The Bone Map

This month marks the 150th anniversary of the meeting of the Transcontinental Railroad lines from east and west at Promontory Point, Utah. The Bone Map has been in the works a long time, but this felt like the right time to release it. Pioneers and polygamy are interesting parts of Utah history, but there’s much more to the state than that!

If Huang-Fu doesn’t find gold, he won’t make it out of the Utah desert alive.

Huang-Fu just wants to survive his job digging for gold with Eugene Hansen so he can go home to California or maybe even China. But when outlaws shoot Eugene, the old prospector sends Huang-Fu running with a map carved in bone. The map may lead Huang-Fu to an incredible treasure, but everyone else who carried the map has died. The outlaws are on his trail, and his only allies also want the treasure. Will Huang-Fu survive the curse of the bone map?

Fans of Treasure Island will enjoy this treasure hunt set among the gold miners, gunslingers, and Pony Express riders of the Old West.

BoneMap_frontcover copy

Release Day!

Happy May Day! Yours, Dorothy is now available in ebook and paperback through Amazon. For the first stop on its blog tour, Tressa at Wishful Endings reviewed it. She says:

“Highly recommended to historical fiction and romance readers who enjoy stories based on historical facts. If you enjoy stories based on historical events and people, with a steady pace, a strong historical setting, political upheaval, and a sweet romance, then this is definitely a story for you. Well written, with likable characters, and an interesting setting make for an enjoyable story!”

You can read her full review here and enter a giveaway for a chance to win the book, and you can find Yours, Dorothy on Amazon.

Dorothy 6x9

Yours, Dorothy

Coming May 2018!

Based on a true love story from the British Civil Wars.

Dorothy Osborne’s family has sacrificed everything for King Charles of England, living in exile in France after the king’s defeat by Parliament. Dorothy knows it is her duty to marry well and help her family, which means finding a wealthy suitor: Royalist, or maybe French, but never a Parliamentarian, and not someone of her own choosing.

William Temple struggles to commit to his father’s Parliamentarian cause, making his family wonder if he’ll ever commit to anything. William wonders too, until he meets Dorothy Osborne. The connection between them is instant, but their families will go to any length to keep them apart. Can their love survive separation and the upheavals of the British Civil War?

Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads.

Dorothy 6x9

Have you heard about the ghost?

Everyone at Springett Hall is gossiping about the ghosts: echoes of laughter in the hallway, strange faces in the mirror, doors creaking open on their own. Lucy doesn’t know any more about the other spirits than the servants do. She can’t even remember how she died, and Philip, the only person who can see her, isn’t all that helpful in that regard. Add your own speculations about Lucy’s demise in the comments below and click the link to the left to join the Rafflecopter giveaway for a signed ARC (uncorrected advanced reader copy) between June 17th and June 24th, 2015 (please keep comments appropriate for all ages).

From The Haunting of Springett Hall:

“Maybe I had a premonition I was fated for a tragic end.”

“A romantic notion, I suppose.” A teasing glint brightened Philip’s eyes. “Unless you died in some embarrassing way.”

“What! I’m certain I didn’t.” I couldn’t admit now that I’d worried about the same thing.

“You might have choked on a chicken bone because you were eating too fast.”

“I don’t even like chicken. Meat isn’t good for one’s constitution.”

“All right.” He leaned against the bookshelf with a cocky smile. “Maybe you forgot to tie your boot laces and tripped when you glanced up to watch the peaceful flight of a dove overhead.”

I folded my arms, trying not to smile at the image. “My boots have buttons, not laces.”

“Or you were reading a book while you walked and got run over by a carriage.”

“In the house, I suppose?” I rolled my eyes.

Imperfect Instruments

An essay I wrote, “Imperfect Instruments,” was just published by Segullah online journal! It’s about my experiences with my spinal cord injury, and it won their 2015 creative nonfiction award as well as taking first place in the League of Utah Writer’s 2014 spiritual essay contest category (Segullah is a religious women’s literary journal). You can read it here.

A writer’s search engine history

My writer friends and I often joke about the weird things we research while writing, so I thought it would be fun to post a snippet of my recent writing-related search engine history:

  • Heirloom chicken breeds
  • How to make gunpowder
  • Renaissance guns
  • Father William Davies execution
  • Y Drych Cristianogawl
  • Robert Pugh Catholic recusant
  • Plas Penrhyn
  • Little Orme
  • Printing press parts
  • Cider making
  • Elizabethan portraits men 1580s
  • Burn scars (not a recommended image search)
  • Babington plot
  • Punch and Judy
  • Puppet show history
  • Henry Herbert Earl of Pembroke
  • Shakespearean insults

And this quick-and-dirty research doesn’t include the leaning tower of books next to my writing space. I’m putting some polish on a few scenes in my Elizabethan novel and fact checking myself as I go, though a new story idea is nagging at me, so I’ll be racking up a fresh set of strange searches soon. I get search-generated ads for the oddest things sometimes (this set will probably get me chicken recipes and English degree programs), and I’m sure the government agents spying on my internet use are scratching their heads (hi, guys!). 😉

What about you, fellow writers? What’s in your search history?

Fall First Page Blog Hop: YA historical fiction WIP

(This is the first 250-ish words of my work in progress, a YA historical fiction, posted here for comments and critiques in Michelle Hauck’s Fall First Page Blog Hop)

I, Joan Price, was born to treason. ‘Twas at my father’s funeral I realized it. If I did not choose between betraying my country and betraying my conscience, I would betray them both. Just as he had.

Our parish gave my father a Protestant funeral—buried on holy ground but unshriven, without the benefit of a priest or last rites. Rain mingled with my tears as shovelfuls of mud thumped on the coffin. I pulled the hood of my wool cloak lower to hide the depths of my anger and grief. They were a window into my treasonous thoughts, and anyone might be a spy for Queen Elizabeth.

Some of the other mourners owned the implements to give my father a proper Catholic funeral, bring peace to his soul and mine, but they were too frightened to bring the bells and candles from their hiding places. Too frightened to sing or pray. I glared at them from the safety of my hood, but none even glanced at me. White-livered cowards, every one.

And I the greatest coward of all, for I said nothing. The thought of the gallows choked off my protests. Where was my loyalty?

Blessed Mary forgive me.

Songs for the deceased were forbidden, but I was Welsh. I would sooner give up breathing than singing. As they dumped the last muddy earth over my father’s final resting place, I quietly hummed the Requiem Mass and repeated the lyrics in my mind.

NaNoWriMo 2014!

National Novel Writing Month (mundanely known as November) is rapidly approaching, and today I “created” my NaNo novel for this year. Given that I just signed a publishing contract for last year’s project, I’m really stoked for this year. Something about seeing that little word count bar set to “0” makes me want to start typing. This year, though, I’m using NaNoWriMo to write the sequel to my Victorian folklore retelling. I want to wrap up those characters’ stories before I move on to another project, and this seems like the perfect motivation to get it finished. All those continuity issues make writing a sequel scary. But the nice thing about being forced to write the whole thing in a month is that it keeps it pretty fresh in your head–actively writing several hours a day and working through plot problems while washing dishes, making dinner, or walking the kids to school.

NaNoWriMo doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it kind of liberating. I start with a rough outline and a good feel for the characters and then just write and let the story and characters go where they want, not worrying yet if that sentence could be a little prettier or if that scene is a bit corny–that’s what the next eight months of editing are for.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, add me as a writing buddy here!