Tag Archives: romantic suspense

Fake News and True Fiction? by Sherrie Hansen

These days, with everyone complaining about fake news, I’m glad I’m not a reporter. But yesterday, I got accused of writing fake fiction. I was telling people about my book, Night and Day, and that it was loosely based on the story of why my great-great grandparents emigrated from Denmark.

Night and Day (1)

I told them the reputedly true part of the story. (My great, great grandma was a very beautiful woman. My great, great grandfather brought her and their four children to America to get her away from another man who was in love with her.) I then said that the rest of the book was a product of my wild imagination – one possible explanation of what might have happened in Denmark all those decades ago.

Night and Day - Maren Jensen Grave

I went on to describe Golden Rod, my most recent release, including the legends and castles that inspired the book. And then I mentioned ghosts.

Golden Rod

“So this book isn’t true,” said one of the ladies.

“None of my books are true,” I said. “They’re fiction.”

“But if there are ghosts in Golden Rod, it can’t be based on a true story.”

“But it is,” I said. “We toured a castle in Scotland that has been under a curse for over 500 years. A traveling minister offered to bless the castle, and when his offer was rejected because the owners preferred to wait for the priest, he cursed the castle, promising that no eldest son would ever inherit. In all these years, none has.”

Wildflowers of Scotland Novels by Sherrie Hansen (2)

“But if there are ghosts in the story…”

Golden Rod front cover- final

“Fictional ghosts. All of my novels are fiction.” I told them about a second castle we toured, and the legend of a woman who fell from a fourth story window, and the upside down writing carved into the castle wall, 3 ½ stories up where no one but a ghost could possibly reach.

“It’s fiction based on a true story,” I tried to explain. “Just like Night and Day. And another of my books, Blue Belle, which was inspired by the tale of a Spanish galleon that went down in Tobermory Bay in 1588, fully loaded with gold that has never been recovered.”

Blue Belle - Jump Canva

“But if it happened that long ago, no one knows what really happened.”

“Right. But that’s okay – because it’s fiction, based on an intriguing snippet of history.”

Perhaps the real truth is that there’s a nugget of something that really happened in all my books – or very probably happened – or at least, very probably happened, in some similar form, or in a slightly different way, or at a different time.

Wild Rose - Photo

The truth – altered just enough to protect the not-so-innocent, which in some cases might be me, and to throw family members, acquaintances, and any others who might judge me off the scent.  The truth – transformed just enough to convince the reader that this is a work of fiction, that the characters, incidents, and dialogs are products of the author’s imagination and not, under any circumstances, to be construed as real.

Shy Violet

Because the truth is, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. My books are all fiction and my characters are all fictional, people. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Sweet William - 2016

I write fiction. Still, everything that filters through my brain is based on the reality of my life, my experiences, and my beliefs. I’m a complex person, and so are my books. Real life occurrences often inspire fictional stories. Imaginary tales sometimes spring from a nugget of truth, either learned or observed.

Fake fiction? You be the judge.

Wildflowers - Stripes

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Pseudo Allergies by Sherrie Hansen

Golden Rod - lighthouse

… Just one reason why late summer is the perfect time to read Golden Rod, my latest Wildflowers of Scotland novel.

Golden Rod

When I first chose to name my new book Golden Rod, I had a flurry of people tell me that they were allergic to goldenrod, and associated  the flower with sneezing and feeling like their head was going to explode.

Golden Rod bird

My research shows that allergies to goldenrod are very rare, since it is not airborne, and that people who suffer allergy symptoms this time of year are more likely affected by ragweed, which blooms at the same time.

Golden Rod - JD

Although I can truly promise you nothing by pleasant sensations if you read Golden Rod, this brings me to a related topic – why some of you think you are allergic to reading romance novels. Here are some of the reasons I hear from romance reading skeptics:

Golden Rod 2016 a

Fallacy #1:  Romance novels are for women. I’m a guy.

My Response:  Don’t let my flowery titles fool you. My novels all have two perspectives, two point of view voices – one male and one female. My books are not about women living in a fantasy world – they’re about men and women struggling along in a very real world. Their differing attitudes, perspectives, feelings, needs and approaches to problem-solving provide my books with stimulating conflict, movement within the plotlines, and differences of opinion. I’ve had many men tell me how much they enjoyed my books, and one couple who even argued over who got to read it first.

Golden Rod 2017

Fallacy #2:  Romance novels are shallow, dumbed down versions of the literary novels I enjoy.

My Response: A reviewer who’s a very intelligent mathematician called my novels “the thinking women’s romance.” Doctors, lawyers, and professors have written telling me they enjoyed my books. My characters are complex and my novels include complicated situations and scenarios worthy of readers who like books that stimulate their intellect and emotions.

Golden Rod Cattails

Fallacy #3:  I like action and adventure novels, thrillers and mysteries.

My Response: Today’s romance novels can and do include all of the above. My books have included murders, sex-crimes, scams, thefts, kidnappings, and all kinds of deceitful goings on. They also include romance, but love definitely isn’t the only thing between the covers (no pun intended).

Golden Rod Flood Bay 2016

Fallacy #4:  Romance novels are full of graphic sex scenes.

My Response: I’ve written on this topic previously. Some of my books have love scenes and some don’t. When love scenes are included, they’re not gratuitous, they’re there for a reason. They’re a necessary part of the plot. They’re also sweet, tender and satisfying. Sometimes, they’re even humorous. And just like real life, lovemaking is rife with consequences.

Golden Rod Ely

Fallacy #5:  Romance novels are filled with overly dramatic, shirtless bodybuilders and low-bodiced, big-busted heroines who I can’t relate to.

My Response:  My books are set in modern times and my characters are as real as you are. Some are good-looking, others not. They have flaws and frustrations and quirks just like all of us do. That’s what makes them so lovable and most importantly, believable.

GoldenRod 2016

So let me recommend this trusted cure for allergies. Expose yourself to just a little bit, then, gradually a little more, until your discomfort disappears. I’d be delighted if you’d try just one of my Wildflowers of Scotland novels, and Golden Rod is a great place to start. If you like it, you can read more.  Hopefully, you will find that you enjoy my romantic suspense novels.

Golden Rod Flood Bay 2017

What have you got to lose? Enjoy the goldtones of late summer, and don’t be afraid to read a new book or a new author.

Golden Rod shore

You’ll find beauty in all kind of unexpected locations.

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To Hear with Your Heart, To See with Your Soul (by Sherrie Hansen)

Writing and painting, although both creative expressions, are often viewed as being on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Writers paint pictures with their words. Artfully crafted descriptions help readers visualize the setting of each scene, the appearance of the main characters, and movement within the scene.

Artists take a scene from their imagination and bring it to life with vividly colored paints, textiles or other mediums that you can see, touch, and feel. The only verbal expression that may come into play is a suggestive title of one or two words.

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Both mediums communicate emotion and tell a story. Both require the reader to bring their own interpretation and understanding to fully experience what the author or artist has conveyed through the words or visual expression they’ve chosen to convey.

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As a writer who’s always labeled myself as a visual learner, I think there’s good reason to combine word art and visual art.

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Some writers compile a storyboard to look at and refer to while writing a book.  Whether they tag related visual images on Pinterest or actually make an old-fashioned collage with cutouts from a magazine, these writers find it helpful to surround themselves with tangible images of their characters and setting. It’s become increasingly popular for authors to create a trailer to use in marketing their books – just one more way of pairing visual cues with the written word to enrich the reading experience.

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I’ve long taken photos to use in tandem with my books, even used my photographs on the front cover of my books for a creative tie-in.

2016

Then, a friend who’s an artist and the leader of an online group called Shedding Light challenged the members of the group to paint. I resisted for awhile, thinking I didn’t have the time or the talent. But I’ve always been attracted to artistic expression, collected paintings that called out to me, and found peace in having beautiful images in my home. Finally, I gave in to my fascination and picked up a brush. The paintings I’ve done so far are all reminiscent of Scotland, the setting of my last 5 books. In June, my husband and I visited several castles in Aberdeenshire, and saw hundreds of sheep and boothies dotting the hills of Skye, so I’m fortunate to be able to paint images that are fresh in my mind. When I start writing Golden Rod, my next Wildflowers of Scotland novel, in earnest, I’ll look back at the paintings I’ve done and let my imagination travel back in time.

Painting - Moonlight Mirage

When I’m writing, I’m required to be acutely aware of the pitfalls of using poor grammar, being overly wordy or cliché, not structuring my scenes just so, and a million other infractions that contradict the way a writer is “supposed to write”. When I paint, there are no rules – the more unique, creative, or even bizarre, the better. Painting is my time to let loose, relax, and spontaneously create what I see in my mind’s eye – with no restraints.

Which calls out to your heart – visual images or the written word? The ability to use one medium to enhance the other is a gift – and an opportunity not to be missed. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

Painting - Flowers

(All photos and paintings used in this blog are Sherrie Hansen originals. The credit for my title goes to Michael Card, from his song, That’s What Faith Must Be.)

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Twenty-four years ago, Sherrie Hansen rescued a dilapidated Victorian house from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a B&B and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Sherrie and her husband, Mark, who is a pastor, divide their time between two different houses, 85 miles apart. Sherrie writes murder mysteries and novels whenever she’s not working at her B&B or trying to be a good pastor’s wife. Her contemporary romantic suspense novels include Night and Day, Love Notes, and Thistle Down, Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet and Sweet William, her Wildflowers of Scotland novels.

 You can see what Sherrie is up to at: 

https://www.facebook.com/BlueBelleInn

 http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/

www.BlueBelleInn.com or www.BlueBelleBooks.com

https://twitter.com/SherrieHansen

https://www.pinterest.com/sherriebluebell/

http://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Hansen/e/B007YXQJ4W/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Sherrie’s new release is Sweet William. https://amzn.com/B01H2TUD3U

He’s a real sweetheart. She’s a wee bit tart. When Minnesota farm boy, William McKnight, and sassy Scot, Lyndsie Morris, are forced to work together in the kitchen of Rabbit Hill Lodge, the atmosphere is as charged as an episode of Chopped. Will someone get cut, or will they find a recipe that works? Things just start to get spicy when an angry bull butts his way into the picture, and Lyndsie has to decide if she loves William more than everyone and everything she holds dear.

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Sea of Destiny – Part 34 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West finally seems to realize that Kyle is a good man who is not out to hurt Emily. He more or less gives a blessing with an implied threat, but he accepts the relationship. Carmelita tells Kyle that she’s going out for the evening with Dr. West and he tells her to have a good time and make good choices.

“Baby, all Carmelita’s choices are good ones.”

“Except marrying—old what’s his name.”

“Well, even that was a good one as far as it went.”

“Which was how far?”

“The bedroom…. See you in the morning, sugar.”

* * *

The next afternoon, after a brief visit to Emily in the infirmary, Kyle and his family headed down the gangplank. The company rep , an attractive young woman named Vera, was waiting with an SUV and took them to the mission church outside town. It was an old building, but well maintained. The grounds were beautifully landscaped with native flora. The church was small, cramped, but obviously well loved. A man puttered around in the vegetable garden between the church proper and the rectory.

Vera greeted him in Spanish. Smiling, he nodded, waving for them to follow. Carmelita and Kyle walked side by side, the children following, holding hands. The woman from the company stayed with the car.

“Father Michael is expecting you,” the man said in good, but heavily accented English.

“Thank you. We really appreciate him seeing us.”

“Come in. Sit down. Something to drink? I have many bottled beverages, nice and cold.”

They each took a soft drink and waited in the priest’s office. No one felt much like talking. The children were too overwhelmed by the ancient surroundings. Kyle was deep in thought and Carmelita knew better than to tease him at a time like this.

The door opened and the priest walked in. Kyle rose to greet him, stunned to see that the man was white. He was tall, lean muscled and freckled. His close cropped hair was sun bleached to a light reddish blond.

Stumbling slightly, Kyle stepped forward to introduce himself and his family. “Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Father.”

“Not a problem,” the older white man said with a smile. “A priest’s life is full of short notice. The major drawback to my profession is that I’m constantly on call. So, how can I help you? The woman I spoke to last night was somewhat vague.”

“Carmelita, why don’t you take the kids out to the courtyard?”

“Sure. Come on, babies, let’s leave Dad here for a few.”

They followed her out quietly. Left alone, Kyle moved awkwardly in his chair.

“Father Michael, word of the work you’re doing has come to a friend of mine. Her name is Emily Geraci and she’s got cancer.”

The priest steepled his hands, nodding. “I see. She requires healing and prayer, is that it?”

“Yes, sir. The problem is, she’s very weak and her physician is hesitant about bringing her all this way.”

“Is she in Cozumel?”

“Yes, Father, on board a cruise ship.”

“I see. It’s not so far, drive her over for the service.”

“We were hoping you’d agree to come meet her instead.”

“Son, I can’t go on that ship….”

“We could meet you in a hotel in town. It would satisfy the doctor’s conditions and Emily could get the healing and prayer that she needs.”

“I’m familiar with the name Geraci. Her father owns that ship, the entire cruise line. With her money, she can get the best possible medical care. Why is she here?”

“Conventional means have been exhausted. She was in remission, but they just found another tumor last week. She really needs your help, Father.”

“Why are you acting as intermediary? You aren’t married to her.”

“I lost my wife to cancer several months ago. If I had known about you, could have brought her here, maybe she would still be alive. Carmelita believes it was Margo’s time to go.”

“And you don’t?”

“I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s Emily’s time.”

“How can you know that when you’re unsure about your wife?”

Kyle stood, pacing. “Because I’m falling in love with this woman, and she is with me—and my kids love her already. I couldn’t get this help for Margo, but I’m asking for you to help Emily.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 33 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West isn’t convinced that Kyle is legitimately interested in Emily. He fears that Kyle is just after her money, much like her ex-husband was.

“Mr. Scott, you’ve convinced me and I don’t convince easily. Maybe you are the right one to go. I’ll set it up.”

“Can you reach someone at this hour?”

“Watch me.” He grinned. “I’ll call your cabin when it’s done. And do me a favor, will you ask Carmelita to meet me for drinks?”

“Ask her yourself when you call. She’ll think I’m being a smart ass.”

Conceding the point with a nod, the doctor picked up the phone. Kyle waved and left. A different nurse was on duty than the one he had danced with. She stopped him as he headed toward the door.

“You’re Ms. Geraci’s friend, aren’t you? The dancer?”

Kyle chuckled, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Well, I dance, but I’m not a dancer by profession.”

“You made quite an impression on Becky this morning.”

“Oh, yeah?” He chuckled. “See what being light on your feet can do for a guy?”

“I wish my boyfriend could dance. Do you give lessons?”

“I live in Orlando. Might be a bit of a trek for one of us.”

“Oh, no. I live in Winter Park. I’m just here as a favor to Dr. West. Do you give lessons?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Maybe you should. Emily said you taught her to dance and it would be so much fun if Matt could take me dancing. He’d rather watch sports.” She wrinkled her nose.

“I’ll think about it.”

“Thanks!” She kissed his cheek. “Here’s my number. Call when you get home and let me know.” She handed him a piece of paper with her number and the caption ‘dance lessons for two’. “So you know I’m not just hitting on you.” She blushed.

“I’ll let you know, but don’t get your hopes up.”

Back at the cabin, he poured himself a JD and Coke, sipping it while he waited. True to his word, Dr. West called a few minutes later.

“It’s set. The priest was incredibly easy to reach. He’ll see you tomorrow afternoon at 2:00. One of our reps will be waiting for you to take you there.”

“That’s about the time the sightseeing tour leaves, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how you can manage both.”

“No, the point is I don’t want Emily to think I’m sneaking around behind her back. I’ll get off the ship with everyone else. My family will understand, at least I hope they will.”

“Take them with you. The rep can give you a private tour when you’re done. And having your family with you will give credence to your request.”

“Thank you, Dr. West.”

“Mr. Scott, I want Emily well as much as you do. If this helps her….”

“Yeah.” Kyle’s eyes suddenly filled with tears. He wanted to get off the phone before he started bawling like a baby. “Did you talk to Carmelita?”

“My next call. Goodnight, Mr. Scott.”

“Call me Kyle.”

“And I am Thad.”

They hung up. Kyle had the momentary qualm wondering if he was doing the right thing. Closing his eyes, Emily’s pain ravaged face floated past and he knew he had to do whatever it took to bring back the flush of health he saw in her picture.

Carmelita tapped on the suite door before opening it a crack.

“You decent?”

“As much as I ever get. I’m dressed.”

She poked her head around the door. “I’m going out for a bit. With Thaddeus.”

“Go have fun, Lita.”

“Shall I leave the suite door open so you’ll hear Mindy?”

“Yes. Let Cindy know you’re leaving.”

“She’s asleep already.”

“No she’s not, she’s faking. Probably reading some torrid romance novel with a flashlight.”

“I’ll tell her or leave her a note. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.”

“Enjoy yourself. How often do you get to have drinks with a handsome doctor? Have fun, but make good choices.”

© Dellani Oakes

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Sea of Destiny – Part 32 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle plans to join Emily when she visits the faith healer. He gives her a crucifix, with special blessings on it, to take with her.

“Thank you, Kyle.” She touched his cheek, kissing him fleetingly, embarrassed by the emotions flooding through her.

Nothing in her life with Bob had prepared her for Kyle’s tenderness, his warmth, free spirited nature, his fathomless caring. He was a limitless font of love. His family was the same way, welcoming her into their circle as if she had always been there, a member of the most wonderful family in the world. Lips trembling, she held the crucifix to her chest.

A little, warm hand touched her left wrist. Mindy stood at her elbow, dark eyes searching her face in a disconcertingly ‘aware’ fashion. She was a child who had seen much more than her tender years should allow.

“Miss Emily?”

“Yes, Mindy?”

“You’re gonna be okay. Nobody could fix what was wrong with my mommy, but they’re gonna fix you. You’re gonna be better soon.” She kissed Emily on the cheek, hugging her neck.

Emily gulped, fighting tears. It was no use. She hugged Mindy, kissing her. “Thank you, Mindy. I feel so much better now. Look, they’re bringing in dinner. What have we here?”

Wiping her tears, she got Mindy occupied with her meal. Kyle watched how she interacted with his children, chatting with them as if she’d known them their entire lives. And they did the same with her. They weren’t replacing their mother, merely making room for someone else. Wasn’t that what Margo wanted? For all of them to be happy?

“I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d tried.”

“That’s because you didn’t choose. You let God decide.” He heard Margo’s voice in his head as if she were standing next to him. “God is good and kind and loving, Kyle. He’s also generous if you let Him. Accept this gift you’re being given.”

“I want to, Margo. I miss you, honey.” He realized that although he missed her, that dull, emptiness that he’d been feeling was gone. Instead, he was full of warmth and laughter.

For the first time in over a year, he thanked God for His blessings as his family laughed and joked with their new mother. He knew by looking at them that was what Emily would be. Carmelita met his eye, grinning happily. She knew it too. He felt better about the visit to Cozumel than he had earlier in the day. He expected a miracle and he knew they were going to get it.

Kyle accompanied Emily to the infirmary. She’d been asking to go back to her cabin, but Dr. West still refused. He wanted her nearby under the watchful eye of his nursing staff. Kyle was surprised to see such an extensive medical facility on board a ship. He suspected Dr. West had beefed it up because Emily was on board.

He was allowed to stay and visit until 10:00. Dr. West came in, insisting that Emily go to sleep.

“I slept all day, Thaddeus. I’m not the least bit tired.”

Kyle yawned expansively and stretched. “Well, it so happens that I am. So, if you’ll excuse me, Ms. Geraci, I need to go. Not because the doctor insists, but because my kids won’t settle down until I tuck them in. They’re probably robbing Lita of her sanity even as we speak.”

“It would take more than three kids to rob that woman of anything,” Dr. West remarked as he

gave Emily an injection.

Kyle kissed Emily as her eyes drifted shut, leaving with the doctor. They closed the door, standing together in the narrow corridor. Dr. West looked grim.

“You can’t talk her out of this visit, I suppose?” The doctor said softly.

“On the contrary, I think she should go.”

“I hate the idea of her getting off the ship. God knows what the conditions are at that mission church.”

“Bring him to her,” Kyle heard himself say without thinking. “Take her to one of the hotels and bring him over.”

“I hadn’t thought of that. Do you really think he’d come?” The doctor sounded almost like a little boy, not a mature man.

“I bet he’d come under the circumstances, if you asked nicely.”

“I’ll call ahead. We have an office there. One of them can try to persuade him.”

“I have a better idea. Ask them to set up an appointment for me. I’ll go see him personally.”

“Why would you even consider such a thing?” Dr. West wasn’t angry, he was curious. “You hardly know Emily, but you’d do this for her?”

“Dr. West, I recently lost my wife to cancer. I couldn’t do anything to make her well. If this will help Emily, even by easing her mind, then I’m behind it 100 percent.” His impassioned statement took the doctor by surprise. © Dellani Oakes 

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Sea of Destiny – Part 31 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny cover

Kyle is somewhat surprised to find out that Emily plans to visit a faith healer when they get to Cozumel. Already smitten, he wants her to get her miracle, because it was something he couldn’t do for his wife.

“I’ll be back after dinner,” he told her as he spun her the other way. “Take good care of her.”

“Only the best,” she gasped, giggling.

Kyle dipped, raising her slowly, humming. He danced out the door and was still dancing when he met his children.

“You’re happy today,” Carmelita smirked at him.

“I am.” He swung her into his dance, spinning her around.

“Any particular reason I should know about?”

“Nothing different than we’ve already talked about.”

“Is Miss Emily going with us, Daddy?”

“Not today, sweetie. She’s still not feeling very well.”

“How come?”

“That’s what the doctor is trying to figure out, honey.”

He had no intention of telling her. A silent agreement with his older children told him they wouldn’t say anything either.

They had a wonderful day in Cancun seeing all the sights. Kyle found his senses on overload. There was too much to see and too many things to do in one day. Exhausted, laden with their souvenirs, they went back to the ship for dinner.

To his surprise, Emily was sitting at their table when the family arrived. She smiled and waved as the children rushed to greet her. Kyle waited until they’d given her the 90 second highlight of their day and taken their seats before bending over to give her a kiss.

“I missed you today. Did you have fun?” She asked, the sparkle in her eyes.

“I missed you too. We had a great time. It would have been better with you there.”

“It will take me awhile to get where I want to see Cancun again.”

“Maybe we can come back and visit next year,” he murmured.

Her eyes filled with tears, but she smiled, taking his hand. “I’d like that.”

“Then it’s a date. Speaking of which…. Do you realize this is our anniversary?”

She giggled, blushing. The extra color looked good on her. “Is it?”

“It is. We’ve known one another exactly 72 hours. So I brought you something.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

“I know. But it was so silly and ridiculous, I had to buy it.” He handed her a gift bag.

Digging into it, she brought out a snow globe with ‘Cancun’ in huge, pink letters. The water was green and had plastic shells mixed with glitter and plastic snow. When she shook it, it lit up.

“You paid money for this?” She giggled and shook the globe again.

“About two American dollars for it. Horrid, isn’t it? But the 72 hour anniversary is the plastic snow globe anniversary. I felt compelled.”

“It’s hideous. I’ll treasure it forever.” Her voice was drenched with sarcasm.

“Great.” He kissed her on the nose. “Now look in the bag again for your real present.”

She dug deeper, pulling out a small, flat package. Eyes curious, she opened it. Inside was a hand carved rosary made of Mexican jade. The detail on the crucifix was incredible. She could even see beads of blood under the crown of thorns. A small prayer book was in the bag at the very bottom.

Emily gasped, covering her mouth, trying not to cry. “It’s beautiful! Thank you, Kyle. Thank you so much!”

“I found a priest and asked him to bless it for you. We happened to pass by a church on the way back to the ship.”

“He’s failing to mention we had to go six blocks out of our way to happen upon that priest,” Carmelita smirked at Kyle. “But he coerced him into blessing it for him.”

“How on Earth did you manage to do that?”

“Six years of Spanish. Never really needed it until today. He was delighted to do it for me when I told him my girlfriend was sick on board ship.”

“Girlfriend, huh?”

“Yeah, well, this is our sixth date, you know.”

“So it is!”

“Some might debate that it was our seventh, but I don’t think I can count when I visited you in the infirmary because you were unconscious.”

“No, we can’t count that. Both parties have to be awake for it to be a date.”

“True. I asked for him to put special blessings on it for you, Emily. Take it with you when we go see the priest in Cozumel.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes 

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Do You Dream in Color? by Sherrie Hansen

I’ve been getting to know all kinds of colorful characters from Loch Awe, Scotland, as I put the finishing touches on my upcoming release, Wild Rose, and my eShort prequel, Thistle Down. In my spare time, I’ve been painting the parsonage where my husband and I live.

When we first moved in, everything was painted white.

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I chose the colors for the first floor before we moved in, and the folks at church were kind enough to paint the walls in my somewhat funky color choices.

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They offered to paint the second floor, too, but at the time, I didn’t have a clue what was going where and certainly not what colors would match what.

Parsonage

After living in the house for a year, the rooms have taken shape and acquired personalities of their own.

Guest room before

So a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to add some color. I painted a bathroom and one wall in my writing room “Berries and Cream”. I painted another bedroom “Wood Lily”. Just yesterday, I painted a guest room “French Violet”.

Guest Room

What a difference it made! Plain, innocuous walls became warm, soothing, romantic and inspiring. It’s amazing what a little dash of color can add to our experience.

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When a writer – or a reader – begins a new story, it’s the interesting characters that draw us in, the colorful backdrops that make the story come alive. Characters and settings that are infused with color are infinitely more enticing.

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So next time you open the door to a new book, let yourself dream in color. And if you like Scotland, watch for Thistle Down, Wild Rose, Blue Belle, Shy Violet and Sweet William.

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Thistle Down is a novella length prequel to Wild Rose, the first of my Wildflowers of Scotland novels.

Can tenderhearted Pastor Ian MacCraig keep a pair of prickly sisters from marrying the wrong men? Emily Downey has found the perfect groom. If only she loved the man… Chelsea Downey is wild about her boyfriend. Trouble is, he’s two-timing her and everyone sees it but her.

Their thorny situation gets even stickier when the church ladies come up with a Plan.

Can Pastor Ian MacCraig weed out the thistles and get to the heart of the matter in time to save the day?

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Filed under Scotland, Sherrie Hansen