Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Friday, December 25, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
Leaving the town behind, they drove on towards the castle. Cate could see it clearly, sitting stoically in the distance. It grew larger and larger as they approached. Cate also saw the rolling lawns with their perfect landscaping surrounding the castle.
As they pulled in the drive, Cate couldn’t believe this was her life. Mr. Smythe drove on toward the house as Cate gaped from the backseat. Riley, sensing Cate’s excitement, was darting from window to window to peer out, wagging his tail and eyeing Cate as if to confirm that his reaction was appropriate.
As they approached the castle, Cate could see a few people standing near the front entrance. “Ah, good,” Mr. Smythe said, eyeing them, “I asked the staff to meet us, they’ve timed it well.”
“Probably got the warning call from the village,” Gayle joked.
“Staff?” Cate mumbled to herself, her brow furrowing.
She said it a bit too loudly as Mr. Smythe overheard her and replied, “Yes, Charlie and Emily Fraser. Mr. Fraser oversees most of the handiwork, landscaping and the external landscaping company, Mrs. Fraser provides light cooking and house cleaning. A hired company does most of the other house cleaning. Finally, Jack Reid, the estate manager, a new addition who will also take over most of the handiwork and landscaping from Mr. Fraser soon. Lady MacKenzie hired him just before passing away.”
Cate was impressed. She hadn’t given much thought to the upkeep of the castle, it was good to know someone else had.
Mr. Smythe interrupted her thoughts. “Can I assume that you will keep the staff on?” he questioned.
“Ah, yes assuming they would like to stay on.”
“I think they very much would, Cate,” Gayle answered. “I think they may have been on edge that the new owner would do a clean sweep and bring in her own people. They will be relieved to find out that you are keeping them on.”
“Oh, yes, no, I mean to say, I’d never do that to anyone!”
As the conversation came to a close, Mr. Smythe eased the car parallel to the front entrance. The youngest of the three staff, Jack, approached the car to open doors and begin unloading luggage. Cate scooped Riley into her arms and stepped out of the car. Kissing him on the top of his head, she looked up at the castle and said, “We’re home, Riley, we’re home.”
Monday, December 21, 2020
Friday, December 18, 2020
I’m excited to share with you that MEG, book 20 in the Angel Creek Christmas Brides Series, released today! I hope you’re one of the many who had it preordered so that you already have the book on your e-reader. It’s also available in print and is free in Kindle Unlimited.
I admit I'm pleased at how this book turned out. Beta reader reports have been very favorable. I hope you will read and enjoy Meg and Curtis' story.
Having children as secondary characters is something I enjoy. How an adult reacts to a child tells a lot about the person. You’ll see what I mean in MEG when Curtis McClain has to adjust to two surprise orphans Meg brings with her to Angel Creek in Montana Territory.
Curtis grew up in a cold-mannered family and doesn’t know how to show affection. Meg has to teach him what being a family means. She’s just the feisty female for the job.
When Meg Todd learns her bullying brother-in-law has horrifying plans for her future, she asks an attorney family friend for help escaping. Meg wants her own husband and home and is willing to move over halfway across the country to achieve her goal. Along the way she agrees to take two children for their dying mother. Is she too impulsive? Will Curtis and the children become the happy family of Meg’s dreams?
Curtis McClain has to be careful with his small savings or it won’t fund his dream of his own newspaper. He wants a wife—and he needs someone to help him with the newspaper. If he can combine the two, then he’ll be all right. In a few years, they can start a family. But, will a woman want to move to the middle of nowhere on those terms? Will she grow to care for him in spite of his reserved nature?
He is slightly annoyed when his wife shows up with two orphaned children. When he learns the amount of her inheritance, he decides she won’t be content to stay with him. What does she need with an almost penniless newspaper owner when she has two children and the money to live wherever she chooses? The boy and girl are well-behaved but he still isn’t certain he could accept them as his own. That is, until a terrifying event occurs that forces him to make a decision and take quick action.
When he stepped forward, he was wearing a frown. “I’m expecting Meg McClain.”
He was tall with dark brown hair and startling bright blue eyes. Not Greek god handsome, he was ruggedly attractive. His posture gave her the impression he was ill at ease.
“Hello, Curtis. I’m Meg and these are now our children. Penny is four and Tom is six. How they came to be ours is a long story. Perhaps it can wait until we’re somewhere warm.”
Poor little Tom’s face clouded with worry. “I sure hope you’re not gonna be mad at us or our new Mama, sir.”
“New Mama?” Curtis’ eyebrows raised.
Before she could add anything, Tom added, “We’ll be real good and I’ll do all kinds of chores and help you. I reckon I look small but I’m strong.” He raised his little arm as if he expected Curtis to test it.
Curtis’ gaze turned to Tom and his frown softened. “You’re a hard worker, are you? I can probably find things that need your help.”
“You won’t be sorry, sir.”
Meg cuddled Penny’s head on her shoulder while she repeated her request. “I wonder if we can get inside? I’m sure we’ll be able to tolerate the weather, but we’re not yet used to the cold.”
He handed Tom the valise and then picked up the two suitcases that belonged to the children. “I’ll arrange to get the trunks later. Looks as if there are several.”
Carrying Penny, she followed, glancing at Tom to make sure he could keep pace. “I brought as much as I could. I didn’t know how much in the way of household supplies a bachelor would have. Plus, many are family things I wanted to save.”
“The answer to the first is not much. I only brought a few personal items and the rest was newspaper equipment. It’s heavy and cost a lot to ship.”
“I imagine getting it here safely was complicated as well. Is it far to your house?”
He actually chuckled. “Across town, or what there is of Angel Creek. I recently bought the house from folks who were moving to the southwest.”
The Universal Buy Link is https://mybook.to/McClain
The Universal Buy Link is https://mybook.to/McClain
FRESH APPLE CAKE
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped raw apples
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup pecans, chopped
Add 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries to batter for color (and flavor) for a holiday cake.
This cake is also very good served warm with hot spiced apple cider for an afternoon tea or winter evening treat.
Small loaves make great token gifts for friends (especially if accompanied by cookies and perhaps a few pieces of candy).
My mom used caramel icing on her Bundt apple cake. She made wonderful caramel. I didn’t get that DNA because I have trouble not scorching the sugar.
Please remember that CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS is only available for a short time now. My novella in the contemporary anthology is HOLIDAY HEARTS. I love this anthology and hope you will too. Only 99 cents for ten original stories set in a perfect town. The universal buy link is at https://books2read.com/DickensChristmas
Also still on sale are the Yours Truly: The Lovelorn historical romances. Mine is DESPERATE IN DELAWARE. They’re 99 cents each through the end of December. It’s at https://mybook.to/Mina
Do you have social-distancing (new 2020 phrase) plans to celebrate the season? Our youngest daughter took me to look at Christmas lights yesterday evening. So many gorgeous displays! One area of a nearby city has a contest and traffic-stopping yard displays. We try to go each year.
Don’t miss the aligning of planets on December 21 on the Winter Solstice. We plan to view them. I expect to get an idea of what drew the wise men to Bethlehem when Christ was born.
As the year draws to a close, I tend
to take stock of my year as well as make plans for the upcoming months. I have books
scheduled for 2021 and a couple already planned for 2022.
Whether you’re Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Moslem, or any other religion, I hope you receive peace in your heart. No matter how you’re coping now, my hope is the coming year brings you joy, peace, good health, and prosperity.
This has been a stressful year, but also one filled with blessings. I’m grateful for many things—my faith, my family, my pets (who are part of the family), and for you!