Sunday, May 11, 2014

FREE READ: Dancing with Velvet - Chapter 1






Dancing with Velvet
a story of love and war and survival

President Franklin D. Roosevelt concluded his request to Congress for a declaration of war on Japan with the words, With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God. Inevitably, not only the armed forces but the people at home would be fighting, too…though different battles on a different front.
~~~
In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work and coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it. Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life. Soon after Pearl Harbor propels the United States into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training school. Inevitably, a wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship. Then Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may become her worst nightmare.

With Kent overseas, Celeste fights her own war with pride, self-deprecation, and the need to forgive. Before he comes home…if he comes home…she knows she has to win.




 Are Celeste's desires behind the blue velvet curtain of her dreams--or is there heartbreak and disillusionment?



 Will Kent find himself in the flak-filled skies over Germany before he comes home--or will he come home at all?


To read the first chapter of Dancing with Velvet, visit my website
and click on the tab with the novel's title. 


 

MEET KENT...THE MAN OF CELESTE'S DREAMS...OR HER WORST NIGHTMARE






For Kent Goddard, life is what he has to do...and his dreams are on hold. The death of his father leaves him as 'man of the house' and supplemental breadwinner for his mother and younger brother. He advances in his job as a traveling salesman for a plumbing supply company, but what he really wants to be is a lawyer.

On one of his trips to the west Texas town of San Angelo, he meets Celeste Riley. He knows she's what he wants, too, but he can't make a commitment to her now...or for a long time to come.

After Pearl Harbor, he finds himself back in San Angelo at the bombardier training school, and he wastes no time making Celeste part of his life again. But the secrets he's kept from everyone one find their way into the light, and his anger at himself threatens their relationship.

Then he's off to Europe to fly daylight bombing raids, leaving Celeste to pick up the pieces in an unexpected way.



Available in print
or 
for Kindle

MEET CELESTE, THE GIRL IN THE BLUE VELVET DRESS







For Celeste Riley, life is what it is. Losing her mother before she started to school, realizing her father doesn’t even like her, and losing her wonderful older sister Coralee when she marries and moves away…she’s had to accept it all. High school, two years of junior college and then a good job keeping books for the local Woolworth, holiday and summer visits to her sister’s welcoming family…it’s enough. For awhile. 

But sometimes she wonders, Will it be this way forever? Going to work, going home…going nowhere.

The Great Depression is coming to an end. Half the world is already at war, but the only war Celeste has to fight is coping with a loveless home and an alcoholic father. Still, she has her dreams…

The blue velvet curtain billowing in an unseen wind revealed the man she hardly dared think of, though no matter how many times she saw him, she could never describe him to anyone. But she knew him…loved him…longed for him to take her in his arms as the music swelled beyond the velvet portiere. His fingers on her cheek electrified her. Then he smoothed her hair away from her face, and let his hand skim her shoulder and drift down her arm until he enveloped her hand in his. Leaning toward her, he brushed her lips, then her throat. An unbearable ache possessed her body. Smiling in silent invitation, he stepped away from her, moving inexorably toward the shimmering midnight blue drape until it parted. Though he stood there waiting, his hand extended, beckoning her beyond the confines of her sheltered life, she couldn’t move, couldn’t even lift her arm. His smile faded, and the curtain billowed outward, this time with the roar of the ocean, and swept him away before falling limp and still. She thought she heard him calling her, but her lips wouldn’t part in response. When she woke, her pillow was wet with tears.



Available in print
or
for Kindle
at

Saturday, May 10, 2014

DREAMS AND MEMORIES STILL LIVE ON DEMOLISHED DANCE FLOOR



This week I'm re-promoting Dancing with Velvet, the novel I wrote about my West Texas hometown. Watch The Word Place this week for more on this tender love story.



            In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work, coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it.
            Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of traveling salesman Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life.
            Soon after Pearl Harbor propels the United States into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training school. A wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship, and Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may become her worst nightmare.

Growing up in my West Texas hometown, World War II was still very much part of the fabric of everyone’s life. Most of my friends’ fathers had gone to war--and some hadn’t come home. But there were happier memories, too. I listened to my parents recount evenings spent dancing at the Roof Garden of the St. Angelus Hotel and remembered their enigmatic smiles.

Like so many other historic structures, the hotel was demolished to make room for a modern bank. The bombardier training school where my father had been stationed became the local airport. But remembering the town as I had known it growing up, I knew a story lurked in the now-quiet downtown streets.

I enlisted the help of a local newspaper columnist to find people who still remembered the hotel and the dance pavilion. It took him four separate columns to share all their memories, which were then incorporated into Dancing with Velvet, a story of love and loss and survival during one of the most tragic eras of the twentieth century.

            “…a delightful page turner…loved this uplifting story…” says one reviewer.


Video Trailer for Dancing with Velvet

Available in print or for Kindle at 
or 




Saturday, May 3, 2014

I will write...

Some months ago, riding home from school, my 6-year-old granddaughter confided in me that she'd heard 'a word' and told me shyly what it was. I responded matter-of-factly as she knew I would,which is why she shared with me. First, I asked her where she'd heard it. "In a song". (And, btw, from someone at school as far as I could discern.) She hastened to assure me she wasn't "saying" it--just telling me she'd heard it. She already knew, of course, it was a word not fit to come out of her small mouth.

I reiterated what she already knew, and then I reminded her that God had given us our eyes, ears, mouth, etc. and that I expected it made Him very sad when we didn't take care of them and keep them clean. "Oh," she said. Of course, carefully raised as she has been, she knew that, too.

Then I said, "You know, Hanna, Mimi likes to listen to the radio in the car, but I kept hearing a song with a word I didn't think I should be hearing, so I don't listen to that station anymore."

"Oh," she said, this time with some surprise.

Which brings me to the the subject in the title of this blog:

I will write about...

  • real people, good and bad
  • real situations
  • real struggles
  • real emotions
 
I will write with...

  • restraint--the most graphic word available isn't  the only word available nor necessarily the best; if I use 'strong' language, it will be in context and not held up as acceptable
  • respect for my readers who are adults and know the reality of human relations, especially sexual
  • researched-based facts so as not to offend any ethnic/religious group I include in my story 

I will never write as if...

  • my deeply-held beliefs are 'on hold' for the duration of a story
  • it doesn't matter what I write if I don't act the same
  • no one will really care if I cross lines


I will write to...


  • encourage
  • uplift
  • bring a smile

I will always remember that someday I will no longer live here. I can take nothing with me, so I will leave everything behind. When/if my grandchildren read my books, I want them to  be proud that Mimi stood for something. She did not make the New York Times Bestseller List. She did not make a million dollars. But maybe--just maybe--she made a difference.