Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday's First and Second Scene - Confronting the Wizards #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #YA

Chapter One
The Way of the Healers

Much is demanded of a Healer and inner peace is her only reward. She must seek neither power nor wealth. To walk in the Way is difficult and not all who try will succeed.
When a Healer names a man as Chosen, she must leave the House for she must think only of her craft and those who need her care. If she elects to depart, her knowledge of the healing arts will be stripped from her mind. She will be left with only those skills known to commoners who do not follow the Way.

Jindera left the herb storage hut and strode toward the cottage. Clouds dimmed the morning sun, then slid away. The leaves of the oka trees rustled in the summer breeze and the mingled scents of herbals and seasonings swirled around her. The coming of clouds meant a storm approached, but she felt certain no rain would fall this day.
Would the medicinals she would brew from the herbals she’d selected be of any help? She could only hope. All night, she’d fought the fever raging through her mother’s body and had seen no change.
“Mama, why did you leave the Healers’ House?”  Her mother could have remained and raised her children with the sons and daughters of the other Healers. On his tenth birthday, Jindera’s twin would have been sent to his father. But Jindera’s mother had chosen to leave. Love for a man had been her reason.
Tears blurred Jindera’s sight. She had loved her father dearly. His death seven lunars before had brought sadness to a home where love had ruled.
Rays of sunlight glinted on the golden stones of the cottage and brightened the dull yellow of the thatch. Jindera hurried along the garden paths that meandered among the beds of herbals and seasonings.
The plants flourished. Lajin’s touch, she thought. Her brother had only to tend any ailing plant and it thrived. She paused at the cottage door and peered along the road from the village. Her twin should return soon with the staples he’d gone to fetch.
The stench of illness pervaded the room where her mother lay on a narrow cot. Jindera’s breath caught. For a moment, she thought her mother had left this plane without the blessing to release her.
Holding back a sob, Jindera fled to the kitchen to blend a fever potion. She carried the mug of steaming liquid to the sick room and spooned the medicinal into her mother’s mouth. A drop or two fell on the linen sheet and spread like the tears Jindera held inside. She inhaled deeply. She had to hold grief and fear at bay. When the mug was empty, she rested her head on the edge of the mattress and prayed the remedy would work.
She jerked awake. How long had she slept? The light in the room told her ’twas near midday.
The rasp of labored breathing filled her ears. She felt her own breaths fall into the same pattern. She raised her head and turned toward the door. Where was Lajin? She tried to reach him on the inner path where they could speak in secret. Flight. Fear. What had happened to him? Her hands and body shook. His fear or hers?
Jindera rose and looked outside. The fragrant scents of the garden brought a welcome calmness to her troubled spirit. ’Twas a false hope. If Mama dies, what will Lajin and I do? Having but sixteen years, they weren’t old enough to hold the land.
She heard a rasping cough and turned back to the cot. Her mother’s eyes were open. A wave of hope spread through Jindera. “Mama.”
“Leave. You. Lajin.  Go soon. Danger comes.”
“We can’t leave you without saying the blessing.”
“Must.”  Racking spasms shook her mother’s body.
“Mama, don’t talk.”
“Must. Once. Three sisters.”
Jindera listened to her mother’s halting words. A grandsire who was a Master Wizard. Mama born on the desert and leaving with her older sister for a Healers’ House. How her two sisters wanted power and schemed to obtain control of others. One who had talent. One who had none. Mama who had talent and wanted love.
“Ralor. Comes. He hurt. You. Lajin. No Healers’ House. Not good.”
“Mama, be still.”  Jindera pressed her hands against her mother’s shoulders.
“Starflowers. For Ralor. Make tea. He sleep. Then flee. Remember, danger from Healers.”
Jindera chewed on her lower lip to keep from crying. The door opened and for an instant, she feared her father’s brother had arrived. The garden, the guardianship, the cottage would pass to him and to the one the Healers sent to tend the garden. The door opened. She turned.
Lajin stood in the doorway. His flushed face and panting breaths told her he’d been running. “What’s wrong?”  she asked.
“Black robes in the village. Taking boys. What will I do if they come here?”
Jindera shivered. The Wizards would learn about Lajin’s talent for nurturing plants. They would take him. “You must flee to the forest and hide. Go now.”
He knelt on the other side of the cot. “Not until we say the blessing.”
“Son. Daughter. Go.”
Jindera grasped her mother’s hand. Lajin took the other. “Mama.”
The heavy breathing slowed, then stopped. Had she willed her death?
Jindera’s voice joined Lajin’s. “Fare well, Mother. May the sun shine on your days and the moons light your nights. Let your shade depart and do not hover between this plane and the next.”
Jindera met her brother’s gaze. “You must go. I’ll follow.”
“The grave must be dug.”
“Lajin, why do you linger? You heard Mama. You must go.”
The door of the cottage slammed against the wall. Jindera saw the man in the doorway and shivered.
Her uncle grasped the frame. “So she’s passed. The land and you are mine.”  His slurred speech spoke of drunkenness. He pointed to Lajin. “Boy, dig the grave. I would see her in the earth before sunset. Should have time before they come.”
“Who comes?”  Jindera asked.
“Wizards,” Ralor said.
“Why?”  Lajin asked.
Ralor laughed. “For you. Do you think I want to live with one who in time will challenge me for the land? The Healers usually send their elderly to spend their last years in a garden. Such a one would be no threat. Girl, to the kitchen. I would eat.”
Jindera sought her twin on the inner path. Go to the forest. I’ll fetch the packs. When he’s at his meal, I’ll follow.
Lajin shook his head. I’ll see Mama in the earth before I leave.
Why must you be so stubborn? Your pack will be at the kitchen door.  Take it and flee before ’tis too late.
She hurried to the kitchen and pulled the soup kettle from the warming shelf. She hung it over the fire. In the pantry, she grabbed the packs she and Lajin had prepared and tossed them into the yard. On a cutting board, she put roast antel, cheese, bread and the last of the appa pie.
“Uncle, the food is ready.”  She dished the soup and filled a mug with kaf.
After she finished serving Ralor, she slipped out the back door and lugged the packs to where Lajin dug the grave. “Go now.”
He lifted a shovel of dirt. “Not ’til Mama lies beside Papa. We’ll go tonight when Uncle’s sleeping.”
“How can you be so sure he won’t hear us creep from the loft? What if the Wizards come? Mama is beyond our care. She bade us leave.”  Jindera’s hands clenched. Why didn’t he feel afraid?
“If they come, I’ll hide.”  Lajin continued to dig. “Mayhaps Uncle lies and ’tis tragon speaking.”
Jindera frowned. Ralor had been drunk. “Then I must go into the forest.”
“Why?”
“To gather starflowers to make sure he sleeps.”  She grabbed her brother’s shoulders. “I wish you’d leave now. I have the feeling trouble comes.”  She groaned. He had that stubborn look she hated.
“We go together.”  He jammed the shovel into the earth.
She saw the tear-tracks on his face. He grieved, too, but his eyes showed a determination to have his way. “Come with me.”
He shook his head. “When I’m finished and Uncle sleeps.”
She wanted to thump him on the head, though what good would a blow do? When he had these stubborn notions, there was no way to move him. “Take care. I won’t be long. Mama told me things you should know.’
She ran toward the line of dark trees. Something puzzled her. Where had Ralor gotten the coins to buy tragon? Since her father’s death, her uncle had lived at the cottage and earned enough from the sale of milk and eggs to buy brew. Had he some scheme involving the garden? Once he was named land holder, one third of the herbals and seasonings would be his. She and Lajin would be little more than servants. But her uncle had said the Wizards were coming. Didn’t Ralor know her twin was the one with Mama’s touch with plants?             Jindera sighed. She wished she’d been blessed with the talent. Her abilities lay in the blending of herbals into medicinals and knowing what an ailing person needed. Mama had called her a Healer born. Yet she knew without training, she couldn’t practice except in the village. Her parents had refused to send her to a Healers’ House and her mother’s learning had been blocked when she’d left the Way.
As the dim light of the forest surrounded her, Jindera set aside her grief and scented the air for the dulcet yet spicy aroma of starflowers. She needed enough blossoms to brew a sleeping tea so she and Lajin could escape.
In a small clearing where sunlight dappled the surface of a pond, she found clusters of the pale flowers. With care not to pull the roots from the ground, she collected a bunch. The aroma soothed her grief.
For a moment, she leaned against an oka and breathed the scent. Where would she and Lajin find a refuge? Though Mama had cautioned against the Healers was there another choice? Any Healers’ House would take her, but her twin was too old. Since the Houses were located in towns, she wondered if he could find work nearby. His ability to coax plants to provide rich harvests should excite any farmer.
Jindera straightened and started back to the garden. As she neared the forest’s edge, she heard shouts.
Jindera, help me. They want to take me. Lajin’s plea on the inner path startled her. She stumbled and nearly fell.
Who?
Black robes.
In order to see what occurred, she dropped the starflowers and climbed an oka. She saw Lajin struggling with several black-robed men. Don’t fight. I’ll follow and help you escape.
Now. Help me before they make me one of them.
Stay calm. I’m coming.
No. Flee. ’Tis you…”
Lajin’s voice ceased abruptly. With a suddenness that made her gasp, pain shot through her head. Feeling dizzy, Jindera clung to the rough bole of the tree. Where was her twin? She couldn’t see or hear him. He couldn’t be dead.
The Wizards mounted their horned horses. As they rode away, she climbed to the ground. Not caring that she trampled the plants, she ran across the herb beds. She stumbled over her uncle’s body and nearly toppled into the grave. Tendrils of smoke rose from the house. She grabbed the packs.
“Girl, help me. They lied.”
“Who, Uncle?”  She dropped the packs and knelt beside him.
“Black robes. Bought me tragon. Asked about you and your brother. Took him and wanted you. Told them no. One stabbed me.”  He groaned.
She examined the gaping abdominal wound and noted the pool of blood around him. She had neither the knowledge nor the skill to mend the torn flesh. “I can’t do anything. I’ll run to the village for help.”  She swallowed several times to keep from losing her morning meal.
“Too late.”  His moan rose to a scream that died in a whimper.
With a whoosh, the thatch of the cottage blossomed with flames. Long fingers of fire thrust into the air. Showers of sparks took flight.
Jindera tried to drag her uncle away. She fell into the grave. When she crawled out, he was dead. Bits of burning thatch fell on the paving stones. Would the garden take fire?
She grabbed the packs and ran. At the edge of the garden, she turned. The flames had died. A pillar of black smoke stained the sky. Jindera collapsed on the ground. Everyone and everything that had been hers was gone. She rested her head against her bent knees. Exhaustion swamped her.
Come.
A voice on the inner path. Lajin?
Come.
Not her twin. The voice repeated the command. Where? The order was the only answer. Who wanted her? She couldn’t abandon her twin. She rose, wavered and nearly fell. She had to find a place to sleep. Then she would decide where to go.
She looked around. The clouds seemed heavier. Would the storm begin this night?
The fire hadn’t spread beyond the stones separating the herb and seasoning beds from the cottage. The herb hut on the far side of the garden had been spared. So had the meadow where the antels grazed. With leaden steps, she made her way to the one room building.
Jindera burrowed beneath a pile of sacks. Lajin!  Still no response. He lived. She would know if he’d left this plane. When she woke, she would search out the Wizards and steal her brother from them. Soft tears began and continued until she slept.

* * *


The Code of the Merchants’ Guild

Once the fee is paid, a boy must be apprenticed to four experienced peddlers. One who deals in cloth. One who deals in all manner of foodstuffs. One involved with jewelry, gems and household wares. One who deals with herbals and seasonings. Next, the boy must serve as a journeyman. Should he succeed in all his ventures and pay off his debts, he can buy into the Guild and open a shop in one of the towns. If he fails, he will remain a journeyman.

Corin hitched the four ponies to the cart. Yesterday, rather than continue past sunset to reach a village, he’d spent the night at the crossroads. He poured the remainder of kaf into his mug and drank. This was a popular spot for travelers to camp. There was a rude shelter and a fire circle large enough for a spit. He wasn’t sure how many kils he would have to travel to reach his destination. He’d only come this way once before with his first mentor.
After dousing the fire he’d used to cook his meals, Corin stored his pack, blanket and cooking gear in the narrow sleeping space. He thought of the rumors he’d heard in Pala that portended changes he hoped to see and telling of events he wouldn’t believe until he met someone who had witnessed them.
The hopeful rumors included tales of the White Jewel being found and a new Queen for Earda, of the Black Jewel destroyed in an arcane battle and the Master Wizards dead. Then there were the dire reports stating the White Jewel had been destroyed and the Wizards now ruled Earda.
He shrugged. Did it matter who ruled? He’d seen no differences during the lunars he since he’d begun his trip as a journeyman. He’d been forced to avoid too many black robes, especially in this area.
Once more, he heard his mother’s voice. ’Twas all of her he had for remembrance other than a picture of her broken and bloody body. “Wizards are evil. Made me a slave. Don’t let them near you for part of you is theirs. They’ll know. Beware for there are Wizards who don’t wear the robes and who hide among the people.”
Corin climbed to the seat and flicked the driving reins to set the team on the way. He prayed he would meet no black robes along the road. ’’Twouldn't matter to them that he was in bond to the Merchants’ Guild. Because of his age, they would test him for talents.
When the team clopped at a steady pace, Corin thought about his plans. Beyond the next village was a garden where a former Healer and her Chosen grew herbals and seasonings.
He’d always planned to return once he was on his own. Four years had passed since his mentor had bargained with the couple for part of their harvest. They’d sold him what didn’t belong to the village or the Healers. The peddler had been able to open a shop in Quato and leave the road.
Corin’s palm itched in anticipation of the profits he would gain. If he entered Pala or Quato with a wide selection of seasonings, he would pay his debt for the cart, ponies and supplies. In two or three years, he could open a shop in Pala. He even had a location selected. The shop fronted the busy market square.
The steady thud of the team’s hooves against the hard-packed surface of the dirt road coupled with the swaying movement of the cart lulled him into a dream state. The thundering sound of an approaching party startled him. Some band of men rode in haste. Guards? Bandits?
When the first rider came into view, Corin shuddered. He had time to get off the road, but not enough to hide from the black robes. He pulled the wide brim of his hat low and hunched his shoulders so he would appear older. Near a stand of evergreens, he halted the cart and waited for the band of Wizards to pass. Their black steeds, the horns dyed red, raised clouds of dust.
Corin touched the blade of the knife he kept on the seat. He flexed his upper arms. The concealed stilettos were primed for action. Rather than surrender to the Wizards, he would force a fight and pray for death.
“They are evil, my son. I would not let them claim you. ’Tis why we live like this.”
Their home had been a hovel. Their clothes and food gleaned from trash heaps. What they couldn’t use had been traded or sold in the seconds’ shops.
Corin watched the parade of horned horses. He noticed the unrobed young men riding on pack horses. His eyes narrowed. A third unrobed boy was held in front of one of the riders. His head lolled. Had he been fool enough to attack a Wizard? Why hadn’t they killed him? That was the usual reward for defiance.
When all but two riders had passed the cart, Corin felt a surge of relief. If he’d been in Pala where streets twisted and alleys abounded, he could have escaped and even removed one or two of the group of Wizards. His years on the city streets had given him knowledge of every escape route. Out here, he stood no chance.
The pair of Wizards wheeled their mounts and rode toward the cart. Corin froze. Every instinct called for flight. He hunched his shoulders until his back was bowed.
“Peddler, what tribute have you for us?”
“T...tragon. Ch...cheese. Cl...cloth.”  His voice quavered like that of an old man.
“Unlock your wares.”
Corin slid from the seat. Tremors spread from his hands to his legs. He nearly fell. He fumbled with the lock and finally opened the trading side, then propped the wooden gate so it formed an awning.
“Old man, we won’t harm you. Just take a few things.”  The man grasped two flasks of tragon and passed them to the second man. He examined the cheese and shook his head. He lifted four more bottles of the liquor. “Just this. Got prime cheese at the village. Left you two flasks. Thank me.”
“Th...thanks.”  Corin swallowed. Tragon was the most expensive of the items he’d stocked and good for trading for food and coins. At least they hadn’t thought to look for his hoard. Those coins had been saved to trade for seasonings.
The Wizards packed the flasks in their saddlebags and mounted. Corin clung to the cart. His knees buckled and he slid to the ground. Laughter rose from the Wizards. Corin pulled to his feet. Better laughter than being taken like those three boys. He felt pity for the trio.
The air smelled of old smoke and blood. What had happened? Corin didn’t want to know.
He locked the cart. Once he climbed on the seat, he grasped the long knife. He stared after the troop until they were out of sight and the dust raised by their steeds had settled.
He eased his team onto the road and flicked the reins. Where were the black robes bound? He wasn’t traveling in their direction. For that he was thankful. He tested the hidden stilettos by flexing the muscles of his upper arms. The hilts slid into his hands. The blades were thin and razor-sharp, but he gained little comfort from their presence. The knives were useless in a face-to-face confrontation. They’d been crafted for attacks from hidden places.
Corin gulped a breath. If the Wizards had seen him as a youth, he would have been forced to join them. They would have discovered his talent, the one he’d used but once on someone other than himself.
Guilt and sorrow flashed into his thoughts along with memories of that dreadful day. He’d been eight. He and his mother had been scavenging when a party of black robes had found them. His mother had screamed for him to hide and he’d obeyed. He’d listened to her agonizing cries and the sound of their fists.
After the Wizards had gone, he’d crept from his hiding place and found her broken and bleeding body. He’d been too young to understand what to do. He’d straightened and mended her bones, but he hadn’t known the loss of blood was more dangerous to life.
Tears flowed over his cheeks. He’d failed, but even a Healer might not have saved her.
As the sun moved to late afternoon, he reached the village. He halted the cart beside the tavern and unhitched the ponies. Once they were in the grazing pen, he took one of the remaining flasks of tragon and relocked the cart. He’d had no midday meal. The nausea caused by his encounter with the Wizards had finally passed and he was hungry.
When he entered the tavern, the buzz of voices in the dark smoky room halted. Corin studied the sullen faces and strode to the bar.
The burly barkeep leaned on the counter. “Your pleasure?”
Corin held out the tragon flask. “Trade this for a meal and a few coins.”
His announcement seemed to loosen the tongues of the villagers. The whisper of conversation became a roar. The barkeep took the flask, drew the cork. He sniffed, then tasted a drop. “Prime. I’ll buy. Have you more?”
“Just one flask,” Corin said. “Had six more. Black robes stopped me and took the rest of my supply.”
“Mine, too.”  The man spat on the floor. “Took two boys from the village and one from the garden. Good riddance to one of the village boys. Nothing but trouble. Fire setter. How’d they miss you?”
Corin pulled his hat low and hunched his shoulders. “Was so scared I shook. Guess they thought I was old.”
“Or their sniffer wasn’t with them.”  The barkeep slid a stack of silver and copper coins across the bar. “Take a table. Food’s plain and hot. To drink?”
“A brew and kaf to follow. Pass the word I’ll open the cart for trade after I eat.”
Before long, his meal arrived. Savory stew, bread and a semi-soft cheese with the kaf and appa tart. Corin waved away seconds, then left to open for business.
First, he hid the coins in his stash. The early customers were older women. They purchased pins, needles and thread. Several bought lengths of sheepsilk.
One of the women arrived with two of the cheeses he’d had at the tavern. “Would you have kaf beans?”
He nodded. “And chokla leaves. Several varieties of tea, too.”
“Weight for weight?”
After hefting the cheese, he shook his head. “Would leave me with little kaf to trade.”  He put his scale on the counter and scooped four measures of beans into the pan. He put them in a sack and weighed the cheese. “I’ll add two measures of tea and one of chokla.”
She nodded. “Done. And for the other cheese. How much cloth?”
Corin closed his eyes. The cheese was delicious and he could sell it at a tavern in some other village. He pulled three bolts from the stores. “A length of each.”
“Three lengths of this one.”  She pointed to a blue with white embroidered flowers.
“Agreed.”
Soon men appeared to examine his supply of tools. Young girls bought ribbons and trinkets. Children came for sweets and toys. By the time first moon rose, the customers were gone. He stored the coins and traded items in the bins.
Not bad, he thought as he lay on his sleep mat. Surely he had enough coins to purchase a stock of seasonings. Even if he hadn’t a large enough supply for one of the city markets, he could sell them along his route and return to purchase more.
The next morning after he broke his fast at the tavern, he left the village. He hoped to persuade the holder of the garden to allow him first selection for three years. That would give him a good hoard when he made his move to a shop. By then he would be twenty-one. He grinned. Few Guild members began so young.
As he rounded a bend in the road, he gasped. What had happened here? The thatch roof of the stone cottage was gone. Soot-blackened rafters showed and black stained the stones. A heavy aroma of burned wood and cloth hung in the air.
Corin urged the skittish ponies onto the paving stones beside the cottage. After hitching them to a fence railing, he stared at the remains. Had anyone survived? He approached and peered through a window where a partially burned shutter allowed him to see into the house.
Had the black robes done this? The gossips said they’d taken a boy from here. Had there been trouble?
What now, he wondered. He rounded a corner of the house. Beds of plants spread toward the forest. A windfall, except he had no idea what they were. His experience with growing things tended toward weeds seeking purchase in the dirt between the cobblestones of Pala’s streets. Once he’d seen a well-appointed garden of a Guild leader, but that had gained him no knowledge.
He started toward the garden. When he came upon a man sprawled near a grave, he shuddered. Someone had killed this man. He dragged the body to the hole and managed to maneuver the corpse inside. He lifted the shovel and spread dirt over the body.
“I don’t know who you were,” Corin said. “I don’t know who killed you. I’ll not say the blessing to help you pass from this plain to the next until the man who took your life is dead. Seek and torment him.”
When he finished the burial, Corin studied the garden. The stone hut in the far corner caught his attention. ’Twas there the peddler had selected herbals and seasonings. Corin grinned. Surely he would recognize the seasonings by their taste or smell. If fortune favored him, he could raid the hut and be on his way.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - The Story Trigger #MFRWauthor #Writing #change

Just what is the story trigger? When I'm planning a story in my head, I hear "Wait for it, wait for it." Suddenly a change in one of the character's lives appears and I know this is where the story will begin. With a change.

No matter what kind of story you're writing there is an instant of change. Right now I'm writing a cozy mystery. As I pondered how to start the story. Then my heroine of the series sees a For Rent sign on the house next door. I knew then the new owner would bring the change into the heroine's life.  In a romance of mine, the hero arrives in town and goes looking for the heroine, the woman he once loved. He goes looking for her. She is a doctor and he is a nurse, a new hire at the hospital. He arrives for a medical examination. And there both his life and that of the heroine change.  Some day I'll write a fantasy that will begin with this line. "The emperor is dead and his daughter is missing." Once again a change.

All through each story, there will be points of change driving the story forward. The good thing is that every change keeps the reader turning pages. But just a change isn't enough. The change must drive the character toward or away form his or her goal. This change must be inside the character and also in the outer story.

So embrace change when you're telling a story. Change will trigger the story forward.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday - Two Double Releases - Moon Child 1 and Moon Child 2 #MFRWauthor #Aries #Gemini #Cancer #Taurus

Moon Child 1


Shattered Dreams: Torn apart years ago by lies and threats, Rafe Marshall returns to town and confronts Manon Lockley. She has been told he died on the night he stood her up for their senior prom. When she faints, Rafe catches her and realizes he hasn’t stopped loving her. 

Melodic Dreams: When Maria and a child she says is hers arrives on Jay’s doorsteps, he is in the middle of composing a musical. Though the four year old has his eyes, Jay can’t be sure this isn’t a scam. He believes his dead wife took steps to rid herself of the child. A need for his assistance to help with childcare while she works is Maria’s reason for arriving in Fern Lake.

Moon Child 2

Divided Dreams. Rob Grantlan has given up medicine to become an author. As a Gemini, having two careers seems just right. His quiet days are overturned by the death of his wayward sister and his taking guardianship of his two month old niece. When he learns the father of the infant is his old flame Andi Sherman’s brother a plan unfolds. Years ago, he hurt her. He still loves her and he wants to regenerate that love.

Rekindled Dreams. Returning to Fern Lake after ten years for the funeral of his cousin and teenage enemy, Simon Parker learns his high school sweetheart is nine months pregnant and seven months divorced from his cousin

Monday, July 17, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #poem #writing

Meander 1 - Poem

I must celebrate with myself
For no one is around
I've reached a truth
And a better understanding
Of what can come.
When one reaches deep
Inside an idea strong
To bring it into the light
For sharing with all others.
It's good. It's great.
It says fully what I want to say.

Meander 2 - I slept in the other day, something I seldom do. By doing this my husband's aid was unable to come. He got wet in the rain. I had to do the morning care and all that entails. I have promised myself not to do this again. Sure hope it works.

Meander 2 - Writing - Working hard on the second draft of Sweet Tea. I may need a bit of help to get the dialogue right for my southern character. How often can one use you all without  it sound silly. At least my editor for these books is southers. Perhaps she can help.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday's Book - Confronting the Wizards of Erda #MFRWauthor #Fantasy #romance

Confronting the Wizards of Erda (Jewels of Earda Book 2)


Two of the Jewels have no Holders and they must be found. The Brotherhood of Wizards also seeks to find them. Jindera is one of the pair and she must escape her cruel uncle. She wishes to find her twin brother taken by the Wizards who will use him in their attempt to destroy the Jewels of Erda. As twins, they can speak via the Inner Path. The Wizards hope to use this.

Mara, is a clanless desert dweller and faces life as the abused plaything of a future clan leader. She flees into an unknown future. On the winds, the crystals call this pair.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Saturday's Blurbs - Features Books by Eileen Charbonneau #MFRWauthor #historicalnovels #suspense

’ll Be Seeing You (Code Talker Chronicles Book 1)

Luke Kayenta and his childhood friend Nantai Riggs are young shepherds of the Navajo reservation in Arizona. They volunteer for an experiment: to come up with an uncrackable code based on their language to be used by the US as it enters World War II. They fly into New York to join the spy agency the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). While on the airfield, Luke catches sight of a young woman. He is first enchanted, then heartsick when he finds that Kitty Charante is the devoted wife of his Canadian RAF pilot and instructor in espionage. Their paths will cross again. 
In the mountains between Spain and Nazi-occupied France, Luke and Nantai practice the code between radio stations while helping on Allied missions. 
But off the coast, German SS agent Helmut Adler hears something crackling over the radio lines. When a young soldier of World War I, an American Indian language helped bring down his regiment in the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. Adler swears it will not happen again. He sets his sights on the code talkers. 
The hunt has begun.



And….Now available as an audio book narrated by actress Joanna Withey, and cover art by Lawrence Gullo!

Waltzing in Ragtime

Award-winning novelist Eileen Charbonneau turns her storytelling powers and lauded historical research to the epic story of two people drawn together from dramatically different spheres of society. As the 20th century turns, San Francisco is a far cry from its gold rush days. The railroads have ushered in an era of rapid change and industrialization in California. In the mansions on Russian Hill, powerful men build financial empires by pillaging a landscape rich in natural resources.
The daughter of a lumber baron, Olana Whittaker is struggling to make it on her own as a journalist for the Gold Coast Chronicle. She resents having to use a male pseudonym to be read seriously.  Covering the grand opening from Sequoia National Parks, Olana meets forest ranger Matthew Hart, who speaks with passion on the need for protecting nature. Hart has little time for people, especially those who destroy forests. But when the pair are trapped in an early blizzard, Olana learns to appreciate both Hart and the land he is fighting to protect from men like her father.
Over the years that follow, Olana and Matt will part - and come together again - as they live through the turbulent early years of the new century and learn the heartbreaks and joys that come with living, loving, and pursuing their destinies.

In ELEMENTS OF THE NOVEL, critically-acclaimed historical and YA novelist Eileen Charbonneau provides beginners with invaluable guidance concerning process, plotting, structure, character development, dialogue, and more. Charbonneau's novels for adults include I’LL BE SEEING YOU, WALTZING IN RAGTIME, THE RANDOLPH LEGACY and RACHEL LeMOYNE. The Washington Post said of WALTZING IN RAGTIME that it "has an almost made-for-TV miniseries sheen to it, even as it grapples with large and complex social issues ... " WALTZING IN RAGTIME has gone back for multiple printings, and won a Heart of the West Award, THE RANDOLPH LEGACY and RACHEL LEMOYNE have been nominated for the prestigious Rita Award from Romance Writers of America, and THE GHOSTS OF STONY CLOVE is a Rita winner. 


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday's Guest - Eileen Charbonneau Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor #writing #historical novels

  What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

've been writing professionally for a long time...since the oldest of our three children was a baby. It all started when I was living in Buffalo New York and a friend convinced me (read: dragged me kicking and screaming) to take an adult-ed class in writing for publication.  Wow, that class changed my life!  The teacher was a lovely woman who was a travel writer.  She was the first professional writer I ever met. Her husband was her photographer, and they went all over the world.  Wow, what a life!  I wanted to BE Diana!   She was also a gifted teacher and from her I learned the nuts and bolts of proper format, submissions, marketing.  She advised a subscription to The Writer and Writer's Digest magazines, and they became my bibles.  The first professional writing I did was about my life...being a mom, what I was learning from my children, recipes, our travels and adventures .  I did editorial writing about things I felt passionate about:  the rights of women and children, the joys of living in ethnically, racially and age diverse neighborhoods. It was a long, long time before I made any kind of a living from my writing, so I have also worked as a librarian, tour guide at historic homes, bookstore seller and manager, early education teacher, actor and director for theater, costumer for film and theater.  When we moved to Georgia, I got very interested in the history of my new home...that's when I got the fiction bug...I started writing a short story about the first gold rush in the US that turned into a novel.  I loved entering that world every morning!   I realized that the odds of being published in fiction were MUCH worse than they were for non-fiction, but I had found my bliss!  I've been working very hard at it ever since.


2.   Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above. 

I write historical novels.  Yes there are many sub-genres!  I have written historical novels both for adults and young adults, mysteries, and romantic historical novels.  I have a keen interest in exploring both the immigrant experience and Native American themes. I explore the history of places I've lived or visited. I sometimes write a series of books, like my Woods Family saga of YA historicals, My Tad and Linda mystery series (contemporary, but they are interested in archeology, naturally!) and my Code Talker Chronicles.

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres?  Sure.  I love getting lost in a novel, and it is usually an historical!  I love language too, so I get bowled over by a well crafted sentence or phrase!  But the bottom line is: fiction is folks..if characters are interesting, I will follow them anywhere!  

4. What's your latest release?  I'll Be Seeing You, Book 1 of my Code Talker Chronicles, set during World War II.

5. What are you working on now?  I am trying to get Book 2 of the Codetalker Chronicles, Watch Over Me ready for an August release. I am researching an Underground Railroad mystery series, and working on a Civil War novel.

6. Where can we find you? In the brave little state of Vermont.  My husband and I are renovating a big, decrepit 1888 house, so, bring a tool belt if you stop by!  There will be pie!!  Failing that, my website is eileencharbonneau@googlepages.com.  Facebook hosts my author page:  Eileen Charbonneau Author and my email is: eileencharbonneau@gmail.com  I LOVE to hear from readers!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday's Second Scene - Choices #MFRWauthor #medical #romance

A BEAM OF SUNLIGHT slid between the slats of the venetian blinds and cast a band of brightness across Johanna’s face. She stretched and touched her toes. Twenty minutes later, she’d showered and reached the kitchen for breakfast.
            Once the household chores had been done, she changed into dark green slacks and a white sleeveless blouse. As she left the house, strains of Swan Lake flowed through the open window. Knowing the music would be playing when she returned allowed her to pretend someone waited for her.
            As she strolled toward town, she skirted a game of hopscotch, then paused to watch the local double dutch team at practice. A pair of young boys on bicycles swerved from her path. As she walked along the sidewalk, she planned her expedition. After exploring several antique shops, she would stop at the library to see what new books had arrived.
            Trees shaded the sidewalk from the bright morning sun. Cars, parked bumper to bumper, lined both sides of the street. As she passed the library, the crowd-jammed walk nearly made her change directions.
Coward.
            Johanna plunged through an opening between two groups of shrill-voiced women. She barely avoided a collision with the fist of a wildly gesticulating bleached blonde. A purse smacked her arm. Someone tramped on her foot. Though the mass of people brought a false sense of togetherness, she knew none of the strangers cared about her presence.
            Moments later, she exhaled a sigh. An empty space in front of Blarney’s promised a moment of calm. Last month, she and Rachel had eaten dinner here. The food had been delicious, but the noise from the partisan baseball fans at the bar had made conversation nearly impossible. She sank on one of the benches flanking the door and watched people eddy past.
            “Blaine—” She cut off the greeting. Though the man who strolled past resembled her friend from freshman year at the local college, nearly twenty-five years had passed since then.
            Her thoughts flashed to a time when gentle caresses and sweet kisses had been hers. She’d been in love with him, but there’d been no future for them. He’d had his life mapped out and so had she. At the end of the year, he’d left for a more prestigious school.
            Johanna had never brought him home. Her parents would have been angry. Her sister had to be protected from the eyes of strangers.
            Though Blaine’s parents had also lived in Hudsonville, he’d seldom returned and on those rare occasions, he hadn’t called. He’d never written. Through the local newspaper, she’d learned of his success as a lawyer and of his marriage to a socialite. Her love and dreams had died that day.
            “Meow! Meow!”
            The plaintive cry sounded beneath the noise of the crowd. Johanna peered between the slats of the bench. A long-haired black-and-brown kitten huddled against the restaurant wall. The animal resembled the one she’d found a week after her eighth birthday. She’d called him Fluff. The kitten had been the first and last thing completely hers. On a gray day, Alice had caught the small bit of fur and squeezed him to death.
            “She doesn’t know any better.” Johanna’s mother had pulled the retarded child into her arms. “Pets aren’t a good idea, Johanna.”
            Friends hadn’t been acceptable either. Other children wouldn’t understand what a special burden Alice was. The habit of standing apart from others had grown until Johanna shielded herself and seldom allowed people to brush more than the surface of her life.
            Impulsively, she crouched beside the bench and coaxed the kitten from its refuge. A door banged shut. The kitten scampered away from her hands. As the small animal darted toward the street, somehow it managed to avoid being trampled.
            Johanna jumped to her feet. The kitten tumbled from the curb and landed between two parked cars. After righting itself, the animal darted into the street. Without a glimpse at traffic, Johanna followed. Seconds later, she scooped the bit of fur from the pavement.
            A car horn blared. She froze. How dumb. Visions of being a patient in the intensive care unit flashed through her thoughts. An arm caught her around the waist and pulled her from the path of an oncoming car. Brakes screeched.
            “Lady, there are better ways to commit suicide. Lucky thing I stepped out for a breath of air before the lunch crowd descends. What in heaven’s name made you dash into the street like you’d been shot from a cannon?”
            Johanna’s feet touched the sidewalk. Her rescuer’s arm remained around her waist. He pulled her toward Blarney’s. The deep voice continued scolding. Unable to speak without revealing how scared she’d been, she studied his hands. Tanned, square fingers, short nails.
            The kitten squirmed. Needle claws raked furrows on her arms. They reached the door of Blarney’s. Instead of allowing herself to be dragged inside, Johanna sank on a bench. Reaction to the earlier surge of adrenaline made her body shake. She looked up and her eyes widened.
            He was like and unlike the warrior in her fantasy world. His unruly, auburn hair needed a trim. Green eyes tinted with blue reminded her of the sea. His rugged face bore laughter lines.
            “I’m waiting for an explanation of your rush toward oblivion.” His voice held concern and amusement. “Hope it wasn’t thoughts of the food.”
            Her cheeks heated. How could she deal with the glint of humor she saw in his eyes? “The kitten ran into the street.”
            “And look what the ungrateful creature’s doing to you. He’s not feeling an ounce of remorse. You’ll be lucky to escape with your skin intact.”
            Johanna tried to contain the kitten on her lap. “Guess it was a foolish thing to do.”
            “An act of kindness.” He plucked the animal from her hands. “See here, my boy, you’ve got to treat this lady with more respect.”
            Johanna smiled. She wanted to say something, but she didn’t know what would end the tension that pulsed between them.
            He put one foot on the bench and held the squirming kitten. “Dylan Connelly at your service. Next time you need a rescue, be sure to call me.”
            A bubble of laughter escaped. “Johanna Gordon.”
            “Aha. Hudson Community’s Director of Nursing. My niece has told me a lot about you.”
            “Your niece?”
            “Bridget Long.”
            When he laughed, Johanna knew her expression showed dismay. Bridget was a talented nurse and the most vocal of the union leaders. Johanna wondered if she and the younger woman would ever agree about anything.
            “Don’t look so shocked. The girl likes you.” He reached for Johanna’s hand. “You’re needing to see to your wounds. No telling where the wee beast has been.”
            Without a protest, Johanna rose. She frowned. Why was she following him? In ten minutes, she could be home using her own first aid supplies. When he opened the restaurant door, cool air rushed over her flushed face. She blinked to adjust to the dim light.
            Empty stools lined the curved oak bar. A younger version of the man whose hand cupped her elbow slid wine glasses into a rack above the bar. Dylan Connelly ushered her to the ladies room and vanished down the hall. Johanna attacked the multitude of scratches with soap and water.
            Dylan tapped on the door. “Peroxide. I’ve bandages if you need them. We have our share of kitchen mishaps.”
            “No need for them.” Probably not for the peroxide either, but she took the bottle.
            “I’ve boxed the kitten.” He paused with one hand on the door. “Would you be interested in joining me for a bit of lunch before you leave?”
            Not sure what she saw in his eyes or his smile, she nodded. “I’d like that.”
            “Then you’re on. I’ll put in our order.”
            “But—” The door closed leaving her with second thoughts. He hadn’t given her a chance to choose her meal. She poured peroxide on her arms. What had she done? When the liquid no longer foamed, she patted dry. She had to tell him she’d changed her mind. She opened the door and stepped into the hall. Maybe she could slip away.
            Dylan leaned against the wall across from the door. “I was wondering if you’d gone out the window.”
            She frowned. “There’s no window.”
            “Good thing you noticed before you tried to escape.”
            Had he read her mind? Johanna felt thankful the hall was dimly lit. “I wanted to be thorough.”
            He grinned. “Your lunch awaits.”
            What, no chariot? The frivolity of this thought surprised her. Maybe she was in shock from accepting his invitation. Having lunch with a stranger wasn’t her style.
            He showed her to a booth across from the bar. High back church pews formed the seats. She saw a shoebox on the bench and heard a faint meow. “What am I going to do with a kitten?”
            “Become a slave. The creatures have a way of creeping into your life and letting you know how much you need them. The pair of you are bonded for life. I’ve a memory of the time my oldest brought home a bedraggled cat. Next morning, there were six. Makes one think twice about rescue missions.”
            Johanna stared at the box. Did Dylan feel responsible for her? How could she tell him there was no need? Before she framed a reply, a significantly pregnant waitress set two plates on the table.
            “Dina, love,” Dylan said. “I thought you were hostess today.”
            She made a face. “You and Patrick...I’m not an invalid. Colleen’s late, so I’m filling in ’til she gets here.”
            “Make sure you’re not on your feet too long.”
            Johanna smiled. The caring in his voice raised a bit of envy. She wished someone cared for her in that way.
            She watched him drip catsup on his burger and fries. Did he realize how much fat the food contained? She inhaled and the aroma of the burger made her realize how hungry she was.
            As they ate, he related stories of the bar he’d bought from his father-in-law and how it had evolved into a restaurant. “First there were the snacks. Then a bit of soda bread. When Colleen’s husband graduated from the Culinary Institute, he was needing a job, so we bought the building next door and expanded.”
            Before she finished the savory burger, Johanna learned Dylan had been a widower for two years. His oldest children were his partners, and the youngest two were in college and spending the summer on work/study projects.
            The town clock struck twelve times. Johanna glanced around the room. The other booths and the tables near the windows were occupied and so were most of the seats at the bar. She slid toward the aisle. “I should go.”
            “Feel free to stay for a bit of dessert,” Dylan said. “Time I was headed to the bar. I’ll call and see how you and the wee beast are dealing with each other and if your wounds have healed.”
            “There’s no need. I’ll be fine.”
            He winked. “I’m not one for doing a thing I don’t want to do. Remember, if you need another rescue from an iron dragon, I’m your man.” He strode to the bar.
            Johanna waved the waitress away. “No dessert. Thanks.” She’d eaten more this noon than she had for months. She slipped a bill beneath her plate and rose. As she lifted the shoe box, she heard a mournful cry. What was she going to do with a kitten?
            “Take care crossing the street,” Dylan called.

            Johanna stepped outside. Forgotten were her plans for the antique shops and the library. She had a kitten, the promise of a phone call and lighter spirits. At the curb, she turned to look at the restaurant, saw Dylan and waved.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Crafting Your World #MFRWauthor #amwriting #worldview

You now have your focus character or characters. What comes next. These people can't exist in a vacuum. You need to show the setting of your story. Even if you are writing about the world of today, this world isn't one the reader knows though there are points of sameness. This is the word according to your focus character or characters. How does this happen.

First you must decide how your characters react to this world. Many times I've used the world of a hospital in my stories. Of course, there are the physical descriptions but using just this won't bring the reader into the world you've created. You can start with the place. City, town, rural area, All these worlds have differences. But placing the reader here takes more than just buildings, exterior and interior. How do you do this?

Using the senses. Not just the ordinary ones but engaging the focus character in the world by using all the senses is the key. What do they see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Suddenly the reader begins to see the world. But there is more.

How does your character react to this world you're creating. You must run the senses through the character's eyes, ears, fingers, mouth, nose. The reader will experience this world you have created.

No matter if the world is the one where we exist or some world in space or fantasy, bringing hwo the focus character reacts is the key to bringing the reader into your world.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday - My Inspiration this week #MFRWauthor #chosen #author of the month

    I'm not sure how this happened but I've been chosen. Perhaps it was because I've been behind putting books up at Chapter See and finally found the time to add 8 of my most recent ones. 


    Interesting bit here

    We are pleased to announce Janet Lane Walters as Author of The Month.
    chaptersee.com

Monday, July 10, 2017

Meandering On Monday with Janet Lane Walters #MFRWauthor #Poem #groceryshopping

Meander 1 - Poem - School Bliss

Silence enfolds me and holds me close.
School has begun and off
Are the noisy voices and running feet.
Can I stand to be alone?
Yes, a million times yes.

Meander 2 _ Grocery shopping.- This is a task I don't enjoy. I have a list and if what I want isn't on the list it's left for another time. I wish there was a way to avoid this weekly chore. Unfortunately, there are some things having a short shelf that must be bought again and again. Someone suggested I let my husband do this chore. Tried that once and gave him a list I had carefully prepared. When he returned, I unpacked the bags. Most of the things contained in the bags weren't on my list and the listed items were missing. This was not one of my better ideas so weekly, I shop and hate every minute of the chore.

Meander 3 - Writing. Am partly through the second draft of Sweet Tea. Actually halfway through. Then there are three more drafts to do. Not sure if I'll manage the August date I'd selected to be finished but it will be close. Hopefully I'll be able to make the forty thousand goal for the finished book. No way will I hit fifty thousand unless the latter chapters expand a lot.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday's Book - Choices #MFRWauthor #medical #romance

Choices

In Janet Lane Walters' Choices, published by Books We Love, Johanna Gordon devotes her time and energy to her job as Director of Nursing at Hudson Community Hospital. With budget cuts hanging over her head, Johanna suspects the CEO of scheming a plan that threatens her job as well as the hospital, and she’s determined to find out why. 
The choices she’s made for herself and her career leave her with no social life until she meets Dylan Connelly. He’s everything she’s always wanted, loving, devoted to his kids and everything she’s never had. Just when she finds love with the new man, an old flame returns with promises of a life together. Johanna has to decide between security and companionship, while trying to recapture the past, or moving forward with her new life.

Review
on December 4, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase