Today is cover reveal day for Book 7 of the American Patriot Series, and voilà, here it is! I’ve been waiting to reach this stage of production for a long time, and I know many of my readers have been too! We’re making progress: Forge of Freedom is set to release in October 2022.
Monday, October 4, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
A year has passed since Ian Cameron reluctantly sent his uncle’s former slave, Seona, and their son, Gabriel, north to his kin in Boston. Determined to fully release them, Ian strives to make a life at Mountain Laurel, his inherited plantation, along with Judith, the wife he’s vowed to love and cherish. But when tragedy leaves him alone with his daughter, Mandy, and his three remaining slaves, he decides to return north. An act of kindness on the journey provides Ian the chance to obtain land near the frontier settlement of Shiloh, New York. Perhaps even the hope for a new life with those he still holds dear.
In Boston, Seona has taken her first tentative steps as a freewoman, while trying to banish Ian from her heart. The Cameron family thinks she and Gabriel should remain under their protection. Seona’s mother, Lily, thinks it’s time they strike out on their own. Then Ian arrives, offering a second chance Seona hadn’t dared imagine. But the wide-open frontier of Shiloh feels as boundless and terrifying as her newfound freedom—a place of new friends and new enemies, where deep bonds are renewed but old hurts stand ready to rear their heads. It will take every ounce of faith and courage Ian and Seona can muster to fight for their family and their future . . . together.
If you haven’t yet read Mountain Laurel (Kindred #1), you don’t want to miss it! Be sure to grab a copy before Shiloh releases so you can catch up with the action.
NORTH CAROLINA, 1793
Ian Cameron, a Boston cabinetmaker turned frontier trapper, has come to Mountain Laurel hoping to remake himself yet again—into his planter uncle’s heir. No matter how uneasily the role of slave owner rests upon his shoulders. Then he meets Seona—beautiful, artistic, and enslaved to his kin.
Seona has a secret: she’s been drawing for years, ever since that day she picked up a broken slate to sketch a portrait. When Ian catches her at it, he offers her opportunity to let her talent flourish, still secretly, in his cabinetmaking shop. Taking a frightening leap of faith, Seona puts her trust in Ian. A trust that leads to a deeper, more complicated bond.
As fascination with Seona turns to love, Ian can no longer be the man others have wished him to be. Though his own heart might prove just as untrustworthy a guide, he cannot simply walk away from those his kin enslaves. With more lives than his and Seona’s in the balance, the path Ian chooses now will set the course for generations of Camerons to come.
Shiloh also revisits several key characters from Lori’s debut novel, Burning Sky, and you’ll want to make their acquaintance too if you haven’t already. The good news is that there’s also plenty of time to meet the frontier denizens of Shiloh, New York, in the pages of Burning Sky before Shiloh’s October release.
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence: her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.
Friday, February 5, 2021
Trumbull depicts Washington’s resignation as the commander in chief of the army on December 23, 1783, to the United States Congress, then meeting at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. At this time our government was a confederation, rather than a republic, as it became in 1788. That Washington resigned his commission was highly significant to our nation’s history in that it established civilian, rather than military rule and consequently a dictatorship. I’m sure we’re all extremely grateful for our Founders’ wisdom!
In Trumbull’s painting, Washington stands with two of his aides as he addresses the president of the Congress, Thomas Mifflin, and others, such as Elbridge Gerry, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison. Martha Washington and her three grandchildren are shown watching from the gallery, but they were not, in fact, present for this momentous event.
The following year, Washington was elected the first president of the new republic.
The painting was commissioned in 1817 and placed in the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington D.C. in 1824, where it is still located today. Its imposing dimensions are 144.00 in × 216.00 in.
Have you had the privilege of seeing this painting in person? I haven't, but I’d certainly love to!
Friday, May 8, 2020
I might as well be in Scotland.
Smiling, Elizabeth Howard Carleton studied the rear of the brooding, towered building that loomed before her. The imposing grey limestone manor of her husband’s Virginia estate could not possibly have looked more like a Highland laird’s domain. Adding to the effect were the lilting strains of fiddle and pipe that reached her from the back of the nearby summer kitchen, where several of the Scottish and Irish servants were taking a brief break from their duties to dance an exuberant jig.
She had stepped out through the side door of the large stone carriage house, converted for use as the Rangers’ hospital, only to stop, as she often did, arrested by the picturesque view. Yet even in these peaceful surroundings war made its uneasy presence known. Indeed the vista would have given the impression of a blissful, dreamlike idyll were it not for the uniformed troops and Indian warriors in native dress riding or striding purposefully along the pathways and lanes between the property’s buildings.
Although remote in its mountain fastness, the estate was as bustling as any town. The manor’s sweeping emerald lawns were currently occupied by Carleton’s brigade of Rangers, nominally under the command of General George Washington, but in reality an independent force that Carleton personally funded and that answered to him alone. What she could see from where she stood behind the manor’s south wing, however, was but a tiny portion of the more than 20,000 acres he owned, spanning verdant meadows all along the broad valley’s floor, where his extensive herds of horses and cattle pastured, and vast mountain forests that blanketed the high ridges on either side.
Hues of scarlet, crimson, and russet, citron and amber drew her gaze to the tall trees between the buildings and edging the meadow the manor occupied, enclosed by a wide loop of the Thorn River. The brilliant leaves flamed among the dusky greens of pine and cedar and holly, the chill wind fanning them like fire.
She drew in a deep breath of the crisp, smoke-tinged air, musing that the place looked as though it dated to a distant century. Yet it had been built by Carleton’s uncle, Sir Harrison Carleton, only forty-seven years earlier, in 1732. Sir Harry, a Scottish laird’s eldest son, had fled his homeland for Virginia in 1715 after the British defeat of the Highland clans and death of his father at Sheriffmuir, leaving his young brother, Carleton’s father, to assume the clan laird’s heredity title of marquess. On her and Carleton’s arrival there from France in mid July, he had explained that it had been Sir Harry’s intent to recreate his ancestral home.
A pang pierced her at the memory. If only Carleton could have stayed with her there! Knowing too well the urgent mission that had again wrested him from her arms, she could not oppose his leaving. But at times such as this the sense that he was in very great danger overwhelmed her, and a terrible fear pierced her heart and stole her breath. She added another anxious, silent plea for his safety to those constantly hovering in her thoughts.
Reminding herself that the Almighty’s purpose for them was always right and perfect, even when it did not seem so, she pressed her hands against her back and stretched to ease its ache. A protesting ripple caused her to grimace, and she ran one hand along the curve of her rounded belly, smiling at the surprisingly vigorous kick beneath the tight skin and muscle.
When the babe quieted she returned her attention to her surroundings. Rows of tents interspersed the estate’s many outbuildings, and the stillness of the peaceful scene was broken by the soft hum of voices, distant rattle of wagons and harness, nearby plop of hoofs and scuff of footfalls on the graveled lanes, and occasional chime of birdsong. To her left the summer kitchen surrounded by the kitchen gardens lay outside the south wing’s entrance, with the laundry house a short distance behind. Off the main building’s far end she could just see the edge of the graceful terraces that extended its width down the gentle slope to a wide lawn where a stone bridge spanned the river near the springhouse. On the river’s far side the ridge’s flank began to rise through dense forest, first gently, then steeply to the shadowed summit of the western ridge.
She turned to glance southward where a smokehouse, still, capacious barns, expansive stables and paddocks filled with sleek horses, smithy, other workhouses, and clustered former slave cabins ranged farther down the broad Thorn Valley. Directly across on the flank of the eastern ridge, orchards and a vineyard denuded of most of their bounty this late in September blanketed a warm slope open to the sun.
She had not followed the road all the way to the end of the valley because of her pregnancy and the warning that within a mile the road dwindled to a narrow, rutted, stony path difficult to traverse except on foot, and then with difficulty. But she longed to see the place where she had been told that the river’s headwaters rose from a trickle below a narrow gap in the ridges’ folds and cascaded down a rocky watercourse before widening as it snaked back and forth across the tree-dotted meadows of the valley floor to finally pass through its broad mouth on the way to join the larger Staunton River. That would have to wait until the spring.
And by then, in God’s mercy, Jonathan will have returned, and our babe will be safely born.
The images are my own or in public domain.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
|Muchalls Castle front view|
After searching the internet for images of Scottish castles, I fortuitously came across one that closely resembles what I have in mind: Muchalls Castle which overlooks the North Sea in the countryside of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find many interior shots, so we’ll have to focus mainly on the exterior. But good enough. Let’s take a tour!
|Rear view showing back of west extension|
|View of bartizans|
|Rear of side wing with additions|
|Great Hall plasterwork over-mantel and ceiling|
The third level consists of a number of bedrooms including the Laird’s Bedroom, the Priest’s Bedroom; the Queen’s Bedroom, in case she were to visit; and even the Queen’s Winter Bedroom. Each of the bedrooms has a fireplace and what would have been dressing rooms in the 17th century, now converted to bathrooms.
The exterior differences are minor. Faced with Virginia limestone, Thornlea appears grey rather than brown, and, of course, doesn’t have a rear addition. But otherwise, Muchalls Castle is a very good stand-in for the manor. Tomorrow I’m going to post an excerpt from the beginning of Chapter Two that will hopefully help you to visualize the estate and manor more vividly. Be sure to join me to take a look!
Images of Muchalls Castle are from Wikipedia and Alchetron and are in the public domain.