Will Rise from Ashes: Releases April 17th!

Wow, wow, wow, my baby is coming to readers’ hands on April 17th. It’s been a whirlwind spring with three books coming out, each a month apart (no, I did not plan this, but I grabbed the reins and I’m enjoying the ride!). This book put my perseverance and patience to the test: countless rewrites, critique partners’ (and agents’) feedback, ping-pong edits with my editors…and sweat and tears. At the end, I was rewarded with the layered, gripping, and heartbreaking journey of AJ Sinclair and her son Will.

I’m filled with gratitude that my editor took a chance on this book (Women’s Fiction and a shift from my usual romance stories). I’m also forever grateful to my writer’s group and beta and critique partners that guided me to the end. Thank you, all!

Now for the cover art! Debbie Taylor did an amazing job capturing my vision:

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And the blurb:

Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.

Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.

A few photos from a trip a few years ago to the Pacific Northwest that was inspiration for my backdrop. We went on a volcanic tour so to speak, culminating at Yellowstone, naturally. What an adventure! This trip was followed by one last year to Colorado/Utah that also fed my creative muse. I have 1000’s of photos but this handful gives you a sprinkle. :)

Now for an excerpt:

Even from far away, I recognized the man’s plaid long-sleeved shirt and the large backpack, but now he was walking alongside a bike on his approach.

“Hey, look! It’s that guy you drove past this morning!”

 I shuddered inwardly. Well, karma just bit me in the butt.

“How did he catch up with us?” Motherly instinct took over as I rose, my legs wobbly. “Will, stay there. Here, take this,” I said, handing him the tire iron.

 “We already tried that, Mom.”

“Not for that, Will.”

He scratched his brown hair, which was overdue for a cut, and looked at me, confusion wrinkling his brow.

“Be my wizard, Will. It’s your sword.”

“Wizards have wands.”

“Will…”

The circuit connected. “Oh…yes, Mom, I’ll protect you!”

I smiled faintly. “Thank you, honey.” I didn’t want to explain further that it was me protecting him. I didn’t want to say that if something happened, to run and hide in the woods. Because he would run and hide. Then what? Who would come help?

I shoved my hand into my front jeans pocket to nestle my fingertips around the pocket knife I had given Harrison for our wedding anniversary. The man slowed his bicycle as he drew nearer. He gave me an understated, yet significant, nod. The nod of understanding, of kindness. I didn’t buy it.

“Hello, again,” he said.

Ouch.

Much more to come. Stay tuned!

Soul of the Storm: Releases March 20th! (Cover reveal & excerpt...)

Friends (and strangers, doctors, people I bump into…) keep asking me why I’m having three books come out this spring back-to-back? Because I am crazy? LOL. That’s a long story and I will explain it in a future blog post. :) But for now, hey look, a new cover! A release date! And an excerpt! And of course, a bit more about Soul of the Storm, too:

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Charlotte MacGregor lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Still guilt-ridden, Charlotte heads for a vacation to rustic Vermont with a friend—where she's surrounded by reminders of her devastating loss and plagued with unanswered questions.

Matiu Christiansen is an outdoors buff. He works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He's never quite felt at home in the United States and he yearns for his Maori roots, but his attraction to Charlotte puts a kink in his plans to move home later this year.

Thrown together by coincidence, Charlotte and Matiu form a kindred bond through their shared love of the outdoors. Can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? And can Matiu help Charlotte heal from the pain of the past?

Soul of the Storm is part of the new Deerbourne Inn series by The Wild Rose Press. With an idea already brewing for a healing story set in my native region of New England, I jumped on board with this series of shorter stories/novellas that take place in the quaint fictional town of Willow Springs, Vermont. It’s hypothetical location is near the town of Warren, VT, so after doing some research in the Mad River Valley (would you expect less from this traveler?), I got writing! This was one of my favorite stories to write to date.

And now for a teaser…

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Soul of the Storm releases on March 20th!  Pre-order on Amazon  now.

Soul of the Storm releases on March 20th! Pre-order on Amazon now.

Introducing: A Hundred Breaths...cover reveal! Releases Feb 18, 2019

I can’t hold in the excitement. My eagerly awaited (well, okay, eagerly awaited by me! I’m not sure about readers) prequel to A Hundred Kisses is set to release on February 18, 2019. Just 7 weeks from now. (insert screams of delight). How about I share that cover art and blurb with you, aye?

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Why the prequel and not a sequel?

When I wrote A Hundred Kisses it was set to be a standalone book. In fact, I had been writing stories set in 12th century Scotland for over a decade. After three practice novels, and much learning of the craft and business, I decided to leap forward to the 13th century and sprinkle in paranormal/mystical elements. Therein I found the magic! From that exploration arose Deirdre and Alasdair’s story: a ruthless baron, a dark past, a curse, deep secrets, and the mystical power of the Ancients. Not bad for a first book! ((A little plug for Rosalind Ashford who narrated the audio book — her voice swept me away.)).

I felt compelled to dig deeper into the mystical Silver Veil because Deirdre’s mother, Gwyn, also had a story to tell. And it so happened to be a pivotal time period for the [end of the] Norse (Viking) reign. The stars aligned and what came forth was a story about a merciful Healer, a scarred man hellbent on vengeance, and several unrelenting Nordmen.

What next? I’m writing the final book in the trilogy (hint: it’s about Deirdre and Alasdair’s child). Each story in my “hundred” series explores the powers of the Ancients: Healing (water), Feeling (fire), Seeing (Wind), and the grounding force of Earth. Each book is steeped in Scottish-Norse-English history.

I hope you enjoy this latest one. It’s set to release on February 18th (a great day-early birthday present for me!). It will be available as an e-book and print, with audio forthcoming.

And like any novel, I take my research serious! A Hundred Breaths delves into the Norse culture and I was fortunate to tour an actual Viking ship, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, last year. Gwyn and Simon’s journey also takes them to Dryburgh Abbey (I visited this abbey on my trip to Scotland in 2008).

No book announcement could be complete without an excerpt! I enjoyed writing this book, especially the villain. My best bad guy yet!

“I’m your wife, and still I am guarded?”

Simon shrugged though she couldn’t see. He’d given up on excuses. “What must I do to prove I won’t flee? I signed your marriage contract. I said my vows.” Her voice broke on those words.

Was she crying? He laid the tray of food on her table and approached. He didn’t touch her, as much as he wanted to link his arm within hers as they’d done during their walks. He reached inside his ganache and withdrew her small, simple dagger. Unadorned with jewels or carvings, it possessed a bone hilt and a blade worn from use. Likely from tree limbs, flowers, and household use. His smith had sharpened it and cleaned the hilt.

“Here,” he said, placing it in her lap. Gildy had retrieved the sheath from Gwyn’s laundered gown.

Gwyn stared at it, her fingertips dancing butterfly wings hovering over the hilt. After a moment, she drew her hand around it and pulled it from its leather sheath. She rose and whirled on him, the dagger pointed out before her, barely pressing into his chest.

He didn’t retreat as he met her fiery, misty gaze.

She made no move to remove the dagger’s tip.

“A smidge to the center, Gwyn, and you’ll be square over my blackened heart.” He held her glower. The heat blazed in her entrancing blue eyes like the devil. He fought a smile.