Archive | May 2015

Breaking Promises meets The Empire Strikes Back

I’ve set the final release date for Breaking Promises (which is two weeks earlier than planned) on  May 28, 2015.

So, I feel this is a post I simply MUST make. I feel I should offer all my readers a fair warning.

flag-160258__180So, the red flags are up.

I have a dart  board attached to my chest.

I am ready to run if I need to. (After all, I have to write that third book.)

Here it goes —-

Breaking Promises does NOT have a happy ending.

There, I said it.

Whew!

As I’ve stated in reviews before, authors and readers enter into a contract when 1) the author writes and publishes the book, and 2) the reader picks it up and spends their time reading. The understood result is that the reader will have a great ride while reading but, despite whatever troubles the hero or heroine have along the way, a “happily-ever-after” will be achieved at the end.

Anything less is unsatisfactory.

The exception, of course, are trilogies. Especially, gosh darn it, that second book.

And truthfully, nothing was as disheartecharacter-663357_640ning as watching that spaceship with Luke, his arm around Leia, all of us, at least, knowing she was his sister, not knowing what Hans Solo’s fate would be, oh, I might cry thinking of it again. (I know – I am showing my age – that might make me cry, too.)

And yet, I, along with everyone else, made darn sure I saw that third movie. And the payoff? It was fabulous!

So, back to my warning.  Breaking Promises does NOT end well.

Present wisdom is that each book in a trilogy should be a stand-alone, and each should end on its own merit. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. For example, if you are Suzanne Collins, you can choose to end Catching Fire on a cliffhanger. No one cares, and plenty of people read the third book. I, of course, am not Suzanne Collins. I have, however, crafted a story that just cannot be told in three “take it or leave it” chunks. I have a story in my head and the best place to end book two is at a not particularly fun place in the story, especially since no one reads books that are now 900 pages long. (What happened to John Jakes and Anya Seton anyway?)

Please keep in mind, also, that Breaking Promises is not a cliffhanger. The characters have made choices. They are just not choices leading to their happily-ever-after. Not yet, anyhow.

Once all three books are finished, readers can move from one book to the next. I realize that does not help you current readers. I will say, I am making great strides toward getting the 3rd book finished, so you should not have a long wait. If you are wondering whether you should read it now or wait – catch one of my beta readers and ask them. They are pretty honest gals. I am sure they will tell you.

My plan is to be in rewrites by August with a publication date of late fall, early winter – definitely BEFORE the end of the year. I can promise all my readers I am working hard to get it finished, and there is a great chance it will be finished long before then. (After all, I finished Breaking Promises ahead of schedule and with a thousand other things going on at the time as well.)womanreadingundertree

After all, I remember how hard that wait was for The Return of the Jedi. I know no one wishes to wait THAT long for my third book.

Surely, I can be quicker than George Lucas.

And I am working hard to ensure the payoff is nothing less than stellar.

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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Originally published May 2014

   The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world –

baby-729365_640What the quote above fails to state is that the hand that rocks the cradle is one of constant self-sacrifice. Not only do mothers sacrifice their bodies to bring children into the world, but they lose THEIR time, THEIR interests, and have to broaden THEIR goals and THEIR world to include their children. A woman’s life is never the same once she has children, and for most of us our life is divided in half, our life before children and our life after children.

It could be said that Keeping Secrets is a story of two mothers – Mary McKechnie and Abigail Cayle – both of whom sacrifice their lives in different ways for their families.coverksredblue-page-0 (3)

When the book opens, widow Mary McKechnie is in danger of losing her five daughters: Sarah, twins Annie and Katie, Rebecca, and Martha. Her deceased husband, in his will, gave Mary control of the property, but he named her older brother, Lawrence Langdon, as the girls’ guardian. Lawrence has insisted that Mary work only for members of the Society of Friends so the girls won’t be influenced by “outsiders.” If she works for outsiders, even disorderly walkers like Amon Cayle, he insists he will take the girls and place them into indentured servitude. Unable to get enough work, and after a series of disastrous events, Mary takes enormous risks  and violates her brother’s mandate in order to keep her girls with her.

Kitchen fires in colonial America weren’t surprising since almost all food was prepared in them and they were the only source of heat and warmth. Besides death in childbirth, fires were the next most common way for women to die. (Some historians argue more died in fires than in childbirth.) Abigail Cayle offers the last sacrifice of her life as the fire sweeps through the kitchen.  When the book opens, her husband and children are still dealing with her death, her sacrifice, and the aftermath of the fire that nearly took their eldest son David’s life as well. Abigail’s death is as influential in the lives of her family as her life, and it is through both her life and her death that Amon and David begin to heal and to forgive themselves.

The essence of motherhood hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. The act of creating a life for nine months in the womb, and the act of doing whatever necessary to preserve that life once it arrives is a natural imprint on a mother’s soul. Despite the passing of time, the call of motherhood is no different now than it was 250 years ago.

Mary McKechnie, having lost two boys before her girls came along, knows the precious blessing of life, and even though she is a working mother through circumstance, her girls come first. She’ll do anything to keep them together as a family.

wooden-cross-326569_640Abigail Cayle, too, knows the precious blessing of life, and her choice speaks to the highest sacrifice a mother can make. She’ll do anything to keep them alive.

I think a traditional woman’s role in the home is an exciting, awesome adventure.

I am apparently in the minority.

For some reason, authors do not into the rich history of women. There’s a lot of conflict and turmoil in families no matter what time period you live in. While the modern world spins a tale that women in the past had no control, I believe this is simply just not the case. Women had a great deal of control over their own worlds, and likely had more control over their men than women do today.  I think we, as a world culture, despite the women’s liberation movement, have lost sight of the true role of women and the influence they have when they are who they are – women.bpcoverhalf-page-0

In Breaking Promises, the torch of womanhood is passed to Annie McKechnie. She must come to terms with her desire to be a career woman and her growing desire to be a wife and mother, a vocation she has fought against since childhood. Both paths are fraught with difficulties, and both have rewards and sacrifices. She will have to make a choice in the end.

But for Annie, it is a choice that could cost her everything.