Finding New Sources

One of the issues when researching setting, events, or even the attributes for a character is finding a source. Which often can mean finding someone to talk. Historical societies can be a font of information. And not just dates and events, but town personalities as well.

One of the issues when researching setting, events, or even the attributes for a character is finding a source. Which often can mean finding someone to talk. Historical societies can be a font of information. And not just dates and events, but town personalities as well.

Special events and anniversaries provide a unique view into the past of an area. And the way an event is commemorated (or not) provides insight as well. An advantage is that at anniversary events such as the one October 4th celebrating 100 years of community service  by the Woman’s Club of Matawan memories are at the forefront.

And at happy occasions, people are often more willing to talk. 

Happy researching.~Till next time. Helen


Tuesday’s Title – Hidden History of New Jersey at War

Although fiction is usually featured as a Tuesday Title (and in a different format), this post showcases  Hidden History of New Jersey at War by Joseph G. Bilby, James M. Madden, Harry Ziegler.

History books can assist authors in various ways. Those are the topic of many othr posts. When looking for a history book, among the criteria is where the information came from whether primary or secondary research. However authors also look at history for a storyline which leads to today’s Tuesday Title. The following blurb from Hidden History of New Jersey at War points out how as an author we should pay attention to more than just the larger historical narrative.

The Garden State has made innumerable contributions to our nation’s military history, on both battlefield and homefront, but many of those stories remain hidden within the larger national narrative. Perhaps the most crucial one-day battle of the Revolution was fought in Monmouth County, and New Jersey officers engineered the conquest of California in the Mexican War. During the Civil War, a New Jersey unit was instrumental in saving Washington, D.C., from Confederate capture.

In World War II, New Jersey women flocked to war production factories and served in the armed forces, and a West Orange girl helped ferry Spitfire fighters in England. War came home to the coast in 1942 with the sinking of the SS Resor by a German submarine, but the state’s citizens reacted by contributing everything they could to the war effort.

Uncover these and other stories from New Jersey’s hidden wartime history. ~Till next time. Helen

Hidden History of New Jersey at War  

Available at

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626191786
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626191785

About the Authors

Joseph Bilby served as lieutenant in the First Infantry Division in Vietnam and is the author/editor of more than three hundred articles and fourteen books on New Jersey and military history. He is a trustee of the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association, publications editor for its 150th Anniversary Committee and assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey.

James Madden has written for many Civil War publications, including the New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He is a trustee of the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association, the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery, the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Jerramiah T. Healy Charitable Foundation for a Better Jersey City.

Harry Ziegler worked for many years at the Asbury Park Press, New Jersey’s second largest newspaper, rising from reporter to bureau chief, editor and managing editor of the paper. He is currently associate principal of Bishop George Ahr High School, in Edison, New Jersey, and has co-authored several books on New Jersey history.(Author’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, Ziegler is a fellow graduate of Monmouth University.)

Tuesday’s Title – Hawaiian Heartbreak

When do you let yourself admit a holiday romance is so much more?

Title: Hawaiian Heartbreak
Author: Libby Cole
HawaiiHeartbreak_Cole_med Released: August 29 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Buy Link:

What do you do when you meet someone who could be the love of your life, but to be together, one of you will have to give up everything?

Kayla had her life all mapped out, before her ex-boyfriend tipped her world upside down by cheating on her. But she’s had her time licking her wounds. Now she’s ready to take time out for herself on a dream vacation in Hawaii. If that won’t pull the shattered pieces of her heart back together, nothing will. 

What she hadn’t planned on was falling for someone new. Especially someone tall, tanned, and distractingly sexy. What starts out as a fun holiday fling quickly turns into a full-blown love affair, with neither wanting to face up to the fact that the clock is ticking until Kayla has to return home.

(The first book of three in the Hawaiian Heartbreak trilogy. This book is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to explicit sexual content.)

About Libby:
Libby Cole was an avid fan of romance books before she decided to do what she loved, and become a writer of them too.

Now you can usually find her in a cafe in her home town of Wellington, New Zealand, typing up her latest love story while having her fifth coffee of the day.

If you want to know when new books are out, and special deals underway, head to and sign up to the email list. 

Blog posts on daily writing frustrations, terrible beauty tips, and book giveaways can be found as her website To connect through Goodreads, check out or follow through Amazon on

Delving into #BookMarketing, Part I: Donning the battle gear #bookpromo

Good points, especially about not having everything word for word. Mixing up excerpts and interviews makes it more fun for the readers.

Jami Gray's Blog

I promised when my summer marketing experiment finished, I’d share my discoveries with you. For those of you interested in the mysteries behind book marketing, today’s post, and the next couple will focus on what happened. Tiny disclaimer here: keep in mind, every author’s journey in marketing varies.

Alrighty then, class is now in session. Let’s begin.


First background: I have four books in an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series called The Kyn Kronicles. The first book, SHADOW’S EDGE, was published October 2011. Every year since, I’ve managed to release between 1 to 2 full length (300+ pages) novels each year. Here are their publication dates (to give you an idea of how long they’ve been out):

  • Shadow’s Edge           October 2011  
  • Shadow’s Soul             June 2012
  • Shadow’s Moon           May 2014
  • Hunted by the Past   …

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Out and About–In Matawan and Aberdeen

The Matawan Historical Society will be hosting special pre-release signings for the new local history book, From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond, at the following events:

Aberdeen Day, Sept. 26th 12 – 4
at the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional High School

Matawan Day, October 3rd, 12 – 5
Main Street Matawan
A limited number of copies will be available for signing.
For more information on the events or to reserve a book for pickup at one,
Use this Pre-Release Order Form to order signed copies from the author by mail.~   ~   ~

From the Back Street to Main Street chronicles the Society of Methodists of Middletown Point from its early beginnings with circuit rider preachers to the current congregation of the 21st century as the Matawan United Methodist Church in Aberdeen. Author Helen Henderson blends the context of times past with over 100 images as she presents over 180 years of the church’s history and that of the Monmouth County, New Jersey towns of Matawan Borough and Aberdeen Township.


Tuesday’s Title – Dragon Knight’s Axe

     Be swept away by battles, ancient curses and magic.   

Title:  Dragon Knight’s Axe (Book 3 of the Order of the Dragon Knights)
Author: Mary Morgan
Date of Release: June 26, 2015

Genre: Paranormal Time-travel Scottish Romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Buy Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Blurb: Battled scarred, Dragon Knight, Alastair MacKay, has fled to the seas to separate himself from his powers that are connected to the land. Yet, when he rescues a woman from a slave trader in Ireland, he steps back inadvertently into a world filled with magic—taking on the role of protector and leading him on a journey to confront his greatest fears.

Research assistant, Fiona O’Quinlan loves translating ancient artifacts at Trinity College. When she falls asleep on an archeological dig, she awakens in another time. She soon discovers a Dragon Knight’s relic has been entrusted into her care. Determined to return the artifact to the Great Glen, Fiona is unprepared for the danger ahead—losing her heart and soul to Alastair “Beast” MacKay.

Will their love be strong enough to soothe the beast and heal the man? Or will Death swing its axe, leaving them lost for all eternity?

About Mary Morgan:  I am a constant daydreamer and have been told quite often to remove my head from the clouds. Yet, this is where I find the magic to write my stories. Not only do I love to weave a good tale, but I have a voracious appetite for reading. I worked for Borders Books for almost fourteen years. Imagine my delight to be surrounded by so many books, talking to others about them, and getting paid.

I have traveled to England, Scotland, Ireland, and France. There are those who know me well when I say, “My heart is in the Highlands.” I believe I have left it there or maybe in Ireland.

When not writing, I enjoy playing in my garden—another place where magic grows. Of course, there is time spent with my family. They are the ones that keep me grounded.

Find Morgan and more of the rest of the series on the web at

What’s In A Cover, Pt. 6 – Non-fiction revisited

The series, “What’s In A Cover,” began with non-fiction. Taking advantage of a short hiatus from flying with dragons, I thought I’d celebrate the upcoming release of From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond by sharing its cover design.

Unlike the colorful covers for the fantasy series, the Dragshi Chronicles, the design for From the Back Street to Main Street utilized a different principle–KISS. Or for polite company, Keep It Simple SXXX (you fill in the blank.)

Unlike the previous non-fiction books, which covered multiple topics over an extended period of time, this one is about a single group for the shorter time span of only 180 years. And the final critera? The entire design one had to be suitable for a church.

Selecting a title was the easiest of the cover triad of title, image, and back matter. Combining the title of a slide presentation from an earlier anniversary celebration with a suggestion from a church member resulted in From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond.

The simplicity of the overall design meant the image increased in importance. A scan of the possible images grouped them into three possible themes: people, building, and objects.

Each category had its own issues. If a person, or group of people) was selected was from among the ministers, congregation members, or events received the honor? Various objects including the stained glass windows were evaluated and discarded. Only one window survived the demolition of the Main Street sanctuary and it was not available. Pictures taken over the years were not of production quality. The communion set seemed more appropriate for an antique reference. Early documents blurred into unreadability when seen in thumbnail size. Which left buildings.

No known image existed of the earliest sanctuary which left the landmark red brick building that graced the center of town for 100 years or the modern church of today.

For a history, some claim the older the image the better. But production issues such as crispness still had to be acknowledged. Laying out a selection of images in different formats from several eras helped narrow down the front cover image to three possible ones, then to one. A black and white cover wasn’t wanted so the background became a solid color. Encircling the image with white provided contrasts for the art.

My personal approach to have a cover reflect the story raised the question of how to incorporate “And Beyond.”  Putting both the old and new buildings made the cover too busy, especially with the long title. A reminder that the history book would be published in paperback as well as in digital format solved the problem of incorporating present and future with the past. The modern sanctuary went on the back cover.

Now for the unveiling.

BackStreet-cvr200x300 BackStreet BackCover4Blog
The official release is mid-November, but if you are in the central New Jersey area, the Matawan Historical Society will be hosting a special pre-release of From the Back Street to Main Street… And Beyond at Aberdeen Day (September 26th, Matawan-Aberdeen Regional High School) and Matawan Day (October 3rd, Main Street, Matawan)
~till next time, Helen