Skip to content


March 24, 2015

Cheyenne cover,100dpi

From the back of the book:

The daughter of a reclusive trapper and his Cheyenne wife, Christine has known only simple childhood happiness until her mother unexpectedly dies. She is soon thrown into conflict with her father’s new wife, whose malicious abuse eventually forces her to leave her father’s backwoods cabin forever.

Abandoned to a white culture, rejected by all but a few kindred friends, Christine struggles to find and keep honest work in a remote one-saloon town amid the rugged Montana territories. Following her heart and holding fast to truths she discovers of her mother’s people, she navigates a world of prejudice and poverty. Bravely forging forward with a confident independence, she learns to adapt on the winding path of her own private wilderness. Will Christine ultimately find the courage to open her heart and reach out to embrace the one man she truly could always depend upon?

Cheyenne is a powerful testament to the infinite power of hope, love, and the human spirit in the face of devastating injustices.

Story Inspiration:

A number of years ago, the inspiration beginnings for this novel were sparked repeatedly every time I drove past the ‘Cheyenne’ (Wyoming) sign on the freeway. The name called to me. More and more over time, I knew I had to write something with it.

Being a direct descendent of Pocahontas and other Native Americans, I had long wanted to write a story honoring that proud heritage. The little story pot was put on a back burner, and began bubbling away. After a fair amount of research, and the ideas fully simmered, I finally wrote this story. I enjoyed getting to know this main character as well as her loved ones. I hope others will like ‘Cheyenne’, which I humbly offer to the world.

“Cheyenne”  is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:


The Musician

March 23, 2015

The Musician, cover

From the back of the book:

This morning the musician was playing again. The melodies seldom stop: today it was the piano, yesterday the violin. I have never heard such hauntingly beautiful music. It flows out from the upper windows of that Tudor style house and straight into my aching heart—the fog of desolation which has been weighing me down for years lifts: my buried hopes and dreams from childhood fight to rise from the dust. How can I endure what I must live with, when this music now lives in me?

Lunatic genius? Hideous hunchback? Wild speculations about the identity of the cloistered musician consume one sleepy town like wildfire, after a reclusive family moves in. From the top floors of a lonely house the music blankets that part of town as if in a passionate spring rainstorm. For one young woman, all that matters is that the heavenly strains have woken her mind to the lost ideals beyond the existence which imprisons her. Unseen, unknown, the source of this music will change her life forever…

Story Inspiration:

It was a song. From a favorite old movie. A piece of piano music that I played over and over again. I couldn’t get away from it, or get it out of my head. It wasn’t long before the story of The Musician began to form in my mind alongside that song.

The piece of music was slightly melancholy whilst being romantic, so, of course, the novel that evolved out of the song emotes those notes. Mixed feelings. Sadness, love, tragedy, triumph.

Almost unbelievably, I still love that music, even though I played that song in a loop all the while I wrote the novel. I’ve never played one song while writing an entire novel before nor since. That one short piece was inspiration in spades.

Some of my readers have told me that this story reminds them of Anne Bronte’s ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’. If true, what a compliment. I can’t exactly recall, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was influenced by that novel. I’ve certainly read it enough times. If so, it is the man, the musician, who is the mysterious loner artist who wishes to keep to himself. Yes, and come to think of it, there are other similarities.

“The Musician” is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:

Miss Houston

March 22, 2015


From the back of the book:

What if Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet shrewdly accepted Mr. Darcy’s offensive marriage proposal, instead of rejecting him; in order to gain power over him and the situation, to ultimately succeed in her sister’s happiness in love? Such a question inspired the creation of Miss Houston’s story.

Confidently saucy Fontana Houston is in the midst of making a true love match in marriage for her dearest friend, when the seemingly proud Mr. Buckingham suddenly throws a hitch into her worthy works. Miss Houston soon sees that Buckingham fancies her as his own potential wife, so she deceptively relents to his offer and temporarily becomes his false fiancée; that she might philanthropically conspire towards her beloved friend’s betrothal of destiny. By the time her dear friend happily marries his, instead of breaking her fiancé’s heart to complete her somewhat heartless but pragmatic scheme; Fontana’s own heart is turned upside down in the bargain, assuring complete alteration to her future life.

Story Inspiration:

It seemed like every time I read or watched Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I wondered what the story might have been like if Elizabeth Bennet had been conniving enough to falsely say yes to Mr. Darcy’s first proposal as a temporary means to helping her sister Jane marry his friend Bingley.

Not that I thought Austen did it wrong. No, not at all. I couldn’t really imagine Elizabeth being false in that way. Manipulating a man for her own sister’s ends didn’t seem to suit Elizabeth’s character or personality.

Thus, I began thinking of more of a Jane Austen’s Emma character. Spoiled. Rich. Used to getting her own way. And with a Miss Smith to care for like a Cupid, to guide towards her true love match. Fontana Houston was born and her story began growing up in my mind.

“Miss Houston” is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:


March 21, 2015


From the back of the book:

Gather round my dears, for I have a most interesting story to share. My narrative tells not of a regular town, but chronicles the peculiar Prattleton and its townsfolk who held steadfast to their own odd habits. If you have lived for any length of time amongst the female set, you’ll have known at least one gossip or two, but this particular town was chock full of prattles. Sadly, it is generally a widespread understanding, that when allowed to congregate in groups, women are commonly inclined towards idle speculations.

Although this portion of the town’s tale is full of especially female foibles, the preferred thread woven betwixt the rest of the tapestry fable is focused primarily on a lovely young lady. Fair Charity Bishop, through no fault of her own, was tormented for a time by cruel scandal-mongers, but her growing tale of woes does finally turn into deservedly just happiness. Yes, the false gossip against this dear angel is finally thrown on its ear when truth and love do prevail.

Story Inspiration:

There was a benevolent busybody in my head, and she began telling me this story of Prattleton. She reminded me a little of Mrs. Jennings from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. No wonder, I’ve read and watched that so many times, and, with all her little faults, I still love that funny old woman.

It’s a funny little town with a few characters that were inspired just a smidge by Charles Dickens’ sorts. Prattleton desperately wants to be British. It’s people descend from England and they are proud of that heritage.

Why did I write a story about gossips? Because I’ve met quite a few over time and the miles, and while they can be annoying, or or destructive at worst, sometimes, they can be quite entertaining. At least I thought so.

“Prattleton”  is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:

Sensing Jane Austen

March 20, 2015

Sensing Jane Austen, cover

From the back of the book:

A well-loved copy of Jane Austen’s novel, Sense and Sensibility, is gifted to Cassandra Atwood, as her life is tossed onto a bumpy path that hints of parallels to the Dashwood family story. This treasured tale of human follies, challenges and triumphs, becomes her lifeline, as facets of the story and characters are echoed in her own experiences, becoming profoundly impressed upon her mind.

Born into a position of privilege, Cassandra is brought exceedingly low by the cruelty of her selfish uncle’s pernicious wife. Though oft despairing, she cannot but hope for escape towards any better respectable situation. In hours of despair, Cassandra clings to compelling truths in the story, dreaming of fortuitous beginnings towards future happiness. Whether an Elinor in part or a Marianne complete, will she be led to find her own Edward or Brandon? Shall she become all Sense or remain more Sensibility, as life demands her individual growth, within her personal wilderness she is forced to traverse?

Story Inspiration:

Sensing Jane Austen was inspired greatly by Sense and Sensibility, my first introduction to Jane Austen and her genius works. For twenty years that story about the Dashwood family has meant a great deal to me.

Initially, I saw the drama in the novel. The loss, injustice, selfishness, conniving and unkindness resonated, as they echoed cruelty, sadness and disappointments in my own life. Later, I enjoyed the wittily sarcastic commentary on people who don’t measure up to the good that they should be. This tale always reminds me that the world could be more like Heaven, if only people would be their best. And that we can laugh along the way.

As an ode to our beloved Jane Austen, through the story of Cassandra Atwood, Sensing Jane Austen speaks to what Sense and Sensibility has personally meant to me for two decades. No, this is not my own story, nor anyone else’s, but offers hints of many experiences and feelings that others may relate to.

“Sensing Jane Austen” is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:

Frontier Ruby

March 20, 2015


From the back of the book:

Ruby Steed will not be repressed! The cruel overseer of the orphanage cannot crush Ruby’s spirits, neither can bullies nor the machinating woman who forces Ruby into the position of unpaid lowly servant. Throughout all Ruby’s trials and troubles, she stands all the taller over time when others attempt to demean her. Just when Ruby feels at the end of her tether, near despairing; she sees and seizes an opened door that offers cheerful possibilities.

From cold orphanage out east to a luxuriant mansion out on the western frontier, freckled redhead Ruby forges a happy path out of obscurity, neglect and abuse; discovering windows revealing light on the horizon of her future. First, a joyful teacher and then favored governess, the young beauty is quite determined to remain content to love and nurture children of others, even as a host of men begin courting her attentions. Will Ruby Steed finally say yes to the love of a near perfect man who will give her earthly angels of her own?

Story Inspiration:

Frontier Ruby was originally inspired by a doll. A fairly large, very limited edition, hand-made by the artist, almost life-sized little-girl doll. Bright red hair, freckles, big brown eyes and a cute little nose, and in a Victorian outfit. I wanted to buy her on the spot, but the price-point was well beyond my comfort zone. So, I kept a little picture.

Years later, still thinking about that little girl doll from time to time, and viewing her photo again and again, I began to imagine her grown up, and I liked to think of her back in the day, of course. In Victorian times. Out west.

So, my little Ruby started her life out east, where the original doll was made, and I brought her west to grow up into a beautiful young woman. Strong against her odds. Of course, I also gave her a true love happy ending.

A freckle inspired by darlin’ ‘Anne of Green Gables’, a generous dash of some ‘Jane Eyre’, and much more from my muse – with me at the keyboard. My daughter Brina (who is my main cover girl) did the portrait of my Ruby, with me over her shoulder pitching in my opinion on how she looked to me. Yes, this is just how I pictured Ruby.

“Frontier Ruby” is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:

Paint and Piano

March 20, 2015


From the back of the book:

After hearing silly rumors about her daughters becoming spinsters, Mrs. Hudson determines to host parties wherein every eligible bachelor in the territory is invited to consider her beautiful Cadence and Florence, who are as differing in temperaments as they are identical in appearance. Always measured, living as exactingly as she plays piano, with practiced precision and thoughtful thoroughness, Cadence must realize a way to release her heart enough to accept the love that is destined to be hers. Throwing herself into life in the passionate way she paints, Florence must learn to temper her heart with a little judicial prudence in order to enable herself to recognize her truest love. Uncooperative Cadence turns away a worthy suitor while Florence follows her heart into injury. Mrs. Hudson is all frustration! The twins finally discover that happiness in love may not always be found by following either their hearts or heads independently, but by learning how to listen to both in balance.

Story Inspiration:

Paint and Piano was inspired by Jane Austen’s Elinor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, my sister and I and our painting and piano playing (not to mention our romantic youthful aspirations), my own daughters, a couple of beautiful identical twin girls I knew once upon a time, and my wish to mother my own identical twin girls.

Essentially, this novel was conceived when I asked myself this question: what if Elinor was the pianist and Marianne was the artist, rather than the other way round? As an artist and pianist myself, I thought the logical side of my brain more suited to the rigors and precision of piano whilst the artistic side expressed the passion and boldness. Still, I could argue this either way. Jane Austen did it right enough, I simply wanted to try this idea turned on its side.

Paint and Piano was born of those mind meanderings, and was written, mostly on sleepless nights during a bad bout of insomnia. My muse simply accompanied me or perhaps kept me awake with her humorous ideas. I was at least entertained.

“Paint and Piano” is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon: