Today she's going to talk a little about the importance of dreams and how a dream can become a book. She is graciously giving away a copy of her latest release to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below to be entered to win. If you tweet about this post, and tell us about it, we'll enter your name in twice to the drawing.
Take it away, Beth...
Years ago I had a dream on New Year’s Eve, a highly propitious time for dreamsand the second instance when one on that particular eve led to my writing a story. The first book resulting from this source of inspiration was historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song. The second instance eventually evolved into myrecent release, vintage American Christmas ghost story romance Somewhere the Bells Ring. The dream that inspired this story took place in the beautiful Virginia home place where my father grew up and I often visited over the years, a graciousGeorgian style brick home, circa 1816.
In my dream a young lady dressed in a long gown for a holiday party entered the room without a name. All the rooms in this big old house have names except for this one. Instead of the room appearing as it did in my day, it had transformed into an old-fashioned gentleman’s bedchamber with a fireplace, bookshelves lined with leather-bound volumes, high-backed armchairs, and an antiquated bed. I later learned from my father that this is much how that room used to be in his grandfather’s time. But I didn’t consciously know that.
In the room, slumped on his knees before the crackling hearth, was a handsome dark-haired young gentleman attired in a suit that struck me as early 20th century style, but what impacted me most about him was his sadness. The young woman, a guest in the house and in far better spirits than he, had unwittingly intruded on his grief. aIn her hands she held a dusty champagne bottle with a note affixed to it, seemingly left for him by his late wife. The newcomer had discovered it tucked among bottles in the wine cellar and thought it might cheer him. It didn’t—at least, not at first. But he read the note and took some comfort from that. If I tell you what the missive said I might spoil the story so I won’t. But his profound grief, the note, andthe vividness of this dream, affected me so deeply I pondered what story might come of it for a very long time before undertaking the writing of Somewhere the Bells Ring.
The other greatest influence on this story is my nostalgia for the late 1960’sand fond memories of Christmas’s spentin that home. The story is set there in 1968 with flashbacks to an even earlier era, 1918 and the end of World War 1. As to the ghost, well, I always wondered if that house was haunted.
Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative's ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn't so bad.
To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope––until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.
As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe––in Bailey and the ghost––before the Christmas bells ring?
“Bailey.” He spoke softly, so as not to startle her.
She turned toward him. In her long, white nightgown, hair tumbled down around her, wearing that lost look, she bore an unnerving resemblance to the mysterious woman in Wilkie Collins’ classic mystery, The Woman in White. Eric fervently hoped the similarity ended there. As he recalled from the novel, that unfortunate lady had been unhinged.
Leaving the door ajar, he stepped inside. “We missed you at breakfast.”
She answered distractedly. “I wasn’t hungry.”
He limped to where she stood, the hitch in his leg a little less pronounced today. Maybe he was getting stronger. “Why are you here, looking for ghosts?”
“Or a door to the past.”
He tried to coax a smile to her trembling lips. “Did you check inside the wardrobe?”
“Eric, I’m being serious.”
“That’s what worries me.” Leaning on his cane with one arm, he closed his other around her shoulders and drew her against him. Such a natural act, and she accepted his embrace without pulling back. She smelled of flowers from her perfume and wood smoke. “Mercy, child,” he said in his best imitation of Ella, “it’s as cold as a tomb in here.”
“It wasn’t last night.”~
Somewhere the Bells Ring is available in various eBook formats at The Wild Rose Press,Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook, and other online booksellers.
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