Ready for a sneak peek of Trapped in Deepwater? Here you are! I'm so excited to share it with you. Want to hear an embarrassing story along with it? It'd written the WHOLE book with a different town name, because I'd looked on a map and just fixated on one town. And then...while going over my proof copy of Mathilda...yep. I'd named it Midway. So, I changed it to Deepwater, both because Deepwater IS a place is Missouri, and also because of the pun. She's about to get herself into some deep water...
1872 Somewhere in Missouri
“Bad luck,” the driver of the stagecoach called. Laura looked up from where she’d just been contemplating a doze to make the journey pass by faster. Of course there was bad luck. It followed her everywhere she went. No matter she’d been traveling for nearly a week nonstop, it still caught up to her.
From the worm in her apple and the mold on her bread, to the hole in her shoe and now whatever this was. She’d never be able to escape the curse that wouldn’t leave her alone. Really, she shouldn’t be surprised. She’d had bad luck for as long as she could remember.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, finally finding her voice. As the only passenger on the stagecoach, it was obvious the driver was talking to her.
“Damaged axle,” he told her through the coach window. “And a lame horse. Never had this happen before.”
Laura pressed her lips together and gave a short nod. A traveling bad luck charm, that’s what she was. The poor horse. She hoped it wasn’t suffering too much. “Can we trade her out and fix the coach to keep going?” she asked.
The driver shook his head. “Don’t think so, miss. Not today, anyway. There’s a town ahead called Deepwater, and I think if we go real slow we’ll make it there before nightfall. But I’m not sure how long it will take to get you headed to your destination.”
Taking a deep breath filled with irritation, Laura nodded. It wasn’t the driver’s fault. She shouldn’t get upset. “Do I need to walk?” she asked.
“No, since it’s just you, sit, but don’t move a lot,” came the reply as the driver vanished. She felt the coach sway slightly as he climbed into the driver’s seat. With a shout to the horses, the coach jerked forward, then settled into a crawl.
If she walked, she’d get there faster. There wasn’t really a reason to hurry, though. What would be waiting for her? More bad luck, that’s likely what.
Laura looked through the small window as the landscape creeped by. It was almost Christmas. She was glad. Not for Christmas, because there wouldn’t be anyone to celebrate it with, but because that meant the end of the year. And perhaps the start of one that wasn’t filled with so many terrible things. One could hope, anyway.
Something seemed to press in Laura’s backside and she shifted, then shifted again. The thin cushion under her slid a little. As she moved to put it back in its place, it slid off. A long crack, revealing a compartment of some sort, stared at her.
Laura ran her finger over it. What is this? Extra access to the boot? Everyone knows that anything valuable is kept with the driver at his feet.
It wasn’t difficult to pry up the wood, and overcome with curiosity, Laura raised the lid of the compartment a crack, then a little more. This was the most interesting thing she’d done in days. What could be inside?
Peering into the hidden compartment, her breath caught. Silver bars shone in a fading ray of sunshine.
Swiftly, her heart pounding in fear, she replaced the lid, returned the cushion, and sat stock still. They were carrying silver. Worse than that, it was in her seat. No wonder the driver wanted to keep going. They were a target for highwaymen!
As the horses plodded forward, at a crawl any sturdy toddler could surpass, the thought of a short nap fled. Instead, tension filled Laura’s shoulders. No longer irritated at the idea of a stopover, she couldn’t wait to get out of the coach.
She’d heard of stagecoach hold-ups in the newspapers back east. It was not something she wanted to have on her list of experiences.
Impatiently, she stared out the window, willing the town to come sooner. She prayed they’d make it. Perhaps there would be a sheriff. Another coach. One without cargo that made them a target. It was Christmas…that was supposed to be a time of miracles, wasn’t it?
So far, this journey had been anything but.
Want to keep reading? Trapped in Deepwater releases July 14th! You can get your copy here:
In my new quick read, Frances, you’ll meet Cecil, the proud owner of a 1920s Ford Truck riddled with bullet holes and some extra gadgets, installed by the bootleggers he bought it from about twenty years after they modified it.
While Cecil himself isn’t a bootlegger, when I was learning a little more about this real-life vehicle he was driving, I was pretty surprised at all of the upgrades moonshiners put in their vehicles.
From kill switches and toggles to make the car’s brake lights and headlights completely dark, to adjusting the brakes to sit high and allow for hairpin turns, to secret compartments in everything from the seats to the floor, moonshine creators were prepared for anything to get their precious cargo through to the buyer.
But what happened to those vehicles after there was no longer a need to be running liquor? People like Cecil bought these cars, kept some of the modifications (or didn’t) and took their girls riding on the weekends.
Cecil is, and as a car enthusiast, he’s about to make Frances a little nervous! Read this excerpt, and tell me if you’d feel the same as she does!
Frances waited nervously in front of the boarding house. It was four in the afternoon, but Cecil wasn’t there yet. Suddenly, a truck riddled with bullet holes pulled up along the curb and honked the horn. Cecil’s grinning face was leaned over to look at her through the rolled down passenger window.
“Hey!” he shouted.
“Is this yours?” Frances asked, torn between amazement he owned a vehicle, and shock that it was covered in bullet holes.
“Sure is,” he said, coming around and holding her door. “Got a great deal on it. Used to belong to a bootlegger.”
“I…see. Is that why there are bullet holes in it?”
“Yep! He got them trying to get away.” Cecil shut her door and climbed into the driver’s seat proudly.
“Well, that’s an interesting story,” she said. Thelma might never believe this. “Did he…make it away?”
“I’m not sure,” Cecil admitted. “Maybe that’s why I have it now.”
Frances gulped and nodded. How in the world did you answer something like that?
“It’s not too bad a drive,” he told her. “About an hour. Just relax. Aren’t the seats terrific?”
“Yes, they are. And that sounds fine,” Frances answered.
“This thing is specially modified,” Cecil went on. “Did you know bootleggers have all kinds of special things on their vehicles? There are secret compartments in here. Handy to stash things. I fixed the brakes though,” he said, turning onto a twisty road.
“Yep. They were modified too. You know, one higher than the other. Makes for hairpin turns. I set em back to the normal way. Left the kill switch on, though. Might come in handy. You never know.”
Frances blinked. “I see,” she said.
“Don’t worry, I won’t use it,” he assured her. “But if there was ever a reason to, one hit of this switch and all the lights go out.”
She could tell how proud he was of the car. “It runs real nice,” she offered.
Cecil grinned. “Sure does,” he agreed. “Check out this speed!” He pressed down on the accelerator and sped up.
They approached a tight turn. Frances grabbed onto the door, sure her face was a little green. As they took the curve, a large truck came the opposite way and honked at them. Her heart was hammering in terror as they whizzed past the blaring horn, only inches to spare.
If you’d like to learn a little more about Frances and Cecil, and see if they fall in love despite a meddling mother and the wartime draft, stop by my Amazon page!
Are you ready for a sneak peek at Louise? I'm so excited for you to read it!
Southampton, United Kingdom, April 1912
Louise forced her tapping fingers to still. The anxiousness she felt kept bursting out, and so she looked for a distraction. Luckily, her younger sister, Mathilda, could be one. Louise couldn’t help but smile at how enthusiastically her sister was reading the newspaper.
After Mathilda had discovered the mail-order bride advertisements yesterday, she’d hardly stopped giggling. Since the hotel had so many newspapers—ones from all over the world—there had been almost a never-ending supply for her to pore over.
Nearly rolling her eyes at the one her sister was currently reading, Louise let her gaze roam the hotel room, lingering on the window where people scurried past in a never-ending stream. How busy it was here.
Inside, the sisters enjoyed a luxurious suite of rooms, whose comfort far surpassed any place the two of them had been for a long time.
It was obvious the hotel was used to travelers from all over, as the newspaper her sister was browsing was from the United States, and the state of Kentucky. Louise marveled at the fact the hotel had hundreds of newspapers for their guests, from every state, several countries and, of course, from all over England. When she’d rung for newspapers to be brought up to give them something to do, she hadn’t expected so many to be delivered.
Some of the mail-order bride advertisements were quite sad. Louise felt sympathetic toward those as her sister read them out loud. It was a terrifying thing to put your future in the hands of someone you didn’t know. The women placing these ads were brave. How did one find the courage to become a mail-order bride? In truth, she felt little more than one herself, though she’d never admit it to Mathilda.
Her eyes landed on one of the ad headlines. Seeking a man of wealth.
Aren’t we all, Louise thought dryly.
Dropping a few sugar cubes in her tea, an indulgence which had long been denied as sugar was expensive, she leaned close, pretending to read along with her sister. In reality, she was trying to calm her nerves.
At any moment, the man she was to marry would walk in. She’d never met Mr. Hillcock. They’d exchanged a few letters, but that was it. She wondered if he’d be the same as his letters. Bland. Short. Uninteresting.
When each envelope arrived with a new one, it didn’t fill her with the feelings she had always imagined as a young girl. Instead of being eager and excited and in love, she was filled with dread. The only good thing was she had been promised Mr. Hillcock was a man of means, and would provide generously for her, and perhaps her sister. That’s the only reason she had agreed.
Mathilda said something, and Louise forced herself to pay attention. “Mm?”
“Not every woman can be as successful in marriage as you will be,” Mathilda said, slumping in her chair with a dejected expression. “Do you think I’ll ever be, Lou?”
Louise studied her for a moment. Dear one, it’s all I pray for, and why I’m doing this. You deserve happiness.
However, instead of voicing her thoughts, Louise raised an eyebrow, something she was quite good at, and replied, “Not if you don’t improve your posture and your attitude. Really, Mattie. You’d think you never had a governess.”
Her sister sighed deeply and straightened in the chair, then peered at the paper, her face brightening. “This one is terribly amusing, Louise. I suspect it will make you laugh.”
“I doubt that,” Louise said, though she hoped it would. “Try me.” She leaned forward slightly, trying to spot which advertisement her sister was referring to.
“Wanted,” Mathilda read in a solemn, theatrical voice, “a wife who can skin a hog and pluck a chicken faster than I can.”
Louise’s lips twitched and she lowered her tea before giggles took over and she spilled it. The image the advertisement created was quite hilarious. Would the man really be auditioning women to see who could pluck a chicken faster than him?
“I almost made you smile!” her sister said happily, her eyes bright.
Together, they read a few more. One was incredibly sad and made Louise feel melancholy. It had read, “I am young and have no fortune other than that of my good looks and disposition. In me you will find a loyal wife, should you treat me kindly.”
Though she didn’t know the young woman who’d written the ad, Louise felt she understood her well. Life could be terribly unfair sometimes.
There was a knock, and Louise’s body tensed. A lump formed in her throat and traveled its way down to her stomach, where it sat as heavily as the plum pudding she’d tried to make last Christmas. It had turned out quite badly. Just like this marriage might.
She drew in a sharp breath. Thinking like that would only get things off to a poor start. Be positive, Louise.
The parlor door opened, and a maid from the hotel walked in. “Miss,” she said, dropping a curtsy to Louise. “Mr. Hillcock is here.”
“Thank you,” Louise said, and waved the maid away. She stood and looked at her reflection in the large mirror over the hotel suite’s mantle. Adjusting the ribbon at her throat, her only adornment as the last of her jewelry was sold the year before, she turned this way and that, then nodded to her sister.
A strange heaviness had settled over the room, and it was obvious Mathilda felt it as well. Her sister bore a serious expression as she watched her anxiously. Louise raised both brows this time, giving her sister a pointed look.
“I’ll show him in,” Mathilda said, rising from her seat.
As her sister left, Louise perched on one of the overstuffed chairs set around a small table. Swallowing hard, she tried to ignore the flutter of fear swirling around in her stomach.
I’m doing this for us. I’m doing this for Mattie.
That’s what she’d done for the last several years—all she could, so that her younger sister would have a better life. Things had been difficult and she was tired of the struggles and sacrifices they’d had to make. So why, when this opportunity had presented itself, did she not feel more at ease with it?
After Mama died, Father had drunk himself to death. Somehow, he’d also gone terribly into debt, his lawyer told them at Father’s funeral. There was the house, but not much else.
A very small allowance had been given to Louise and Mathilda, but for two girls who had been raised with the best, it wasn’t enough. Louise had been forced to leave finishing school when Mama had died, and Mathilda’s governess had been dismissed, as had their staff. The sisters had to learn to care for themselves, but it was one thing learning to manage with one parent still around to seek advice from, and another when suddenly all on your own.
It was nearly impossible to provide anything more than the essentials on that meager allowance. Louise reflected on how it had been a long time since either of them had a new dress or shoes, or even something frivolous. When the lawyer suggested she marry a wealthy man, and offered to introduce her to one of his clients, Louise had felt an immense rush of gratitude.
Of course, immediately afterward it was followed by an intense fear, but each time she looked at her younger sister, Louise pushed that aside. If she pretended all was well, perhaps it would turn out to be that way. Mattie was younger than her and deserved happiness. That was something that she could provide with a good marriage. Having wealth would allow her to find a husband for Mattie, and potentially even a love match.
Love was something that Louise could never afford to have, and she knew it. Survival came before love. There had never been warmth in any of the letters sent to her, though she’d tried to give affection she didn’t feel. She knew it was unlikely there would be any romance in this marriage.
As a twenty-five-year-old spinster, she should be grateful for this chance, their father’s lawyer had said. Louise was, though it didn’t mean her pride wasn’t bruised. If things had been different, she’d have surely been married before now, with a family and a home of her own, and perhaps even children.
Louise looked up and saw her sister standing in front of the closed parlor door, lost in daydreams. She gave a small cough, and Mathilda startled, gave a sheepish grin with a shrug, and disappeared through the door.
Biting her lip, Louise allowed herself to wonder, not for the first time that hour, what Mr. Hillcock would be like. He couldn’t be all bad. They were honeymooning on the Titanic after a small wedding in the hotel before embarking. Any man who could manage to get tickets for this ship, as well as plan a prestigious honeymoon aboard it, must care about comforts and appearances.
Wistfully, Louise thought of her wedding dress. It wasn’t at all what she’d dreamed about as a girl, something frilly with a long train. No, this was simple. As the wedding would be. But she’d make sure that her sister had everything she desired for hers.
The whole thing had happened so rapidly, there had been no time to plan. She supposed that was fortunate, but it wasn’t long at all after the lawyer had made the introduction by mail that Louise and Mathilda had found themselves in Southampton, England. Mathilda had gone as a chaperone, but would return home once Louise was married.
Louise hoped it wouldn’t be long before she found someone suitable for her sister. She worried about her being alone in the crumbling house, filled with memories and trophies from their father’s explorations.
Faint voices drew closer. Nervously, Louise waited, but not for long. A tall man with a scar on one side of his face stalked in the room, gave her a brisk nod of his head, and said, “Louise. We meet at last.”
A practiced smile forming, Louise rose and held her hand out. As damp lips kissed it in welcome, she saw Mathilda sit in a chair across the room, holding her book and pretending to read. Louise knew it was pretend; the book was upside down. She wondered if Mathilda would notice.
“How was your journey?” Mr. Hillcock asked, taking a seat near her.
Louise settled back in her own. “It was tiresome, but this hotel is restoring my comfort and I feel much more rested. Thank you for providing the suite for Mathilda and me.”
“It was my pleasure,” Mr. Hillcock answered. “The two of you will join me for dinner in the hotel restaurant tonight. My business associate will also join us.”
“That sounds lovely,” Louise said.
He reached into a pocket. “I’m also entrusting our tickets to board the Titanic to you.”
“My goodness,” Louise said, surprised he was handing her something so important. “I will take care of them.”
Perhaps she’d been worried for nothing. Mr. Hillcock was a little stiff in his way, but they hardly knew each other. It was to be expected. A tiny flicker of hope formed.
Then she looked at the tickets and frowned. “These aren’t the correct names. Is there a mistake?”
The look he gave her was one of pity. “No one travels using their real names,” he said, condescension in his tone. “It isn’t fashionable.”
“Oh, of course not,” Louise said, laughing lightly. “You must forgive me. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been in proper company. My sister and I have kept to ourselves for far too long.”
Mr. Hillcock rose and the scent of his overly strong hair tonic assaulted her nose. “It’s understandable. Your life will be much different now.” He gave her a severe look. “You are expected to know how my class lives, but until you do, keep quiet and don’t say foolish things.”
Louise’s breath caught. She ducked her head and nodded. “Of course,” she murmured. “Forgive me.”
Mr. Hillcock’s dark eyes seemed to bore into her. “You’ll learn soon enough,” he said, his voice so low it would not carry beyond the two of them. “I expect perfection. I will rid you of your lower-class habits, even if I must beat them out of you.”
He looked at her once more, and her skin crawled as she met his soulless eyes. “Don’t be late for dinner. I’m sure you can manage that?”
He turned, and Louise closed her eyes for the briefest of moments. The hope that had sparked was now snuffed out. Mr. Hillcock was not what she’d expected. He was much, much worse.
Not going to spoil it...but if you've not read Mathilda, you're going to enjoy seeing the other side of this story. Sweet Mathilda has no idea how terrible Mr. Hillcock is, and how desperate her sister is to protect her. That's a blessing, as she gets to meet the man she's destined for. You can click right here to read her first chapter free on my blog.
Ready to read all of Louise? Available April 17th, 2023. Preorder the eBook from Amazon by clicking this link. Or, stop by this link on the 17th, to get your paperback. She will also be available in large print.
Want to see all my books, including some upcoming ones I have not shared yet? Click here!
Recently, I had the opportunity to do a guest blog post. What did I write about? Well, with my newest book Mathilda about to come out, I wanted to share one of the many mysteries aboard the Titanic. Why people used assumed names to travel. Mathilda is going to use one herself, and she learns it's actually quite common. But...why?
You can go right here to learn the answer to that!
Are you ready for a sneak peek at Mathilda? I'm so excited for you to read it.
Southampton, United Kingdom April 1912
Mathilda Weston giggled and pointed to the newspaper. “Here’s another one. Successful shopkeeper looking for a bride who can work sums and be mother to a young child.”
“That’s hilarious. He has to ask for a woman who can do sums? My, my, he set his standards high,” Mathilda’s older sister, Louise, rolled her eyes and set down her teacup.
“Not every woman can be as successful in marriage as you will be,” Mathilda said, momentarily slumping in her chair. She frowned while stirring a lump of sugar in her tea, watching the sweetness dissolve.
It had been a while since she’d had sugar in her tea. She and Louise barely had enough money to survive on. They couldn’t afford extravagances, even though growing up, they’d had as much sugar in their tea as they wanted. She wasn’t looking forward to going home.
Mathilda eyed the sugar cookies in front of her on a China plate with pink roses, then reached for one. “Do you think I’ll ever be, Lou?”
Louise raised a perfectly arched brow and replied, “Not if you don’t improve your posture and your attitude. Really, Mattie. You’d think you never had a governess.”
Mathilda straightened her spine and looked at the newspaper again, taking a tiny, ladylike nibble of her cookie. “This one is terribly amusing, Louise. I suspect it will make you laugh.”
“I doubt that,” Louise said, her face schooled in a haughty expression. Then her eyes twinkled. “Try me.”
“Wanted,” Mathilda read, “a wife who can skin a hog and pluck a chicken faster than I can.” She looked up just in time to see her sister’s tips twitch. “I almost made you smile!”
Louise leaned forward and looked at the paper. “Some of these are terribly sad. Look at this one.” Clearing her throat, she read, “I am young and have no fortune other than that of my good looks and disposition. In me you will find a loyal wife, should you treat me kindly.”
Mathilda sighed deeply. “Oh, that is sad. What kind of a woman would take out an advertisement to become a mail-order bride?”
The parlor door opened, and a hotel maid walked in. “Miss,” she said, dropping a curtsy to Louise. “Mr. Hillcock is here.”
“Thank you,” Louise said, and waved the maid away. She stood and looked at her reflection in the large mirror over the hotel suite’s mantle. Adjusting the ribbon at her throat, the last of her jewelry having been sold the year before, she turned this way and that, then nodded to her sister.
“I’ll show him in,” Mathilda said, rising from her seat. As she left, she noticed her sister taking a casual pose in one of the overstuffed chairs. Though Louise wouldn’t admit it, Mathilda knew her sister was nervous. Their jesting at the newspaper had merely been a diversion.
Mathilda was more than a little curious to let in Mr. Hillcock. This would be her first look at her sister’s husband to be. He was doing a business deal in Southampton, England, and had sent for Louise to be wed there, instead of their home in South Carolina. They’d be honeymooning on the Titanic, set to sail the following day. The wedding would be simple, done before embarking in the hotel room by a Justice of the Peace he knew.
Mathilda was terribly jealous. Not so much of the wedding, she knew it would be a rushed, unlavish affair, but for what came after. The ship!
The Titanic was the talk of every newspaper and person. It had been for months! She wished she could go along.
Though she was her sister’s chaperone until the wedding, once her sister married, Mathilda was to set off back home with a hired matron as a chaperone. It was going to be a long journey, coach each leg of it, and likely unexciting. No large ship for her, no new start to life. No rich husband.
Instead, there would be a quiet and crumbling home filled with dusty relics from the trips her father had taken while he was alive, empty halls, and trying to make their funds last until she was married to a wealthy man herself.
As she envisioned the house she and Louise had grown up in, she thought perhaps she’d go through and discard the more ghastly of the artifacts still there. Like the mummified…something, from a native tribe Father brought back excitedly. Perhaps she could even sell some of them.
Mathilda shivered. She was but a young girl at the time when the object was brought home and terrified her, but even now, as a young woman, she avoided that particular display in the house. The amusing thing is, their father didn’t even know what it was. Neither he nor his guide understood the language spoken by those who sold it to him. For all she knew, it could be a tree branch wrapped in cloth.
At her sister’s small cough, Mathilda startled and ended her musings, opening the outer door. A man looked up, and she couldn’t help but stare at him. Of average height, he was dressed in the latest London fashion in a medium gray suit, and his hat was casually tossed on the table near the door. “Hello,” she greeted. “Mr. Hillcock?”
A face too stern to be handsome bestowed upon her a cool expression. The dark eyes were sharp and pierced her in an uncomfortable way. “Yes. Louise or Mathilda?”
She answered, feeling uneasy. “Mathilda. Lou–Louise is in the parlor.”
With a nod, he strode past her. This was going to be her brother-in-law? Mathilda followed, and sat in a small chair on the opposite side of the room, a book in hand, while she pretended not to listen to him greet her sister. That was her job as chaperone, to be there for propriety’s sake, but she was also glad of it, for the chance to observe this first meeting.
Mr. Hillcock wasn’t what she imagined at all. How had her sister fallen in love with him? But then, Mathilda knew Louise wasn’t, not really. She didn’t even know him. Louise was in love with his wealth and the lifestyle that he was going to give her. Just like Mathilda would likely have to be one day too. It was a good match, their father’s lawyer assured Louise after bringing the proposal, and of course, a woman once twenty-five must be married, or else be a spinster!
Their inheritance was dwindling, and even with just one sister to support, funds would be meager, so Louise said yes. Love wasn’t in the equation. In fact, seeing Mr. Hillcock now, Mathilda felt confident that Louise would never have agreed, but for the fact that they were without any other way of survival.
Once Louise had accepted the proposal, arrangements had been made, a few short letters written between Louise and her future husband, and before long, they traveled to meet him. Mathilda had seen some of the letters. They were quite formal. There was no warmth or excitement in the tone of Mr. Hillcock.
Mathilda turned the page in her book, even though she hadn’t read it. One thing suddenly struck her. Not long ago, she and Louise had been making fun of the mail-order bride ads they had been reading, but really, Louise was almost one herself. She’d had practically no say in her future marriage. The lawyer had come to her with the suggestion, found the husband, and arranged everything. Would it be the same for her?
Mathilda stared at her book and tried to concentrate on the text, but the worries in her mind were too great. Her chest rose and fell with sudden labored breaths. What if her sister’s path was to be hers as well? Married to someone without any say or any hope for a future of her choosing? She didn’t want that. What kind of woman would willingly put herself into that sort of situation?
Forced laughter came from the other side of the room, and Mathilda looked up long enough to do a quick study of her sister’s face.
Louise’s smile wasn’t real. There was no happiness in her eyes. It was acceptance; trying to make the best of the situation. There was something else, but she wasn’t sure what.
Then it came to her at once. Desperate. That’s the kind of woman. The women in the newspaper, Mathilda, and Louise were not so different after all.
Not going to spoil it...but when Louise's book comes out in April, you're going to see just how cruel and terrible Mr. Hillcock is, and why Louise is so desperate to get her sister away. Where she runs to, is going to surprise you, because it's not just Louise with a secret she's trying to hide.
Ready to read all of Mathilda? Available Feb 13th, 2023. Preorder the eBook from Amazon by clicking this link. Or, stop by this link on the 13th, to get your paperback. She will also be available in large print.
Want to see all my books, including some upcoming ones I have not shared yet? Click here!
This year, I'm planning nine books to release. One is a non-fiction, and the rest will be sweet and clean romance in both historical and contemporary--two of them Christmas titles!
Keep an eye on my Facebook for sneak peeks of the covers and some excerpts.
From sisters escaping on the Titanic to a love story at the start of WWII, to a Christmas tree farm in flames, there are going to be some incredible adventures I can't wait to take you on!
It was incredibly fun to do another guest blog post over at author Donna Schlachter's website. This one is all about Christmas traditions. Go take a peek by following this this link!
A...romance writer?! I wasn't sure about that. After all, I've always loved, loved, loved writing for middle grade ages.
"Why not do both?" someone asked. "You already ghostwrite a lot of things."
It's true, I've been a ghostwriter long before I was putting my name on my own work. Still, that took a little thinking. I still wasn't convinced, even though I'm in a writing accountability where everyone else writers...romance! However, I realized as I began having more authors come to me with editing needs for romance, that what was being sent over DID have romantic elements, but there was also adventure. Mystery. Suspense. Just the sort of things I loved reading! It was as though the universe was nudging me toward it.
A short time later, I was tagged in a multi author project. "Do you want to try and write a romance book?" The theme was Runaway Bride. With surprise, I looked at the different synopsis of the other authors and saw: Adventure. Mystery. Suspense.
I sat down and started writing. I'm working on two books right now, one is a Middle Grade novel, titled My Brother the Supervillain, and my sweet and clean mail order bride book that releases Feb 13, 2023, called Mathilda. Mathilda and her sister Louise (releasing April, 2023) will be running for their lives, thinking the Titanic is a perfectly safe place to get to where they need to go...
As a ghostwriter, I had the confidence to write whatever the client wanted, or wanted me to figure out and create. As an author, it's a little harder. I get super nervous, anxious, and wonder: "Will anyone like this?!"
I know...it's odd. Perhaps I should niche down, after all, it's odd to have non fiction, children's, and adult books...but that's me. That's who I am. I write the way I read and edit...a little bit of everything! And I wouldn't change that!
Writing is fun though, and I really hope you enjoy each of my books.
Remember last time, I told you my tale of woe? I also promised to tell you a bit about OneDrive. This isn't a push toward them, I don't get any sort of kickback, but it's a FREE service from Microsoft, that until that day, I never really took advantage of.
Many writers use Google Docs. I do not, for anything important. In fact, I admit it, I had an internal freak out when someone beta read for me and uploaded it on Google Docs, with an open URL. Why? Well, because my teen is ridiculously smart with computers (didn't get that for me, haha!) and has explained just how unsafe that is. Also, as a book editor, I've had files completely be deleted I was working on, when the author made a mistake. They couldn't be recovered, and neither was my time and effort. I had to start all over again, double speed to make the deadline.
Nope, Google Docs is not for anything important. OneDrive though, you get a few free gigs of space, and you can use it to save photos, etc. I pay a little extra and also use it to save my writing. Then, as I'm working, it's backing up (though this paranoid self is also clicking that save button every page or so) and then, if I need to, I can access it though the web on any computer.
Handy, huh? While I hope that you never, ever, go through something like I did, computer woes happen. A sweet writer I know recently had her hard drive fail...along with her work. Thankfully, someone was able to recover it off the hard drive, but for a while, it looked like they wouldn't be able to.
When it comes to your hard work, multiple backups is the way!
See that lovely view? That's from my backyard and why I love writing outdoors. At least...I used to. This is the story of why I no longer do, and why I'm saving up to buy a little gazebo so I can go back to enjoying the outdoors.
Last year, my husband and kids got me a picnic table, painted it green, and added a lovely umbrella to it. Ahh, the hours we sat at it!! Hot, sunny days, we'd crank open the umbrella and enjoy the air. I'd work outdoors, the kids would take shade breaks...perfect.
There I sat, with my beautiful, fantastic 17 inch white laptop. Yes, I admit...when I got it, I was so in love with it. I'm still in love with it. It's perfection. However...and don't ALL stories start with a however? That spring day, I went outdoors. It wasn't windy at all, but it was sunny.
I sat my laptop up on the table, cranked open the umbrella and started working. A sudden wind squall came up. The table shook. This is a heavy, wooden picnic table. I grabbed for my laptop, fingers ready to close the screen and run inside when the umbrella snapped.
The umbrella hit me, knocking me forward, but worse, oh so much worse, it hit my laptop. The screen went too far back and snapped. The screen was still alive, it was connected, but my laptop couldn't be closed.
Like a crazy woman, I ran inside, cradling my precious baby and screaming. You see, it wasn't my own work I was working on. (I'm a book editor too) And I had a deadline...and now, no laptop.
Frantically I called, one place after another. Multiple people told me to just throw it away and buy a new one. Buy a new one? During a chip shortage? Hah! I was already using my child's laptop to browse HP's website and let me tell you...it was looking dire.
Finally, I tracked down a number. It seemed sketchy. No website...the guy answered the phone, "Yeah?" But I was desperate. Desperate.
"Please! You have to help me!" The story tumbled out, and to my amazement, the guy listened, asked questions, and then said, "Okay. I can look at it tomorrow." My flood of tears rushed out, and crazy lady started bawling on the phone. I might have offered the moon and the stars. Things are hazy at this point. There was a sigh, and he says, "Look, give me an hour. No...don't call me. I'll call you. And I'll tell you where to meet me."
Desperate folks. Desperate. So, I waited, like an insane woman by the phone for the hour. Kissed my kids goodbye and hoped I'd see them again. I drove, oddly enough, because I live in quite a tiny town, about 5 minutes away, to a tiny shopping center. There, he was.
The angel in disguise who repairs motorcycles, and computers.
"This might take a little," he said. "Sit down and stop hovering."
With an apology, and a purse full of all the cash I could find in case I had to pay an arm and a leg, I waited. The situation wasn't good. But, unlike everyone else who told me to just chuck it, he had a plan. He got the screen set so I could back up my files. He showed me how to close it, just once, he warned. It would crack the mother board if I tried to do it again. Then, he told me if HP couldn't fix it, he could help me order a new frame and replace it.
After paying him, (Really, not as much as it could have been! This lady was desperate!) I was on my way.
I also thanked Jesus that I'd bought that three year protection plan from HP. It was $90 WELL spent. Let me tell ya.
But...it took three weeks to get the computer back. I settled, yes, settled, for a plain, boring, black laptop, without an SD card slot (?!) no disc drive, but fully functional.
And yes...I bought the extra coverage.
That's what I'm typing on now. My sweet, white laptop is used for special occasions. But, recently, my black laptop (which I bought a purple cover for, to liven it up a bit) started acting funny. Only a few months old, and acting funny.
So this, is why this writer has two laptops. And next time, you'll learn why I ONLY will use OneDrive now when I work, and why I'm recommending you do too.