I had a secret project that I worked on this past autumn. I had to swear my editor (Kathie Spitz) and cover artist (Dawn at BookGraphics.net) to secrecy as well, since the project was a book written expressly for my mother-in-law for Christmas.
Yep, I wrote her a book for Christmas. Okay, so it was a short story, actually, amounting to forty pages in a printed hardcover edition, complete with dust jacket.
Passed down through the generations, the story of The Morris Girls has been deemed a tragedy—they were the last victims of Indian treachery in West Virginia—and memorialized on a monument in Nicholas County, WV.
But were they really? Or were they the victims of a treachery far more insidious that day in May, 1792?
Join Peggy and Betsy’s uncle, Benjamin Morris, as he attempts to get to the heart of the matter—and as he seeks vengeance for his nieces.
This story is family history, and I had to get it just right. I didn’t want to change the details as I was told them; I merely wanted to flesh them out.
The story is not available for public sale—I did a private printing through LuLu.com and was very pleased with the quality of the final product. The cover is lurid, but so is the story. It fits. But if this is something you might be interested in, drop me a line. I can order some copies to autograph and mail if you’d like, and for a limited time, I can do that for cost plus shipping to you.
I am looking at writing another book set in the 18th Century, too, but on the other end of the century. The research for that one is still happening. 😉
Reminder: For those who are into history and historical fiction, my publisher is hosting a cover reveal and blog tour for the final book in my Éire’s Viking trilogy: Éire’s Devil King. Details here on my site.
Merry Christmas everyone! I thought I’d give you a little present: a sneak peek excerpt from Shadows Have Gone, the third book in the End of All Things series.
Despite the changes the world has gone through after a terrible pandemic virus swept the globe, Carly and Justin have tried to keep some holiday traditions going. I thought I’d give you a glimpse at how they celebrate the holidays in the upcoming book.
I wish the happiest of holidays to you and yours, and hope that the coming new year brings everyone joy and peace.
He had it almost fully assembled when Kaden shuffled out of his room on the way to get a glass of water from the kitchen. He stopped and blinked at Justin. “Hey. What’s that?”
“This,” Justin said, “is a Christmas tree.”
“Well, yeah, I know that. Is it really Christmas?”
“As far as we can tell.” But who could blame him for forgetting? Without the month-long blare of holiday music, lights, and Santas ringing bells on every corner, the holiday had seemed to fade into the backs of most people’s minds. The only person Justin had heard mention it lately was the Reverend last Sunday.
“Are we doing Christmas celebrations now?” Kaden asked.
“We did Christmas last year,” Justin said. “Remember, Carly baked that ham?”
Kaden’s face split into a huge grin. “No one could ever forget that ham. What did she do to it?”
“Who knows? Maybe it went bad in the can.” He remembered her crestfallen expression when no one could stomach it, not even Sam.
“We didn’t put up a tree or anything last year.”
Justin shrugged. “Well, now we are. We can always use a bit of tradition, right? It will make Carly smile. Come on. Help me with this stuff.”
“What is it?” Kaden opened the package and held up the wispy, sparkling silver strands.
“That’s icicles,” Justin said. “That’s what we used to call it anyway. It was all the rage for tree decoration when I was a kid. I found it in the back of the store.”
Kaden turned the package of icicles in his hands. “What do you do with it?”
“You just drape it, like this.” Justin showed him, dropping a handful of the stuff on a branch. It fell in a fat, tangled, silvery glob.
“Wait, that can’t be right. Try using less and just, you know, draping it gracefully.” He pinched a few from the package and cascaded a few strands down a couple of branches. “There. Like that.”
They worked in silence for a few moments. “I used to decorate with my mom,” Kaden said.
Justin just nodded. He took it as a healthy sign that Kaden was talking more about his parents now.
“Every year, she picked a color theme, and we had to go out and buy new ornaments. Drove my dad crazy because we had huge stacks of boxes in the garage, but she always wanted something fresh and different, and he never said anything because he knew it made her happy. But man . . . everything had to match, and you had to space out the two colors just right on the tree so they would balance.” Kaden laughed. “I got so frustrated one year, I threw a bulb at my brother, and she made me sit on the couch in time-out while they finished. But looking back, I really enjoyed it, you know. It’s weird, but it’s silly little stuff like that you miss.”
“That silly little stuff is what stands out because that’s the best part of life. That’s why I want to do this for Carly and Dagny.”
“Do you have presents for her?”
“Dagny? Yeah. They’re in the gun closet.”
“Did you wrap them?”
“No. Should I have?”
“Oh God, yes. Tearing off the paper is the most fun part.”
Kaden thought. “It’s okay. I know what we can do. Be right back.”
Justin stepped back and eyed the tree. It was absolutely coated in that silver tinsel. Maybe they should have used it more sparingly. It looked more like a melted robot than a Christmas tree.
Kaden returned with a roll of wallpaper. “Remembered this was in the garage,” he said.
“Good save,” Justin said. “I’ll go check the chickens and get breakfast started while you wrap.” He took the toys from the closet. Dagny seemed to like building things, so he had gotten her a set of oversized LEGO bricks and interlocking wood puzzle blocks. There wasn’t much selection in the local store for a kid her age, but he had done his best.
“Why do I have to wrap?” Kaden looked a little sullen.
“I’m pulling rank on this one,” Justin said with a grin. “Like in your books, you’re gonna have to wait until I’m old and weak so you can overthrow me. Then you can order others to do the wrapping for you.”
He whistled as he strolled into the chicken coop. Five eggs this morning. He felt like celebrating. He went down the street to Mindy and Stan’s house and put two eggs wrapped in one of the mittens Mrs. Davis had made him inside the screen door. They would find it as soon as they woke and Stan went out to get the firewood for the morning.
He headed home and found Kaden swearing as he fumbled with the tape and thick paper. Justin held down a corner for him. “Carly would have a fit if she heard you using those words, you know.”
“I’ll just tell her I heard you say it,” Kaden muttered, giving him a dark look.
Justin grinned and patted the boy on the back and went to the closet again.
“You want me to wrap yours?” he asked.
“Wrap my what?”
“I got a gift?” Kaden gaped at him.
“You must have been a good boy this year,” Justin said.
“No joking, please.” Kaden blinked hard. “You really got me something?”
Justin felt like an ass for teasing him when it apparently meant a lot more to Kaden than he’d realized. Or intended, actually. “Yeah, I got you something.”
“Thanks.” Kaden’s voice was soft. “You . . . you don’t have to wrap it. Just put it under the tree for me when Dagny opens hers, okay?”
“Okay.” Justin took the gift over and tucked it below Dagny’s gifts to conceal it. Really, it was no big deal, and he hoped Kaden wasn’t disappointed when he saw what it was.
“Do you have something for Carly?”
“Yeah, but I don’t want to wrap it. I’ll give it to her later.”
Carly came upstairs just as he was finishing up breakfast, Dagny on her hip. Dagny saw the tree first and let out a soft, “Ooh!”
Carly’s smile when she saw the tree was what he’d been hoping for all along, and her kiss made him feel like one of those guys in the movies who picked the girl up and spun her around just from the sheer happiness of it.
Dagny, of course, didn’t want to eat before going to the tree, and Carly had a devil of a time coaxing her into it. Most of the egg ended up being eaten by Sam. Justin ended up having to feed her himself or she wouldn’t have eaten a bite.
As Kaden had predicted, it seemed Dagny had more fun shredding the paper than she did with playing with the toys.
Justin strolled over to where Kaden sat in the chair watching Dagny fling bits of paper in all directions. Justin handed Kaden the book he’d been holding behind his back. “For you.”
Kaden took the leather bound volume with reverence. “Oh, wow.”
“I know you like that old stuff,” Justin said. He had looked for a copy of Beowulf but couldn’t find one. He hoped Kaden might like this, but he wasn’t sure. It wasn’t mythological, after all.
“It’s all of Caesar’s books!” Kaden leafed through it. “It’s got all five of them!”
“Well, only two of them are formally attributed to him,” Justin said.
Kaden shot him a look. “You’ve read them?”
“Don’t look so shocked. Yes, I’ve read them. Well, listened to them as audio books, anyway. Lewis thought any military man ought to read Caesar.”
“Thank you, Justin. Where did you find it?”
“Library in a nearby town had a rare book section. I figured it ought to go to someone who would appreciate it and take care of it rather than sitting there on the shelf at the mercy of rodents and the weather once the building starts crumbling.”
Carly wouldn’t follow him outside to see her gift until she had picked up every one of the tiny bits of Dagny’s shredded paper. She bundled up in a jacket, scarf, and hat before following him outside.
“It’s amazing. I used to live in Alaska where forty degrees was considered pleasant, and now I’m freezing my tail feathers off.” She rubbed her hands together as she followed him around the side of the barn.
He pulled the tarp off the wagon. “Ta-da!”
“Books!” she cried in delight, though she had to know what she was getting after she’d seen Kaden’s present. But it didn’t seem to diminish her happiness one bit. “I had almost finished everything in the shop. Thank you.”
“Welcome.” He kissed her back, picking her up off the ground so their faces were level. She wrapped her arms and legs around him with a girlish giggle, and he backed up until they were leaning against the barn. Their breath mingled in small clouds on the cool air.
“I didn’t get you anything,” she murmured against his lips. “I almost forgot it was Christmas.”
“You give me a present every day,” he said. “I have something else for you. Hold up your hand.”
She did, and he transferred her weight to one arm so he could dig in his pocket. He pulled out the ring and slid it onto her finger.
“It’s an infinity symbol,” he said as she gazed down at it. “I never got you an engagement ring. I know you’re not really a jewelry person, but I thought you might like it. And it’s low enough that it won’t catch on stuff, so you won’t have to take it off when you’re working. I thought—”
She shut him up with a kiss. “I love it. Oh, Justin, I love it!”
“If you ever ask yourself how long I’ll love you, look down at it,” he said.
“An eternity and beyond,” she whispered. She tilted her head up for a kiss, but they froze at the sound of footsteps.
Justin turned and was surprised to see Bryce at the corner of the barn. He lifted a hand in a halfhearted wave before clearing his throat. “I’m sorry to . . . uh . . . but it’s important.”
“What is it?”
Bryce licked his lips. “There’s something I think you should hear.”
After a terrible virus ravages the planet, Carly Daniels, one of the few survivors, hides in her apartment in Juneau trying to survive the best she can with only occasional forays to gather food. With her is Sam, a wolf puppy she found starving on the streets. He becomes her companion and a reason to continue when giving up sometimes seems like the more attractive option. Still dazed with shock and grief, she hopes for the world to go back to normal soon.
She is discovered by Justin, an ex-soldier who is intent on making his way to Florida before the winter sets in. Justin coaxes her out of her hiding place and convinces her to join him on his journey, because a warmer climate will be their best chance against the extremes of Mother Nature.
Together, they begin a perilous journey through a nation laid to waste by the disaster. Challenges abound along the way. The weather, injury, and shortage of supplies all help to slow them down. In time, they discover that they aren’t the only survivors. Some are friendly but some have had their minds destroyed by the high fever. Then there are those who simply take what they want, leaving Carly and Justin with no choice but to defend what is theirs.
But their journey is not without joy and love. Together, they face every struggle, including an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the perils of bringing a child into a world of chaos, their baby is a new beginning for themselves and a symbol of hope for the other survivors they find along the way.
This is the story of their journey to find a place to begin a new life, and a home in each other.
Tales from the End Book 1.5
From the author of The End of All Things comes a collection of short stories about the Infection that swept around the globe, decimating the population, and leaving behind a small number of survivors, unprepared to deal with the brutal new world which had replaced the one they’d known.
L.A.’s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming …
When Veronica’s mother doesn’t come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. Veronica decides it’s up to her to find her family. “Veronica” is the story of a little girl’s courage in the face of the end of all things.
“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”
They called her Shadowfax– the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.
A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.
Tales of courage, tales of survival… Tales from the End.
The Land of The Shadow Book 2
In the highly anticipated stand-alone sequel to The End of All Things, Lissa Bryan returns readers to a world devastated by disease, and the breakdown of modern society.
Two years after a horrific virus swept the globe, decimating the world’s population, Carly Daniels and her husband, Justin, have made a safe home in the isolated southern town of Colby. Protected by fences and a vigilant population, the residents there had somehow managed to keep the Infection out. Until the sight of Carly and Justin’s healthy baby girl convinced them it was safe to allow Outsiders in.
Now, in the wake of fresh losses, the small band of survivors struggles to rebuild a community. With only nineteenth-century technology to aid them, they must learn skills long forgotten to provide for their basic needs. Each day brings new challenges, and every choice they make affects their long-term survival. While Carly and Justin adjust to a growing family, and to their roles as community leaders, they must rely on one another for strength and support when they face difficult questions.
Carly has to decide how to move forward in a world where equality, justice, and freedom from tyranny are no longer guaranteed. And when new threats emerge, she has to decide what she is willing to do—and how far she’s willing to go—to protect what she has worked so hard to build.
When the end has come and gone, it’s a journey down a long and broken road through The Land of the Shadow.
I finished the first draft of a book called Captive Irish Moon in July of 2004, just before packing up the computer to move across the country. More than ten years ago, I had ideas, maybe, that Charis would be further involved in the history of her beloved Éire, but I hadn’t even started thinking about writing the rest of the books that would encompass what is now the Éire’s Viking Trilogy.
The trilogy is comprised of the first book finished more than ten years ago but now titled (as of 2013) Éire’s Captive Moon, the second book published in 2014, Éire’s Viking, and now the final book is getting ready to be released in April of 2015.
Éire’s Devil King
A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife, he takes his surviving son to Éire and comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals.
While he is attracted to an Éire-woman for his new wife, Tuirgeis seeks to find ways to not only settle in this new land but also to learn to live with the people there, not just overthrow them.
Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong. What he wants is a local woman to give him a son of Éire.
Bloodthirsty tyrant? Overly ambitious leader? Prideful warrior? The histories tell one tale of Tuirgeis, acknowledged usurper and High King of Ireland; I am telling another.
My publisher, The Writer’s Coffee Shop, is hosting a cover reveal to take place on January 29, 2015, as well as organizing a blog tour for this final book of the trilogy. If you read historical fiction, like Vikings, are into Early Medieval Ireland, or are just a blogger who is interested in helping out, it would be fantastic if you’d like to sign up to participate in the events leading up to the release of this book. I’m up for answering questions, giving “character interviews”, or something else if you’ve got some ideas. 🙂
Interested? Know someone who might be? Sign up here.
More information about these titles can be found here on my website.
Thanks so much!
Wrong Place, Right Time is a humorous, light romance about TV traffic reporter, Kate Covington. After admitting she is in love with her best friend, Brian, Kate barges into a Las Vegas wedding chapel to stop him from getting married. When the bride storms out, Kate sees that she interrupted the wrong wedding. The groom, Chad Leida, who needs to marry before turning 30 in order to inherit his family fortune, has an intriguing offer for Kate. Marry him and spend a year as his wife for a million dollars. Kate, who is greatly in debt and believes her friend has already married so she considers the offer.
Once Kate makes her spontaneous decision, her life is on the fast track and the real adventure begins. Caught between two men, she begins to realize that though she turned up in the Wrong Place, she might have arrived just at the Right Time.
It is really hard to find out that someone you care for cares for someone else. Kate has to confront this head-on and she does so in what is a most drastic way: endeavoring to interrupt a wedding.
That she succeeds in interrupting the wrong wedding is the impetus behind this short story.
I have to give Our Heroine props for courage and enthusiasm as she embarks upon this adventure. She is brave enough to pursue the man she loves, then is gutsy enough listen to a quick proposition from a man who seems like the answer to a much different problem – and she’s willing to go along with it, showing a public smile to cover her private concerns and nerves.
Twists abound, however, even after Kate ties the knot (in Vegas!) with Our Hero, the wealthy Chad Leida. He kind of drags her from pillar to post, not always telling her what’s happening as the news of their marriage hits the media. This was irksome. He does, though, settle down to a sincere sort of fellow and Kate can’t help but find herself responding.
Which is all we need for a sweet “compelled romance” short story, right? But wait, there’s more!
And…I can’t really tell you what that more is without spoiling all the twists that author Brooke Williams has prepared for you. Sorry!
What I can say is this: I think that this story deserved more air time than it got, here. We get a glance at a romance in the making with Kate and Chad, a glance at a relationship that might have been with Kate’s original love-object, Brian, and glimpses of some interesting secondary characters (like the in-laws!). Kate had a lot to do in this story and, as Chad does in the story itself, she drags us back and forth as she hits all the major plot points.
What is satisfying is that Brooke Williams doesn’t leave us with a predictable story. She lets Kate explore the workings of her heart, and lets her experience highs and lows as consequences of her choices. We also have characters who aren’t perfect – and I really appreciate imperfect people as protagonists. So I’m grateful to the author for giving them to us in this Cinderella-interrupted tale.
If you’re looking for a sweet story this holiday season, an eStocking Stuffer perhaps, this does fit the bill. And perhaps you, like me, will want to read more of the author’s work to follow her active imagination in a longer format!
Wrong Place, Right Time is available in the following electronic formats:
Brooke Williams is an award-winning author and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of articles as well as several novels, including Someone Always Loved You and Beyond the Bars. Brooke has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morningside College, with a double major in Mass Communications and Religious Studies. She has twelve years of experience in radio broadcasting, both behind the scenes and on-air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a brief time. Brooke and her husband Sean married in 2002 and have two daughters, Kaelyn and Sadie.
A Holiday Anthology (Volume Two)
A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales
Please join us in reading this fantastically diverse FREE collection of stories to warm
your heart while you wait for the kids, the oven to buzz, on a
15-minute break from work, or when you just need to hide for ten minutes
from everyone! Every story is PG, but a few have a hint of zing.
The calendar on the wall says 2014 but the holidays are a magical time where anything is possible when it comes to romance. Prepare to travel through snow or to a tropical setting with a little dash of fantasy sprinkled in to make your holiday reading enjoyable. This heart-warming collection of all new, very short stories is our way of saying happy holidays to you.
Frankie’s Wish by Jennifer Garcia
“Every night, as my daddy taught me, I kneeled by my bed and said my prayers. But tonight, I wanted to ask for something.
“Now I lay me down to sleep… I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Oh, please bring me a mommy. Amen”
THE GIFT OF TIME by Rose Anderson
“Rose is a multi-published, award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest.
Possessing an active imagination, she writes everything from children’s stories to historical non-fiction.”
FRANKIE’S WISH by Jennifer Garcia
Jennifer believes in writing love stories that connect families and touch hearts. Her first novel, My Mr. Manny, was released August 2013 and her first novella, In My Mother’s Footsteps, was released July 2013.
A KISS AT MIDNIGHT by Lily Bishop
Lily Bishop lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. She writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense, and has published two books in the City Lights series, No Strings Attached and Under His Protection. She is working on the third book now.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER by Dee Ann Palmer
In every age the heart loves, and Dee Ann Palmer’s romances reflect those eras in fantasy, historic, contemporary and futuristic tales. The award winning Palmer is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and belongs to the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime.
MARJA’S VICTORY By Barb Caffrey
Barb Caffrey is a writer, editor, book reviewer and musician from the Midwest. She is the author of the humorous urban fantasy/romance AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE, and is the co-author of the Adventures of Joey Maverick series (with late husband Michael B. Caffrey).
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS by Beverley Bateman
Beverley Bateman is a Canadian author of several books who loves traveling, good wine and a mystery. She lives with her husband and two Shiba Inu dogs among vineyards and orchards set in lake country and surrounded by mountains – beaches, swimming and skiing.
GINGERBREAD DREAMS by Victoria Adams
Victoria Adams is a romance writer, dividing her writing between contemporary romance and New Adult contemporary romance. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and kitten, Licorice. She likes to study Raqs Sharqi (Egyptian belly dance), garden, and bake.
CHE GELIDA MANINA by M. S. Spencer
Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine. Ms. Spencer has published nine romantic suspense novels.
ROMANCE VALLEY by Kaye Spencer
Native Coloradoan Kaye Spencer writes romances from her basement hovel in a small, rural town in the far southeastern corner of Colorado—no mountains in sight—just prairie dogs, buffalo grass, and glorious prairie sunsets. While drawn to cowboys and the Old West, all genres are within her story-crafting realm. Retired from a long career in public education that included teaching through a community college outreach program, Kaye is enjoying being a full-time writer and spoiler of grandchildren. Kaye is also afflicted with ACD—Accumulative Cat Disorder—with no cure in sight.
THE CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT by Janis Susan May
Janis Susan May is a seventh-generation Texan and a third-generation wordsmith who writes mysteries as Janis Patterson, romances and other things as Janis Susan May, children’s books as Janis Susan Patterson and scholarly works and non-fiction as J.S.M. Patterson.
Janis and her husband live in Texas with an assortment of rescued furbabies.
TROPICAL CHRISTMAS by Gemma Juliana
GEMMA JULIANA is a multi-published author who lives in an enchanted cottage in north Texas with her handsome hero, teen son and a comical dog. She loves making new friends and hearing from readers. Exotic coffee and chocolate fuel her creativity.
A KISS AND A PROMISE by Lyndi Lamont
Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of author Linda McLaughlin, who writes historical and Regency Romance. Since becoming Lyndi Lamont, she has discovered that writing sexy romance is a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of a book.
A COWBOY’S HOLIDAY by E. Ayers
E. Ayers is a multi-published and best-selling author of western and contemporary romances. Her books are never too sweet or too hot. She writes down the middle.
It is available for FREE at
will be available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.
Last year’s anthology is also available at