Book-a-Day #Giveaway Featuring Author Dana Vacca

Leave a comment on today’s post and you’re eligible to win this author’s giveaway. Each day in November that you comment gives you an entry into the Grand Prize giveaway at the end of the month! (Print copies for US residents only, please. If you live outside the US and win, you’ll receive a digital copy of the book.)

Freedom Calling Dana Vacca

Not just another Civil War novel! This inspiring story is an unforgettable story of strength & determination against the forces of the elements and the evil sides of human nature. It will make you re-think your own definition of freedom, morality and humanity. A perilous sea voyage, a New Bedford whaling ship, Virginia’s Dismal Swamp, and the war-ravaged South test the determination and willpower of two escaped slaves who struggle to overcome tribulation, conquer hardship and prevail in the face of adversity. This is a book you won’t want to put down!

This page-turning drama is packed with action, emotion, romance and tumultuous adventure, and is vibrantly painted with powerful characters, vivid imagery and factual details of the Civil War era. It is an exploration into the meaning of freedom and love and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.

In the midst of the Civil War, runaway slaves Daisy Green and her daughter Celia attempt a nearly infallible but risky plan to escape from their Southern plantation and stow away on a sailing ship headed north. The cruelties of slavery that have broken Daisy’s body have only reinforced her steadfast will to get her daughter to freedom. They will do whatever they must to be free.

Mother and daughter are soon separated, and everything changes. Help and danger come from unexpected places.  Although their strong bond endures, their hearts are torn by desperation, sorrow, and fear.  Faith in God’s divine guidance, and in each other, gives them strength to persevere in their courageous struggle to find liberty and happiness.

Emotional, fast-paced, exciting, and compelling, their journeys take them to heights of happiness and plunge them to depths of despair – and back again. Their incredible search for freedom becomes a fight for life and a test of love.

FREEDOM CALLS to these unforgettable heroines, Daisy and Celia. Will they find freedom,… and each other?

Watch the book trailer here.

Dana Vacca

Dana Vacca holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College. She is retired from teaching visual media and design at the college level. She has illustrated children’s books but equally loves to paint with words to create exciting adventure, vivid imagery and compelling characters in her creative writing and fictional works.
Dana is a lover of old things and collects antiques. Often, an estate find leads her deep into the past and into the life story of its former owner. Treasured possessions can unfold the whole history of a bygone era and offer a glimpse, as if through a keyhole, the intimacies of lives lived long ago. These meanderings into the past feed into her writing and breathe life into the characters she creates.
Visit Dana’s Facebook blog for Civil War trivia and book highlights! And find Dana’s books on Amazon.
Dana is giving away a print copy of her book to one winner – just leave a comment on this blog to be eligible.
Hope to see you on Saturday, December 1 at the Rhode Island Author Expo!

Read to Write

I’ve had this book in my head for years, and it’s about time I draw it out of my memory and put it to paper (or on my monitor, then my thumb drive – well, you get the point). I don’t expect anyone other than my friends and family will read it, once it’s finally written, but then again, that’s what Kathryn Stockett thought when she wrote “The Help.” She said she never thought anyone would read it. And I feel that way, too. But I’ll still write my book.

I’m writing more now that I’m not working. The fact that I left my job is for another more dramatic and emotional blog, but when I was working I wasn’t able to write. My head was always somewhere else, even after I’d left work and come home.  Even on the weekends. Now, there’s a lot of free time, and I’m writing. Writing this blog every few days.  Starting a new blog, which I’ll mention once it’s up and running. Working on my book. I’m kind of busy! It’s understandable that writers want to hole up in a cabin, or in a deserted beach house in the middle of winter, to write. Few distractions. Here at home, even when my husband is out of the house, there is laundry, dog-walking. The telephone rings and a friend is checking in. But it’s not annoying, it’s just life.

For inspiration, I read. I read books by people who write the way I would like to write. And although I believe it’s a good thing to read a variety of books (biography, romance, science-fiction), for now I’ve been concentrating on the authors who have meaning for me as a wannabe writer. Those authors can be the warm blanket, the strong coffee, and sometimes, the light bulb.

Life is short! Turn the page.

What’s in a Name

When I was about three years old, I’d sit cross-legged on the carpet in our living room every morning, eagerly awaiting the beginning of “Romper Room.”  The black-and-white television set would come alive, and the familiar picture of the jack-in-the-box, along with the theme of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” meant my favorite show was about to begin.

After 30 minutes of totally enjoyable stories and fun from Miss Diane, she would end the show by taking out her Magic Mirror and using it to see all the children watching from
home.  One by one, she’d call our names.  I waited, riveted, for Miss Diane to recognize me.  But day after day, she saw Karen, Donna, Johnny, Laura, and David.  She couldn’t
see me in her Magic Mirror!  I sat so close to the TV, willing her to see me sitting there, so she could say, “I see Martha!” It never happened. I was crushed.

Running to find my mother, I cried and cried, asking her why Miss Diane couldn’t see me.  My mom, who wouldn’t admit to any culpability in this conspiracy, rocked me in the big chair, stroking my Little-Orphan-Annie-red hair, but never really providing an explanation.

Once I started school, I was in a class with two Karens and three Kathys. But I was the only Martha. I wanted to be named Jane or Colette, like the prettiest girls in first grade, or Lora, who was ultimately cool at age six. All through grade school, high school, and even college, I wished I had been given a different name.  I didn’t even have a middle name to fall back on.

So when did the acceptance come? Hard to say, but maybe I realized that I couldn’t be anything other than Martha. It was the gift given to me by my parents, at my baptism.  I’ve been able to smile at the biblical image of Martha as a hard-working lady of the house, and Martha is indeed the patron saint of house-bound wives.

And having been out of popularity for some time (no kidding!), in 2006 Martha broke into the top 100 names in the United Kingdom (number 99).  I’m fine with that.

Hope and History

The official state motto of Rhode Island consists of one word: HOPE.  You see the word Hope on the Rhode Island flag and state seal.  The use of the word Hope is generally thought to be attributed to the state’s founder, Roger Williams, who drew on the biblical phrase “hope we have as an anchor of the soul.” (Hebrews, 6:19)

These days, we struggle with that word Hope.  Oh, we know all about Rhode Island’s natural beauty, that for a state 48 miles long and 37 miles wide, we have 400 miles of shoreline running along Narragansett Bay; we have magnificant mansions (“summer cottages”) in Newport; and more restaurants per square mile than you can imagine.  But we also have 10.8% unemployment, tons of foreclosures, frustration, anger, and apathy.  We need a little more hope!

Some people live in Rhode Island all their lives.  And some of those people never venture more than 10 miles from the town of their birth.  I’ve met native Rhode Islanders who have never been to green and bucolic Little Compton, or climbed aboard the Carol Jean for her 55-minute sail to Block Island.  They don’t know that Chariho isn’t a town, but a combination of Charlestown, Richmond, and Hopkinton.  They live in gritty Pawtucket, and know the Blackstone Valley up to Woonsocket, past big brick mills now either boarded up or transformed into condominiums.  They live in tony East Greenwich and Barrington for the summer, but head to West Palm Beach once the first frost covers the ground.

It’s good to have hope.  Hope means a trust in the future, a belief that things will be better, an anchor of the soul.