31 January 2013

Please welcome Jessie Andersen today

Please welcome fellow Astraea press author Jessie Andersen today.
About the Author
Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band.

You can find information about her books at jandersenbooks.com, and you can follow her blogs at Therabidwriter.blogspot (Personal blog) 
and Readbetweenthelinesbookclub.blogspot.com (Book blog).
You can also follow her on Twitter at
Hi Jessie, welcome to The Heart of Romance. Please will you tell us what influenced you to write this particlar book?

The Influence of At What Cost.

               I was teaching middle school at the time, reading everything the kids were reading so I could talk to them about the books they loved. I kept thinking, “I could do this. I could write like this.” So I started praying about it. The conversation went something like this:

               Me: Hey, God, if you want me to write a book, you need to tell me what to write about.

               God: Abortion.

               Me: Ummmmm, yeah, I don’t think so. That’s a little too heavy for me, don’t you think?

               God: Neh, that’s what I want you to write about. Abortion.

               Me: No offense, but I really don’t think that’s a good idea. I don’t have any experience with that.      I don’t know enough about it. Let’s pick something else.

               God: Nope, you’re going to write about abortion.

               Me: You sure?

               God: Yep. Get to it.

               Me: (sheepishly) Okay.

When will I ever learn that arguing with God is futile? Anyway, I went to it, but after about three chapters I got stuck. I needed more information, more knowledge about what it was really like. That’s when I contacted the Women’s Services of Jamestown, NY. The director hooked me up with several post-abortive women I could interview. So, I set a few up and listened to their stories. I also began talking about my book. I can’t tell you how many women would come to me and say, “I hear you’re writing a book; can I tell you my story?” And I’d listen. Bits and pieces of all of those stories are in AWC. It’s not one person’s story but several people’s story.

This topic has always been one that tugged at my heartstrings even way back in high school. I can remember doing debates in government class and adamantly arguing the topic. I think God places a call on each of our lives. It’s our job to discover what it is. I’ve always loved writing, but never thought anything of it until He started laying it on my heart again. Now, when I look back over the course of my life, I can see how He placed writing on my heart over and over. From the third grade ‘about me’ packet where I said I wanted to be famous for writing a book, to camp when I was 12 and said my life goal was to publish a book, to short story contests in high school. It’s always been there. If only I’d have recognized it sooner. But now I know.

So, that’s basically it. I felt God was calling me to write a book and he handed it to me on a platter, but only once I decided I’d be obedient.

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

You can find At What Cost at -


28 January 2013

Tuesday's Tale ~ Light

Today I am continuing on from lst week's Tuesday's Tale using the prompt Light

“Are you hurt?” The voice came from somewhere far away, and Jim struggled to focus on the source. A figure in front of him swam into view.

“Not physically,” he uttered in a voice devoid of emotion. Some part of his brain registered he’d gone from hope to shock to fury and now blessed numbness, and heard it in his voice.

“Shock.” The voice confirmed his own assessment and hands on his shoulders encouraged him to move.  He didn’t want to leave them.  Couldn’t.  He couldn’t leave his girlfriend and brother  to the fate of strangers.

Whatever his own feelings he found he couldn’t desert them even when they were beyond knowing or caring.

He fought the hands offering comfort.  Pushed them away and turned back to the wreck.  When more hands tried to drag him away he started screaming. “I know them.  I know them.  I can’t leave them.”

The dragging and pulling stopped. The hands still gripped his arms, but nno longer tried to urge him away from the scene.  Someone called out and the officer, the one who’d arrived first, Jim noted ran up to where he and the men now supporting him stood.

“What’s the problem?” the officer asked.

“He says he knows them.”  The man on his right spoke, his voice rough, almost accusatory to Jim’s ears.

“You never said anything when I arrived.” The officer turned his full attention on Jim.

“I didn’t want to believe it.” The truth slipped between his teeth before Jim could edit it.  The box in his pocket twisted in his fingers.  Over and over it tumbled.  He wanted to drag it out and hurl it, but his fingers refused to let go, or so it seemed.

With the officer and the two men still supporting him, Jim moved to the kerbside.

“Can you identify the occupants of the car?”

“Jenny… Jennifer Litchfield, my girlfriend, and my brother Luke Stanway.”

A beat of silence followed Jim’s revelation before the officer spoke again. “Did you know who had passed you before the accident?”

Jim nodded, because he had.  Hadn’t wanted to admit it to himself when he saw them fly by; heard their laughter wafting back to him of the warm air.  Hadn’t wanted to admit, hadn’t had time to admit, he had the answer to the question that had been puzzling for so many weeks.

“Do you know where they were going?”

Jim shook his head.  Truth could only go so far, and in truth he didn’t know their destination.  He could guess, but that wasn’t knowing.

“Did you know…” The officer’s voice disappeared beneath embarrassment.


“Was there…”

“Officer…” The man to Jim’s left interrupted. “This man is in shock, this is neither the time nor the place for such questions.”

When the officer nodded the procession of four made their slow way to the waiting ambulance on the other side of the trailer.

From out of nowhere the image of the black cat streaking across the road in front of his car surfaced. It would seem the direction from which the animal came had been the harbinger of bad luck, he thought, as the surrounding light disappeared and gave himself up to the darkness that suddenly engulfed him.
Visit Tuesday's Tale to read more from several more gifted writers

26 January 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample

I thought I'd share a little bit more from my first Valentine novella, The Wrong Target, with you this week.

“Who does the man think he is, swanning into my office as if he owned the place?” Tina stared at her reflection in the washroom mirror. Shoulder-length chestnut-brown hair snuggled into the curve of her neck.  Her wide, gloss-covered lips curved into a smile more often than not. Her sloping shoulders resisted all her attempts to carry her bag. Long, tapered fingers ended in polished nails that owed nothing to varnish. With a  huff she moved away from the mirror. As if a man like Ryan Thomas would see her as a desirable female, and why, she asked herself, did she even give the thought a moment’s consideration? To him, she was the woman causing him grief and inconvenience, despite her justification.

“He waltzes into my office regardless, demands his daughter’s reinstatement, and to top it off, his blasted arrow attacks me.”

“Talking to yourself again?” Helen’s reflection grinned over her shoulder. “And why is that arrow
sticking out of your desk like a contender for a popular cider TV advertisement?”

"We tried pulling it out, but it wouldn’t budge. Talk about King Arthur’s sword! We could use Merlin’s help to remove it.” No need to describe Ryan Thomas’s chagrin when he, too, failed to free the arrow.
Visit Sweet Saturday Sample to read more gifted authors' offerings.

25 January 2013

Please welcome fellow Astraea Press author, Nell Dixon

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog to talk about my latest release from Astraea Press. Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! will be my 21st title release! So a kind of coming of age.
For those who haven’t met me before my name is Nell Dixon and I’m a UK author based in the Black Country, a small region which is more or less dab bang in the middle of the UK. I write for a number of publishers in the US and the UK and have been fortunate enough to twice win the UK’s prestigious romance prize for category length fiction. I’m the only person to have won twice.
Lights, Camera, Poltergeist! Is set in Scotland, and yes there is a man in a kilt in the story, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise!
Here’s the blurb: Things don’t just go bump in the night, sometimes they throw tea cups!
As the presenter for Ghost Uk, the leading TV show investigating paranormal activity, Fae thought she’d seen it all. Until a Valentine’s Eve live show from Scotland’s Fingelly Manor upsets both her preconceptions and her love life.
And a wee taster!
          Fae snuggled down deeper into the chunky knitted roll neck of her sweater and wished she could shake off the eerie sensations. She puffed out a sigh and watched her breath condense in the air before her face. It wasn’t only the room that was chilly. The relationship between herself and John had taken on a distinctly frosty tinge lately too.
She strolled across the room to the huge diamond leaded window that would have filled the room with light if it hadn’t been shrouded in dust and some dark red velvet drapes that had seen better days. Out in the corridor the electricians and tech staff were hammering and cursing the ancient electrical wiring.
The afternoon light had already started to fade and fingers of frost were beginning to form at the corners of the window. A flicker of movement near the trees on the far side of the lawn caught her attention and she leaned forward, almost bumping her nose against the glass in her quest to see what it was.
Whatever or whoever she thought she’d seen had vanished and she relaxed back on her heels. Working as a presenter on Ghost UK had made her jumpy. Every dark corner now held the possibility of something spooky. In such a deserted spot it was unlikely that anyone would be outside in the grounds, especially in this freezing weather.
“Fae, darling, there you are!”
She turned around to see her producer, Tim, sweeping towards her. She pasted a fake smile on her lips when she saw he was accompanied by the owner of the house, Giles McGinty, Laird of Fingelly. She’d already met Giles when she’d arrived and her impressions hadn’t been favourable.
“Giles has invited us all to dinner tonight before we start filming. Isn’t that marvellous?” Tim raised his eyebrows at her.
“That’s very kind.” Fae was quick enough to pick up the signal.
Giles smiled at her, his gaze lingering just a fraction of a second too long on her bust before raising his gaze to her face. “The pleasure is all mine. I’m looking forward to getting to know you all better before the filming.”
She suppressed a shudder as his dark eyes locked on her face. “John and I will look forward to it.”

© Nell Dixon 2013
My Web: http://www.nelldixon.comRomance with Heart
You can get a copy of Lights, Camera, Poltergeist from all good etailers, including:
Amazon      Amazon UK   
Why not read more about Fae in Cue Me In? Haunted happenings in a Welsh Castle. http://www.amazon.com/Cue-Me-In-ebook/dp/B005XSEQJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357038762&sr=8-1&keywords=cue+me+in 
Thanks for coming by and sharing a bit about your new book, Nell and congratulations on book #21!
[I have read, and thoroughly enjoyed this book :-)] Sherry


22 January 2013

Tuesday's Tales - Package

This week's Tuesday's Tale carries on from the first Tale of the year. I thought it was going to be a romance, but it's taken a turn in the opposite direction and turned into more of a horror story.
He braked to a halt, hauled in a deep breath and eased out of his car. Shocked had drained all colour from the farmer’s face where he stood leaning against the huge back wheel of the tractor. Another man was puking at the curb-side and another, his shoulders heaving, stood with his hands clamped to what had been an open front window
Jim didn’t want to know, and couldn’t fight the urge, the gut instinct, that told him he needed to know. Without conscious though he dug out his mobile and dialled 999.  He doubted anyone else had, unless smeone who'd stayed in one of the cars queuing up on the other side of the pile-up had done so. With an unreal sense of detachment enveloping him, Jim looked back, noted several cars had pulled up behind his own vehicle and that no one had attempted to get out. 
He couldn’t blame them. They, unlike himself, would have no reason. They hadn’t seen the car shoot past him, hadn’t recognised it, didn’t know the female driver.
Swallowing against the bile threatening to choke him, Jim closed the distance and looked into the wrecked car.  The passenger had ducked, but not far enough.  And the driver— Well Jim could only pray she hadn’t had time to know what was coming before the car hit the trailer.
Unable to do anything for the people in the car, he grasped the man, still gripping the door, by the arm and pulled him away to the side of the road. Not sure he would fall down, Jim pushed him down to sit on the damp grass. He reckoned a wet arse would be the least of the man’s worries right now. The other, having recovered, Jim suggested he watch out for the rescue services, and went back to see what he could do for the tractor driver.
“There was nothing I could do,” he said in a broken voice. “They came out of nowhere.” He looked up andshook his head.  “And the speed, the idiot was driving like a maniac.”
He cast a glance at the shattered vehicle.  “If they’d survived I’d have taken a shotgun to them.”
Jim recognised shock when he heard  it, and fought to control and beat back his own.
He’d known.  Hadn’t he just been contemplating the situation?  Hadn’t he been trying to work out the defining moment when jenny started to move away from him?  Hadn’t he been hoping that his engagement ring would mend whatever was between them?
He thought of the package still sitting on the seat in his car.  A matching necklace to go with his ring. Emeralds, deep and sparkling when he’d looked at them in the shop; he looked at his watch. Ninety minutes ago.
Ninety minutes ago, he’d hoped to put his world right and start a new life with the woman he loved and now…
He looked at the car, and at the torn and jagged, sheared off roof lying yards behind the vehicle and only inches in front of where he’d pulled up.
The farmer’s retching pulled Jim out of his thoughts, out of his own confusion and rising anger.  He knew the passenger in the car, and fought against the double betrayal and total waste of two lives.
He loved Jen, Loved her more than anything else in the world and had wanted her happiness.  Yes he’d wanted to be the one to give it to her, but if they’d only come to him, he’d have stepped away.  Stepped back.  She would still have been alive, as would his twin brother.
The sound of approaching sirens cut through his cauldron of rising emotions, and he looked into the bewildered eyes of the farmer.
“It wasn’t your fault.” Resting his hand on the man’s shoulder his gripped hard, not sure who he was trying to reassure, himself or the other man.
Movement on the other side of the trailer blocking the road caught his attention and Jim watched the two uniformed men climb over the linkage between tractor and trailor to join them.
Another siren heralded the arrival of an ambulance. Two figures jumped out and ran towards them.  Even for where he stood, Jim saw the evaluating the situation, and with almost silent communication, divide up the tasks between them, while one was talking on his phone, Jim presumed, for backup.
“Best move away sir,” the first policeman to join them said after once glance at the carnage.  “Apart from the farmer.” The second officer looked round do you know if there were any other witnesses?”
“Yes and no,” Jim said, noted the tightening of the speaker’s mouth, and raised his hand palm out.  “The car passed me seconds before… before… before the impact.”He didn’t miss the officer’s glance at the bend in the road or the vehicles disappearing from view behind his own car.
“Do I understand the driver of the…” The officer gestured towards the remains of the sports car.  “Are you saying the driver passed you on a blind bend?”
What could he say?  Unable to get any words passed his now frozen vocal cords Jim nodded. Rage ripped through hi sharp as a sword. Neither of them deserved to be shielded from their own stupidity. They may not have survived, but why should he, the living victim of their betrayal shield them from the truth of their own stupid and senseless actions?
“Yes.”  Just one word. And he felt a traitor and yet still rocked by betrayal.
A medic came up and wrapped a blanket round his shoulders. Automatically he drew it round himself. The slight warmth it offered highlighted the cold that had seeped right into his bones.  One part of his brain acknowledged it was reaction; shock. The other accepted a greater part of it was due to the rage still coursing through him and the need to remain and sound rational while in the company of the people here to help those involved.
He dug his free hand into his pocket and touched the small square box there.
So many dreams encompassed there, but never had he anticipated they would include shattered dreams. 
For more offering from gifted author's hop over to Tuesday's Tales.

19 January 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample

Sweet Saturday Samples strikes again :-) Thank you to everyone who comes by, I appreciate your suppport and comments.

As retailers gear up for another Valentine's Day I thought I'd share the original, sadly discarded, opening to my first Valentine novella, The Wrong Target.

Every so often there are days that start badly, and continue to go on downhill, and today I’m having one of those days. 

I often think humans assume Cupid’s life is one big laugh.  Well, I’m here to tell everyone it’s not.  And if I get it wrong this time, ‘They’, as in ‘the Powers that Be’ have threatened to remove my wings.

My boss instructed me to target this guy Sam Brown. “And make sure you don’t screw-up this time,” he said.

Of course, I blame Murphy’s Law for missing my target last year. They weren’t too pleased with the outcome.  The guy married the wrong woman. So you see, I had to get it right this time. 

 Until last year I used my own discretion, unfortunately because of my error, this year’s Valentine orders came down from Above. I’m Cupid, you see, and I’m supposed to shoot arrows at the good folk down on Earth so people will find their true love. But, as I said, today day started out bad and went downhill faster than an avalanche.

“You are to target Ms. Blackberry. I mean, come on, we all know a Blackberry is a kind of phone-thingy humans can’t do without these days, don’t we?  So I asked. after all, I don’t want to go targeting the wrong person, do I?

“This Ms. Blackberry, where do I find her?”  Well, you can imagine my surprise when They told me she’d be in school. For a moment I couldn’t help wondering whether we were targeting children this year.

“No, she’s the headmistress at this elite co-ed school in the south of England.”

I grinned. Sitting at her desk all day, she’d be an easy target.

“And her soul-mate?”  I asked.

“Sam Brown, the English teacher.”

I mean, I had my bow all set up, the arrow sighted on Sam’s heart, and what happens? This stranger storms into the Blackberry’s office and walks right in front of Sam just as I let my arrow fly… and I hit the wrong target… again.

The guy was as mad as a hornet before my arrow hit, but boy, did he blow right after. I thought he’d take off into the stratosphere.

You can imagine the thought of returning home didn’t appeal to me, but hanging around that office, as I’m meant to, appealed even less to me. Believe me, I skedaddled as fast as my tiny wings would carry me. They would have my hide anyway!

So you see, against all the rules, I didn’t hang around to find out what happened. Perhaps one day, if I ever meet one of you, someone can tell me.


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15 January 2013

Tuesday's Tales - Picture Prompt

Here is the picture for this week's Tuesday's Tales Prompt
My offering this week is a short snippet from a new WIP in a series of short stories.
~ ~ ~ ~

Like living frames, the pines flanked the view of the distant mountains from her window. Three years ago she’d crossed those snow-capped mountains and bought this former royal hunting lodge, and still didn’t know when cowardice or courage had driven her away from everything she held dear, and everything she’d lost.

She looked down at the horseshoe in her hand. No trace of the rust remained, now it caught a feeble ray of sunshine and glowed.

What a difference a day made! First when she lost her husband and son in a motorway pile-up and now the horseshoe that wasn’t there one moment and was the next.  How had she missed it sitting there on that shelf?  She used it regularly. And why, she pondered now, had she felt compelled to bring it straight inside and clean it up?

She’d expected sturdy grey metal and discovered bright shiny, almost unmarked silver instead. No one, not even a former king would have his horses shod with silver shoes.  The metal wasn’t enduring enough, and yet, this horse-shoe was full-sized.

Perhaps that last glass of celebratory wine had been one too many to toast the New Year? Otherwise why did she imagine the silver horse-shoe pulsed in her hand?

The sound of footsteps behind her spun her round where she stood and stole the breath from her lungs.

The man standing in front of her looked dangerous, tall, wide-shouldered and with a thatch of thick shaggy hair as golden as a sun in full summer.

“What are you doing here?”

His voice, so deep she felt the shock waves hit her heart, demanded answers.  His eyes, a violet so deep, reminded her of Scottish heather in full bloom, held disdain.

“I live here,” she said, pulling her shoulders back, “and you’re trespassing.”

Thanks you for reading another snippet this week, and please hop on over to read everyone's offering for this weeks Tuesday's Tales prompt

14 January 2013

Gerald Costlow's Crazy Jack

Crazy Jack is the first book-length story in the Appalachia supernatural romance series, with more to come this summer.

In this tale we are introduced to Crazy Jack, a local character who is…well,
. He hears voices in his head that he claims are animal spirits that can even take over his body. He’s in love with Elizabeth, a young Sherritt witch living way back on the ridge, struggling to make ends meet while trying to raise her orphaned nephew. She loves him in return, but has real doubts about the wisdom of marrying someone like Jack.

Then Crazy Jack is accused of murder and becomes a hunted man, both by the sheriff who wants him in jail and the murdered man’s kin who just want him dead. Elizabeth believes he is innocent and must call upon the powers of her Sherritt blood and get help from her own kin before the mountain erupts into a clan feud. And of course, Crazy Jack is not going to take being framed for murder lying down.

Set in the world of
A Distant Call and Deal with the Devil, this new book-length story explores the Appalachia world of our lovers and heroes, revisits old friends and introduces new ones while giving you an exciting love story full of action and adventure. Secrets hinted at in the previous stories are revealed, some questions answered (such as how the Sherritt witches came to be living in that mountain holler in the first place) and new secrets hinted at. While part of a larger tapestry with much still to be written, Crazy Jack
stands on its own with no problem following the story and characters.


Indian Territory, 1824
The angel whistled as he strolled into the stables connected to the smithy. He patted his mule on the neck before walking over to get the saddle and blanket. It was a fine day for riding.
"Going somewhere in a hurry, Sabrathan?" said a melodious voice behind him.
The angel whipped around at the sound of his true name, but he had already recognized the voice. "Heading for church, actually," he replied. "Why don't you join me? You'll like what I'm doing with a choir. It's nothing like our Heavenly Host, of course, but still beautiful in a primitive way."
Zaphiel was sitting on a barrel, arms folded, looking relaxed, like he'd just been traveling through the neighborhood and stopped by for a friendly visit. He hadn't even bothered to change out of the standard tunic and sandals, so this was a private chat. Sabrathan hoped that would remain the case.
"You're doing more than leading the Sunday service, aren't you?" Zaphiel asked. "Last time I checked, you were a blacksmith helping these people make peace with the local tribes. Seems you're the doctor, now."
Oh, oh. "Well, their regular doctor died a few years ago and the settlement had two blacksmiths, so…" Sabrathan looked down and scuffed some mule droppings off the bottom of his boot. "I started setting broken bones and helping out with a few deliveries, that sort of thing."
"It's a tough life, carving a home out of the wilderness. Death comes easy and often. How many people have died while under your care?"
Sabrathan decided not to delay the inevitable. "All right, I admit it! None of them, if you really want to know. I give them some extra help. What am I supposed to do, watch them die when I have the power to heal? They're good people. They're my friends!"
Zaphiel sighed and looked out at the little collection of cabins. "You're not God. It's not up to you, to decide who lives and dies. You're not the first guardian angel to cross the line and start making with the miracles. You think just this once and then just one moreand before long, it's every time one of them gets into trouble."
Title: Crazy Jack
Author: Gerald Costlow
Publisher: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Historical
Heat Level: Sweet
Length: 120 pages
Rating: 4
Crazy Jack by Gerald Costlow packs a great deal of story into 120 pages.
Falsely accused of murder Jack has to run for cover, but not before he stops to warn Elizabeth, the woman he loves of the turn of events and why he won’t be around for a while.
While Elizabeth returns Jack’s love she has serious reservations about his ability to communicate with animal spirits. And herein lies my one niggle with this book.
Elizabeth is a member of the Sherritt family of witches, so I found it hard to understand her difficulty to accept that her love and lover can ‘talk to the animals’. And now that my one little nit is out of the way, let me go on to tell you what makes this story such a great read.
Excellent writing. Costlow has a fluent writing style that pulls his readers into the moment, the events, setting and emotions of his characters. He has the ability to have you thoroughly disliking the bad guys with very little persuasion. He creates frustrations with the characters that act like real human beings in life. Those who let their doubts rule them, those that are biased and prejudiced against those deemed to be witches, even those people have done nothing to harm the villagers. And of course, to fall in love with Elizabeth and Jack.
Ignorance and arrogance are partnered in Mick as he weaves his web of lies and deceit and draws in his mates, and even his powerful and influential father, to shift the blame when the end result of a card game goes bad.
While there is plenty of evil, there is an abundance of warmth and loving relationships from Elizabeth’s family, until that is, she discovers her nephew is a warlock; a discovery could lead to his destruction.
Sandwiched between the murderous hunt for Crazy Jack and trying to protect her nephew from the rest of her family Elizabeth becomes a victim of circumstances.
The importance of trust, of family, and the consequence when these things are forgotten or ignored, runs through Crazy Jack’s story. And it is how Costlow weaves all these elements together that held my attention.
This is a story that encompasses evil, goodness, and beliefs beyond the everyday and yet is charming, warm and a highly satisfying read.
Now available in eBook or paperback at a low price from your favorite online bookstores.

Bio: Gerald Costlow lives in Michigan with his wife and a house full of critters. His first novel, The Weaving, and a pair of novellas titled A Plethory of Powers were published in 2010 to great reviews. His short stories have appeared in a dozen or so anthologies and magazines over the years.

Leave a comment - including your email addy- and I'll pick a handful of visitors to send free ebook versions of my book to.

To learn more about the previous stories in the Appalachia supernatural romance series published by Rebecca J Vickery, go to http://onceuponaword1.blogspot.com/p/gerald-costlow.html


12 January 2013

Sweet Saturday Sample Jan 12th '13

Welcome back to Sweet Saturday Samples. I am working on a new project of a series short stories based on a book I received as a Christmas present, and I'm having great fun with it.

Today's sample is a very short story that still needs a little tweeking, so please bear with me, thanks :-)

“Do not talk such nonsense, my dear.” Mrs. Stichwell frowned at her husband.  “Our Dorothy is the most beautiful girl in the county.  It only needs but this new tenant at Rosewell Manor to take one look at her to be smitten.”

“If that is so, Mrs. Stichwell, pray tell me, why has Dorothy not snared young Tommy Launceton, or the Honerable William Smythe?”  Without waiting for his wife’s reply Mr Stichwell made himself comfortable in his favourite chair by the library fire.

“Do not mention that odious boy’s name to me.” Regardless of her wide skirts so close to the open fire, the flames licking greedily  at the sparking logs, the lady came up to stand in front of her husband.  “Tommy Launceton gave her the cut at the assembly last month, and you can be sure everyone—and I do mean everyone...” Her voice rose to a wail. “Everyone noticed. As for the vicar’s daughter, I thought her laughter most cruel. And—” she added. “I would not have believed such behaviour from her.”

“And why do you suppose Dorothy was treated so?  She must have done something.”

“Not at all.” Mrs. Stichwell bristled.  “It wasn’t her fault that she spilled her drink all over Mr. Launceton.  I swear that someone nudged her arm.”

“That is hardly reason enough for such slights, if indeed, Dorothy is being ignored.”

Mr. Stichwell loved his eldest daughter, but acknowledged she could be wilful at times, and if he remembered the altercation between mother and daughter less than an hour before the assembly in question.  Dorothy had refused point blank to try and catch Tommy Launceston’s eye.  When they’d returned home earlier than usual he’d known something untoward must have happened, and sighed.

Anyone could see young Tommy had feelings for his daughter, but she’d set out to ignore him and so he’d turned to someone else, and who could blame him? Perhaps he’d spent too much time instilling pride into his children.  “If you’re going to do something,” he’d always told them, “do it with pride.”

He hadn’t intended for any of them to consider themselves a cut above their neighbours, and yet… Until a month ago, Dorothy and Tommy, along with their particular friends did everything together.  Parties, riding, dancing and a lot more, he assumed that kept the party of friends closely connected down the years.

With a sigh he accepted he’d probably never discover the truth beneath the split of the couple the whole county had assumed would wed before the year was out.  He liked young Tommy, would have like to have him as a son in law. He had a gentle yet firm way with his daughter which normally controlled Dorothy’s more wayward tendencies.

Pride, it seemed, had certainly come before his daughter’s fall from grace.