army, because life in the midst of a war seemed safer than the
one she had been living.
She found a home with the 100th Pennsylvania
Regiment, a band of volunteers whose nickname was “The Roundhead Regiment”
because of their strong religious beliefs. She believed so passionately in her
country’s cause that she displayed a soldier’s bravery. Her skill and
compassion led one of her patients to write, “Even here, amid the roar and
carnage, was found a woman with the soul to dare danger; the heart to
sympathize with the battle-stricken; sense, skill, and experience to make her a
treasure beyond all price.”
She was equally at home managing a southern
plantation full of abandoned slaves, a battlefield operating station, or a
600-bed military hospital. But after the war, her deep-seated need to dedicate
her life to a worthy cause continued to drive her efforts until she faced an
enemy more lethal than war.
Amazon Reviewers' comments:
". . . Not a huge history
buff, I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved falling in love with Nellie Chase
and her passion. She has a passion for helping where help is needed. She comes
alive on page one when she insisted to speak with the commander and enlist as a
volunteer with the Roundheads. She battles with an opinionated man
of the cloth that has "No use for women in the war". Her kindness,
her spunky attitude and her survival will have you cheering her on. I found
myself sad when I finished the book and had to say goodbye to Nellie. The
author, Dr. Carolyn Schriber, does great job to include History notes at the end
of the book; titled "Authors notes". In my kindle edition, the
pictures did not download. Thank you Dr. Schriber. I wish you were my history
teacher. Maybe then I would be a history buff. But you surely have started me
on a search for well written fun American history."
". . . Every week I randomly
download a free book from Amazon just to have something on the side to pass
free time. Most of the time the free books are either okay or poorly written
(I'm not complaining because they are free, but just stating my general
consensus). Therefore, I was quite surprised when I found this little gem. This
book is an easy read and I was able to easily sympathize with the main
character. The details in the book are very descriptive and the author
highlights the book with many historical references, which the history buff in
me "geeked out" at the well written historical allusions. You can tell
the author wanted to pay respect to the actual life of Nellie Chase and her
contributions and wanted to stay as close to the truth as possible concerning
her and the Civil War. I really appreciated finding this in a historical
fiction book and commend the author for her passion that is shown throughout
the book. This is definitely a recommended read!"
This book is available in paperback, Kindle, and Audible formats.
I never set out to write love stories, but I soon learned that when you write about people, their love stories are sure to follow. In my new book, Yankee Daughters, set in the years between 1885 and 1920, the pages are full of love stories, as Katerina Grenville tries to find suitable husbands for each of her eight daughters. I’d love for you to read about their adventures and Katerina’s successes and failures.
So my Valentine’s Day gift to you is a Kindle copy of the book for less than a dollar. Yes, you can get it — for this weekend and through Valentine’s Day — for $.99, which is as low as Amazon will let me set the price. This is my way of saying “I love you” to my readers. Click on the cat below to order.
I’m hoping you say “I love you” back by supporting me and my books. Here’s how you can do that:
- Visit my website and sign up for my newsletter, so you don’t miss the latest announcements about what I’m writing.
- Buy the book – a copy for yourself or to pass along to someone you love.
- Tell your friends what you loved about the book. Leave a comment on Facebook or Twitter, or comment on my blog.
- Talk to your local librarian or bookstore owner about the book.
- Write a short review and post it on Amazon and Goodreads, so that other readers can read about how much you loved it.
- Send an email and tell me what you have done to help spread the word. I'dlove to hear from you