Birthday Kittens ‘Peaches and Cream’


Bday kittens1Those of you who follow my kitten sagas know I’m raising two abandoned furbabies, about three and a half weeks old now. I told myself if I got them through to my birthday, they’d be well on their way, and I have. The runty one is roly poly. Thanks to the antibiotic, he’s over his respiratory infection. His bigger brother is over a more minor infection and a good weight. Both are bright-eyed and content. I’m daring to hope they will grow into happy cats. They purr and are affectionate, so despite their challenges, the odds are steadily improving.

Peaches is light apricot, a very pale orange tabby, with muted stripes. Cream is white with gold tipped ears, tail, and paws. He’s trying to be Siamese. I plan to keep Peaches. A dear friend wants Cream. We shall see on down the road if the brothers can bear to be parted. Maybe the question is whether I can bear for them to be parted. They’ll have play dates.

Apricot tabby kitten and part Siamese kitten with gold tipped ears

Apricot tabby kitten and part Siamese kitten with gold tipped ears

“A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden.”
Robert Sowthey

“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them, they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.”
Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat

“Purr more, hiss less”
Linda C. Marchman

Birthday Kittens next best“The kitten was six weeks old. It was enchanting, a delicate fairy-tale cat, whose Siamese genes showed in the shape of the face, ears, tail, and the subtle lines of its body. [...] She sat, a tiny thing, in the middle of a yellow carpet, surrounded by five worshipppers, not at all afraid of us. Then she stalked around that floor of the house, inspecting every inch of it, climbed up on to my bed, crept under the fold of a sheet, and was at home.”
Doris Lessing, On Cats

“A kitten is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played out by an incomparable actor.”
Champfleury, The Cat Past and Present

The Vivid Contrast of Colonial American Settings


old sailing shipColonial America spans a fascinating swathe of time–the ultimate adventure series–from early European settlements in the late 16th century up through the American Revolution. I have ancestral ties in America from its beginnings, including a Churchman listed on the ship’s roster from the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island. And then there’s the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Got that bizarre era covered, too. Research into family genealogy spurs my interest and spawns story ideas, along with dreams and a feeling of being led by my ancestors; I’m definitely inspired by them. I never set a story anywhere not associated with those who’ve gone before me.

the last of the mohicans

Many eras and settings within this intriguing period haven’t yet made appearances in my work. That’s not to say they won’t. I tend to favor the mid to latter 18th century. Anything from lavish manor homes in posh society to rustic log cabins and Indian lodges–think woodlands and mountains in the colonial frontier–think The Last of the Mohicans. March with Revolutionary War soldiers and Shawnee Warriors, though not in the same scene. Gather around campfires in jovial company, or in preparation for battle. Frolic at balls and dinner parties, whoop it up at raucous frontier weddings. Savor idyllic Christmas celebrations and run for your life during fort assaults. Enjoy carriage rides and hang on tight in wild gallops. Visit ghostly homes and search for haunted treasure. Saunter arm in arm or load muskets. Decipher coded a letter. Who’s the spy? Could be anyone.

colonial womanGentlemen and frontiersmen, ladies and warriors, pirates and redcoats, Colonial America is all about contrast. The very wealthy, the hardy and heroic who survive by their wits, sumptuous homes, the untamed land and the even wilder men who battle for their place in it. All are a part of this dynamic era.

I meticulously research my work, and think where the stories will go, but they have a way of asserting themselves. The past will speak out.

Step back in time with mystery, adventure, and romance.

Enemyoftheking resizedEnemy of King:  1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.


Traitor's Legacy resized pgTraitor’s Legacy (Sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King)
: Recent Release!

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency. Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire. Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends.

Colonial American Christmas Romance

Colonial American Christmas Romance

A Warrior for Christmas (also available in audio): Reclaimed by his wealthy uncle, former Shawnee captive Corwin Whitfield finds life with his adopted people at an end and reluctantly enters the social world of 1764. He plans to return to the colonial frontier at his first opportunity–until he meets Uncle Randolph’s ward, Dimity Scott.

Deaf since a childhood bout of Scarlet fever, Dimity Scott intends to be cherished for herself, not her guardian’s purse, even if it means risking spinsterhood. Then the rugged newcomer arrives, unlike any man she’s ever known. Dimity has learned to manage her silent world, but unaccustomed to the dangers of the frontier, can she expect love and marriage from Corwin, who longs to return to his Shawnee life?

Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Red Bird’s Song: Can a Scots-Irish woman terrified of warriors fall in love with her Shawnee captor?

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn’t how Charity Edmondson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather’s vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III’s English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.

As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.

Award-winning historical romance novel

Award-winning historical romance novel

Through the Fire Will love inflame these two natural-born enemies in fiery destruction?

Passions run deep in the raging battle to possess a continent, its wealth and furs. Both the French and English count powerful Indian tribes as their allies.
English lady Rebecca Elliot, having eloped to America with a British captain, finds herself a widow. When she ventures into the colonial frontier with the militia to seek her uncle, she unwittingly enters a dangerous world of rugged mountains, wild animals, and even wilder men. The rules are different here and she doesn’t know them, especially those of the savagely handsome warrior who captures her body and her heart.

Half-Shawnee, half-French warrior Shoka, former guide for English traders, is the hawk, swift, sure, and silent as the moon. He knows all about survival in this untamed land and how deadly distraction can be. His intent is to sell Rebecca to the French before she draws him under her spell, but if he lets her go he can no longer protect her. If he holds onto her, can he safeguard his heart? With battle looming and an enemy warrior bent on vengeance, Shoka and Rebecca must decide whether to fight together or be destroyed.

The French and Indian War, A Shawnee Warrior, An English Lady, Blood Vengeance, Deadly Pursuit, Primal, Powerful, Passionate…Through the Fire~

2c646-historicalromancekiradaughterofthemooncoverbyraremonetKira, Daughter of the Moon (sequel to Through the Fire):

With the terror of the French and Indian War fresh in her mind, can Kira love a white warrior?

Logan McCutcheon returns to colonial Virginia after seven years in the hands of Shawnee Indians. But was he really a captive, as everybody thinks? He looks and fights like a warrior, and seems eager to return to those he calls friends and family.

Kira McClure has waited for Logan all those years, passing herself off as odd to keep suitors at bay–and anyone else from getting too close. Now that he’s back, he seems to be the only person capable of protecting her from the advances of Josiah Campbell and accusations of witchcraft. And to defend the settlers against a well-organized band of murderous thieves.

Several other titles are set in the frontier just after the American Revolution, The Bearwalker’s Daughter and my short story, The Lady and the Warrior. I’m at work on a third set shortly after the war, the sequel to Traitor’s Legacy, Traitor’s Curse. Onward ho. The adventure continues.

Kitten Rescue and My New Book Release


Peaches and Cream with EliseWednesday, my new historical romance novel, Traitor’s Legacy, came out. Authors know, and readers can guess, the effort needed to spread the word. But two tiny kittens also need me. Monday, my feline loving granddaughter, soon to be 7-year-old, Emma, found a minute, very mad, abandoned kitten. About two weeks old, I guessed, which involves feedings every 3-4 hours round the clock (I use a small syringe from the vet because he hates the bottle) and bottom cleaning because kittens can’t ‘go’ themselves at this age. And very young kittens must be kept warm. I use a canning jar with a tight lid and refill the bottle every few hours with hot water, and keep him in a small cloth-lined box, covered with a towel.

Peaches and CreamThis seemed like enough of a challenge, then on Tuesday, Emma and her younger brother Owen found an even tinier kitten (the runt brother of the first little guy) soaking wet, muddy, hollering its head off and looking like a drowned mouse. Turns out, their farm cat mama had four in the litter and wasn’t interested in the two smaller kittens. And, I discovered they had a respiratory thing. So, first thing Wednesday morning of my release day, I’m at the vet’s office, so tired from being up worrying over the kittens I tried to answer my phone by just saying hello without hitting the on button. The brothers (the vet says they’re boys) are on an antibiotic (a little drop in a syringe) twice a day for two weeks and a vet approved supplement for their feedings. The formula from our dairy cows that I usually whip up using a cup of  whole milk, an egg yolk, and teaspoon of vegetable oil, recommended by an old country vet years ago, was deemed to be too iffy for these guys.

I’m calling the kittens Peaches and Cream, as the original brother is a pale apricot and fuzzy, and the runty kitten who was muddy brown has revealed himself to be a white kitten trying to be a Siamese with gold tipped ears, tail, and paws. There’s a wild Siamese Tom cat running around the farm I suspect to be the father. Or the mother’s father. Some connection. Cream is the hardest hit by the virus so requires extra care.

Traitor's Legacy resized pgYesterday was my big book blast blog tour day for Traitor’s Legacy. I faithfully tried to make the rounds, but was beat. Last night I slept on the couch to be near the kittens. If at all possible, they are NOT dying on my watch. Tiny Mite, the newborn kitten I rescued last fall and failed to save, still haunts me.

So hey, I have this new book out, and kittens to take care of. And I’m too tired to think straight or even know what day it is. But I’m told the eBook is half price off at The Wild Rose Press, available in pdf, ePub and Mobi (pocket) which means for Kindle. Traitor’s Legacy is also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from other online booksellers.  And I’ve maybe got another hour and a half until the next feeding and clean up session. Wish me luck! I try to tell myself not to get so attached to the kittens, not to care so much, because it’s awful when they don’t make it. But I do.

Proceeds from this novel will go toward vet bills. He’s seeing them again soon.

Release Day for Historical Romance Novel Traitor’s Legacy!


TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2) Traitor’s Legacy, the sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, is finally out in eBook and print!

Journey back to the drama, intrigue, and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly.

Traitor’s Legacy Blurb:

1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.

Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.

Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?

 Traitor’s Legacy is available at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.

Always speak politely to an enraged Dragon. ~Steven Brust


I wonder if I stuck a dragon in one of my historicals if anyone would notice? Hmmm… My editor might.

When Bilbo Baggins realizes the dangerous adventure he’s about to undertake with Gandalf and the dwarves, that includes the dragon Smaug, he falls to the floor of his hobbit hole and declares, “Struck by lightning! Struck by lightning!”

“Never laugh at live dragons.”― J.R.R. Tolkien

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.” ― R.A. Salvatore, Streams of Silver

 “I’m not so much a dragon slayer, more a dragon annoyer — I’m a dragon irritater.” ― Craig Ferguson

“Thats the spirit-one part brave,three parts fool.”― Christopher Paolini, Eragon

 “my dragon? save anybody? you must have have him confused with someone else- Smaug perhaps?…” ― Margaret Weis, Elven Star

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”  J. R. R. Tolkien

 Royalty free images

The Story Behind Time Travel Romance Somewhere My Lass


somewhere_my_lass_final resizedSomewhere My Lass was an intriguing tale to weave and quite an adventure. It’s also one I had no intention of undertaking until the vivid dream that led to the startling intro: the hero, Neil MacKenzie, returns home from work to find his elderly housekeeper lying murdered at the bottom of the winding staircase and a young woman in full Scottish dress slumped at the top. She, however, isn’t dead.

That’s all I had to go on at the start of this venture, but I was so intrigued I had to learn their story and pondered all the clues given. An old Victorian house, check, I’m very familiar with those; man wearing modern suit, so the story opens in present day, got it, but the young woman came from the past. Scotland’s past. This will take some doing, I concluded. Being a member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, a fabulous online group, I’d taken a Scottish history class and reread that trove of material while doing my usual obsessive research. I love gleaning more about the past and used an actual feud in 1602 between the MacKenzies and MacDonalds as a jumping off place.

Both Neil and the heroine, Mora Campbell, were so clear in my mind and a lot of fun to work with, definitely rank among my cast of favorites. The romance between them is one of the best I’ve written. The chemistry just took off. 

Regarding the setting for Somewhere My Lass, until this book all my stories took place in America, past and present. This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English Scots-Irish roots, which I’ve been doing all along. Apart from the prominent Native American characters in some of my work, the others are of English/Scots-Irish backgrounds, with a smidgen of French. My ancestors, too, have a smidgen of French in the meld, a Norman knight who fought with William the Conqueror, and some French Huguenots.

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeOne unique aspect of the story, is that rather than beginning with the hero or heroine going back in time, I brought her forward (as was the case in the dream) before sending them back together. I also included kewl sci-fi features, new for me. I’ve learned a great deal from my journey into Bonnie Old Scotland. I fell in love with the characters, new ones nudge at my mind. The colorful secondary character, Neil’s quirky friend Angus Fergus, has a lot of fans, and his own story now, Somewhere in the Highlands.

In writing Somewhere My Lass,  I was influenced by my beloved Author C S Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading. I’m still looking for Narnia. Isn’t everyone? My love of old castles and the Scottish Highlands also lent inspiration.Many of the early Scots-Irish settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, my ancestors among them, chose to live here because of the resemblance the valley and mountains bore to Scotland and Ireland. As near to home as they were likely to find in the New World.

ancient doorThe concept behind my Somewhere in Time series, of which Somewhere My Lass is Book Two (though written to stand alone) is that the story opens in present day, so far my home state of Virginia, and then transports the reader Somewhere else. Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in Somewhere My Love and Somewhere The Bells Ring, or another place altogether, as in Somewhere My Lass. The wonderful old homes I grew up in and visited over the years are an integral part of the inspiration behind this series. In Somewhere My Lass, I used a compilation of Victorian homes for the mysterious house in historic Staunton, Virginia where the story begins.
Chapel Hill - old VA family home place
How do they go back and forth in time, you may ask. Why through ‘the door to nowhere,’ of course, a portal to the past. I was acquainted with just such a door as a child. However that was typically Victorian, not the ancient door pictured, a royalty free image, I hasten to add. No, this Medieval door is where one enters on the other side of the portal.

***Somewhere My Lass is on sale in kindle for .99

Old Family Home pictured above.

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne


When I first took up writing romance novels with an all-out passion, I knew absolutely nothing about the genre, or the business of writing. No notion of the massive journey that lay ahead. I was as unwitting as a newly hatched duckling, and thought I could embark on this quest and sail along. 

I remember the first contest I entered, assuming I would win, of course. I was mentally planning my award acceptance speech when I received my scores. Not good, would you believe. I was stunned. One judge tossed me a bone. ‘You have talent,’ she assured me, ‘as evidenced in your flair for description. 

Another bemused judge observed, ‘You broke every rule.’

‘Rules?’ I mused. ‘There’s rules?’

I mean, who knew?

After a three day pout, I resumed the journey.

Somewhere along this rugged uphill climb, a kind soul directed me to RWA. I can’t imagine how I would have grasped the rudiments without them and other writing groups. Always before me lay a new turn in the path, another hurdle to master, and onward ho I went like a sled dog through blinding snow, uncertain where shelter lay. Quitting might have been threatened, but was never a real option. No one ever achieves success by abandoning the quest. I knew that. Still do. So, wherever you are in the process, whether reveling in your stardom, or just undertaking this life changing journey, keep going. It’s a well worn path and there are kindly guides along the way.

My basic thinking about writing is that stuff’s gotta happen or you lose the reader’s attention. Onward ho.

Some wise quotes for inspiration:


If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien

 
I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, “Diary,” February 1895

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown

A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

 

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ~W. Somerset Maugham 


Writing comes more easily if you have something to say. ~Sholem Asch


I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork. ~Peter De Vries

Publication — is the auction of the Mind of Man. ~Emily Dickinson