Hometown Heroes Release Day

It’s release day for this collection of romantic shorts. Find Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press in ebook and print.


I’m happy to share “Courtship and Courage” with you as part of the transitioning of my historical works to Bienvenue Press. This all new short continues the story of Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker from Fortitude. If you’re new to my writing, these two characters will make appearances in The Possession Chronicles, so you’ll want to catch up with them.

While Fortitude (and my other publications to date) have been primarily targeted for teens, “Courtship and Courage” is my bridge into writing for an adult audience.
Since it’s the first story in the book, the “Look inside” option on Amazon allows you to read the first several scenes, so enjoy!

As always, I’m open for questions and would love to hear from you after you read it.

 

Winter Wonderland

There is an epic level of awesomeness happening in my life right now, but where to begin? The basics—and I will expound on all of these things in my December newsletter next week, so if you haven’t yet, subscribe!

I’m traveling and experiencing new things such as wintry weather in the Pocono Mountains. Cold and ice are much more glamorous on the big screen than in reality. But I do prefer autumn/winter clothes to summer, so that’s a plus.

 A week from today marks the newest release for my literary collection (which is doubling in the next two months.) “Courtship and Courage”, a Fortitude short story is included in Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology published by Bienvenue Press—my new home for my historical fiction projects. Proceeds from the sales go to Cajun Navy Relief. I wrote the story specifically for this charity project as a stepping stone from Fortitude (written for teens, though adult readers have also enjoyed it) to The Possession Chronicles (my forthcoming series for adult readers.) And, yes, Claire and Joe make the transition to my series as well. You haven’t seen the last of them.

 Here’s the synopsis of “Courtship and Courage”: Witnessing the race riots before the soldiers left for Cuba during the summer of 1898 didn’t stop Claire O’Farrell from opening her heart, but it prevented her from wanting to share it. The stormy Mobile Bay winter proves the right catalyst for Joe Walker to prove his devotion to the woman he loves, though Claire is determined her choices have made her unworthy.

Read it for as little as ninety-nine cents and help others rescue and relieve the stress natural disasters cause along the Gulf Coast.

And the third item I want to share—shout about actually—is the cover reveal for Perilous Confessions, book one in The Possession Chronicles. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to see it in less than a week. (Another reason to join the list! I email only once a month during the first week with the best highlights and information about my literary news, including what I’m reading.) The day after the newsletter, I’ll share the image on social media and update my website, etc. with the gorgeous, Gothic cover.

Three years after the release of my first book and there’s a plethora of activity in my literary life and lots more to come—like three new novels in 2019, for one thing. (Another hint: if you don’t have it yet and want this edition of Fortitude in your collection, buy it soon. As I write this, the Kindle version is free.)

More next week in my newsletter (it’s separate from this blog, so you need to join on there too), but you can find me on multiple sites on the web in the meantime. Find all my links on my contact page.

Publishing News

This winter is going to be full of new releases from me. First up, on December 4, is Hometown Heroes, a Christmas Anthology compiled by Bienvenue Press—publisher of my forthcoming series, The Possession Chronicles.

Here’s the overview:

Community. Courage. Compassion.

Hometown Heroes brings you five Christmas romances that celebrate everyday heroes.

From paranormal to contemporary to historical there’s something here to fill everyone with the spirit of the season.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Cajun Navy Relief, an organization dedicated to helping neighbors in distress.

 

You can add it to your Goodreads list here.

“Courtship and Courage” is my short story addition to the anthology. Picking up the winter after Fortitude takes place, questions from readers of my historical coming-of-age tale who wondered what happened to Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker after the book ended are answered in this new adventure. Reading Fortitude first isn’t necessary, but it will make it more enjoyable. And you haven’t seen the last of these Dauphin Islanders. The Possession Chronicles series touches on their lives in 1906 and beyond. There’s no time like the present to introduce yourself to them.

 

 

 

Weeding Through It

This past week I was struck with plot problems, which coincided with both a beta reader critique as well as a Revise and Resubmit from a publishing company. One major issue was pacing and the other was that I missed the mark on a key turning point for two main characters, which in turn reflected on other issues needing to be strengthened. Yes, this is for book one in the Gothic family saga that’s possessed my time, energy, and effort the past two years. And since this issue was pointed out in the first manuscript the effects will ripple through the seven other stories in the series.

After my initial freak out—which I let simmer over night—I read through the critique/suggestions again and decided to turn to the place I go when I need to plot: the yard. Yes, it’s January but on the Gulf Coast there’s always yardwork to be done. After the last freeze, the remainder of the lantana plants were ready to be pruned for the season and the flower bed was in need of weeding.

So I took my pensive thoughts, grabbed the wheelbarrow and pruners, pulled on my gloves, and set to work. By the first half-hour I knew the problem wasn’t as big as I feared. The situations, people, and history were there already, I just hadn’t dug into that corner of the character’s past thoroughly because I didn’t want to wallow in that part of his dark life. As I worked, I allowed my mind to wander and focused on two despicable people associated with the character in question that I knew could be involved. It was easy to narrow down the right one once I gave myself permission to dig deeper.

After about an hour, I knew which minor character would be the catalyst and began forming the outline of a new character from the shadows of the past I’d kept locked away. The new character was always there, just not named or explored.

With the situation, characters, and history mapped, I processed where in the manuscript the information could be placed. As organically as the history came to me, it was clear to see that there were natural places to insert the backstory into the manuscript without jarring or taking away what was already there. Looking at the coming manuscripts, the revelation only solidifies the anguish and choices he will make in the stories as the saga unfolds. The history was there all along, I only needed to prune away the unnecessary layers hiding the base of the character’s life.

When all else fails, go to the garden.

Where do you go to think?

Fernando, for the Win!

Nature has a quiet way of speaking to us. A lot of the time, the noise of people and modern life drowns out the sounds of Earth, but we can all seek what we need to hear, no matter where we are.

From top to bottom, the water oak outside my window is a home and refuge to living things. Though the oak is just beginning to bud—and pollenate its surrounding with yellow dust—the uppermost branches support parasitic mistletoe growth. Though wind storms tear the plants from their host, more are there as a patch of green through the winter in an otherwise bare tree.

All the leaves are mistletoe.

All the leaves are mistletoe.

Slightly above mid-level, about three stories off the ground, there’s a red-bellied woodpeckers’ home. Happily, the lovely—and talkative—couple rebuilt a new hole after their original dwelling broke off from the same branch over a year ago.

The hole is in the center of the picture.

The hole is in the center of the picture.


If you look close, you can see the head of the woodpecker looking out. I don't have a fancy long-range lens.

If you look close, you can see the head of the woodpecker looking out. I don’t have a fancy long-range lens.

And, of course, near the base of this impressive ecosystem there grows Fernando.

Fernando in all his glory.

Fernando in all his glory.

Still fresh from a winter’s slumber, the ever industrious fern not only regrows but sets out new runners. There it is: nature telling me to spread—move on to the next branch of creativity.

It’s time to set roots for the next story.

It lives--and grows!

It lives–and grows!

Dormant to Thriving

Last spring I started my fern watching journey. Fascinated by the way a little fern—and assorted mosses—clung to the rough bark of the water oaks in my backyard, I snapped a few pictures every now and then and compared the different stages of the fern to my creative life.

This time around, I think the fern is trying to tell me something.

Winter has been beautifully colder than average. A month ago, after ice/sleet and multiple days of freezing temperatures, my resident fern looked like this:
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The weather has been steadily warming, but inside I’ve still been stuck. Dormant. Outside, the fern has a message for me: Wake up!
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The storm has passed!

Literally, because a mean display of thunder and lightning blew through about two o’clock in the morning and now it’s blue skies and a refreshing breeze. I need to get back to work—I feel it in the air.

But first, I think we need to name my enduring fern. Please leave suggestions below.

Selfish

After my last post shared a few things I’ve found during cleaning, but continue to keep on my desk through the decades, I moved to the next level of organizational hoarding: surrounding myself—literally—with books. Homeschooling my kids gives me a great excuse to collect more books than the average person. Here’s about half of the collection.
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My desk is behind it, nice and tidy.
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Outside, a winter storm is leaving ice and beauty across the southern landscape.
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The atmosphere—inside and out—makes my creative energy soar. Even though there’s a never ending supply of query letters to send, tonight I’m going to write something for fun.