The horror of the Paoli Massacre, 9/21/1777 & commemorating it 9/24/2016 at the site

imageOn this day in 1777, around midnight, British General Lord Grey and his troops performed a barbaric attack on Paoli’s General Anthony Wayne and his troops as the patriots waited in a Paoli farm hoping to ambush the British who were camped in nearby Tredyffrin. Using only their bayonets, 53 patriots were killed and over 100 wounded.  Local residents were horrified as they surveyed the battlefield, which included some of their home town boys who were serving in Gen. Wayne’s regiments. The patriots remembered this horrible night with cries of “Remember Paoli!” In future battles. The Paoli Battlefield site and historical markets are in today’s Malvern, where a battle reenactment occurs annually. Also called “Wayne’s Affair”, Gen. Wayne asked for a court martial hearing to clear his name from charges that he failed to heed warnings about the nighttime Redcoat attack. His name was cleared.

Join me as we commemorate the Battle of Paoli/Paoli Massacre on Sat. 9/24, 11am – 4pm, Paoli Battlefield Historical Park, 1st &Wayne Aves., Malvern, PA.  The sponsor, Paoli Battlefield Historical Heritage Society says of the event:  “Join us on Saturday, September 24th 2016 as we present our 4th annual Paoli Battlefield Heritage Day, featuring our Military Timeline starting at the French and Indian War and going through to present day.  With the help of our friends from Historical Military Impressions and the PA National Guard see re-enactors from the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, The Civil War, The Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and today’s conflicts in camps and displaying the dress and items they carried into battle.  Interact with the soldiers, see the weapons they used and learn about the clothing and other gear that these soldiers needed to outfit themselves on the battlefield.  Live firing exercises will take place throughout the day, as well as many other programs.”  See the full page of events here.

Johhnys_artwork2 095See you Saturday.  Remember Paoli!

Peace.  Sheilah

The Philadelphia Campaign and Becoming Valley Forge Begins–The Battle of Brandywine, 9/11/1777

September 11, 1777 was the start of that period of the Revolutionary War called The Philadelphia Campaign.  That was the date of the Battle of Brandywine, the first major engagement of the patriots…

Source: The Philadelphia Campaign and Becoming Valley Forge Begins–The Battle of Brandywine, 9/11/1777

Act Now–The Elevator Group $10 Book Sale Extended Through Labor Day

Girl readingLast chance to stock up on your summer reading with The Elevator Group’s $10 per book Summer Book Sale, now extended through Labor Day, September 5!  Click here to purchase direct from The Elevator Group at

All of our award-winning and  best-selling books are now on sale through Labor Day, September 5, 2016.

Act now because prices go back up on September 6!

Enjoy and happy reading!

“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

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


Sheilah Vance