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:
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!
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.
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.
Picture of a young Elizabeth Blackwell
Head on over to author Donna Schlachter's website to check out my guest blog post about women in medicine, and in 1870s. Whether or not you are interested in the field of medicine, the facts pulled from the census, and the stories of a few of these women are quite fascinating.