I know. It's been a while. Most of the winter actually. Or maybe all of it. Seems winter will never end. It's mid-April and it's snowing here in western Illinois. BLAH.
That pretty much sums up how I'm doing. Blah. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder as well as depression and anxiety. It's been difficult this winter to get up much enthusiasm about anything. I'm working on it but some days I don't want to do anything. Praying for relief and am going to get working more.
I've been asked by several readers where His Protective Wings is. Well, It's still in my brain trying to get out. It's in the works. My goal is to have it done by mid-May. I'm not going to set the goal any sooner as I want to succeed rather than have another deadline I've set for myself go by. Hopefully, it will be out in June. That's the plan anyway.
Then will come the next two in the Ladies of Sanctuary House series. They are Libby and Blanche's stories.
My next release is the fourth book in the multi-author Silverpines series Husbands Wanted. It's Wanted: Shopkeeper. Poor Millie has lost her husband in the earthquakes that devastate Silverpines, Oregon in 1899. She has 4 children and is trying to run the mercantile. She advertises for a husband.
Clay has a couple of secrets. One he'll keep to himself. The other will be revealed when he steps off the train. He has 5 children he didn't mention in his letters to Millie.
What's Millie to do? Pre-order Wanted: Shopkeeper today and find out April 24.
The first three books can be found here. They are great too.
Enter to win an autographed copy of Music of Her Heart and a tote bag.
You can find the rest of the blog posts here:
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory Post
Perpetual Indie Perspective – Book Spotlight
Reveries Reviews – Review
God's Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Spotlight
Peggy's Hope 4 U – Author Interview
Little Bits Blog – Excerpt
Rachel Rossano's Words – Excerpt
Shout out – Book Spotlight
Bookish Orchestrations – Winner Announcement
Here's another snippet, too.
Red looked at Noah. He knew what was coming. He might as well let the man have his say.
“You spent three nights with Gema, alone in a line shack,” Noah said.
Red nodded. He wasn’t going to share the details of their bundling.
Silence stretched as the three men looked at each other. Finally, Noah spoke. “You’re a God-fearing man, Red. Will you do what’s right?”
Again, Red nodded. “I will. I didn’t think I’d have any trouble convincing the committee.”
As I promised. Here's the next snippet from my upcoming release of Music of Her Heart. It's available for pre-order now. The scheduled release day is Nov. 16 but, if it comes back from my editor who is going through the last edit now, it might release earlier. I'll keep you posted. Oh. The pre-order price is only .99. It will go up to 2.99 as soon as it is released. Don't delay click on the link to get that pre-order purchase made.
Myra hugged Gema when she answered the knock.
“Come in. I’m so glad to see you. We all miss you so much. You being out on the ranch and all.” Myra led the way into the parlor. Troy was upstairs napping. Myra made tea, and they chatted about Hank and Laura’s wedding that had occurred the previous Saturday.
“So, how’s you likin’ bein’ married?”
Gema swallowed. This was so embarrassing. To actually speak to someone about the lack of the physical aspects of being married was much harder to do than think. “Much is good. Juanita, very good friend. I teach English her. She teach Spanish me.”
Myra began laughing and had trouble stopping. “You’re teachin’ English. That’s just ‘bout as bad as me a tryin’ to. Twixed my back hills Tennessee accent an’ my messed up grammar, ain’t no way I’d be tryin’ to teach somebody to talk right.”
Gema realized how strange it was for her to try and help someone learn the language. It was working though. Juanita had added many words to her English vocabulary. Many more than Gema had acquired of Spanish. “Yes, strange, but work much good.”
She waited until Myra’s giggling subsided before bringing up the topic she wanted to discuss. “Have problem. You help, yes?”
The smile on Myra’s face vanished. “Is he hurting you? You just say the word, and we’ll get you away from him.”
“Oh, no, no. Red good man. He good husband. He want good for me.” Gema took a deep breath and said, “He not think I want him. He… I… We not… He think he too old. Me too young. Stupid man.”
“Well, that dog won’t hunt. You want to…” Myra circled her hand, not saying the words.
“Yes, not know how show Red I want. You help?”
A sly grin grew on Myra’s face. “Yeah, I can help. We’s gonna be real subtle ‘bout it. You been working a lot in the garden, right?”
Gema drew her eyebrows together, puzzled. “Yes. Much work planting seeds. Hoeing.”
“So, your arms is real tired and sore. It’s real hard to reach behind and untie your corset strings.”
“But tie string bow in front.” Gema didn’t understand.
Myra let out a frustrated breath. “I know, but you want him to get close enough and to touch you, right? So you need to give him a reason. Tying the bow in the back gives you a reason.”
“But, seems like lie. I no hurt.”
“Well, chop some wood.” Myra waved her hands in the air. “You’ll hurt. You got a greater purpose here.”
Gema fought between disappointment and delight. She was beginning to understand what Myra was getting at. That she probably wouldn’t accomplish her goal tonight was a delay she didn’t want but could handle. Then again, if they got back to the ranch early enough, Gema could do some hoeing and chop some kindling.
“I get Red untie strings, loosen laces. He get idea?”
“Maybe, depends on how stubborn he is. Don’t move away when you take your corset off. Then…” Myra went on describing some ways to encourage Red toward the ultimate goal.
When Gema left, she headed to Cutler’s General Store. She was going to purchase a sweet smelling lotion for Red to rub onto her sore arms and back.
So just how do ugly Christmas sweaters lead to love? Here's a snippet to show you.
He shut the door as she buckled her seat belt. They were going to the mall to go Christmas shopping. Brad had the boys over the weekend, so Noelle thought it was the perfect time to get her shopping done. Turner had his shopping completed, so he was going to advise her on what four and six-year-old boys would want. After all, he’d been both. When he told her that, she grinned a little.
Noelle wanted to just rush through the mall, getting the things on her list as quickly as possible. Turner had other ideas. He held her hand and strolled slowly down the fairway, pointing out anything that might be of the slightest interest to her. When they went into the various department stores, he guided her through the ladies sections.
“Why are we going through here? I only need to go to the boys department. They both need jeans.” Noelle’s frustration was evident in her tone.
“Because you need to relax. We have all day. No need to rush. Just enjoy looking at the clothes and other things we see.”
I've written a blog post on the Sweet Americana Sweethearts website about my research into corsets of working women. I needed to know the kind of corset Gema would have worn. It's not what you think. Check it out here.
I'm planning to post another snippet from Music of Heart in a few days. With NANOWRIMO starting tonight I'll have to get that done. My first NANO project is a novel to be included in a new Multi-author series debuting in January 2018. That's all I can tell you now, because it's a secret. Stay tuned.
Oh, there's a Pre-Order link too.
Music of Heart is being edited as you read this. As you know, it's Gema and Red's story. You met them both in Laundry Lady's Love, the first book in the Stones Creek Ladies of Sanctuary House Series. In the previous post you read the first scene. There is now a cover and release date.
Here's another snippet. Red has found Gema after her escape from the King Gang. She was soaking wet from a fall in a creek and the rain. Though she's now in dry clothing she isn't able to get warm. Red knows a way to help. Even if they hadn't been in a compromising situation before, this will seal their fate.
They’d finished the stew and Gema was working on the tangles in her hair. Red could tell she was still very cold. Her hands trembled as she brushed. Every so often her entire body shook, her shivering trying to warm itself.
Red was standing behind her, leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. He’d placed the bowls in a bucket of water. They could be washed in the morning.
How was he going to suggest what he knew needed to be done? He’d been in a similar circumstance before when he and several other cowboys got caught out in a blizzard. It was awkward enough with men. But with a man and a woman— That just made their situation and its outcome even more inevitable.
He was still chilly but nowhere near how cold to the very core he knew she’d gotten. That was so very hard to relieve.
Red stood and rubbed his face with his hands. No point in putting it off. Gema needed to be warmed so she didn’t succumb to lung fever. It was a real possibility. It looked as if her hair was dry. That was good. Having a wet head, everyone knew, could lead to lung fever. He moved in front of her and squatted down.
“Miss Gema? Are you any warmer now that you’re all dry?” A violent shudder jerked through her. Red took the small hand that still had the bluish cast to it in his. “Miss Gema— Gema. There’s a way to get you warm. I haven’t suggested it before because— well, you’re a woman, a single woman trapped here with me, a single man.”
She lifted her eyelids, and the pool of her deep blue eyes studied his face warily.
“It’s bundling. We share the warmth of the bed. Our body heat trapped beneath the blankets creates sort of cocoon. My body heat will warm you.”
Gema’s eyes got wide. Shock was written on her face.
“No, Honey. We’ll both be fully clothed. You can even put on some of my trousers if you want.” He pointed to the tan canvas pants folded on a corner of the table. “And socks. I have a pair you can wear. That will help you too.” Red got up and retrieved the items.
Another shudder wracked her body as he set the garments in her lap. She needed to agree soon, or he was afraid she’d become ill.
“I—I need to— before.” Gema’s face turned bright red.
He figured out what her problem was. “Oh, yeah. I’ll just go check the animals. There’s the chamber pot.” He pointed to the corner. Grabbing his coat and hat, Red donned them and fled out the door. He’d give her plenty of time to finish her business before he returned. He’d take care of his needs too.
As soon as Laundry Lady's Love was released readers began clamoring for the next book in the series. I listened and am nearing the end of writing the book. It's Red Dickerson's story. He lost Laura in Laundry Lady's Love but now gets his girl in Music of Her Heart. The cover's not ready for release but I have the first scene to wet your appetite.
Gema's a Russian immigrant who lost her family several years ago. She was taken to Sanctuary Place and now has come to Stones Creek. You met her in Laundry Lady's Love. Several readers wrote and told me I was spelling her name incorrectly. If she was American, that would be right. But she's from Russia. In my research for Russian girls names I found Gema. I'm not sure if they pronounce it Je-mah or Jee-mah. I prefer the first.
Here's the first scene. I'll post more snippets as the time for release gets closer.
Music Of Her Heart
All she could hear was the blood pounding in her ears and the ragged intake and exhale of air as she ran. Gema Volkovichna didn't look back. She just ran. She had to get away. That woman, Flora, had placed herself in danger for her. Gema wasn't going to allow that to be wasted.
She hadn't a clue where she was going, just away. Away from the small cave, the group of outlaws was using as their hideout. Away from certain rape and abuse.
Terror drove Gema on. She tripped, nearly falling. She wished the clouds would break so she could see the sun. She had no idea what direction she was running. Was she heading toward Stones Creek or away? Were the trees thinning? If she left, the cover of the forest would they find her? Stones Creek was near where the land sloped up from plains to forested hills. Just past the edge of town the woods began.
If only she could get back to Stones Creek. Then she'd be safe. Or would she? She'd been kidnapped right from the street in the middle of the day. Or rather the alley behind the hotel where she worked as a maid.
Gema had left the hotel by the back door to go have her midday meal at Sanctuary House where she lived. She hadn't been in the Colorado town long. Only since January. It was now late-March.
As she walked behind the hotel, Gema was grabbed from behind and flung over the back of a horse. Whoever was holding her across the saddle kicked the horse into a gallop before she could even try to scream. The saddle horn dug into her hip. It wasn't long before her hat lost its hold and fell to the ground. Gema hadn't a clue how far they traveled. She might have even fainted for a while.
All those mice are running around in Noelle's house. Don't worry. They aren't real mice. I wouldn't do that to my heroine. They are toy mice Turner, along with accomplices, Camden and Mace, Noelle's sons, use to tease her with. Seems she's scared of mice.
Turner's in town to spend the holiday season with his sister, Kyria. You met her and Mark in Mold and Marriage. The questions are:
Will Noelle open her heart to Turner after being so badly hurt by her ex-husband?
Will Turner decide to stay in Benton when the New Year finally arrives?
What is the project that has Turner flying all over the world on a moment's notice?
How are all those mice going to give Noelle and Turner their Happily Ever After?
Get Mice and Marriage
Get the entire series
Love's Infestation Series
I'm excited to show you all the cover for my next release. Mice and Marriage will be released September 28. I had such fun writing it as it's so different in some aspects than any other book I've written.
Walking in, he sauntered over to the picnic table the young woman was standing on. The thin plastic tablecloth was bunched around her feet as she turned around several times while he approached. Dressed in blue jeans, red wool pea coat, with her hair covered by a white knit hat, she looked to be in her late twenties. She was pretty but not stunning. She reminded him a bit of someone, but he couldn’t think who.
“Looking for something?” Turner asked as he neared the table.
Her eyes, big and round, spied him and became wider. She was surprised to see him. “A mouse. There was this huge mouse.” She spread her arms wide apart.
Turner, who had seen mice and rats all over the world hadn’t ever seen one that large, so he merely grinned. “Afraid of mice?” He stuck his hands in his jacket pockets. The early November day was chilly, and the open garage door made the room the same temperature as the outside. It wasn’t an issue while he was riding, but tucking his hands away felt good.
“Have you ever had one crawl up the inside of your pant leg? It’s a horrible feeling,” she said.
Turner was familiar with the experience and not eager to repeat it, but in a large pole barn in an urban area that wasn’t likely. Being the gentleman that he was, he figured it was up to him to aid the lady in distress.
He stood next to the picnic table and was now looking up at her. From his jacket pocket, Turner pulled the Velcro straps he wore at his ankles, controlling his pant legs as he biked if he weren’t dressed in riding clothes. Today, he had on jeans. He’d removed the straps and put them in his pocket just before he locked his bike.
“These will keep the mice from crawling up your pant legs, though I’m not sure one that large could get up them anyway.” Turner wrapped each pant leg with a strap around her ankle. Slim ankle. Shapely leg too, he noticed as he helped her down to the concrete floor. “I think you might not want to use this tablecloth.” He picked it up and shook out the wadded mess her feet had made. There were wrinkles and tears over most of it.
“Um, no, I suppose not.” She bit her lip, then began to laugh. “You must think I’m pretty ridiculous. My scream probably gave the mouse a heart attack.”
“Very likely. He’s probably in the next county by now running from you, scared for his life.” Turner smiled and held out his hand. “Turner Metcalf, at your service.”
“Oh, I’m Noelle Copeland.” She held out her gloved hand, and he took it, holding on a bit longer than necessary as he shook it. “Metcalf? Are you… Yes, you’re Kyria Jenner’s brother. I remember you now from the wedding.”
“That’s right. I was there. I don’t remember you though, and I’m sure I would if we’d met.”
A sadly shadowed expression crossed her face. “I kept a pretty low profile that day. Going through a rough patch in my life.” The smile she gave was forced, he could tell. “Better times now.”
Here's the description:
One man wants her, but the one she wants doesn’t seem to.
Laura Duffle has come to Stones Creek, with her two young sons, hoping to find love again. She’s spent the last five years at Sanctuary Place Mission for Women after the death of her husband. She needs to set up her laundry business but doesn’t know where to start.
Hank Johnson, the town barber, is flattered by and attracted to the lovely widow who comes seeking his advice. He hasn’t been looking for a wife, but maybe he’ll begin with Laura.
Ranch foreman, Red Dickerson, would like a wife. He hopes to find one among the Ladies of Sanctuary House. He sets his sights on Laura.
Hank sets her heart on fire, but is he only interested in helping her get her business off the ground?
Red is solid and dependable, but is this enough to base her future on?
Should Laura settle for safety and security for herself and her boys?
Will she hold out for love?
Or will she just chuck both of them into the washtub and rinse the men from her life altogether?
Find out in the first book of the Ladies of Sanctuary House Series from award-winning author Sophie Dawson.
Check out the first chapter of Laundry Lady's Love
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