Writing Historicals withTamera Lynn Kraft

Using Historical Events to Create Fiction

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

I am sometimes asked why I write historical fiction. Many times, reading about historical events will get my creative juices flowing when I think about the lives and stories of people who lived during these times.


For instance, in Resurrection of Hope, my recently released novella, the historical backdrop helped me create the characters and the story events.

At the beginning (1919), Vivian is depressed, and with good reason. In the last year, her fiancé died in the Great War, influenza stold her family, and she was evicted from her family farm because of her alcoholic father’s gambling debts. Enough to depress anyone, but many post WWI families faced the same turmoil.

Many men had died in Europe. At the same time, the great influenza pandemic killed over twenty million people. Very few families had suffered no loss from one of these events. Some families were completely wiped out. Another tragedy of the period was the rise of alcoholism and gambling addiction. A number of men lost everything, leaving their families destitute. This motivated prohibition.

Henry, the male main character in the story, had been a WWI doughboy. He had just returned from the war with all the baggage that came with trench warfare. Many his problems  with Vivian stemmed from his experiences fighting and losing his best friend in the war. The stoic tough guy image most men tried to live up to during that period of time made things worse.

In addition, on Palm Sunday, 1920, one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history swept the Midwest, especially Indiana and Western Ohio.

Pausing to announce Tamera’s giveaway of an e-book copy to one commenter!

Every story I write starts with reading about historical events and imagining people’s lives during that time. I’ve read historical fiction that could have taken place in any time period, but the writer loses an opportunity to make the stories come alive. Every good historical uses real events not just as setting, but as main characters.


Resurrection of Hope

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. He believes she’s still in love with her late fiancé, and won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.


Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She writes historical fiction set in the United States because of the multitude of stories in American history. Her stories feature strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure. She has received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and is a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest, with other novellas in print. Her first full length novel releases in April. She’s been married for 38 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and two grandchildren. You can purchase her latest novella, Resurrection of Hope at most online stores including Desert Breeze. Join Tamera on her website at http://tameralynnkraft.net, her blog at http://tameralynnkraft.com, Facebook http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft or Twitter http://twitter.com/tamerakraft.


Thanks, Tamera – all the best to you on your writing journey.

Smoky Mountain Author Lin Stepp


Today bestselling Tennessee author Dr. Lin Stepp visits us. She will give a print copy of her new book to one fortunate commenter here.

Author Photo

Lin, a native Tennessean, is a businesswoman, an educator, and an adjunct faculty member at Tusculum College, where she teaches research and psychology. Her business background includes over 25 years in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing. A New York Times USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-selling international author, Lin has nine published novels. Her most recent titles, (Kensington Publishing) are Welcome Back (Feb 2016), Saving Laurel Springs (Oct 2015), Makin’ Miracles (Jan 2015), and Down by the River (May 2014) – with a new novel Daddy’s Girl, publishing April 1st. Lin and her husband J.L. also published a Smoky Mountain hiking guide in January of 2014, distributed through The University of Tennessee Press, titled The Afternoon Hiker, which includes 110 trail descriptions and over 300 color photos. Lin has two grown children and two cats – and she loves to hike, paint, read, teach, speak and share about her writing. Website: www.linstepp.com

AUTHOR FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Lin-Stepp/715932788428635

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Lin-Stepp/e/B0028OJMPA

Welcome, Lin.  Tell us about your writing journey and what inspired you to write books set in the Smoky Mountains.

I started writing at midlife and have had a glorious journey so far as an author. One of my favorite sayings, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” has proven so true for me!

I write Southern contemporary fiction. When people ask what I write I usually say contemporary romance with a touch of suspense to keep you guessing, a dash of inspiration, and a big dollop of Appalachian flavor.

When my husband and I started hiking the Smoky Mountains and working on a hiking guidebook in early 2000, I found myself stopping into many mountain bookstores and small shops looking for books set in the Smoky Mountains. An avid reader, I wanted contemporary books—set in today’s time—to add to the ambience of our weekend trips to the Smokies. Surprisingly, I found none in the shops I explored.

I asked a store owner one day, “Where are your contemporary books set in the Smokies…you know, good southern fiction with a little romance or a touch of mystery?” He shook his head. “I don’t have any. People ask me for them all the time. With the Smoky Mountains the most visited national park in America, you’d think someone would write some!” … So I did!

I loved the idea of taking the reader to a new place with fresh characters in every Smoky Mountain novel, and that’s what I’ve done. Each novel is a stand-alone book, visiting a new place in the mountains with a new storyline.

My published book titles:

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Please describe your new release, today – April 1st.

DADDY’S GIRL is set in Bryson City, North Carolina, a charming small town on the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Main character Olivia Benton owns a downtown florist shop and has always lived in Bryson City. She’s never gotten over her early love for neighbor Warner Zachery, who left Bryson City after high school, married, made a new life in New York, and found success—despite the fact that most everyone called him Weird Warner and thought he would never amount to anything. When he returns to Bryson City after ten years, famous and widowed, Olivia realizes as soon as she sees him that she still loves him … And thus begins the story of these two old friends, with a host of old memories and problems between them.

I had fun bringing in the intriguing stories of several side characters, dealing with issues of school bullying, and adding in an ongoing town mystery of a vandal defacing public property and upsetting the community. I think readers will love visiting the “real life town” of Bryson City and hiking in the Smokies with the characters.

How did your surgery and recovery period this fall impact your writing?

I am blessed to walk in wonderful health and am seldom sick. But in September the enemy got a little toehold into my life with a fall and surgery to repair a badly broken bone in my upper right arm. During recovery, I couldn’t type or write for about three months, except with my left hand—and I’m right-handed. I also couldn’t drive until January and required help with many ordinary daily tasks. This time really tested my patience … and I’m still in physical therapy with healing not totally manifested yet.

An old proverb says: When times get tough, the tough get going. And I was determined that the enemy wouldn’t score a “win” and keep me from moving on with my life and the plans God had laid for me. So I kept going throughout the fall months… continuing to travel  to scheduled book signings, speaking events, and literary festivals. Since I couldn’t write, I spent the time researching and planning a new trilogy of novels set on the South Carolina coast. In the new year, I was able to start writing the first of those books—finally!—and am halfway finished with that book now.

No one likes hardship and adversity, but what you do when they come your way shows your character, attitude, and faith in God. I wanted to make God proud I didn’t get negative, whiney, and unproductive through a bad time—that I gave even a bad time my best.
As a Christian author, how do you find your own unique way to bring your faith into your books?

I believe in everything we do we can “plant seeds of faith” and that is my goal in every one of my novels. Within my stories are always bits of faith. I believe God is a good God, and always try to show how those who lean to Him and rely on Him are helped in their daily life and through difficult times.

What few words of advice would you give to readers interested in writing a book?

This is a question I am often asked, and my standard answer is one fellow Tennessee author Carolyn Jourdan once wrote: Start your book; Write a whole lot; Finish your book. … Although humorous, this is really the key. For most authors, the difference between dreaming of writing and becoming an author lies in the daily discipline and effort of writing and finishing the book envisioned … and then writing another and another and another.

Thanks, Lin. It’s good to learn about your work, and readers, go for the prize!!

Life Is All About Choices…and Consequences – Lillian Duncan


Welcome, Lillian. Thanks for your GIVEAWAY OFFER, and now readers, let’s consider how Life Is All About Choices…and Consequences. And who knows, you may with an Amazon Gift Card!

That’s the theme of my new book, BROKEN TRUST. The main character is Chrysalis better known as Chryssie. A chrysalis is another name for a cocoon, one of the necessary steps for a caterpillar to become a butterfly.


Chryssie wants to soar like a butterfly but because of a lifetime of bad choices she seems to be stuck in the caterpillar stage. She knows good decisions can propel her forward but it’s not always easy to make them.

And isn’t that true for all of us? We know eating that second piece of cake isn’t a good choice but… We know buying that expensive “whatever” isn’t a good choice but…We know arguing with our spouse about insignificant things isn’t a good choice but…

Lots of times we don’t even think about what we’re doing, we are just stuck in a pattern of bad choices and then complain because we don’t like what’s happening in our life. If you want to change something in your life, start making better choices.

Chryssie is only days away from graduating when she witnesses a murder. Common sense would tell her to call the police, but she’s so focused on taking her final exam for nursing school, she decides to take the easy way out—again.

Life is all about choices…and consequences.

Chryssie makes a bad choice—and even worse consequences follow. Her easy way out puts everything she’s worked so hard for in jeopardy, including her very life!

Each day we make hundreds of decisions—they may not be life and death like Chryssie’s, but they either move us either toward or away from our goals. It’s not easy to break patterns and bad habits but it can be done—one choice at a time.

Life is all about choices…and consequences.

BUY LINK for Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Trust-Lillian-Duncan-ebook/dp/B01J4KUKWY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1488028288&sr=1-1&keywords=lillian+duncan+broken+trust


To celebrate the release of BROKEN TRUST, I’m giving away Amazon Gift Cards. All you have to do is hop over to my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment under one of the Broken Trust posts and you’re entered. Easy Peasy!

BIO: Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.


Spring Storms

Spring is known for its surprises. My husband took these shots of birds surviving a final (hopefully) snowstorm.


This house finch fluffs its feathers in anticipation of a change in the weather. The prediction…snow.


Below, a robin joins him after the storm. And a whole lot of that robin’s buddies flock to our lilac bushes as well.



Such long migrations, only to wait out the cold. But spring often bears surprises.





At this time of year, this might be the last storm – maybe  the birds realize this, too.



Never Too Late for Friendship and Thanks

I just spent some extended time with a new friend, and she shared this little saying with me. We don’t know the author, but she/he certainly coined a powerful metaphor.


Note the essential elements:

focus – concentrate on a task or need

capture – this reminds me of “Carpe Diem”, seize the day

develop – use our creative abilities

The final verb, “take”, comes into play when plans go awry, as they often do. I hope to waste far less time bemoaning my failures and mistakes during the rest of my life than I have in the past. What a waste!

And I’d also like to practice gratitude far more faithfully. I can start easily this week: Thank you to everyone who helped me by hosting me on their blog or left an encouraging comment, posted a review, or bought my new release, With Each New Dawn, I’m truly grateful for all the support.

Just as it’s never too late to develop a new friendship, it’s always the right time to say a hearty thank you.


I’m so excited to host an Iowa writer today – Patti Stockdale, an Iowan hard at work on a manuscript that has yet to find a publisher. 

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Patti, tell us about your writing history, please. 
In high school, I wrote a short story, an English class assignment. My classmates submitted five or six pages. I handed in a whopping 28. Still, I didn’t know I was meant to write.

I returned to college in my thirties and enrolled in a creative writing class, the only nighttime class that fit my schedule and credit needs. That’s when I experienced my aha moment. In front of the class and on a chalkboard, a professor picked away at a portion of my first writing assignment. After that experience, I sharpened my pencil and had something to prove.

And here you are, writing away! Can you describe the significance of the novel you’re creating?

My novel is important to me because it’s personal, drawn from letters my maternal grandparents exchanged during World War I. I started the book 16 years ago in college. After I graduated, I shelved the manuscript to focus on my career. After my husband’s recent job transfer back to Iowa, I dusted off the manuscript and rewrote every page.

Last winter I joined a critique group – four retired businessmen and me. The first time my submission was reviewed, one participant said he hated romance.

Wait, what? I write historical fiction! It took time for the news to sink in because I didn’t see myself as a romance writer. Once I accepted the genre, I researched the fundamentals and guidelines and made the appropriate edits.

I can resonate to that. It took me years to figure out my genre, and knowing it certainly simplifies things! Do you infuse your work with aspects of your own life? 

When a person writes from a deep POV, the writer’s own personality, viewpoint, values, and interests end up on the pages of the manuscript. It’s nearly inevitable. It’s how my life colors my writing.

When I’m not writing fiction, I write for a local magazine and complete reading assessments for educational publishers. My other love is volunteering, a habit that started when my father forced me to babysit for a needy neighborhood family. Yep, without payment. I was 13, in need of spending cash, and failed to appreciate the valuable lesson at the time. Today, it makes a heap of sense.

How do you see your writing future?

My goal is to honor God with my writing, follow where He leads me. I don’t write every day. Some days I research or read. Before long, I hope to submit my revised manuscript to agents and find a publisher. I guess I’m still trying to prove something.


The second in my Women of The Heartland series has been released into the cold, cruel world. Actually, those adjectives describe a big swatch of the heroine’s  WWII experience. She endures great personal loss, plus Luftwaffe bombing in London, and then …  Well, I should let you discover the rest for yourself.

20170225_084318So why is this silly smile  still on my face? I’m smiling because Kate, a born risk-taker, still finds friendship and deepened faith in the very shadow of evil.

Don’t we all discover this truth in some of our most difficult experiences? At the time, we think all is lost, that we might not make it, but in retrospect, we see that we’ve grown like crazy. Wouldn’t want to repeat the experience, of course.

This morning, a friend from St. Ansgar texted me a photo of her newly-arrived copy of this book – wow, how fun to see it in someone’s hands!

This month I’m busy blogging to celebrate With Each New Dawn’s release, so if you’d like to learn more and perhaps win a copy of the novel, hop on over to one of these blogs:

Lighthouse Academy February 26, 2017

Jo Huddleston February 23, 2017

Where Faith And Fiction Collide February 21, 2017

Mary L. Ball February 15

Word Sharpeners February 8, 2017

Linda Brooks Davis February 1, 2017

Suzanne Bratcher February 2, 2017

Thank you all for your encouragement along the way.


Journaling On Our Journeys…

My guest is Carol Round, the author of Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God  Journaling has definitely helped me along the way, so I’m glad to welcome Carol. She’s offering a free book to one person drawn from all commenters, so go for it! 

In a warm and conversational tone, Carol describes the benefits and practices of prayer journaling as a discipline to help the reader draw closer to God, discern that still, small voice and set the reader on a journey of spiritual growth. With biblical evidence of the advantages of this form of prayer, Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God also provides real-life examples from other women who prayer journal as well the author’s own personal experiences. With encouragement, inspiration and resources offered in this book, women will be supported in their desire to grow spiritually. The final chapter in the book encourages the reader to sign a covenant with God to keep a prayer journal for 40 days.

Here’s a review of Carol’s book: five out of five stars, Lynnon July 12, 2014

I love this book. Unlike other books I have read on this subject, this one is very practical. The author helps you to grasp the vital importance of spiritual journaling. The author is very real, honestly sharing her own life experience. She also gives additional resources from other people to help you as you embark on your own journaling adventure. This book is great for people who have never started to keep a journal as well as for those who already are journaling. I often struggled to maintain the practice of keeping a spiritual journal in the past. Now I am more convinced of the extreme value and am very motivated to not neglect this opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.

journaling with jesus cover

And now, a few words from Carol: Journaling to a More Authentic Relationship with the Lord

Are you as close to God as you want to be? If not, did you know you can have a more authentic relationship with your Heavenly Father through the spiritual discipline of prayer journaling?

Through keeping a daily prayer journal you can

  • Learn to recognize the voice of your heavenly Father and come to know Him as your dearest friend. Your Creator God wants a relationship with you. John 20:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
  • Journaling is a healthy habit helping you to slow down and eliminate “hurry” from your life. Can you relate? I can. Jesus was never in a hurry. How does this help your relationship with the Lord? James 4:8 tells us, “And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.”
  • Journaling allows you to appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary. Those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder find it difficult to find joy during the winter. One morning, I began to notice the beauty found in the grays and browns of a winter landscape. The limbs and bark of leafless trees drew my attention and I began to notice the patterns and shapes. I realized God’s beauty can be found in the ordinary. Psalms 17:1 says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”
  • Helps you to listen better—to God and to people. Learning to listen for the still, small voice of God teaches you to learn to listen to people. How often are we focused on what our response will be instead of focusing on what the other person is sharing? When we spend time with God, reading scripture and writing in our prayer journal, we’re focused on Him. In Mark 4:23-24, Jesus tells us “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.”
  • Builds your prayer life and increases your faith. By looking back through your previous prayer journals, you’ll see how faithful God is when we take time for Him, trusting that He knows what is best for us. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

Connect with Carol:

Blog: http://carolaround.com/
Book website: http://journalingwithjesus.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/carolaround
Twitter: http://twitter.com/carolaround
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Round/e/B0083ZEAWI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

another 2015 publicity photo copy

Carol Round


“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” <*\\\\><

More bird pictures… The wonderful thing about these creatures is they really don’t have to do a thing, and they still bring people pleasure.



My husband and I rarely paid much attention to them in years past, and had always heard that you know you’re old when you start bird watching.


These things slip on a person, you know? You focus on rearing a family and making a living and then, ta da … you suddenly find time to fill your camera with the likes of these.


Some folks take time sooner, and  circumstances can hurry this transformation along. Kate Isaacs, the heroine of my new release, would agree to that. Her World War II involvement produced changes in her perceptions of the world , her “take” on situations and people.



We might recognize alterations in our parents or grandparents due to that same war.



I hope  Kate’s dangerous wartime adventures will intrigue readers, and take them into a deeper understanding of how World War II affected their loved ones. If you cheered Addie on during the beginning of the war, don’t worry, she’s now in London, with a much brighter future. One way or the other, war has a way of turning things around.

FEBRUARY 24: release day.  Preorder at http://tinyurl.com/jmvc36a


Valentine’s Day – Love It or Hate It?

Our author guest today, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington and  is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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Kimberly, please tell us the story behind A Love Song for Kayla

I haven’t been a fan of Valentine’s Day since I was a young child when it was fun to decorate a shoebox for my classmates to slip cards into. As an adult, in my opinion, the day doesn’t live up to the hype. One year on Valentine’s I decided to express my frustration with the special day for sweethearts by writing.

I sat down at my computer and created a character who felt exactly the same way I did about Valentine’s, but I made it even harder for her. She owns a florist shop where she can’t escape her least favorite day of the year.

As writers it’s our job to make our character’s lives challenging. That way they have something to overcome. Because this is a romance story, I needed a bigger than life hero. Enter Derek—a man hiding in the small Oregon town from his life as a music superstar.

I wanted to create strong, successful characters who still had things to overcome-that’s what makes them come to life.

That was how A Love Song for Kayla came to be. I’m happy to say, writing Kayla’s story was cathartic. I no longer have such strong feelings about Valentine’s Day. Kayla’s tune also changed when she met Derek.

Here is a little bit about the story.

Ever since she was sixteen, Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

For all of you who don’t enjoy the day, take heart, it’s only one day. For the rest of you, I hope you have a wonderful day with your sweetheart.

Love Song ebook



What an intriguing look in this heroine’s eyes … so go for it, readers. Kimberley’s giving away an e-book  of this lovely novel to one fortunate commenter.


Sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter at her website:  http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

Links: http://amzn.to/2kl4Urd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyRoseJohnson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh