Fall Colors, Scents and the Beauty of Autumn — Give Away

Howdy! 

I love Autumn.  Love the scents, the colors, the fall into slumber for trees, the shrubs, the grass, the ever-flowering plants (and the bears).  : )  It’s such a beautiful time of year, that it’s hard to stay inside, isn’t it?  Doesn’t it make you want to get out there and rake leaves and then, of course, jump into that pile?

I grew up in the Mid-West, where autumn was long and gorgeous with golden, yellow, orange and brown leaves and fresh scents.  But…I didn’t know/hadn’t experienced the absolute beauty of the East in the Fall of the year.  My goodness!  Orange, sugar maples, deep red-leaf maple trees,  Japanese maples, ash, oak and golden birch trees, just to name a few.  Takes one’s breath away.

But that’s only using one of our senses to describe this time of year.  How about the scents of falling leaves, the smell of smoke and wood-burning stoves, the cinnamon-ie smells of baked goods, apple cider, the knowledge that Halloween and dress-up is around the corner?  The feel of the earth beneath your feet as it, too, gears up for the winter ahead?  The cool fragrance?  The touch of tree bark and leaves, the sound of leaves falling?  What beauty.

One of my series’ — the Iroquois series — is set in the fall of the year.  When writing that series, I deliberately placed the story in the autumn because in my consideration there is no where in the world like autumn in New England, and the Iroquois Confederation was, of course in New York, deep in the area of the Adirondack Mountains.  A couple of those covers show off the beauty of New England. 

Those books are Black Eagle and Seneca Surrender.  And to the left here are those beautiful covers — one cover from Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and the other from Prairie Rose Publications.

 

 

 


Yes, there will be a give-away today and in celebration of this event, I’ll be giving away three different e-books (please refer to our Giveaway Guidelines).  One of those books will be BLACK EAGLE, since it is set in the Fall.  I’ll also be giving away the e-book, The Princess and the Wolf and the e-book, Brave Wolf and the Lady.   Those covers are off to the right here:  

Now because there is a scene in both BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER that describes the fall of that year, I thought I would leave you with an excerpt of that scene.

From the book, BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER

By Karen Kay, writing as Gen Bailey

 

White Thunder rested his weight upon his flintlock, looking west, toward the sky, where the sun was a low, half pinkish-orange orb on the horizon, announcing its departure from the day in glorious streaks of sunlight. Shafts of light, streaming from the clouds, beamed down to the earth, looking as though heaven itself smiled kindly upon the land. And what a magnificent land it was. The birch trees were yellow, the maples red, and the oaks announced their descent into a long winter’s sleep with browns, oranges and golds. The hills were alive with autumn hues, while the air was filled with the rich, musky scent of falling leaves.

It was a beautiful time of year, when the days were still warm, but the nights were cool. But it wasn’t the beauty that was set off before him that had drawn him toward the lake this day. He’d been hunting, when something had called to him upon the breeze.  Perhaps it was the rustle of the water that had announced that there was a subtle difference between the lake environment of yesterday and how it was today. But what?

Stepping quietly toward the lake, he squatted and set his musket onto his lap as he bent over to partake of a drink from the water’s cool depths.

Instantly he sat up, alert. From out the corner of his eye he caught the movement of something, and, glancing toward it, he recognized a piece of clothing. A woman’s skirt? Rising, he stepped toward it to get a better look at the thing, if only to satisfy his curiosity.

That’s when he saw her. She was a white woman, blonde-haired and slim.

Was she alive?

After hauling himself onto the rock where she lay, he stepped toward her and bent to look at her. He placed his fingers against her neck, feeling for a pulse. Her body was so very cold, and he was more than a little surprised when he felt the sure sign of life within her. The pulse was weak, but it was still there.

Turning her slightly, he was intrigued by her pale beauty. Of course, being Seneca and from the Ohio Valley, he’d had opportunity to witness the unusual skin color of the white people. But it wasn’t as familiar a sight to him as one might reckon.

Who was she? How had she gotten here? And what had happened to her?

Glancing in all directions, he took in the spectacular sights of the forest. Where did she belong? Who did she belong to?

There was nothing here to answer him, nothing to be seen, no other human presence to be felt. Nothing but the ever expansive rhythm of nature.

Using his right hand to brush her hair back from her face, he noted again how cold she was. However, he couldn’t help but be aware of how soft her skin was, as well. Putting his fingers against her nostrils, he felt the weak intake and outflow of breath. She was alive, barely.

Did he dare take her away from here? A white woman?

He hesitated and waited. He watched. Nyoh, he was the only one here, the only one to settle her fate.

That decided him. If she were to live through the night, he had best take care of her. She needed warmth, nourishment and a chance to heal.

Bending at the waist, he laid his hands over her torso. Depending on the type of injury he might discover, he would either nurse her here or take her to a more protected spot. He ran his fingers gently over each of her arms, including her hands and fingers. He felt for anything broken.

He could detect nothing. Widening his range, he sent his graze over the sides of her ribs, ignoring her ample breasts. Though his scrutiny was fast, it was thorough. Were there any bruises? Was anything broken? Amazingly, he found nothing.

He continued his search down each of her legs. Surely, there must be some clue that would tell of her recent history. Perhaps she had broken her neck, or back? With an easy touch, he tested the theory, sending his fingertips down over the muscles and bone structure of her neck. Nothing. Nothing substantial to indicate a problem that would claim her life. Turning her lightly onto her side, he felt along her spinal column. Several bones were out of place, but nothing was broken. Her body seemed intact.

He frowned. Again, he wondered what had happened to her.

Was it the spirits of the water?  The falls?  This was a dangerous area. Had the force of the rapids claimed another victim?

But why would she have been near the falls? A white woman in the woods alone? His jaw clenched. There had to be someone close by. Glancing up and looking around again, he realized that the puzzle of her appearance would not be solved here. His examination of her had at least established one fact. She was fit to travel.

Taking her into his arms, he was more than aware that she felt light in his grasp. He stepped down off the rock. Not knowing exactly how she had come to be here, he kept his attention attuned to the environment, listening for a sign of other life, anything to indicate the presence of another in the surroundings. She was a beautiful woman. Whomever she belonged to would miss her.

Again, he could sense nothing unusual in the environment around him—not anything that would give him any idea as to what had happened.

Enough. She required care.

Gathering her in his arms, he rushed toward the security of the woods. If someone were here watching, the trees and bushes offered sanctuary. At least there he could hide himself and her, as they fled deeper into the woods. But where would he take her? He hadn’t yet constructed his own shelter for the night, and it was already late in the day.

If his memory served him correctly, there was a cave nearby that might lend itself well for their purposes, provided that a bear or other animal hadn’t laid claim to it. It was a quiet place, if he remembered rightly, away from the all-seeing eyes of the forest. Plus, it was little known by his own and other tribes. Long ago, his grandfather had shown it to him, indicating it might serve well if ever he were in trouble.

As White Thunder hurried toward that spot, he gazed down into the pleasing features of the woman, realizing that his curiosity about her hadn’t abated. However, there would be time enough to discover who she was once they were safely sheltered. For now, he had best make haste to see if the cave were occupied or vacant.

Balancing her weight and his musket into more secure positions, he darted through the forest, disappearing into it.

Below is the cover of SENECA SURRENDER by Samhain Publishing, as it was going to be published before Samhain closed its doors.  It’s a beauty and I thought I’d share it with you.  Please leave a comment and let me know your memories of this time of year.  I’d love to talk to you.

 

Karen Kay
KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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Updated: September 26, 2018 — 2:39 pm

32 Comments

  1. Beautiful cover, I love the fall harvest of the corn & milk, and I can’t wait until the harvest moon.

    1. Hi Tonya,

      Me, too. I was in marching band when I was in high school. We used to go to the corn fields to clean them up as a way to earn money for trips and that sort of thing. Still remember being in the fields with a harvest moon. Can’t describe the beautiful feeling. Thanks for the post.

  2. Beautiful post. I love the colors of autumn. thanks somuch

    1. Thank you so much, Debra. Love this time of year. Thanks for the post.

  3. Love the covers! I truly love everything about this time of year. I love the cooler weather, the leaves changing colors and falling off the trees. I love football games, boots, jeans and being outside with the family. The warm and comforting food and drinks. Yes, it really is my favorite season.

    1. Hi Joy,

      Wow! You mentioned something I’d forgotten — football games season. Must admit that I wasn’t much on the game, itself, but I was in marching band, and so I remember the football season as the time of year when we practiced on the field and marched at half time. How I loved marching band. Also you mentioned the warm and comforting food. I, too, remember this. So much to love about this season. Thanks so much for your post.

  4. For over 30 years we were a farm family so Fall was a time if harvest. Our tobacco crop was already cut and curing in the barn and Fall was tobacco stripping time. There was also corn to pick, corn silage to chop and the last crop of hay to be cut and baled for uae later in the winter. Fall was also the time to pick up walnuts. Some we’re saved for cakes and candy but most were taken to be sold. Extra spending money was hard to come by and this money was used to go to the annual Court Days that were held in October. There are many memories of picking up walnuts after our daughter came home from school and there are also memories of enjoying Court Day!

    1. Hi Connie,

      I, too, grew up in a farming community, but we didn’t harvest tobacco — I think this is an East Coast product (I could be wrong). I do remember clearing corn fields and I remember the harvest moon making that time so beautiful. Picking walnuts brought back warm memories, too. We used to use a hammer to crack those shells, getting down to the goodness inside. Wonderful memories. Thanks for the post.

  5. I love the fall. I spent the beginning of my life living in New York and got spoiled by the fall tree colors. In Texas, we don’t get much in the way of colors. But I do look forward to when it starts to cool down after the long hot summer.

    1. Fall in New England. My goodness what beauty. Have spent a bit of time in New England, also. Particularly Vermont, New York, etc. (Even though New York isn’t really considered “New England,” it is so very, very, very beautiful at this time of year. Thanks for the post.

  6. My DH and I have spent several falls in Vermont, where our long, long time friends lived. It is absolutely beautiful. Boston all the way up. Thanks for a great blog. Hugs from Texas, P

    1. Hi Phyliss,

      Yes, autumn in Vermont is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Did you know that it’s the only place on earth where this particular kind of weather exists in order to make that maple syrup flow?

      The sugar maples were planted in other areas of America — the mid-west, the west, the south. Only in the New England area (including parts of Canada) does this kind of weather exist, the warm days and cold nights. Only that kind of weather makes the sap of the sugar maples flow.

      Oh, how I love it.

  7. We lived for 20 years in the Hudson Valley of New York, in the country. The fall was when we had our annual apple picking outing, followed by pie making, jelly preserving, and then concord grape jam and pies from the vines in our back yards! In my mind’s eye I can still see the gorgeous red, orange, maroon and gold leaves; smell the apples and grapes; hear my daughters’ laughter; feel the crisp air; and taste the flaky pastry dough!

    1. Hi Karen!

      Ah, the Hudson Valley of New York (and also New Jersey). So beautiful. Apple picking, pie making jelly preserving — oh, my gosh. The sound of your daughters’ laughter. I love all of these memories you’ve shared.

      I, also, do a lot of baking, even to this day, since we don’t eat anything (and I do mean anything) processed. So kitchen duty is a big part of my life, has to be if one is to eat cleanly. There are some weekends, which, combined with writing, I don’t even get a chance to step foot outside. Goodness.

  8. I grew up in the Northeast so I’ve always appreciated the colors of fall, but going back to college in Boston has always been my strongest memory of fall. Back then, for the first few years, girls had to wear skirts or dresses until it got 15 degrees or colder before slacks could be worn. I certainly do remember being cold since Boston University is situated right on the Charles River! Good thing I was young and could take it back then! lol By the time I graduated, dress rules had changed and everyone wore jeans year round. Phew.

    1. Hi Eliza,

      I, too, remember this. But where I lived in the Mid-West, we had to wear dresses all the time. Bare legs even in below zero temperatures. Lots of bobby-socks, but no tights back then, interestingly enough. But warm sweaters and skirts below the knees, and very warm coats and cloves and of course hats — were all part of it. Still remember when jeans came in. At that time, they didn’t make them for girls, and so my first pair was a pair of boys jeans.

      How different it is now.

  9. I love the cooler weather of fall but so far since it has cooled down all we have had is rain every day.Lots and lots of rain. Maybe there is pretty days ahead.

  10. Here, too. Your post made me smile. My husband said the other day (cause we’ve had so much rain) that he was making plans to build that ark. Huh…

  11. Karen, fall is my absolute favorite season. I just love all of nature’s color but as you pointed out, New England’s is at the top of the list. I envy you. I also love the covers of your books. They’re so vivid. What a great excerpt too. Wow! Happy Fall, Filly sister!

  12. Hi Linda,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I know other parts of the country are beautiful at this time of year, but the sugar maples, the red maples, the orange and yellow leaf maples make the northeast absolutely gorgeous at this time of year. I had always thought Autumn was beautiful in the Mid-West, but it is nothing like the hills and mountains of the Adirondacks coming alive with color at this time of year. Spectacular.

  13. I love the colors of autumn. We even have a word for them in Finnish: ruska. And after the seriously hot summer we had this year, I definitely like the cooler weather!

    1. Hi Minna,

      Thanks so much for the comment. Like you, I look forward to Autumn. But for us, we’ve had an unusually wet summer, and with it cooler temperatures than we had last year and the year before. So odd a summer. But then our winter was unusually long with much, much more snow than usual, also. So many snow storms, and spring brought on tornado-like weather in May — so many trees felled because of it — and damage to homes and property. Really, really unusual weather.

      Hope you enjoy the Autumn.

  14. I love seeing the leaves turn color. I great up on the east coast so I would see a lot of the trees turn color for miles and miles.

  15. Hi Kim,

    Yes, New England in the Autumn is spectacular. Have never seen anything like it elsewhere. Always there is Autumn and it’s beautiful. But the Northeast is special at this time of year, I think.

  16. We used to always get out of school to march in the parade at the county fair then got to spend the day at fair. We always looked forward to it.

  17. Hi Jaren, loved your excerpt. I absolutely love the Fall season. Mother Nature shows all her beauty up in New England. The temps are cooler, the smells are fabulous and it signals that the Holidays will soon be upon us. 🙂

  18. What a wonderful memory, Kelly. Thank you for sharing it, and for coming to the blog. Please check back in the evening either today, Wednesday, or Thursday. I’ll be announcing the winners then.

  19. Hi Carol,

    I loved your post, Carol. The Fall season really does have its own place in our hearts, doesn’t it? What I also find interesting about New England in the Fall is that this is the time of year when the maple sap runs. It has to have very specific weather. From what I’ve read, this occurs no where else on our planet, where the days are warm enough, and the night cold enough, that the sap runs, giving us maple sugar and syrup. And those trees are so beautiful. I used to think the maple sugar tree was the red-leaf maple. But I learned that it’s the bright, almost neon, orange leaf maple tree. So beautiful. It’s all of nature at this time of year that makes it so special: the scents, the weather (warm and cold), the feel of nature preparing to go to sleep — even the very ground upon which one walks feels different.

    Thanks for the beautiful post.

    And yes, it does signal that the Holidays will be upon us, and for those of us who wait till the last minute, to get that shopping done fast. : )

  20. Raking the leaves and jumping into them. Playing baseball in the fields with my cousins.

  21. Hi Charlene,

    Wow! All these are great!

  22. Hello Karen, I love the Fall season! The crisp air and cooler temperatures. Thank you for this fabulous post!

  23. Hi Caryl,

    You are so very welcome. Thank you for leaving a post, also.

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