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.

Cemetery Wanderings

On Saturday, I participated in a walking tour of historic Magnolia Cemetery here in Mobile, Alabama. I got to geek out over local history in the fourth oldest (and the largest) municipal cemetery, established in 1836. People of all faiths and walks of life rest here, including plenty of noteworthy historical figures. And as it was Veteran’s Day Week, 105 casket flags from service members from thirty states flew over the Avenue of Heroes—a lovely sight on the blustery autumn morning. Here’s a sampling of photographs.

I shared other photos on my Instagram account and in my Gothic readers group, so check them out.

Thank you to all those who have served this country.

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.

FORTITUDE Saw Me Through

Another round of edits on FORTITUDE is complete and the story is on its way to the next round of beta readers. After these tweaks, it sits at over 67,500 words and has 310 double spaced pages. It’s an inch and a half thick—my largest story to date! 100_3560
I feel a bit like Charlotte, wondering if this is my magnum opus, or if I’ll have more stories bursting for me to tell in the future. Also, it’s weird not to be worrying about daily word counts, but it’s a much needed change of pace. Now, it’s time to update the synopsis, because Claire O’Farrell took this story to a different place than I had planned.

Now, cue autumn weather!

Photographic Evidence

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I’ve been playing hooky
Running away from stress
Enjoying the weather
And forgetting my whole mess

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I’ve been playing hooky
And seeking out beauty
That comes this time of year
While running after cuties

I’ve been playing hooky
I have my proof, you see
All that I’ve been doing
Is inspiration for me
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Hurricanes and Fortitude

 

Since the world is talking about Hurricane Isaac, I thought I’d post an excerpt from what I’m working on right now. FORTITUDE, set in 1898, is a story about sixteen-year-old Claire O’Farrell—a first generation Irish-American living on Dauphin Island, Alabama (which is currently without power and the only road to the bridge is flooded.) The following is taken from the first chapter, when Claire is returning home from a visit to town.

 

“Lose your sea legs already, Claire? You look a wee bit green.” [Pa asks.]

 I only shake my head and try to breathe. My bones feel hollow, as if they aged three decades in as many minutes. But the feeling passes as the miles from Mobile increase and the miles to Dauphin Island decrease. The silent shadow of a brown pelican passing overhead, the smell of low tide and all the comforting details of shore life revive me body and soul.  I am able to ignore Joe’s persistent gaze and relish in my pa’s quiet strength.

I decline Joe’s offer for help back to my house and enjoy the last few minutes of peace on my way past the cluster of village buildings bordering the shell mounds. When the palmettos begin to thicken, I slow my pace and veer down our drive.

Dauphin Island has wonderful trees–and one was the starting point for my story. May all the trees weather yet another storm.
For more cool trees and pictures about FORTITUDE, check out http://pinterest.com/wonderwegian/fortitude/