Sunday, September 13, 2020

I have a new cover for Fortune's Folly!

 I'm pleased to present the new cover for Fortune's Folly, one that better represents what the story is about, a beautiful young woman with secrets! 



Saturday, July 25, 2020

Fortune's Folly excerpt

Fortune excerpt ch 3 

That night at fifteen minutes past nine, Eden stood at the entrance to the deserted park, justifying her participation in this foolish venture. Angel’s dare, of course. Eden had never resisted a challenge. Besides, wasn’t watching Angel her duty now?   

The street was empty and hushed but for leaves rustling to the ground. Despite the October chill, Angel unfastened the top four buttons of her shirt and folded the edges inside. She released her dark hair from its plait and pulled a pot of rouge from her pocket. 

Eden’s consternation grew. "Why must you look like a tart?"

"I'd rather not have them know I'm sixteen. I told Bobby I was older. He—" She squealed when Eden pinched her arm.

"Who is them?"

“Bobby said he’d bring a friend." Angel tugged free. "We’re going to have a little fun. Now, will you unbraid your hair or do you intend to look like a child?"

Eden swallowed her retort when two figures approached. Angel, suffused with breathless giggles, greeted Bobby and took possession of his arm. Eden summoned an aloof smile. 

They strolled in silence for a time, Angel and Bobby McAnders in the lead, Eden and Donald Stoddart behind. She refused to look his way and ignored the arm he held out. Bobby strode with chest out, shoulders rolling. He leaned to Angel, whispered in her ear. Gales of giddy laughter followed.  

The clock in the tower on Citadel Hill chimed the hour of ten. Eden said, "Angel, ‘tis time to leave.”

“Not yet, Eden. Bobby wants to go to a tavern. Isn’t that a splendid idea?"

Eden lost her breath and, for a moment, the power of speech. This game had gone too far!

Bobby turned, his smile as slick as his hair. "I'm sure you never seen a Water Street tavern. You ain't scared, are you?"

She bristled. "Scared? No, indeed. ‘Tis something I wanted to see for a long time." Donald chuckled and she glanced at him. A nearby streetlight revealed a pleasant-looking man with sturdy shoulders and ruddy cheeks. Though his manner was polite and he seemed not of the same ilk as his shipmate, she did not trust him.

Boisterous laughter and the energetic tinkle of piano music flowed from the doors of The Downy Duck. Eden followed the others in, filled with avid curiosity despite her misgivings. Long tables at which patrons sat on benches and stools crowded the scarred floor. Tobacco smoke formed a thick brown haze, rendering people across the room into shapeless phantoms. Her eyes burned and she had a powerful urge to sneeze. The acrid fumes mingled with the more pungent smells of sour ale and unwashed bodies. The sneeze she fought to contain exploded. Angel frowned and clucked her tongue.

Silence fell as they advanced. The piano player turned and stared, as did a sea of indistinguishable faces. Heat crept into Eden’s cheeks. With their blue serge skirts and white shirts, she and Angel stood out as schoolgirls. She tightened her shawl.   

Bobby led the way to a table and people moved so they could sit on the bench. Piano music and rowdy voices resumed; a buxom barmaid placed four tin mugs of ale before them. Donald handed one to Eden. She sniffed it. Cat piss. " 'Tis vile. I can't drink this."

He nodded. "Just pretend."

She took his advice and lifted the foul-smelling mug. Angel quaffed ale with the gusto of a seasoned sailor, her giddy laughter increasing in both tempo and volume with each swallow. Four more mugs appeared. Angel caressed Bobby's cheek and he asked her to dance. They stepped to the opposite end of the room, vanishing in clouds of smoke.

Eden drummed her fingers on the table. A brawny man with stringy hair and a patch on one eye leered at her. She averted her head. Laughter grew coarser, songs bawdier. The language these men used! The lurid tales!

The tune ended, the dance floor appeared empty. Eden stood. Behind the dance area a rickety staircase rose. At the top, Angel and Bobby turned and disappeared.  

Eden marched across the room, up the stairs, and entered a dim hallway with six curtained doorways, three on each side. She paused at one and listened. Heavy breathing. At the second doorway she gave a start when the frayed curtains parted and a couple emerged. She walked on.

“Oh, Bobby…" Angel's husky moan came from behind the third curtain. He grunted and snorted, the sounds of a hog. Eden opened the curtain a crack and muffled a gasp.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Canada Day Excerpt from Fortune's Folly


Read an excerpt from Fortune's Folly that incorporates the very first Canadian Dominion Day!

Eden declined André's invitation to join the celebrations in honor of Dominion Day, the day four of the provinces united as one country. She could have gone, for the wetnurses now nourished the twins. But she did not want to hear marching bands, nor to see buildings and ships bedecked and beflagged. She did not want to witness the fireworks, no matter they were rumored to be the most extravagant display ever held in North America.

She told André she was not in a celebratory mood because Prince Edward Island rejected inclusion in the new country. A partial truth.

Louis, home that evening, received two visitors and led them to his study. Eden settled in the library at the lacquered writing table to finish a letter to her brother. “I’m glad you and Susanna are getting married this August—”

She paused, startled by the sound of voices seeping through the wall. She rose and tiptoed to the bookcase. It had been built into the wall and the voices came from a cavity among the books. The sacrosanct study was on the other side.

"If you have come on business," Louis said, "why not visit the offices?"

"Our business is better done in privacy." A brief pause. "We recently spoke to M’sieur  Alfred Kells of the Lancashire British banking firm. He informed us you covertly transport cash to the Continent. And you guarantee delivery or will replace the amount with your own funds."

Paper crackled, then Louis said, "M’sieur Kells appears confident in the purpose of your request. What you ask can be done for a price, five percent of the amount involved." After their murmured agreement he asked, “How much money is there?"

"Two hundred thousand pounds, to be sent in small increments at first, ten thousand at a time. The money goes to Marseilles for a certain venture. You may call it a business venture, for isn't this after all the major goal of any civil revolution?"

Eden leaned closer. A stunning declaration, a stunning amount!

"So, you are fomenting revolution in France?" New sharpness in Louis’ voice. Probably plotting how he could profit from this knowledge.

“A revolution is necessary. The Second Empire is but a house of cards. Louis Napoleon is failing, his power slipping away. We represent certain interests who would ensure a swift overturn of power. It is our understanding you assisted others for, ah, less noble reasons. Do you undertake this request?"

“I do, for the percentage agreed upon, paid in advance."

Following a muttered discussion, one visitor said, "It will be difficult to give you the first ten thousand pounds and have nothing to show investors. May we suggest you take one-half of the first two shipments? Then five thousand pounds will be sent and our people will be satisfied."

"Very well. I conceal cash within framed paintings. What is your plan?"

“We want the cash aboard La Flamme, scheduled to leave August ninth. The ship’s first mate awaits your courier on the port side between midnight and three o’clock.”

“You have my word the courier will be there on time. Does this satisfy you, gentlemen?"

"Thank-you, M’sieur Fontaine. We appear to have a compact. La Flamme discharges her cargo and returns for another shipment in early September."

"As our business is done, shall we retire to the salon? I have excellent cognac."

Eden waited until their voices faded and a door closed. Louis had revealed himself to be a smuggler on a far grander scale than her family ever had been. And he pretended to be above all reproach. What a load of rot!

But he had given her a gift—an opportunity to obtain much needed cash. 

She returned the missing books to their places, then sat at the writing table and picked up her pen. "I'm sorry, Martin," she wrote. "I can't see any way of getting to the Island this summer. August promises to be very busy for me."    


Friday, June 05, 2020

New book description for Fortune's Folly

Her path was straight and narrow until disaster struck![1866] When Eden Fitzgerald's father and brother are arrested and sent to prison, she promptly gets married. Not for love or money, but to persuade her influential in-laws to help free the men.

While she cleverly evades Crown agents who believe she, like her father, is a smuggler and Fenian collaborator, she does what she can to achieve her goal. But when all legal methods are exhausted, she dons a mask, carries a pistol and, using her wiles, wits, even her seductive beauty, robs wealthy citizens to pay for her father's escape.

Her life grows ever more complicated by the lustful attentions of several men who profess to love her, and the one man she loves but dares not trust. Meanwhile, her crimes worsen, culminating in murder and what may be treason. As Montréal police, British agents, and men she betrayed grow more dangerous and determined to apprehend her, she must stay one step ahead of her pursuers.

"An exciting adventure." Fortune's Folly,  a historical novel with sprinkles of spicy romance, moves from Ireland to England to the British colonies in Canada, with brief stops in Egypt and Abyssinia.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Free to read on Net Galley

Free to read on Net Galley!  Fortune’s Folly is Historical Fiction with adventure, danger, spicy romance, drama. A determined young woman is on a quest to save her father. A clever schemer, a budding feminist, a brave beauty, she vows to do what she must to achieve her goal.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Publisher Helping with Disaster Recovery and Relief Efforts in Australia


Rochester, New York – February 7, 2020 – Local publisher, The Wild Rose Press, Inc. in conjunction with some of their authors have published a three-book anthology to support the ongoing battle of the Australian wildfires as well as the recovery efforts.  All proceeds from the sale of the books will go to Recovery and Relief efforts in Australia.

Rhonda Penders, President and Editor-in-Chief said, “The project began only a couple weeks ago. We have several authors in Australia, and one in particular, Stephen B. King (not THAT Stephen King), asked if he and a few others could donate stories and have all royalties go to help in the efforts to aid victims of the Australia wildfires.”  Within days, editors, artists, and production staff along with 48 authors had signed on to make the project happen.  “Everyone came together and set their other projects aside for a week and focused completely on this. Everyone worked around the clock to get this done. It truly was a team effort.”

The books are printed locally at Book1One, located on Driving Park Avenue

 “They’ve been our printer since the company opened 14 years ago and we have a great relationship with them.  Their print books are of the highest quality and they are great to work with.  When they heard about our project, they donated some of their services to help in this effort as well,” Pender said.

The print books, there are 3, are up for sale on The Wild Rose Press website.

While the book is available in print from Amazon (as well as in ebook format), Penders would prefer customers go direct to their site to purchase the print book.  “That way the profits can go direct to the cause and not be shared with outside distributors.”   

The Wild Rose Press, Inc. has been in business for 14 years.  Their catalog of over 3500 titles focuses mainly on adult fiction, but they also work with Young Adult Fiction on a limited basis.  They publish authors around the world and have earned the distinction of “Publisher of the Year” for over 12 years,  most recently for 2019. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

So, there's actually a name for this itch!

An incurable itch for scribbling [cacoethes scribendi] takes possession of many, and grows inveterate in their insane breast.
—Juvenal  [late 1st to early 2nd century, A.D.]

Cacoethes Scribendi by Oliver Wendell Holmes  (1809-1894 / United States)

If all the trees in all the woods were men;
And each and every blade of grass a pen;
If every leaf on every shrub and tree
Turned to a sheet of foolscap; every sea
Were changed to ink, and all earth's living tribes

Had nothing else to do but act as scribes,
And for ten thousand ages, day and night,
The human race should write, and write, and write,

Till all the pens and paper were used up,
And the huge inkstand was an empty cup,
Still would the scribblers clustered round its brink
Call for more pens, more paper, and more ink.

-- Cat