Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy writing a romance novel inspired by a recent trip to Daufuskie Island with a friend who was giving a riding clinic at Haig Point Stables.
Two things struck me during my visit.
One was the peaceful atmosphere: the only permissible vehicles on the plantation are golf carts.
The other was that two ladies at the barn had met their Mr. Right on the small island. What were the odds? I wondered.
My writer’s brain shot into overdrive and on my return to the mainland – read Hilton Head Island 😉 – I began scribbling down a story woven around events on fictitious Sinclair Island.
My little isle has cars on it – I couldn’t quite wrap my head around a romance conducted in golf carts! Maybe in a later book.
The result is ‘Saving Prophecy,’ and the novel is going through its final edits before I announce a publishing date. I thought it was going to be a standalone book, but the plots for a second and third one wouldn’t leave me alone so I’ve already outlined them both.
‘Saving Prophecy’ will now be the first of the Sinclair Island Romance Series.
The first draft of Laura Harper’s first trilogy book is complete, and I shall resume edits as soon as I am certain of where the next two novels in the series are headed. Writing romance has been a fun interlude which is helping to keep things fresh when I go back to the Harper family.
Today I am revealing the cover, and as the launch date draws closer, I shall disclose a few details about the plot!
In January my son began a new job in Chicago with an accounting firm. Any of you reading this who are CPAs or know one, will be aware that the first three and a half months of each calendar year are CRAZY!
He is working 16 hour days and on Saturdays – and was seriously ill for ten weeks.
All of this meant that he was unable to take care of his dog, Fly. So his father and I kept her at home with us and our two English bulldogs. Every evening I would send him a short video of his Border Collie black Lab mix.
My son and Fly had never been apart for more than a few days, so it was very hard on him to be apart from the girl he rescued four years ago from the local shelter. Since that time he has put in a lot of hours teaching her to be well-behaved, and working with other canines to earn himself a great reputation as a dog trainer.
When Fly met our bulldogs for the first time they immediately fought. In less than 24 hours my son had them all peacefully living together.
The Border Collie mix was such a model of good behavior while she stayed with us that we threatened not to give her back!
But the day came when our son was ready to take her to the Windy City. Reluctantly we put her in the truck and drove to Toledo to meet up with her rightful owner.
When we arrived in the car park of the Toledo hotel, our son wanted Fly let loose a little way off, where she couldn’t see him. He whistled from behind a tree, and she rushed off to meet him! They’d been apart, our son reliably informed us, for a whole 71 days and it was enormously touching to see their joy at seeing each other again.
The three of us and Fly stayed the night at the hotel, then came the time for our son to take his dog back to Chicago and for our return to Maryland. We were so sad to say goodbye to the dog we’d been fostering that our son offered to send us nightly videos of her…!
A few hours later he sent us this photo from his apartment.
The two of them are having a ball, going for long walks in the numerous large parks that surround the apartment building. On Saturday, 17th March, I received this photo:
Here are a couple of photos of Gabriel, aka Little Gabe, after arriving in his new home:
Being welcomed by the daughter of the family who has adopted him.
Checking out his new BFF next door.
Meanwhile, back in my writer’s seat:
I’ve FINALLY finished the outline of “Riding Out the Wreckage” and can now start writing!
The process is somewhat hampered by the fact that my husband and I are in the middle of selling our house in Maryland and moving farther south. He wants Sarasota, Florida, yours truly would like to compromise by finding a house in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
While we duke it out we’ll be staying with my mother-in-law in Sarasota.
Before that my gelding, Cruz Bay will get his first full clip EVER in the whole of his 18 years. It will help him handle the heat once he steps off the truck at his new – and hopefully, temporary – boarding barn nearby.
He leaves for his two day trip, with overnight stay along the way, on Monday, 2nd April. I will fly down the next day to meet him but have to fly back out the next morning to finish getting the house emptied and ready for our closing on Friday, 6th April.
It is going to be very hard to leave my friends of 12 years and I’m not looking forward to it.
Writing “Wreckage” will become my refuge in those dark moments when I feel lost. My next post will probably be written in Florida. I’ll send photos of white egrets, alligators and other exotic fauna!
I leave you with the proforma cover of the last book of The Father Michael Trilogy.
Great news! The 15 hand Quarter Horse gelding we call Little Gabe (because I have another Gabe at home – my friend’s 18 hand Clydesdale Cross) is going to his new home on Sunday, 11th March.
The timing of his adoption is perfect. My house is under contract and we close on 6th April. Gabriel was going to have to go back to the rescue if he didn’t find a new family before then.
This move is very difficult for me, for many reasons that I shan’t go into here. But one of the tough things is that these three horses, who have happily lived together at my home for a long time, will have to go their separate ways.
Cruz is coming with me and Big Gabe’s owner is actively looking for a new barn for him. If you know of a place near Owings, Maryland where a big guy can be on pasture board, please let me know!
I leave you with two final photos of the two Gabes and Cruz Bay, and wish Gabriel all the best as he goes off to his new forever home!
Here Big Gabe and Little Gabe mirror each other in the field as they lay crashed out, while Cruz keeps watch from the ground.
I thought you might like an update on Noah, the skinny Thoroughbred gelding I fostered for a while from Freedom Hill Horse Rescue in Maryland.
If you recall, he was the inspiration for my latest book “Riding Out the Wager” together with Kevin Murphy, the veteran with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) who adopted him. Kevin will be starting an equine therapy program for veterans like himself and Noah will be one of the horses helping heal them.
Kevin was then redeployed to Iraq. It was a nerve-wracking time for his wife and children, as well as difficult for someone who had just beaten his debilitating disorder.
During that time I wrote the book, and Noah was getting used to his new home and pasture buddy, Bijou.
While her husband was overseas, his wife became concerned that the two horses were fighting instead of becoming fast friends. But it turned out that the two of them were just learning to play with each other!
It must have been an absolute age since Noah had fun with another horse or been comfortable enough around one to even start a game. In all likelihood he had never had this opportunity his entire life.
And now he has become a member of the family, as you can see from these photos. 🙂
When I first moved to the States from England in 2001, I was also in the process of returning to the Church after many years of anti-Catholicism.
The transition from Europe to the United States was a tough one, but that isn’t why I came back to my faith. It was actually from reading a book my mother-in-law gave me by Charles Stanley, about whether one could be certain of eternal salvation.
I like to joke about how a book given to me by a Baptist lady brought me back to Catholicism! But that’s a topic for another day.
The point is, here I was, finally reconciling with the faith of my youth. I was only taking baby steps, but at least making the effort to go to Mass every Sunday.
The Awesome Priest
We had a wonderful, huge church called St. Michael. I could be anonymous among the thousand or so parishioners, and no one talked to me or made any demands on me. I could come and go unnoticed. It was perfect.
Father John, the parish priest, was phenomenal with a wonderful sense of humor. His sermons were interesting and thought provoking, and I looked forward to hearing what he had to say every week.
I’d been listening to him for about three years when he suddenly said something that neither I nor any of the other parishioners wanted to hear.
Allegations of sexual abuse had been made against him and he was being suspended from his position.
Many victims were now coming forward after years of allowing themselves to be paid off in return for their silence. What a terrible time to return to the Church! I’d just got back into the routine of being Catholic again, and now this!
Of course none of us wanted to believe that our beloved pastor had done any of the awful things he was being accused of.
I wanted Father John to be innocent, regardless of what people might say.
I carefully listened to his repeated defense, that he had been a blameless priest for the past thirty years.
But, I noted, the allegations against him dated prior to thirty years ago. Could it be that he was guilty yet trying to make it sound as if he weren’t?
Shaken to the core, I needed an outlet for my frustration.
I began outlining the rough draft for a novel which tackled the sore topic of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and Brittle Diamonds was born.
While I was writing the book, Father John was found guilty of the charges against him and defrocked. It was a horrible shock but it made me even more determined to finish my book.
I set the novel in a fictional Cotswold village near where I used to live, in the west of the England. Doing so took me back home and away from the sad realities around me.
For we had got a new priest, whom we liked very much. But just as we were getting used to him, he made the unexpected announcement: “I am an alcoholic and am going into rehab.”
Boom! That was it. He was gone.
Were there no good priests left? It is an issue that I also bring up in the book.
“This is a well-written story. The characters are well-defined and believable. The details about the church and the priesthood were also well-written.”
“Great read. I was ‘hooked’ by page 3. Very interesting and complex character portrayals. Suspenseful until the very end. I could not have predicted the outcome. I was torn between wanting to finish the book so I could find out the ending, yet I didn’t want the literary experience to end. Days after completing the novel, I was still thinking about the characters and actually hoping for a sequel.”
Hi there! Here is where I’ll be sharing what prompts me to create the individuals in my books and the stories that unfold in their lives.
There will also be interviews with the characters. If you want to know more about anyone in particular or have questions you’d like me to ask them, please get in touch by filling out the short form on the About//Contact page.
I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy these posts!