Guest Post: The Reawakening of My Life’s Dream by Peni Jo Renner, author of Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames


Publication Date: September 16, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman—and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved.

Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft.

After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions.

In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

Guest Post: Life in general  (marriage, moving, jobs, etc.) put my writing on the back burner and it stayed there for about 25 years until I happened to get in contact with a third cousin online. She is an amateur genealogist and we began discussing our common lineage, sending frequent emails and instant messages back and forth. And then one day she told me about a common ancestor of ours, Rebecca Blake Eames.  She was our ninth great-grandmother who lived in Massachusetts during  the 1692 Salem Witchcraft hysteria, and, my cousin insisted, “She was one of the accused witches!”

“REALLY?!”  I replied, excited to hear such fascinating news.  “It’s a shame I don’t write anymore. That would make a fantastic historical novel!”

“Then write it,” my cousin said.

And just like that, my passion to write was reawakened from its dormancy.  I was like a dog with a bone!

Sure enough, I Googled her name and dates, and online her name is mentioned in several references to the Salem Witch Trials. In most books I read for my research, Rebecca (and, consequently, her son Daniel, who was also accused) was mentioned in a footnote. It turns out over 140 people were accused and/or imprisoned during that dark time, and fortunately there are court documents  still inexistence  pertaining to some of Rebecca’s trials. There are also some extant examples of her own handwriting, which thrilled me so much I had her beautiful signature tattooed on my left forearm!

In August of 2012 I visited Salem, and also the town of Boxford, where Rebecca and her family lived. I visited her grave, and it was one of the most moving moments of my life. Her body lies in the older half of Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Boxford. Her small, pink stone was encased in cement in a 1930’s attempt to preserve it, but I have been told that only erodes the original stone faster.

Part of what extinguished my love of writing was that I tend to get discouraged easily, and the thought of finding an agent and a publisher seemed incredibly daunting to me. Then a friend considered self-publishing, and I am so happy I went that route! I contacted iUniverse in January of 2013, even though I hadn’t finished my original manuscript. The editors loved what they read and I quickly won the Editor’s Choice Award.

With a little more tweaking and fine-tuning, my little manuscript went on to win the Rising Star Award.  Puritan Witch; The Redemption of Rebecca Eames was released in September of 2013 and in October I had three book-signings. One was in North Andover, Massachusetts, where Rebecca attended church. The archivist at the North Andover Historical Society, Carol Majahad,  had been a great help to me during my research, and she told me,  “Let me know when your book comes out. I want to host a book-signing.”

So the day before Halloween of 2013 (how perfect is that for a witchy story?!) I gave a presentation to a small audience at the North Andover Historical Society and sold about 26 copies!

I am currently looking for more book-signing venues while researching for 2 other books.  I keep a supply of both hardcover and softcover copies with me at all times and happily sign them  for anyone who is interested.  To date, my Facebook page,, has 139 likes. I have sold copies in Australia, Canada, Germany, and New Zealand as well as the U.S.

I am living my life’s dream and there’s nothing better than that!

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