Friday’s Feature with Tamera Kraft

Alice’s Notions

Excerpt:

Wrapping her arms around herself and swaying to the music, Alice Brighton remembered her husband singing romantic ballads, rivaling howling dogs, as they danced around their miniscule New York apartment. He would call her his Judy Garland. Her dark hair and brown eyes might have looked something like the movie star’s, but Joe exaggerated the resemblance.

The song ended, and Frank Sinatra’s crooning of “Full Moon, Empty Arms” blared from her new Crosley radio. A gun clicked, fired. She trembled. Joe was gone. Her arms were empty. After a long swipe with a tissue, she tied a blue chiffon scarf around her hair. Enough daydreaming about the life the Germans stole from her. She needed to get to work.

In three days, she’d have the grand opening for her fabric shop, Alice’s Notions. Dozens of boxes waited to be unpacked, threads and fabric had to be sorted, and she still needed to set up the quilting frame near the front.

Alice had designated a corner of the store for quilting and set up shelves with lap hoops, materials, fat big-eyed needles, and threads. From the time she’d been a little girl playing underneath the tent-like quilting frame until she could help tie or stitch, she had quilt block patterns swirling at the edge of her consciousness.

One thing she loved about the big city was the fabric and quilting shops in every neighborhood. She’d helped many women in New York City learn to piece together victory quilts for the war effort. Opening a fabric store here would help her contribute to the economy of Burning Bush.

Alice let out a sigh. This wasn’t the life she had wanted, but she would make the best of it. She perused the room determining what still needed to be done. Shelving would go against the back wall, where she could lay out the new rose-patterned cotton and the everyday linens.

The needles and scissors though could be a problem. How to display them without resorting to an expensive glass case, yet keep them away from curious children? Perhaps someone in town could help her build one. Mr. Toliver was a good carpenter. At church last Sunday, Mrs. Toliver said to call on them if she needed help. So many old friends offered help. Alice even arranged a sewing circle at the shop next Friday.

Blinking back a tear, she remembered her Mamie’s quilting bees where women would gather for companionship. Mamie helped her put together patches for a log cabin quilt for her marriage bed, but when Joe got the job in New York City as an interpreter, they rushed to get married so she could go with him. A few months later, the war started and Joe enlisted and shipped out. The quilt remained in Alice’s hope chest, unfinished like their lives together.

“Well Joe, do you think I can make the place ready in time for opening day?” Alice sniffed. He wouldn’t answer. He was buried in Belgium with so many other brave men who died during the Battle of the Bulge. Somehow that didn’t matter. She’d talked to him about everything since they were children, and it didn’t stop after the telegram from the U.S. War Department.

Talking out her problems with her dead husband helped her decide to leave the city where they started their lives together. She had thrived on big city life, every day being an adventure, every city block a new area to explore, and with her job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, she did her part contributing to the home front.

After Joe died, it wasn’t the same. She wasn’t the same. The final stitch in the quilt came when soldiers were shipped home and they laid her off to provide jobs for the men. The money she’d saved went to open a fabric shop where she could pursue her love of quilting. She ached to come home to Burning Bush, a place where life was predictable and safe.

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y5Y36FX/ref=sr_1_1

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/alice-s-notions

Desert Breeze Publishing http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/alices-notions-epub/

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alices-notions-tamera-lynn-kraft/1126188711?ean=2940157248970

Monday’s Manuscript with Rebecca DeMarino

Ten Books Every Fiction Writer Should Own (If you want to improve your craft)

If you write with the goal of publishing, whether traditional or indie, there are essential books to keep in your toolbox. Keep them on your bookshelf or online, but have them at your fingertips. The list could be endless, but here are ten I keep at the top:

1.     Twenty books in your genre. I know, I know—I said ten books and I’m starting you out with twenty! But truly, in order to write fantastic romance (or historical, or speculative, etc.) you have to read in that genre. And study it while you read it (What makes it good? What makes it not so good?). At least twenty.

2.     A good dictionary. I keep Random House Webster’s within reach and utilize dictionary.com and (because I write historical romance) etymonline.com online. Etymonline is invaluable because I can research the word and find out when it was first in use, what it meant at the time, and how it’s evolved.

3.     The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press. It is the style guide for American English, and the gold standard for most publishing in America. A resource every writer should have, it’s also available online. I prefer to be able to thumb through my sixteenth edition.

4.     Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers, Olsen, Bevilacqua, Hayes, and Bly. With over 2,300 words that will help you keep your vocabulary finely tuned and out of the ordinary.

5.     The Flip Dictionary, Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D. For when you know what you want to say but the word just won’t come to you. Picturing a violent disruption, but want to be cleverly specific? Page 660: cataclysm, convulsion, upheaval.

6.     Wording Painting, Rebecca McClanahan. Though I try to keep up with books in my genre, while I’m in the writing phase of a novel, I only read books that pertain to the writing craft, usually in the evening after a long day in the office. This is one of my favorites.

7.     Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott. Every writer should read this, and then just write.

8.     Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss. Because punctuation matters.

9.     Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King. While I try to turn off my editor brain while writing a first draft, I find this book invaluable when I move into revisions.

10.  The Emotional Craft of Fiction, Donald Maas. Or anything by Donald Maas. I have, and have read—and refer back to—all of his books on craft! Excellent advice, with practical ways to apply it to your current project.

Two more that I must mention that do not fall into craft per se: How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb, and Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle ~ either will delight and inspire your writing!

Do you have a favorite from my list? What about it do you love? How about a favorite that is not on the list?


Rebecca DeMarino writes inspirational historical romance and is the author of The Southold Chronicles (Revell). The three-book series is set in the 17th century on Long Island and is based on her real-life ninth great-grandparents who came from England on a little ship called The Swallow. Her titles include A Place in His Heart (2014). To Capture Her Heart (2015), and To Follow Her Heart (2016). You can find the e-book edition of A Place in His Heart FREE on Amazon May 2nd through May 9th.

 

For more information please visit Rebecca at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaDeMarino or tweet her @RebeccaDeMarino.

 

Promoting Christian Fiction Authors–Angela K. Couch

The Patriot and the Loyalist

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.
Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.
Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.


To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.