Monday, September 26, 2011

DAY 2 - Release Gathering for "A Quaker Christmas" with guest blog and new giveaway!

DAY 2 of a Release Gathering for "A Quaker Christmas" is a special blog from coauthor Claire Sanders. She is also giving away a gingerbread cookie cutter! Comment on the post and leave your e-mail address to enter. This door prize ends September 27th at 11 PM est. Don't forget the ongoing grand prize for the gift card - you get another entry if you Facebook or Tweet this with others and "3" entries if you buy the book! Again if you are having trouble with blogger, visit my reader's page (see the widget on the right) and enter the discussion list to leave a comment. E-mail proof of sharing and /or purchase to blissful63(at)gmail(dot)com   
(update) Congratulations to Judy who won the cookie cutter!

Dear Readers,
            I hope you enjoy my story, “Equally Yoked”.  The title, of course, is a reference to the verse in II Corinthians, but I did not mean for my story to be based on that verse.  Rather, I was going for the same image of two oxen pulling a wagon. 
            The main character of my story, Susanna Griffith, has always been a passive observer of her husband’s work in the Underground Railroad.  But when she’s put in a position where she has to help a runaway slave, she is empowered by the experience.  She asks her husband to let her continue in the work, despite the danger.  In this way, she wishes to be equally yoked to her husband.
            Susanna’s husband, Nathan Griffith, is a Quaker.  I first learned about the Quakers’ staunch support of abolitionist causes when I read a wonderful book about the Underground Railroad.  Beyond the River by Ann Hagedorn tells the story of how abolitionists in southern Ohio worked to help runaway slaves.  You may have noticed that Nathan and his father attend the trial of John B. Mahan.  This part of my story is historically correct.
            John B. Mahan lived in Sardinia, Ohio.  He trained as a Methodist minister and farmed land in that area.  In September, 1838, Mahan was arrested by the sheriff of Mason County, Kentucky on the grounds that Mahan had traveled to Kentucky to help slaves escape.  He was arrested in Ohio, taken in handcuffs to Mason County, and jailed for nine weeks.  His arrest and the trial that followed were headline news.  If he was convicted of the charges, all the abolitionists with whom he was associated would be in danger of being tried for similar charges.   
            He wrote many letters during his incarceration.  Here is an excerpt from a letter to his wife which shows the kind of man John B. Mahan was:
Every day I look through the grates of my prison towards the Ohio.  I desire to be with you; but I am admonished by my Master to be patient; God knows what is best for me and often times in my prison amidst the clanking of chains, I feel happy and am constrained to say it is enough, Lord.  I think I feel reconciled to whatever may be the issue of my case.  My hope and my trust is in the Lord.
            Mahan’s defense rested on the indisputable fact that he hadn’t been in Kentucky during the time the slaves escaped.  Although almost everyone expected a guilty verdict from the Kentucky jury, John B. Mahan was found not guilty of the charges.  However, Mahan’s arrest and trial had long-lasting effects.  During his months in jail, Mahan had suffered from a severe chest cold and cough (he was later diagnosed with tuberculosis).  He never completely regained his health and he died in December, 1844 at the age of forty-three.  He is buried in Sardinia.  His tombstone reads “a victim of the slave power”.
            I loved writing “Equally Yoked”, not only for the story but also to give my respect to the Quakers.  Their beliefs helped found our nation and they continue to be tireless warriors against social injustice.  I hope you’ll look for my next story based on Quakers. “New Garden Inspiration” will appear in the collection titled The Quakers of New Garden, published by Barbour Books. This new story is set in Indiana in 1861.  Leah, a Quaker, agrees to a marriage of convenience to a non-Quaker.  One day after her wedding, her husband reports for duty with the Indiana First Cavalry, leaving Leah to care for his two children.  When her husband is wounded in battle, she must travel to Washington D.C. to care for him.
            The Quakers of New Garden will be available on April 1, 2012.  Look for more information about my books at my website 


Judy said...

I would love to win a copy of "A Quaker Christmas". This sounds like a great read. Thanks for this giveaway!



Lauralee Bliss said...

Judy, We're actually not offering "A Quaker Christmas" as a giveaway but different items each day. Today is a gingerbread cookie cutter. But be sure to also visit back the next few days as we will be offering other books!

Rebecca said...

Oh how I love cookie cutters. This one is super cute. I would love to use this. Thanks for the chance to win.


karenk said...

enjoyed this posting...what a cute cookie cutter :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Joy said...

I loved Claire Sanders story in "A Quaker Christmas" and I am looking forward to her next book as well! Would love to win the cookie cutter!


philippa_gordon said...

Can I post a comment that I thought the book was sweet -- as is the cookie cutter!

Lauralee Bliss said...

From Kim - Thanks for sharing the story behind your story, Claire. I enjoy reading about historical figures in fiction, especially when they did what was morally right against huge odds.