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{January 1, 2010}   Happy 2010!!

Howdy!  Happy 2010 to everyone!  It’s a new year already, and it’s time I get back to thinking about writing.  The holiday season always takes me away from my writing schedule.  This year it had a lot of help with some crises.  First, I nearly lost my sister (there’s a post here all about her battle).  She’s regaining her health, but it is taking a long time, which is what she was told to expect.  Second, I have a very dear aunt–my dad’s sister–and she had her own health emergency.  She went in for a routine biopsy and when they took her into the operating room, her heart went bonkers!  Her heart beat decided to accelerate to 180 beats per minute and wouldn’t slow down.  Immediately, they took her down to the cardiac intensive care unit where they literally flatlined her, waited a few seconds, and restarted her heart.  She spent two more days in the hospital and was sent home.  We’re a) very glad she’s still with us and b) hoping the problem can be stabilized with meds instead of a pacemaker.  Lastly, I had my own bout of illness.  A teenie tiny minor bout–just to put it in perspective with everything else.  I got an infection in my jaw.  Who knew that could happen?  Not me.  The entire left side of my face was in pain and I couldn’t eat–not that that’s necessarily a bad thing!–but the sensitivity was not good at all.  Once they cleared up the infection, I went in for the dreaded root canal!  Oh well, I can eat and talk and drink and touch the left side of my face again so all is definitely well!

So there you have it…the holiday season of 2009 was packed with more than just celebrations.  And all of it lent itself to tossing out my writing schedule completely.

I don’t make new year resolutions.  Why make a promise to yourself you know you can’t/won’t keep?  Isn’t that setting yourself up for additional disappointment–this time doled out by yourself to yourself?  No thank you!

I have a writing friend–Jay–who’s put it all in plain words for me.  In a recent email he said–and I quote–“We both know that after the new year you need to get back to it!”  He’s right, of course.  I do need to get back to it.

I have a lot to be thankful for from 2009:

  1. I had 4 releases…two novels and 2 shorts, all of which were released in e-format as well as paperback.

  2. I still have a sister and an aunt.

  3. I have my health.

  4. I have my husband.

  5. I have my family.

  6. I received rave professional reviews on all of my releases.

  7. I received 1 less than stellar, but still positive review on one of my releases.

  8. I took a couple fabulous trips this year, which aided in building wonderful memories.

See?  I have a lot to be thankful for…and I could have listed many more, but I figured mostly you all would be interested in the writing blessings, with a few personal blessings thrown in.  With regards to bullet no. 2, I have my very own personal miracles for which I will be eternally grateful.

Okay, so I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season.  May your Christmas have been blessed with love and great joy.  May 2010 be the best of the best and loaded with blessings of all kinds.

Until next time…

Valerie

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I’m a little late in getting the reviews added here, but stick with me. I’m getting them up now this week. That said, here’s the second official review for my November Eternal Press release: That Taste of Orange.

Night Owl Reviews‘ Silvermage made That Taste of Orange a Reviewer Top Pick! It scored 4.5 stars out of 5! The review appeared on November 23, 2009.

The review:

Sabrina and Chas Montgomery are pastry chefs and have been married for four years. A while back they opened up Sabrina’s Sweet Sensations, a specialty dessert shop. They both enjoy chocolate and orange together and even have a chocolate orange cake. But not everything is sweet at the shop. They have lately been fighting. Christmastime is not turning out to be as inspiring as it should be.

They are working on their marriage, but are just so tired from all the long hours. After a good family get together and being passionate again will these two turn things around? Will Chas’s angel be the perfect gift?

I enjoyed That Taste of Orange and the characters. The relationship between Chas and Sabrina was touching and their romantic gestures inspiring. It was an enjoyable, feel good story. The family and Christmas aspects were just the icing on the cake. And the food references had me salivating and craving desert.



The Write Time & Place is pleased to welcome back Stacey Coverstone to Cover Corner. Stacey is launching a new book today, so pull up a chair and get cozy while you read about Outlaw Trail released by Champagne Books! When you’ve reached the bottom, please leave Stacey a comment and let her know you liked what you read! Thanks~~Valerie.

Blurb:

At nineteen, Josie Hart has lived a hard life on her New Mexican farm. A cryptic letter gives her a chance to change all that and guides her on a perilous journey toward freedom. But, there are others who want what she’s after, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Grey Paladin seeks justice after having had his fortune stolen out from under him. He’ll do whatever it takes to retrieve what’s rightfully his and reunite with the only family he has left. That is, until a feisty girl stands in his way.

When Josie and Grey form an uncertain partnership, they must battle outlaws, nature, and each other while riding two hundred miles of dangerous trail to reach their destination. What they discover at the end is something that’s been sorely lacking in both their lives–leading them each to rethink what the future holds.

Excerpt:

Josie let her weary eyes skim over the parchment once more. The trail will be long, her pa had said. Will I have the courage and strength to follow it? Will I be able to fulfill his last wish and make my own dreams come true?

For the first time in her life, she felt hopeful about the future as she clutched the map tightly in her fist. Though excited, she was dog-tired, both mentally and physically. Her eyes started to drift shut.

She had barely nodded off when the sound of snapping branches roused her. Her head jerked and her eyes flew open. Her spine went rigid when a low voice addressed her. “I’ll take that map now.”

She fished around in her pants pocket for the Derringer. Her hand touched the cold metal, and she squeezed her finger around the trigger of the gun and stumbled to her feet.

“Stay right where you are, and take your hand out of your pockets,” the voice ordered. “You won’t get hurt if you do as you’re told. Do it!”

She squinted at the tall figure standing in the shadows at the mouth of the cave and heard the click of a revolver. Ragged breaths escaped her throat. “Are you going to kill me?” she asked in a throaty whisper, as she showed him one empty hand.

“That depends on how much trouble you decide to cause. Just hand over that map and I’ll be on my way.”

Inhaling deeply, her eyes roamed over the parchment still clutched in her fist. The trail will be long. Don’t give up. Her pa’s words rang in her ears. Nothing was going to stop her from going after whatever lay at the end of that trail. Her pa had died so she could have a better life. No one was going to take that from her.

“If you want it, you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead fingers,” she replied with bravado.

The man said nothing.

“Show yourself,” she challenged. Josie’s fingers twitched as she let her hand creep back into her pocket. She gripped the pearl handle of her Derringer again. “How do you know about this map? Who are you?”

The man took one step forward, but she still couldn’t see his face. When he spoke again, she sensed he was someone of little patience.

“I don’t have to explain anything to a girl,” he snapped. “Walk around that fire and lay the paper on this rock over here.” His gloved hand pointed to a stone ledge, which jutted out from the cave wall.

“I’m not a girl,” she snapped back. “I’m nineteen and this map belongs to me. I’m not about to give it to some coward who won’t even show his face.”

Apparently striking a nerve, the man swiftly strode forward out of the darkness, with his gun raised and leveled at her. The fire danced upon his features. She gasped. It was the stranger who rode the white stallion—the one all in black who’d been watching her in Dry Gulch. Her heart lurched. He tilted his dusty hat up with a finger to show her eyes the color of dark molasses. She could feel the heat radiating from those fiery pupils as they bore into her.

“Is that better?” he asked.

“It’s you!” she exclaimed. “Why are you following me?”

“I think I already explained. I’ve come for the map. Now, hand it over.”

Quick as a snake striking, she jammed the map in her back pocket and thrust the double-barreled Derringer into his rib. Just as speedy, he shoved his revolver against her temple.

“You’re fast, but not fast enough,” he drawled. “Put down the gun.”

“You put yours down first,” she countered.

Neither one moved. Josie’s chest rose and fell in erratic rhythm. The pistol felt cold as it pushed against her skin.

“Are we going to have a Mexican standoff?” he wondered aloud.

She felt his warm breath on her face. He stood so close, his musky smell, mixed with sweat and the faint scent of lavender made her woozy. “I know how to use this gun,” she managed. “I’ll shoot you. Don’t think I won’t.” She cocked the Derringer to show him she meant what she promised.

The tall, dark stranger looked down into her eyes. A muscle ticked along his jaw. After several long moments, she felt the release of pressure from her temple.

“Toss the gun down on the ground,” she commanded, as she kept her gun pointed at his ribcage.

“I’ll toss mine when you toss yours.”

Josie searched his face. “Are you crazy, or just stupid? You stalk me, want to rob me of my personal possession, and you think I’m just going to throw down my gun? Why should I trust you?”

“Because I’ve never killed a woman before,” he said without skipping a beat. “And I don’t intend to start now.”

His response surprised her. After considering his words carefully, she removed the gun from his rib. “On the count of three, we’ll both throw our guns onto the ground. Do I have your word as a gentleman?” she asked.

The man in black threw his head back and laughed. “Whatever gave you the idea I’m a gentleman?”

She rammed the Derringer into his gut again and narrowed her eyes. The gun pressed into taut, rigid muscle. She realized he could probably break her in half with one hand tied behind his back, but she was not going to be intimidated. She had too much to lose to let him scare her out of what was rightfully hers.

“I’ll kill you right now, mister. And it won’t bother me none. Believe me. I’ll take my map and high-tail it outta here, leaving you dead as a stone.”

The man grinned, baring a perfect row of sparkling teeth. “You’re a tough little half-breed, aren’t you?”

“Half-breed!” she shrieked, lunging at him. She pounded on his chest with her fists and clawed at his shirt. He grabbed her wrists and both the pistol and Derringer flew out of their hands and clattered to the hard ground.

The Book Trailer:

All About Stacey:

Stacey Coverstone lives in Maryland with her husband, horses, German Shepherds and a bunch of barn cats. She has a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development and works at a private liberal arts college. She’s been writing all her life and is the published author of five romances, with two more novels coming in 2010. Having fallen in love with cowboys at an early age, her favorite genre to write is the western romance, both contemporary and historical. She’s currently working on a ghost story set in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she’s not writing, Stacey enjoys horseback riding, photography, scrapbooking, and traveling—especially the American West where most of her stories take place.

To buy this or any of Stacey’s other wonderful books be sure to visit Stacey’s website.



{November 14, 2009}   Another new video!

Okay, I’m enjoying creating these short little promotional videos, so here’s a new one for Montana Reins!  When Montana Reins first came out, Icouldn’t decide what to put in the book trailer.  I compiled a folder of royalty-free photos, but just couldn’t seem to get them all to mesh into a book trailer.  Finally, I think I have it right!  😛



{November 10, 2009}   2009’s Last Release…

Hi Everyone!  I’m all rested from this weekend’s festivities.  I attended my second Eternal Press launch party and–believe it or not–this one was even more fun that the last (my first)!  No kidding.  It was a blast!!!!

In October Eternal Press instituted a new feature:  Author Live Chat, which takes place every launch day now.  I admit, I was a little apprehensive about the live chat because my last foray into hosting a live chat met with less than stellar results.  I had 4 chatters!  Oh well.  I did say it was my first *and* I hadn’t done my homework like promoting it or inviting folks.  So it’s my own fault that the turn out was small.

So, when the time rolled around for me to attend the launch day live chat, I went with a bit of trepidation.  All the worrying was for naught!  It was well attended and I had a blast.  I shared my time with fellow author J. Rose Allister.  She’s the perfect partner for a live chat.  She’s got a wonderful sense of humor and shared some great excerpts from her new release Their Secret Paradise.

If you’re ever around on the 7th of the month, stop by the Eternal Press website and take part in the Author Live Chat!  You won’t regret it!

Okay…my final release of 2009 is That Taste of Orange.  While I was involved in the Author Live Chat, Seriously Reviewed showed up and announced she’d just posted a review of my release to her site.  Here’s the review:

There are times in most marriages when we let life get in the way of the relationship. Times we worry about the little things instead of what should be more important. This tasty little treat is brimming with a couple in love who have hit the end of their rope. Stressed out by a business that is booming, their love seems to have fallen by the way side. Fortunately a little Holiday spirit might be just the thing to put them back in the spirit of love.

I have read several works by this author and have to admit that I keep my eyes peeled for anything with her name on it. Congrats on another release Ms Patterson. Here is wishing you many more 🙂

To read the entire write-up click here.

Here’s a little excerpt to tempt you into buying the book!  😛  😛

“We have an order for an orange fondant cake with a layer of chocolate-orange velvet cream in the center. I need a bottle of orange extract from the Food Depot and a bottle of Amade ChocOrange liqueur from the Wine & Spirits shop.”

“There’s a bottle of Amade in the pantry.”

“No, I used the last of that several weeks ago.”

“For what? We haven’t had an order for that cake in a couple months.”

“I used it for your birthday cake, Sabrina.”

How had she forgotten that? It was the nicest thing he’d done for her in eons. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”

Chas was silent so long she was certain he was either counting to ten to avoid slamming back at her or he was gathering steam so he could let her have it. He surprised her.

“I thought it was an unforgettable cake, Bri. Remember what we did with the icing?”

Sabrina laughed. “That’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. We didn’t leave the bedroom all weekend.”

A deep rumble greeted her as a response. “Lucky for me your birthday was on a Friday.”

“Yeah, and do you remember talking to Pastor John about why we were late for Sunday school?”

“I do. I also remember that his lesson that morning was about the importance of the physical side of marriage.”

“And I recall you bringing that up once we got home, too.”

He laughed. “It worked, didn’t it? We spent the rest of the day proving that lesson.”

“That was a very good cake.”

“It led to a lot of good, uh, things.”

That Taste of Orange…available now!



{November 7, 2009}   It’s Release Day!!

Yay! My new holiday-themed release That Taste of Orange comes out TODAY!!!! Eternal Press releases my second short fiction piece with them this year. I’m very excited–in case you really can’t tell–and am actually the first one at the Eternal Press Launch Party! I was afraid I was late, and I’m the only one there. Please stop by the Launch Party and join me! You’ll meet all the other Eternal Press authors with new releases today. There’s a fine line up, too, so everyone should find something there to enjoy!

TTOO.VS The Blurb:

Can the taste of orange rekindle their passion?

If ever two people were perfectly suited for each other, it’s Sabrina and Chas. Both pastry chefs. Both excellent cooks. And both love the taste of orange. But the Christmas season has been a very busy time at their pastry shop, and they’re both feeling the weight of the long hours, the lack of personal time, and the stress of the holidays.

Sabrina wants nothing more for Christmas than to regain the wonderful relationship she once had with her husband. The very traits that drew her to him in the beginning are now driving her crazy. Chas loves his wife, but he’s overworked and needs some down time. When he suggests they need time apart—and neglects to tell her where he was one evening—Sabrina thinks the worst.

Will the end of the holidays signal the end of their union? Or can one juicy little orange bring them back where they belong?

The Excerpt:

She got up and went downstairs, wondering where Chas was. As she stood in the kitchen doorway, she smiled. He was wearing the bottoms to a pair of pajamas she bought him last year. They had candy canes all over them. His dark brown hair—which reminded her of dark chocolate when wet—was damp and a crescent-shaped section hung over his forehead. It was clear that he’d taken a shower while she napped. She wondered how he’d been in their bedroom without her knowing. Used to be, she could just sense when he was around her.

His chest was bare save for the bib apron he wore. In the front pocket of the apron were a hand towel and a potholder. Tucked into the waistband of his pants was another hand towel. On the counter were several small glass bowls containing various ingredients circling a large mixing bowl, a carton of eggs, and the bottle of Amade ChocOrange liqueur. He picked up a wooden spoon, twirling it like a drummer would a stick, before using it to mix whatever was in the bowl. She watched him, unable to take her eyes off his biceps…watching them pump up and down as he reached for the little glass bowls one at a time, dumping ingredients into the mixing bowl. Exchanging the wooden spoon for a stainless steel whisk, he hummed as he expertly whipped the chocolate-orange velvet cream to a light, delicate fluff.

He grabbed a teaspoon from the drawer, which he dipped into the cream. Her eyes followed the spoon to his mouth, eagerly watching his tongue as he licked the remains of the cream off the stainless steel. Her body heated up. She really wanted to go in there, rip off the bib apron, and smear his chest with that cream.

The Live Chat:

Join all the Eternal Press authors with new releases for November in a live chat this evening! Come on over!



{October 13, 2009}   Good News Indeed!
Spy/Suspense/Humor

Spy/Suspense/Humor

Hi There!

Just had to share the good news! My 2009 Asylett Press release–GeeWhiz Meets S.H.A.F.T. has its first review and it’s fantastic! The review is furnished by Readers Favorite Book Reviews.

Here’s the book’s blurb: Milton “Milo” Gee, the only surviving partner of the Gee-Whiz Detective Agency, is determined to solve the murder of his partner, Chaz Whiz. When he’s approached by two gorgeous dames-er, women-who want to enlist his talents to save the life of a Canadian Mountie, he’s not overly interested. But a man has eyes and dames have gams and Milo’s were fixed on these dames’ long, shapely legs…when he wasn’t gazing deep into their bedroom eyes. His resistance begins to crumble once they use their powers of persuasion…some of which might actually be considered violent. Turns out, these ladies are members of the United Universe-a secret agency dedicated to maintaining world peace-and the Mountie is one of their top gents, a.k.a. The Ghost. Once Milo passes his physical, he’s christened with his new UU operative codename: “Spade” and they set out to reel in the Mountie. But this operation is not going to be so simple-The S.H.A.F.T, an organization bent on world domination, wants the Ghost, too. Armed with cool weapons James Bond would love to have, Spade is determined to get his man…but he never expects to end up with a dame-er, woman!

And here’s the review: This James Bond spoof is hilarious. Valerie J. Patterson has a winner! I’d love to see this made into a movie with Ben Stiller in the starring role. The characters are over the top. This is sure to be a laugh out loud funny hit. The cliches remind me of an old Humphrey Bogart movie.

Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! 😛 😛

Here’s the thing…I was sincerely worried my sense of humor would not be everyone else’s sense of humor, which led to me worrying about how well the book would be received. Reader feedback has been stupendous…and a pleasant surprise. A woman stopped me on the street about two months ago and demanded a sequel to the book! She said–and I quote–“There had better be another book for Spade.”

After I picked my jaw up off the street, I broke out into a wide smile and told her there was a sequel on the horizon!

A writer is nothing without her readers. Thank you for accepting Spade with wide open arms! We both appreciate it!

Until next time…

Valerie



{October 11, 2009}   Woot! Woot!

I don’t know when it happened, but it happened!  And I’m very excited about it.

My Eternal Press book page for That Taste of Orange is up and active.  You can find it here!  Yay!

The excerpt and blurb are there, too.  I just love the cover!  Make sure you pop on over and read all about my November 7th release!  Can’t wait for the launch party in November, either.

I’m excited for many reasons.  One: this is my last release of 2009 <sigh>  Yes, I’m sighing with relief!  This has been a jam-packed year for me with new releases, and I’ve not had a chance to finish any of my other projects.  Two: this is my last release of 2009 <wistful sigh>  As busy as it’s been–and it’s been busy–I’ve enjoyed each and every new release from start to finish.  2009 brought me to Eternal Press and to Bookstrand, and the experiences have been wonderful.  I’m enjoying getting to know everyone at each place all while I keep active on the Asylett Press authors’ loop as well.  I almost hate to see the 2009 release madness end!  Three: That Taste of Orange is one of my favorite short fiction pieces.  I truly enjoyed writing the story, creating the characters–who are fabulous, by the way–and resolving the conflict between them in a somewhat steamy way (but not so steamy some of my regulars would not want to read this terrific story).  Four: have I mentioned that cover?  Great covers always get me revved up for a release, and this is a great cover.

So please join me in my excitement, and get ready for my November 7th release with me!  Leave me a comment after you’ve had a chance to read the blurb and the excerpt and give me your thoughts.  Email’s always another option, too!  I love getting your emails so keep them coming!

Until next time…Happy writing!

Valerie



{October 8, 2009}   What to do…

Usually, I’m a voracious reader. I normally go through several books a month, take a trip to the bookstore and load up again, only to read them and hunt for more. Generally, I post reviews on the books I read…especially if I find them to be exceptional reads or terribly boring!

Lately, this has not been the case. Friends have given me books to read for the past several months, and I’ve bought numerous ones that have piqued my interest. They sit on my To Be Read shelf in my personal library. In fact, that shelf has grown to two and has spilled out onto the floor. I cannot get motivated to read!

Now, I have been top heavy with releases this year, which has taken my time away from many other things. However, if I pick up a book to read, I set it back down.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do about it? Is it a sit and wait kind of thing? I need to snap out of it soon or else stop buying books! 😦

In other news, Eternal Press had a launch day party yesterday. I was unable to attend due to business commitments, but I read all about it and must confess I feel left out! By all accounts, it was an excellent launch!

That Taste of Orange launches November 7th and with it being a Saturday, I will most definitely clear the calendar so I can attend as long as possible and tell folks about my new release. I hope you’ll join me and the other marvelous EP writers!

Bookstrand releases books weekly, and some of them sound like superb reads! Honor Thy Neighbor was released September 15th, and I’m anxiously awaiting reviews! Hope they come flying in soon.

A writer friend of mine is planning on submitting his first manuscript. I’m so excited! He’s primarily a writer of non-fiction–and he’s a cancer survivor. Why am I telling you the last part? Because the book he’s getting ready to submit is a personal journal about his experience from start to surviving!

I always get so excited when a writer friend tells me s/he has reached the point of submitting their work. Don’t you remember your first submission…and the ensuing crushing weight of that first rejection letter? Regardless, embarking on a new beginning is always a great time in your life. I wish my friend much success, and have offered to help in any way I can. I look forward to announcing his acceptance right here on The Write Time & Place and even featuring his book on the Cover Corner!

Welp, leave me a comment or drop me a line and tell me how you kick the reading doldrums! I’m counting on you! 😛

Until next time…happy writing!

Valerie



{October 6, 2009}   Cover Corner: Patricia Lieb

The Write Time & Place is so very pleased to welcome the very accomplished and talented author, Patricia Lieb.  Patricia is an award-winning journalist this writer is happy to see make the transition to fiction and non-fiction writing.  Her work has taken her to many places, to meet many interesting people, and enabled her to turn those experiences into wonderfully written books.  Settle in and enjoy getting to know Patricia!  When your journey ends–at the bottom of the post–please leave her a comment with your thoughts! … Thanks! … ~Valerie

* * * *

BBL_BookFront_LRG

An Excerpt:

Down in the Caddo Parish marshlands, a young Indian stood in a tiny back room adjoining the butcher shop at Jake Minor’s Fish Camp. She clutched a tarnished knife handle in her fist and rested the sharp blade against the feed-sack dress draped from her shoulders and over her protruding belly. The knife, hidden in her bedding the day before, had been a tool used in butchering a hog for one of the camp’s regular customers. He had come late in the evening to pick up his pork. He had then left a steer—a steer that might hang in the smokehouse forever. Within the hour, neither she nor Jake Minor would be on hand to butcher it. She’d be gone and he’d be dead.

Her thoughts briefly touched upon the familiar face of the handsome young Mexican, Rowe…the only man she had ever trusted. Or loved. If only he could have taken her away. Now she had no choice but to continue this path.

On the other side of the rustic log wall, Jake’s skeleton key scraped inside the door lock. Shanna braced herself, each screech freezing the sweat beads bubbling from her forehead. Then came the familiar click as the brass lock slid from the doorjamb. In less than a moment, Jake pushed and the door sprang open.

Shanna was too terrified to move.

The flames in Jake’s icy-blue eyes flared at her through strands of straw-colored hair. Hair that circled his head like a fallen halo. Her body jerked in fear. What had she planned to do? But the knife seemed to have a mind of its own. Quick as a snap, her hand raised and the blade plunged into flesh covering Jake’s heart.

Vacantly, she watched blood spew from his hairy chest like muddy water from a broken dam. For an instant, a scene of the Red River flashed through her mind. Her father, mother and brother had camped along its shore. That day, she was nabbed and brought to Jake’s place by a terrorizing group of masked horsemen.

“You…c-crazy…sq-squaw,” Jake stammered, barely able to speak. He stumbled, his white hairy arms reaching for her.

Her body seemed still, yet she felt herself backing into a crate box used for a nightstand in the dim room. Her focus stayed glued on the one who had owned her half her sixteen years. Now, she watched the scene unfold: the fat man gasped, his white stare rolling over something on the dingy plank ceiling above her. And then—WHUMP!—his belly smacked hard onto the dank floor, humping twice before it sank to a final climax.

“Jake Minor is dead now,” she whispered, her unsure words bouncing from the four walls encasing her. Her psyche spun in and out of the scene. She stared at the bloody knife in her trembling hand. At the body lying on the floor alongside the narrow unmade bed where she had lain awake most of the night comprehending freedom. Now this panorama was surely a nightmare, even though she had accomplished this mission many times in her dreams. Jake Minor was an evil man, and death became him. Getting a grip on herself, her mind settled somewhat and she inched closer to Jake’s motionless body. There had been so many nights over the last eight years she had wanted to destroy this bad man. And now that she had, she was mystified. She must run away from this Caddo Lake marsh, from this parish, from all Louisiana without hesitation. She must find the main stream of the Red River and follow it north through the Arkansas backlands, and then northwest to the Land of Indians.

She watched as blood slowly formed a pool around Jake’s lifeless body. His obese lard-white trunk was now splattered with maroon, the muscles in his big arms useless to fight, and the thick pee-stained underwear covering his buttocks and legs now darkened with blood and muck. She had seen Jake passed out many times, but always from his consumption of too much corn-mash rather than death. During some of his blackouts, she had run away but had never made it out of the marshlands. Times when Jake had slept through her absence, his outlaw and whisky-making friends had hunted her down and brought her back like a trapped animal. After a painful flee attempt last winter, she had become too frightened to try again. Rather than for herself, she now considered the destiny of the seed ready to sprout from her womanhood.

Shanna put her hand to her stomach. “Soon you will be safe Little Soul.”

Unexpectedly—was it stomping on the plank porch outside the store? And then the cowbell on the screened door dinged as somebody entered. Heavy boots jarred the soft pine floor so the joists cracked. Shanna slapped her knife-filled fist over her mouth.

Run, she told herself. She peered wide-eyed around the cluttered room. There was no exit. The only door led to the storefront. And Jake had nailed wooden bars over the window opening after her last escape attempt.

Her body stiff, she analyzed the knife in her hand, the body on the floor, and the four walls penning her in like a bound swine in a slaughterhouse. She saw two, now four, now numerous broken images of her life, of this room, of Jake zapping here and there. These fragments seemed to keep time with the thump of boot heels stamping through the storefront.

She had killed one man today. She really didn’t want another notch on her knife, but should the intruder be one of Jake’s Raider Outlaws there surely would be trouble.

Bert, from way down in the parish, was due in next week. Perhaps he had come for his meat early. But Bert’s steer was hanging in the smokehouse and yet to be butchered. He would know that.

“Minor, you here? Might as well show your face.”

Oh no! The demanding voice jarred Shanna like a lightening bolt.

Oh my Ayimat Caddi, she cried silently, and more to herself than to the Great Spirit. Why had this bad man returned? Yesterday, he and Jake had done business, trading guns, animal skins and whisky. It wasn’t like one to return so soon.

“Minor,” he called again. “You held out on me. You still owe me.”

Shanna trembled at his words, then the silence, and then the ruffle of products being shuffled about over store shelves.

“You here Minor? Better come on out. I’m taking what you owe me with or without your presence. Come on out if you’re not too drunk. Else I might take the wrong stuff.”

His boot heels clunked louder on the plank flooring. Then Shanna heard his stepping onto the gray slate surrounding the black cast-iron stove. She heard the soup ladle sloshing in the crock-pot. The thick aroma of day-old gumbo steam and the shocking taste of human blood blended in her nostrils. Gagging, she refused to vomit, and swallowed the sour matter bubbling in her throat.

The intruder sipped and slurped loudly.

This time she heaved, and everything inside her flew from her mouth and scattered with the bank of blood. She held her hand to her chest and hoped the man in the next room had not heard the commotion.

As seconds passed, blood flowed less and less from underneath Jake Minor. Suddenly, Shanna’s gaze fell to the sticky dark liquid now oozing like a nightmare underneath the door. To Continue Reading

The Reviews:

“Bridged by Love,” by Patricia Lieb – Spring Hill resident Lieb has written a historical adventure set in the late 1880s in Texarkana, a city that straddles the Texas-Arkansas line. Lieb draws on a bounty of historical knowledge to craft a tale of two women – one native American, the other white – linked together in a fight against injustice. ~ Tampa Tribune

* * * *

Bridged By Love by Patricia Lieb is aptly titled, and represents the connection between a young Native American girl who was kidnapped by an abusive white man, and a strong, independent western woman who makes her living as a lumberjack.

The book opens with a day in Shanna’s tortured life with Jake Minor—her owner—the man who stole her from her family when she was just a young girl. He uses her as a slave, as a whore for his friends, and as a means of pleasure for himself. To use a trite and overworked cliché, what doesn’t kill Shanna serves only to make her stronger and more resolved to find her way back to her people—back to her family.

Shanna—a full nine months pregnant—puts a plan into motion and leaves the fish camp where she’s been a captive for years, but she must constantly keep one eye on the way before her and one eye on the way behind her. She can’t risk being caught and brought back to the fish camp—to a way of life that only brought her pain and suffering. It’s shortly after her escape that she gives birth to a beautiful baby boy. All alone and with no safe haven to run to, Shanna forges on ahead in her goal of finding the one woman she hopes can help her.

Kathryn Williams is no stranger to pain and heartache, either. A failed marriage. A miscarriage. A divorce during a time when it was virtually unheard of. And a life that’s lonely for a woman who truly wants a husband and a family. Kathryn has much support in her life. Her mother resides with her plus there are several people who love and protect her. There’s one man who’s loved her all her life. There’s another Kathryn loves and wants to share the rest of her life. One knows her pain. The other knows she’s divorced and is allowing that to stand in his way. One wants nothing more than to shower her with affection. The other can’t seem to see past her strength and independence. Kathryn’s heart has room for both men in different ways.

When Shanna crosses paths with Kathryn, she immediately places her trust—as well as her son—in Kathryn’s hands. Shanna knows men are coming for her to take her back to the fish camp. She knows her son will not survive in that type of environment. If only she could get to the land where her people have relocated—to where her family is—she’ll finally find peace and happiness. But peace and happiness have a price for a woman on the run. Shanna must leave behind her son.

When Kathryn’s ex-husband, Alex returns, Kathryn immediately suspects he’s up to no good. Shanna knows Alex as well, and knows for a fact he’s up to no good. When Alex promises to take Shanna to the land of her people, she has no choice but to go with him. She walks away from Kathryn and from her son, and endures more mistreatment from Alex during the journey to her family. Soon after her departure, her son—now named Aaron by Kathryn—takes ill. Out of desperation, Kathryn takes the baby, hitches up a wagon, and heads out to find Shanna, knowing the young woman was the only one who could provide what Aaron needed.

The journeys both women take are riveting, pulling the reader right into their stories. You can’t help but cheer each on to happiness and the futures they deserve. If this reviewer had any complaints it would be that the man Kathryn chooses is not worthy of her. He’s too caught up in the reveries of another woman, in the fact that Kathryn can provide for herself and doesn’t need a man to make her a woman, and doesn’t truly get past her past to love her in the way she deserves to be loved.

If you’re looking for a book that brings you history, a hint or two of mystery, romance, and good strong characters that you’ll willingly love and dislike then Bridged By Love by Patricia Lieb is the book for you. Leave your cares behind and travel inside the lives of Shanna and Kathryn. Their stories will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Bea

Reviewer, WritersWall.com

4 bricks out of 5

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