Once a week, every Tuesday, an excerpt from one of my books, chosen for no special reason.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rose's Gift excerpt



Rose walked quickly down the street and entered Sicilla’s store. Connie came from the back. “What’s wrong,” she asked, as she took Rose’s arm and urged her into Del and her private quarters.
Rose shook her head and tried to think how to say what was on her heart. “Not wrong. Well, maybe it is wrong.”
Connie nodded, took some tea leaves from a box before moving to the stove and pouring steaming water into the kettle. She looked back at Rose and then smiled. “My goodness, I can’t believe it. You are in love. How did this happen?”
“I thought you didn’t do readings without permission,” Rose said with a note of what she knew was annoyance in her voice. Unfair or not, she didn’t want Connie doing readings for her, to know things she didn’t know herself.
Connie giggled. “Don’t need to. You are flushed, acting nervous as a girl. I’ve never actually seen you look so young, my friend. You are in love. Who is it?”
“I’m not in love. I’m... in confusion.”
“Talk to me then.” She brought the teapot to the table and went back for two china cups.
Del came to the door. “Mary Richter is out there. You want me to take care of your side of the store?” He smiled. “Okay, I’ll do that.” He disappeared.
“Now, tell me,” Connie said as she put a small plate of cookies on the table and sat down.
“It’s foolishness is what it is.”
“Tell me anyway.”
“Ollie asked me to marry him.”
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Book 4 in the Arizona Historical Romance series -- 99¢ until after the holidays.Rose's Gift

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas traditions

 image from Stencil

The winner of the Amazon gift card is Tara Crowley with the following tradition:
My favorite tradition is putting up the tree. Though my allergies have mandated what I like to call a 'handmade'; tree, I have a really good looking one. Instead of slogging through a tree farm to find the perfect specimen, I slog through my garage. Unwrapping the ornaments is an exercise in nostalgia and good way to reflect not only on the present year, but many years past. Now that my folks are in their 80s I have become their tree decorator as well. Some of their ornaments date back to my early childhood: the tiny felt elves that attach to the tree with their pipe cleaner bottoms, and the small 🐝 with their gossamer wings. I love to sit in the dark room by the light of the fire, turn on the tree lights and behold it all.
The tradition didn't influence who won because it was a random name drawing, which Ranch Boss (also my husband and editor) drew from his Stetson, but it is a lovely one. I thought it deserved to be seen again. I've described decorating a tree in one of my books but don't think I ever did it that well :) 

Researching how Christmas was celebrated in 1905 for the work in progress, it's changed a lot in some ways but the tree is a basic for a long time. Interestingly, it like many Christmas traditions, comes from pagan celebrations. One of the pluses of being a writer of fiction is the research that goes with it :)

So congratulations, Tara. The other traditions that people loved were great as these days it is sometimes not easy for me to get into the Christmas mood. The last few years we've only now and again been able to be with part of our family on the day. Sometimes it's been January when we find a time we can all meet. I draw though on my many great memories from my childhood and a time of big family gatherings. They always matter more than the gifts. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

a giveaway

 image from Stencil
It occurred to me that I've never done a giveaway attached to my blogs. Because they can be fun for writers and readers, I am going to do one this week from this blog. Because my recently published book, Red Hawk Christmas, has a Christmas aspect, and the one I am writing now also does, if you want to be entered, comment below as to what is your favorite Christmas tradition.

Because this is a first, for a blog that routinely doesn't get many comments (okay, often none lol), I plan to keep the entry open a full week until the 22nd, when the next excerpt comes along. I will then draw one tradition-- randomly, as how can any Christmas tradition be better than another. 

The winner will get a $25 Amazon gift certificate. I will be notifying that winner here on the 22nd; so be sure and come back to see if it's you, as you will need to email me the email you use at Amazon to get your credit. I've won credits before and they can be used right away or held for something big.

The following snippet is from the book I am writing, which should be out early in December-- I hope (busy times right now). It is set in Tucson, 1905. The heroine has come from Boston to find her daughter. Culture shock, on many levels, is about to hit Frederica. With a Western hero, the novella will get to Christmas, Southwestern style, and be quite a ride along the way for this city gal (no, gal is not something she's ever been called-- before).


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    Frederica Jamison Lawrence Windsor descended the steps from her private car to the Tucson platform. Looking around the city, she was unsure what to make of what seemed a foreign environment. This was a week before Christmas. Where was the snow? The Christmas trees? There were some decorations, a few windows with greens, but nothing like the lavish seasonal décor in Boston before she had departed.
    She felt dusty, more than a little wilted from days on the train where even her private car did little to lessen the misery. Would anyone ever fix the tracks out in this godforsaken part of the country? Her sixty-year old back might never recover.
    A porter carried her bags from the car but left them stacked beside her. She looked at him with shock as he walked off. How was she supposed to get them from the platform to her hotel room? She went into the depot to see a bored looking man behind a desk. “I need to get myself and my bags to the Santa Rita Hotel.” He looked at her and yawned. “Naturally, I would pay for the assistance,” she said lifting her receptacle to indicate her source of funds.
    He turned and looked behind him. “George, can you help this lady?”
    A skinny old man looked around the clerk and nodded. “You need a buggy?” he asked.
    “How many blocks would it be?” She knew she looked old. Did she also look incapable of walking a few blocks?
    She saw them both consider. “About five or maybe six,” the skinny man said. He looked at the other man, rubbing his head. “Think it might be seven?”
    “More’n likely.”
    So they didn’t know. She regretted allowing Wilson, her majordomo to remain in El Paso to visit with his family. She had thought the worst of her travel would be over by then.
    “I will need help getting my bags there,” she said thinking neither of the gentlemen looked more capable of carrying them than she was. Perhaps she did need a buggy. Did Tucson even have hacks?
     “May I help you, ma’am?” a deep voice asked from behind her. She turned to see a tall, black-haired man with gray in his hair and mustache. He swept off his hat and smiled. Good Lord, was that a gun on his hip?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Montana Christmas

Because I have a new contemporary, Christmas novella, Red Hawk Christmas, I thought I'd share something from the first one I wrote, A Montana Christmas.  It follows a longer book, From Here to There, where the couple figured out that their marriage was going to work. This one is more about family and what Christmas can mean than a straight out romance although the couple are still in the honeymoon phase. This scene is early in the book.

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Oh well, she thought, in for a dollar and out for a dime. That didn’t sound right, but the gist was she might as well just get started and maybe the words would be obvious. Punching in the number of his cell did little to convince her that was true. She forced a smile anyway as she heard it ring.
“Hey baby.” She heard the smile in his deep voice. She also felt the tingles throughout her body that any connection to Phillip produced.
“How are you?” she asked starting with a cowardly and safe question.
“Busy as hell and missing you more. Are you okay?”
“Fine.”
“How about Amos?” His tone shifted a bit, and she heard worry enter.
“He’s cranky as you could imagine so he must be recuperating. The only problem is keeping him out of the barns. It takes Curly and me to do that.”
“Rafe can’t help?”
Helene thought of her handsome cousin who had come back to the ranch after a catastrophic shoulder injury ended his rodeo career. He wasn’t likely to help much of anybody, not even himself, but she tried to think of something positive. When it didn’t come, she simply said, “He’s still recuperating.” She wasn’t sure that was the whole truth as it had been five months since a bull nearly killed Rafe. The physical injuries were as recovered as they’d ever be. Emotional were more iffy.
“I wish I could be there but…” Once again his tone had changed. She knew he was feeling his own pressure. He handled it well, or he wouldn’t be in high stakes finance, but it didn’t come without a physical cost.
“What I wanted to… Well it’ll be awhile longer before I can leave Uncle Amos. He really does need me here as much as anything to be sure he takes his meds and doesn’t overdo.”
The hesitation was brief. “I understand. When will you be back then?”
Having split their living between two homes, one on the ranch and the other in Boston, had a lot of complications not the least of which was going to be this year for Christmas.
“I don’t see how I can until the end of January.”
“No Tahiti then?” His voice was toneless, revealing none of what he was feeling. That was so typical of Phillip when he wanted to drop a barrier between others and himself.
“I’m sorry, love, but I just can’t do it to Uncle Amos. And with Rafe as he is, well they need me.”
“I need you too.” He wasn’t condemning her, but she still knew he’d gone into a defensive mode.
“And I need you. Phillip. I want a Montana Christmas this year with you here too. I know you planned for us to go to the islands again, but can’t you cancel that and come here instead, have a real family Christmas?”
This time there was a definite pause, but she waited before she added, “You know what Christmas means to me. I’ve told you how it always was.”
Phillip had told her what holidays had meant to him-- violent drunkenness from some of his mother’s boyfriends. It hadn’t improved as his sisters grew up and added their own chaos. His experiences had been far from Helene’s-- even though most of hers hadn’t involved parents but rather the ranch and her uncle and aunt. For her, Christmas holidays had been an escape from pressure. Up in the mountains at their ranch, she had always been rejuvenated. She understood how different it had been for Phillip, but she could show him another way if he would give her a chance.
“Please at least think about it,” she said. “I know I just dumped this on you but think about it. If you just can’t do it, well, we’ll work out something.” She had no idea what as she was not going to leave her uncle until he was fully himself again.
“Baby, I won’t say no to you. You know that. All right.” Now his voice definitely took on a humorous twist. “What does this business of a family Christmas—Montana style mean?”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

excerpt from Red Hawk Christmas

Red Hawk Christmas is now out and at least for now at 99¢-- Red Hawk Christmas

This story of a woman's journey is a novella at about 22,900 words and first of what I plan to be more novellas about women starting over (name of the series). I have several books to write first, but this idea interests me. Women Starting Over series will be romances but also about women, mostly of a certain age, finding purpose in a new way. Each will be, like this one, complete even if they share some characters in future stories. No cliffhangers. This novella is G rated. They might not all be that but always closed doors on any sex. Novellas are shorter books and by their nature, they don't have room for the spice.


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    Bear Butte State Park had a nice dog walk, but she could not take the dogs onto the butte. It was another of those times she was glad she hadn’t gotten a larger motor home as she could drive to the trailhead parking lot. Although her fur babies weren’t pleased at being left behind, they had water and windows to look out.
    At the base of the butte was an encampment of tepees and campers with a few people visible, but it was as quiet as the trail. A sign warned people to be respectful as this was sacred ground.  Along the trail were prayer cloths and small sacks of tobacco tied to tree limbs. A few others walked the trail, but for the most she felt alone and much as someone might’ve years before when listening to Crazy Horse address the people from the base of the butte. Halfway up, a barefoot Indian man approached from above. He said nothing as he passed. It seemed that he was on a quest of some sort. She respected that. Maybe she was too.
    At the top, she sat on the ground for a while thinking of the choices she’d made as far back as becoming a teacher, marrying Jeff, having children. So many choices and how many had she even considered what she wanted? Mostly she had done what she was supposed to do.   This was her first time to step out and only consider what she wanted. Maybe she finally had that right.
    That night, the campground was quiet, with only few other rigs since it didn’t offer hookups. The stars overhead were incredibly bright. It was her first time to camp without electricity, but the battery did well. In the morning, she could use her small generator if needed.  She wanted more places that had this feeling and such wonderful quiet.

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