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.

Happy Release Day to Me!

Today’s the day! I’m so glad you’re here to celebrate with me!

Sutter’s Landing, Kinsman Redeemer series Book 2 is officially released.

Can you feel the excitement in the air? No? Just me?

NEW to my Facebook Author Page — a brand new signup for an occasional newsletter–you’ll find the tab on the lower left-hand side (near the bottom of the list). It says, “Newsletter Signup.” 🙂

Sneaky hint: there’s a link to sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this post. All the new signups will go into a drawing for a couple of books. Along with a print copy (or Kindle if winner prefers), the winner may choose one of several recent Write Integrity Press releases. That includes authors like Fay Lamb, Dena Netherton, Marji Laine, and Kristin Hogrefe. You can check the WIP website here for details about those books.

I’m also on Goodreads. If you’re on Goodreads too, please consider adding Sutter’s Landing to your “to-read” list. Once you’ve read the book, please take a few minutes to review it on Goodreads and Amazon. Don’t know what to say? Five stars and “I loved it!”– will be great, thanks!

Scenes from a story…

…Leaving some things out, of course. We don’t want any spoilers here. Now for a couple of excerpts from early reviews, and some flagrant boasting about the book. Yikes! The things you have to do in the name of marketing.

…The author’s depiction of life in the segregated south in the 1950s is both realistic and insightful. She paints an accurate picture of how hard the people in this cotton-centric community worked just to live, and she does it with respect, humility, honesty, and without the Hollywood sensationalism or stereotyping. She also shows their faith with gentle, non-threatening assurance. Sutter’s Landing is a sweet, inspirational, and very well written story where the characters come alive on the pages. Their dialogue so realistic you find yourself right there with them…

Elizabeth Noyes

Click here for the Book Review on Gail Johnson’s blog.

Click here for the Interview on the Writing Prompts blog.

Sutter’s Landing by Betty Owens is a great sequel to Annabelle’s Ruth. The story which I so enjoyed is continued with new characters and places that expand a small town that I feel I know so well already. The setting is realistic and the characters make the story alive, one you don’t want to put down. I highly recommend this lovely story…

Jennifer Hallmark

Click Here to Buy the Book

Newsletter Signup

For entry in drawing–see info above–Click Here: Love is the Legacy

[Entry deadline is July 15, 2017]

Comments welcome! I love to hear from my readers.

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Writing a Life

I have my cup of morning coffee. I’m ready to jump into my story and write the perfect ending. A happy ending, almost as satisfying as that first sip of freshly-brewed coffee. I ignore several pings on my phone, because I know they’re email pings. Not going to be pulled away from the story to check the email.

How could you say no to this face?

But then…I get that text ping. It feels like a needle prick that deftly separates my attention from the words on my computer screen. Who is texting me at this hour of the morning? It has to be work, or one of the kids is sick and needs a place to stay for the day. Grandma works at home.

The story is placed on hold, and my coffee is cold.

So how does an author deal with interruptions? When you’re in the “zone” and your writing seems inspired–it flows–it’s energetic. Then poof! Life happens.

Recently, I read a meme that pictured a harried female writer staring at the computer screen. The caption said something like, “If your house is neat and clean, you’ve probably never finished writing a book.”

The problem is real, especially if you’re a writer on a deadline. You’ll be burning the midnight oil. The family has to see to their own meals and laundry. Even when you’re with them, you’re not really with them. You’re constructing scenes in your head. Jotting notes on napkins, dictating conversations to your phone. Because we all know, you get the best conversations at times like those, amid the cacophony of a carload of quarreling children.

You finish writing your book. Time for a break, right? Ha ha ha! What a crazy dream. No. The work has only just begun. Now you have to get it ready. It has to be edited and sent here and there. Then the whole marketing scheme needs to be planned and put into motion, well ahead of the release. And then the release! You get a break, right?

No! Now the real work begins. You have to sell! Sell! Sell! You have to talk about yourself in third-person, like you’re the greatest thing since peanut butter.

But it’s still not over. Even after all the hoopla, now it’s time to move on. Write another one. Make it better than the one before. Dream up a brilliant story idea, preferably a series. Then it’s research, hunker down and write.

It never stops. Kind of like cleaning house. The work is never really done.


Allow me to introduce you to my latest effort:

Sutter’s Landing, Book 2 Kinsman Redeemer series

Any day now, you’ll be able to preorder it from Amazon.

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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.

 

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