Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Glimpse at Where Derrick and Brielle Meet

The How a Star Falls blog tour continues! Today, enjoy a glimpse at Chapter 1's setting (Trinidad Head), where Derrick and Brielle meet...

Brielle's bench

View from the trail

Derrick's favorite spot
(Why yes, this is the current header at Seasons of Humility!)

The cross where Derrick and Brielle sit

Trinidad, California, as seen from the trail

Just imagine this place at night in January, with a girl in a white poufy dress and a guy with earbuds in his ears, and there you have it! :) These pictures were taken on a walk with a friend of mine in June 2012.

Click the following links to learn more about the setting: City of Trinidad, Trinidad a Seaside Village, Trinidad Head Trail.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Catch a Falling (Paperback) and Put It in Your Pocket

This is just a quick update to let you know that How a Star Falls is now available in paperback format! It's currently $6.64 on Amazon - the perfect little weekend treat or stocking stuffer (for you early Christmas shoppers). :)

Here's a glimpse at the full cover, designed by the amazing Lena Goldfinch of Stone Lily Design:

I think I'm in love! ♥

I adore the font treatment on the back cover, and how Lena structured the blurb.

Also, here's a little fun fact about the front cover:

Notice the stars on the bottom half of the cover? In the initial mock-up, the stars are scattered. I asked Lena in a comment on our Secret Pinterest Board:

I like the added stars around the title! I would love to have three stand out, as I'm planning on referencing Orion's belt, and there are the three "stars" (star systems) that stand out there.

And Lena (being the fabulous friend and designer that she is!) made my wish come true. See how the stars on the final version form a three-star line ending in the star that the model is "holding"? That's a nod to Orion's Belt, Brielle's constellation. :) It's all in the details, right?

I've ordered some of my own copies (including three to be set aside for the giveaway winners), and I'm so looking forward to holding this book in my hands!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How a Star Falls Soundtrack

Well, How a Star Falls is officially out in the world. :) The Kindle ebook is now available on Amazon, and the paperback is *this close* to being published. I'll let you all know when it goes live!

For the next week I thought I'd feature some behind-the-scenes/extras here on the author blog. Today, let's talk music!

Below is my playlist for Derrick and Brielle's story. You can find all the YouTube videos together on the Pinterest board, as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the songs, a few of which are actually mentioned in the story. Which is your favorite? Are there other songs you'd include that fit the plot/mood?

How a Star Falls "Soundtrack"

Prologue: "Constellations" by Jack Johnson

Chapter 1: "Brielle" by Sky Sailing*

Chapter 2: "Shooting Star" by Owl City

Chapter 3 (etc.): "West Coast Friendship" by Owl City

Chapter 4: "Starlight" by Taylor Swift

Chapter 6: "If My Heart Was a House" by Owl City

Chapter 7 and Epilogue: "Shine Your Way" by Owl City and Yuna

*Don't forget that you can enter to win An Airplane Carried Me to Bed, the soothingly beautiful CD that includes this song.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How a Star Falls Now Available for Pre-order!

When Lena Goldfinch emailed me while I was on a mini family vacation a while back, sharing the news that Amazon was allowing indie authors to make their books available for pre-order, I was so excited. And I'm thrilled to announce that I'm trying out this new pre-order option for the very first time with How a Star Falls!

And yes, that means that I did finish a first draft. ;) A completed draft is required to begin the pre-order process, in order to minimize the number of unfulfilled commitments, I believe. Let's just say that I'm glad I didn't have the pre-order option with Morning Glory! Hopefully, I'll be extra sure of my release date next time around. *sheepish grin*

Anyway, Derrick and Brielle's story is now in the capable hands of my proofreader, Rachelle Rea, as well as a couple of awesome beta readers. I can't wait to share more, and I do so hope the story will resonate with you, friends!

I'll probably wait a bit longer before getting things fully in motion for tours/reviews/etc. - just to make sure my first readers don't hate the story or anything. But if you want to be in the loop for the promotion side of things, I'd love if you'd consider becoming a "Gem"! You can sign up for the Amber's Gems Street Team HERE.

More "star story" updates to come...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cold Sky, Warm Stars

*Dusts off this little corner of the web*

In case anyone still bothers to follow this poor little blog that tends to get outdone by Seasons of Humility, I just wanted to let you know that things are coming together for How a Star Falls, my upcoming NA contemporary romance novella! Here are a couple of quote cards that I've shared on Twitter and Pinterest (created via PicMonkey), in case you want a little teaser or care to spread the word. :) Hopefully there will be more good news to come for this project as I keep on moving forward!

P.S. I'm kind of, sort of in love with Derrick (the hero). He and Brielle are stinkin' cute, in my slightly biased opinion. ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

1 Postponed Project + 1 New Project = Less Stress

In some ways I'm very excited to write this post, because of the relief it brings. But there's also an element of guilt, because I owe you all an apology. Let's just start there...

You know that book I've been promoting as a "Summer 2014" release? The one that I revealed the cover for months ago, mentioned in blog posts and newsletters, and created buttons for? Well, I don't think it's actually going to end up being a summer release...

I'm sure a lot of you saw this coming. I've been extending my time table farther and farther, hoping I could keep my goal. I even started thinking that "summer" counted up until the official end of the season (September 22nd). While that may be true, that was hardly what many of you were initially expecting, and not what I had been sharing previously on social media. *sigh*

So what does this really mean?  

I'm postponing the publication of Morning Glory. Please note that I haven't entirely given up on it. I mean, we're talking about Myghal's story! And look at that cover - I have to write the book just so I can claim that gorgeous piece of art designed by Lena Goldfinch. ;)

I've been talking about this story for a long time now, so you might be curious as to why on earth I don't have the book ready yet. Here are my reasons/excuses:

  • Life has been...well, life. I can and will use the excuse of my recent move, which involved moving out on my own for the first time (excluding college, since I lived on campus), starting a new full-time job (also a first!), and all the ins and outs that go along with that. The truth is, though, that I could and should have had the book done even before the move. Yes, there were freelance projects, my 6-week stint at the grocery store, family drama, etc. - so I'm not going to say it would have been easy. But I probably could have done it. Probably. 

  • I haven't put as much effort as I should into the research. I've done some research, but I sometimes get bogged down by all the little things I ought to check to make sure the story is historically plausible. It's all interesting stuff, for sure, but with the range of settings and the direction I went with some characters, I've been overwhelmed. Not that I necessarily have to look up a ton of information, especially when I'm just trying to get the first draft down on paper. Still, I've been worried that I'm being a little too free with my imagination and a little too unconcerned with whether or not I'm even remotely close to accurately representing certain things, especially toward the middle of the story... 

  • I think I've made a pantser error. "Pantser" is a term applied to those of us who generally write "by the seat of our pants." It's all well and good (and kind of fun!), but there are times when you sometimes miss key story elements because you're not deliberately thinking through all the aspects of the story beforehand. I realized this when I glanced through the post shared on Seekerville last night: "Troubleshooting Tips for Problem Plots." It hit me that I've been writing Morning Glory almost entirely as a "reaction" - I can't really identify my characters' clear, pressing goals. It's more like I'm throwing issue after issue at them and then forcing them to react. No wonder I feel adrift in the middle of the plot here... I have nothing really pushing my characters or the plot forward beyond a vague idea of where I want the story to end. The bottom line: I love these characters. I love certain plot elements. But I think I would need to go back to the drawing board in order to fix the overarching plot. This would/will probably take a good deal of time, especially since I haven't even finished a full draft yet... 

  • My attention and passion have been consumed by a new project. Yes, I've been distracted by a shiny idea that's been in my peripheral vision since last fall. I've known that because of where I am in life, I'd want to work on it sooner rather than later. Ideas have been slowly trickling into my mind during the last couple of months, and with the upcoming cover reveal (this Saturday, August 9th, hosted at Seasons of Humility!) - which forced me to finally come up with a back-cover blurb - I've been completely swept away by the concept. The freedom of writing a contemporary has wooed me over to the "dark side," at least for now. ;)

To all of you who have been waiting for Morning Glory's release, please forgive me for not following through on my initial publication date goal. I'm very sorry to keep you waiting and to have gotten any hopes up by circulating the buttons with my target publication month/season. :( Like I said, I do have high hopes of publishing this at some point in the future, but I'm not ready to commit to a new target date just yet. "Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies," as the saying goes. (Although it's a little late for that first time around. *sigh again*) I'm not sure how big the changes to my current plot will be, but I hope to still introduce you to most/all of these new characters someday, Lord willing and passion returning...

In the meantime, I do hope you'll consider genre-jumping with me and checking out the project I *hope* to publish next, How a Star Falls (a fanciful new-adult contemporary romance novella). I've added it to Goodreads (sans cover and blurb until this weekend), so you can add it to your shelves. And do be sure to check out the cover reveal on Saturday, because Lena's cover designs never disappoint (and there's going to be a $10 gift card giveaway!).

Thank you all for reading and for your understanding!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Winner and a Loser (Or an Honest Look at My Writing Progress)

Let's start with the happy news! I owed you all a post sometime last week announcing the "Name a Character" contest winner... I do apologize for the delay. Life has a silly way of distracting people - well, not to mention the books. ;)

Anyway, I entered the names into the List Randomizer on, and the winner is Carissa! She chose this name:


Lovely, is it not? And it will continue the flower theme in some small part, even in this non-flowery story. (Nice choice, Carissa!) Since I haven't given my full attention to How a Star Falls yet (but I'm really wanting to!), I haven't decided how I shall incorporate the name...but it will find its way into the book somehow. :)

Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback on the new Seasons of a Story Publishing site and submitted character names! It's quite a fun list to draw from, so perhaps I might be asking to use some more of those names at some point.

And now for Morning Glory...

I've got to be honest: I'm not as far as I hoped to be by this point. I think part of me is distracted by all these other story possibilities - their shiny, shimmery splendidness I keep glimpsing out of the corner of my eye. I really can't wait to give more attention to each of these story seeds that keep promising me they'll bloom into beautiful things.

Another part of me is distracted by my new job and schedule. I'm certainly not complaining, though! One, this night owl is now learning how to actually get up at a decent hour in the morning. ;) Two, this is really my dream job, and I couldn't be happier with my position and the place I'm working.

Plus, if I'm honest, I probably could have been writing more the last week or two...but when I get home from work, a lot of times I just want to read! It's not my fault that these books are so darn engaging, is it? And then there's dinner and dishes and other "housekeeping" things, you know!

I guess I just feel sort of stuck. My passion for the story feels like an ember instead of a flame, and I wonder if I just need to push through it or if I need to accept it for now. But then I think of the commitment I made to all of you about publishing it this summer, and I don't feel right just giving up quite yet. My sweet friend and cover designer gave me some great brainstorming ideas, and I think the one thing I really need to do is just give myself time to sit down and think. Maybe do the research I keep putting off. Let myself get absorbed into the heart of the story again. I really do love these characters. I mean, how can I not love Myghal, really?? LOL. And each of the three sisters has a piece of my heart. In fact, one of them has asserted herself, not content to just be pushed to the side...

Anyway, I just wanted to be up-front with you, my dear friends and readers. Also, I would sure appreciate any prayers that the Lord's will be done with this and any story I write!

Tell me: What do you do to re-ignite your passion for a story when you're stuck in the middle of it? What is it about Morning Glory that you're looking forward to...or are you more excited about my upcoming experiments with new genres? ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Check Out My Publisher Site - Enter to Name a Character!

It's finally here! My "publisher" has its own site now, to make navigating my books and author info that much easier. :)

You can check out the story behind the site at Seasons of Humility today. But since this is my author blog, I thought I'd do something special here to celebrate the occasion...

Hop on over to take a look at the Seasons of a Story Publishing site, then hop on back and share your thoughts. What do you like best about the design? Do you think it fits well with my author brand (my "theme," if you will)? Do you like the idea of joining a street team? Planning on participating in the cover reveal?

Leave a comment here on this post regarding your thoughts on the new site, and you'll be entered for a chance to pick one of my character's names for How a Star Falls (one of my upcoming projects)! There's no guarantee as to which character it will be (hero, heroine, secondary character, family member, pet, etc.) - this story is still in the brainstorming stage. :) But I'll plan on using the name somehow, LOL.

Some semi-fine print: This "giveaway" is open internationally. A winner will be chosen randomly via and will most likely be announced here sometime next week. By leaving a comment, you're giving me permission to use the name of your choice for one of my characters (of my choosing).

Please do share in your comment the name (male or female) you'd like me to use if you win! We can also chat about naming characters, and what makes for a great character name. :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Confession Time: Writing Projects

Hello, hello! This poor neglected blog... Seasons of Humility has been getting all the attention lately with book reviews and the super-fun Five Glass Slippers blog tour. :) But here I am again (finally), with a writing update.

Morning Glory

As you might have noticed by either my tweets or the WIP button in the sidebar, I've been making some progress on Morning Glory. But I've lost a bit of momentum... I think part of it is the fact that I'm moving next week. There are lots of details to take care of, people to see and things to do, and plenty to occupy the thoughts and emotions. Another part, though, is that I've reached Part II, and I'm at a transition for the book. I have vague ideas of where I want to take things, but I'm just not sure how I feel about them or how exactly I want to execute the plot. That's certainly fun in one sense (see Robin Lee Hatcher's post on Seekerville today), but I'm also not sure how to inject life back into the story.

That could also be due to other stories begging for my attention...


Maybe it's the inspiration of the Five Glass Slippers blog tour, maybe it's the creativity of books like Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, and maybe it's just my emotions right now, but I have an idea for the Five Enchanted Roses creative writing contest that recently captured my imagination! And I'm pretty sure I want to give myself permission to work on this for the next few days or so... ;)

I don't want to ignore my target release time frame for Morning Glory, but I think there's something to be said for giving some time to the idea that has ignited my interest and sparked my enthusiasm, so that I don't lose the passion. Plus, maybe taking a break to try to a different writing style will help me come back to Morning Glory with new ideas and perspective.

So, the current plan is to work on this story for a while. (Pinterest board: Arose) But of course, the main plan is to get through the moving process smoothly, so that I'm ready to start my new job!


There's one more story (affectionately referred to as my Secret Future Writing Project on Pinterest) that's been on my mind lately. I already have a cover for it (thanks to the awesome Lena Goldfinch!), and I'm eager to get started! I think this will be a great project to work on in this new season of my life. It's in a different genre, one that will allow me to explore my experiences and interests in a more direct way. I thought I could focus on it when I send Morning Glory to my editor, so I'll have something to work on while I wait. :) We'll see!

Seasons of a Story Publishing

This blog was started with the intent of updating readers on news about "The Heart's Spring" series, as well as offering behind-the-scenes information on the writing process and fun facts about the characters/settings/etc. But I've been working on a site for my "publisher," and I wanted to connect this blog with it - so that site would be more static, where all my bookish info would be in one place, and then this blog would be updated with newsy things. If that's the case, though, I guess I'll have to broaden this blog to encompass all my releases. Perhaps "The Heart's Spring" will still work, as I think that title would fit all my stories (they flow from my heart's "spring," and they come about in the "spring"/blooming season of my heart). So I guess I just wanted to give you all the heads-up about that, so you know that some changes are in the works!

And there you go...a convoluted glimpse into my author mind right now. I hope you aren't too scarred by the experience. ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Before This Brief Season Ends...

Today is the last day to get Bellflower + Fairy Slippers (2 short stories in 1 ebook) FREE for Kindle! Even if you've read Bellflower already, this is currently the only way to get Fairy Slippers. (You can skip to Fairy Slippers via the Table of Contents, if you'd like!) So I hope you'll take a chance, download the ebook, and enjoy a not-quite-hour's worth of Beauty & the Beast and Cinderella in the West, as well as an added peek into some secondary characters' romances. :) And if you'd like to spread the word about the freebie, I'd be most grateful!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

New Paperbacks, New Twitter Account, & the New-sletter!'s about time I share a new post on here, isn't it? I apologize that I've been absent lately! I guess Seasons of Humility has been getting all the attention. ;)

However, if you're subscribed to my newsletter, you should have received the "Spring Edition" in your inbox yesterday! And now that the newsletter has been sent into the world, I guess it's time I share some updates:


Now, not much has changed within Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart (just an addition of discussion questions and series info in the latter), but the covers of these two books have been updated! Just a few tweaks to show that they're part of a series - plus they're now going to be available with matte (soft) covers instead of glossy. :) If you already own the paperbacks, there's no need to get the updated ones unless you really, really like soft covers and want to see the series numbers on the spines, LOL. But if you've been waiting to pick up paperback copies, now is as good a time as any!

Here are the purchase links:

Forget Me Not

Bleeding Heart

Please note that I've approved the new versions and they should be available in their updated forms. But to be on the safe wouldn't hurt to give 'em another few days just to make sure that the changes have been processed. And to be extra sure you get the matte versions, I'd suggest ordering directly from CreateSpace or Amazon. (OK, I'll confess that I get more royalties if you order from CreateSpace...but that's neither here nor there, right?? Right.) I think CreateSpace and Amazon (they're both connected) should be quicker with accepting the changes and are less likely to have a back stock of the glossy version. Please don't hate me if I'm mistaken, though! The glossy versions are still pretty. ;)


What's this about a new Twitter account? Well, with the success of fictional-character accounts like Dr. Neil MacNeill's, and with the thought of a) giving a face to one of my own characters and b) getting my creative juices flowing, I decided to create an account for Myghal!

If you're a) #TeamMyghal and/or b) eager for Morning Glory, I hope you'll consider following my Cornish character. I'm excited to see how he does in such a foreign world. ;)


If you weren't previously signed up for my newsletter, you can still check out the Spring 2014 Edition HERE! Even though I've divulged some of the info included in there, you can still find an unedited teaser from Morning Glory, news about a special Kindle freebie promotion, and an interview with one of my editing & publicity clients, Jaye L. Knight. In other words... I hope you'll check it out and not miss out on the fun!

And here's the button I included in the newsletter, in case you want to grab it and share it! You can link it back to this blog or the Morning Glory blog. Thanks!

I guess that's enough "new" for now! Hopefully it won't be another month before I post again. ;)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sally and the Lupines

Nope, I'm not referring to a new rock group by that post title. ;) I got to visit Bald Hills again this past weekend, and it brought to mind Bleeding Heart. The lupines are absolutely stunning this year, blooming in thick, lush patches, just as I'd imagined they would be for Sally, Myghal, and Joe. So I thought I'd share some pictures and a corresponding excerpt, to set the scene a little more and really show you what I envisioned...


As the sun began to set, they came upon Myghal’s surprise so suddenly that Sally almost ran into Joe before she noticed they had stopped. Peeking around his broad back, she gasped.


The gentle, green slopes were covered with purple flowers, all standing tall and bright in the last kiss of sunlight. They cascaded down the hill like a royal waterfall, swaying slightly in the evening breeze.

She let her pack and bedroll fall from her shoulders. “How beautiful!”

And it was – prettier than any of the flashy clothes Jacob had given her to attract men and more vibrant than anything she could remember seeing.

Without another thought, she started walking through the flowers. For a moment, she wished that no one else was there with her, just so she could run and dance through the carpet of color without anyone watching. 

Eventually, she knelt down beside one of the flowers and examined it. Little round petals climbed up the stem, purple and white, glorious and pure. She placed her finger on one of the petals, fitting her fingertip to the gentle touch of the bloom. Her daddy had always told her that God would never leave her and never let go of her hand. Closing her eyes, she imagined God reaching out to her through the sweet caress of a flower.

“They’re called lupines. Sure, an’ they’re a sight.”

Reluctantly opening her eyes, she found Myghal standing close by, gazing out on the hillsides. She shook off her fancies. Her daddy hadn’t known all the horrid things she’d do once she left home. He might have had other things to tell her about God’s view of her if he had.

She stood and brushed her fingers across Myghal’s sleeve. “This is a great surprise. It’s beautiful.”

He rolled his shoulder. “I thought ye might enjoy it.” She was awarded with a small grin before he added, with a hint of melancholy, “Makes me miss my Irish mother, and our home in Cornwall.”


When he didn’t respond, she whispered, “It makes me miss home, too.”


If you haven't yet read Bleeding Heart, it's available on Amazon in Kindle ($2.99) and paperback ($8.99) formats! Lena Goldfinch, my cover designer, has also worked on some updates for the paperback versions of Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart - just little tweaks to really link them as part of a series (on the spine and back cover, mostly). This ebook cover has also been tweaked a bit to match the shading of the paperback. :) I'll keep you posted on when the updates are made official!

I'm thinking about trying matte this time for the paperbacks instead of the glossy, which would give them a softer feel and also make them a tad bit darker... Do you prefer the glossy or the matte? Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Morning Glory Button

While playing around with PicMonkey in preparation for a client's blog tour, I ended up getting utterly distracted. This is the result...

A graphic designer, I'm not, but I had some lovely pictures and fonts to work with, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. :) Plus, I had some great inspiration with my previous book-release buttons, which were designed by Anne Elisabeth Stengl:

Please feel free to take the Morning Glory button and share it on your blog/social media sites! Here are three simple steps:

  1. Save the image to your computer.
  2. Add the image to your blog's sidebar or wherever you'd like to share it! (If adding to your sidebar in Blogger, you might want to check the box for "shrink to fit.")
  3. Link it back to this site or to the Morning Glory page. Thank you!

And while I'm here, I might as well give you a quick update on the writing front! Unfortunately, Camp NaNo didn't end up taking priority this month, and I'm not as far along in Morning Glory as I'd hoped. I still have my goal of publishing the book this August, so I'm just going to keep pushing on to meet that. I'll keep you all posted on my progress when life/time permits! And maybe I'll share some Myghal snippets, at some point. ;)

Hope you all have a great week! Now, back to work...

(Cover design by Stone Lily Design. Crater Lake background © Mario Bonomi; Morning-glory flower image © Cao Zhengsong | Images purchased from

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Holding onto Hope

Well, it's been far too long since I've posted here! I'd like to say I've been spending all this time working on Morning Glory, but I've been distracted by the job hunt, publicity projects, books, and life. But I'm not giving up hope. While I'm certainly not as far along as I should be, I've written about 10,000 words this month, bringing my total for this first draft to about 15,000 (including the front matter, because I like to pad my word count however I can, LOL). I figure if I can write 3,000 words a day starting on Monday, I could get close to my goal and have a draft the length of Forget Me Not. And if I don't quite make that (because I do have some other priorities), I'll just "keep moving forward," as I was reminded by watching Meet the Robinsons tonight.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little teaser from my first draft with you. This is an unedited snippet from around the point I left off last... It's been kind of a darker story so far, and it will continue to be so for a while, but there are moments of hope and cheer in the midst of it all. So I chose one of those moments to share, because today of all days (Easter) is all about hope! I hope you enjoy the sneak peek. :)


Cresting the mountaintop, Felicity came up short. A glimpse of indigo spread before her, incredibly rich and still. Dropping Frances’s reins, she rushed past Papa and Mama, Glory, Myghal, and Helen. She ran until she came to the rocky edge and could gaze across the splendor of a lake so deep, its blue seemed to bleed from the beating heart of the earth.

The shimmery, misty morning light enclosed the mountain in a warm embrace, giving a royal sheen to the water. Felicity couldn’t tear her eyes away, not even to retrieve her journal in order to capture what she was seeing. She wasn’t sure she should even attempt to do so.

Myghal slipped beside her, his own gaze riveted on the lake. Glory came up on her other side, and the three of them stood together in awe. The moment was sweet, soft. A mercy from a deep well. And slowly, hope poured back through the cracks of her heart.

The lake was wide, but not the largest she had ever seen. And yet, its rim met the sky in a purple-blue that went on forever above and forever below. All-encompassing. The little mountain within, rising from the lake, caught her eye. Trees covered the small peak, just as trees rose like hardy survivors along the edges of the crater to her right.

“There’s Wizard Island,” Papa declared from behind her. He didn’t continue, and Felicity glanced back to see tears in his eyes. Glory tucked herself under one of his arms. From somewhere, Felicity found the courage to tuck herself beneath his other.

All was silent again, but for the moment, it felt right.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Off to Camp with Morning Glory

Yep. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo! I'm still participating in DOOM, but I figured they could overlap since both are supposed to conclude at the end of April. And being involved in Camp NaNoWriMo might give me extra motivation. Plus, I always loved the virtual camping theme!

As I was putting together my camp info, I came across the section for sharing your novel's synopsis. This prompted me to finally write one for Morning Glory! It's subject to change, as I just put it together tonight, but I'd love your feedback. Do you think it fits well with the other blurbs for this series? Does it make you want to read the book?


The depths of fear. The dawning of hope.

Summer 1887

Felicity Lute's family is on the run from scandal and sorrow, but their "vacation" isn't bringing Felicity and her sister, Helen, together the way it should. Hope - or at least distraction - comes in the form of Myghal Tamblyn, a Cornish man wandering the West. When he joins them on their journey to Crater Lake, Felicity begins to believe her heart and her dreams will heal. Just as long as she and her two sisters can keep their secrets hidden.

Myghal has fallen in love - and been forced to let go of love - twice. He's intrigued by the flirtatious and flamboyant Felicity, but he's also wary of the obvious tension in her family, despite their welcome. An adventure with new friends might be just what his lonely heart needs, or it could be the path to a third and final heartbreak.

When tragedy plunges Felicity and Myghal into the very depths of their fears, will they find anything strong enough to help them rise again?

Inspirational Historical Romance


I'm registered under my heroine's name (Felicity Lute), if you want to connect with me at camp!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Writing Update and Giveaway Notice!

Just popping in to give a brief update and announcement. :) So... I definitely didn't get as far through Morning Glory as I had hoped in March. I could say that I was swamped with marketing and client projects and family stuff and choir practices and a couple of square dances, which in some ways is true. But I know I could have fit more writing time in - I think I just let it overwhelm me to the point of procrastinating. (I'm very talented at procrastinating. I perfected the skill in college.) I think at some point I decided to let March go to the dogs, so to speak. I kind of went a little crazy this month with the book-acquiring, as well. *sheepish grin*

However, there's still one month left of the 2-month DOOM writing challenge. So I've got a good start for the story - several thousand words - and now I can treat April like a NaNoWriMo sort of month, right? I'd like to get as far through this first draft as I can. I do want to honor the Summer 2014 release commitment I made, so it would be good to make a lot more progress this next month. ;)

In other news, I've got a book giveaway going on at my personal blog, Seasons of Humility! If you'd like a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Forget Me Not (US only due to shipping costs) or an ebook copy of any of my books, please do stop by. :) While I wanted to have a separate blog here to share my author news without going overboard on my personal blog, I do sometimes talk about my books there, in addition to sharing book reviews (Christian fiction and some mainstream YA and NA - usually with at least a bit of romance!) and other life updates and bookish things. Plus, I host my publicity clients' blog tours over there, so there are some fun events and giveaways coming up in the next couple of months that you won't want to miss!

Here's a pic of the lovely Forget Me Not paperback taken at my alma mater:

I'm grateful to have my books included in their "Author's Corner" at Corban University. :)

Remember, if you'd like a chance to win your own signed copy, hop on over HERE. See you there!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dancing on Fairy Slippers

I'm so thrilled to officially announce the release of Fairy Slippers! Yes, I was originally going to wait until May and do a separate ebook release, similar to what I did for Bellflower. But I have such an awesome proofreader and cover designer who work so quickly - and after seeing what my cover designer did for her new short-story collection, Take a Picture, I decided I'd try something similar with Bellflower and Fairy Slippers. So the 2 have been combined into 1 $.99 ebook with a lovely updated cover (designed by Lena Goldfinch)!

You can purchase the ebook for only $.99 on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), or Smashwords (other e-book formats)!

I'm hosting a special little Cinderella-themed giveaway and talking a bit more about the ebook and book blast on Seasons of Humility today, so I do hope you'll stop by there! AND, to celebrate the occasion, I'm offering Forget Me Not FREE for Kindle today through Friday (March 21st) - so don't forget to pick up a copy and maybe let others know, if you're willing to spread the word. :)

To do something a little different here on the series blog, I'm going to give a little background/share some extras for Fairy Slippers. Enjoy!

Fairy Slippers Story & Setting

As some of you already know, Fairy Slippers was written with the Five Glass Slippers contest (hosted by Rooglewood Press) in mind. A blogging friend, Rebekah, shared in her review of Bleeding Heart that she wanted to read more about one of the secondary characters - a cook named Zachary Taylor. So I thought, "Why not try to give him a little sequel while writing something up for the contest?" It was a lot of fun putting together a Cinderella-themed story set in a redwood lumber town! 

First things first, though, I had to pick the right flower (in keeping with the flower theme of "The Heart's Spring" series). Somehow I came across the fairy slipper orchid in my search, and I knew it was absolutely perfect - not only for the title of the contest, but also for the story's setting. According to ARKive, "the fairy slipper orchid...has been called the most beautiful terrestrial orchid in North America," and it's noted that it can be found in Northern California. 

Interestingly enough, ARKive also notes, "Habitat destruction is a threat for the fairy slipper orchid in California, where logging for the timber industry is the primary cause." People picking the plants or accidentally harming them are also reasons the fairy slipper is more rare nowadays. So, fairy slippers would have been a treat for my characters to see near the lumber town, no question! But they'd be even more of a treat to discover today. I haven't noticed any before, but it sure would be neat to come across one in the forest. :)

Curious to see what a fairy slipper looks like? You can check out pictures at the site mentioned above, and here's a time lapse of the flower's growth and death that I found on YouTube:

As for the setting, I've discussed Falk briefly on my personal blog: A Walk Through the Past and A Walk Through Falk. But here's a short video on the history of the town, if you'd like a quick overview:

It's really a fascinating place, kind of haunting in its exuberant life and then utter disappearance. Definitely ripe for a story...

The aspect of town life that especially caught my attention, of course, was their Saturday night dances. :) I love me a fun barn dance! So we've got fairy slippers, a dance, and a Cinderella-type romance waiting to be told - I hope you'll enjoy Fairy Slippers!

You can learn more about the story and find links on the Short Stories page.

What's your favorite flower and fairy tale?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Forgotten - The Paperback is Here!

For those of you who have been waiting... I didn't forget! There really is a paperback version of Forget Me Not, and it's finally here:

While there's nothing quite like holding your very first paperback in your hands, you can bet I still smiled big when I found the proof copy in my mailbox. And when I brought the book (in its package) to the care home where my grandpa's living, one of the caretakers remarked on how I clutched the box close, LOL. What can I say? She's my baby! ;)

If you'd like to see a few more pics and hear me ramble on some more about the paperback, check out Seasons of Humility today. I thought I'd do something a little different here on the series blog, so here are some fun facts about Forget Me Not! (Note that the list includes SPOILERS.)

Forget Me Not Fun Facts

  • Annabelle's name (if I'm remembering correctly!) was inspired by this song from Huckleberry Flint. David's real name was inspired by this song by John Denver. (I grew up with John Denver's music, and I think it really fits well with this series - very emotional.) "Casey's Last Ride" brings to mind the scene in Chapter 13 with Sally...
  • In the first complete draft, Amos was Sarah Anne's son (thus Elizabeth's "brother") - and he was the one who traveled to Virginia City to attend Elizabeth's wedding instead of Sarah Anne. I agree with my proofreader that it works well motivation-wise for Elizabeth not to have a brother figure/sibling before learning about Jacob, and I do like how it all works out for the "brother" theme, as Amos is the one who talks to David by the grave instead of David's mother. I definitely had to change up the beginning, as I rambled on for a while about David's past and Elizabeth's home life before having the two of them meet up. But I have a special place in my heart for the "first" Amos who loved food, teased Elizabeth, took her shopping, dreamed of working at the livery, and planned on marrying a girl named Daisy. ;)
  • Elizabeth was originally supposed to be from Kansas. When editing the manuscript a few months back, I decided to start the story at the river-rescue scene - and in so doing, I was able to cut out the whole stagecoach ride from Kansas to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I was happy with my Internet research and the new picture I got of the Colorado scenes. I think it simplified things and made events perhaps a bit more plausible. (Although I realize that my stories are still very imaginative!)
  • Seth's name used to be John. Actually, that was his name in the first draft of Bleeding Heart, as well. But I had too many J-names (I still kind of do, but I wasn't as willing to change Jacob or Joe or Jack...). My mom suggested Seth, and I think it's perfect for him. Not only did it fit him as the husband of Naomi (who was Jewish), but the name means "placed" or "appointed" (according to Behind the Name). It was the name given to the son Eve bore after Abel was killed by Cain: "And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew" (Genesis 4:25). If you know Seth's story in Bleeding Heart, you understand the significance.
  • Like I've said before, there was once a "contemporary" version of Forget Me Not. I feel like I got pretty far along (at least plot-wise), but maybe that was just because I was rather young when I wrote it, and it seemed long, hehe. The basic premise was similar: Elizabeth learned she had a brother she'd never met, and she ran away from home. She meets up with David, who was a drifter, I guess? Like Harry in The Journey of Natty Gann, although I don't think my story was set during the Great Depression, so I'm not sure how that worked! Anyway, I remember that they did make it to Virginia City, whereupon Elizabeth discovered her brother was a drunk. She was devastated, naturally. There was something about her going to church or meeting a preacher, and David being there for her. I *think* I left it at the point where they had to decide where to go from there... I don't think I ever officially finished that version. (We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, LOL.) I know I lost some of my attempts at writing Forget Me Not (gotta love computers), so I'm not sure if this was a casualty of unrecovered/unsaved documents or if I just gave up and tried a different version. It's kind of all a blur in my mind... 
  • I took "Novel Writing" in college, and I had some of Forget Me Not done at the time. (I don't think I finished the first draft until the following school year.) But I didn't share any of it in class. Instead, I chose to work on different stories specifically for the course. I just didn't think I could handle my classmates or professor critiquing my baby... I was probably right (for where I was at the time). After all, it took me until just a few month ago to finally edit the manuscript!
 And I'll end there for now!

Do you enjoy reading "the story behind the story" for books you've read? Is there anything you'd like to know about the writing process for Forget Me Not?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meet the Characters of Morning Glory

I'm getting to know the main characters of Morning Glory as I write, and I'm excited to explore their stories - their history and hopes and heartbreak. Here's a quick introduction to the handful of main characters (so far)...

Myghal Tamblyn
 (Photo of Stefano Masciolini; pinned from "For Redheads" on Tumbler)

Most of you already know Myghal - he was a prominent secondary character in both Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart. He's Cornish, with a bit of an Irish accent picked up from his mother. (His accent is a little mixed-up from his heritage and all his wanderings...) My understanding is that the name should technically be pronounced Ma-hail. To me, he's Mee-gall, so that's what everyone else in the books think of him as. You know Americans - we butcher everything. ;) He's 34 years old at the start of Morning Glory.

Felicity Lute
(Photo of Astrid Berges-Frisbey; found on Pinterest - according to this pin, it was an edited pic...still, I like it for Felicity!)

(Photo titled "She's running and she can't stop II" by Snowfall-lullaby on Deviantart)

Felicity is the middle sister in the Lute family - 25 years old at the start of the story. She has blue eyes, and her hair is the darkest of the three sisters (yes, it's a family of redheads!), with auburn curls. She's a little flirtatious, and she's also a night owl and a poet. There's a rift between her and her older sister...

Glory Lute
(Photo by Aiste Tiriute; included in this post about her photography and titled "and in the dark, she glowed" on Flickr - you can also see more on the photographer's Flickr page and website)

Glory is the youngest in the family - 20 years old at the start of the story. Her hair is the brightest/most vivid. She's quiet, longs for touch (cuddling and the like), and has a tragic past.

Helen Lute
(Photo found on Pinterest, apparently from a Tumbler page...not sure who the model or photographer are.)

Helen is the eldest at 26. She's also quiet like Glory, but for a different reason. She's more severe, aloof, and bitter, at odds with Felicity.


The sisters' parents are Sean and Ava Lute. And there will be other characters, of course! This photo from the Native American Encyclopedia Pinterest page offers a hint at some future scenes I'm currently pondering...

Remember that you can see more of my visual brainstorming on Pinterest (no guarantee that all those pics represent elements of the story, as I haven't finished writing it yet!). And you can now find the book's "soundtrack" (or the early version of it, anyway - it might be tweaked as I write) on the Morning Glory site.

Which of these characters interests you the most? Do you like learning more about Morning Glory as I write, or would you prefer to wait until closer to the release date?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Forget Me Not is Blooming...

Happy March, dear readers! Today I wanted to give you the first glimpse at the paperback cover for Forget Me Not:

I'm so very pleased with it, and I think the colors and layout are gorgeous! Both the print cover and the print formatting were done by Lena Goldfinch of Stone Lily Design. Working with Lena is truly a dream come true!

I ordered my proof copy of the paperback today, so once I receive that and approve it, the book should be available to order - first on Amazon and CreateSpace, and then on Barnes & Noble and hopefully other bookseller websites. So we're looking at just a couple more weeks, I believe. Not too much longer!

In other paperback news, we might do an updated version of the Bleeding Heart paperback sometime this spring. Now that Forget Me Not will be available, I'm hoping to have the spine, back cover, and interior of Bleeding Heart tweaked a bit to show that the book is part of a series, having it more closely match Forget Me Not. We'll see how that goes! And as for Morning Glory, I've pretty much locked myself in to a summer release, so I think I've passed the point of no return, LOL. Remember that Morning Glory's paperback cover is going to be extra be sure you're signed up for my newsletter to hear more about that this summer!

How do you feel about paperbacks? Do you prefer them to e-books?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Dawning of Morning Glory

It's almost that time... DOOM.

The writing challenge, that is!

I signed up for DOOM (I'm going with "Determination Overcomes Our Muddling" as the acronym), which takes place March through April, with the goal of writing 50,000 words. (Kind of like NaNoWriMo, but over two months, which sounds nice!) You can check up my sign-up post HERE.

I actually did start writing the first scene of the book the other day, though, and yes, Myghal has made an appearance. ;) I'm sure you'll be hearing more about the story in the days ahead... I'll just have to find the right balance of giving you tantalizing teasers without giving too much away, right? I'm sort of a pantser, so the details will likely be a surprise to me, too. But I've been contemplating the plot a bit, and I have some impressions of the characters and the main challenges to guide me along. That's basically what I had when starting Bleeding Heart, although that story ended up taking some surprising turns... Already my planning has turned to some heavier themes. There is a bit of pressure, knowing that readers come to expect certain things of my books now.

Okay, I'm officially rambling! Let's just say you should be hearing more about Morning Glory, as well as Fairy Slippers, in this next month - and I hope to have some fun posts to go along with the two stories. Stay tuned!

Will you be participating in Speedbo or DOOM next month? What are you planning to work on in March?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bellflower Sprouted Up on Smashwords!

Did you miss the free Bellflower offer for newsletter subscribers? No need to fret - the short story prequel to Forget Me Not is now available on Smashwords!

I decided to look into that option today, and found it rather easy to create a profile on Smashwords and get this short story up there. I really like this option because A) readers can download the story in whatever format they like, including .epub, .mobi, PDF, and more; B) this makes it really easy for readers to find the story without having to e-mail me; C) there's another place for readers to leave reviews besides Goodreads; D) new readers can discover me; and E) it's separate from my Amazon page. That last one is nice because I know short stories can get lower ratings due to their length (or lack thereof), and I also know Bellflower has a chance of getting lower ratings from people who know me as an inspirational author. Not that Bellflower has inappropriate content, but the nature of the story (the fact that it's set in a brothel and it's not overtly inspirational) might not make it as appealing to my target audience.

So now you know why I'm trying out Smashwords. If you're looking for a short read, a chance to learn more about the characters from Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart, and/or if you enjoy Western romance and sweet fairy-tale retellings, I hope you'll give Bellflower a try! You can download your free copy HERE.

If you've already read Bellflower, might you consider leaving a review there? That would be a tremendous help! And what are your thoughts on Smashwords? Do you use it as an author or visit there as a reader?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Audiobook Question

In my last post I noted that making Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart into audiobooks might be a viable option - if I could see that it was something readers would be interested in. I sent out an e-mail to my influencer team, posted about it on several discussion boards on Goodreads, tweeted about it, shared it on Google +, and received a couple of responses here, as well. I thought I would share my findings with you all - so here you go!


Queries sent via:
  • e-mail (41)
  • Goodreads
  • Google +
  • Twitter
  • Blogger

Responses received:
  • 21 by e-mail
  • 4 through Goodreads
  • 3 through Google +
  • 4 through Twitter
  • 2 through Blogger

Total responses received: 34


Question: Do you listen to audiobooks?
  • 8 Yes
  • 8 Seldom
  • 15 No
  • 3 No response to this question

Number of people who mentioned they knew of others who listen to audiobooks:
  • 12

Number of people who noted they would help spread the word in some way if "The Heart's Spring" was made into audiobooks:
  • 13


Now, several things should be noted: some of the responses were from other authors sharing their thoughts or experiences; these are just the responses I received within the two days after most of the queries were sent; not everyone was asked about helping to spread the word; and I didn't specifically ask people if they knew of others who listened to audiobooks - that information was volunteered by some of the respondents.

And I also received some interesting comments from readers and authors alike. Here are some things I gleaned from them:
  • Notes were made about getting audiobooks from the library, for free, or would consider purchasing if the price were reasonable.
  • A couple of authors haven't had overly profitable experiences with audio endeavors.
  • Narrator plays a big part in the success of an audiobook.
  • One author believed it would be a worthwhile endeavor, stating that since the selection is smaller for audiobooks, readers would find me - and if I did a profit share with a narrator, I'd have nothing to lose.



So...while this wasn't a scientific study by any means, nor will it necessarily be overly helpful to other authors (as I think a lot depends on genre, popularity, etc.), I feel like this was very helpful for me! It showed me several things:
  1. The readers who play the biggest part in spreading the word about my books online aren't overly interested in audiobooks. Yes, they might know of others who listen to audiobooks, and they might still be willing to spread the word - but there's no clamor and little interest for this. If it's already a challenge to spread the word about my e-books and paperbacks, imagine how much bigger the struggle would be for a format that no one's really asking for. 
  2. Some of the readers who actually do listen to audiobooks on occasion tend to get them from the library. Or those who might be interested in purchasing audiobooks would prefer for them to be affordable. So...that doesn't really sound promising for making sales.
  3. Other authors aren't necessarily seeing a lot of sales from audiobooks or other audio-type endeavors. Granted, I've only talked to a couple! But as a newbie author, if "audio land" is a hard place for other authors to succeed, it's probably not be for me - at least not right now.

I think it's exciting that the possibility of making audiobooks is available and doable! I could make it work by sharing royalties with a narrator...but only if there was faith in the salability of the product(s). And right now, I don't think my audience is large enough, diverse enough, and eager enough for this sort of endeavor. So I'll file this away under "Someday" ideas, as something that could be pursued after I have more books released and if I gain more attention as an author. For now, I'll stick with my e-books and paperbacks, both of which I'm quite fond of anyway. ;)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Contemplating Audio...

A fellow self-published author is preparing to produce a couple of her books in audiobook format, and one of my editing/publicity clients has already taken that step with two of hers. I really didn't think it would be an option for me at this point, but I'm learning of ways that I could possibly make this work via ACX - to get Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart made into audiobooks. I have to admit, I'm excited at the thought! An author's dream come true. :)

The thing is, I need to have an idea beforehand that readers would be interested - that there would be a place for my audiobooks and a certain level of demand for them.

So here are my quick questions of the day:
  • Do you listen to audiobooks? If so, which types of stories are your favorite in that format?
  • Would you like to see "The Heart's Spring" series in audiobook format? 
  • If Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart were made into audiobooks, would you buy them for yourself or a friend, or help spread the word about them in some way?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Busy as a Bee in the Garden

I'm keeping busy trying to tend all these "flowers" (AKA my books)! I was hoping to share a post this week with some insider info on Forget Me Not - some changes the story underwent, fun facts, etc. But I think I'll save that for another time after the blog tour... 

Yes, as I'm sure most of you know, the Forget Me Not tour is well underway! You can find direct links to each post (once they're up) on the Forget Me Not blog tour page on my personal blog. There are interviews where you can learn about my dream date, my advice to the next generation, and lots of bookish tidbits...guest posts featuring Virginia City and Bonanza, my writing journey, and the handsome hero of The Journey of Natty Gann...and plenty of thoughtful and lovely reviews. And there's a tour-wide giveaway for my U.S. readers, where you can win a signed copy of Forget Me Not (when it's available), The Journey of Natty Gann on DVD, and a CD by The Civil Wars!

As you can well imagine, my forget-me-not is getting the most attention in this "garden"... But the other flowers aren't being completely neglected!
  • Bleeding Heart - the sequel to Forget Me Not - is on sale for $.99! Don't miss this Kindle Countdown Deal, which concludes at the end of the day on Friday!
  • E-mails are still trickling in from newsletter subscribers, requesting free copies of Bellflower (the short story prequel to Forget Me Not). Have you claimed yours yet? You can learn more HERE. And check out Abbi's review of the short story on Christian Novels!
  • Since Fairy Slippers (the short story companion to Bleeding Heart, featuring Zachary Taylor the cook) wasn't one of the winners of the Five Glass Slippers contest, I now have the rights back. It's possible I'll do something like I did with Bellflower - offering it for free to newsletter subscribers, or maybe blog followers? - but either way, I hope to share it with you all this May! You can add it now on Goodreads and catch a glimpse of the story on Pinterest.
  • And finally, Morning Glory... This poor flower has been waiting for some nurturing in the back corner of my garden. I found out about a 2-month writing challenge along the lines of NaNoWriMo, but on a smaller scale and taking place in the months of March and April. It's great timing, and I do so hope that it will motivate me to get Myghal and Felicity's story on paper! I'm sure you'll be hearing updates here on the blog in the weeks and months to come. :) 

What flowers/stories have been growing in your writerly garden?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bellflower and Beauty & the Beast

After publishing Bleeding Heart last summer, one reviewer surprised me with her interest in Zachary Taylor, a secondary character who works as a cook in a lumber town. When others seemed to like his character, too (although I believe Myghal is the general favorite), I decided to feature him in a short story I wanted to write for the Five Glass Slippers contest hosted by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Actually, the inspiration was sort of a combination of the two - the writing contest paved the way for giving Zachary his own little story. And I had a blast weaving elements of the Cinderella fairy tale through a short but sweet Western romance. So much so, that it later hit me: I could do this again with other fairy tales!

At some point this winter, the thought of having several more companion short stories came to life for me, and my proofreader can attest to my eagerness to explore these options. While I'm not sure yet if I'll pursue more, I did follow through on writing a Beauty & the Beast retelling... It was after I had proofread Forget Me Not a few weeks ago, with a couple of secondary characters fresh on my mind, that I started to write Bellflower. The 6,000-word short story came together in three days (not counting the proofreading and finalizing after that, of course)! 

Anyway, since Bellflower is out now in readers' hands, I thought I'd share some of the connections between Bellflower and the fairy tale it loosely follows. Please note that there are SPOILERS to follow!

Bellflower and Beauty & the Beast
  • The heroine's name. I wrote Bellflower long after I finished the first draft of Forget Me Not, so that wasn't actually planned... But it worked out perfectly to have a character named Annabelle be the heroine of this Beauty & the Beast retelling.
  • Annabelle's beauty. Like Belle, Annabelle is attractive. Unlike Belle, Annabelle is very aware of her looks, using them to her advantage.
  • Annabelle's love of books. Both Belle and Annabelle read to escape from their reality. Instead of living a "provincial life" that lacks adventure, though, Annabelle lives a harsh life that lacks the sweetness and innocence of heroines she reads about, such as Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. Annabelle also considers sticking her nose in a book to hide from stares, whereas Belle does the same while mainly unaware/uncaring of the stares.
  • Jacob's shadowy entrance. You may have picked up by now that most of my familiarity with Beauty & the Beast comes from the Disney version. ;) So, like the Beast in the Disney version, Jacob makes his entrance by stepping out from the shadows and into the light. Although Jacob is hardly as...different....and intimidating as the Beast, Annabelle is still impressed by him and his obvious authority.
  • Rufus's introduction in town. Rufus O'Daniel first shows up in the story in the middle of looking at his reflection in a store window, fixing his hair and preening. Gaston does the same thing in the "Little Town" song (albeit with a pot instead of a window). If you're interested in watching the sequence, here's a YouTube link: Belle (Little Town) - Beauty and the Beast (1991) Rufus also shares Gaston's interest in beautiful women...
  • The walk to Annabelle's new room. Jacob's in a "beastly" business, but he's determined to treat Annabelle well. Like the Beast, he leads the way through dark parts of his building to a decent room. The setting is very different, but there's a similar atmosphere in the scene.
  • Jacob's dinner request. Jacob asks Annabelle to join him for dinner, and then gets frustrated when she refuses. Unlike the Beast in the Disney movie, he doesn't exactly throw a temper tantrum. ;) But he is very determined to get what he wants, or at least figure out why Annabelle would refuse him. Annabelle responds by slamming the door in his face and cutting off the conversation.
  • Jacob's "girls." Three soiled doves are mentioned by name in the story - an echo of the three blondes who act like "Gaston groupies" in the movie.
  • Annabelle's confinement. Annabelle and Jacob have a different agreement than Belle and the Beast - but the result is similar. Annabelle is supposed to stay in her room and follow Jacob's instructions.
  • Jacob's books. Jacob doesn't have a library the size of the Beast's, but he does have enough books of his own to share with Annabelle.
  • Joe. While Joe isn't under a spell or directly affected by Jacob's second business, he knows about Jacob's "beastly" side and still offers his friendship, like Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, and Lumiere (although I doubt Joe would appreciate being compared to Mrs. Potts, LOL).
  • The yellow dress. Annabelle wears one, too, though it's not as gorgeous and decent as Belle's, unfortunately.
  • While this isn't a direct connection to Beauty & the Beast, according to A Handful of Flowers by Catherine Lee, the bellflower symbolizes "gratitude." Annabelle shows signs of feeling such when Jacob tries to protect her from Rufus (perhaps Gaston is a type of wolf?). [Jacob] couldn't tell whether the emotion suddenly glinting within her gaze was amusement or gratitude.
  • Annabelle's imaginings. While Belle attended a real ball with the Beast (albeit it was just the two of them), Annabelle only pretends she's entering a ball as she descends the stairs. 
  • References to royalty. The bellflower's pointed petals are compared to a crown, and Rufus thinks Annabelle has a royal air about her while wearing her purple dress. Of course, in the fairy tale, the Beast is the one who was once royal. But "the Beast" encompasses both Annabelle and Jacob in this story...and Belle becomes royal in the end by marrying the Beast, in any event.
  • Rufus's determination to have Annabelle. Rufus thinks Annabelle should be his and doesn't appreciate Jacob's interference, like Gaston with Belle and the Beast. While Jacob isn't badly injured like the Beast, he and Rufus do get into a bit of a fight.
  • The agreement's end. Time runs out for Jacob like it runs out for the Beast, but both had fallen in love and received love in return, so that time is no longer an issue.
  • Annabelle's tear and her song. Annabelle cries in Jacob's arms, like Belle does with the Beast when he "dies." And the song Annabelle sings is simply referred to as an "old" one, like a "Tale as Old as Time."

Obviously, with the different setting and characters, and the fact that this short story is a companion to its own series, Bellflower doesn't follow the story of Beauty & the Beast exactly. But I hope you enjoyed discovering some of the similarities between the two, and I hope the differences/twists stood out all the more to you - like the ambiguity of who is actually a "beast," the hopeful but not necessarily happily-ever-after ending, and the fact that the only thing that dies is the distance between Jacob and Annabelle.

One of the main reasons I wanted to offer this to newsletter subscribers instead of putting it up on Amazon or some other site right away is that the story is very much dependent on the rest of the series - meaning that it doesn't stand very well apart from the rest of the story. Annabelle and Jacob's story continues in Forget Me Not, so this is not "The End" for them (thankfully!). There's also some very critical foreshadowing in Bellflower to events in Bleeding Heart involving Rufus and Joe. I didn't really see that coming, until suddenly Rufus said what he did after the fight, and it hit me how events might have been set off and how consequences can be so incredibly far-reaching.

While reading Bellflower isn't necessary in order to understand and enjoy Forget Me Not and Bleeding Heart, writing the short story tied some important elements together for me and helped me care about Jacob and Annabelle even more. The ending of Forget Me Not is even more tender because of it, in my mind.

Well, I've rambled on long enough! Don't forget that you can still request your free copy of Bellflower (in either .mobi or .epub format) by signing up for my newsletter (link below header) and sending me an e-mail. And if you'd like to see some visual connections between Bellflower and Beauty & the Beast, be sure to check out the Pinterest board!