widgetwords

WOC front cover finalAt the forefront of that wind of change is the fact I’m actually writing a blog post, ha. But even if I haven’t written many blogs lately, I have been writing. Book #3 in the Winds series, Winds of Change, is now with beta readers and will soon be available for purchase in ebook and print formats. Just so you know, early buyers will get a really good deal.

Launch team members can get an even better deal. Send me an email at beckylyles@beckylyles.com if you’d like to join the launch team and receive a free pre-release electronic version of Winds of Change. All I ask in return is that you share release news with your social media contacts (and anyone else who likes to read) plus leave an honest review on Amazon (and other online book sites, if you’re so inclined).

Here are a few paragraphs from the first chapter of Winds of Change to wet your appetite.

Seated on the edge of the bathtub, bare feet planted on the warm wood floor, Kate Duncan bent over her knees and began to brush her long hair. Stroke after stroke, she brushed from the nape of her neck downward toward the floor, something she did almost every night.

Her mother had told her years ago a hundred strokes a day would distribute the natural oils in her hair and make it shine. So that’s what she did before bed. She didn’t always remember to count, but most evenings, she remembered to brush.

Sometimes she thought about her sweet mama while she brushed, determined not to let what memories she had fade. Other times, she thought about her father and her brother, who’d both died along with her mother in a car accident when Kate was eight. Sometimes she thought of the years she wandered Pittsburg streets without a dime—or a hairbrush—to her name. Occasionally, she thought of her prison days, when brushing her hair during a quiet moment was a rare luxury.

More often, she talked with her husband, Mike. Tonight, they were discussing an outing with the kids from Freedom House, the children’s home she and Mike’s mom, Laura, had established on their Wyoming ranch several months ago. Kate wanted to treat the children to a fun day in Cheyenne, and she needed another adult to help her keep track of them. Chin on her knee, she said, “It would just be one day, Mike. I’m not asking for the whole weekend.” She’d originally hoped to add a couple camping days to the outing. But when no adults were available to accompany her and the kids, she’d scaled her plans down to one day.

Mike, who was brushing his teeth, didn’t respond until he’d rinsed his mouth. “Kate…” She heard him run water over the toothbrush and tap it on the sink to knock out the excess.

“Kate,” he repeated, “you know the only time I can even think of getting away is in the middle of the week. Did you forget this is a guest ranch and that Saturday is our busiest day? Guests will be coming and going, like usual. We have trail rides, bison tours, fishing trips and classes scheduled all day long.”

She made a face she knew he couldn’t see and kept brushing. No matter what she asked him to do, the ranch came first. “That’s why you have employees.”

“This is the beginning of summer, the beginning of the guest season, and we have a slew of first-time workers. I need to hang around to make sure everything runs smoothly.” She heard him blow air between his lips. “One of the new hires from town wore tennis shoes today instead of boots and, of course, stepped in a gopher hole. Did a number on his ankle. He’ll be out of commission a couple weeks, at best.”

“You could put Clint in charge.”

“You know he oversees the working side of the WP and doesn’t have much to do with the guest side.”

Kate loved the Whispering Pines. Their guest ranch was beautiful and welcoming. And she loved that Mike loved his work. But his hands-on management style controlled their lives. She didn’t have enough fingers to count the plans that had been ruined by sick cows, runaway horses and natural disasters, like last week’s self-combusting haystack, not to mention guests and their emergencies. And then there was his pride and joy, his bison herd…

She pushed her dark curtain of hair aside to look at him. “Eight or nine hours. That’s all I’m asking. Surely you could find someone to cover such a short time.”

Mike pulled his t-shirt over his head, threw it in the hamper and left the room. Hands clasped behind his head, he stretched as he walked from the bathroom to the bedroom. Like a magnet, a familiar tug pulled at Kate’s heart, drawing her to him.

She sat up, combing her hair back with her fingers, and watched him balance on the end of the bed and pull off his socks, one at a time. Her husband was as good-looking as the day they met…and just as stubborn.

Finished with her hair, she dropped the brush into a drawer, turned off the bathroom light and walked into the dark bedroom. Mike was already in bed, but before she joined him, she opened the window all the way. She loved to snuggle with him beneath warm quilts while crisp mountain breezes swirled around them.

Like every night, he was waiting for her to slide into his arms, her back against his chest. He kissed her neck. “I love you, Mrs. Duncan.”

Kate squirmed around to kiss him on the lips. “I love you, too, sweetheart.” She touched his jaw. “Will you at least think about Saturday?”

He grunted, and she could feel his muscles tense. “Don’t you ever think about anything or anybody but those kids?”

Kate frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

He untangled himself from her and rolled over. “It’s late. We can talk about it tomorrow.”

~:~:~

Winds of Freedom Transparent The Fussy Librarian is giving away  9 (nine!) copies of “Winds of Freedom” this week, your choice of format. Check out the giveaway at: The Fussy Librarian

My Website

 

Time to…

3 snowcurls

check in again and to say “Merry Christmas” to you and yours!

Here’s a link to my Christmas 2015 newsletter. Enjoy! Becky

 

You were wondering if I’d fallen off the edge of the universe (I’m a terrible blogger!), and just in case you don’t receive my newsletter, here’s a short link. One of these days, I’ll get on the ball with the blogging. In the meantime, I’ll be busy writing another book. 🙂104_9762

http://tinyurl.com/q5vhes5

Fliterary just posted a blog I wrote about podcast hosting and creating audiobooks. Learn more here:

http://fliterary.blogspot.com/2015/02/expand-your-reach-through-audio-products.html

MB900411777Sometimes I wonder if I should be writing nonfiction rather than fiction. You know, something more profound and educational. And then I read a scene in a novel that teaches me about another country or culture or zaps me between the eyes with an attitude I need to correct, like the novel I just finished. Truth is, a good short story or fiction book mirrors real life and challenges us to become better people as we observe the characters becoming better people.

A great article titled “Characters, Scene by Scene” by David Corbett in the January 2015 Writer’s Digest magazine reads like a counseling session. Several lines caught my attention, like this one: “Characters reveal themselves more vividly in what they do and say than in what they think and feel.”

Ouch! Just because I think I’m a nice person doesn’t mean I am. My words and actions reveal my true thoughts and feelings.

How about this quote? “We reveal ourselves most unequivocally when we’re tested.” Yikes! I usually whine when I’m tested. Revealing, huh.

As I said earlier, good fiction mirrors real life. Yes, we want characters who are just as imperfect as we are. On the other hand, we want them to face and overcome their challenges, to change and grow up out of their self-focused insecurities. Isn’t that what we want for ourselves, our children, our spouses and friends?

Corbett offers psychological tidbits, like – “Even good people have hatred in their hearts.” Really? Squirm. And, “Mercy is a rare state of grace, given the human heart’s propensity for clinging to grievances.” Oops, another squirm.

About food, he says: “It may seem curious to include food as an aspect of a character’s psychology, but it’s often a stand-in for gratifications the character can’t find elsewhere.” Interesting.

And family: “This is the crucible in which much of psychological life is forged. Many of one’s fears, wants, humiliations, etc., trace back to some episode with a family member.”

To read this excellent four-page article, pick up the January Writer’s Digest at your local bookstore or subscribe at writersdigest.com. And make your characters real. Show their weaknesses and their growth as they face and overcome challenges. In addition to entertaining readers, fiction can spur us to maturity. You don’t need to preach or write a sermon. Just tell a good, redeeming story.

On the eve of Christ’s appearance on earth in human form, Steve reads a Christmas poem for you, plus we share a short story, a devotional thought and a couple of great quotes.

Listen all the way through to the fun ending. Merry Christmas from our house to yours! Steve & Becky

Links for this session’s authors: bdriehl.wordpress.com and beckylyles.com
%d bloggers like this: