Sample Sunday | Historical Romance
A soft contact on his arm caused an internal jolt as he glanced to his right. Sara stood beside him, hesitancy darkening her blue eyes as she worried her lower lip. Dread dried his throat. She only ever looked like that when about to speak directly to a need. Pushed by Someone Christopher tried desperately to ignore. Someone who wouldn’t be ignored. Sara displayed courage in that; speaking in a way that didn’t accuse or belittle. She simply offered.
“Mr. Christopher, I….” Sara sent a fleeting look to the studio door before again meeting his gaze.
He noticed something different in her expression, and the hesitancy didn’t seem to be for him. “What’s the matter?”
She flushed but didn’t look away. “I know you have no’ painted since—” Sara’s cheeks paled. Christopher cleared his throat and looked away. “But could you… could you help me? I try so hard,” she confessed, her blue eyes wide as the recognizable glimmer of frustration appeared. “Even using my charcoals before the paints I still do no’ see an image. I thought….” She finally lowered her gaze, clasping her hands in front of her. “I thought, perhaps, if you could help me as before, something might come of it. You are such a natural hand with the brush.”
His chest tightened with the overwhelming desire to do what she asked. To paint. To create. But when he again focused on the studio door and remembered how large the white… “The blind leading the blind,” he mumbled.
“Mr. Christopher, you are no’ blind.” Sara’s tender tone drew his gaze. Her eyes glowed. “You have but closed your eyes to what’s there, perhaps a bit frightened of what you might see.”
“Or what I won’t.”
“But that is no’ what you want.” She rested her hand on his arm, and the warmth of it burned. “Do you no’ want to see the images again?”
Christopher clenched his jaw and slightly nodded.
“Then believe you will and move to the doing of it. God’s whispers never stop. We only stop listening.”
Christopher frowned and pulled his arm from her touch. “He stopped listening a long time—”
“No, Mr. Christopher. No, He did no’ stop.”
He moved his glare to the studio door.
“You are hurt and angry, and wanting to know a ‘why’ that your heart and mind likely canno’ accept. He chooses no’ to answer, and you hate it. I did, too. But He’s still there. Listening. Watching. Doing what needs to be done to keep you moving forward. That little bit of strength coming when you had no’ left. That little bit of silence when a laugh would have been too much.”
Christopher swallowed hard at the words and what they meant, even as he fought against them. “If He cared, why did she die? Why am I blind? Empty—”
“Do no’ ask for the answer to the ‘why’,” Sara pleaded. “There’s no answer to be had until we face God at the hereafter. Ask the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ and the ‘when’. ‘What can I do to go on?’, ‘How can God make it better?’, ‘When will God bring the blessing from this?’” Sara wrapped a hand around Christopher’s arm and gently but firmly squeezed. “Look for it, sir. It be there. It is always there.”
“I…” And the cacophony of desires… to see the blessing, to have the release, to have that security back; they bombarded him. Pushing. Pulling. Tearing at something deep that hid a terrible agony. A mountain of loss, his wife, his faith, his passion. Desperation to have it back clawed at him, but the betrayal fought it back.
Christopher shook his head and tried to pull his arm from her hold. “I… I can’t.”
Her hold didn’t loosen, which drew Christopher’s gaze. Tear trails glistened on her face as her blue eyes shone with her own memories.
“You must,” she whispered. “For Gwyn. For yourself. For everything waiting to give to everyone else. You canno’ stay in this black place, sir. Yours is a good heart. One that hungers after God’s whisper. You canno’ ignore that. You die each day you do.
Excerpt from Searching for Sara, inspirational/historical romance.
Nona King was born in Oregon City, Oregon, and grew up on a 30-acre homestead in historic Aurora, population 540. She has been writing songs, plays, and romance & adventure novels since the age of sixteen. Her first paranormal fantasy series, The Soul Cycle, is a winner of the National Novel Writing Month and based on adventure modules written by her husband, Michael King. Her inspirational romance, Searching for Sara, won Honorable Mention in the 2011 Deep River Books Writing Contest.
Searching for Sara
Genre: Inspirational, Historical Romance
Heart of the Blessed | Book One
I have been in love with Searching for Sara from the moment I saw the chilling scene of Carla’s death in my mind. Yes, the exchange between Christopher and Carla didn’t make it to the final, but the grief and agony was enough to keep me enthralled with the characters. Even through the heart breaking duty of chopping out 60,000 words! Now I look forward to finishing Sara’s tale in Releasing Yesterday.
About the Book
Sara Little has an intimate knowledge of fear, with faith her only source of comfort. Then God calls her to put aside her past to pursue a life beyond servitude for the English aristocracy. A life in America.
Christopher Lake exists in a void of agony and grief, stripped of his wife, their unborn son, and his passion for art. All that remains to tempt him to life is that of his five-year-old daughter. But after almost two years of wallowing in sorrow and rage, even that is spent.
Searching for Sara is the story of two people who face their daily tortures of fear and grief to find the love and joy of family and a renewal of faith.
What Others Are Saying
King paints a full-bodied story, rich in imagery, emotion, and spiritual healing. Her prose spills out effortlessly as she introduces us to characters who are multifaceted and easy to love. Historical readers will embrace her fresh voice. I particularly appreciated the realistic relationships between friends and siblings.
~Ann Lee Miller, author of Kicking Eternity, The Art of My Life, and Avra’s God
This book is its own little piece of heaven. I didn’t know when I started reading it that I would look forward to my “time away” each night as I ventured into the pages. Being “little” has nothing to do with the heart of this girl….and with her meek spirit, she shines the light of the Lord to help heal broken hearts and mend families. I highly recommend it.
~Laura J. Marshall, author of Persistent Love
King weaves art in many forms throughout this story, from charcoal and watercolors to tatting and crocheting to old pictures from childhood. The resulting kaleidoscope is largely pleasing to the reader’s eye.
~Kim Ford, reviewer for The Wordsmith Journal Magazine.
Where You Can Buy the Book
The past couple of months, all I’ve posted here on Word Obsession are book reviews.
Each week, every week, another book review.
When I first started, it was to try something new and different. After all, the last time I read this many fiction books I was in my teens (or earlier). Add to that the importance of reading others work in order to learn about your own style… well, I continued to persuade myself reading and reviewing would be a good place to start seeing other voices and approaches.
Then I began to see it left little time for working on my own novels. Between packing, moving, unpacking, work, housework, yardwork, doctor’s appointments, reading and reviewing…. Yeah. When did I have enough mind juice left?
So, I whittled my obligations to one review every other week instead of every week (which starts next month) in hopes it will allow more time for my own long list of books to revise, review, revise, and publish.
Then, after updating my ‘upcoming reviews’ widget, I noticed I had lost more than half my followers.
Had I become spam? An uninteresting blog focused solely on regular, syndicated material that had little to no meaning to anyone?
Right there. In my face. Proof that I was no longer blogging about what mattered to me: writing. I was no longer obsessing over words. My characters. My struggle and the “silver lining” waiting to share with others. I lost myself in… in something else. Production. Quantity. Quality, yes, because I take everything I post here seriously… but there was nothing really of my deeper self.
The self I put into my characters, my stories, and my life as a writer.
So, I’m cleaning off my specs, removing the smudges and the cobwebs, and getting my mind back to where I feel right. How appropriate that NaNoWriMo is around the corner?
It’s so important to rediscover what we love, to refresh our minds and spirits so our characters can experience a new passion. Existing isn’t good enough for a writer. I want my characters to live, which means I need to do the same.
About the Book
Nia Alaera, Guardian, and the only daughter of Alaerian King Thaedis. To benefit the realm and expand trade, she is betrothed to the mayor of a blossoming town in a neighboring district sight unseen. After her childhood fantasies of finding true love the betrothal is a bitter pill to swallow, but her dedication to her people provides silent courage.
Future possibilities shift when she meets her mysterious husband-to-be before the wedding. With his unruly shock of auburn hair and easy going manner, she is reminded of a mischievous boy rather than a mayor. Shamus O’Neill is a handsome and endearing alternative to the decrepit mayor of her imagination.
When he makes it his daily goal to woo her, friendship flames into fondness. Each act of deference encourages a stronger affection in Nia until her heart comes to realize that the fondness has blossomed to a true and passionate love for her husband.
Shamus and Nia have been married for only a few days. Shamus has dedicated himself to giving Nia her childhood dream of falling in love. What follows is the preamble to their first night in the same bed, upon Nia’s insistence, as a study in trust. She has given Shamus permission to follow his passions, but he is conflicted, as he does not wish to damage their growing relationship.
The pair left the drawing room and moved for the stairs, Nia ascending ahead of him. Okay Sammy boy, you’re both in an awkward spot, so just relax. Better yet, take a deep breath before speaking so you don’t make an ass out of yourself. They crested the stairs and her step hesitated.
Shamus rested a hand on her shoulder. “Nia, we don’t need to do this tonight. I can sleep on the couch.”
“Oh no, Shamus. I did not hesitate on that.” She blinked up at him, her cheeks the red of an early morning sunrise. “I cannot seem to remember where I put my pajamas.”
Their laughter caused a nearly audible tear to the tension. “Well, let’s go on a search. Are they the pretty pink ones you had on yesterday?”
“That is one pair, yes, but also a pale yellow one, a cornflower blue one, and a pin-striped one of burgundy and ivory.” Nia examined his profile. “Did you want me to wear the pink?”
She’s asking me what to wear to bed? Shamus cleared his throat to keep from answering and tried to convince himself that his hair would not catch on fire. “Whatever you want.” Don’t say it. He cleared his throat again.
“Your favorite color is blue?”
She remembered? Shamus grinned. “Yes.”
“Then I shall wear that one.” She laughed. “If I can remember where I put them.”
He opened the door for her. “I’ll help. They’ve got to be in here somewhere, right?” I didn’t actually ask someone to hide them… did I?
“And see my under things? No, thank you, Mayor O’Neill.”
“Fine, fine. I’ll change in the bathroom while you look. How’s that?”
“A much better idea.” Nia headed toward the dresser. She opened one of the drawers just as Shamus reached the door of the bathroom. “Oh. Wait. Do you wear— I can’t believe I’m asking, but I guess I want to know what to expect.”
“Expect? Oh! I, erm, don’t like wearing a shirt. Cuts me off at the neck.”
“Oh.” Nia tapped her lips as she regarded him.
“But I’m sure I can find one that’ll work.” He had already dug out pajamas he hadn’t worn since….
“Do not do so on my account. This is still your room, after all, and I can assure you I have seen a male torso before.”
The thought felt like a brick at the head. “I don’t mind wearing a shirt. At least for the first couple nights. Remember, we’re still getting used to the idea.”
Shamus entered the bathroom, gripping the doorknob as his head thudded softly against the door. ‘I can assure you I have seen a male torso before.’ He groaned. But when he heard Nia chatter about the possible location of previously misplaced pajamas, he could not restrain a smile. Sammy boy, are you ready for this? Ready for his first night with his wife? He scrubbed a hand through his hair and lowered himself with a huff onto the toilet.
Yes and no.
Shamus changed into his pajamas, lucky enough to find a loose-fitting tee in the hamper. As he brushed his teeth, his thoughts kept wandering to the female murmurings beyond the bathroom door. The toothbrush sagged in his mouth and he slumped back onto the toilet. The prospect of sharing a bed with Nia tightened each muscle like a vise. She trusted him, but did he trust himself?
Yes and no.
He smacked his forehead and dragged the hand down his face. ‘If I did not want the sharing of an intimate moment as a future, I would not be making this suggestion. Do not fight your desires. Please?’ But how could he do anything when it seemed wrong—well, perhaps not wrong, but not right. Not… yet? He spat, the toothbrush clattering around the sink with the rinse water. He felt a little like the spittle going down the drain.
A soft knock sounded. “Shamus?”
“One second.” He swiped any remaining toothpaste foam from his chin while reminding himself to keep his cool. When he opened the door, Nia stood in front of him with a girlish smile, her eyes shining like the gem buttons of her shimmering blue pajamas. He gulped and hoped the grin on his face didn’t scare her. “Hi.”
The whisper of her feet as she passed him into the bathroom sounded fantastic. Cool, Sammy boy, remember? He slapped his hand against his face to gather back his attention from what adventures might be going on behind the bathroom door. Don’t do that to yourself. He would need all his attention and strength once she ventured out of the bathroom.
Shamus pulled back the covers on Nia’s side of the bed. He even plumped her pillows. If he rubbed two thoughts together, he would have come prepared with a flower. He grimaced, giving himself a mental shake and yet another scold to simply relax.
He slumped into bed and snatched up his book from the side table, nearly tipping the lamp in the process. Your first night with your wife and you’re going to read? Shamus tore open the book to the dog eared page. If he didn’t at least try to make sense of the words globbing the page, his imagination would venture to much more dangerous roads of a certain lovely wife in the bathroom. Of course, after their escapade at the fishing hole the day before, it didn’t take much to encourage his brain that direction.
The clunk and click of the bathroom door grabbed a tight hold of his chest. When he heard the wonderful whisper of her bare feet on the hardwood floor, he rubbed at his heart to make certain it didn’t beat out of his body. Even the song of her pajamas sounded better than he could have imagined. Shamus steeled himself from peeking— he frowned. Really? You’re not even going to trust yourself enough to peek? So she makes your blood boil, you think she didn’t figure that out yesterday? He peeked, intercepting her smile with a wave of relief and a hiccup of she’s pretty. His brain couldn’t handle anything else.
“I found my pajamas,” she innocently offered.
Shamus laughed. “Good thing.” Mostly. Although there was no way he would have persuaded her to wear one of his shirts instead. His lips twitched and he wisely shifted his gaze to the duty of adjusting his side of the blankets as she slipped into bed. A wave of warmth radiated from beneath the heavy covers, even through the makeshift separation of pressed blankets.
“Don’t really know. Never been married before.” He peeked at her in time to get a pillow in the face. He laughed, catching the offending plushness before it tumbled to the floor. “Nice shot.”
“You want it back?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Please.”
Shamus handed it to her. “I figure I’ll wait on the pillow fight until day three or four. Since you’re new here and all.”
“Thank you. The courtesy is appreciated.” The melody of her giggle sent his breath and thoughts scattering. She stuffed the pillow behind her, plumping it with a delicate and graceful movement of her long fingers.
Shamus watched her as she examined his room, taking in the pictures of family O’Neill as well as images of his father’s ranch. Intrigue and curiosity danced on her arched eyebrows and the delicate curve of her lips. Now what? And he wished he had the answer to the question other than keep yourself on this side of the bed here. Her pajamas looked really soft.
Available for Purchase
Posted by Nona King on Jun 15, 2012 in A Writer's Life | 1 comment
You have more than likely heard the direction “write what you know” from an agent, editor, mentor, or English or writing instructor. But what does that mean? Does that mean someone who is only thirteen has less value to what they “know” than someone who is 23, or 63?
“Know”ing something is relative, and I don’t like the idea of limiting our imagination to our small realm of experience. Research can help broaden said experience/knowledge and gives us rare gems of opportunities to grow as a writer and as a person.
Instead of viewing “write what you know” as a boundary, let us look at it on the flip side. Each person has a different realm of experiences as it relates to relationships, challenges, and the environments they have coped with. Add to that each person’s unique perception, and you have a broad bank of what you “know” that someone else may not.
An example: Mary Sue was raised on a 30-acre farm outside a small town. She had chores on top of her school work, wasn’t allowed in front of the TV until it was too dark to play outside with her siblings, and had both parents.
Mary Sue is a survivor of child molestation by a next-door neighbor boy at the age of 8 years. She grew up with anger management issues, a fear of commitment, and later discovered she had intimacy issues. She was stubborn and strong-willed. Impatient. Numb on the inside. At the age of 17 she realized she still needed to pray the “sinner’s prayer”, and at 23 she faced the fact that memories of being molested were not bad dreams but reality. Now she relishes emotions, strives to be patient and understanding, and is determined rather than stubborn. So, though her environment and life experience has been sheltered by living in a Christian home with both parents, she knows about pain, suffering, and the cause/effect which comes from reacting to situations in rage.
So, ask yourself “what do I know?” What challenges have you faced in your life? What hard decisions did you need to make? What fun experiences? What chance -of-a-lifetime events? These are key to writing characters and situations others can relate to, even on a small scale, because you understand the emotions behind them. Research can fill the rest, talking to friends and family, reading.
You may not know about space or life on a space station, but is the storyline ABOUT the space station? Or is it about the characters inside? Pull from your experience, your instinct, and your imagination. Common sense can help, too! The understanding of cause/effect.
You might think you don’t know much, but I bet you know and understand much more than you realize. Take a moment to list them out.