Art For A Novel: Bringing A Scene To Life

We form ideas based on our first impressions – it’s a fact of life. It’s not really fair and can lead to some bad conclusions. (Ask me about General James Longstreet!) So even though there’s the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, in the literal, visual world of publishing that’s exactly what happens.

Blue, Gray & Crimson Cover3

Aware of this fact, I knew I needed to convey a very specific image and feel on the cover of my first historical novel. I wanted it to be eye-catching in a beautiful, traditional way, and was blessed to meet and work with an award-winning artist. Continue reading

An “Author Interview” – Part 1

Sarah Kay BierleDuring the last few months, I’ve enjoyed going to book signings. It’s always nice to meet readers who are interested in my historical novel Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg.

At these events, I usually answer a lot of questions about my research and writing. I realized that I’ve shared some of my research during the last year of Back to Gettysburg on Tuesday blog series, but I didn’t share much about the actual writing process. Maybe you’re interested?

So I decided to “interview myself” – I found a list of suggested questions for an author interview, and I’ll answer them in two blog posts. I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse of how the history and story were crafted into the book that you can hold in your hands today. Continue reading

An Award & A Review for “Blue, Gray & Crimson”

quotescover-JPG-71On Monday evening I had quite a surprise…

My historical novel Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg won an Honorable Mention for Young Adult Fiction in the 2015 Southern California Book Festival!

I  had entered the competition “just to see what would happen” and was completely surprised at the judges’ choice. It is very exciting to consider how this may expand the readership of my book. I hope the story will encourage many readers and challenge them to courageous responses to the challenges they may be facing. CLICK HERE for a full summary of the book!

And there’s one more piece of exciting news this gazette needs to publish… Blue, Gray & Crimson received a positive review by Civil War News – one of the large Civil War media publications!

Blue, Gray & Crimson Cover3Here’s an excerpt from Civil War News’s Exclusive Book Review:

“This excellent work of historical fiction chronicles the life and struggles of the Westmore Family as their home is converted into a field hospital for the Union army during and after the battle of Gettysburg.

While the story and the family are fictional, the action is based on the genuine experience of Gettysburg residents…

Its narrative is fast-paced and demonstrates important values including charity, hard work and resilience.” (Find the entire review HERE).

You can order your signed copy of Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg right here on Gazette665.

Blue, Gray & Crimson is also available on and Barnes&

Your Authoress,

Miss Sarah

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, would you consider posting a review on or GoodReads? I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the story!

‘Blue, Gray & Crimson’ In The News

There’s an excited author at Gazette665 this morning! Here’s the official media release about my book from Christian Newswire.

‘Blue, Gray and Crimson’ by Sarah Kay Bierle Presents an Unforgettable Civilian Story of Gettysburg

TEMECULA, Calif., July 27, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — Sarah Kay Bierle’s new novel, “Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg” will educate and inspire young readers and their families as it brings the American Civil War to life.

Blue, Gray & CrimsonBierle’s first book, released earlier in July, offers her unique perspective on the civilian heroes of the Civil War and shines a light on their valor and bravery. Published as historical fiction, Bierle describes her novel as “a story in which the main characters are fictional, but are surrounded by and interacting with real historical figures, settings, and events in a way that accurately reflects the societal norms of the era.”

Bierle’s extensive research unearthed the real life experiences of Gettysburg civilians. When asked by an inquirer how she researched the facts about the American Civil War and Gettysburg, Bierle responded, “I spent eight months studying Gettysburg civilians, the town and countryside, the battle, certain military units, the care of the wounded, the aftermath of the battle, the building of the National Cemetery, and the events surrounding Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” She continued, “I used approximately thirty books on the subjects, reliable websites, and sources from Gettysburg National Military Park research library.”

Sarah Kay Bierle is a historian, writer, and living history enthusiast who has wanted to write books since she penned a first sketch of “Blue, Gray & Crimson” at the age of nine. Bierle was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, completed an accelerated distance learning program for college, and graduated from Thomas Edison State College with a BA in History.

When asked why parents should buy “Blue, Gray & Crimson” for their children, Bierle replied, “This book presents historically accurate information through an unforgettable story of courage and faith. Using real, likeable fictional characters, the story emphasizes traditional family values and positive character qualities to encourage, teach, and entertain young readers.”

While “Blue, Gray & Crimson” is a historical fiction novel, it reminds readers that God is their refuge and strength…no matter what happens. Even when a peaceful world explodes with battle, chaos, and confusion, God is still there; He still cares for His children, and He has a purpose.

“Blue, Gray & Crimson” is available online at the author’s website Gazette665, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.


Order your signed copy today through Gazette665’s Blue, Gray & Crimson Page.

Your Historian (and Author),

Miss Sarah

P.S. Have a great day…and Back to Gettysburg blog series continues tomorrow. 🙂


“Mom, We Need 4th of July Books!”

Sometimes people ask me when my love of history began. I really can’t say there was a single, definable moment that it started, but as we’re approaching one of my favorite holidays of the year (4th of July), I thought it would fun to take a one week break from historical posts and share an incident or two prompting my exploration of the past.

4th of July Books

My mom is an amazing home-maker and teacher. She loves to decorate by season – hearts and bears for Valentine’s, birds and flowers for spring, Americana for summer, glorious autumn leaves, pumpkins, and pilgrims in the fall, and of course Christmas. When my siblings and I were little, she used her special décor to teach us about the seasons and holidays. Great fun!

My mom reading to me when I was little.

My mom reading to me when I was little.

Books have always been important to my family. Mom and Dad read to us…picture books when we were little, classic children’s stories and historical fiction novels when we were older. I remember one of the exciting things going hand in hand with Mom’s seasonal decorations was the picture book basket. Stories about baby animals for spring, the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving, the first Christmas in December.

One summer when I was about five, the patriotic décor was out, and I suddenly realized we had no books. (For those of you who know my family really well, you might be shocked to know that at one time we had no history books on the children’s shelves! Now, we can’t find room for all of them…) I went to my mom and sweetly pointed out this problem, “Mom, we need some 4th of July books. We don’t have any!”

Mom acknowledge the fact and later loaded us kids into the car and we made a trip to our local bookstore. There, in the back of the store – I can still picture it – high up on the top shelf, she found a book about the history of the American flag and a beautifully illustrated version of Paul Revere’s Ride. We purchased the books…and thus began our American history book collection and my curiosity.

“The British Are Coming!”

Paul Revere’s Ride became one of my favorite books. (I still love the poetry, even though I’ve detected a few historical errors – another topic for another day!)

I loved to role play when I was kid, and Paul Revere had lit my imagination. There was a map in the front of the picture book, showing the route of the patriot’s ride and I helped my mom use sidewalk chalk to copy the map onto our driveway. Then I got my stick horse and waited across “Boston Harbor” for the two lights in the Old North Church (usually my mom pausing in her yard work to hold up both her hands with imaginary lanterns.) Then I was off, riding along the “country roads” on the driveway and warning every neighbor in the vicinity that “the British are coming.” Like Longfellow’s Revere, I never did get captured and, of course, I was the hero of the night!

"Paul Revere" at the 4th of July Kids' Parade

“Paul Revere” at the 4th of July Kids’ Parade

4th of July Parade

One of our family traditions is to host a kid’s parade on 4th of July. It’s a chance for children to dress up, beat drums made of oatmeal cartons, carry flags and banners, dress their dolls in patriotic clothes, decorate wagons, etc. etc. etc. It’s usually followed by more fun and games and a neighborhood BBQ.

Well, the year when I was inspired by Paul Revere, that’s who I wanted to be in the parade. So mom and I made a costume – a heroic blue cap (made from one of Dad’s old shirts) and a tri-corn hat (made by safety pinning the sides of the regular hat into the correct shape). And off I went on my beautiful stick horse to warn the citizens and newspaper men that the “British were coming!”

"Dolley Madison" joins "Commodore Perry" and "Francis Scott Key" at the 2012 parade, commemorating the War of 1812

“Dolley Madison” joins “Commodore Perry” and “Francis Scott Key” at the 2012 parade, commemorating the War of 1812

Patriotic Musings

As I grew older, I learned the real history of Paul Revere’s famous ride. And you’ll be pleased to know I learned it’s much more fun to dress-up in a gorgeous Colonial dress as Martha Washington, a Regency gown as Dolley Madison, a Civil War dress as a Southern lady, or an army green jacket as a WWII army nurse.

I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to explore American history. The hands-on learning and great books swept me into an adventure of learning and educating which has, of course, morphed and changed as I’ve grown older.

Looking back, I know that the experience of learning about famous Americans and role-playing their adventures has shaped my belief that history is the study of real people making a difference in their community, state, and nation. An ideal that has become my motto as a historian.

I’m so blessed to be a patriotic American citizen. I’m so blessed to have the opportunities to study and share our amazing history. I pray that many will be inspired to stand up and make a difference in our nation today, remembering the American heritage of righteousness.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Do you have a favorite 4th of July memory?