Saturday, August 13, 2011

within the pages

The Colonel's Lady is finally out there, creating impressions in your head and heart if you're turning those pages. Here are a few images from Roxanna's world as I imagined them while writing the novel. No doubt your own imaginings might be quite different!

This coming week is Revell's blog tour for the book and I wanted to extend a HUGE thank you to all the bloggers for taking part - and for those readers who have left reviews or emailed me to talk about the book.


I also wanted to extend heartfelt thanks to those bloggers off the tour who have hosted me or will be hosting me...

Colonial Quills
Carrie and Diana at Overcoming Through Time
Jeannie at The Character Therapist
Rel at Relz Reviewz
Jill at Jill Kemerer
Pat at AmHisBooks
Christy at Southern Sassy Things
Amber at Seasons of Humility
Renee at Steeler Girl
Naomi at Making Home Work

More to come...
In the midst of my own release, I'm so happy for author friends who have new titles out this month, too. Here's a huge huzzah for Kaye Dacus and Ransome's Quest, Sarah Sundin and Blue Skies Tomorrow, and MaryLu Tyndall and Surrender the Dawn!

In the meantime, my TBR stack is teetering and toppling but I can't do a lot of reading as my first book in The Ballantyne Legacy series is due September 1st. It's finished, of course, but still needs a bit of spit and polish:)

Once I press SEND and it's off to my editor, I have A BOOK waiting in the wings to read. It's sitting on the very top of my stack beside my writing chair. I even had the privilege of helping pick the final cover. Here's the first few lines to tempt you...

"No moon. Wispy clouds hid most of the stars. He could not have asked for a more perfect night."

Can you guess the book and author? She has a distinctive style that I love and her research is impeccable.

Care to share the first line or two of the book you have in hand right now?

Happy reading!


  1. *Waves hand wildly in the air* Oh! Oh! Oh! I know!!! :-D That book (and the other two before it in the series) are currently sitting on my favorites bookshelf. That book was awesome! Enjoyed it from cover to cover!

    I won't say what the title is yet. :-) Don't wanna ruin the fun for the others.

    Congrats on the release! Here are the first two sentences from the book I began reading today...

    "This is madness. Roxanne Rowan leaned against the slick cave entrance and felt an icy trickle drop down the back of her neck as she bent her head."

    I'm sure you have that memorized, right Laura?

    LOL, yes! I am currently reading The Colonel's Lady. SOOO excited!! :-D

  2. I won't say what the book is, because I'm currently reading it too. :) I thoroughly enjoyed the other two books, and was just thrilled to pick this one up at the post office Thursday evening.

  3. Hi Katie, Waving wildly back;) You are a sweetheart for not revealing it here! I'm so glad you read it, loved it, and it's a keeper! Now I'm wild to read it and don't think September 1st will ever come!!

    And I must say I love your latest first line;) AND I so like the post you did about how very different it is from the genteel cover, at least at first. Speaking of loving things, I can't wait to post your pic!! I have it waiting in the wings with some others for this coming week:) So stay tuned...

    Hoping you get swept into Roxie's world and don't want to come out! Bless you bunches!

  4. Enjoy reading it! I enjoyed every moment and found it SO hard to put aside!

    That was a great surprise to me when I read the first few pages. I was like "Whoa! Here I thought we'd be in a parlor with dainty tea cups, and right now we're hiding out in a dark cave. Awesome!!"

    LOL! :-) I'm excited and already getting immersed in the story!

  5. Oh! I forgot to add, can't wait to see the pictures. It's always fun to see other readers out there in the blogging world. :-)

  6. I sure hope the author sees your excitement - it's such a blessing, Katie:)

    And then we have dear MICHELLE reading the very same!! Personally, I'm still trying to get over that fountain scene in a previous novel in the series. Do you remember that? Sigh...

  7. Since you're tied up, perhaps we could do your reading for you? :)

    "My strongest inspiration came not from real bread but from images -- images of a time and place when bread was the foundation of a meal and at the center of daily life." Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson (non fiction). Please believe me, it's more than a recipe book. It's a study of sourdough bread, a truly inspirational read.

    FWIW, I'm still sorry you couldn't have your release party here in Kentucky. Maybe the next one? Berea misses you.

  8. And of course, that was anonymous Gin up there. :(

  9. Oh, dear - now ya'll have me quite curious, as I'm not sure which book you're talking about! ;)

    I currently have my bookmarks in three fiction books, so here are the first lines of each:

    "'You look awful.' Will Sullivan shoved his hands into the back pockets of his Wranglers and continued his intense scrutiny."
    --The Rancher's Reunion by Tina Radcliffe

    "'Fourth Siding,' the conductor yelled as he trundled down the aisle. 'Your stop, miss.'"
    --Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

    "The end of the only life I've known, thought Mariah Aubrey, looking back through the carriage window at the shrinking figures of her mother and sister."
    --The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

    These are all great books so far! :) I love reading!! :D

    And, Laura, thanks for the mention here! I can't wait to host you on my blog!!


  10. Oh, wait - I think I know now! It pays to be friends with these great gals on Goodreads, LOL! ;)


  11. Amber,
    Wow! You've gifted us with some memorable lines! I must confess I've not read any of these but want to! I've often wondered how you and others read so much and do such indepth reviews. I'm still thinking about one you did on a book for B&H that I just stumbled upon accidentally but had your name on it and impressed me mightily! It was so thought-provoking and well-written.

    And you're so welcome for the mention here. I can't wait till your party, too! Woo-hoo:)

  12. Oh, yes!! Hats off to Goodreads!! Thanks for that:)

  13. "The sides a my bologna gone and curled up in that cast-iron skillet when a pop a grease splattered out." (From the First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones)

  14. From The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones: "The sides a my bologna gone and curled up in that cast-iron skillet when a pop a grease splattered out. Landed smack-dab on the mornin' paper I done set on the counter." Halfway through this well-written novel about a couple coping with a heartbreaking family tragedy. Parts of the novel are written from the couple's gardener who plays a role in the healing process. Keep a box of tissues handy....but be prepared to laugh amid the occasional doses of Southern humor.

  15. Yay for the blog tour! Yay for getting LR done by deadline! Yay for TCL!!!! What a month this has been for you.

    First lines of the books I'm reading. You know there's never just one:

    "They got married and lived happily ever after. There! I've always wanted to start a book at that end." ~ The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction, by James Alexander Thom

    "Ada-gal'kala sat in the townhouse at Tanase. He sat quietly and alone and smoked ancient tobacco from a short-stemmed clay pipe." ~ Cherokee Dragon, by Robert J. Conley

    "This is madness." The Colonel's Lady, by YOU! :)

    "The old general felt it coming at sunset on that fine cool evening, while he sat on the porch of his log house on the bluff overlooking the Ohio: a greater melancholy than any he had faced in the thirty years of his decline." Long Knife, by James Alexander Thom

    And lastly (whew!)

    "Mom freaked out when she saw us, of course." Cascade, by Lisa T. Bergren

    And I recognize the first lines you posted. That's Kaye's Ransome's Quest, which is on deck for me to read as soon as I finish one of the above listed books.

    I could eat books.

  16. Patti,
    Oh, that line of yours makes me so hungry:) And reminds me of my childhood days when I used to fry up bologna for sandwiches (white bread or lightning bread) and slather them with mayonaise and gobble them up one after the other. With an ice-cold Coke! Oh, those were the days...

    You've hooked me with this book so guess what I'll be doing soon? After that deadline, of course!! I like the Kleenex part, especially, as I always do like a tear-jerker. I was tempted to ask readers for last lines but that would be a major spoiler;)

    Bless you, dear Patti!

  17. Lori,
    Oh, I could eat books, too:) Wonderfully said! And I would know Thom anywhere as he's so dear to my historical heart. When you've had a steady diet of Jim not much else will do...

    Your other lines are so tempting, too. But then, I've rarely said no to a book, particularly a historical. I've heard great things about Bergren's books and love the cover of this latest one. I do believe there will be a huge library in heaven so we can keep reading all the books we didn't have time for here:)

    And thanks so much for all your encouragement and support about TCL, TBL (LR), and everything. You're a keeper!

  18. "Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August 1960. A church baby we like to call it. Taking care of white babies, that's what I do, along with all the cooking and the cleaning."

    The Help Kathryn Stockett.

    Laura, what amazes me about this lady is that she had 60 rejections before her book was finally accepted. Now that is tenacity!! I am going to Canada at the end of the month. My friend and I are going to see the movie together when I go visit her.

    I covet that tea cup!!! Is this yours?!?!


  19. Stacie, So happy to see you:) I have been hearing so much buzz about The Help and saw it in paperback at Costco this week. 60 rejections!! Oh my, I read that somewhere, too. TENACITY is the key. And now she's smiling all the way to the bank (and those pubs who rejected her are kicking themselves;)...

    Canada sounds wonderful. You'll have to tell me how you like the movie. I hope it's as good as the book!

    We're both of us coveting Roxanna's thistle cup:) Shame on her for shattering it! Another reader has this set! I've seen it in antique stores and will pounce on the next one:) If I see two, I'll snag one for you!

  20. "Mae Mobley was born on a early Sunday morning in August, 1960. A church baby we like to call it. Taking care a white babies, that's what I do, along with the cooking and the cleaning. I done raised seventeen kids in my lifetime."

    ~The Help

    I'm about 1/2 way through. It's excellent (minus some swear words and blasphemy).

    I'm hoping to see the movie this coming week, so I wanted to read the book first. : )

  21. I had to chuckle at the quick summation of "minus some swear words and blasphemy":) So many love the book that I'd better get on the bandwagon and read it! Especially since it's a southern story.

    There's more than one of you here about to go to the movies! I'd love to hear what you think. It's an author's dream to have a movie made from a book. I think if I could have one of mine come to life on the big screen it would be CML:) But who on earth would play RS!?

  22. "I'll be dead in a minute. Maybe less." Janelle Mowery ~ When All My Dreams Come True.

    "The young man studied the bed of the creek through the sunlit ripples." Cliff Graham ~ Day of War

    I've been snowed with INSPY Award longlist reading at the moment so LOTS of first lines being read ;-)

    Looking forward to posting my review of TCL this week ~ hoping to do it justice!

  23. Hey, you like that quick summation, eh? Hehe ... straight and to the point. I guess it makes it more authentic, since that's probably how people really talked. Overall, it doesn't seem like it's overdone.

    I would LOVE to see CML made into a movie -- wouldn't that be something!?!

    I did a little research, and I found this actor Jay Tavare. He played Chief Prairie Fire in "Into the West." Is he a good fit to play Red Shirt? Here's the link . . .

  24. Michelle,
    Yes, I'm very aware of Mr. Tavare;) One of my favorite TV mini-series was ITW. I'd even hoped that the cover for CLM would be like the movie jacket. But Morrow turned out in her silk dress instead:)

    Either JT or Eric Schweig from The Last of the Mohicans would be my pick when he played Uncas. He's very different now than the 90's. It's fun to think about, huh? Fun to think we're thinking alike!

  25. Rel,
    Your first lines are so interesting - I like seeing something beyond the CBA or at least authors I'm not familiar with. The snip from Day of War is so very memorable. Wish I'd put that in a book!

    I can't imagine how buried you are in reading right now. That you would even leave a comment here and dig for first lines!! Bless you for that. I hope you know how very much I appreciate your taking time for my work. You write some stellar reviews so if you enjoyed TCL I know you'll do it justice. Yours is one of the ones I most look forward to on tour. You have a way with words, so much so that I keep waiting for you to write your own book!

    And with that in mind, I wonder what genre it would be!? I'm thinking action/suspense like Ronie but I may be off track:) Something involving a lawyer! Oh my, I could go on and on...

  26. I'm still in mourning and a little bit shell-shocked from TCL. I'm consoling myself with a variety of books...I've done another historical, contemporary, Amish, western comedy...they are all keeping me sane. Right now I am doing pirates with Ransome's Quest and am so loving the high seas adventure!

  27. Kav, Bless your sensitive heart!! I feel that way with certain books. They haunt me for days:) That's one thing I love about your blog - you read SO MUCH and have a heart for everything in the CBA. You don't just get stuck on one genre like I often do but show your enjoyment of everything. That's a real gift. It's always a delight to read your insights about each book. You really do get into the characters' heads and hearts!

    Thanks so much for stopping here. Hoping this week finds you in your garden with a good book in hand.

  28. Laura,

    Awww, thank you for the compliment! :D I love reading, and I've become quite the night owl fitting in time for everything. ;)

    I wanted to add that I finished Spring for Susannah yesterday and LOVED it!! I think you would love it, too, Laura! My review will be posted on Tuesday if you want to check it out. :)

    And is Into the West a good series? I've been a tad bit worried about trying it because it seemed kind of violent... What do you think?


  29. Also wanted to add that I introduced you and our other celebrity judges for this week's contest on my blog! :) (Thank you again so much for agreeing to help out!!!)

    Here's a link to the post for anyone who's interested in entering the contest:


  30. "At twenty-seven, it feels silly to admit that my biggest fear in life is getting a certain phone call."

    Tracie Peterson - House of Secrets

    I wanted to dive in TCL, but I got a package with manuscripts to read from the publisher, so TCL has to wait a couple of weeks :(
    That's why I'm reading Tracie Peterson's latest novel now. It hasn't released yet, so I'm reading the manuscript.

  31. Hi Laura,

    1990's Eric Schweig would be a great choice for Red Shirt! And yes, it is fun to know we're thinking alike. :D

    Into the West is one of my favorites, as well!!

    Have you watched Lonesome Dove, the TV series (season 1). I have season 2, but haven't watched it.

    If you haven't seen it, I think you'd really enjoy it!! Then of course, there's Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman -- my all time favorite show!!

    Hope you all are having a great day. : )

  32. Amber,
    Oh, so glad you posted the link and hope everyone will go over and take part at your place! It's always fun and creative over there:)

    Honestly, I don't remember much violence in ITW but that may be because I had my eyes closed:( I'm really sensitive about that, too. I just remember the vivid scenes and storyline with the native themes, etc. It never seemed to border on hokey but was more realistic. Maybe Michelle can help us here as she's good at summing up these sorts of things.

    It sounds like you've had a wonderful summer. Prayers with you as you start back to school - am thinking that isn't till next month. Anyway, being a night owl can be awfully fun:)

  33. Michelle,
    Would you believe I'm STILL trying to find the episode when Michaela marrys Sully - I've never watched it! We have a couple of seasons but I'd love to have them all. And we have watched all of Lonesome Dove. It's a bit crude at times, which is a bummer, but I don't remember anything else objectionable. There's another McMurty one that followed which we had to turn off as it was so crass. A disappointment. He's an amazing writer and the LD filming was so rich and evocative.

    Happy Sunday to you, too!

  34. Marian,
    So good to see you here and snag your first line:) I've never read a Tracie book but know she's very popular. I was stuck in an elevator with her once at a conference!

    Bless you for wanting to read TCL. It will wait. It's so hard to find reading time, especially when your job revolves around books. I just pray you enjoy Roxanna's story when you get there and it's worth the wait. Bless you for taking time here, dear Marian:)

  35. I'm so excited to host you on my blog and I know a lot of the gals who are hosting you as well and I know they're excited!

    Sorry I haven't been around much this week but I've been helping my neighbor. She was 97 years old and she passed away on Saturday but I consider it a real blessing that I got to be with her the days before she passed. Please if you could keep her family in your prayers. I saw your message on FB Laura and just wanted to pass this along to your blog readers too. I'm sure the family will appreciate all the prayers.

    XOXO~ Renee
    p.s. I'll be reading the book you're currently reading in the upcoming week. I love Kaye's work so I'm SUPER excited!

  36. Renee, I'm so sorry about the loss of your neighbor once again - prayers continue for the family and for you, too. It sounds like she will be missed! My granny passed away and was around that age and I miss her so much. I know you were a blessing being right there.

    And thanks so much for the mention of your upcoming party:) It's always such fun over there!! Hoping you get some good reading time and this week is calmer for you. See you soon!

  37. Hi Laura,

    Here's a link to where you can watch the wedding episode for Michaela and Sully . . .

    It's shown in 10 parts. Not the best video quality, but it's decent enough. : )

    Which seasons do you have? 1 and 2? Do you get the Gospel Music Channel? It looks like they're back airing season 1.

    I haven't seen Lonesome Dove, the movie yet, just Lonesome Dove: The Series. I agree that it can be a bit crude at times. I watched the first episode of the second season, but it seemed much darker than the first season (which wasn't dark, imo). If you think it's worth watching, I'll get the DVDs out again to watch season 2, The Outlaw Years. : ) The actor who plays Colonel Clay Mosby, Eric McCormack, did an excellent job on that show! Much different (and much better!!!) thank his role on Will and Grace, in my opinion. I remember thinking how perfectly cast he was for Clay Mosby. ;-)

    As far as ITW, it has been quite some time since I've seen it. If it was too much on violence, I wouldn't watch it, since that kind of thing doesn't sit well with me, either. Sorry I'm not more help on that.

  38. Michelle, LOL - I must be a true blonde:) YouTube it is! Why didn't I think of that?! I'll go over after supper - it will be dessert;) We have the very early episodes - the first couple of seasons. Hubby thinks they're a bit hokey but I love them. But he is a die-hard Little House fan (only he'd kill me if he knew I was announcing this on the blog)...

    I wish there was some way you could watch a show and just clean everything up prior to viewing - kind of like TVO or whatever that is. I hope if you watch LD, it's not offensive in the least. I honestly don't remember. Have you seen Good Old Boys with Tommy Lee Jones and Sissy Spacek? It's quite a western and very well done and memorable. I like Spacek as an actress better than anyone out there. Another not-to-be missed is Coal Miner's Daughter. She was phenomenal! Required viewing for us Kentuckians;)

  39. DQ sounds like great dessert! :D

    My hubby thinks the show is hokey and cheesy, too. He makes goofy comments throughout, so it's better to savor it on my own, lol.

    I haven't seen The Good Old Boys but will check to see if our library has it. I like Sissy Spacek, too, and I did the Coal Miner's Daughter -- great movie!!

  40. "In spite of the threats, I'd held on to a small hope that danger would, given a little time, fade away. The phone call I'd just received squashed that hopeful fantasy." First two lines from " In Plain Sight" by Lorena McCourtney. This is the sequel to "Invisible"; the first book in the Ivy Malone mystery series. I love talking about books and sharing current reads. I truly admire those of you who can read more than one fiction book at a time. I only have one fiction book going at a time; but...I can have three or four non-fiction books going at the same time. Gail Hyatt had a great post about that a few weeks ago and it made me feel especially good about my personal reading "habits". Laura, thanks for a venue where we fiction lovers can shout out about our love of books.

  41. Michelle,
    We should form a girls club for DQ;) And leave our hubbys at home! I'm off to watch right now...

  42. Laura,

    The first few lines of a book I am currently reading is "
    This is madness. Roxanna Rowan leaned against the slick cave entrance and felt an icy trickle drop down the back of her neck as she bent her head. Her right hand, shaky as an aspen leaf, caressed the cold steel of the pistol in her pocket. Being a soldier’s daughter, she knew how to use it.”

    I love the line about her being a soldier's daugther, as the daugther of a Marine I think Roxanne has become one of my favorite heronies.

    The picture of the room looks like some historical home I've been to but I cannot place it.


  43. Mary,
    You've intrigued me so much. I've heard of the Ivy Malone books from several readers now and it points to a stellar series! I will have to check it out. There's something about a series that is so interesting, almost comforting. It's like coming home, if that makes sense, when you pick up another with the same threads, characters, etc. Especially if it's an author you treasure.

    Like you, I can't read more than one fiction book at a time. But I do juggle a great many non-fic. I love biographies of historical figures and just about any history book.

    Have you read the Alexander McCall books? I'm ashamed to say I have not. I don't know which to start with but have heard wonderful things. Anything about Africa is intriuging to me. My sister in law grew up there.

    Bless you for taking time here as it really is very interesting and inspiring to hear what you're up to! I will check out that blog you mentioned, too, as it sounds right down my alley.

    You should see that book soon!

  44. Carissa,
    Oh, it's wonderful to think of you reading!! That makes my day. And it's so interesting to learn your dad served - I have the utmost respect for servicemen no matter the century and felt I had to dedicate the book to them. I hope Roxanna works her way into your head and heart like she did mine. I wish I could do a sequel to that one. But then I say that about every one of them.

    I wish I knew where this beautiful room was, too. Wouldn't it be something if it was in Kentucky? I pulled it off Google images Revolutionary War photos. I was struck by how like Cass's house it was, right down to the blue walls and uniform, etc. Only Cass has some plush carpeting on the floor and a cribbage board on the table there... Better stop - no spoilers here as you're not there yet;)

    Bless you as you read, dear Carissa.

  45. Alexander McCall Smith! You'd think I'd get an author's name right!

  46. Laura - you are too kind but it makes my heart feel good :)

    As far as writing goes, I actually don't have any real desire to go through the blood, sweat and tears of writing when I can enjoy the fruits of everyone else's labour - LOL! Is that selfish?! But you are right, if the urge ever hit me, I'd love to write something in the vein of Ronie's books but then again, I am a student of history. I majored in it, actually so who knows!!

  47. I'll have to scope out the books of Alexander McCall Smith. I'm always excited to find a new author. My really favorite authors can't write fast enough to supply me with books...and I would NEVER want them to sacrifice substance and quality for quantity.

  48. No, Rel, you're not selfish - just savvy;) Writing really is like labor and birthing a book is akin to having a baby! I knew we were kindred spirits - my 2nd major was history!

  49. Mary,
    I hope you fall in love with McCall's books like so many have! The covers are absolutely delightful as are the titles:) Please let me know what you think if you find time for one. I have a feeling we have the same taste in books!

  50. Amber, I forgot to thank you for the shout out about Spring for Susannah:) I've heard wonderful things about it and met the author through Facebook. She's a sweetheart!

  51. I'm late to the party here, but thank you so much for including me in your post! I can't wait to have you over on my blog in a few weeks! :o)

    I've been reading nothing but Courting Morrow Little all week, and posted a review of it this morning. As of today, I've moved along to The Colonel's Lady, so my first line would be the same as many other folks. :o) I'm loving the fast pace of the first few chapters, and wish I wasn't in the middle of home renovations to have uninterrupted reading time this evening. :o)

    Oh, and I do hope you'll get to watch the wedding episode of Dr. Quinn. I'd loan you the entire series, but I won't lie...I'd be loansome without them. I pull it out from time to time to watch in its entirety. *happy sigh*

  52. Christy, Never too late:) Not with all you have going on! You are one lucky southerner to have a remodel going on. In my dreams! But my husband won't budge till the boys are gone. Wonder why...;)

    It's good to meet another DQ fan. I think I could watch the wedding episode over and over. I've never quiet outgrown those type of shows, starting with Little House on the Prairie in my childhood.

    And many, many thanks for your great review of CML and for pressing on with TCL. Glad you think the first chaps move at a good pace. You should know as you are a prolific reader!! I'm so thankful we've met through our love of Christian fiction.

    Can't wait to sit on your porch and sip some tea come September, so to speak:) Bless you as you renovate - it sounds wonderful - a perfect end of summer thing!