Two Legacies: Amelia and Carlotta

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today, I have a special treat planned, so you might want to stick around til the end. Don’t cheat and skip there already. You’re going to need to know a thing or two I’ve included in this post.

My excitement level increases with each day we draw closer to the release of the third book in the Legacy series. I loved writing this book. Since we still have two months until the official release date, I’m going to occupy myself with Legacy-related posts.

Note: Before you read any further, I want to apologize for the number of times I’ve repeated the word legacy. Maybe it will be less distracting if I used [L]. So every time you see [L] you’ll know what it means. 🙂

A legacy is what is left or willed to someone after death. It’s also a memory or a life change because of something that happened in the past. For instance, women’s lives changed due to the legacy of the early suffragists.

In book one of my [L] series, the [L] may seem to be what Amelia Woods Sanderson left to her granddaughter, Nancy. Yes, the inheritance was quite substantial, but there was more to that story.

Amelia was a schemer. This aspect of her personality served her well in the business world, but less so in the personal realm. She had a life laid out for her granddaughter that Nancy chaffed at and resisted with all her energy. Further complicating things, was the fact that Nancy, orphaned at the age of six, had never felt loved by her grandmother.

Amelia’s aloofness was a symptom of her great losses in life.

The lesson Nancy learned was this: Regardless of her problematic nature, Grandmother knew a thing or two about life. She would be long remembered for more than the fortune she left behind.

In book one, Amelia’s death released the [L]. In book two, the title’s [L] character, Carlotta, did not die. Instead, her life—her daily witness—changed her daughter-in-law Rebecca’s life.

Readers of Amelia’s Legacy will remember Rebecca Lewis, Nancy’s best friend (and sometimes partner-in-crime). As the main character in book two, Rebecca must learn to live a different sort of life after marrying into an aristocratic Umbrian family. But they aren’t like other aristocrats. Carlotta puts on an apron and works alongside her servants in the kitchen.

Carlotta at 18

The woman has the servant’s attitude down. Her Roman Catholic roots have taught her to serve and give to others. You wouldn’t know that when you first meet her. She is quite resistant to the idea of an American daughter-in-law, especially one whose father gambled away his fortune.

After getting to know Rebecca’s mother, and a bit about the girl’s early life, Carlotta’s cold facade begins to melt. Rebecca’s attitude of humility, coupled with a willingness to learn, crumbles the last of the older woman’s resolve.

What Rebecca gained in Umbria, living with the Alvera family, was an organic [L] that would serve her well in years to come. She’d pass on the servant’s heart, love, and humility to an Emerson in book three, and she doesn’t have to die to do it.

So, now that you’ve made it through all that, you may be wondering what the “treat” is–I’m giving away a $10 gift card! Just leave me a comment on this blog post and let me know you’d like to be included in the drawing. Also include in your comment the word I left out in the blog post. Here’s a hint: [L].

The prize will be winner’s choice of an Amazon gift card, or a Starbucks gift card. Now, don’t forget, you have to include two things in your comment!

Have a wonderful weekend!

The Legacy Series is a Wrap

Hello, it’s Thursday morning. This may come as a surprise to some of you. That Monday holiday really messes with your mind schedule. 🙂

I’m celebrating with a second cuppa coffee this morning! I turned in the galley for the final book in the Legacy series. Kind of sad. I’m going to miss the Emerson clan.

Just in case you’re wondering what a galley is–maybe you’re familiar with the term when it refers to a narrow kitchen, or a boat (or ship) propelled by oars. Well, it’s also the mock-up version of a book. Kind of like a “proof”. Authors receive a galley copy for a final read-through of their masterpiece. This is their last chance to correct any errors still hiding in the prose.

Rebecca’s Legacy was a joy to write! I’ve wanted to tell Amy’s story since the day she was born. I was there, you know—halfway through book 1, Amelia’s Legacy. The newborn Amy Juliana Emerson looked like a little doll.

She’s still pretty cute. I hope my readers will love her as much as I do.

Rebecca’s Legacy releases August 7. Be watching for special events and a couple giveaways as the day approaches.

How to Write a Book

coffee, cup, laptop, memeIt begins with sitting down. You’re looking at a blank, white space. Empty. Daunting? For me, not so much. I love to fill empty spaces with words, as much as some of my friends like to fill empty air with words. They can’t sit quietly. It’s impossible.

Hello, Thursday morning friends. This week, I’m still processing some of the excellent insight I received at the Mid South Christian Writers conference in Collierville, Tennessee. The conference I almost missed. But that’s another story for another day.

Conferences are like continuing education for the writer. You go, you meet other writers, you hear others’ stories, you’re encouraged to struggle on. Pursue the craft. Keep writing.

writing-1209121_1280If you’re a writer, especially if you’re in the beginning process, I highly recommend a good writers conference. Now, on to the task at hand–

This is how I start: I have an idea. I develop the idea. I hope it works. I hope it’s not another dead end.

Sometimes it begins with a character. I create a character, give that character positive or negative traits, then build their appearance around those traits. Next, I tell their story.

sneakpeekLet’s dissect one of my characters: Amy Julianna Emerson is the daughter of Robert and Nancy Emerson in “Amelia’s Legacy,” book one of the Legacy Series. She’ll make her debut in book three, “Rebecca’s Legacy” (releasing later this summer). She’s named after her maternal great grandmother, Amelia, and her paternal grandmother, Julianna, but her disposition and character are all her own.

Physical traits: Her eyes are a stunning sapphire blue, her hair the color of chestnuts. She’s five-foot-five, and slender. She loves to wear sundresses, hats, and sunglasses. And other outfits her father disapproves, like “rompers” (it’s the late 1940s).

Amy is a beauty, and much like her mother before her, she desires freedom, and intends to achieve that goal. But her road is temporarily blocked, both by her own past mistakes, and by the evil intent of others. She tries to work around these roadblocks, with little success.

So, I’ve developed a character and given her specific traits. Now, I begin to write and let her character develop. Her story begins to unfurl. The words flow. Sometimes. I enjoy the journey when the words flow. Other times, it’s just hard work.

writer-1421099_1280Writing begins with sitting down. Open a brand new file on the computer, insert a sheet of bright, white paper in a typewriter, or pick up a pen. Whether we’re working with pen and ink, a typewriter, or a computer, the challenge is the same: tell the story.

My next challenge is to create a character arc. Changes happen. Lives progress from beginning to end. I hope Amy will grow, learn, and become a better person. I hope she’ll touch lives and inspire my readers.

Writing is my calling. It’s my way to speak to others around me, to challenge and inspire. To leave them with a message of hope. Dare them to believe. I hope to leave my own legacy—belief in the gift of God’s grace. For Amelia, Carlotta, and now, Rebecca—their Legacy is Love.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. [1 John 4:11]

[Click to Tweet] For the writer, whether we’re working with pen and ink, a typewriter, or a computer, the challenge is the same: tell the story.

Another regional conference:

Kentucky Christian Writers Conference – June 21 -23, 2018

Sense and Sensibility – a Short Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning friends! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far. If not—hey, it’s Thursday—almost Friday! Valentine’s Day is over. I hope those of you who celebrate the day had a wonderful one. Any time I can spend with my long-time husband and favorite person is a good day.

And while we’re talking about love, my Grace Award-winning novel, Annabelle’s Ruth, is on sale for 99 cents! Just a couple more days, though. Don’t tell anyone, but this is my favorite book! Here’s a clickable link: Annabelle’s Ruth – 99¢ on Kindle!

Since this is the month of romance, I think it’s about time for another movie review. I got busy and found a good one to share. Okay, it’s not specifically a movie, but a BBC miniseries. However, it’s an Austen—one of my all-time favorite stories—Sense and Sensibility. This is the 2008 version with Hattie Morahan as Elinor, Charity Wakefield as Marianne, Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) as Edward Ferrars, David Morrissey as Colonel Brandon, and Dominic Cooper as Willoughby.

First of all let me say, I liked the movie version with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant. Ms. Thompson is a brilliant, versatile actress, but she seemed so much older than the character in the book—it bothered me. Sense and Sensibility is high on my list of forever stories. One of those I can read and reread. I love the rich story line and character development. In the original book the lead character, Elinor, is nineteen. Her sister Marianne is a couple of years younger.

So, when I found the BBC version listed on Hulu, I clicked it right away. Even though I was not familiar with either of the ladies on the cover, I was quickly captured by the cinematography. I knew the story well enough to expect wild coastal beauty when they arrived at their cottage, and this film delivered. The characters are well developed, warm, and likeable (except for the ones who are cold and unlikeable). That would be the hoity-toity sister-in-law, Mrs. John Dashwood.

There’s more detail regarding Sir John Middleton’s family (Mrs. Henry Dashwood’s cousin who owns the cottage). Some of this was left out of the movie version, but they have more time to deal with it in a miniseries.

Overall, I enjoyed this version enough that I watched it a second time. I couldn’t help comparing it to the movie version. One thing that stood out in the movie was the music. It was grand and glorious throughout. The miniseries didn’t place so much emphasis on the score, but it was still haunting and beautiful at times. I love the sound of the crashing waves.

In Austen’s original book, this story is somewhat dark, as the author explores the deep emotional crises this family endures. Being the  most sensitive, Marianne has difficulty coping. She’s more deeply involved, so suffers greatly and outwardly. Colonel Brandon, by far the most romantic character, is probably the only one who can control the girl, though nearly twice her age. The age gap was not as much of a consideration back then as it is now.  🙂

I recommend this miniseries if you have access to it, especially if you’re an Austen fan. It’s very well written, acted, and ends on a positive note. If you’ve never read the book, you’ll still enjoy the story.

In my opinion, there’s no better way to develop the craft of fiction writing than to read, and to watch really good fiction. It’s inspiring! What makes a story come alive? What do you love most of all about a work of fiction?

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Hello, Thursday Morning, and will return again next week. Not sure what I’ll tackle next. See you soon!

Click to Tweet: Hello Thursday Morning! Time for another movie review – BBC’s 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility. Loved it!

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.



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