Friday, April 11, 2014

HAND-ME-DOWN BRIDE

#frifreebits
 
 


 
                                      http://amzn.com/B00G8OYHFG
 

Sophie studied her toes.  She sat on the double bed in which she'd spent the night, knees drawn up beneath her white lawn nightgown. Lifting her dark head, she gazed through a nearby window at a May morning that shone upon a blooming--but sternly regimented--rose garden.  In spite of the warm breeze, she shivered.

Then, hoping it wasn't true, for the hundredth time, she looked at the other narrow bed, the one next to hers.  Upon it lay her new husband, the rich grandfatherly man who'd paid her way from Germany, a man she'd married only yesterday.

Theodore Wildbach was quite dead.  Proper, in death as in life, he was flat on his back, hands folded on his chest. He looked like the stone knights lying in the cathedral in her home town.  That was how Theodore habitually slept, and how he'd died. Pale lips gaped inside a ring of neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard.

She'd discovered him upon awakening. She’d come close, staring, unable to believe her eyes. It was a terrible surprise, nowhere among the thousand twists of fate she'd imagined as she'd journeyed across sea and land to German Mills, Pennsylvania...



 
~Juliet Waldron
See All My Historical Novels at:

http://www.bookswelove.net/julietwaldron.php


http://www.julietwaldron.com


Set in Post-Civil-War Pennsylvania, this tale of an arranged marriage is as much about family as it is about finding true love. Sophie is a sensitive young woman struggling to make sense of her a difficult past and to understand the strange ways of her new homeland. Karl is not only a veteran of the Great War, but scarred by the secret violence of his childhood. How they both learn to trust--this often-tested immigrant girl and the veteran with a chip on his shoulder--is the subject of this tender, All-American story.

Follow the link to other Books We Love Author Friday Freebits!

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Friday Freebits ~ GENESEE

#frifreebits





"Genesee van Cortlandt," her cousin giggled. "Good Lord! What are you doing? You'll break your neck."

     The prettily rounded figure of a young Dutch woman with rosy cheeks and an enviable head of tumbling honey brown curls leaned out an open window. Close by the substantial two-storey brick house a huge tree grew, an apple tree with spreading limbs, a tree her father had been so fond of that he had put his workmen to the trouble of enduring its presence while they built the house.

     The speaker was in fashionable undress – a shift and stays covered by a crewel-stitched morning gown that had, in quieter times, come from London. Behind her a couple of well-dressed and well fed Black girls crowded, peering out the window and adding their exclamations to hers.

     "Look at Miss Jenny," one of them cried. "Just like a cat!"

     On a broad limb of the tree, a limb which had been rudely cropped in order to keep it from intersecting with the wall of the house, her long straight black hair held with a scarlet ribbon, without a cap and dressed only in a fine white muslin shift, was a slender, supple girl. For a heartbeat, she steadied herself and then proceeded on small brown bare feet along the mottled limb.

     Genesee didn't acknowledge the others. All her attention was focused on balancing. There would be a whipping descent through a lattice of branches to a bone-snapping conclusion if something went wrong.      Jenny knew what she was doing was foolhardy. Still, it was always fun to play the wild frontier woman and shock her elegant Cousin 'Nelia.

~~ From the Epic Best Historical Novel, GENESEE

http://amzn.com/B004BSH1R2


Follow the link to other Books We Love Author Friday Freebits!

 
 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

THE GREAT APPLE HUNT


 

Every August, I wait and watch for the new crop of apples. I begin the process of filling my fridge with apples, and proceed to bake apple pies and apple bread. Then I fill my freezer with applesauce. The habit began early.

 
My parents had three acres in Skaneateles, NY which came with the remains of an orchard. There were seven trees in a row on the eastern side of the house, and I remember the shape and habit of each one well, blooming in spring or illuminated by sunrise. Nearest the road was a classic Golden Delicious tree with low, spreading limbs. It was my particular haunt, because it was easy to climb into. During hot summer afternoons, there were almost-comfortable notches you could get into with a book, but actually, the best thing was just to zone out and watch the ever-changing shadows of the leaves dancing across my skinny arms.   Besides this shapely tree there was also a Schuyler Plum, a Bartlett pear, and a single apple tree each of Rome and Cortland. We had one mystery tree which shed rock hard golden-with-pink-blush fruit very late in the season. To this last, my parents could not give a name until they consulted the local old-timers. This, we finally learned, was a Winter Banana. Although initially “hard enough to shoot through an oak plank”, we found that if you wiped these apples and stored them in a cool place inside a big cardboard box, by early January they would become tasty, juicy and delicious. These heritage apples kept so well, that we often made pies or sauce or even Waldorf salad as late as April. We rarely bought store apples.
 
 
Winter Banana

When my husband and I were first married, we lived in Massachusetts and so had plenty of excellent northern apples to eat, and so my craving—after dearth years in the West Indies--was satisfied. The newly developed, sweet and crispy Macoun, glowing in those picture-perfect Massachusetts orchards was a revelation. For work, though, we had to move south. The apples here came earlier, and what I found were of poor quality. At the farm stands, the Macs, Romes and Cortlands, and even the ordinarily good keepers such as Staymen, all too soon in the long southern autumns, became mush.  Friends who lived up north sent me fruit by post, but I was an apple exile--deprived.

Moving again, into Pennsylvania, I hoped to find better apples, but at first, I couldn’t locate them. People here liked Lodi, for they come early, but about all they are good for is a mild, soupy sauce. No, the early greens are not favorites—and don’t even mention the awful saw-dust-look-but-don't eat supermarket Red “Delicious”!  The antique varieties our grandparents knew had been destroyed by subdivisions and marketing. I’ve lived in PA for 30 years now, and that once world-famous Pennsylvania export, the York Imperial--of "Treasure Island" fame--has never crossed my seeker’s path.
  
Happily, we are returning to a time in which people crave good taste again, and at the renascent farmer’s markets I'm again finding the old favorites.  It’s catch as catch can, depending on weather, rain and whether I find them fresh off the tree. There are some new, tasty varieties—the Ginger Gold, the Braeburn, the Gala, and the magnificent, late season Goldrush.  Among the newbies, I confess to a weakness for Empires and Jonagolds. The older breeds, however, to my old taste buds, will always be tops. My heart leaps when I find a hard, tart Jonathan or a traditional Winesap, or even a Cortland or a Rome, fresh from a good tree. This year, during my  annual apple hunt, I encountered my Holy Grail of heritage apples—Northern Spy—and enjoyed a brief time of rejoicing in each crispy, crunchy, tangy bite.     


 
Heritage apples/Assorted
 
~~Juliet Waldron
Historical Novels @ http://www.julietwaldron.com

Monday, October 14, 2013

DEBRA








She changed it to "Debra" after she grew up. I guess there were just too many bad/sad associations with her original birth name. The birth certificate said, "Deborah Holiday." Her mother explained to me way back when I had just married into the family, that the five days she got in hospital after childbirth seemed like a holiday to her. The Waldrons already had two little boys, aged 8 and 4, and, at the time, her husband was away on business.

Debra was at times a difficult person to love. She was smart--although by the time I met her, as         a teen-ager, she'd been convinced by other people that she was dumb. She was pretty and talked tough, but she was insecure. She wasn't as interested in other people -- except theoretically -- as she was in herself, and this led to trouble, both for her and the many who loved her. She was brilliant in her chosen field, Kinestheology, and a trail-blazing pioneer in the field of massage therapy. She dared to study the subject and she dared to practice, too, back in the days when a lot of people thought "massage" meant "sex." She was always brave and always unconventional, a real amazon, a tall woman with long flowing hair and a handsome aquiline nose. In Victorian times, she would have been considered a beauty.

She was a leader in her chosen field. In one of the most despairing times of my life, she gave me a massage and a "realignment of aura." I had been at the end of my rope--the very end--and she took all the pain I'd been keeping in my body and took it away. I could get off that table and go on with my life because of what her hands had done. People talk about it, but she had it--the healing touch. She founded Still Point School of Massage in MA. Although the name and practice eventually became the property of others, schools of that name still teach the blessed work of hands. 

Perhaps it was all the pain she took from the bodies of her patients which sickened her. Perhaps it was her genes, for, like her mother, she fell victim to MS and began the long, slow slide toward disintegration and death. It was a terrible irony for such a vital, strong-bodied person to fall prey to a wasting disease.

Deborah means "bee," and she was a Queen kind of bee. The ancient Hebrew goddess, Deborah--and before Yahweh took over the whole ball of wax, there were Hebrew goddesses--sat beneath a palm tree, dispensing justice. Debra loved to be stage center. She hoped to end her life in a room full of her friends, a sort of exit party. The police came to stop her, but they couldn't stop the progression of her illness and the onset of Death, for spinal stenosis was reaching her brain. Her body had long since ceased to serve her and Debra knew quite well that her mind would be lost next.

Thankfully, Hospice is allowed to help those who are frail and dying in pain. It was clear that Debra wanted to leave this place and begin her journey into Time. She told me she wanted to see her mother again, and trusted that she would, on the other side.

Debra still knew her own body, and she when her time within it was almost over. The good people of Hospice came to the rescue and she died peacefully on June 20, just before the Solstice. I trust she winged her way to the land of cosmic clover and nectar-filled flowers.

"Everything changes; nothing dies."  (The Blue Fox)

~~Juliet

http://www.julietwaldron.com
See All my novels there...

Bob & The Gollem


 

 

Returned from a 4 day road trip—3 of which were mostly road. The cats missed me, but particularly Bob, because he welcomed me home in his usual over-the-top Uber feline way. Hadn’t been in the house again for more than an hour, when I heard keening outside the door. It’s “Tigger’s” wurra-wurra-wurra, deep, and, somehow, both penetrating and nasal. Nasal of necessity, because he only makes this yeowly cry when he has some pitiful victim clamped between his jaws.  Yesterday, amid the blooming daffodils and the greening yard, the red buds getting ready to burst and send the human community into a coordinated allergy attack, was the last day for a poor bunny, probably  little more than a month old.

 I foolishly opened the door and Bob rushed in carrying it, a tiger with head held high, proudly bearing prey. The sad little head and ears dangled on one side of his mouth, the adorable baby legs on the other. I ran to catch him and he dropped it at my feet. When I gathered it up in a napkin, it was still warm and floppy.

“Damn you, “ said I, which was not the response he was looking for, even though I didn’t really push the regret and sadness I felt into the words. After all, he’s not a kid, he’s a cat, and, in his feline way, he truly meant well. I placed the corpse back outside on the porch. Bob followed and lay down beside it. He stretched out, head up, like some Serengeti hunter relaxing with a fresh-caught antelope.
 
As I gave him a quick stroke, I realized that like the LOTR’s Gollem, he’d brought “master” a lovely present.  As Peter Jackson has it: “Eat them! Eat them, they are young and tender!”


~` Juliet Waldron

http://www.mozartswife.com


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown

A FEW LINES FROM:
 


graphic A Few Lines from…
Kathy Fischer-Brown
Winter Fire
"Get back!" he shouted. "The ice won't hold you!"
She whirled around in alarm.
And in that split second, he saw her eyes. Those startled doe's eyes. Zara Grey!
In the next instant, a crack—like a musket shot—echoed through the ravine. She reeled as the ice heaved up beneath her amid an angry surge of black water. And then, her face frozen in a look of surprise, her mouth open in a semblance of a silent scream, she disappeared through the widening breach.
His gaze fixed on the roiling chasm, Ethan hurled himself down the slope. She surfaced—flailing arms and legs, and gasping desperately for air—churning up the black water into an icy froth. She grasped at the splinters of ice.
"Keep your head up!"
Racing along the bank, he ripped off his deerskin jacket and hurled it, along with his rifle and belt into the snow. If she went under again, she'd be trapped. Already the current had taken her, sweeping her like a bobbing cork toward the opposite bank where the ice was thicker.
"Keep your head up!"
But the frenzied movement of her arms had slowed. She gasped at the water along with the air. She could barely keep herself afloat. As if she had made a conscious choice to surrender herself to a stronger power, he saw the spirit drain out of her. An eerie calm settled over her eyes as her gaze met his, then she slipped under again without a struggle.
Without stopping to think, Ethan tore off his shirt and moccasins, and dove through the opening.

Visit Kathy’s website: http://www.kfischer-brown.com
Stop back next week for A Few Lines from… Angel de' Amor

Friday, May 10, 2013

MORE MAGICS





I'm one of the featured authors this week at Books We Love, with interview and an excerpt from my most unloved book, RED MAGIC.

http://bwlpp.blogspot.com/


Some twenty-five years ago I worked my tail off to write a full blown, old-fashioned traditional heroine-in-jeopardy romance, but you can see how well that worked out, especially if you check out some of the puzzled/and/or/angry reviews my attempt received.  Caterina is not a heroine to start with. She's more of headstrong child, but she becomes a veritable Valkyrie in the course of the book. Likewise, her husband, the celebrated rake, Christoph von Hagen, who featured in such a studly way in MOZART'S WIFE, evolves into a good husband, although the child bride with whom he's been saddled is often a genuine teen-age pain.

I responded, in my contrary way, to all those I disappointed, by making RED MAGIC the start of a series. The next story, BLACK MAGIC, belongs to tall, dark Goran, the eldest son of Caterina and Christoph, and the fateful encounter he has with an ancient Power which inhabits his birthplace. All of this takes place on the majestic Alpine Heldenburg during the 1820's, when Europe is still bruised and bleeding from the Napoleonic Wars.  Goran, a weary, war-worn cavalryman, has come home hoping to recuperate and to get married, but in Vienna he discovers that his fiancĂ© has eloped with a wealthy, debonair older man, dashing his dreams. I hope to have this story completed before Christmas, and see if another attempt at a popular formula will prove more pleasing.

WHITE MAGIC and GREEN MAGIC are on the drawing board. After all, Christoph and Caterina have a family of handsome sons and beautiful daughters, just as you'd expect. The next two books, however, will be set in the England and Cornwall. In the first, Goran von Hagen's twin sister, Mina, will marry an Englishman and encounter the feisty Little People who believe they are the true proprietors of the family estate.

~~Juliet Waldron