Hello again! I’m finishing off my “Something Slightly Different” week with a flash from the past resurrected at last. I used to live for “TGIF” when i worked as an educator, but I realized recently, there’s no difference between a Friday or a Monday. Now, I work pretty much 7 days a week, as long as I like each day–or as long as my schedule permits– and I can do weekend stuff any day of the week. How cool is that?
I’m getting ready to re-release The Captain’s Promise with a gorgeous new cover designed by the lovely Melinda De Ross and formatting help from the talented Christy Newton. What would I do without my friends?
When Madison Connors, aka Dawne (D. M.) Imbrunone pulled the plug on Front Porch Romance, she left a lot of books and authors high and dry. The Captain’s Promise was a casualty of war. Among the things she kept in addition to royalties owed authors were the edits made to the manuscripts and the covers. I can’t imagine why she needs them, but since she’s now a prolific author, I imagine she’ll find a use for them all.
Knowing I had a solid story needing no changes, but that edits needed to be made, I went into the manuscript and tidied it up quite a bit. I de-that-ed the manuscript, de-formalized the language, making it easier to read for those who normally read contemporary romance, and I clarified a few points where I could see more information was needed. I added tidbits of dialogue and description here and there as well. On the whole, I think I have a better book in version 2 than I did in version 1.
So, come early next week, The Captain’s Promise will make it’s debut–Monday, Wednesday, or Friday make no difference in the self publishing world. Look for TCP and if you’re so moved, please buy a copy, read it, and review it. I could use your support! Indie publishing is a scary thing!
Excerpt from Version 2, The Captain’s Promise:
Cherbourg, August 1, 1664
Danielle glanced around the area to make sure those working in the pasture were far enough away not to overhear their conversation. Ashamed of herself for putting her own needs above those of her best friend, she tried to pull a resisting Marie away from the pond. How could she have been so thoughtless? Papa had insisted Marie not use her gift of second sight to see into the future, and yet Danielle had begged her to do just that. Rumors of renewed interest in punishing witchery were rife. Superstitious people, especially those who were hungry and frightened, goaded by priests who liked to blame everything on sin, could turn quickly on friend and foe alike. A plague had struck Europe again killing thousands in Amsterdam, the spring had been a cold, wet one, and the crops were not doing as well as they should. Someone had to take the blame for these “unnatural” occurrences.
Asking Marie to scry, especially out here in the meadow where anyone could see them, was both foolish and dangerous. Like every powerful man in France, Papa had enemies who’d like nothing better than to bring disaster down on him. Wouldn’t it enhance a man’s position if he were to accuse the ward of the Count de Cherbourg of witchcraft? Why stop there? Why not accuse the whole family? At the very least, they might be excommunicated for giving aid and comfort to the devil’s minion. She shook her head. When would she learn to think before she acted?
Tears flowed down Marie’s pale cheeks as she continued to stare into the still waters of the pond, drawn by the images only she could see. Danielle pulled harder on the girl’s arm, finally dislodging her and pulling her upright. Marie backed away from the water, but her gaze was ensnared by the vision still holding her. Danielle shook Marie and took her into her arms.
“Enough! Look away, dearest. Please look away. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to do this. I never expected you’d have such a distressing vision. I’m anxious to see Etienne. I only wanted to know what his surprise would be. I’m hoping he’ll ask for my hand in marriage. You’ve seen the way some of those lecherous old men look at me. If I were affianced, it would stop.” She shook her head, the long, red tresses shining in the sunlight. “This has to be a false vision—a punishment for my willfulness.”
Marie pushed away from her, annoyance and frustration evident in the set of her thin, trembling shoulders. She glared at Danielle and raised her hand to swipe angrily at her tears. She shook her head, and Danielle could sense the sorrow there. What on earth did she see to upset her so much? She shivered.
“I’ve told you before, Elle. The visions never lie, but they don’t always answer the questions I’ve asked. Sometimes, they’re cryptic, only providing glimpses of what’s to come. At other times, they’re far clearer than I’d like them to be. They aren’t mine to command. Normally, they show me a few weeks or days, but this time they’ve shown me years, years of sorrow and pain.”
Strangled sobs punctuated her words, driving guilt and fear deep into Danielle’s heart. She stared at her companion as an eerie frisson coursed through her body. As young girls, Danielle, Marie, and their playmates had often looked into the mirror or into the fire to see what would happen in the future, a harmless parlor game played by girls across France. Danielle had never seen anything during their foolishness, but when Marie claimed she’d seen her father, the count’s captain of the guard, fall from his horse, the game had ended. The fact Marie’s father had died only a few weeks later from a fall, similar to the one she’d described, had led to months of speculation about the child. The rumors had ended when Papa had made her his ward, offering her the protection of Cherbourg, and adopting her into the family. Not all the relatives had been pleased with that decision.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Danielle turned away from her to avoid the pity she read clearly in Marie’s chocolate brown eyes, eyes which seemed far older than their fourteen years. No matter what Marie had seen, the daughter of a count wasn’t to be pitied. Her life was one of ease and privilege—even Marie had to work for her keep, although her duties as Danielle’s companion, were light.
Marie reached out to her and took her hands. “The spirits showed me many things in the still waters today, including the answer to your question.” She hung her head.
Terror gripped Danielle. Her breathing quickened, her heart pounded, and her palms grew wet. Sweat trickled down her back, making her linen chemise stick to her. She didn’t want to know what Marie had seen, but her insatiable curiosity forced her to look at her friend and ask.
“What did you see?”
“I’m so sorry, Elle. I saw you broken-hearted, crying in the arms of a soldier. Alas, while you’ll be a bride, Etienne won’t be your groom.”
Danielle covered her ears, refusing to believe the words wounding her, crushing her girlish dreams. “No! I won’t listen to any more of this. It’s not true—it can’t be true. Etienne loves me. I know he does.” Tears brimmed her eyes. “You’re wrong. This terrible vision is God’s judgment on us for defying the Church and Papa.”
She swallowed the panic and bitterness in her throat. There was no way she’d ever marry anyone but Etienne.
Marie hung her head. “Ah, Elle, how I wish it were as simple as that. This gift is a curse. As I get older, I see more and more things that cause me pain and grief. I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.” Guilt forced Danielle to put her arm around her friend, despite her anxiety. “Come. Let’s go back to the house and see what cook has prepared for tonight’s feast.”