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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!

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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.”

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.

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

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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!

on_sale_MOD

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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Author Lydia Cameron, God, Starbucks and Me

I was so honored to get a chance to share some random thoughts yesterday with fellow-author Lydia Cameron over on her blog. I hope you’ll check it out. I mean, really, can you ever talk too much about God and coffee and writing?

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And be sure to say hello!

 

Yes, A Promise in Defiance is a Bit of a Tear-Jerker but…

2016-04-12 13.52.58 I wrote A Promise in Defiance (which is on sale right now for only .99–regularly $4.49) with one scene in mind–the main character dying in the street. And I find it really interesting how the Holy Spirit led the whole book to that moment! I mean, it just worked out perfectly. And while the story wraps up with hope and redemption, I like how I left a few characters with some unanswered questions–meaning, waiting to hear from God on some issues, because, as it turns out, by popular demand, there is a Book 4.

In honor of A Promise in Defiance being on sale today, I thought I’d share a snippet of one of my favorite scenes with you. It’s hard to do, b/c there are so many plot twists in A Promise, it’s difficult to avoid SPOILERS! But here ya go:

* * *

Leaning on the bar, Delilah listened for a moment to the sounds that had played in the background of most of her life: men muttering, laughing, cursing; the slap of cards and the triumphant cry over a winning hand; the jangle of chips being dragged across the felt; a tinny piano belting out a lively tune. Beneath it all, the sultry voices of her girls issuing their siren’s call.

Only the saloon of The Crystal Chandelier was open. The theater was still a week away from its first show. The men didn’t mind too much. From the moment she had flung open her doors, the crowd had been steady and strong. The girls in their cribs were producing well. She flipped through the papers in front of her, covered in names and numbers, tallies at the bottom. Yes, they were turning a nice profit.

The upstairs girls here in the saloon would begin receiving callers Saturday night. The Celestial Flowers, however, were destined for her auction. In the meantime, all these little ladies were working the floor, advertising their potential, but serving drinks only. The tease never failed to have the men queuing up for opening night.

“What’s the matter, Big Jim? You look a little down.”

Delilah didn’t look over at Mary Jean addressing a customer, but the softness in the girl’s voice intrigued her, and she continued listening.

“Ah, I ain’t down.”

From the corner of her eye, Delilah saw the big man in a sheepskin vest drop his two bits on the counter.

“I was thinkin’ about that Preacher.”

Mary Jean poured Big Jim a shot and took his money. “Thinkin’ ’bout what?”

“I’m still rankled about that mess on his door. Whoever did that’ll try somethin’ new. Tomorrow is Sunday. I was pondering staying sober and seein’ if I might catch me a scat-smearin’ coward sometime tonight.”

“Coward?” Smith’s voice. He had slipped up on the other side of Big Jim.

“Smith.” Big Jim’s tone turned hard. “I don’t reckon you had anything to do with the “paint” left on the Preacher’s door? Sounds like somethin’ you’d do.”

“You callin’ me a coward?”

The two men faced each other.

“That’s enough, boys.” Delilah did not deign to look up. “No fightin’ in my place. You know the rules. All fights go to the ring out back.”

Silence stretched out for a moment. Delilah did wonder between these two, who was the toughest. By all accounts, Smith was the meanest and sometimes that was more than enough to win a fight.

“You’d best be careful, Smith.” Big Jim tossed back his drink, set the glass down, and stomped away. Mary Jean took his glass and hurried away to the dry sink behind the bar, as if to avoid Smith.

“Did you do that?” Delilah asked still without looking up. “Have you no better morals than to desecrate a house of God?”

“It was just a little warning of what’s coming his way.”

“Leave the Preacher alone for a bit. Make a little trouble for McIntyre. I don’t care how you get to him, just make him suffer.”

“That’s his foreman sittin’ over there in the corner. I heard him say McIntyre’s got a herd of two thousand head comin’ in tomorrow. Guess he wants to be a big cattle baron.”

This could be useful information. “How many men in the crew?”

“Didn’t ask. Probably at least twenty.”

“Free drinks for all of them when they come in the first night.” Delilah turned and scanned the crowd, looking for the foreman. “Where’s McIntyre’s man?”

Smith chucked a thumb over his shoulder. “Dusty fella, sitting under the lantern.”

“Mary Jean,” Delilah called without looking at the girl, “bring me a bottle and two glasses.” She handed her receipts to Smith. “Put these on my desk upstairs. Mr. Foreman over there looks like he could use a bath . . . and a friend.”

***

Want to read more? Get your copy of A Promise in Defiance today while it’s only .99, regularly $4.49!

Oh, and hey, if/when you read A Promise, please leave me a review! I sure would appreciate it!

 

Grace be a Lady — One of my favorite excerpts

Sometimes I think I write vile, evil characters better than my heroes and heroines. Here’s a quick little excerpt from Grace be a Lady–my favorite Western with a delicious twist! And on sale for just $.99 for the next few days. Step into Grace’s world…

“Now, luv,” Lonnie said, cleaning his nails with his pocket knife, “I’ll explain to you ’ow this is going to work. The train ticket in my pocket,” he patted his chest, “will take you all the way to Misery, Wyoming.”

GRACE_EBOOK_FINAL-NoSeries A twitch in Grace’s eyebrow betrayed her reaction to the name.

“Yes, Bull picked the town out just for you, luv. Said he ’oped it delivered. Anyway, you will get off the train there and not before.” He snapped the knife shut and leaned forward. “If you don’ check in with Misery’s lawman, luv, Hardy will be shipped off to some boarding school in Paris. Or maybe Rome. Possibly even Timbuktu. Do you take my meaning, luv?”

Grace’s heart broke as the threat sank in. Her chin quivered and the lump in her throat tried to explode into a sob. Completely out of hope, she could do nothing but pray.

She prayed she would dance on Bull’s grave one day soon.

Falling back on the loathing that Lonnie so readily evoked in her, Grace raised her chin. “Don’t call me ‘luv’.”

I hope you’ll get your copy today!

Please Pardon My Technical Goof

top-secret-stamp-1-1024x1024 Yesterday I created a post that was exclusively for my newsletter subscribers and was password protected. I meant for the notice not to go out until tomorrow and ONLY to the subscribers. Many, many of you have written to me asking for the password. I’m so sorry to be a tease. I hope you’ll forgive me.

If you’d like to read the special, TOP SECRET blog post, you can 1) subscribe to my newsletter and be privy to special stuff like this or 2) give me a few weeks and I’ll take this post public. But I do need to put my subscribers first, as I promised them I would.

My newsletter will be going out tomorrow with the password. You can subscribe here. I think it’s worth it. Grin. And, honestly, a newsletter helps keep me from being too beholding to the likes of the tech giants Amazon and Facebook, so I really would appreciate your support. One day, because of my politically incorrect, Christian world view, I’m liable to just disappear off the worldwide web. Stranger things have happened.

But if you’re not interested in subscribing, keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see the post open up in a few weeks.

Thanks again for all your interest in little ol’ me. Y’all are awesome!

 

Oh, Those Sassy Pioneer Girls

A woman doctor from South Dakota by the name of Abbie Jarvis is one fascinating female. I’ll tell her whole story one day, I think, but today I wanted to share a funny little snippet of her life with you.

abbie Dr. Jarvis often rode all over the country alone in her little doctor’s buggy. Late one afternoon, riding into the sun, she and her horse didn’t see a new barbed wire fence some plucky rancher had strung across the road. Horse, buggy and Dr. Jarvis hit the fence and went flying in separate directions. After shaking it off and assuring herself she wasn’t dying, she rounded up the horse and buggy and rode to the nearest point of light–a one-room, sod-roof cabin. A man answered the door and Dr. Jarvis explained the situation and that she needed to come in and rest.

The man seemed hesitant but allowed her to enter. After a while, however, Dr. Jarvis realized she was in no condition to motivate back to town in the dark. She told the lone farmer she’d need to stay the night.

He was astonished at her suggestion and reminded her that he was there all alone. Dr. Jarvis responded, “Well, I am not afraid of you if you are not afraid of me.”

Oh, my lands, as we say in the South. What moxie the woman had!

When You Have to Streeeeetch to Cross a Creek–Don’t

I got tickled the other day reading a book about pioneer women in South Dakota. Have you ever seen those videos of young tourists doing amazingly stupid things like taking selfies too close to the roaring waves or attempting to feed a buffalo at Yellowstone? Sometimes things go very wrong.

LIW-2 For a pioneer girl, Sadie wasn’t much smarter than some of our modern kiddoes. Back around 1880, she went for a walk on a hot summer day on her farm to pass some time and admire God’s handiwork. Not long into her stroll,  she noticed a nice, plump cluster of grapes hanging over the stream. Simply too tempted to be smart, Sadie started making her way across the swift-moving water by stepping–sometimes streeeetching–from one large rock to the next.

Well, she got a little too intent on watching the current and had a spell of vertigo. Yep, fell headfirst into the water. Years later, she said she could still remember what the bottom of that stream looked like. However, before she even had a chance to panic, she found herself rising to the surface and then being pulled by the collar to the shore.

indian boy A tall, erect, young Indian boy wrangled her out of the water, snatched her to her feet, then grabbed her shoulders and proceeded to shake her violently. Before she could react to this new danger, the brave disappeared, slipping away into the shadowy forest.

She said for the rest of her life she often wondered what the purpose was of the shaking.

This comment has me thinking maybe Sadie was a bit of a dull bulb. Which could explain how she nearly drowned in the first place.

Well, here’s my best guess, hon, on what the brave who saved your life may have been thinking as he was rattling your brains: “Dumb, dumb, dumb girl. You could have drowned. For what? A handful of grapes? What were you thinking? Go back to your farm and plant something.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Defiance of Failure. Trust God and Fish or Cut Bait…

Last time, if you will recall, I related that in back in 2000 I had started writing A Lady in Defiance and my computer crashed.

Several thousand words into the story I lost ALL of it.

Well, I had my hands full with a baby. I shrugged and thought I would probably come back to the story one day. If it wasn’t dead and buried for good. Maybe God would resurrect it…Who knew?

Fast forward to 2007.

I took a job working for a vanity press doing author promotions. One day at a book signing, I was watching the author talk about his story and the thought came to me, “I can do this.” Meaning, write a book. I didn’t know anything about plot structure, character arcs, POVs, but I had to write. It felt almost like a compulsion.

The story of three sisters stranded in a lawless mining town roared back to life in my brain. I dove in and had the first draft finished in March of ‘08, mere weeks before the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

conf

Only, my first attendance was in 2008

I honestly don’t even know who suggested I attend a writers conference. I’d never given it any thought and I’d never heard of this one. It was (and still is) held in Black Mountain, NC though, and I was up for any excuse to visit my mountains.

When I looked into it, I discovered that I could have a critique done on my first 30 pages by a seasoned professional writer, and even pitch the story to editors and agents! The possibilities were exciting and terrifying. I told my boys–five, eight, and forty-seven at the time–that I had no idea what to expect or even pray for. I just knew there was an adventure waiting.

I remember my eight-year-old said the most interesting thing then. He said, “It’s like that scene from Indiana Jones when he steps out into thin air. But there’s really a bridge there to catch him.”

bridge

Wow. That’s called a Leap of Faith. And what a picture of how God holds us up and leads us. Instantly I knew I was supposed to go to this conference.

It turned out to be a life-changing event.

More next time…

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