Connie Porter Saunders
Connie I will email you to get a mailing address!
Connie Porter Saunders
Connie I will email you to get a mailing address!
Sometimes it happens that when I draw a winner, I get two instead of one. When that happens, I give away two books.
So, yes, we have two winners, and they are:
Janine and Ann
Congratulations to you both. If you will please email me at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net, we’ll arrange getting that e-book to you.
Many thanks to all those who came to the blog today to talk and exchange points of view. I loved it all.
So when I’m not writing beautiful stories like the one that released TWO DAYS AGO!!!! … I’m working on a pumpkin farm in Western New York, and in case you haven’t noticed the date, well… it’s October. Which means life on the pumpkin farm is crazy busy and crazy fun!
Hi, I’m Ruthy and this isn’t exactly a Western-themed post because right now I’m working in pumpkins and cookies and jams and mums…. as denoted in the pictures! And I just released the second book of the “Wishing Bridge” series “At Home in Wishing Bridge”…
This is what happens when you cross genres and don’t stay firmly tucked in one thing or another… you mess up everything by writing an amazingly good story about a woman who’s come the distance to be the person she is… and needs to go farther to be the person God wants her to be. It’s a story of sacrifice, doors opening wide and shutting tight, of God’s perfect timing and the chance to break out of the walls we tend to build for ourselves.
You’ve probably guessed that September and October are busy times on the farm! We all run from morning til night and I sneak downstairs to write around 3:30 AM each day… This week I heard Great Horned Owls staking their territory so that other boy owls will know to stay away… and one female owl joining in, her slight lilt offering a different kind of song, one that you know will appear in a book someday. 🙂
We sell homemade jams during the busy fall season, a fun thing that will appear in a book, too. There’s nothing like the sweet syrupy scent of Triple Berry or Strawberry jam filling the kitchen with steam, and it’s much nicer at 65 degrees than it was at 90 degrees!
I’m taking some of this expertise and fun and applying it to a couple of upcoming books set in the PNW. The Pacific Northwest is different from Western New York in some ways, but we’re both big apple-growing regions and the similarity in farmland is notable. So I can take some of my information from here in the Northeast Woodlands and apply it there in the rich valleys between the rise and fall of the Cascade mountains. These are a few of the mums I grew this year… I grew 1600 chrysanthemums and they had to be hand-watered and fed daily…. who knew it was going to be one of the hottest summers on record??? 🙂 Watering 1600 mums by hand is a real workout, my friends! No gym needed this summer, LOL!
While I’m writing I specialize in redemption and romance, two wonderful things!
On the farm I specialize in gorgeous colorful pumpkins. We grow Silver Moons, Jarrahdales, Long Island Cheese, Blue Doll, Porcelain Doll, Indian Doll, Speckled Hound, Cinderella, Fairytale, Rouge d’Vif, White Boer Ford, and Sunshines, a huge collection of delicious squashes that we can use for decorating the porch and yard to celebrate harvest… and then we eat them!
You’ve never had a better pumpkin than a Jarrahdale (brought here from cowboys down under, an Australian pumpkin cross) or Marina Di Choggia, an Italian delicacy squash with rich, robust flavor or the French heirloom pumpkins (think Cinderella’s coach) “Fairytale, Cinderellas and Rouge d’Vif”…. Bright green or scarlet or coral/orange, fun flattish pumpkins ideal for stacking.
When I’m writing a story I want the characters to be real. I want my readers to love them, to mourn with them, to feel their joys and their sufferings. To weep as we weep for one another and to laugh when things go well!
The same goes for the farm and using my knowledge of these things for setting or plot. Nothing is wasted when an author can use the knowledge he or she has achieved from real life and applies it to a book/story. I love doing that because I know that when that reader who grows apples or pumpkins out west reads the story, they’ll know I know my stuff… when a young mother reads a passage about kids, she’ll know I’m dealing with kids all the time. And when an older person reads about loss and time passing, they feel like I know them personally.
Taking the bits and pieces of real life and using them in stories adds a layer of depth to the story that might not be there without that hands-on experience. Sure, I study and research things I don’t do or haven’t done… but I mix in some of the actual experiences along with it. Depth in reality… and realism in story-telling.
I’ve always found that the compelling stories and backgrounds of the hero and heroine are the main dish of the book… but the setting, the research, the plot, the people, the animals, the jobs… those are the other dishes on that Thanksgiving table! Sure, it’s still Thanksgiving with just a turkey and stuffing… but when you add in the layers of side dishes, fresh rolls, desserts and good robust coffee and eggnog and punch…
Well now you’ve got a story, my friends!
Hey, I’ve got one copy of “At Home in Wishing Bridge” to give away today! If you haven’t read book one “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”, that’s all right… they’re stand alone stories and you’ll be fine, I promise. But I expect you’re going to like both stories, the stories of three teens who bonded together to survive some really rough childhoods… and who meet together twelve years later when one sends out an SOS and the others come running to help… and then just maybe they realize that Wishing Bridge, NY might be the home sweet home they’ve been dreaming of all along.
Leave a comment below about anything you love…. and I’ll put your name in the mum pot!
The winner of the dish towel, wine glass and Colorado Rescue is…
Rose Ann Folger
Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail address.
Again, congratulations, and thanks to everyone who stopped by.
The winner of a signed copy of
I will email you to get your mailing address Pam
The Reluctant Warrior is releasing
If you’ve preordered it will be shipping
or turning up on your ereader TOMORROW
Woo Hoo! And my winners are: Tonya Lucas, Kim Hansen, Stephanie Jenkins Ortiz Cerrillo and Yvonne Wohlfeil! Congratulations ladies, you each get one free e-copy of your choice of the books displayed in my blog post. Comment here to tell me which title you would like and we’ll go from there!
Ah, Autumn, it’s finally here! And I’m loving it! This is my favorite time of year and has been for as long as I can remember. I love the changing of the seasons as summer fades and fall begins. And of course, I’ve set books around this wonderful time of year but we’ll get to those in a moment. Right now, I want to share a few recent moments (literally, as I just ran outside and snapped some pictures from around the house) and some not so recent but hey, I thought I’d share!
I’m in Oregon and the leaves are just starting to change. One of my favorite things about fall is what I call the “carpet.” It starts with the cedar trees changing color. Toward the end of October, the orange bits of cedar fall off with the east winds to carpet the driveway and ground, turning everything orange! It’s a grand sight and the smell is lovely too! I used to love walking home from school, (the house is in a canyon with a mile long driveway) getting to the bottom of the canyon and walking on the “carpet.” My sister and I own the house we grew up in, and of course, this delight never gets old!
Fall also brings with it familiar friends, as our local deer love to venture into the canyon and do so more often in autumn. Always a fun sight, I like sipping coffee and watching them when I can. And yes, these are some of the girls in front of my house by the creek. Autumn is also beautiful in different parts of the country. I spend a lot of time in New York City as my daughter and son both live there. Here’s a shot of a trail in Prospect Park, my favorite. A beautiful place in the Fall! And then of course, there’s the food …
Last night I made my first fall dinner. Thin cut pork chops with potatoes, onions, and carrots simmered in Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup. It’s so easy. Just brown your pork chops, add your soup and water as per instructions on the can, stir, add vegetables and stir again! Then let simmer until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. That’s it! You can also add red cabbage or any other vegetables you want! It’s simple and yummy! Of course, hearty fall recipes get me thinking about pumpkin cookies and what not. You’ve got to have dessert, right? I’m always up for some of that!
Okay, on to the books! I’ve written a few books that take place in autumn. Both historical and contemporary. These books are near and dear to my heart because of my love of the season. Authors approach seasonal romance differently. Some really showcase the season itself, so that it becomes a huge part of the story (almost like a character). Others touch simply on it so you enjoy the setting with your characters. I love all the different ways authors in my particular genre write about how folks celebrated the season with harvest festivals, All Hallows Eve, Fall barn raisings, school and the changing of the seasons in general. Here are just a few of my books that take place in Autumn.
As you can see, I like this season! In most of the books of this particular series, none of the grooms know the bride is coming! Of the four books above, Love at Harvest Moon and The Thanksgiving Mail-Order Bride, my grooms haven’t got a clue. In The Columbus Day Mail-Order Bride and The Harvest Time Mail-Order Bride, the two heroes are also identical twin brothers which made things a lot of fun. How about an excerpt or two?
From Love at Harvest Moon:
“Mr. Brody, it’s my fault yer son lost his sight – ye can’t tell me otherwise!” Finn stood and ran a hand through his hair. “I only hope that one day, Lorcan can see it in his heart to forgive me.”
“Pah! He’s already forgiven ye! Yer just too stubborn to see it.”
“Then why doesn’t he write? I’ve not heard a word from him!”
Mr. Brody stood and waved the letter in Finn’s face. “Well it just so happens that Lorcan is sending ye something! Something very special!”
Finn took a step back and stared at him. “What? And why didn’t he write and tell me about it?”
“Probably so Ada wouldn’t have to write and send two letters.” He unfolded part of the letter and showed it to him. “See, look here – read it!”
Finn did so, and slowly he smiled. “Well, what do ye know? He is sending me something.” He looked at Mr. Brody. “What do ye suppose it is?”
Mr. Brody shrugged. “Must be something special, if he has to send it by stagecoach.”
“Stagecoach – I almost forgot! There was an accident up the road. The afternoon stage lost a wheel and crashed into a ditch. The sheriff’s gone to fetch the driver – he’s hurt pretty bad, I hear.”
“What’s this? Who told you?”
Mr. Brody blinked a few times. “Passenger?” He glanced at the letter, folded it and shoved it into the pocket of his jacket. “Where’s the passenger now?”
“Doc Henderson’s. She was trying to run through my pumpkin patch to get help, but fell and twisted her ankle.”
“She?” Mr. Brody began to cough.
“Aye. Birdie’s taking care of her. She told us she came to Oregon City to get married. I was just on my way to fetch her intended, but decided to wait for the sheriff to see how the driver fared.” He looked at the street again. “Ah, looks like the wait’s over. Here they come.”
Mr. Brody stilled his coughing and watched the sheriff and his men approach. One of his deputies was driving a buckboard to transport the injured man. “Er … ah … Finn?”
“Aye?” he asked without taking his eyes off the men.
“Did the young lady from the stage happen to tell ye the … name of her intended?”
“No. But she gave me this,” he said and took the folded envelope she’d given him from his pocket. “Here’s his name and address. I’m sure he’ll want to know what happened. I know I would, so I thought I’d find out before I fetched him to her.”
Mr. Brody gave him a lopsided smile, took the envelope, pulled out the paper and read it. Then he coughed again and gave the paper to Finn. “Ye’ve, uh … not read it?”
Finn looked at him just as the sheriff rode up. “No.”
Mr. Brody’s face was turning redder by the second. “I think maybe ye should.”
Finn glanced at the paper and paled. “Don’t tell me that poor girl is here to marry one of the McPhees?”
Mr. Brody shook his head.
“That’s a relief,” Finn said and crossed himself. He looked at Mr. Brody again. “One of Jim Tark’s boys then? Oh, the poor wee thing …”
Mr. Brody shook his head again. “Read the paper, Finn.”
Finn rolled his eyes. He’d been so intent on the sheriff and buckboard, he really hadn’t thought to look at the blasted paper! He unfolded it and …
“Great Mother o’ God!”
Mr. Brody smiled in satisfaction. “I told ye Lorcan was sending ye something special.”
And from The Harvest Time Mail-Order Bride:
Calvin strolled among the various booths, most of which were nothing more than planks of wood on saw horses, with some sort of covering to shade the occupants. He kept a close eye on his wife, who studied her surroundings with interest. He’d felt numb up to this point, their wedding a blur, and just now felt the first inklings of excitement that he was now married.
But did she feel the same?
Her English was broken most of the time, only the occasional full sentence, but that should improve with time. Of course, his hadn’t, nor had his brothers … but they hadn’t really tried. None of them had any fancy education, but they could read and write and do their sums. You didn’t need much more than that to work on a farm. It was more important to know how to till the land, maintain the orchards, take care of livestock, protect your property and those that lived on it …
He stole another glance at his bride. Her beauty was beyond compare. How was he going to protect her? She was turning more than a few heads, and it was starting to bother him. What would she think of him if he socked some dreamy-eyed suitor? He hoped he wouldn’t have to since they were married, but some of the men, especially those from out of town, might not know that.
And then, of course, there were the women. He’d already overheard two or three say “She married Calvin Weaver?” as he and Isabella strolled by. Why was it so hard for them to believe he could have a beautiful wife? Were they expecting her to show up without her teeth?
“I don’t believe it!” another whispered loud enough for everyone within earshot to hear. “Is the girl daft?”
Calvin tensed and wondered if Isabella noticed. He’d best do something to distract himself. “Ya hungry?”
She put down the wooden soldier she’d picked up and smiled at the man selling toys. “A little. Is it time to eat?”
“Not yet, but I could do with a little somethin’. There’s no set time to eat lunch today and everyone’ll make do with somethin’ for dinner before the dance.”
“Dance?” she asked, her eyes bright.
“Yeah, we have one every year. Actually, we have three. The Harvest Festival, Christmas, then the Valentine’s Dance.”
She nodded and eyed one of Aunt Betsy’s pies. She was selling them whole and by the slice.
Calvin followed her gaze and smiled. “How ‘bout a piece of pie? We could share one.”
She smiled at him, then pulled him toward his aunt’s booth. “Hey, slow down,” he laughed.
“Well, there you are!” Aunt Betsy said as they approached. “How do you like our little festival, Isabella?”
“I like it very much. Very happy.”
“Most folks would agree,” she said. “This is a happy time of year. Our barns and root cellars are full, folks are settling in for the winter and Harlan Hughes is in town!”
Ah, and there you have it. Harvest Festivals, mix-ups, surprises and all taking place in my favorite season! To celebrate, how about a giveaway? I’ll give to FOUR lucky winners one e-copy of your choice of the books shown above! Comment and tell me what it’s like around your house this time of year. Do you decorate? Make special dishes or desserts? I’ll pick my winners from the comments!
As promised, here are the three winners for a free e-book. As an aside, please realize that we cannot give away books if one lives outside the US. It has to do with recent legislation. So be sure to read our Give Away Guidelines — off here to the right.
Quilt Lady wins the e-book BLACK EAGLE
Eliza wins the e-book THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF
Debra wins the e-book BRAVE WOLD AND THE LADY
Congratulations to all three winners. Join me next Tuesday for another blog. Hope to see you there.
For the winners: Please contact me at karenkay(dot)author(at)earthlink(dot)net, where we can work out getting your prizes to you.
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.
Thank you all for coming and commenting today on my reminiscing about the good old days and what fall means to me!
Today’s winner of MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS is… DALE STEWART!
Dale, if you will contact me at email@example.com I will see that you get your prize!
Again, many thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing their memories!