Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Sound of Emeralds Birthday Blog Tour

Emeralds have always had a lot of meaning for me.  Their deep, ageless green has attracted me all my life.  Rachelle Rea Cobb's Steadfast Love Trilogy with Gwen's emerald-colored eyes and the brilliance of these books -- especially The Sound of Emeralds -- only deepened my love of these precious stones. When I spent three months studying abroad on the Emerald Isle last fall, that dark, rich green became the color of my heart. 

With all my adventures in Ireland, this blog has seen a lot of the color green and a lot of information about times gone by. That trend is continuing today, but rather than talking about Ireland, this blog post is dedicated to The Sound of Emeralds -- the third book of a historical romance trilogy set in the 16th century in England. 

But instead of listening to me drone on and on about some historical nonsense, today there is free stuff to win! To celebrate The Sound of Emeralds' first birthday, Rachelle Rea Cobb is hosting a fabulous giveaway. 

Make sure you enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post to win signed copies of all three books!


So without further ado, the rest of this post is dedicated to information about Rachelle Rea Cobb's Steadfast Love Trilogy, The Sound of Emeralds, and a little about Rachelle herself. By the end, I hope you will come to love this trilogy as much as I have. 



ABOUT The Steadfast Love SERIES


In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?




ABOUT The Sound of Emeralds

What once was blazing hatred has turned to lasting love, but could the union of a wild heart with that of a lady ever result in more than heartache?

With the help of an old friend with uncertain loyalties, Dirk inches ever closer to clearing his name. Gwyneth throws her faith into good tidings and the promise of a future as a family. But an old evil comes to call, just as tragedy rips apart a fledgling truce. Enemies from the past and grief for the future threaten to tear asunder what God had brought together…

As the date of Dirk’s trial approaches, his fate and his family hang in the balance. Will he be proven innocent of Gwyneth’s parents’ murders—or separated from her forever? How much pain does it take to erode a love steadfast?

 

Find The Sound of Emeralds on…

Amazon Paperback: http://is.gd/F53u5R


Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/RguS9l

Books a Million: http://is.gd/NdMWGr




Why I Love The Sound of Emeralds


I can't believe it has been a year since I read The Sound of Emeralds. I'd pre-ordered the book and ran out to the mailbox the day it released, excited to see how my beloved Gwen and Dirk's story ended. I wasn't disappointed. I flipped pages so fast I'm lucky I didn't get paper cuts.  The story held me enthralled through laughs, tears, anger, and heartfelt joy as the heroine and hero who I'd come to love fought through this final struggle. I'd shove my glasses farther up my nose, just as the heroine, Gwen, was doing the same in the book -- it is nice having a heroine be severely nearsighted and need glasses. It deepened her character and made her immediately relatable to anyone who wears glasses.


But besides fascinating characters, a breathtaking plot, and heart-wrenching romance, one of the best things about The Sound of Emeralds and, indeed, the entire Steadfast Love Trilogy is how the name of each book ties in perfectly with the story. Each name is a curious thought. After all, what DO diamonds, silver, and emeralds sound like? But believe me, each has a sound specifically tied to the book -- you'll just have to read them to find out how each name relates to the story.



As a young writer and homeschool graduate myself, Rachelle Rea Cobb's writing story has fascinated me for the past few years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago--her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South. She is also the author of Write Well, a guide for writers, which released on March 4th!


Here are a few questions and answers which give more insight about Rachelle and her books.



1. When and where did you first get the idea for the Steadfast Love Series?



Rachelle: A song I was listening to on the radio inspired the title of the first book. So I wrote Diamonds, but when I finished it, I realized to my great frustration that the characters weren’t done with their story, even though I had been quite adamant that I would write a stand-alone novel. But the story wasn’t finished, so I kept writing.



2.  Readers often pick out favorite quotes from a novel. Do you have a favorite of your own from The Sound of Silver?

Rachelle: Yes! In fact, my friend Mindy, a calligrapher, even created a beautiful piece of art from one of my favorite quotes: “Within the pages of books one’s heart can be revealed.”

3.  Can you tell us what first drew you to writing Inspirational Historical Romance?

Rachelle: My first exposure to the genre came when I read Heartsong Presents novels when I was twelve. Those small books introduced me to how much I believe in the power of story, especially love stories set in times gone by.

4.  I saw on your website that you also write reviews, articles and offer editing services. What's one of your favorite things beyond writing novels that you enjoy?

Rachelle: Editing is such fun! I daresay I enjoy editing a page full of my own (or others’!) words just as much as I enjoy splashing words onto a blank page. I recently released my first nonfiction book, Write Well, which is a short ebook designed as a guide for writers!
 



AUTHOR LINKS


Website: http://RachelleReaCobb.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/RachelleReaCobb
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelleReaCobb
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/RachelleReaCobb/
Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Rea/e/B00RZHIL1Q
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144149.Rachelle_Rea_Cobb


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Of course, I cannot forget what you all are here for... Rachelle Rea Cobb's delightful giveaway! Who wouldn't want to read her books?

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below to signed copies of ALL THREE of Rachelle’s novels. The whole series, signed!


International friends, this giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive all three e-books


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sneak Peak: Emeralds

I have a special surprise for you tomorrow!

A glimpse at one of my favorite things -- Emeralds, one of my favorite gems and representing my favorite color. But a Gemstone isn't the only thing I mean when I think about Emeralds. 

You'll have to check back tomorrow to find out what I mean.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The History of St. Patrick

   St. Patrick is known as Ireland's patron saint. Although he is given credit for bringing Christianity to Ireland, he was not the first "missionary." He did, however, have an incredible amount of influence on the Irish, possibly because of the way he went about spreading the Gospel.

St. Patrick's story is actually similar to Joseph's in the Bible.

Most think  St. Patrick was Irish, but he actually was Roman/Britain but he was captured by the Celts and sold as a slave in Ireland. He grew up among the Irish herding their livestock. He learned their customs, culture, and language. He knew what they believed and why they believed it.

During his time as a slave, he didn't preach to the Irish -- he learned their ways. He eventually returned to his home, completed his studies, and felt called to go back to Ireland as an old man. He taught the Irish the Good News, which they were incredibly receptive to.

Celtic Christianity has always been founded on relationships because that is the Irish culture.  St. Patrick was successful because he didn't try to force Roman or British culture on the Irish. He spoke to them in their own language and could use what he knew about their history, beliefs, and culture to speak to them in a way they understood. He merely told them the Good News of Christ which they could follow without completely setting aside their culture.

In fact, Ireland is said to be the only country in the world to be "converted" to Christianity without bloodshed.

These new Irish Christians founded monasteries which later basically educated Europe during the early middle ages. Their missionaries went throughout the world and are mostly responsible for bringing the Picts and Anglo-Saxons in Scotland and England to Christianity.

Of course, thousands of legends surround St. Patrick.

He is said to have used a clover or shamrock as an example for the Trinity. That may or may not be true, but if it is, it is an example of how he appealed to their culture and beliefs because the number "3" has always been important to the Irish.

One of the most famous legends, which is a myth, is that St. Patrick, climbed Croagh Patrick (Like I did) and chased the snakes out of Ireland. Although he likely did climb the mountain, -- all legends are founded in some grain of truth -- there were never any snakes in Ireland for him to chase out.

But whether some stories are true or myth, it doesn't really matter.  St. Patrick had an undeniable impact on the Irish culture, and as a result, on the world. But don't take it from me, here is a wonderful video which explains St. Patrick.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Green shamrocks, "Kiss me I'm Irish" knick knacks, and leprechauns prance around on St. Patrick's Day. Waves of green wash over both America and Ireland.

I'm sad to inform you, like all our holidays St. Patrick's day is incredibly commercialized, but there is real history there.

There are so many American myths thrown into this Irish holiday. I mean, the sea of green that overtakes the country isn't even appropriate, because Ireland's national color is blue, not green. My only explanation as to why green is used is because it is our attempt to cover our cold, snowy hills with the lush green of the Emerald Isle.  

Leprechaun jokes or references really aren't appreciated in Ireland. It shows the American lack of interest, knowledge, or respect of Ireland.

And unlike what everyone seems to think -- Not all Irish people are red-headed. In fact, I only saw a small handful while I was over there.

As for the luck of the Irish? I don't know why that is even a saying. If you know one ounce of Ireland's history, the first thing you will realize exactly how UNLUCKY the Irish were. They were ruled by the English for hundreds of years, and not for lack of trying. But all their numerous rebellions were repulsed by bad timing, miscommunication, and even the whims of the weather.

Don't get me started on the Great Hunger which so many people inappropriately refer to as a "Famine." The Irish story is a tragic one.

So where your green and your shamrocks, celebrate Ireland! But don't go cracking jokes about misinformed moments in history. Instead of slamming your brain and senses full of green, inappropriate jokes, and ignorant assumptions. Check out and honor the untold history of Ireland. Respect the Irish people, their history, and the impact they've had on America.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

Chirk Castle: Part Two

 Although part of Chirk Castle was quite medieval, two wings were well furnished and lived in until a few years ago when it was handed over to the National Trust. 

To discourage the fancy seats being sat on, nettles were placed on them. A very fine solution, indeed!

 As I said, there was some kind of kid's event going on. I'm assuming there was a scavenger hunt of sorts because these little-stuffed wolves were hidden in random places around the castle.

 All the rooms were extremely fine. It was as though you'd just stepped into Pemberley from Pride and Prejudice.


 Stunning ceiling!


 The bedroom of the late Lady of the house.

 A chair with 6 feet!
 Of course one of my favorite rooms was this library. There were not only beautiful old books but also pictures of the Castle's former masters through the ages on horseback.
 To prevent theft, there were thin wires on every bookshelf.
 Secret doors in Castles!
 There was a guy dressed up as a court jester entertaining the crowd.
 A sign warning us not to step on the grass.
After we had visited the castle for a few hours, we started on the long beautiful walk into Chirk town.

Come back next week to see pictures from that walk.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Chirk Castle: Part One

To us Chirk castle was Camelot.

Chirk castle was lived in by a local family up until about ten years ago. Therefore, parts of the castle are completely renovated and basically a mansion, however, part of the castle still maintains the medieval feel from the days it was built.

To visit the castle legally, we had to enter at the base of the hill at the stables. When we were there it was nearly Halloween, and they were having some kind of event for the kids. Therefore, there were a bunch of kids dressed up and painting pumpkins.

The stables were revamped to hold a nice little gift shop and a used bookstore, where I found a book by Brian Jacques for my sister.
 From there it was a good 15-minute walk up and around to the Castle.
 This was a building behind the castle.
 Chirk Castle! Everything you could hope for in a medieval castle!
 Welsh countryside.
 As I said, they had a big event going on, and there were a bunch of people dressed up as knights, and there was a jester entertaining the crowd.
 Double gates in this castle!
 The courtyard inside the castle.


 This is the chapel. It is the only "new" renovated part of the castle wich I'll be showing today.
 As we wound our way up the castle, many of the medieval style rooms had props and things like a museum.
 Guess what..... MORE circular staircases. This is probably one of the pictures I managed to get during the entire semester, representing a tiny bit of the difficulty of climbing medieval circular staircases.
 This is the dungeon. You see. It was a single room at the bottom of a circular staircase -- rather difficult to escape from.
 More medieval rooms
 Barrel- vaulted ceiling. The last time we'd seen this was at Donegal Castle.
 Another reasonable shot representing the tightness of these staircases.
Visit again next week to see the modern day renovated parts of the Castle. They were stunningly rich and elaborate.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

St. Mary's Church

 On the Saturday of our Spring Break, we rode in the morning then headed into Chirk to see the sights. Our first stop of the day was St. Mary's Church -- a medieval church on the edge of town. It was simple but beautiful. 

 The nice thing about most of the churches in Ireland, and wales and England too are open for visitors. Most have a section near the entrance for donations and also little knickknacks or jewelry you can buy to help fund the church's upkeep. 
 Beautiful stained glass windows...
 ... portrayed Biblical stories.
 These cross-stitched kneeling pads where beautiful and unique.
 WHile we were looking around a woman came in preparing for the service the next day. We talked to her for a bit and she told us a little about the church. There was also info pictures on the walls telling the church's history.

 And, of course, there was a pipe organ.
 The rafters had different animals carved and painted into them. So many tiny details in this church!
 Stone baptismal. Do you see how old these churchs are? 1662 is carved into it!
 The setting sun turned the bricks golden.

 Then we had lunch in this little tea room.
Our main destination was Chirk castle, which was stunning and more magnificent than any castle we'd seen in Ireland.

Although the locals called it a small castle, (and I suppose it was compared to others in the UK) but we were shocked by its size. It was several times the size any we'd seen previously!

Check back next week to see pictures of that!