Hello Again Annabelle

Hello, Thursday Morning! It’s Spring Break in my area of the country, and oh, what a busy week. We’ve had beautiful weather so far. Today, I’m taking a break after spending too many hours on the computer finishing the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series, due for release in August. So, I thought I would run a reprint of the original post for the first book in the series, Annabelle’s Ruth.

Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1 Kinsman Redeemer Series – the book of my heart.

My mother and father had a “meet-cute” — an event that brings a “fated” couple together for the first time, usually in a cute, romantic way. She worked at the candy counter in a movie theater in Seattle. He was a cocky, slightly inebriated sailor, just in from Korea.

He flirted with Mom’s best friend, who already had a steady boyfriend, one who was due to walk through the door at any moment. Mom to the rescue. What are best friends for? She stepped over and distracted the handsome but too happy young sailor. Her mission accomplished, she felt pretty good. When the young sailor sobered up, he came back. Several times. And then they eloped.

They eloped all the way to Biloxi, Mississippi. At the end of Dad’s furlough, he left Mom with his family in West Tennessee. My dad was not totally honest and up front with his young bride (she was only seventeen, he was nineteen). He talked long about his home (as in long, tall tale). He told Mom that his mother and step-dad lived on a ranch in the rolling, green hills of West Tennessee. They had horses and cattle.

IMG_4622In actuality, they were sharecroppers who lived in a rickety house. The cows weren’t theirs, and the horses–work horses that pulled a plow. And that house–no indoor plumbing. A fireplace for heat. Bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Grandma cooked on a wood stove. And they raised cotton and corn and everything they needed to live. They worked hard all day long, every day.

No rolling, green hills either. Flat. Dirty. Muddy. Mosquitoes. Snakes. Yuck.

My Mom was from a broken home. She lived with her Mom in urban Seattle and spent summers at her Dad’s in urban L.A. They were middle class. She dressed well, ate well, and was popular in school.

Culture shock. Dad went back to the Navy. Mom stayed with his eldest sister and her husband and young daughter, in a slightly better abode closer to town. With summer came heat and humidity the likes of which, Mom had never experienced. And she was pregnant.

I’ve wanted to tell this story for a long time. I’ve wanted to write it, but each time I tried, I failed. Not long ago, after I had finished re-reading the Book of Ruth, an idea popped into my head–a “what-if.” What if this happened in more modern times. What if I set it in West Tennessee…in the 1950’s? I could combine the two stories I loved so well.

I talked about it–a lot–to everyone I knew. Mom shared more memories. My older brother (the baby in the above narrative), helped me research it. I got excited about it then sat down and began to write.

But wait–I don’t want to leave you with a negative idea of West Tennessee. Seen through Mom’s young eyes, it was not her favorite place, but she spent most of her life there and ended up loving it. My dad could never be far away from it, especially while his mother lived. And its roots are deep in my heart. I don’t live there anymore. I live in Kentucky with my husband of more than forty years. I love it here, but I still like to visit West Tennessee, where I have family still. The place holds precious memories of Grandma, Uncle Bud, the aunts, and numerous cousins.

It gets under the skin of my heroine in Annabelle’s Ruth, too. She finds a reason to love it, sets down roots, and stays.

I hope you’ll love the story I’ve woven from these two threads.

Sutter’s Landing continues the story begun in Book 1. Soon, I’ll announce Book 3 (as yet untitled), the final in the series.

What Happens Now

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I’m looking at sunshine and blue skies right now. And a big, yellow forsythia bush, the abode of an extremely territorial and illusive cardinal.

This morning, I took a long, leisurely walk in the sunshine. On the way back, I noticed all the flowers blooming. The really early ones, like crocuses and grape hyacinth. Wild flowers too—well, weeds, really—but they still have beauty.

Sunshine certainly improves the mood. And it energizes me. But I didn’t need a lot of help today. I’ve completed the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. In a few days, I’ll send the manuscript to my publisher and then I’ll wait. And hope.

I’m excited about this final book for several reasons. It’s the last in the series (kind of sad). This ends me working on two series at the same time (not doing that again). And, it means something new is coming.

That’s not all. The final Kinsman Redeemer book is a baby without a name right now. I’m calling it, “book three.” And I have to confess, I went through an entire box of tissues writing the end of this book. And they were good tears. As I drew to a close, the readers on my critique loop were sending me threatening emails: please DO NOT send through another cliffhanger. So I had to send through two chapters at once. 🙂

What happens now? As soon as the manuscript is on its way, I’ll start building my Pinterest board for this book. I loved doing that for Rebecca’s Legacy. If want to follow me on Pinterest, click here. Then the marketing begins. Stay tuned!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeIt started with the book of my heart. I wrote a story near and dear to my heart, set in a familiar place and era. It was a retelling of the story of Ruth, that mixed in elements of my mother’s life.

The final book brings the story to a satisfying finish. As Annabelle’s neighbor, Tom, says, “Once you have Annabelle Cross in your corner, she’s there for life.”

Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.—Psalm 30:4-5 NKJV

See you in April!

Chasing Spring

One day it looks and feels like spring, next day, it’s the deep of winter. That’s the weather so far this year. Life can be an adventure!

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning!

I just celebrated a birthday, and oh! I received all the things girls love. Coffee, chocolate, flowers, jewelry, a new purse, and a comfy pillow. I’m not usually swayed by material gifts. In fact, when my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him, “…time with my sons.”

Well, I received that, too. We had a wonderful dinner at a nice restaurant, and even remembered to take pictures. Yep. How often do you get together with loved ones and afterward, remember no one took a photo of the event? It’s so frustrating.

Chasing The End. I’m back at my desk, working hard to finish the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. I’m down to the last couple of chapters.

This has been a labor of love. When I wrote the first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, I never expected it to become a series. But that’s how it goes in the book world these days. So, I was able to finish the story and hopefully leave my readers with a smile on their faces.

So, I’d better get back to work on that. One day soon, I’ll happily announce that I’m finished. In the meantime, help me celebrate my birthday month! In just a few days, I’m giving away a book on the Inspired Prompt blog. Rebecca’s Legacy is the featured book on March 15. Here’s a link to the website: Inspired Prompt

Throughout the month of March, the writers of Inspired Prompt are giving away books, so pop on over and check it out.

And, if you’ve never read Annabelle’s Ruth, leave me a comment below (on this blog post) for a chance to win a copy. Here’s more information about the book:

Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer
Published June, 2015

“If you think you can come back here and throw yourself on my mercy, you are quite wrong.”

After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could uproot them once again.

Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in western Tennessee. How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock?

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. –Ruth 1:16-17

 

Spring Floods and Unexpected Visitors

It won’t be long now. Just weeks, and Sutter’s Landing, the sequel to Annabelle’s Ruth, will be available for purchase. We’re getting ready. Working through final edits, choosing the cover, preparing the marketing aspects. A lot of work goes into the release of a novel.

As Book 2 of the Kinsman Redeemer Series opens, Annabelle and Connie have settled into their little home on the old Sterling Place. Alton Wade, Annabelle’s young cousin, continues to court Connie. As her attachment to him grows, Connie struggles with her emotions.

Momma held the door for her (Connie). “You best get in here before you catch your death.”

Death. As she turned toward the door, Connie glanced over her shoulder to the place where Alton had disappeared into the mist . . . Would death steal him away from her, too? She sucked in a jagged breath as the screen door eased shut behind her. She sincerely hoped not. But thoughts like these were a daily struggle. When did one overcome such a fear?

It’s 1955, and the usual spring rains are a bit heavier than normal. In fact, they just don’t want to stop. Days of rain leave the surrounding lowlands completely under water.

How long will the rains continue, and even then, how long before the cotton fields are dry enough to plant?

One of the nicest things about small town living is having neighbors who care. In the fifties, folks often stopped by to “set a spell,” and visit. Imagine that. Surprising, at times, who stops by for a visit. Especially when the visitor is looking for Annabelle.

And then another man shows up on their doorstep. One Connie would never have expected. Not in a million years.

I’d like to invite you back to Trenton, Tennessee, as the story continues. The release date is tentatively set for June 20.

Samson and I will keep you posted.

 

Save

Another Chapter

oldhouseIn 1954, two women moved into an old house in the middle of a Trenton, Tennessee cotton field. They’d left another life behind in Southern California. This was the story I told in Annabelle’s Ruth.

A few days ago, I finished writing the next chapter of their lives.

Annabelle’s Ruth is a modern-day retelling of the Book of Ruth. I set the story in the 1950s. Instead of working in the grain harvest, Connie Cross–my Ruth character–works in the cotton fields.

alabama-1618299_1280In the sequel, tentatively titled, “Sutter’s Landing”, I welcome a few new characters to the story. The sweet romance between Connie and Alton blossoms into full-blown love. And Connie’s mother-in-law, Annabelle, struggles with something unexpected.

Emotions boil over a couple of times as Connie and Alton prepare for their wedding. Alton’s unpleasant brother Jensen returns, with new ways to irritate them.

But the kinsman redeemer really steps up and shows his mettle. I loved getting to know Alton better, as he responds to life and its situations.

I enjoyed writing this second book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. I hope you’ll love reading it. Look for it later this year. I’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I’m already working on the next chapter in the lives of my characters.


WinterRoadLast week, I promised you “P” words for the new year.

Prayer
Praise
Patience
Presence

Peace.

A very good way to start off the year, don’t you think? Have a blessed week!