I’m excited to participate in Kellyn Roth’s blog tour for her latest book, At Her Fingertips. Although I haven’t read her books yet, I’m looking forward to doing so. They’re set in one of my favorite places during one of my favorite time periods: England in the late nineteenth century.


At Her Fingertips 
(Book #3 in the Chronicles of Alice and Ivy)
Alice Knight is looking forward to her debut as it means she will be able to carry out her plan. She will have her first Season in London, she will meet her husband, and she will marry him. However, Alice struggles to make her feelings reconcile with her goals.
Alice is sure that, if she can only cling to her plans, she will manage without help from anyone — including God. A childhood friend returning unexpectedly, a charming gentleman who is not all he should be, and an American author with strange ideas about life all make her question the plan.
With the life she longs for at her fingertips, can Alice grasp it?
Character Guest Post
I’m privileged to host on my blog Peter W. Strauss, an important character in At Her Fingertips.
 

My Trip to England

by Peter W. Strauss
Hello Reader,


My name is Peter Strauss. I’m not your regular writer, so I’ll briefly introduce myself. I’m a reporter for the Pennsylvania Herald and author of various poems and a few adventure novels.


I’m American, so you may be wondering, “What are you doing in this novel? It’s set in London, isn’t it?” That might be a bit confusing. Yes, I’m American, and yes, this story—‘At Her Fingertips’—is set in London.


You see, the editor of the Pennsylvania Herald—Thaddeus B. Goodington JR—got irritated with me. Why? Well, I may or may not have let slip in front of his mother that he’d been allowing anti-suffragette articles in the paper. If I had known he wanted to keep it a secret from her, I wouldn’t have said a word, but … it just slipped out!


Perhaps he deserves it a little, though. Honestly, I don’t know what Teeb has against women. I need to look into it. If he got his heart broken, perhaps I can help him through it. More likely he’s just ornery, though I hate to think that of any man.


At any rate, when Teeb—my nickname for him—learned that it was me who leaked his secret, he called me to his office and told me he was sending me to England to write a series of articles. Which is something of an old joke between us—he’s always threatening to send me somewhere. So I laughed. And he pulled out a boat ticket.


Teeb’s serious face is exactly the same as his joking face. Though if I had really taken a moment to look in his eyes, I think I might have guessed. But I didn’t think he could be serious. Who sends one of their reporters to England when they’re mad at them?


So here I am, on the ‘blessed plot’ of Shakespeare, writing a series of articles about the British upper class. Thank goodness I already had my foot in the door—I’d met an Englishman, Mr. Gibson Ashfield, when he was touring the American West a few years ago. He’s only a boy—a slightly older boy than he was when I met him last, yes, but still a boy—but he’s a rich boy. And he was glad to have me here.


Rich people collect creative types like pets.


Don’t get me wrong; England is glorious! I’ve seen the Tower of London and London Bridge and the Thames and all sorts of other things that I used to read about as a child. I plan on seeing any number of other landmarks before I leave. It’s quite exciting—the land of Shakespeare, Dickens, Scott … the list goes on! All my heroes.


So no, it’s not England. England is perfect. It’s just rather disagreeable to be sent away like this whenever your boss says so. First it was New York then Georgia then Oregon. I keep getting farther and farther away from home. Before I know it, I’ll be on the moon, and I don’t know if I can come back from there.


All joking aside, I suppose I am secretly thrilled to be here. High society is absolutely fascinating. All the social cues and rules are lost on me, I’ll freely admit, but I am slowly coming to understand them.


The Ashfields, who I’m staying with, are a confusing family—they present a unified front in public, but I sense all is not right at home. I’ve refrained from including any personal details in my articles, but they are an interesting case to study.


I’d say a great many people here are interesting cases, though. It seems as if everyone’s hiding something—or perhaps my imagination is misleading me there. But I do believe a great many people pretend their wealth and the gaiety of their lives is making them happy—when truly they are miserable.


I wish I could sit down with each and every one of them and talk about God, even for just a few minutes. But that is impossible; I can’t reach them all. But even just a few would be a blessing.


I don’t believe religion is a polite subject—at least not religion as I would like to present it. Society may be quite pious and moral on the outside, but I don’t believe it’s any more real a few levels down than it ever is in this world. I wish they could know how much joy there is to be had in God.


But I’m rambling. I was going to tell you about England some more.


London to me seems quite foggy. It takes on a greenish glow, especially by lantern light, that is ridiculously eery. I see where Dickens got his inspiration for spectres. I can almost imagine ghostly shapes in the shadows! But I know that’s all nonsense.


The city is big and loud. I’ve mostly stuck to the cleaner sections, except for a few brief forays, so I’ve seen more of the inner circle. I’ve been to Hyde Park, now—it’s winter but I can tell it will be lovely once it is all green and warm.


My favorite was a quick trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace. He’s always been my favorite—I adore his plays—so this was a special treat for me. I barely talked Gibson into it—anything that drags him away from society and/or Miss Knight for more than a few hours annoys him. But he finally gave in, and it was a wonderful day. Besides, Gibson can stand to get away from London every so often, truly.


Now, that’s about all I have to say—I’ve ran rather long as it is! I tend to write lengthy prose—my apologies.


I enjoyed writing this article and hope you enjoyed reading it,


As ever,

Peter W. Strauss

 

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Giveaway
Don’t miss your chance to win lovely prizes from Kellyn! Here is the link: Rafflecopter Giveaway

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About the Author
Kellyn Roth was born and lives on a cattle ranch in North-Eastern Oregon. Always fascinated with telling stories, she created crazy games to play with her little brothers as a child. Today, she writes Christian and Historical Fiction with a focus on truth and family. Find out more about her and her novels at kellynrothauthor.com.
Social Media
Facebook: @krauthor
Goodreads: krauthor
Instagram: kellbellroth
Pinterest: krauthor
YouTube: Kellyn Roth

Tour Schedule

April 23

Author Interview by Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner

Author & Book Spotlight by Rebekah Devall @ Hunting for Truth
Guest Post from a Character by Kiki @ K.E. Stanton


April 24

Review/Character Interview by Heather @ Frozen Book Blog

Character Interview by Sel Young @ Hearth
Author Interview by Gabriellyn @ PageTurners
Author Interview/Review by Caitlyn @ Salt and Light
Book & Author Spotlight by Brian W.


April 25

Character Interview/Series Review by Libby May @ Geo Turtle

Author Interview by Medomfo @ Writings from a God Girl
Series Review and Author Spotlight by Charis Rae
Guest Post from the Author by Lela Markham @ Aurorawatcher Alaska
Author Interview by Sarah Addison Fox


April 26

Book and Author Spotlight by Grace Matlyn Buckner @ Literatura

Book Spotlight by Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind Of Writes
Character and Author Interview by Amie @ Crazy A
Author Interview by Jessica Grayson
Author Interview by Rachel @ Rachel Rossano’s Words
Character/Book Spotlight by Erika Mathews @ Resting Life
Series Review & Character Interview by Victoria Lynn @ Ruffles and Grace


April 27

Author Interview by Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing

Series Review/Author Interview by Lisa @ Inkwell
Guest Post from Character by Kelsey Bryant @ Kelsey’s Notebook
Author Interview by Germaine @ The Writing Mafia
Book Spotlight by Angela @ The Peculiar Messenger
A Review 

Note: I’m passionate about studying the Bible and learning to follow our Messiah, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review this book.

In today’s world, we recognize the need to understand and respect cultural differences. Besides being necessary, it’s hugely enriching! How much more, then, should Christians become more familiar with the culture and viewpoint of the people for whom the Bible was first written? It would help us better understand the Word of God that we live by. Lois Tverberg’s book is a compelling path into the Hebraic culture of Bible times, enjoyable and accessible for readers at all levels of biblical knowledge. It’s perfect for Bible study groups because each chapter has questions for further discussion at the end, as well as recommended reading for further study.


First and foremost, Tverberg’s book is significant because it puts Jesus back in His Jewish context while fully upholding the tenets of our faith. It explores Messianic prophecies, how they were viewed in His time, and how He fulfilled them. (I got chills reading about Isaiah 53.) This book explains how He claimed to be the Messiah in ways that non-Jews might miss.


The book also shows how understanding the cultural context and historicity of the Bible is faith-affirming. If there’s something that our Western minds can’t grasp, we’re apt to dismiss its veracity. But when we get a glimpse of the radically different mindset of non-Euro-American civilizations, we realize that what we questioned makes perfect sense to the other half of the world’s population. I enjoyed learning about the differences, especially the ones that explain some confusing parts of the Bible (such as why the “begat” sections are important).


I loved how Tverberg examined the full meaning of the Hebrew words behind terms that are pivotal to our faith, such as Christ, gospel, king, and fear/reverence. There’s an appendix called “Thirty Useful Hebrew Words for Bible Study,” a wonderful resource that curates the words she talked about in the book as well as words she didn’t cover.


The section on how Jews read the Bible was also very enlightening. As the book depicts, adopting some of their methods would be beneficial to Christians in our search to better know God’s Word and understand our Messiah. It’s amazing how they memorized it, how they connected it, how they quoted from it … and what a sophisticated scholar Yeshua was.


There’s so much more I could say in praise of this book, but probably the best thing I could do is encourage you to read it. It will deepen your appreciation for God’s message to humanity and for His chosen people, and it will remind you of His greatness!
(I was graciously provided a copy of this book for my honest review.)
https://deborahocarroll.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/original-tag-writerly-spring-cleaning-challenge/

Spring is my favorite season, and where I live, most of the trees have burst out in brilliant green and wildflowers are peppering the thick grass with color. I really should be working on spring cleaning my actual house . . . but Deborah O’Carroll’s blog tag is far more fun! She created this challenge and tagged me.


Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you

2. Share the picture

3. Answer the questions (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer

3.5 Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them


Questions:

1. Dust-Bunnies and Plot-Bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

In my first post of the year, I listed a few goals. They haven’t changed much, but at least one of them is getting more concrete: publishing my retelling of “The Bremen-Town Musicians.” (I really should set a calendar date for that, but that calendar has to be very forgiving if I do.) The other goals – working on my longer novels and exploring short story ideas – are a little nebulous, but I poke at them now and then. I do have two new goals: 1) finishing the first draft of another animal fairy-tale retelling (any guesses as to what it is?) and 2) getting as much as I can out of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (so excited about going!).


2. Which Stage Are You At?

Everyone’s writing (and spring-cleaning) processes are different, and at different stages. Pick the one that most applies to you and tell us where you are in your writing process!

a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)

b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)

c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in the vases (editing)

d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet . . . just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)

e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)


I pick b – painting the walls. Most of my editing is done with the Bremen-town musicians story (that’s going to have an official title soon, I promise!), so I’m having fun writing my newer stories, particularly the Six Cousins novel set in Prince Edward Island and the other fairy-tale retelling.


3. Treasure from the Back of the Closet: Snippet Love

How about some snippets from my children’s story “The Bremen-Town Musicians”? These contain each of the main characters: Etzel the donkey, Jäger the dog, Katarina the cat, and Rüdiger the rooster.


Etzel the donkey just couldn’t face walking to the mill this morning. His knees and back ached as if the heavy sacks of grain or flour he often carried were already on his back. His master, Herr Hoffmann, stood at the doorway to the shack, clucking his tongue like an angry woodpecker.

Ach!Are you coming or not, you insolent, lazy beast?”


The sun had reached its peak about an hour ago and was slipping now. Its blinding warmth lay like a blanket on Etzel’s back, as if tucking him in for sleep. Ah, it was like sunning in the pasture; he ambled so rhythmically he felt he was standing still. It had been too long since he had walked this far without aching from a burden. When they first started out together, Jäger had gone from tree to tree, rejoicing in the freedom of new sights and smells; but now he kept a steady pace beside Etzel.


Instead, the cat gave a tremendous sneeze and cough, spraying water all over Jäger, who leaped back and fell into the stream as if he’d been shot. “It—it—it’s alive!”

The cat raised a bleary-eyed head, blinking at Etzel and Jäger with a green, filmy gaze. It coughed again, delicately this time, and ran the tip of its pink tongue around the edge of its mouth. “Of course I’m alive, Dummkopf. I’m a cat, aren’t I?”


Who’d have thought a rooster was so smart!” Jäger exclaimed. “You talk smarter than Etzel; I almost can’t understand you.”

Thank you, my good fellow. I merely quote the wisest of them all, the great animal storyteller, Aesop himself.” Rüdiger’s red crest stood high and his gold, green, and brown feathers puffed out, swelling his size.


If you want to do this, consider yourself tagged and please let me know! You can visit Deborah’s original post for more information on the challenge.
Valentine’s Day was two weeks ago, but since love is timeless, I’m permitted to talk about literary romances today, aren’t I? Besides, every day is a good day to talk about favorite book characters!


Although I don’t read or prefer many unalloyed romance novels, I appreciate a unique and well-crafted romance within the larger story of a novel. Jane Austen’s works exemplify what I like: social commentaries that don’t focus on the physical attraction between a couple (which can veer too close to objectifying another human being) but rather on their mental and moral compatibility as they interact in a world bigger than themselves. These romances are still delightful and satisfying, but in ways that make us love the characters as real people instead of conduits for romantic thrills, much like how we feel when we witness our family members and friends getting married.


Most female readers have favorite literary couples that demonstrate cherished romantic ideals, and I’m no exception. My top three choices might be unusual, and I certainly understand if you don’t agree with me. I found it unexpectedly difficult to think of many literary couples I adore both halves of. On my long list of best-loved characters, few make it there alongside their partners. (One example of those who don’t is Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. I adore Jane Eyre, but I could take or leave the dark Byronic hero Mr. Rochester.) So each couple on my list includes a man and woman who are equally beloved by me:


Wikimedia Commons

  1. Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars of Sense and Sensibility. Most people can readily recognize Elinor’s qualities: her strength, her capability, her discreetness. But I can hear it now: “Edward Ferrars? He’s boring and wooden!” At first glance, maybe. And I do agree that I wish he were more developed. But personally, I find quiet, unassuming, and slightly awkward characters endearing. I also think he’s an equitable match for my favorite heroine, through their humility and high standards of honor and self-sacrifice. One of my favorite things about writing my novel Suit and Suitability was delving into the relationship between my equivalent characters, Ellen and Everett, and trying to show why I love this gentle yet courageous couple and their dynamics. 
    Wikimedia Commons
  2. Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit of Little Dorrit. For years, I didn’t think I’d meet a literary couple that came close to Elinor and Edward, but when I watched the movie Little Dorrit, I was immediately attracted. The book, which I read late last year, was just as wonderful because I got to spend more time in the company of two of the sweetest protagonists in literature. Arthur Clennam may well be my favorite hero, and Amy easily joins the highest ranks of my favorite heroines. Without being unrealistic, they are models of virtue and goodness in difficult circumstances. In the midst of harsh surroundings and grimy, selfish morals, they stay untouched and strive to do the right thing, always putting others above themselves. They are vulnerable and make mistakes, but when they come through all their trials and join together in the end, it’s one of the most satisfying conclusions I’ve ever read.
    I wish I had an image of these two!
  3. Eowyn and Faramir from The Lord of the Rings. These secondary characters of the fantasy epic are not as extensively portrayed as the others on my list, but thanks to the movies and a beautiful section within The Return of the King, their relationship enchants me. They spend comparatively little time together in the books and movies, but as separate characters, they are quite appealing: brave Eowyn, disappointed in love and life, accompanies her uncle’s army to battle and slays a terrible enemy that no man can vanquish; and Faramir, the underappreciated younger son of the Steward of Gondor, despite being more of a peace-loving artist than a soldier, valiantly exceeds his duty in the war for Middle Earth. When they meet (as shown in the book and the extended movie version of The Return of the King), these two wounded, heroic characters discover what they had been missing all these years and what will bring them healing and happiness: each other.


What do these three couples have in common? They are selfless and persevere through heart-wrenching circumstances to accomplish what good they can. They are not ostentatious about their affection but are willing to sacrifice their feelings for the greater good. They aren’t flawless, but they are strong, and though tested, they hold up beyond what they think they’re capable of until the end of all their trials. And when they receive their reward in each other, it’s a beautiful picture of true love overcoming all odds, which is what we all long for and can ultimately find in Messiah.


Bonus: My runners-up!

4. Margaret Hale and John Thornton from North and South

5. Daniel Deronda and Mirah from Daniel Deronda

6. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series

7. Godwin and Masouda from The Brethren

8. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

9. Molly Gibson and Roger Hamley from Wives and Daughters

10. Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey


Who are your favorite literary couples?
Hey, everyone! Wow, I can’t believe my first post of 2018 is happening in February. I did not intend to let this year advance so far without welcoming it on my blog. But I’m sure you understand that life happens. I’ve had a pretty packed and stressful few months dealing with jobs and such, and I had to step away from my blog and regular writing for a while. It seems I write better when I’m somewhat relaxed and peaceful and there aren’t so many to-do list items tapping on my shoulder and I’m not facing big decisions. The irony is that not writing makes me feel unhappy and even more stressed. Writing gets my brain in touch with my inner thoughts, opening a deeper perspective on life, which is what I sorely need during such times. Can you relate?


I hope to post regularly again, though it might be on a monthly basis for now. To anyone going through a legitimate case of writing paralysis, do you know what’s cathartic? Just writing something like this admitting that you’ve had a problem with writing. I finally feel ready to plunge (or maybe dip) back in. I’ve had to reassure myself over and over that I am still a writer and it’s just a non-creative season. Pretty much every creative writer has those. Sometimes you just have to focus on something else for a while. You aren’t wasting what God has given you; you’re recharging while other things take precedence. I really appreciate this blog post on the subject by Deborah O’Carroll.


And now, with that behind me, I have a few writing plans for the year that I really hope to make happen:


  • Publish a children’s story: a novella-length retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale “The Bremen-town Musicians.” It’s with a first round of beta readers right now.
  • Figure out what novel I should be working on next. I have two options: a third installment of the Six Cousins series (or maybe it’s more like a spin-off, since it doesn’t feature all six girls…) or a story set in Victorian England, inspired by my favorite Victorian authors. I’m praying about the right choice.
  • Explore ideas for short stories.


I hope you’ve had a good 2018 so far. Have you ever had to put on hold your writing or some other project that you’re passionate about?