I got caught up in my ranting about politics and forgot to thank my Thursday Tourist, Anna K. Lanier. I loved reading about medicine in the 1800s and I learned some things I didn't know. So, Anna...the welcome mat is always out for you. On to new topics...or old ones as the case may be.
There's no doubt about it. I love writing historical romances...mostly with a western theme. I recently discovered that western only includes stories set west of the Mississippi, so Sparta Rose isn't really "western" although you could sure fool me.
I'm really excited that tomorrow will see the release and conclude a long, agonizing wait to see this manuscript become a novel. It's been through three publishing houses, a critique group, and two full editorial sessions, so I think there might be some merit to my work. *lol* I could probably write another book about this entire journey.
I hope you'll come and join me and other authors at Eternal Press with February releases. We'll celebrate the normal way...prizes, chatter, and lots of cyber champagne. I recently learned there was an article published in the Sparta Expositor about Sparta Rose, but I haven't yet been able to get my hands on a copy. I sure wish I knew what it said. :) I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, all day Saturday, Feburary 7th, we'll be celebrating at Eternal Press Readers
Here's a teaser from Ellie's story, Sparta Rose:
Ellie stared at the back door and clicked her tongue against the back of her teeth. Could the men jabber any longer?
A soft breeze caressed her face and gently rustled through the limbs of the huge oak, setting a few leaves adrift. It wouldn’t be long before the ground wore a colorful fall blanket.
Still fighting impatience, Ellie closed her eyes and tried to picture the seasonal beauty. She took a long, deep breath.
She jumped as an ear-piercing noise shattered the morning calm and sent wood splintering into the air. A gunshot! Her heart pounding, she dove to the ground and cowered. The bullet came way too close for comfort.
The morning dew sopped the front of her, and prickly rocks bit into her skin, but she dared not move for fear that a second shot might find its mark. The back porch door burst open and slammed shut. Thundering footfalls quivered the ground as the men ran from the house to investigate.
“Ellie?” Her father hollered. The timbre in his voice panicky. “Where are ya?”
She raised her head cautiously. “Over here, Pa.”
Ty reached her first and knelt next to her. “Some of you get out there and check the perimeter,” he yelled over his shoulder. “Make sure the shooter ain’t gonna take anymore pot shots.”
He turned his attention to Ellie. “Are ya hurt?”
She questioned the concern in his voice. With her gone, his future would be sealed. Pa already thought of him as a son.
Ty stood, switched his rifle to the opposite hand and extended his free one to Ellie. He helped her to her feet and continued to grasp her hand for far longer than necessary, in her opinion. She couldn’t figure him out.
At his cocky grin, she jerked away and took a deep, breath. Her stomach churned from fright, but something about his eyes calmed her. She rubbed the back of her neck and forced herself to look away. She hoped she sounded convincing as she squared her shoulders and turned back to face him.
“I’m fine…just a little shaken.”
Her mind screamed for her to keep her wits in front of him. Any trace of weakness was the last thing she wanted him to see. He needed to view her as his competition. A threat.
Ellie snatched the hat from her head and dusted the leaves and dirt clinging to the embarrassing dampness on the front of her clothing. Free from confinement, her long hair cascaded past her shoulders and hung in thick curls. Ty reached to pluck an adhering strand from her lip. Her heart fluttered. She brushed his hand aside and took a quick step backwards. What about his touch bothered her? Ellie lowered her eyes and swatted imaginary dust from her pants.
Ben Fountain stepped around Ty and grasped his daughter’s shoulders. His brow furrowed as he held her at arm’s length and inspected her. “Are ya certain you’re all right?”
She shrugged free and began tucking wayward tresses back beneath her hat. “I’m positive,” she said, hiding the last lock.
Whether scared or just plain mad, tears threatened to well, but she managed a sheepish grin. “Pa, whoever fired that shot either had a really bad aim, or just meant to scare me. It worked. I almost wet my pants.” Her voice creaked.
She wanted to bite her tongue for admitting fear. Instead, she forced a chuckle and struggled to dry her misting eyes. She wasn’t about to bawl in front of the men, especially Mr. High-and-Mighty, Ty Bishop. She refused to let him see her cry, and although her insides felt like jelly, she maintained a brave front.
For those of you who don't know, Sparta, Tennessee provided the inspiration behind this story. Beautiful White County is lush with mountains, trees and rivers such as the Caney Fork and Calf Killer, named after an Indian Chief. I hope to write more about this area, rich with history and legends, and especially the people who created some of the landmarks which are still standing today, like the Sparta Rock House, once a stage stop between Sparta and Crossville.