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A Destiny in Defiance Through the Eyes of a … Cougar

Something strange about my new release…

My editor was very complimentary about the twist and turns I worked into A Destiny in Defiance as well as the extreme suspense and tension in the last chapters. She found herself so engrossed in the story, there were several places where she forgot to edit because she was too busy reading! (We’ve worked diligently to find and edit those places!)

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 11.55.36 AM One of the fun things I did was actually tell a little bit of the story through the eyes of a cougar. Very Rudyard Kipling, I suppose, what, with Two Spears being–I just realized–a type of Mowgli character.

Anyway, the story was tremendous fun to write, took me almost a year (it’s 96,000 words!), and it covers a lot of ground. It’s like a whole TV season in one book. I hope it moves you to tears, anger, heartbreak, and peace.

Oh, and I’m planning on following it up with either a couple of short stories or novellas in 2020!

Questions this book might answer:

Will the rivalry between Charles and Matthew destroy them both? Do Naomi and Two Spears get caught in the middle? Can Naomi keep her beloved from turning back to his dark past? What secret is the new nurse in town hiding? Will Billy and Hannah ever tie the knot or is she thinking about pursuing other goals? Does Emilio love Mollie or is his heart still stuck on Hannah? Why is ranch foreman Lane Chandler such an awesome character? So, so many good storylines! Can’t wait for y’all to read A Destiny in Defiance!

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now it’s only $2.99 for a VERY limited time. This is a mammoth book (over 96,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at this special price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll tell a friend about it and, please,
leave me a review when you have a moment.

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Does a New Romance Have a Destiny in Defiance?

Can two people from very different worlds make a romance happen? I just adored writing the sub-plot of Hope and Lane and their potential romance in my new book A Destiny in Defiance. He’s such a pure Texas cowboy and she’s such a feminist–or so she thinks. Here’s a snippet of one of my favorite scenes:

Hope drifted her fingers softly along the edge of the deep cut gouging its way across the man’s palm and frowned. “I’d say this is more than slight, Mr. Chandler. You’re going to need several stitches. Otherwise, this will never heal properly.”

lq

Famous Western star, L.Q. Jones, the inspiration for Lane Chandler

 “Dang,” he whispered. “It’s my ropin’ hand.”

“Precisely why we need to stitch it. Without closing it up, a wound this long and deep will scar terribly, reducing your mobility. You want your hand back in working order don’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He grinned sheepishly. “I reckon I do.”

“I’ll numb it. The stitches won’t hurt.”

“Ah, pshaw,” he waved away her concern. “I dug a Comanche arrow outta my own shoulder once. After that kind of pain, I can tolerate an itty bitty sewing needle.”

Hope tilted her head, admittedly a little too intrigued by the man. She found the way he told the story of a Comanche arrow in his shoulder and then used the word itty bitty in the next breath…charming. And, my, but wasn’t he handsome?

 She frowned at the repetitive thought and forced herself to focus on the tools of her trade. “This will hurt. I’m sorry.” She clutched his hand and poured alcohol in the wound. Mr. Chandler winced but that was the extent of his reaction. “All right, let’s get the stitches in. You’re ready?”

“As I ever will be.”

Amused by his bravado, she smirked slightly and laced a needle with the catgut. “Did your shoulder heal all right?” she asked conversationally.

“Yes, ma’am. Just an occasional soreness. Mostly on cold mornings.”

“You’re very fortunate to have survived such an ordeal.” She guided his hand to the table, resting it palm up, and cautiously put in the first suture; he seemed to barely notice.

“Yes, ma’am. Texas was a wild and wooly place ten-fifteen years ago. It’s only a little better now. We whooped the Indians but the rougher elements have been flocking there since the war ended.”

“Why is that, do you suppose?”

“I reckon ‘cause the law ain’t too intrusive there. A man can pretty much do what he wants, long as he doesn’t cause too much of a ruckus.”

“Will you be going back any time soon?”

He took a moment to answer and Hope for some reason felt certain he was studying her. “I had planned to give McIntyre a year. Help him build his herd and his ranch. I might give it a little longer. Especially now.”

 

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now the pre-order price is $2.99. This is a mammoth book (over 90,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at the pre-order price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

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I’m Your Density — My New Release

My density has brought me to you.

Okay, sorry, if you are not a Back to the Future fan. Density translates to Destiny. But I have a destiny for you. A Destiny in Defiance.

Releasing November 1, it is book 4 in the Romance in the Rockies saga. A Promise in Defiance, Book 3, was supposed to be the last book but you guys just can’t get enough of Charles McIntyre!

destiny_promo1 I have a lot to say about book 4–its great characters, its politically incorrect views, its robust length–but I thought today I’d share some random insights and a little background on the story.

So, as it often happens, I started A Destiny in Defiance with one idea but some of the other characters simply wouldn’t be quiet. Hence, the story definitely heats up the rivalry between Charles and Matthew, but Naomi has her own set of problems revolving around the men in her life–namely, Charles and Two Spears. There is Hannah, trying to figure out if a woman truly can have it all–love, career, family–or does something gotta give? And Mollie and Emilio move forward. A little.

The biggest surprise, though, came from two new/semi-new characters: Lane Chandler, the foreman at the King M ranch, and Dr. Hope Clark. Lane started leaping off the page, waving at me to give him a bigger part. He turns out to be quite the cowboy. And Hope is a complex character who is tired of being the rope in a tug of war between her fiance and her father. At some point, she needs to figure out what–and who–she wants out of life. Will she find real romance in Defiance?

I’ve posted BELOW a short excerpt from A Destiny in Defiance. Read it and comment on it. I’d love to hear your thoughts. We’re still doing final edits and wordsmithing, but I think this snippet is passably entertaining.

A Destiny in Defiance releases on November 1.

Right now the pre-order price is $2.99. This is a mammoth book (over 90,000 words) so the price will be going up.

Get your copy today while it’s still at the pre-order price.

OR, you can always read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

Or you can follow me here:

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Now, READ ON:

**Rebecca and Hannah are discussing the mysterious new nurse in town:

A cup of coffee pressed to her lips, Rebecca watched Hannah drizzle melted butter over a steaming biscuit, tear off tiny pieces and feed them to Little Billy. Her glassy stare, however, said her mind was elsewhere. Around them, the Trinity Inn’s restaurant reverberated with chatting customers, tinkling silverware and the clank of dishes.

“Billy thinks I should just ask her outright.”

Rebecca set the cup down. “Why don’t you?”

“Oh, I suppose eventually I will. I just thought by now she would have revealed a little more of her story to me.”

“You said she’s a private person. Those kind don’t open up easily.”

“I guess. It’s just that sometimes when she talks, it’s like she’s saying one thing but thinking another. I don’t know.” She picked up a napkin and dabbed at her son’s face. “I can’t explain it.”

“Awkward pauses? Sentences that seem to redirect abruptly?”

Hannah looked up. “Yes.”

Rebecca nodded. “When I interviewed her, I had that same sense. As if she almost says one thing, but then quickly corrects and says something else.”

“So, what do you think? Do you agree with me that’s something amiss? But not necessarily something terrible,” Hannah was quick to add.

“Possibly.”

“I think it has something to do with Edward.”

“This is all conjecture.” Rebecca took another sip then grasped the cup in both hands. “Pointless speculation until…”

“Until what?”

“Until I actually do a little digging.”

 

Tearing Down Statues–In Defiance of Censorship

I believe writing historical fiction should mean being as reflective of the times as possible…NOT the current times

Or do you disagree?

Here in the South, we’ve lately had a spate of disgruntled, politically correct folks demanding that every city, small town, village or crossroads with a Confederate statue yank it down. “It’s offensive,” they say. “It’s glorifying slavery,” they say. “They’re statues of racists,” they say. 

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The statue in my small town of Pittsboro, NC

 While I’m not going to get into a debate about the wrong or the right of removing hundred-plus-year-old statues, the argument, in general, disturbs me for one very big reason: WHO should be the arbiter of what makes HISTORY offensive and therefore powerful enough to erase it? Once we start erasing things, where do we stop? 

I had a reader leave me a nasty review a few years back because I had characters (in a novel set in the 1870s) refer to Native Americans as Indians. And a few of the characters tossed out some of the labels commonly used to describe Native Americans at the time–such as squaw, Red Man, etc. None of this was gratuitous–it was historically accurate. But that one reader has kept me wondering ever since about censorship. If/when will it finally hit Christian books, magazines, movies, etc.?

As you would expect from me, my newest book, A Destiny in Defiance (releasing Nov 1) pulls no punches. Specifically, I cover the politically incorrect but historically accurate discussion of abortion. Haven’t you ever wondered what soiled doves did when they got “in the family way”? Some of my characters will deal with the very sticky subject firsthand.

Anyway, if revisionist historians start removing monuments, I don’t see anything stopping them from burning books next. What do you think?

So, till next time, happy fall, y’all, and pay attention to the history around you! It may not be there tomorrow…

Not Everyone Who Cries Needs a Hug — Maybe a Broom Will Do

I am so not a hugger. I once told my Youth Sunday School Class, “I might not hug you, but I will take a bullet for you.” So, I can like you. A lot. Go out on a limb for you. Move heaven and earth to get to you. Search high and low for you if you’re lost. I just may not always spout the right touchy-feely words or wrap my arms around you. In my own introverted way, however, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Because people like me stand in Defiance of the box that says, “You must invade a person’s personal space to show them you care.” You know what? That’s a lie.

tenor

If you’re a bit of an emotional freak–the stoic gal who prefers actions to words, the woman who weeps in secret for people without telling them you care, the lady who worries she too easily tosses out the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps speech–this blog is for you.

The Lord showed me something a couple of years ago: he can use even us to share his love.

I heard of a young gal in a youth group who was quiet, withdrawn, didn’t wear makeup, came from a rough background, and was a little loose with her morals. A parent got involved with the group; a parent who was friendly and talkative but didn’t act weird to impress the kids. You know, overly energetic or always smiling and hugging on them. In fact, she was big on giving the kids their personal space. This parent was just real and the young girl was drawn to her.

When the girl got in some trouble and needed help, she called this parent. Because she didn’t need a hug. She needed a friend to invest in her. Be real. Walk with her through some tough stuff. The young lady has since recommitted to the Lord, graduated high school and joined the National Guard. And very few hugs have passed between these two people who both acknowledge they have very BIG PERSONAL DANCE SPACES.

This past Sunday at church I was a little sleepy and not feeling my usual chatty self. I am what’s known as a social introvert. I like people until I need a break from them. Anyway, I wound up standing beside a young lady who was alone. And I knew I had to at least acknowledge her. So, we talked for a minute and when the doors to the sanctuary opened, I asked her to sit with me. We continued our chat and she revealed that she’d been away from the Lord for a while and was trying to find her way back.

And then she started crying.

Oh, man, if ever a moment called for a hug. So I apologized and told her my bullet story. She laughed. And then I proceeded to tell her God loves her even more than I do. And we talked a little more about God and I tried to make up for my BIG PERSONAL DANCE SPACE with light-hearted humor and the love of our Savior. When the service was about to begin, she leaned over and whispered, “Thank you.”

I don’t know that I said everything I should have said to her but I think I said enough. And in a way, she got a hug.

My point simply is this: defy expectations and be who God has made you to be and don’t feel bad about it. He will use you. When people are hurting they may not always need a hug, but they definitely need to know you sincerely care.

~~~~~~~

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Nellie Bly vs. Ellie Blair–the Gals Behind Mail-Order Deception

nellie-bly-portrait

Nellie in Mexico

Nellie Bly (AKA Elizabeth Jane Cochran) is the young gal who put the word “intrepid” in the phrase “intrepid reporter.” At the age of 18, when most women were still working as domestic technicians, this firebrand had a job working for the Pittsburgh Dispatch, reporting on the horrible working conditions of women in factories. When that got her in trouble with factory owners, the paper moved her over to nice feminine topics like fashion, society, gardening…

MOD Uh, yeah. Disgusted with such boring stories, she went to Mexico for a bit and reported on life there. Her dispatches about the government got her in trouble with the country’s dictator and she had to flee the country. Not long after this, she made the big time in New York City after feigning insanity and spending ten days in a madhouse. Now, that’s intrepid. But Nellie wasn’t done. She then made her legendary jaunt around the world in 72 days in 1889-90.

Now here’s the rub and how it ties in with my story, Mail-Order Deception. Nellie was on fire; she was unstoppable. Her curiosity was insatiable. One would think she would have been the intrepid reporter on into her golden years.

But, nay, this was not the case. In 1895, at the age of 31, Nellie married Robert Seaman, a wealthy industrialist some 40 years her senior. She left journalism for over two decades to tend to him and help run his business. It was only after bankruptcy that she fell back on journalism and covered much of WWI. But it seemed her passion had wained.

Passion, like a fuse, burns out. Especially when you have the chance to experience something real and lasting like true love. Everything else will pale in comparison. Colors dull. Thrills fade. Nellie and my character of Ellie learned a very important lesson about life–you can’t go it alone. No matter how intrepid you are. Love is the only thing that gives life meaning.

Don’t you agree?

Mail-Order Deception is on sale this week for only .99. Get your copy today!

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All my books are in Kindle Unlimited right now which means you can read them for FREE. Not a KU subscriber? You can get it here!

By the way, my newsletter subscribers get FREE stuff, exclusive excerpts, contests, pithy commentary. Why don’t you join me in case WordPress goes as anti-conservative as the other big tech companies?! I’d love to have you along with us!

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Who’s Your Daddy? The Question Every Shawnee Should Ask Before Abducting A Young Lady

I learned something today in my research into those feisty pioneer women that I just had to share. I knew that the Daniel Day-Lewis movie Last of the Mohicans was based on James Fenimore Cooper’s novel of the same name. What I didn’t know was that the story of white girls kidnapped by Indians was based on the actual event experienced by Jemima Boone, who was rescued by her legendary father, Daniel.

Capture of Jemima Boone

It’s a safe bet the Shawnee thought two young girls alone in a canoe were easy pickings. Hence, they received a good lesson in why a young man should always ask a young lady, “Who’s your daddy?”

The following short article is from a longer History.com article entitled 7 of the Gutsiest Women on the American Frontier. I’ve blogged about nearly all the women on the list but somehow missed Jemima. You should read the whole thing, it’s quite entertaining, but here’s my favorite part:

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The Hollywood version of the Boones

Rebecca Boone wasn’t the only formidable female in Daniel Boone’s family. His daughter Jemima earned her own spot in the history books on July 14, 1776. That’s when a Cherokee-Shawnee raiding group abducted Jemima, aged 14, along with two other girls while they floated in a canoe near their Kentucky settlement. Demonstrating their own knowledge of frontier ways, the quick-witted teens left trail markers as their captors took them away—bending branches, breaking off twigs and leaving behind leaves and berries.

Their rescue team, led by Daniel Boone himself, took just two days to follow the trail and retrieve the girls. The rescuers included Flanders Callaway, Samuel Henderson and Captain John Holder, each of whom later married one of the kidnapped girls. This event became such an integral part of frontier lore, author James Fenimore Cooper included it in his classic novel The Last of the Mohicans.

Ah, those ladies in defiance. How their legends live on.

She Couldn’t Vote but She Could Float

mary myers

Mary looks so sweet and timid in this photo, doesn’t she?

I stumbled across a lady in defiance today who left me in awe of her grit and courage. This gal stamped her name on history in one of the most unique yet most daring, most defiant ways ever. Talk about thinking out of the box for a paycheck.

Mary Myers flew balloons.  Often, alone. In the 1880s.

Now that’s courage, sister.

Mary was born in Boston in 1849 but married Carl Myers in 1871. He was a sort of jack-of-all-trades—because he was a late bloomer. After several false starts, Carl came into his own when he began pursuing aeronautical engineering. Eventually, by the time he was in his 40’s, he was designing balloons and securing patents on fabric that would hold hydrogen.  The couple opened a factory (a large home they called the Balloon Factory)  to sell “passenger” balloons. Yes, balloons that would carry more than one person with a death wish.

The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
For we can fly, we can fly

At first the Myers hired test pilots to fly their new designs, but Carl wanted to get into the air himself and of course, Mary was right there with him. However, she thought her simple name of Mary was too bland, too common to reflect well on her new, exciting career. She chose a stage name: Carlotta Myers. A derivative of Carl. Clever.

carl myers

My, wasn’t Carl a handsome devil?

They flew their balloons at expositions that drew massive crowds. I mean in the tens of thousands. Mary made her first solo flight in 1886 and flew right at 200 flights total.

Most excursions went well. There were a couple of noticeable exceptions. Once her balloon ran into a severe thunderstorm. Water poured into her gondola at a breakneck pace and literally started sinking her balloon. She tossed everything she could over the side but still wound up crashing into a tree and sitting like a pigeon eighty feet in the air, tangled in an oak. Hunters were able to rescue her about an hour later.

Perhaps more harrowing, however, was the time in 1886 when her balloon, handled too roughly by a massive crowd of spectators, came apart in mid-air! Amazingly she managed to gather the fraying fabric and fashion a parachute. Mary glided about 12 miles using this rig, nice and easy to roughly her expected landing area.

balloonfarm

I look at this picture and think, “Wow. how the world has changed.” Looks like something from The Twilight Zone.

I don’t know what I find more amazing about this woman: her unwavering desire to fly balloons or her ability to pursue said calling in a time when women couldn’t even vote.

Hat tip to Mary “Carlotta” Myers for defying cultural norms, for marrying a man who believed in her, and for soaring. A true lady in defiance.

The Reason I Say Never Give In, Never Back Down, Never Lose Faith

I may not be—no, wait, sorry—I definitely am not the highest selling author on Amazon but I bet I have some of the best God stories behind my stories.

Especially when it comes to the Defiance books which have now been optioned for a limited TV series!

On the road to Hollywood (because, yes, I believe Defiance will be on TV one day) I want to share with you some of the amazing ways God has continually moved this project along. Inch by inch. Year by year.

The Story that Wouldn’t Die. Literally.

Most of you don’t know that I started A Lady in Defiance only about a year after my sister passed away. A lot happened in that year. Namely, I had a baby. My first son, Whit, was born in 2000.

first cover

The first cover

While he napped or wiggled happily on the floor, I started writing. The story of three sisters in the West was a flight of fancy that helped me deal with the loss of my sister and handle the stupefying fact I was a mother. To cope, some people jump in the tub with Calgon. I had to write. Just spill out thoughts and emotions, keep Suzy alive for a little while longer…

Several thousand words into the story, however, my computer died and I lost EVERYTHING…

So what happened next?

To get the rest of this story and hear about the many more amazing ways God has kept his hand on A Lady in Defiance, I cordially invite you to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a FREE story AND the rest of this one. I promise you’ll find encouragement for chasing your own dreams! Sign up today!

 

Immigrants Who Came to Give and Not Take…Meet Sarah Thal

(Editor’s Note: this is an update of a blog I wrote in 2012)

Going back through some old research notes, I stumbled across the story of an immigrant to America. An unsung heroine who came here to make America a better place and give something back…not just take and remake the country in the image of her old country.

The early immigrants to America, the ones who thrived here, were independent, strong-willed, stubborn, adventurous risk-takers. They didn’t want handouts. They wanted the freedom to make their own way.

Just this morning I read the story of Sarah Thal, a German-Jewish immigrant who came to America with her husband in 1880. The couple settled in North Dakota. Her first child was born in a cabin so full of cracks that a make-shift tent was made around her and the baby. They literally camped in front of the fireplace to keep warm. She watched prairie fires light up the distant sky on more than one occasion. She lost a baby because 10 feet of snow prevented her from getting to a doctor. This was Sarah’s existence. It never broke her. She didn’t let it turn her into a bitter old woman. She accepted her circumstances, praised God in the storm, and plowed on.

One year the German community decided to get together and celebrate the 4th of July. It was a 22-mile trip each way for the Thal’s to attend, but they were proud and eager to do so. As she wrote in a letter, “Each foreign colony celebrated in their own fashion, loyal to the traditions of the old land and faithful to those of the new. . . .”

Faithful to those of the new.

Unfortunately, stout bloodlines like Sarah’s are getting “watered down.” It’s a shame. American women were strong and resilient as a rule, fiercely independent, the toughest in the world. And she wanted to be an American. Therein lies the crux of the matter with the flood of illegals at our border.

Today, I think women like Sarah are the exception, which is why it’s important to remember them! Do you think I’m wrong? Speak your mind, politely, please.

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