Tag Archives: 1968

#Ghostly #Christmas #Romance Somewhere the Bells Ring on Audible!


Woot! A favorite novella of mine is now available in Audio at Amazon. Narrator Tom Jordan did a terrific job.  He says Somewhere the Bells Ring is, ‘The most touching romantic ghost story since Demi Moore made pottery with Patrick Swayze.’   

Somewhere the Bells Ring was an engrossing story to write, and yes, very moving. The old house in the story is based on the family homeplace in the Shenandoah Valley where my father grew up and that I often visited as a child. The story opens in 1968, an era I have a lot of nostalgia about, with time slips back to 1918 and the end of WWI.

Story Blurb:

Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope – until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe – in Bailey and the ghost – before the Christmas bells ring?

“An intriguing, gripping ghost story with a focus on romance rather than terror.” ~Reviewed by Stephanie E with Fallen Angels Reviews

Listen to Somewhere the Bells Ring at: https://www.amazon.com/Somewhere-Bells-Ring-Time-Book/dp/B075GWRZ1G

Sweet Saturday Snippet From Christmas Romance Somewhere the Bells Ring (#4)


December 1968

Sometimes in life, the people who come before you and the events they undergo determine your fate. It seemed to Eric Burke that his course had been predetermined, his path already laid out for him, but he couldn’t see clearly where it led. If he took a wrong turn, he might fall into the void. If he chose rightly, all might still end well. At least, this was the sensation washing over him as he limped into the dining room at Maple Hill.

Alight with candles, festooned with greenery, the room was a Yuletide dream, and waiting to greet him was Arwen, the Elven princess from The Lord of the Rings. Not that she had elfish ears, they were dainty and set close to her head,
but the oval shape of her face framed by tendrils of honey-colored hair, starry eyes dappled green and gold like the forests of Middle Earth, and her petite size gave her an appealing sprite-like appearance.

His stepmother joined the girl. Blue eyes crinkling in a smile, Meg closed an affectionate arm around her slender shoulders. “You remember Bailey, don’t you, Eric?”

He bit back his astonishment. “Of course. Good to see you again, Bailey.”

She smiled at him. Not a token nicety, but a genuine curve of her pretty, unpainted mouth, reflected in the glowing warmth of her eyes.
“Welcome home, Eric.”

A strange fluttering stirred in his middle and palpitations charged his heart. “Thanks. Good to be back.”

What Eric expected to find on his return to Maple Hill he couldn’t have said. The old home was much as he’d left it, he supposed, but certainly not Bailey Randolph looking like she’d stepped out of a fairy tale. She might have been dressed for a Madrigal dinner in that anklelength, green velvet dress with long, puffed sleeves. He almost expected cries of “Wassail! Wassail!” and the arrival of a roast suckling pig with an apple in its mouth borne into the room by medieval serfs.

Leaning on his cane with one hand, he swept his other at her. “Wow, just look at you. All grown up.”

She blushed with apparent pleasure, and, if possible, her eyes glowed even more. “Surprised to see me?”

He smiled through his shock. “Sure am.”

“Bailey’s staying with us for awhile.”

Meg’s explanation struck Eric as vague, but he was too preoccupied with Bailey to give it much thought.~

“A very captivating read that was very hard to put down.  The few characters that are in this story each have their own strength and personality  that makes it easy to become connected with. I especially like the cook  Ella. She reminded me of the matriarch of the family that ruled and everyone listened. I enjoyed reading this book because it has a little bit of  everything I like. A clean romance, a touch of suspense and paranormal.  If you believe in ghosts or think people are foolish that do, well I still think you will like this book. And as I stated  at the beginning we all have a beginning and an end and Bailey was not sure where hers began. After you read the story it will make you wonder, just where was her beginning. .Another great book Beth.” Miss Lynn’s Book ‘N More

*Old Virginia family home place

For more Sweet Saturday Samples click HERE.

SOMEWHERE THE BELLS RING is available in ebook at The Wild Rose PressAmazon Kindle, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook & other online booksellers.

Excerpt from Ghostly Christmas Romance Somewhere the Bells Ring


The Shenandoah Valley, December 1968

Still muttering, Ella grabbed the mop in the corner and stumped over in faded house shoes and support hose to attack the puddle spreading on the linoleum beyond the small braided rug where Bailey stood.

Part Cherokee, part Negro, and part Bailey wasn’t sure what, maybe past slave owner as some of those men had sired offspring, Ella ruled the kitchen and most of the house. She wouldn’t allow a scrap of a kitten inside let alone a collie, and soft-spoken Aunt Meg deferred to her wishes. However, Ella insisted she knew her place and housed herself, Old John, and Rosa Mae out in the old kitchen behind the house, more of a cottage now, with a big hearth she put to use.

With a decided “Humph,” Ella restored the mop and tugged at the wool wrapping Bailey like a mummy. “Where you been, child? Don’t you go fretting your Aunt now.”

“No. Sorry. Lost track of time.” Easily done here.

Clucking disapproval, Ella helped Bailey struggle out of the too-big coat then hung her wraps from the hooks on one pale yellow wall. “Can’t stand about in them stocking feet. Catch your death.”

Ella snatched pink slippers from an assortment in the cupboard and nudged Bailey’s numb toes into the fuzzy footwear. She then inspected her as she might a stray dog, only a dog wouldn’t get this far.

“That mane of yours could do with taming, like a half wild pony.” She ran her critical gaze over Bailey’s frayed sweater and jeans. “Don’t you got nothing better to wear? Look like a bum coming round the house.” She sniffed. “Smell like one too.”

“It’s incense—”

“I told you not to be burning that stuff. Set the house on fire next thing. And don’t you be thinking ‘bout coloring on them walls.”

A reference to Bailey’s bedroom murals at home. She’d had to begin somewhere with her art. No one accused Michelangelo of coloring on the ceiling.

“You go and git a nice hot bath and find something pretty to put on.”

“Ella—”

She held up a righteous hand with the demeanor of a pastor about to deliver a sermon. “You’ll be glad enough to fix yourself up when you hear who’s coming.”

Bailey considered the muted excitement in Ella’s coffee-colored eyes. “Santa Claus?”

Ella cocked her gray head at a jaunty angle. “Better.”

“Than Santa? Who?”

Ella played her trump card. “Mr. Eric hisself.”

Bailey’s heart lurched. “He’s back on furlough?”

“Nope. Called from the train station to say he’s home for good. Never said nothing before. Wanted to surprise Miss Meg.

He sure did, right enough. She’s bubbling over. Rosa Mae drove her into town to fetch him. What do you think of that, Miss?”

Quite a lot.  Bailey’s mind swirled with images of Eric Burke before he’d joined the Marines and shipped off to Vietnam. Though on the serious side, he was gifted with flashes of wit and a smile that charged his average good looks with masculine glory…

…The news about Eric had made her momentarily forget the figure upstairs. “Which room are you putting him in?”

Ella reached into the cabinet for the shortening. “His own, of course. The white room.”

Old Southern homes had names, as did the rooms. Bailey slept in the yellow room across the far hall from the more austere white room outfitted with Eric’s school pennants, trophies, and other masculine decor. Aunt Meg was on the other side of Bailey in the rose room, its walls papered with flowers. A second hall ran past Bailey and Aunt Meg’s rooms and led to the stairs.

“What about the room at the end of the front hall? The one on the right?” Bailey didn’t know its name.

Ella shook her head. “No one uses that one.”

“That’s what I thought, but…”

Ella shot her a glance over her shoulder. “What?”

“Thought I saw a light on in there a little while ago.”

She frowned. “Can’t. No one’s there.”

Which left Bailey to arrive at the only logical conclusions, either Maple Hill was haunted or she was losing her mind. She wondered if Eric would find her particular brand of insanity charming or downright weird, or whether he’d even notice her at all.~

*Ella was my dad’s outspoken housekeeper when he was growing up.  She died before my time but I heard enough stories about her to feel like I knew her.

***Available in various eBook formats from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon Kindle, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and other online booksellers.

Everything Changes When A Ghost Requests her Help


Fascinated by ghosts, who me?  Well, a bit, I confess.  Thus the reason they appear here and there in various of my books.  Most recently in  my vintage American Christmas Romance Somewhere the Bells Ring.

The ghosts in my stories do not always take the same form, though. Some are sensed and seen only in the character’s mind.  Or in dreams.  One is a violent poltergeist.  Some are old loves…

In Somewhere the Bells Ring, the ghost seems perfectly real and when Bailey is with him, she’s transported back from 1968 to 1918 and the end of World War One in the same old house.

This is my favorite sort of ghost.  Some of the most intriguing stories I’ve ever come across involve ghosts who appear quite solid, not at all vaporous, and give the person seeing them a glimpse of the past as though through a window in time.  And who’s to say that isn’t what’s happening?  Maybe a ripple opens up and allows a glimpse of what once was and those who lived in that time and place?

Can they see us in turn?  Maybe so.  And can there be communion with these corporeal spirits from the past?  Possibly.  That’s the premise for this story.

“When I see ghosts they look perfectly real and solid — like a living human being. They are not misty; I can’t see through them; they don’t wear sheets or bloody mummy bandages. They don’t have their heads tucked under their arms. They just look like ordinary people, in living color, and sometimes it is hard to tell who is a ghost.” ~Chris Woodyard

“I have thought that I have seen ghosts on many occasions.”
Taylor Caldwell

“It is with true love as it is with ghosts; everyone talks about it, but few have seen it.” ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Somewhere the Bells Ring is a haunting story of timeless love, and of course, it’s true.

Blurb: Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.

To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.

As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?

*An old photograph of the Virginia family home place the house in Somewhere the Bells Ring is based on.

***Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in various eBook formats from The Wild Rose PressAmazon KindleAll Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook and other online booksellers.

My New Cover for Somewhere the Bells Ring!


Lovely cover by the talented artist Tamra Westberry.

SOMEWHERE THE BELLS RING is book three in my ‘Somewhere’ series with a Christmas theme.   Set in the old family homeplace where my father was born and raised, a beautiful plantation home from the early 19th century, the story opens in the tumultuous age of hippies and Vietnam and some of the best darn rock music ever written, 1968.  From that nostalgic age, this time travel/ghost story flashes back to an earlier era, 1918, and World War One.   Having a Marine Corps Captain grandfather who distinguished himself in France in the thick of the fighting during The Great War and then tragically died when my father was only three certainly influenced this story.  If you enjoy a good mystery with Gothic overtones, time travel back to vintage America, and heart-tugging romance then Somewhere the Bells Ring is for you.  Stay tuned for more as the release date nears later this year.