“The perfect beach read…” — Main Line Today Magazine

Becoming Valley Forge 9780982494592Catching up on a great review   for my novel Becoming Valley Forge in  July’s Main Line Today magazine.    “This exacting work of historical fiction from Paoli’s Sheilah Vance explores the lives of ordinary men and women—a former slave, a farmer, Army volunteers—as revolution engulfs the region. The perfect beach read for a patriotic month.”  Thank you Lisa Dukart!

Check out the novel on Amazon or for $10 direct from the summer book sale at The Elevator Group.

Happy beach reading!

The Elevator Group $10 Summer Book Sale

Girl reading

Stock up on your summer reading with The Elevator Group’s $10 per book Summer Book Sale from now through September 1.  Click here to purchase direct from The Elevator Group at http://www.TheElevatorGroup.com.

All of our award-winning and  best-selling books are on sale through September 1, 2016.

Enjoy and happy reading!

Get great Amazon Prime Day Deals today 7/12

I love Amazon.  They transformed publishing so that self-published authors and independent publishers like me could compete with the big five New York publishers.  Amazon didn’t stigmatize or separate people who self-published, like I did with my first novel, Chasing the 400.  Amazon made it possible for me to even think about then becoming an independent publisher with a means to get my books to the masses through their website.  And, Amazon has given authors and publishers like me great platforms to reach our audiences, like the Author Page.

When Amazon stock went on sale, I bought some as a way to support the company that supported me.  I still own Amazon stock, and I always will, no matter what its ups and downs.  I support my friends, and that’s what I consider Amazon to be.

Today is Amazon Prime Day where all kinds of great products sold on Amazon are on sale at deep discounts.  You have to be an Amazon Prime member to participate, and, if you’re not yet, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial by clicking on the link below.  There’s also links below for some of the great deals of the lowest price ever of $33.33 for a Kindle Fire, $50 off Amazon Echo, $80 off Fire HD10,  and $30 off Kindle Paperwhite.

So, if you’re so inclined–support Amazon.  They’ve changed retailing and, as an author and publisher, they changed my life.

Happy Amazon Prime Day – July 12 – Exclusive Deals for Prime Members – Shop Now

Amazon Prime Day – $50 Off Amazon Echo

Amazon Prime Day – $80 Off Fire HD 10

Amazon Prime Day – Fire Tablet Lowest Price Ever, Just $33.33

Amazon Prime Day – Kindle Paperwhite $30 Off

Peace and happy shopping–Sheilah.

Leaving Valley Forge with independence in sight

About two weeks ago, I attended Heritage Night at the Valley Forge National Historic Park, sponsored by the Valley Forge Alliance.  This event commemorated the day the Continental Army left Valley Forge–June 19, 1778.

Map of Valley Forge and BrandywineThe army left Valley Forge more disciplined and as a better fighting force than when they marched in on December 19, 1777.  Unfortunately, some 2,000 died during the Valley Forge encampment.  Yet, the army persevered.

When the army left Valley Forge, they followed the British army, which had just left their winter quarters in Philadelphia and headed towards New York.  The Continental Army caught up with the British army at Monmouth, New Jersey where the patriots showed their new mettle as a better fighting force in the Battle of Monmouth..

The sacrifice of the Continental Army, George Washington and his generals, and all of those who supported them at Valley Forge is legendary.  It is one of the things that inspired me to write my novel, Becoming Valley Forge.  In walking through the Valley Forge Natioanl Park one day in 2010 with a friend, I was overcome with the feeling and the sacrifice of those six months.  As we walked for miles, we came across commemorative markers from various groups like the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, local historical societies and counties, and groups such as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, with their Patriots of African Descent in the Revolutionary War monument.  We stopped at the striking statue of General Anthony Wayne, on whose land my home in Paoli is located, and when I returned home, I felt spirit of General Wayne and those who fought in and lived through the Paoli Massacre.

At every spot, honoring this regiment or that, I wondered–what was it like for the people in those regiments? What was it like for the people who lived here when those regiments descended on this area during the Philadelphia Campaign and its battles–Brandywine, Germantown, Paoli, Barren Hill–and its encampments, like Rebel Hill and Gulph Mills, where I grew up?  What happens when 11,000 soldiers come to your backyard?   What happens when you are in the midst of a war when you are just a farmer or a businesswoman just trying to make a living?  What happens when the British army descends on your town, bringing their repression straight to your front door, stealing your food, harming your family?

These were the questions that all made up the sum and substance of that fiction writer’s question–what if?  What if the war came to your backyard? What would that be like?  So, I tried to answer those questions in my novel, Becoming Valley Forge, through the eyes of a family of patriot farmers, spies and soldiers from Paoli; a blacksmith, then soldier, patriot from Rebel Hill; a blacksmith, then soldier, former slave from Rebel Hill who purchased his freedom and sees the war as a means to an end to purchase his fiancée’s freedom from a nearby plantation; a brothel owner in Germantown who was disowned by her Paoli family and who services the chief commander of the British Army during their occupation of Philadelphia; the Oneida Indians who come to Valley Forge to assist their friend, General Washington; and others.

Becoming Valley Forge Becoming Valley Forge 9780982494592is my homage to the Revolutionary War and those who fought in and supported it.  I appreciate their sacrifices for our freedom.  And, as an African American woman, I had to keep it real and address the dichotomy of people who fought for the freedom of their country while so many African Americans who lived there were not free.  I wanted to honor the contributions of the Oneida Indians and all of the different types of people who “became Valley Forge”–not just the white male soldier who most of us learned about in history class.

I thank God for those with whom my novel has resonated with positive reviews from the  Midwest Book Review (read full review here, too) and the  Historical Novel Society and with winning the Regional Fiction category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  And I thank all of my readers who took the time and spent the money to read this novel.

So, as the Continental Army moved out of Valley Forge and on to other things, I’m going to do the same.  I’ll blog here occassionally about Becoming Valley Forge, but I won’t blog regularly until we get closer to September 11–when, in 1777, the Continental Army began the Philadelphia Campaign with the Battle of Brandywine, and when Becoming Valley Forge begins.

If you read Becoming Valley Forge during the summer, I’d love to hear from you.  Please feel free to email me at svance@theelevatorgroup.com.


Sheilah Vance



Join us Memorial Day at Lower Merion’s parade

Thanks to the kind invitation of Lower Merion Township Commissioner Steven Lindner, I’ll be riding in the Lower Merion Township Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30. 

The parade will begin at Greenfield Avenue at the firehouse at 10:30 a.m. and process to St. Paul’s Cemetery for the Memorial Day Service at 11:15 a.m. Michael T. O’Hagan, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, is the guest speaker for the service.  At the end of the service, many participants will march to the Leon Spencer Reid American Legion Post 547 at Simpson Rd. and County Line Rd. for a drill team show and holiday celebration.

Elizabeth Fisher, author of Dining With the Dollar Diva, and I will be selling  our books  at our vending table at the Legion from around 1130 – 2.  Stop by and stock up on some summer reading!

Happy Holidays!




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Battle of Barren Hill 5/20/1778: Rebel Hill, Oneida Indians, Gens. Washington and Lafayette

Becoming Valley Forge

On this day in 1778, some 2000 soldiers, including some 50 Oneida Indians, engaged in the Battle of Barren Hill, on and around the grounds of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lafayette Hill, Plymouth Whitemarsh, PA.  This battle is one of the climactic final chapters in my novel, Becoming Valley Forge, and a climactic event of and the only true battle fought during the Valley Forge encampment.

General George Washington commanded  Gen. Marquis de Lafayette to lead this group of 2000 soldiers and head towards Philadelphia to see whether the British were planning to evacuate Philadelphia or even attack the Continental Army at Valley Forge now that winter had ended and both armies would be leaving their winter quarters–the Continental Army’s being Valley Forge and the British’s being Philadelphia and what was then its suburb, Germantown.  Once the troops reached Barren Hill, about 500 soldiers, including some 50 Oneida…

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62 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, Segregation Increasing

Today is the 62nd anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation in public schools.  “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” sa…

Source: 62 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, Segregation Increasing