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By rebeccapricejanney, Oct 19 2017 05:18PM

A few months ago I discovered an interesting app related to my account with “We’re Related” tells subscribers whether or not they’re connected to famous people or folks who’ve friended them on Facebook. Since I was bitten by the genealogy bug nearly six years ago, I jump at opportunities to discover more about my family’s story, and this seemed like a wonderful way to find out more. I’ve not only found out the names of ancestors I’d never heard of, but been able to push back the information I have about my family to early Medieval Europe.

I’ve known for several years that some of my ancestors were connected to the 16th century Swiss Reformation, although I haven’t yet found out specifics. Ulrich Zwingli is one of my favorite figures from that place and time, and I’d love to find out I’m related to him. However, I didn’t have any idea my maternal grandmother’s line went straight back to Martin Luther himself! My jaw dropped when his portrait popped up on my screen with the information we’re first cousins, twelve generations removed. No wonder my own theology is heavily Reformed in its orientation! I come by this honestly.

In college I read a few books about Martin Luther and was fascinated by his story, his faith journey in particular. In commemoration of the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation on October 31, 2017, I’ll be blogging about Luther and his influence, not only on Western European history, but the American story.

By rebeccapricejanney, Oct 12 2017 03:45PM

For the past several weeks I’ve been doing research for Easton at the Crossroads, book three in my Easton Series with Elk Lake Publishing. Just a few weeks have transpired for Erin Miles and Peter Kichline since the end of Easton in the Valley, but a sea change is in process for both of them, as well as their families.

In January 1776, Easton is moving closer toward war with Great Britain with all of the accompanying stress, and Erin has embarked on yet another journey in her widowhood. Both she and Peter are sure of the decisions they made in the second book, so why are things not turning out the way they hoped? (I think we’ve all been in such a position.)

I’ve been reading books, articles, and first-hand accounts of Peter’s world in which the Thirteen Colonies were about to pit a rag-tag fighting force against the world’s most powerful army (and navy). Today we have the perspective of victory won, but back then the odds were clearly in favor of the British, and many thoughtful people considered the Revolution to be a fool’s errand. I’m constantly amazed at how our army, and our people, were able to triumph in what was truly a David vs. Goliath struggle.

At times I’m tempted to romanticize that era, because I’m a romantic at heart, but then I read something gritty and remember human frailty and heroism are pretty much the same no matter what century we’re talking about. Take, for example, this account from the minutes of the Northampton County (PA) Committee of Observation from the summer of 1776:

“John Markle says, that he served Joseph Romich and John Romich with a summons from this Committee to appear at Easton the 6th of this Instant – that John Romich read the Summons and said he s _ _ _ upon it . . .”

That’s pretty gritty! I’ve also enjoyed reading the diaries of two men who were at the Battle of Brooklyn (aka Long Island), Jabez Fitch and Colonel Samuel Miles. Several people have led me to fascinating sources, including my historian mentor Richard Hope, Sharon Gotthard of the Easton Area Public Library’s Marx Room (of local history), Katherine Ludwig, librarian of the David Library of the American Revolution, and Dr. John Ferling. I’m so grateful for their help!

Now that I’ve gathered some of the most important information, it’s time to fasten myself to my desk chair and begin the adventure of actually writing Easton at the Crossroads. All systems are go!

By rebeccapricejanney, Oct 2 2017 03:26PM

I’m delighted to announce that the Pennsylvania Society Daughters of the American Revolution has chosen my novel, Easton at the Forks, as its Book Club selection!

Each year there’s a state-wide Book Club meeting during the PSSDAR’s annual state conference, and the first volume in my Easton Series will be discussed in 2018. I’m very much looking forward to being in Gettysburg in April for the event as both a Pennsylvania Daughter and the author of their book club selection.

I’m thrilled and honored!

By rebeccapricejanney, Sep 26 2017 08:48PM

Today you might want to eat an apple in memory of Jonathan Chapman, born on this day in 1775 in Massachusetts. Better known as Johnny Appleseed, he walked hundreds of miles every year planting single trees and orchards ahead of western settlers. I like that he was also eccentric, wearing a pot for a hat and clothes made of sackcloth. He was a Swedenborgian in his faith who preached "God has made all things good."

By rebeccapricejanney, Sep 18 2017 01:10PM

Writing Contest:

Create a Character for Book Three in the Easton Series—Easton at the Crossroads!

Do you have the “write stuff?”

Author Rebecca Price Janney is offering readers an opportunity to create a new character to come alongside Peter Kichline and Erin Miles.

Try your hand at developing either an 18th century or 21st century character (male or female). Choose their name, what they look like, their personality traits, and any other interesting qualities they have, and show why they would be a good fit to be included in Easton at the Crossroads.

This third book in the series will take place for Peter at the beginning of the Revolutionary War in Easton, Pennsylvania, roughly from the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (January 1776) to February 1777. Peter is serving as Colonel of the Northampton County Flying Camp, which sees action and sustains major losses in August at the Battle of Brooklyn.

Twenty-first century Erin is a year-and-a-half into widowhood and has just moved with her son to Easton where she’s accepted a temporary, possibly permanent, position at Lafayette College. Almost from the beginning, however, aspects of her life don’t turn out the way she’d hoped.

A big question Peter and Erin are facing is universal to most people—why, when you think you’re doing the right thing, when you’ve prayed and believed you heard God’s answer, are things going so badly?

To be qualified:

Unlike most writing contests, there’s no entrance fee. Nor do you have to have been published before, but you will need to purchase and read both Easton at the Forks and Easton in the Valley to be able to create a believable character.

Submit your name, email address, and the following:

In 250-500 words (double spaced, in a Word or PDF attachment), a complete description of your character and how he or she will fit into the story line.

Send your entries by October 31st to:

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