Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why Emma Right wrote DEAD DREAMS

By Molly Noble Bull 

.   Okay, Emma. Let’s hear it. Why did you write a scary sounding book like Dead Dreams?

I wanted to write a story for young ladies on the cusps of adulthood, but who are not quite there yet. I wanted to explore possibilities that could be present in each young person as she travels in this journey of self-discovery and finding out for herself, when enough is enough; that limit that separates what's acceptable from too dangerous; and the possibilities these choices could lead to.
I have always enjoyed a good thriller mystery so I wanted to write a young adult book that has a strong message yet is still filled with intrigue. Hence, Dead Dreams.

.   Is it part of a series, Emma? 


.   Who is your favorite character in the book?

There are two main characters in Dead Dreams—one being the more main protagonist. I like Brie O'Mara. She's innocent and has led a sheltered life, and suddenly she's eighteen, and moving out after being coddled by her parents. This new-found freedom is exciting and despite the hardships--mainly about money, since she wants to fend for herself and not accept too much help from her parents--she plods on and stays positive. In fact, maybe she is too positive, in a naive way. I could have been her. Each person could face a silver platter that looks so tantalizing and bright, it'd be almost stupid to refuse, especially if the person offered this option is young and inexperienced?



THEY SAY EACH dead body, a human corpse, has a scent all of its own, a sweet-sour smell. A cadaver dog picks up the odor as clearly as a mother recognizes a photo of her child. Of course, I wouldn’t know, for I am no dog. I might as well have been, the way I’d stooped to yield to my basic instincts. My mind wandered to her, what her unique smell would be when, and if, they ever were to find her.


After what happened, I decided to write out the events that led to that day and details in case I’d missed something, or might need it for defense, or in case they found me dead. My relatives might need to piece together the things that had spiraled out of control, if they wanted to put me to rest, to forget me altogether. That would be least painful for them. I nodded to myself as I sat in the car. I thought of my most favorite girl in the world: Lilly. At least Lilly’d have my dog, Holly, to remember me by.

My friends used to call me Brie, short for Brianna. But, I could
hardly count anyone a friend any more. I’d have to resort to back- watching if I wanted to survive.

.   Where can readers get your books?

Dead Dreams will be free from April3- the 6th for four days on Kindle. Both the paperback and the e-book versions are only available on Amazon. Keeper of Reign is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all other major retailers.

Title: Dead Dreams
Author: Emma Right
Series: Dead Dreams #1
Publication: August 26th, 2013
Category: Young Adult (YA)
Genre: Psychological Mystery Thriller

Author Bio:

Emma Right is a happy, Christian housewife and home-school mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.
Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.


Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines,  an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams—of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Book Trailer:

Music Video: 

   LINKS   (


Monday, March 24, 2014

Lena Nelson Dooley's Interviews Molly Noble Bull

Also, read Page One of Molly's Christian Gothic Historical, GATEHAVEN.

Recently, Lena interviewed Molly, regarding Molly’s new novel, Gatehaven. This article is a copy of that interview.

Here is that interview.

.   Lena said, “God has really been moving in your writing life.”

Molly: Yes, He has. For one thing, the Lord is teaching me to lean on Him. For example, I am constantly losing things, especially my glasses. After looking and looking, I finally stop and pray, asking for the Lord’s help in finding the lost object. And do you know what? I usually find it within a few seconds—often in the very place I looked previously.
That’s the Lord. When He says “Ask and you shall receive,” He means it.

.   “What do you see on the horizon?”

Molly: I read a lot of Bible prophecy, and I think American and Israel are headed for some rough sailing soon. But as a Born Again Christian, I know that the Lord has a place of safety ready for those who truly follow Him.
As for the novel we will be talking about today, Gatehaven won the grand prize in a fiction writing contest in 2013 while still a manuscript. So I have high hopes for that book upon publication because Lena Nelson Dooley endorsed it..

.   Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I met and married before I finished college. We are still married and have three wonderful sons and six fantastic grandchildren.

.   Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Before I started writing I read mostly science fiction. But after I started writing to sell, I read one or two romance novels a week and less science fiction. Now I read mostly what I call “way out” Christian non-fiction which is like science fiction except it is true and biblical. Currently, I am reading a 557 page book titled Ex-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project LUCIFER and the Vatican’s Astonishing Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior by Cris Putnam and Thomas Horn. 

.   What are you working on right now?
I am promoting Gatehaven at the moment; so my creative writing is in a safe-box in one corner of my mind, waiting to be opened when the job is done. I have the rights to The Rogue’s Daughter, one of my sort of old Zondvervan novels. The Rogue’s Daughter is a western set on a huge cattle ranch in South Texas in 1890. I plan to update it and sell it to Amazon as an e-book, and I already have my new cover.

.   What outside interests do you have?
I love to read, of course. I am also interested in history, especially the history of my ancestors, and we host a Bible study in our home most weeks. I once loved to travel, but since my husband’s stroke a couple of years ago, we don’t leave the house much anymore. But since I am a novelist, I fly away to exciting places every time I write a book.
.   How do you choose your settings for each book?
That is an interesting question because I never really thought about that. As I mentioned, I am interested in genealogy, and I discovered that some of my ancestors were French Huguenots. It is not surprising that I set Sanctuary, another of my historical novels, and Gatehaven in Scotland and England where my ancestors settled before coming to America.

.   If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
That’s easy. I would love to spend an evening with Jesus because he is my Savior, Lord and King. 

.   What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
My maiden name is Noble and my married name is Bull; so I write under three names, Molly Noble Bull. In hindsight, I wish I was either Molly Noble or Molly Bull. It would take up less space on the cover of a book.

.   What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
I like to eat, especially sweets and Mexican food, and often overeat. But the Lord seems to be saying Everything in moderation. He also says, if you love me, keep my commandments.

.   What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Never give up.
Never give up.
Never give up.

.   Tell us about the featured book?
Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull
Have you ever known a teenage girl so in love with love and a bad prince charming that she was unable to see her true prince? If so, you should connect with Shannon Aimee as she and Ian Colquhoun battle an evil Frenchman with dark secrets and evil desires. Set in Scotland and England and ending in the state of South Carolina in 1784, Gatehaven is a scary Gothic novel with a strong Christian message that will keep you reading to the last page.

Click below to see and hear the book trailer for Gatehaven.

.   Please give us the first page of the book.

Page One of GATEHAVEN by Molly Noble Bull 

A country estate in Northern England
Early January 1784  

Monsieur Etienne Gabeau wasn’t his real name.
His name was Leon Picard. But Etienne Gabeau was the only name he’d answered to since making England his home.
He stood at a window in his sitting room, smiling inwardly as he looked out. “The haunting presence that surrounds your mansion always amazes me, my lord.”
The young earl made no reply.
“Christians who read the Bible might say the atmosphere at Gatehaven is quite the devil’s doing. We both know why.” Leon/Etienne’s laugh had mocking overtones. He pulled his dark cape closer to his thin, shriveled body. “It’s a bit chilly tonight. Surely you must have noticed.”
“Of course I noticed.” The earl laughed from across the room. “An icy rain was coming down when I arrived. You might have to put me in a spare bedroom for the night, Monsieur. And why did you mention the Bible? Who among our circle of friends pay any mind to it?”
“A point well taken.” The Frenchman pushed back a curl from his eyes.
His thick mass of dark curly hair had more white strands than black, making Leon look older than his forty-five years. But twenty years ago, he was called handsome.
“Still,” Leon continued, “to the local villagers your estate is quite mysterious. It reminds me of structures I saw in France, growing up. And who can forget the red gate which gave Gatehaven its name?”
“When did you learn of the red gate, Monsieur Gabeau?”
“I learned the secret when your late father was the earl. You were but a boy then.”
Lightning cracked the night sky. Thunder boomed.
 “I saw it again, my lord.”
“Really?” The earl’s weak smile indicated that he was mildly interested. “What did you see?”
“Gatehaven…during that flash of lightning.”
Someday I will have Rachel and own Gatehaven as well, Leon vowed mentally.
The earl cleared his throat. “I’ve decided not to go to Scotland after all, Monsieur.”
“Not go?” Leon turned around in order to face him. “You must go.” Leon Picard limped to his high-backed leather chair near the fireplace, tapping his cane on the pine floor as he went. “You will go.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“I said that you will go.” Leon hooked his cane on the arm of his chair. Then he sat down and reached for the portrait on the small table beside him. “I demand it.” Leon’s words, spoken with his usual French accent, hung heavy in the air.
The earl didn’t answer.
Leon thought that Edward Wellesley, the Earl of Northon, looked stiff—as if he’d suddenly turned to stone. At last the earl gazed at Leon from a chair facing his.
“Demand?” The muscles around the young earl’s mouth slowly relaxed. “You have crossed the line, sir. Besides, I cannot go to Scotland. I have pressing business here. However, a French gentleman like you should enjoy such a journey.” His smile was edged in sarcasm. “Why not go yourself?”
“On these crippled legs? I think not. Besides, she would never receive me.”
“I am sorry. But it would be impossible for me to leave the country at this time.”
Leon turned, gazing at the fire flickering and popping in the hearth. “You want the money, do you not?” He looked back at the earl like a hungry cat that cornered a mouse.
“But of course. You know I need money to pay my gambling debts.”
      “Precisely.” Leon didn’t miss the fleeting expression of fear that crossed the younger man’s face. “I recently bought all your debts. I will destroy them all, but only if you do exactly what I say. At dawn on the morrow, you will set out for Scotland. And do dress warmly, my young friend. It will be cold out.”

.   Lena asked Molly how to be found on the Internet. Molly replied below. 



Molly Noble Bull

Molly Noble Bull

Molly Noble Bull @ Mollyauthor 

Molly Noble Bull

To buy Gatehaven, click here.

.   Below is a copy of the cover of Lena's newest novel, Catherine's Pursuit. .

.   Please leave a comment about anything having to do with this article.

.   Lena endorsed Gatehaven. Scroll down to the article below, and read Lena endorsement of the book.  


Saturday, March 22, 2014

GATEHAVEN Endorsement 1: Lena Nelson Dooley

Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull was endorsed by best-selling author Lena Nelson Dooley.

Here is what Lena had to said about Gatehaven.   

A dark, gothic novel with interesting characters and a strong Christian thread woven through it. Gatehaven is a wonderful read for lovers of gothic novels, and I am one. Thank you, Molly Noble Bull, for this page-turner.
—Lena Nelson Dooley is the multi-award-winning author of the McKenna’s Daughters Series and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico   

Find Gatehaven at  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

GATEHAVEN: Part 10 of 10

This will be the last installment of Gatehaven:
Divided into10 Parts.  
Gatehaven,  the entire book, is available in trade paperback
and as an e-book at  Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold   

               Part Ten of Ten

Shannon wiped moisture from her right eye with a white linen cloth. “Ian, why would the earl treat us as if we were servants? I don’t understand why he walked away.”
“Remember, he said he had important business to discuss with his mother and grandmother. Perhaps he did.”
“But I am to be his wife.”
“I know.”
Ian nodded as if he understood how terrible she felt. Shannon felt very close to him.
“I hate to worry you,” Ian went on. “But you must consider the possibility that the earl is not the man you think he is.”
That did it.
Shannon tensed, glaring at Ian. It was one thing when she listed the earl’s shortcomings. But she refused to hear them from anyone else.
“Do not start on that topic again, Ian. It is disloyal to the man I love.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “I was looking for a reason for his strange behavior—not condemnation.”
“Your loyalty is to be commended, even if slightly misguided, and you are certainly loyal.”
She put her hands on her hips. “I have the feeling I have just been insulted.”
“Take my words any way you wish, lass.”
“The earl is still the man I love,” she insisted. “He is just—he is behaving strangely because he failed to tell his family about me before I arrived. That must be the reason. He needs time to explain who I am.” She forced another smile. “Then everything with be splendid again—as it was in Scotland.”
“For your sake, I hope you are right. Still, I think you should give some thought to my conclusions. Not all people are good, you know. Some only pretend to be good in order to achieve a particular goal.”
Shannon put her hands over her ears. But it was too late. She’d already heard what he said.
She dropped her hands. “You are only three years older than I am, Ian. How did you become suspicious at such a young age?”
“Have you forgotten that I spent part of my growing up years at a school for boys in England?”
She hadn’t forgotten about the time Ian spent in England. Those were the loneliest days of her girlhood.
“Was it very bad here—in England?”
“Not entirely. But there was one boy. We called him Eddie.” Ian shook his head. “Until today, Eddie had not crossed my mind in years.”
“And was Eddie unkind to you?”
“Yes, lass, he was. But not just to me. Eddie was cruel to several of the boys—especially those who were younger or not as rich as he.”
“But surely you do not think that Edward—surely you cannot think the earl is—”
He shrugged. “I am not sure, but I have every intention of finding out. But for now, I need to check on my bags.” He glanced toward the door. “I will meet you in the garden behind the mansion shortly. And then we will go inside the mansion and eat.”
Unless somebody had moved it, Ian’s luggage was still stacked on top of the carriage he arrived in. But before he would worry about that, he needed to find the guardhouse where he would store his bags and spend the night.
Certainly he couldn’t count on the earl for help. He’d had suspicions about the British lord since the day he arrived in Luss, but never more than when he and Shannon talked with him earlier. It was the arrogant way the earl had cocked his head, as if looking down at them, and that had caused Ian to remember Eddie’s blue eyes. He’d seen a flash of anger behind the earl’s eyes, and he had a feeling that Eddie recognized him, too.
While helping the portly footman with Shannon’s box, he’d learned the location of the guardhouse. Ian was determined to go there as soon as possible.
At the corner of the mansion, he was about to take the path to the left when his body slammed into something.
Ian froze. Then his jaw hung loose. He’d collided with a middle-aged gentleman. The man, dressed in black, fell back, landing in a bed of pink flowers that edged the north wall of the mansion.
“Pardon me, sir.” Ian offered his right hand. “Let me help you up.”
The man pressed his thumb and forefinger to his forehead. Ian thought he looked dazed—perhaps bewildered. He finally reached out and allowed Ian to help him to his feet.
The man must have dropped his cane as he fell. It lay on the walkway near the flowerbed. Ian brushed dust and dirt from the man’s dark jacket and handed him his cane.
“Are you all right, sir?”
“I—I will be.” The older man had a heavy French accent. “As—as soon as I have time to catch my breath.” He peered up at Ian’s face. “I am Monsieur Etienne Gabeau. And you are the young man in the carriage behind Rach—behind the earl’s carriage. I saw you and the lady when you arrived—from Scotland, I believe.”
“Yes.” Ian took the man’s free arm. “My name is Ian Colquhoun.”
“My surname has what some might call an unusual spelling, but it is pronounced Ca-hoon. Let me escort you to wherever it is you were planning to go.”
“I had planned to inspect the earl’s flower beds behind the mansion and then meet him and one of his guests there. But I’ve had some unfortunate outcomes today and would rather not try for a third. I think I shall get in my carriage and have my driver drive on home.” A black carriage was parked on the road to the north of the mansion. “My estate is not far from here.”
“Should we tell the earl what happened, sir? I could go and tell him. The earl might want to contact a physician before you leave.”
“That will not be necessary. I have no need of a physician. And I visited briefly with the earl earlier. I had planned to leave soon anyway.”
“Then please allow me to walk along with you to your carriage. It’s a nice day, and I should like a stroll before eating my noon meal.”
“I should enjoy the company,” the Frenchman said.
Ian thought he looked a little shaky. Ian would walk the older man to his carriage, and he looked forward to inspecting it and the team of black horses he saw in the distance. The man dragged one of his feet as they trudged along. Ian couldn’t help feeling sorry for him.
“Sorry we met under such unfortunate circumstances,” Ian said, “but I’m glad to make your acquaintance. I would offer my hand in friendship, but it might be best if we put that off until we reach your carriage.”
The older man nodded, and then he looked up at Ian. “And where were you going in such a hurry, Mr. Colquhoun?”
“To the guardhouse. I need to find a place to sleep tonight. I am to be the vicar’s new assistant and will be residing at the vicarage. But I was told that he is currently on holiday. I hope to find lodging in the guardhouse until he returns.”
The man with the French accent smiled. “So you are the one. I thought that might be the case. The vicar told me to keep an eye out for you. He didn’t know exactly when you would arrive, and he hated to leave without knowing. But a close family member is gravely ill. He needed to be at her side immediately. So I told him I would look after you until he returned.” He glanced at Ian’s hand on his arm. “But it looks now as if you are taking care of me.”
Ian laughed. “It is the least I could do after knocking you down as I did.”
“You must stay with me until the vicar returns.” The Frenchman nodded yet again as if to confirm it. “Yes, I insist. The vicar would be put out with me if I allowed you to stay anywhere else, and I have many extra bedrooms. Not only that, but I live near the vicar’s cottage.
“I have been lonely since the vicar went away and would appreciate the company. Besides the earl and his family, the vicar is my oldest friend since moving here from France.”
“I appreciate your kind offer, sir. But I cannot put you out like that by accepting.”
“Nonsense. You will accept and stay with me until the vicar returns. I refuse to take no for an answer.”
Ian didn’t like being forced to do something he might not want to do. At the same time, he needed a place to stay, and the gentleman’s dwelling seemed like the perfect solution. He was about to accept when the earl stepped out from behind a stone wall and strode toward them.
“Oh, here you are, Monsieur Gabeau.” The earl smiled at the older gentleman, but when he turned to Ian, his smile vanished. “Mr. Colquhoun.” He sent Ian a sharp look and gazed back at the older man. “My mother and my grandmother told me to tell you that the upcoming meeting we have all been waiting for will be held here at Gatehaven as planned. We would like for you to help us decide the time and the exact date before an announcement is sent out.”
The muscles around the Frenchman’s face tightened, and his thick lips turned down. Ian imagined sparks shoot out of the older man’s eyes, and those sparks were aimed at the earl.
“As I told you in the library, my lord. I am not feeling my best today and have much to do at home. Mr. Colquhoun has promised to reside with me until the vicar returns.”
Reside with him?
Ian had fully intended to accept the Frenchman’s offer, but he hadn’t put that conclusion into words yet. It bothered him that Monsieur Gabeau spoke as if he had.
Edward looked shocked. “Monsieur Gabeau, you cannot mean that Mr. Colquhoun will be staying at your estate as your guest.”
“Yes, but only until the vicar returns. He will keep me from feeling so lonely in that big old house. I want to get Mr. Colquhoun settled in as soon as possible.”
“I can see that you are eager to be on your way,” the earl said. “But if you would be so kind as to put off leaving for—for a say an hour—and share a meal with us, I would appreciate it. I wish to speak to you alone on matters of utmost importance.”
The Frenchman’s jaw tightened. “I am a busy man, my lord, and not feeling my best. I will agree to delay my trip home for one hour—no more.”
“One hour should be plenty of time, Monsieur.”
He turned to Ian. “If you will show McGregor, my driver, where your bags and boxes are located, he will help you load them onto my carriage. I will join you shortly.”
“I will help him load my belongings into your carriage as you suggested, sir, and then I will visit that garden you mentioned. I also understand that a meal is waiting for me in the kitchen, and I am looking forward to that as well.”
“Excellent.” The Frenchman motioned to the portly guard that Ian had talked to earlier. “McGregor, help this gentleman load his bags into my carriage. I should be back in about an hour, and then you will drive us home.”
“Very good, Monsieur.”
As he limped away with the earl at his side, Ian shook his head. Apparently, some sort of hostility was going on between the earl and Monsieur Gabeau.
Not only that, the Frenchman had said his portly driver was named McGregor. The driver had seemed friendly enough when Ian saw him for the first time with the young maid at Gatehaven, but the Colquhoun and McGregor clans had never gotten along. Would his friendship with the driver continue if he knew that Ian was a member of the clan Colquhoun?

Ian had assumed that the Frenchman was a commoner. Normally, an earl would assume the dominant position in such cases. But the Frenchman took the high road—strange, to say the least. Ian didn’t know what this was all about, but it would be interesting to find out.   

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

GATEHAVEN: Part 6 of 10

By Molly Noble Bull 

Shannon already missed Andre, her baby brother, and they had only been gone a little over an hour. Andre had looked a bit small for a newborn on the day he was born, and Shannon was the first to hold him. Ever since, she’d felt guilty that she might have caused the baby to arrive too soon. Nevertheless, Andre thrived on his mother’s breast milk, and Mama predicted that one day Andre would be as tall as his father and his brother, Peter—and as handsome, too.
At least Ian finally agreed to study under the vicar at Saint Thomas Church. He was traveling with them, which made leaving home for the first time easier.
Shannon still didn’t know why her mother was so afraid for her to go to England. The English were certainly different from the French and the Scots, but not that different.
The middle-aged spinster, Miss Foster, had been living in the family’s hunting lodge in Scotland since her parents moved there when she was a child. Miss Foster claimed to enjoy visiting the earl’s family in England and said she could hardly wait to get there.
Shannon confessed to Miss Foster in whispers that she loved the earl. However, he hadn’t said much to Shannon or to his aunt since they left her village. He hadn’t seemed especially interested in the few comments Shannon made during the long ride in his expensive-looking carriage.
Like the earl, Ian never talked much. However, he was always willing to listen. Shannon was glad that Ian and Polly, Miss Foster’s maid, and Dickson, the earl’s valet, were traveling in the carriage right behind them and that she would be seeing Ian often once they arrived in England.
Nevertheless, she missed hearing the sound of the earl’s deep baritone voice. Maybe he kept quiet because he would rather that Miss Foster not hear what he had to say. Still, he looked at Shannon longingly now and again. For the present, she would have to settle for that.
She’d hoped to discuss marriage plans with the man she loved during the long trip. But his aunt kept discussing other topics—dark, disturbing ones—that would probably cause Shannon to have bad dreams at the end of her first day of traveling.
Stranger still, her father had made an odd comment shortly before she climbed up in the carriage beside her chaperone.
He’d hugged her real close and said, “Do you know the meaning of the word wiles, Rachel Shannon?”
“Wiles? No, Papa, I do not.”
“I was told it means beguiled. Your brother thinks the earl has beguiled you.” Her father handed her a sheet of parchment folded in half. “I have written a scripture from the Bible regarding this matter, and I want you to set it to memory. Will you promise to do that?”
“I will read the scripture verse, Papa.”
But she refused to promise to remember it.
“I love you.” Her father kissed her on the forehead. “Godspeed. And may the Lord go with you.”
“And go with you and Mama, too.”
She’d put the parchment in the sack her mother had fashioned to match the gold material in her dress. She loosened the gold string and pulled out the message, written at her father’s desk with pen and ink.
Put on the whole armor of God, she read, that you may stand against the wiles of the devil. Book of Ephesians, chapter six and verse eleven.
 Shannon shook her head. The message held no meaning for her. How could someone put on the whole armor of God? Where would she find such a garment? The earl had told her of metal clothing that men once wore into battle and that he kept such an item of clothing at his hunting lodge. He’d urged her to come to his hunting lodge and see it for herself, but she never had.
She folded the parchment and put it back in her carrying sack.
They traveled through what appeared to be a hilly wilderness where trees were seldom seen. Everything she saw looked new and fresh. Shannon couldn’t get enough of merely gazing out the windows on first one side of the carriage and then the other.
But she missed Ian and looked forward to visiting with him when they stopped for the night. He knew a lot about the Bible. Maybe he would tell her the meaning of the scripture verse.
Miss Foster began a discourse on the merits of owning a crystal ball and the insights she’d gain from hers. Shannon hadn’t known what a crystal ball was or its use until her chaperone volunteered to tell her. However, the explanation sounded odd to say the least, and a bit unsettling. Shannon turned her thoughts to a different kind of ball—the ball in Luss held on the day she met the earl for the first time.
She was standing with her father and mother, waiting for Ian Colquhoun to claim his dance. However, she’d thought of nothing but the handsome Earl of Northon since he entered the hall. She found herself dreaming of meeting him, but at first, he neither sought her out nor glanced in her direction.
The young earl appeared to be searching for someone. Obviously, Shannon wasn’t that person.
All at once he walked right in front of them.
Shannon sucked in her breath.
He wore a long, black coat over the finest white shirt and dark breeches she’d ever seen. What looked like a diamond glittered from his frothy cravat.
“Rachel Shannon,” her father said.
“Yes, Papa.”
The earl had started to walk off, but he turned and looked right at her.
“We will be leaving the ball soon,” her father added in French. “Dance with Ian once. And then we will go.”
Shannon’s eyes seemed to connect with the young earl’s sky blue ones, and his with hers. He looked at her as if she was the only woman in the room, and then he disappeared into the crowd. She never expected to see him again, and when Ian returned to collect his dance, she gladly accepted.
“This will be my last dance of the evening,” Shannon explained as Ian escorted her back to her parents. “Papa said we would be going home now.”
But as soon as Ian walked away, the earl and Laird Colquhoun, the leader of the Clan, walked up and joined them. Laird Colquhoun introduced Shannon and her parents to the earl, and he managed to convince Shannon’s father that it was much too early to consider leaving the ball.
All eyes turned to Shannon Aimee when the earl led her out for a country dance. Their eyes probably opened even wider when he asked her to be his partner a second time.
“I wish to dance every dance with you,” he whispered in a breathy tone.
“But this is the second time you called me out, my lord. It would be unthinkable for us to dance again.”
His wide grin warmed her heart. “I know a bench where we can sit and talk. I am eager to learn all about you, and the bench is very private, indeed. Nobody will be able to hear us. Yet your parents can watch us from afar—as you would expect them to do.”
Shannon never expected her father to agree to such an arrangement. However, Laird Colquhoun convinced him to accept. And her father’s attention never moved from that bench during the time that she and the earl sat there talking.
“Miss Aimee,” Miss Foster said, cutting in on her recollections. “Are you enjoying your journey thus far?”
“Oh yes, ma’am—very much so.” Shannon returned her chaperone’s brief smile and gazed at the earl, hoping he would make some sort of comment. When he glanced her way, she continued. “Lord Northon, where will we be spending the night?”
“At an inn your father mentioned. But on the morrow, we will stay at an inn near a chapel I would like for us to visit. I am sure you will find it as interesting as I do.”
“Then we will be attending church?”
“Church?” He laughed. “I said we will be visiting a chapel—not attending services there.”
Shannon turned her head at an angle. “If we will be visiting a chapel, why not attend services? I am sure my parents would like that very much.”
“I would not,” he retorted. “We will tour the building—inspect the carvings and other objects of interest there—and then we will leave. I will take you and my aunt back to the inn, and I will attend an important meeting with friends from the village.”
Shannon nodded. “I see.”
But she didn’t.
The earl had seemed so aloof since they left Luss—almost as if he was a different person. It had to be because Miss Foster hung on their every word. Things would return to normal once they arrived at his estate.
Shannon had thought—hoped—that she would be having her supper that evening with the earl. She’d dreamed that they would share a table for two—that he would whisper sweet love words as he had done in Luss. But that did not happen.
The earl left the inn as soon as they checked in.
Later, Shannon sat at a table below stairs long after Miss Foster turned in for the night, hoping the earl would return. Ian sat with her.
“To keep you from being lonely,” Ian said.
During the long evening, Shannon told Ian of the message with the scripture verse in it and asked if he knew its meaning. He confessed that he did not.
Then Ian reminded her of their happy childhood in Luss and told a funny story or two—perhaps to cheer her up. Soon she felt a lot better, and when she actually laughed at some of his remarks, she realized that a merry heart really was like a medicine.
Peter Aimee stood just outside the circle of light coming from lamps—lamps that hung from a tree and from the eves of the Lion’s Inn. His sister, Shannon, as well as the earl and his party were staying the night at the inn. Peter would be sleeping in a field nearby on a blanket he’d brought from home.
He’d followed the earl after he left the inn to another establishment further on where he heard loud music coming from inside. He peeked in a window and saw a lot of men drinking from large mugs. The earl was one of them. And young women showed their ankles as they danced on a lighted stage.
Peter saw enough to know that the earl was up to no good. He’d mounted his brown horse and headed back to the inn. He wanted to check the time when the earl returned and the condition he was in when he staggered inside.
The entry door to the inn opened. Ian Colquhoun stepped onto the stoop out front.
“Ian,” Peter said from the darkness. “I’m over here.”
“Yes. Over here.”
Peter watched as Ian moved toward him.
“It’s awfully dark out here, my friend,” Ian said, “and the dim light coming from the inn helps but a little. Will you join me at a table inside? You must be starving.”
“True, I am hungry. But it’s too risky for me to be seen at an inn where my sister is sleeping. She would be furious if she knew I followed her here. I have no wish that the earl find me here either.”
“Shannon was very tired and went up to bed.” Ian shrugged. “I cannot say where the earl might be.”
“I can. I followed him, and the earl went out for a night of drinking. I doubt he will return until the early hours of the morning.”
“Then I see no reason why you cannot come inside.” Ian motioned toward a path at the side of inn. “There is a back door to the eating area. Go around to the back, knock, and I will open the door. We will take a table near the door. And while we talk, you can eat your supper.”
Peter nodded. “I might regret this, but I am too tired and hungry to argue. I will knock on the back door shortly.”
“And I will open it as soon as you do.”
Ian went back inside.
The plump, middle-aged woman who had served their supper stood just inside the door. She sent him a toothless smile.
“Lass,” Ian said as if he thought he was talking to a much younger woman, “please send someone to the table in the back a bit later. I will be likin’ to eat another bowl of stew.”
The woman laughed. “Eatin’ again, are ya?”
He nodded and grinned.
“You’re a handsome, lad, you know. But if you keep eating two suppers a night, you’ll soon be lookin’ like me husband.” She motioned toward the rotund little man with the bald head standing behind the counter.
Ian couldn’t keep from laughing. “Wait a few minutes before bringing my order. As I said, I’ll be hungrier by then.”
The woman’s loud giggle echoed all around him as Ian hurried to the back of the eating area. After a moment, he heard a knock and opened the door.
“Come in while nobody is watching.” Ian motioned to the table nearest the door. “We will sit there.”
Ian pulled out a chair and sat down. Then Peter did.
“The mutton stew is good here.” Ian grinned. “In fact, it is the only meal they serve.”
“Then I feel sure I will be having stew.”
They both laughed.
“We will not be traveling all the way to Edinburgh on the morrow as I would have thought,” Ian said. “We will only be going as far as the village of Rosslyn. The wife of the innkeeper here is a talker, and she told me a little about strange doings in that village.”
“Strange doings?” Peter leaned forward in his chair. “I am eager to hear what she said.”
“Well, the innkeeper’s wife claims that Rosslyn is known as a place where the wee people live—as well as ghosts and goblins. And she says that she knows for a fact that a Black Mass was held there once.”
“A Black Mass, did you say?”
“You heard right.”
Peter’s forehead wrinkled. “So why would the earl be stopping there on his way to England?”
Ian shrugged. “I have not one idea in my mind.”
“I will travel to Rosslyn before ya—if I can,” Peter said. “I want to find out what business the earl might have in Rosslyn and more about the village. I don’t believe in the existence of fairies and the like, but the Black Mass concerns me. I have heard of odd happenings around here, and I want to know more about all of this.”
That night before blowing out the light in his room, Ian read his pastor’s second letter again—the one from the vicar in England.
Dear Pastor Petit,
I was delighted to hear from you. However, I was sorry to learn that you are related to the murdered woman. Please accept my belated condolences. Most of what I know is hearsay, and as men of God, we cannot condemn a person to prison without two witnesses. I have none. Here are the facts I do know to be true.
The murder of your cousin, Magdalena Petit, took place in the English village of Cert. A well-dressed Frenchman, a man in the clothes of a monk, and two or three other men spent the night of the murder at an inn in the village.
A young barmaid employed at the inn told the innkeeper that the handsome young Frenchman she found so interesting said he was born in England of French parents. However, the monk told someone else in the village that they had only recently arrived in England from France. Another witness stated that he saw a monk and two other men walking away from the area where Magdalena lived after the fire started, but nobody saw who started the fire or who killed Miss Petit.
The next morning after the murder, the Frenchman and the other strangers moved on. They were never seen again.
You said in your letter that your late cousin was a French Protestant or what you would call a Huguenot. Could that have been the motive for your cousin’s death? Or was it perhaps for reasons unrelated to religion?
Some in my parish are telling tales of witchcraft in our midst and of young girls disappearing and never being seen again. I am sure it is merely idle talk started by gossips with little to keep them busy at home. Still, I do wonder. Do some members of your congregation report such mischief as well? Or is this unique to my parish?
Ian shook his head, folding the letter in half. He’d tried to convince Shannon’s parents not to let her go to England. But after they met Miss Foster, they gave their permission.
Apparently, the earl’s aunt made a good first impression. Ian could only hope Shannon’s parents were right about the woman, but he had doubts. He put the letter with the others and tried not to think about the missing young woman the vicar mentioned.
Each time he read one of the letters, he became more convinced that he was a part of an important mission. The letters were keys that fit unknown locks. Doors needed to be opened if he hoped to save Shannon and find a murderer. Somehow, he knew he must act as a watchman on the wall until his mission was complete--no matter how long it took.
For now, he would read and study the Bible, and then he would go to sleep.


To read Part 7 of the Gatehaven series, go to Emma Tcheau's blog. The address is below.

Then scroll down and read "Welcome Back, Teresa Slack."  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Welcome Back, Teresa Slack

by Molly Noble Bull

Today our guest is Teresa Slack, an old friend to Writers Rest as well as a regular writer here. Teresa is a published novelist, a devout Christian and a very nice person, and she has written many interesting articles here. Today she is going to tell us about her life, her writing and her new book, RUNAWAY HEART.
Welcome, Teresa. So, let’s get right to it. 

.   Why do you write?

I write because I love making an impact on people through stories. I love creating characters and story worlds and inviting a reader in to get to know them. I love to entertain and encourage people. Doing it with stories just comes naturally. But the main reason I write as I race toward the ½ century marks is because life is short and I don’t want to leave anything undone. 

.   What is your favorite genre to write?

My favorite is suspense, though I love romance and humor. I’ve even tried my hand at a historical western in the last year and I loved it. I hope to create a western series by the end of the year.

.   What do you read?

My favorite books are mysteries, especially ones with a romantic element, though finding one that really hooks me is difficult. I am much more critical about how I spend my reading time than I used to be. The most important thing I look for is a good storyteller. Some of my favorites are Daphne DuMaurier, Ken Follett, James Michener, Fannie Flagg, John Grisham, Tess Gerritson. I love a good romance as long as the cheese factor is kept to a minimum. Not so crazy about a damsel in distress. Humor is important. I also love historicals and hope to write one someday. I enjoy Gilbert Morris, Lawana Blackwell, Deanna Gist, Debbie Macomber, Brock and Bodie Thoene, John Aubrey Anderson, to name a few. 

.   What's on your nightstand?

A Bible with a marker, as of this moment, in 2nd Kings.
There’s also a journal I seldom make time to write in, and a writing craft book I should really get back to. 

.   Why did you decide to self-publish?

Life is short. Over the last few years I’d gotten so far away from writing, I didn’t even feel like a writer anymore. I hated that feeling. I don’t want to be a busy person who writes books. I want to be a busy writer. I’m tired of spinning my wheels waiting for something to happen in my writing career. If it’s going to happen, I have to make it happen. 

.   Are you a plotter or pantser?

Definitely a pantster. One of my most popular titles, A TENDER REED, (which is being re-released as an ebook at the end of March) was inspired one night when my barking dog wouldn’t let me sleep. So I started a book. I was 3 chapters in before the heroine had a first name. I’m not quite that undisciplined anymore. It’s a very inefficient way to write. But I love sitting down with a nugget of an idea and going crazy. To me, that’s when I feel the most creative.

.   I’ve never heard of shrimp farming in Ohio. What made you include it as a story element for Runaway Heart?

Small family owned farms are shrinking or disappearing throughout Ohio. I wanted to explore viable options for farmers looking to create additional income. And of course, I’d never read a book about shrimp farming either. Investigating and learning about it was fun.

What takeaway value do you hope your readers receive after reading RUNAWAY HEART?

Life doesn’t come with guarantees, no matter how much we wish it did. We have to trust in something. People and circumstances will let us down or not measure up to our expectations. God is always there in our fear and disappointment. He won’t let us down if we call on him.

Thanks for stopping by again, Teresa. I look forward to reading your book and reading more of your wonderful articles right here at Writers Rest.

Author bio: Teresa Slack began creating stories and characters about the time she learned to hold a pencil. Her first novel, Streams of Mercy, won the Bay Area Independent Publishers’ Assn award for Best First Novel. The third book in her Jenna’s Creek Series, Evidence of Grace, debuted nationwide according to Christian Retailing Magazine. Her latest novel, Runaway Heart, is set for official release March 7, 2014.  She grew up in rural southern Ohio, which provides the background for much of her writing. Her down-to-earth characters and writing style have endeared her to readers and reviewers alike. Teresa believes people who think nothing ever happens in a small town just aren’t paying attention. She loves writing in many genres, especially suspense, mystery and romance with a touch of humor stirred in. Someday she even hopes to write a historical.  

Back Cover Blurb for Runaway Heart: Running at the first sign of opposition is nothing new to Kyla Parrish. She’s never held onto a relationship for more than a few months, and she’s quit more jobs than most people apply for. Until Will Lachland. He’s the first man who ever made her think of getting serious about something, about putting down roots. He seems like a dream come true, but like every other man she’s ever met, he expects more than she’s willing to give.

Kyla is determined not to end up like her mother with a string of bad relationships and dead end jobs behind her, but she can’t find a balance between trusting someone with her heart and losing control of her life. But she’s tired of running. Running from life and running from love.

A new man and a new life on the farm where she spent her childhood summers seem like the answer to her prayers. But things are never as simple as they seem. Her heart yearns for love and security. Can she find it even though she can’t forget Will? Or is something else, something greater, calling her heart toward home? 

My links:

Friday, March 7, 2014

GATEHAVEN: Part 5 of 10

Here is Part 5 of 10 in the Gatehaven series, the first 54 pages on the novel in 10 sigments.  If you missed the first four parts, scroll down until you find the one titled Gatehaven: The First 54 Pages. Start reading there.

                      Part Five of Ten

A frosty spring followed the winter the earl arrived in Scotland, and spring melted into early summer. Shannon spent her days and many nights helping her mother with the new baby—rarely seeing the earl except at church on Sunday mornings. He must have stayed away because he knew how her parents felt about him. Yet his loyalty to Shannon made her love him all the more, and he never failed to mention their approaching marriage each time they met.
But now it was mid-June. The arrangements for her journey to England were completed. Shannon sat by a window in the sitting room owned by Ian’s parents, gazing out at the Loch. All that was left to do was say good-bye to her friends and loved ones.
On the morrow, she would be leaving for England, and though she still dreamed of going there, leaving those she loved made a part of her feel sad. Somehow, looking out at the Loch gave her the strength she needed to say good-bye to her best friend—Kate Colquhoun.
Kate leaned toward her. “Do you truly love the earl that much?”
Shannon heard a creaking sound nearby. “What was that?”
“Maybe it was the wind.” Kate shrugged. “It is often windy here—probably because we live so near the Loch.” She paused briefly. “You have yet to answer my question.”
Seated on the settee with Kate beside her, Shannon whispered her reply in case Kate’s younger sisters happened to be within earshot. She had heard something, and she didn’t think it was the wind.
The younger Colquhoun girls often listened to conversations while hidden from view, and when she first came in, Shannon had thought she heard the creak of a wooden floor plank near where they sat now.
“Do you love the earl, Shannon, or not?”
Shannon blinked and nodded. “I love him as much as you love my brother, Peter. Maybe more.”
“Well, if you are sure, that is all I really wanted to know.” Kate smiled. “I want you to be happy. You are my oldest and dearest friend. I only want the best for you.”
“Kate, I love you, too. You know that. I just hope my brother is the man you really want to spend the rest of your life with. He can be a little—”
“I know you and Peter have never gotten along,” Kate said softly. “But I love him and always will.”
“Then I am happy for you and glad that one day you will be my sister.”
“I am honored to be your future sister as well as Peter’s wife.”
Shannon released a deep breath. “I wish I could stay longer, but I must go.” She got up and glanced toward the door. “I promised to help Mama bathe my baby brother before she puts him down for his afternoon nap. Besides, I have last minute packing to do.”
Kate smiled as she got up and stood beside Shannon.
“How is the baby doing?”
“Thriving. I think he’s going to be as tall as Peter. Maybe even as tall as Ian.” Shannon reached out and embraced her friend. “I’m going to miss you, Kate Colquhoun.”
“As I will miss you and Ian. Please, Shannon, promise to write often. I know Ian will not, and I want to keep informed on the doings of my brother and my best friend.”
Their good-bye was an emotional one—at least for Shannon. Afraid she might break down and weep if she said more, Shannon reached out and hugged Kate again.
Ian was the one who had been standing in the shadows listening, but he never meant to do it. He’d come in the back way about the time Shannon entered through the front door of the cottage.
He’d read all of Pastor Petit’s letters and longed to share them with Shannon, but she was too devoted to the earl to listen to his concerns. He also had news for Kate.
He hadn’t counted on Shannon coming over to visit his sister, and he hadn’t wanted to spoil their emotional farewell. However, he was tired of standing there, waiting. If Shannon hadn’t left when she did, he would have made himself known to them.
Peter was on his way over to speak to Kate. It was important that Shannon not know what Peter had to say.
Kate shut the door and crossed to the archway leading to the dining room. Ian stepped out from behind a large china cabinet and stood in her path.
“Well, Ian. How long have you been here?”
“Long enough. I came in to tell you that Peter is on his way over.”
Kate smiled. “Peter is coming here?”
Kate pushed back a lock of her curly brown hair that had fallen across her forehead. “What is this all about, Ian?”
“That is what I planned to tell you. But when I saw that Shannon was here, I decided to wait until she left. I did not wish to interrupt your conversation, and if I had moved an inch, you would have known I was here.”
“And all this time I thought our little sisters were the eavesdroppers in the family.”
“I’m sorry, but it was necessary.” He motioned toward the settee in the sitting room where Kate and Shannon were seated earlier. “Let us sit down, and I will explain.”
Kate sat down stiffly, her arms across her chest. “Now, what is this all about?”
“Peter’s parents do not feel comfortable having Shannon go to England with a group of strangers. They were pleased that I took the mentoring position Shannon mentioned and that I will be going to England. But they want a member of their family to go along as well. Therefore, Peter is also going.”
“My Peter is going to England, and he never told me. I do not believe it.”
“It is true, Kate. Peter will be here shortly to tell you himself.”
“If Peter was going to England, Shannon would have told me.”
“Shannon doesn’t know.”
“You mean his own sister was never told?”
“Her parents thought it best that she not know, and you must promise not to tell her.”
“We share everything. Of course I will tell her.”
“Peter and I believe that the earl is not the noble soul Shannon thinks he is, but we have no proof of that. Therefore, Peter will be trailing us to England—staying at inns near the earl’s estate but out of sight. He will also be seeking temporary employment there, and together, we will continue our investigation of the earl Shannon is so fond of.”
“Shannon is in love with the earl, Ian,” Kate said softly. “You must face that truth before you are hurt more than you already are.”
“I know she thinks she is in love with him. As our pastor would say, we will see how she feels once the scales are removed from her eyes.”
Early the next morning, Ian climbed in the second carriage behind the one that Shannon, the chaperone, and the earl would be riding in. The earl’s valet and Miss Foster’s maid sat stiffly, facing each other on the opposite side of the carriage.
The three of them met briefly a week ago, so there was no need for introductions. Ian greeted them cordially, sitting down beside Dickson, the valet, but close to the window. Dickson and Polly, the maid, were about Ian’s age.
Polly looked scared to death until she and Dickson realized they came from the same village not far from Luss and that they knew each other as children. All at once the two of them were chattering between themselves like a couple of crows on a fencepost. But Ian probably wouldn’t have known them when he was a child even if they were from Luss.
He’d attended a school for rich young gentleman in England when he was a boy—except he wasn’t rich or English. Ian’s father was the second son of the Laird of the village, meaning his uncle got the title, the family home, and all monies the family had. Ian’s father got nothing. Perhaps Uncle George paid for Ian’s schooling in England to mute a guilty conscious.
Ian had several conferences with his pastor since the one he had on the day Shannon told him of her plans to marry the earl. In each meeting he learned something new about the Bible he’d never known previously. But some of the things they discussed were about the dark forces of this world and how to combat them. His chores on the farm and other family duties kept his mind and body occupied, and the long journey ahead would give him time to think on the things he’d learned and how to apply them in his daily life.
For now, he would sit here and wait. Shannon and her chaperone would be arriving soon, and he hoped to watch as she and the earl entered the head carriage in front of them.
At daybreak on that same morning—before the cock crowed—Peter Aimee had mounted his brown-colored horse and galloped to the edge of the village. He hid behind an abandoned mill and watched as his younger sister climbed into the carriage with the Earl of Northon and his maiden aunt, Miss Foster.
Their little brother, Andre, was born on the day Shannon told Mama and Papa that she wanted to go to England. Later that same day, as Shannon helped their mother with the baby, Peter sat with his father in the sitting room of their small cottage.
“Your sister is a strong-willed young woman, Peter, just like your mama was at her age, and that can be a good thing. It can also be dangerous. I know my daughter. We will not be able to talk Shannon out of going to England to meet the earl’s family—no matter how hard we might try. She will run away if we refuse to give our permission, and we will lose her forever. Therefore, your mother and I devised a plan. We want you to follow your sister to England without being noticed. And you must promise not to tell anyone of our plan—even Kate. You will eat in out-of-the-way places—sleep on the ground in mild weather. I have a little money saved which I will give you to pay for your keep until you find employment.”
“No, Papa, I cannot take your money. You planned to use it to pay for passage to the land across the sea and to buy a farm once we arrive.”
“We will worry about money for boat passages and a farm when the time comes. Now we must protect your sister from a dangerous young earl who thinks she is as beautiful as her mother.”
Peter had no intentions of spending all of his father’s hard-earned money. He would take any job he could get once he reached the village near the earl’s estate in England.
At the time he made that decision, he’d thought he would be the only one going to England other than those in the earl’s party and the only one with Shannon’s best interest at heart. But after his friend Ian accepted the position Shannon found for him, Peter realized that he would have a comrade in his quest to protect his sister from the British earl.
Still, he regretted having to say good-bye to Kate.
They had walked down to the Loch. Kate wore a blue dress that matched her eyes. A summer breeze whipped her long brown hair in all directions, and he’d kissed her before he told her he was leaving. But she already knew.
“It’s all right, Dear One,” she had said. “Go. I love your sister, too. And I will be waiting here at the Loch when you return.”
If he hadn’t already planned to make her his wife, he would have known Kate was the one when she said those words.