Did you have a fun Thanksgiving? Did you eat your traditional turkey?

Meet two of the chefs working on the cruise ship, Ruby Princess. Check their special turkey.

and their beautifully decorated hams Notice the Indian Head on the pumpkin pie.

Now look at these and tell me what you think.
Amazing presentation and delicious taste

and here are the fruits and desserts.
If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with heat.


Christmas traditions

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 10:58 AM | 14 comments »

Good morning everyone,
As the holiday season nears and shopping becomes our number one priority, I thought it might be interesting to find out how this gift-giving all began. I googled it and this is what I found. Quite interesting! Hope you enjoy.

There was a time when Christmas involved no gift giving at all, and in some countries it's still common. The full story of the bright packages beneath the tree begins in the days before the birth of Christ.
In ancient Rome, gifts were exchanged during the New Year's celebrations - simple gifts such as twigs from a sacred grove or food. Vegetables were popular in honor of the fertility goddess. In Northern Europe, fertility was celebrated with gifts made of wheat products, such as bread and alcohol. (Now we're getting somewhere. LOL.)
History has had its share of leaders who made sure there were plenty of gifts to open Emperor Caligula of Rome declared he'd be receiving presents on New Year's Day, and if they were not worthy enough, they were highly ridiculed.
The church leaders justified the practice in the act of bearing gifts to the infant Jesus, and in the concept that Christ was a gift from God to the world, bringing in turn the gift of redemption and ever lasting life.
The Victorians embrassed this idea and made the family a part of the celebration. Friendliness and charity filled many hearts during the Christmas season, as it does today.
America expanded on this concept with the addition of Santa Claus, and of course Christmas no longer became a simple, non-materialistic tradion but a commercial one. Some people wonder whether the emphasis on buying, shopping and getting brings more happiness or disappointment, especially in these economic times.
And so, now that I have given you a little background, I must run off and do some shopping. How about a nice twig anybody, or some yummy vegetables? More broccoli anyone?

Have a safe, and wonderful holiday season everyone!

Getting up at 4 AM to write when the house is quiet and no one is stirring. That’s a beginning, but the sting of rejection never goes away, at least for me and many of the writers I know. Developing a thick skin seems to be a rumor. Then there’s the sting of a bad review.

Something prompted me to check Fictionwise (Barnes & Noble) on my new erotica novella Hot Spanish Nights, and the only review was “Poor”. I felt as if someone had kicked me in the stomach! I just sat there staring at the screen, thinking maybe this person is right and my writing is poor.

Then I remembered a recent rejection that still stung but was a page long in which the editor from Berkley said that I was a great writer. She rejected the book but gave me pointers on why and said she would look at other projects. In fact, I plan to spend the day after Thanksgiving editing the book of my heart, Sinners’ Opera to send to her. I also thought of the fact that The Wild Rose Press has said that they are going to contract my novella about a fallen angel.

At the end of the day, I’ve almost talked myself out of the blues. Oh, there’s still the doubt…Can I write or does my work really deserve the rating of poor? And this will stymie my productivity for a few days. In the meantime, maybe someone else who likes the story will give it a better rating.
Not everyone likes me (though for the life of me I don’t know why! ha ha). Not everyone will like my writing, but when I see that “Poor” it’s like someone calling one of my children ugly. And whether it’s poor or not, writing is a compulsion. I shall continue, persevere and keep a stiff upper lip. I’m never happier than when I’m in the company of my characters—as diverse as they are.

The cover is from my vampire Rosette from The Wild Rose Press. This story sold very well and got good reviews. Black Swan is about mortals who barter blood for the ecstasy of the vampire’s kiss. Hot Spanish Nights is available on Amazon, many other ebook sites and from the publisher, The Wild Rose Press, The Wilder Roses catalog. Hot Spanish Nights is written under my pen name Bianca Swan.

On Bianca’s blog, there is a free erotic story, and on my website, there is also a free read, a vampire story called Vampire Hunt. The links are: http://www.biancaswanblog.wordpress.com/ and http://www.lindanightingale.com/

Happy holiday weekend,


The Harmonic Covergence mentioned in my fantasy novel Wizard’s Wife occurred on August 16-24, 1987, and some of you may remember hearing about it on the Evening News on TV. It was an astronomical event: a time when our planets aligned themselves with the sun. This isn’t an unusual thing; there have been more harmonic convergences than you can shake a stick at. What was different about this one is that it involved all the planets, not just two or five or even seven. As usual, the doomsayers came out to make their dread pronouncements of what was to follow. When nothing happened, they faded back into the woodwork and the world went on, waiting for newer dire predictions to raise their chaotic heads.

Perhaps I should say nothing obvious happened. After the brouhaha died down, I found myself asking: What if something did happen but we just don’t know about it? Because it didn’t happen here on Earth?

And that’s how the story of Tavis (David) McMuir, Faery Wizard, Champion of White Fire, Defender of Ais Linn and the Earth, and his mortal wife, Megan, came about. David is one of the Little People, although as wife Megan reminds him when she first discovers his secret, at 6’2”, there’s only one portion of his anatomy fitting the human hand. In his dimension, he’s a Prince, a Tiarna (Wizard), and the champion of his half of the kingdom of Ais Linn. His opposite number is Exeter Dubhtina, also a Wizard, and ruler of the other half of the kingdom. Both are drop-dead gorgeous—there isn’t an ugly one in the bunch, and even Exeter’s Wolf Pack are the most handsome werewolves in existence—and both magically equal in power. Only trouble is, Exeter wants to rule everything, and he’s bored…so bored he decides to conquer the Earth so he can entertain himself by manipulating the puny mortals living on it. And now, he has a weapon: David’s wife and unborn child, and a secret about Ais Linn’s Champion that no one else knows…

All isn’t well in the Land of Fae, and it won’t be better on Earth if Exeter wins.

Wizard’s Wife is set for a January, 2011 release from Class Act Books.

Please look below at the post for Dale Mayer and keep reading for the Thanksgiving message from Fuzzy Pink Slipper Writers and the reasons we are thankful.

Feel free to comment and add your own blessings list!

Guess who I found roaming around? I grabbed Dale Mayers and brought her inside to join us. I conned her into blogging for us. Please make her feel at home.

Are your kids characters? Or are your characters kids?

First off, many thanks to Mary for the invitation to blog here today.

I’m doing NaNoWriMo right now, a writing effort to produce 50,000 words in the month of November. Every week we receive a pep talk email from one of the many people behind NaNoWriMo. On one of them, the author was talking about dealing with loss of control in real life and enjoying having control in her writing world. I found it an interesting topic as I often feel I have too tight a control of my life. Out of necessity. I’m a single mother of four of which the top three positions are all held by tall, testosterone pumping males.

It was mandatory to be the boss when they were smaller - in order to avoid being run over by their maturing power tromping ways. The only way I could maintain command was by being the one firmly in control. My strategy for surviving motherhood used writing as an escape.

That’s why I started with writing romance, always creating that same happy-ever-after. I can’t 100 percent blame my shift to gritty romantic suspense (occasionally butting up against the horror genre) on the kids – or can I? I do know that in the beginning, there was a need to actually have my characters do what they were told to do - when my own kids wouldn’t.

But then I found that my characters didn’t appreciate being told what to do anymore than my kids did. It took me a long time to realize that outlining for me fell into the same category. My stories also didn’t welcome being ‘controlled.’

Maybe it’s when I realized I needed to loosen up more as a mother/father combo or maybe it was realizing that there is a time and place to give the kids their chance to succeed or fail on their own, or maybe the loosening up happened as my kids grew older and learned to respect the rules – and me. Either way, I managed to let them do more - only to hear my characters sitting on the sidelines saying, “Hey, what about us?”

The result? I gave up ALL attempts to direct my characters and let them walk all over me. Sigh. The good news is that just like my kids who have learned to make good decisions, my characters are just as decisive about their actions and just as honest with their reactions to the often surprising outcomes.

Now if only I could teach them all patience – even my sons. My characters tend to sit on my shoulder and prod me into higher productivity – arguing and cheering until they are happy with the story. There are actually times where I have to delete entire paragraphs because they don’t like them and won’t let me move on until I make it right.

One saving grace with letting my characters lead is that when they get uppity, if they too nasty or too out of control, discipline is easy – there’s always the delete button. The kids now...that’s a different story!

So what about the rest of you? Are your characters children to you? Do they behave? Or do they try to control your waking thoughts? Have personality traits of your own children slipped into your characters? Or are they completely unique? Have you read a book where you knew the author had to be talking about your kids?


http://twitter.com/dalemayer http://www.facebook.com/dalemayer

FINALIST - BRAVA WRITING CONTEST- 2nd Round Voting now on!

Happy Thanksgiving From The PFS Ladies

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 8:54 PM | 6 comments »

Welcome to our blog. The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers are taking a few days to enjoy our family and friends, but we would like to share our thanks, prayers and hopes with you. And, we want to wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday. We will be back on Saturday Nov. 27 with another great topic.

On Thanksgiving Day, as well as the rest of the year I have much to be thankful for. Good health, a lovely life in West Palm Beach, good friends, a son and a daughter, and three precious granddaughters, who are such a joyful blessing in my life. I alsowant to give thanks to my beloved Ralph, my partner in life, and my best friend. And to all my writing pals who share in my woes and disappointments as well as every accolade and hard fought success.

Patrice Wilton-It's never too late for romance!

I am thankful for the privilege of knowing special people like my author friends, and the other true friends I have known for many years. My six month old puppy, Nibby, gives me unconditional love and puppy kisses and there is nothing like it!. In these unfortunate times I see families losing their homes. The thought of a homeless scares me, it could happen to anyone. So I am grateful for the roof over my head and the food on my table. I am happy to have a husband that loves me, sisters that look up to me, and an adorable niece who is very close to my heart. I feel blessed to look out my back door and see the wonderful garden I planted and nurtured. I feel blessed to have close friends that really love me. I am blessed to be one of the PFS writers. Most of all I am thankful to be alive, that is a gift I treasure every morning when I wake up to the world. Now If I could only change the woes of the world I'd be really happy...

Mary M. Ricksen

Mama Mary is thankful for her lovely and generous Pink Fuzzy Slipper ladies. She's thankful for her critique partners, including Pamela and Scarlet. Mary is thankful for the parents who taught her to do the right thing and gave her a strange sense of humor. She appreciates her longtime friends, Linda and Toni, as well her other friends. Mary is thankful for her health and that she has her home, her sister, herbrother, and her sister-in-law, who is like a sister to her. Her writing and her tutoring are often life savers. Most of all, she's thankful for her beautiful, generous, and loving daughter, her best project ever!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas!
Mary Marvella

I am thankful this year and always for family and friends. I am lucky. My husband and I are close to our children even though they live on the
opposite coast. In addition to our two granddaughters, two new healthy
grandsons have been added to the family this year. I've made new friends in
the writing world and for these, too I am thankful, because writers are
special people who endure the uniquely difficult process of writing and
still choose to give encouragement to others. So, you see, I have so very
much to be thankful for.
Judy Keim

This has been a challenging year for me and my family, but also one of rich blessings. We're grateful the many cancer diagnosis's that descended upon us are kinds that are treatable and were caught early, and we're soldiering on. We are thankful for new life in grandbaby Chloe and the joy of other small people in our lives. For the beauty of our farm and green valley, the satisfaction of a life lived close to the land surrounded by family and friends. And from an author's perspective, for stories written and stories yet to be told.
Beth Trissel

I'm thankful for my supportive husband of 35 years, and for my three beautiful grown children.And for my family and friends, and spending time together over the holidays. Also, I'm thankful that I am able to write this blog--which means I am still able to think, see, and hear, and afford the luxuries of a comfortable chair and a computer.

This has been an awesome year, and we’ve a lot to be thankful for, especially the two little boys who were born into our family. I’ll give thanks for my growing family and my friends, without their love I’d be lost. I’m also grateful that we’ve been fortunate in these unsettled times and have been able to help others few who were in need.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with love.
Autumn Jordon

There's much I could be thankful for but they all sound like cliches--like friends and family--and anyway,they already know how I feel. But at my age, I've one thing for which I'm really grateful: That I still have a mind which works and enables me to continue producing novels accepted by publishers....25 and counting!
Toni V. Sweeney

Laura Scott is here! Can you believe it? Please welcome Laura and ask her tons of questions!

Books with a Holiday Theme

Hi everyone! Thanks for inviting me to blog with you today. My name is Laura Scott and I write romantic suspense stories for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Line.

It’s almost hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away. (I think I should start fasting now in preparation, lol) And of course not long after Thanksgiving comes Christmas. The holiday season is known to be busy, hectic, fun and of course filled with family gatherings.

It’s almost hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few days away. (I think I should start fasting now in preparation, lol) And of course not long after Thanksgiving comes Christmas. The holiday season is known to be busy, hectic, fun and of course filled with family gatherings.

Which brings to mind a question. What do you think about Holiday themed books? Seems to me, that this is such a busy time of year, who has time to read? And do we really enjoy reading about books that revolve around a holiday? And if you wait to read your stack of books after the holiday, does it bug you to go back in time?

Of course, this is a burning question in my mind as my most recent book: The Christmas Rescue is out now, in November. When I originally wrote this book, the story did not take place over the holiday. My wonderful editor, Tina, asked if I would mind making this a Christmas story, and of course I said, “Sure, I’d love to!”

I changed some things around so that the holiday would provide an emotional element to the story. But now that my latest book is out on the shelves, I can’t help but wonder…what do the readers think about books involving a holiday? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on this topic. Please drop by and I’ll choose one person at the end of the day to win a free copy of my book.


Laura Scott

TheChristmas Rescue LIS 11/10

Also by Laura

Lawman In Charge LIS 6/11
Proof Of Life LIS 11/11

Megan, I'm a faery!

Not exactly the words a newlywed wants to hear, not even if, as in this case, the faery is the gossamer-winged, glamour-dust kind. But there’s more...

Megan’s husband isn’t just any old faery, he’s a faery wizard, the Champion of Ais Linn, sent to protect the Earth from an invasion by the Lord of Dark Fire. Soon there will be a Harmonic Convergence, with all the planets in a direct line with the sun, and all magic defenses protecting the Earth will weaken. Before Megan recovers from that shock, a Bain Sidhe gallops through the house, husband David disappears and she is swept into an adventure in a land where unicorns roam the Damhain Garrai, and were-knights terrorize leprechauns and sprites.

In writing this novel, I did a careful blending of the Real and the Unreal—the Real being the Harmonic Convergence, the Unreal being the world of Fae. For the latter, I relied heavily on An Encyclopedia of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Beings, which lists more supernatural creatures than you can shake a stick at. For those of you who think “faery” means simply those wee creatures who can sit in your hand and flit about on butterfly-like wings dripping whuffle dust as they wave their tiny antenna, take it from me—that ain’t all lurking in the land of Fae! There are Trooping, or Walking faeries, sprites, and elves, who are mostly friendly. Among faeryland’s less sociable inhabitants are the malevolent Sluagh (pronounced Slooa) or the Host of the Unforgiven Dead, the most formidable of the faery people, followed closely by the vicious Solitary faeries. The former are the spirits of dead mortals and when they urge men to commit wicked acts, humans can’t disobey. Solitary faeries are antisocial, malignant creatures such as the Bogies and kelpies. Some aren’t necessarily a danger; the Pooka, (Will o’ the Wisp) merely leads travelers astray and the Bain Sidhe (banshee) rides through the hallways heralding death to an inhabitant. Others, such as brownies, pixies, and leprechauns are more prone to mischief. Solitary faeries live alone and like it and woe be to any mortal who crosses their paths.

The Real part of the story, the Harmonic Convergence, occurred almost a decade ago, the time of the original writing of this story, on August 16-24, 1987. (For those who care, the Final Convergence is expected in 2013.) There have been various convergences over the centuries, but this one time all (at that time) nine planets were in a direct line with the sun. Newscasts made much of this and of course doomsayers came out in droves and then disappeared again when none of their predictions came true. Nevertheless, it made me ask the question: What if something did happened but no one knew about it because it occurred in another dimension?

Back to those of faery-kind. David, son of Padraig, half-ruler of Ais linn, is a Trooping faery, a member of a fae group the same size as humans. Nothing of the “little people” about this lad. In fact, when she learns his secret, Megan is quick to remind him there’s only one part of his anatomy fitting the human hand. He’s over six feet tall, with wings the same length, possess a wonderful gift for blarney and is utterly irresistible to human females. Unfortunately, human females are just as irresistible to him, in particular one Megan O’Connell. David’s also a Tiarna D’Geal Tina (Lord of White Fire), the first and last line of defense against his opposite number Exeter Dubtina, the Tiarna d’Doit Tina (Lord of Black Fire). Exeter and his sister Siobhan are the children of the Lord of Dark Fire and his wife, a Solitary fairy, so they got a double-dose of B-A-D.

Besides the Wizard, there’s also Ossian, his familiar—with the sexiest pair of wings this side of Ireland; Brigid, Ossian’s twin; Sir Liam, a drop-dead gorgeous shapeshifting knight who roams the Damhain Garrai in search of pixies to terrorize…a leprechaun, and Siochan, a talking unicorn. (If the Celtic names throw you, don’t worry, there’s a glossary included.)

When Megan O’Connell meets Tavis (David) McMuir, the handsome Irishman so enchants her with his Old World blarney, she was more than willing to become his wife. There are some problems, of course; David’s parents oppose the marriage and didn’t attend the wedding, and David insists on birth-control from the very beginning. Megan consoles herself to one and agrees to the other, but two months and six nights of lovemaking later—Lo and behold! The Patch failed and she’s pregnant, and realization he’s to become a father brings forth David’s startling confession. It plunges his bride into a war to take place during the Harmonic Convergence, in which David pledges to give his life if necessary, to save the Earth as well as his own home from Exeter Dubhtina, his mortal enemy.

Soon, David is summoned home as the Convergence begins, Megan decides to follow, and soon finds herself in Exeter’s clutches. After witnessing firsthand the Dark Lord’s cruelty, she summons all her mortal strength to fight his magic, only to learn her husband has been sent a message: Surrender all of the Earth and your portion of Ais Linn to me or your wife and unborn child will die.

Meantwhile, Exeter’s wily sister, Siobhan, is working a little magical blackmail all her own to keep her ex-betrothed from fighting her brother in hand-to-hand combat.

Will David fall to Siobhan’s enticements? Will he renounce his vow to save the Earth or lose his wife and unborn child?

If you like stories of knights in armor battling it out with broadswords, with touches of leprechauns and faery glamour, a glib, feisty heroine, a sexy, brave hero, and an equally sexy, non-repentant villain and villainess, Wizard’s Wife might be just up your alley. It’s a story full of adventure, romance, and humor as well. Class Act Books is the publisher (www.classactbooks.com) and its release date is January, 2011.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

With the holidays looming in front of us and while we still have a few minutes to actually read and plan, I decided to post this blog/recipe which could save your sanity and help you continue to write right through the busiest sesaon.

Ingredients you will need:

Several Holidays stacked on top of each other.

One home or an apartment already in desperate need of cleaning will do.

Family members—The number depends on your lifestyle.

A ton of shopping.

Several hours of gift wrapping.

A day or two of baking and cooking.

Friends or social events. Some say this is optional. I do not. Add a bunch.

A dash of cleaning-up.

A ream of blank pages.

One Golden Heart contest or publishing deadline (personal goal can be substituted)
A calendar.

A dash of relaxation.

1) First, grab the calendar and slap it on your refrigerator.

2) Set the word count necessary to complete your deadline or goal and write it at the bottom of the calendar.

3) Cross off the holidays—these days are to be spent with your family and friends. No writing!
It’s okay, really. The only business you may conduct on those days is to interact with others and enjoy life. Think of the opportunity to people study.

4) Cross off the days you will need to shop, either for gifts or holiday groceries. The tonight before my shopping spree, I make a map or list of where I’m going and what I’m going to buy. No impulse buying. I hate shopping, so there is always a plan. I’m up early and out the door and when I return home hours later I’m dead, so writing is not on my to do list for that day.

5) Mark the next day to wrap all gifts. Do not wait. You can write in the morning, during breaks or after the last bow is placed neatly on the last package.

6) Cross off a day before the holiday for cooking and baking preparation. You
can slot in an hour of writing in the morning, but do not include the word count in goal grid.

7) X off a day before the holiday to do a run through cleaning of your home. Again you can slot in an hour of writing in the early a.m. but do not include this word count on your grid.

8) Mark the calendar with all social events.

9) Highlight two days. These are floater days. Save them for the unexpected chores that always seem to pop up. These days can move anywhere, anytime.

10) Now count all the days that are not crossed out. Divide your word count goal by that number. Then add 100 words. Why add 100 you ask? It’s a mind thing. Trust me.

11) Each unmarked day, sit butt in chair, set the timer and crank out the words.

12) Finally, resist the urge to add stress. It’s tempting I know, but adding the pressure will only cause defeat.

When attempting this recipe you must realize it takes organization and discipline but the end results are totally worth it.

I have three quotes to help you make the most of your life. 

This blogger will not be held responsible for any damage
your computer if you spew liquid or food. If you choke from
not my problem.

I love this quote!
Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your
husband, smile
at your children, smile at each other -
it doesn't matter who it is -
and that will help you to
grow up in greater love for each other.
Mother Teresa

You know how much seeing a smile can make you feel better.
It is difficult
not to mirror the smile. If no one is at
home or the folks around you won't smile, go look in a
mirror and tell yourself a silly joke and SMILE!

Who knew this man was so deep?

I think I'd like to be remembered as someone who beat the
odds through
just plain determination. ... that I persevered.
Because I think that being
somewhat of a pest to life,
constantly plaguing and pursuing, will bring results.

-- Sylvester Stallone (1946-) American Actor

We writers know about perseverance and being a pest when we
need to.


4 >>>>

When addressing a man's "member", if you want it to get huge,
tell it it's huge.
(I changed the word she used because of
the PG rating we have.)
E. Jean Carroll, Elle Magazine, Advice columnist, 2010.

Yes, that is about sex. It's also about life. When you want
folks to do great things you tell them you expect great things
from them. You must do that for yourself. Affirmations, positive
talk, tooting your own horn, hype, whatever it takes. You must be
your own cheerleader.

Comments, anyone?

An American Rose Christmas, a charming collection of historical romance stories by six Wild Rose Press authors, is 30% off at The Wild Rose Press. Also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.  An American Rose Christmas was released last year, but didn't receive the notice it deserved, so I'm spotlighting it.

Tory captain Dr. Nicholas Clayton discovers stolen military secrets on a severely injured female spy. When her wounds heal, Holly Masters must decide if she can kill the man who saved her life.~

While pretending to be a male soldier, farm girl Sara Brewster falls for a handsome Union army surgeon. When her secret is revealed, will a lavish Christmas Eve ball work in her favor–or will her heart be broken?~

Southern belle Marybeth Dawson discovers Santa Claus can’t cross the Mason Dixon line–but handsome Union soldier, Trevor Sutton can.~

When a strong willed upper class New York girl falls for a dashing, compassionate stable boy, it will take a Christmas miracle to bring them together. Thankfully, true love is on their side.~

All reformed prostitute Eva Baird wants for Christmas is to have her daughter back in her arms. But gun-toting outlaws, spiteful in-laws, and a sweet-talking stranger with arresting gray eyes threaten to turn her dream into a lump of coal.~

My Story in this anthology is A Warrior for Christmas~I loved writing this story and hope those of you who read it will enjoy all my efforts.  As usual, research consumed me.

Blurb: Reclaimed by his wealthy uncle, former Shawnee captive Corwin Whitfield finds life with his adopted people at an end and reluctantly enters the social world of 1764. His one aim is to run back to the colonial frontier at his first opportunity––until he meets Uncle Randolph’s ward, Dimity Scott.~

December 1764
An estate outside Philadelphia

Blinking against wind-driven sleet, Corwin Whitfield followed the stout man through the front door of the massive stone house, far larger than he’d imagined. A dozen cabins or Indian lodges put together could fit inside and still leave ample room. With winter lashing at their heels, Uncle Randolph had pressed both man and beast hard to reach Whitfield Place before nightfall.
Icy pellets hit the door as his uncle shut the solid wooden barrier. Better than a skin flap, Corwin supposed. He was well accustomed to the wet and cold, but a fire would feel good. His gloved fingers were numb from riding over snowy roads all day, not to mention all the previous days. Puddles spread at his boots on the flagstone floor in the entryway.

“Welcome home, Mister Whitfield.”

By the light of the small glass lamp on the stand inside the door, he saw a woman in an apron, severe skirts and gray shawl. The cap engulfed her pinched face. Inclining her head and curtsying, she said, “How was your journey, sir?”

“Wretched, Mistress Stokes.” Uncle Randolph waved a gloved hand at Corwin. “My nephew.” He swiped a paw at her. “My housekeeper,” he added by way of introduction. “Fifth cousin of my late wife’s, or some such connection.”

“Indeed.” Mistress Stokes curtsied to Corwin. “Welcome to Whitfield Place.”

He considered the etiquette drilled into him by his uncle and offered a brief nod. A bow didn’t seem required.
Uncle Randolph scowled. “Foul weather.”

She seemed unperturbed by his gruff manner. “Yes sir.”

“Bound to worsen. See to it the fires are built up.” Unbuttoning his brown caped coat, Uncle Randolph flung it onto the high-backed bench along one wall. He peeled off his gloves, tossing them and his tricorn onto the sodden heap.

Corwin did the same with his newly acquired garments. He couldn’t fault his uncle’s generosity, but the man had the temperament of an old he-bear.

Uncle Randolph ran thickened fingers over gray hair pulled back at his neck and tied with a black ribbon. “Where’s Miss Dimity keeping herself? Is she well?”

Corwin detected a trace of anxiety in his tone.
The dour woman gave a nod. “Quite well, sir. She’s in the drawing room just after having her tea.”

“Good,” his uncle grunted. “Tell cook we’ll have our supper in there. Stew, pastries, and ale will serve. Don’t neglect the Madeira.”

Another curtsy and the housekeeper turned away to pad down a hall partly lit by sconces wrought of iron. His uncle frowned after her. “She’s a good body and keeps this place tidy but tends to be lax on the fires. We mustn’t risk Dimity taking ill. Delicate girl. Cold as a tomb in here.”

Corwin found Whitfield Place equally as welcoming as a grave. The chill was pervasive. A furlined wican would be warmer. He followed his uncle across the frigid entryway and through a wide double door. His relation paused just inside the spacious room and Corwin halted beside him.

“There she is,” Uncle Randolph said with the hint of a smile in his normally reluctant features.  “My ward, Miss Dimity Scott. The little Quaker as I call her.”

Corwin thought it highly doubtful this staunch Anglican had taken in an actual Quaker. Looking past assorted tables, gilt-covered chairs and a gold couch, he spotted the feminine figure seated before the glowing hearth. A padded armchair the color of ripe berries hid much of her slender form. His first impression was of fair curls, like corn silk, piled on her head beneath a circle of lace; his second, that the young woman bent over her embroidery seemed oblivious of all else. One this unaware would never survive in the frontier.

He’d been taught to move with the silence of a winged owl while observing all around him.
“Why does she not look up at our coming?”

“Ah, well, that’s a matter I’ve been meaning to discuss with you.”

The hesitancy in his uncle’s tone was unlike this man who knew his own mind and was swift to instruct others. He squinted at Corwin with his good eye; the other perpetually squinted from an injury he’d received in a duel. “I trust you’ll not hold it against the poor girl as a sign of weakness, my boy. Warriors sometimes do and you’ve kept company with those savages far too long.”

It wasn’t like his uncle to ramble, and Corwin shifted impatiently upon hearing his adopted people disparaged again. “What are you saying, Uncle?”

He rubbed his fingers over a chin grizzled with whiskers. “Dimity cannot hear us.”

“At all?”

“Not a sound, unfortunately. Though she is able to detect the vibrations of music. Odd, that.”

Like the beating of Indian drums. “Has she always been without hearing?”