Friday, May 29, 2015

Progress Report


Book 5 has taken longer to get ready for print than any of the previous volumes, but at last we’re making real progress. The text has been finalized and combed through for errors, with the help of several very gracious readers. My illustrator, Jim Brown, is working on the final versions of the 2 maps for this volumeone of New York Harbor in 1777 (the one to the left is the original we’re working from), and one of the Philadelphia area from the same period that includes Valley Forge.

Marisa created the preliminary full cover so I can run a proof to see how the color is going to turn out. It should print very well because we have a very large high-res image of the painting featured on the front. I just ordered the proofs this morning and can’t wait to see how they look. Then I’ll do one last careful read through the book to catch any errors that were missed, and it’ll be ready for the printer. And also to be converted into the various ebook formats we offer, which may publish in August, ahead of the September 1 print-edition release date.

This past week I received the first endorsement for this volume from Louise Gouge, and also some wonderful feedback from one of my readers, Patricia Gaddis. You’ll find those below. My thanks to both ladies for their very kind words and encouragement!

“Reading J. M. Hochstetler’s The American Patriot Series is like watching a thrilling historical television mini-series. With each new season, something new enthralls the reader and keeps her coming back for more. In the long-awaited Book Five, Valley of the Shadow, Hochstetler maintains her gripping action, suspense, and star-crossed romance. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this latest installment in a very fine, meticulously researched American Revolution series.” —Louise M. Gouge, author of Then Came Love

“I adore the way you portray the emotions of your characters while keeping the historical aspect pure. I love the delicate balance of the romance, and how you managed to keep the tension going without it driving the reader (me) over the edge. This is really a powerful book and I can hardly wait to read the next installment.” —Patricia Riddle Gaddis

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ta Da! We have our winners!


Abby Breuklander wins a print copy of Wedded to War, which she requested. And Elaine Cooper wins the Kindle edition of any of Jocelyn’s novels in the Heroes Behind the Lines Series.

Congratulations, ladies! I’ll email both of you right away to get your information so the books can get to you.

For anyone who didn’t win, please remember that this series is on sale through Sunday in all the ebook formats. I hope you’ll take advantage of the sale to add these fantastic stories to your TBR pile!

And thank you, Jocelyn, for your informative post, and for offering this drawing! It’s an honor to have you on the blog.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jocelyn Green: 5 Women Spies of the Civil War


Inspiring Faith and Courage
Today we have a guest post by my buddy author Jocelyn Green on women spies of the Civil War. Jocelyn is offering a drawing for a free copy of any of her books in the fantastic Heroines Behind the Lines Series in either print or ebook edition, so be sure to leave a comment on this post to be entered! In your comment, include which edition you prefer if you win, and also your email address in the following or a similar format to avoid spam: youraccount [at] internetprovider [dot] com. And if you dont win a free copy, the first 3 books in the series are on sale through May 3 for only $2.99 in all ebook formats, and her newest release, Spy of Richmond, is only $3.99. Please help spread the word!


5 Women Spies of the Civil War
by Jocelyn Green

Hundreds of women were spies on both sides of the Civil War. Below you’ll find snapshots of five of the most famous of them.

1. Belle Boyd, spy for the Confederacy

As a 17-year-old living with her prominent slaveholding family in West Virginia, Belle Boyd was arrested for shooting a Union soldier who had broken into her family’s home and insulted her mother. After she was cleared of all charges, she charmed intelligence from Union officers, and passed it to the Confederacy.

Highly suspicious of her, Union officials sent her to live with family in Front Royal, Virginia, where she became a courier between Confederate generals Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and P.G.T. Beauregard. Jackson credited the information she delivered with helping him win victories in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862.

Boyd was arrested three more times throughout the war, and ended up marrying the Union naval officer who once served as her captor.

2. Pauline Cushman, spy for the Union

Pauline Cushman, born in New Orleans, was a struggling 30-year-old actress in 1863. In Louisville, Kentucky, she was dared by Confederate officers to interrupt a show with a toast to the Confederacy and its president, Jefferson Davis. Seizing the opportunity, Cushman told the Union Army’s local provost marshal that the toast could be used to win trust from the Confederates in attendance. It proved to be the key that unlocked the door to her most important role as a federal spy.

In Nashville she worked with the Army of the Cumberland, gathering intelligence about Rebel operations, identifying Confederate spies, and acting as a federal courier. Confederates arrested her and sentenced her to hang, but the unexpected arrival of Union forces at Shelbyville saved her life.

3. Rose O’Neal Greenhow, spy for the Confederacy

The widow Rose O'Neal Greenhow was a Washington socialite and zealous secessionist. She began spying for the Confederacy in 1861. One of her most important messages allegedly helped Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard gather enough forces to win the First Battle of Bull Run. Though she was placed under house arrest after that, Greenhow still managed to get information to her contacts. In January 1862, she was transferred, along with her 8-year-old daughter, to Old Capitol Prison. Several months later she was deported to Baltimore, Maryland, where the Confederates welcomed her as a hero.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis sent Greenhow to Britain and France to help gain support for the Confederacy. Her journey home would be the end of her story. To quote Smithsonian.com:

In September 1864, Greenhow returned to the South aboard the Condor, a British blockade-runner, carrying $2,000 in gold. A Union gunboat pursued the ship as it neared the North Carolina shore, and it ran aground on a sandbar. Against the captain’s advice, Greenhow tried to escape in a rowboat with two other passengers. The boat capsized and she drowned, presumably weighed down by the gold she carried around her neck. Her body washed ashore the next day and was buried by the Confederates with full military honors.

4. Harriet Tubman, spy for the Union

Though most known for her role spiriting slaves North to freedom, she was recruited by Union officers to run a spy network composed of former slaves in South Carolina. She also became the first woman in the U.S. history to lead a military expedition. She not only helped Col. James Montgomery plan a night raid to free slaves from rice plantations along the Combahee River, but also on June 1, 1863, Tubman was in the lead with Montgomery as they, along with hundreds of black soldiers, snaked up the river in gunboats, avoiding mines that lurked along the waterway. When they reached the shore, they destroyed a Confederate supply depot and freed more than 750 slaves.

5. Elizabeth Van Lew, spy for the Union

Van Lew was a Richmond-born abolitionist whose sympathy for the Union, and the cause of freedom, compelled her to bring food and other comforts to the Union officers imprisoned a few blocks from her house at Libby Prison. Her loyalties were under suspicion, but her wealth and social status protected her for the most part. In December 1863, a Union officer she helped escape from Libby told General Benjamin Butler about her, suggesting she would make an excellent spy contact for the North. Butler contacted Van Lew with his request, and she agreed. She developed her own spy network and digested and synthesized the information before sending it, encoded, via a courier to Union military officials.

Van Lews spy ring included black and white Richmonders, slave and free, native Virginians and immigrants. One of these was Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a former slave who was planted as a domestic in the White House of the Confederacy.

Hundreds of women, just as daring in their deeds of espionage as these spies above, have escaped fame for their work. In Spy of Richmond, Ive chosen to explore the life of a young woman drawn into the spy network of Elizabeth Van Lew. The fictional heroine of Sophie Kent represents the real historical heroines who quietly gathered intelligence for the spymistress at great personal risk.

Belle Boyd, Pauline Cushman, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth van Lew

___________________________________________________


Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she cant do it alone.

Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophies home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerkbut is conscripted to defend the citys fortifications.

As Sophies spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her fathers position as newspaper editor and a suitors position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everythingand everyoneshe holds dear?

Jocelyn Green



Jocelyn Green is the award-winning author of ten fiction and nonfiction books. A former military wife, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed books and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she co-authored with best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman. Her Heroines Behind the Lines Civil War novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America.

Youll find Jocelyn’s website here.

Jocelyn Green

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hallelujah!


Considering that we’re in the Easter season, the title of this post seems particularly apropos. In addition, a few days ago I finally wrote The End to the draft of Valley of the Shadow. Talk about excitement! I truly felt like breaking out into the “Hallelujah Chorus”! With all the unexpected twists and turns this installment of the series took me on, and all the resulting recalculations I had to make, I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to finally get it done. 

Just figuring out where to break the realigned storyline to create a logical ending was an ordeal. The word count was already higher than I wanted by the time I got to the end of December 1777, blowing away my original plan to end right after Monmouth at the end of June 1778 with a temporarily—the operative word here being temporarily—peaceful conclusion for my characters. But I managed to bring it to what feels like a nicely suspenseful ending—albeit another cliffhanger, which I was hoping not to do after the last one!—late in February 1778 without getting to Daughter of Liberty’s final word count of 127,000+, which admittedly is ridiculous!

Now it’s time to slash words. There are places where the narrative gets down into the weeds, and I’m going to try to condense, streamline, and extract details that don’t really have to be there. But first I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks. I want to be able to come back to the story relatively fresh, with a more objective perspective. And I have several friends—God bless you!—reading through it as well to give me their feedback, which will enter into the final edit. 

After I have final text I’ll flow it into my page-making software, QuarkXPress, Marisa will add the back and spine to the front cover, and we’ll be ready to go to print. And, of course, my friend John McClure will turn it into the ebook files asap. Before that’s all finished, however, I’ll already be working on research for book 2 of the Northkill Amish Series, The Return. And then back to book 6 of this series, Refiner’s Fire. I’ll tell ya, an author’s work is never done!

By the way, Valley of the Shadow is now available for preorder! For some reason Amazon doesn’t have it discounted, but Christianbook.com has a very nice price. Check it out!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visualizing Characters


French commander in American Revolution
A few days ago I ran across a picture that’s so close to how I visualize one of my characters that I’m almost giddy! Take a look at the beautiful portrait at the left. It portrays Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, who was commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force that embarked from France in 1780 to fight with the American Continental Army against British forces.

Carleton’s maternal uncle, le comte de Caledonne, a French admiral who’s very influential in the court of Louis XVI, is mentioned a number of times in Crucible of War. He’ll finally make an appearance in Valley of the Shadow and will have a bigger role in book 6, Refiner’s Fire. So I was delighted to find this portrait of Rochambeau because he’s almost a twin to Caledonne! The portrait was not only very helpful when I wrote Caledonne’s description, but I also referred to it often as I wrote his scenes. It gave me a better feel for the character.

I’ve collected a number of portraits that are reasonable facsimiles for some of my characters. One of these days when I’m between projects, I intend to add pages to the series website where I can post pictures of both fictional and real characters who appear in the series. This will definitely be one of them.