Friday, April 4, 2014

All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait - Cover Reveal

I'm counting a lot of blessings lately, even as I remain frazzled over various issues in my life, like, um, taxes. Which I must get down to doing very soon.

Be that as it may, this post is a reward for those who have waited for a long, long time. Those who have stuck by me through thick and thin. My loyal readers, book buyers, and Street Team. My loyal family members who have encouraged me and helped me carry on, even as I continue to live life alone. Alone, but never lonely.

Remember the name of this blog? I know these characters like my own family. That's why I knew them the instant I set eyes upon this art work.


Yes, the couple is Rulon Owen and Mary Hilbrands, exactly as I've seen them in my mind's eye.

The incomparable Linda Boulanger of Tell~Tale Cover Designs has done it again! 

Gone for a Soldier will be out later this summer, but I couldn't wait any longer to reveal the cover.

If you want to help me show it off, please contact me for additional blog materials at marshaward.az@gmail.com. In the meantime, feel free to Tweet, Share, Pin, etc., and help me get the word out that Rulon Owen and his brothers are going to war ... and they won't take any prisoners.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fabulous Friends and Fans...and Stumblers upon the Scene

Because I have been negligent to a group of people who I have designated as my Fabulous Friends & Fans─and some of them are very much Super Fans─I am extending the olive branch below, an advance reveal of the cover of a forthcoming novel. It's not the next novel, but the cover is complete and exceedingly awesome, and I don't know how I have kept it hidden all the time that I have.

For those of you who happened to stumble upon this site, this is your lucky day.




The designer is the fabulous Linda Boulanger of Tell~Tale Cover Designs. This is the book I am going to a retreat in June to finish, so it won't be out really soon. Maybe by the end of the year--maybe early in 2015. We'll see how it goes. I get all tickled inside when I realize how perfectly the cover reflects a scene from the novel. I am so blessed!

Okay, what do you think?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Aaaaaaa! He's back!

James Owen, I mean. Here I haven't even finished the current novel, or the novella, or the short story, or the novel-not-from-this-series, and he's jumping in with both feet!

"¿No me amas?"

James Owen sat bolt upright and looked over at his sleeping wife, Jessie. She didn't, to his knowledge, speak in her sleep. Besides, the voice wasn't like hers. Not at all. He shivered in the July night air, heavy with heat.

Jessie's Spanish wasn't as fluid as that of the voice that had awakened him. He pondered a moment, rubbing the scar tissue in his side that sometimes pained him into wakefulness. Nothing hurt tonight. He looked at Jessie again, curled in a ball around her ripe belly.

A chill went down his spine. Six little beans! Amparo!

He slowly lay back, careful not to touch Jessie. "Not fair," he whispered, then repeated the thought in Spanish for his dead wife's benefit. "My livin' wife needs me now," he added.

"I live," she told him. "Solamente you cannot see me."

He let out a stuttering breath that seemed to come from his toes. "Te amo siempre." Afraid to wake Jessie, he moved the conversation back into his thoughts. I'll love you forever. You know that.

Here I am not your wife. I am soltera. Alone. Did you not make a promise to yourself? To me? To your God?


That's all I've got. Now leave me alone for a while, James. I have to sleep!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mary Owen Comes to Call

* I knew I should be writing, but I had borne up through a hard week and found myself nodding over my computer keyboard.

That changed when the doorbell rang.

I went to answer it, and saw a young girl standing outside my screen door, wringing her hands. I saw immediately that she was not from my time. She wore a long skirted outfit, complete with a frilly scarf draped down the front of her bodice to below her waist.

Me: Hello?

Her: Are you "Mom?"

Me: Several people call me that.

Her: Rulon says that's what you agreed would be acceptable.

Me: Rulon said so? Are you Mary? (I certainly should have recognized her right away, but sometimes there things are tricky.)

Mary: Yes, I am Mary . . Owen.

Me: Come in, dear. You look a mite agitated.

Mary: Yes. (Her voice is so soft I have to strain to hear it.)

I opened the door and let her in, went through the amenities, and admired her scarf. She blushed.

Mary: It is to confuse to eye, you know. So folks won't . . .

Me: Won't?

Mary: Won't condemn me for being, you know, for increasing.

Me: Who would be so impolite as to cast aspersions on you? You're married, yes?

Mary: Some folks believe I'm too young for that.

Me: Isn't that between you and Rulon?

Mary, brightening: Rulon. Yes. (She rests a hand on her abdomen, smiling shyly.) But he is gone, you know.

Me: Off fighting. I do know.

Mary (hastily): But you won't make him die?

Me (shaking my head emphatically): No.

Mary, sighing: Thank you.

Me (not knowing what else to say): Are you well?

Mary: Yes. Very. Thank you. Except that . . .

Me: Yes?

Mary: I have lost something. (She is hanging her head now.)

Me: Rulon's letter?

Mary: Yes. I cannot find it anywhere. Please let me find it.

Me: Mary. Look at me. (She glances up.) You will come upon that letter in a while. Not tomorrow, but after a while.

Mary: But I will be able to read it?

Me: Of course. It will please you to do so.

Mary (rising) I don't know how to reward your generosity, ma'am.

Me: There's no need, dear. Just go play out your role and have a happy life. (I give her a hug)

Mary: Thank you, ma'am. Mom.

I watch as she moves cautiously away, down the ramp and onto the road, and then out of sight.


Copyright © 2014 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at marshaward.com or Westward Books.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ella Ruth is Contrite *

After working in a hot office all afternoon, I sat with my front door open and a fan circulating the cooler outside air as I caught up on recorded reruns of The Closer. When my security light went on, I looked over to see if a deer was crossing my lot, but nothing was apparent, so I went back to the episode.

A few moments later, a movement caught my eye, and I glanced over to see the figure of a young woman standing in the light. She was dressed in an outfit with a long, bell-shaped skirt, so I knew immediately that one of my characters had come to visit.

Turning off the TV, I approach the door. The blonde girl with the anguished features appears to be Ella Ruth Allen, whom I had chased away previously after her outrageous behavior toward me. I'm not sure I want her in my house again, so I hesitate before greeting her. After a long moment, I succumb to Christian principles and speak.

Me: Yes? (I know. A bit short, but at least I sound half-way civil.)

Ella Ruth (in a shaky voice): Ma'am. I know I behaved badly on our previous acquaintance, and I am sorry for my ill-mannered comportment. May I come in? I am so worried.

Me (unlocking and opening the screen door): Worried? With a rich, influential pappa?

I perform the usual ceremonies of getting her seated and asking if she requires anything to eat as she dithers, making polite replies and little gasping noises. I understand the mental electrical storm that creates a condition of dithering, and become more kindly disposed toward her.

Me: What brings you to my door, Miss Ella Ruth?

Ella Ruth: Benjamin. (She begins to cry, and I bring out the box of tissue and hand it over. She wipes her eyes and begins to rush through a blubbering account.) He gave me an ultimatum and I rejected him. I did not think he was seriously planning to talk to my pappa so plainly and dash my dreams so rudely. I said some unkind words and turned on my heel and left him. Then he left me!

Her wail of distress seems genuine enough. I dredge through my memory, and recall that when Ben came to visit me, I had not finished writing the scene that occurred behind the mill. I did so later. The scene had indeed progressed as she outlined.

Me: Well. That is unfortunate. What does he write to you?

Ella Ruth: Ma'am, he does not write. Not a word. I do not know if he has been in a battle, or injured, or fallen prey to illness, like I hear other men have. He went in my own cousin's infantry company, but I hear nothing from George, either. Please ma'am, what am I to do?

Me (somewhat flummoxed): What are you to do? What do you want from him?

Ella Ruth: Oh ma'am, I want to know that he is well and sound. I bear him such a great deal of affection. My heart is sunk low to know that we parted on unfriendly terms.

Me: It sounds like you need to re-establish a connection with him. Have you asked his mother for news?

Ella Ruth (uncertainly): Mrs. Owen? Mrs. Julia Owen?

Me: The very one. If anyone has heard from Ben, it will be her.

Ella Ruth: Oh ma'am, she will not bear kindness toward me. I am sure of it.

Me: Then you have already approached her?

Ella Ruth (in a tiny voice): No. Ma'am. I am frightened of her.

Me: You're frightened by the kindest woman in the Valley?

Ella Ruth: She is formidable, ma'am.

Me: No she isn't. I've written her as a kind, giving soul. She is really very pleasant, very easy to know.

Ella Ruth: She will heed Ben's plight before my own, ma'am.

Me (feeling the disbelieving expression on my face): You really should talk to her, Miss Allen. Straight out.

Ella Ruth: May I not approach the new Missus Owen? The new bride at Hilbrands' store?

Me: Mistress Mary? What does she have to do with this?

Ella Ruth: Perhaps she will be amenable to asking Mrs. Owen for news of Benjamin.

Me (sighing): That way is quite roundabout, Miss Allen. I see that is your plan, however. Suit yourself. Ask Mary for help. You can only hope her happiness will color her response to you.

Ella Ruth: Her response?

Me: New brides often wish to share their happiness and help others achieve some for themselves, as well. You might find yourself fortunate. It just seems like such an involved and convoluted way of gaining news about Ben.

Ella Ruth: Miss, um, Mistress Mary is closer in age to me. I believe I can talk to her, persuade her to help me.

Me (rising and spreading my hands in acceptance): Like I said, suit yourself. Good evening, Miss Allen.

She leaves, and a bolt of lightning sears the sky. I wait for the thunder, but it rumbles in the distance, and I go back to my television watching, a tense feeling squeezing my abdomen. What will come of Ella Ruth's plan?

Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at marshaward.com or Westward Books.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ella Ruth is Furious!

The day was rainy, and since I'd been up late the night/morning before, I decided to take a little nap and enjoy the natural cool while the rain saturated the air and fell on the thirsty earth.

I awoke to a steady banging on my front door. Good grief, I thought. It can't be a wildfire with all this moisture. Not sure why else someone would make all that racket, I hurried to the door and flung it open.

Fuzzy as I was with sleep, I was confused to be confronted by a slight young woman dressed in 19th-century finery. I know I frowned, but her face already bore that expression, her mouth down-turned and her eyebrows drawn together, which made unflattering lines on her face.

Me (blurting the words): Who are you?

Her (angry, angry, angry): You know who I am! You said I'm spoiled. I never heard the like. I've half a mind to tell my father how to get here to deal with you, you wicked . . .(her voice peters out as she takes a breath.)

Me (half-offended, but stoic): Oh. Ella Ruth Allen. So Ben spilled the beans.

Ella Ruth: I do not know what that means.

Me: It means Benjamin told you about our conversation.

Ella Ruth (in a prissy tone): No. He did not have to do that.

Me: What do you mean?

Ella Ruth: I followed him last week, and learned his secret, his little rainbow trick. All I had to do was stand beside the rainbow and listen.

Me (speechless)

Ella Ruth (snorting at what must have been my astounded face): You writer people think you can keep us in the dark. Well, it did not serve you well to keep the rainbow entrance secret. I will let my father know about you and your vile ways.

Me: Your father hasn't made an appearance. He does not exist yet.

Ella Ruth (glares at me)

Me (narrowing my eyes at her.): Perhaps this writer person will not put him into a scene at all. Then he will never exist. How about them apples, missy?

Ella Ruth: Humph!

Me (pointing down the ramp): Get off my porch.

Ella Ruth swirls her skirts angrily and starts down the ramp to disappear into the misty rain.

Me (muttering): I'm going to get a lock for that rainbow!


Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at marshaward.com or Westward Books.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ben Owen follows the rainbow

Shortly after I posted a video on Facebook of the gully washer we had yesterday, I sat on my deck to enjoy the cool air. I'm not sure if I nodded off or what, but when I raise my head and open my eyes, a young man sits across the table from me.

He notes my alarm and hastens to assure me that he means no harm, calling me "Mom," and saying he is Benjamin Owen.

I should have known him right off, although he hadn't come visiting before now. He resembles his younger brother, Carl. Or maybe I have that turned around, and should say Carl looks like Ben.

When my breathing regularizes, I become curious about the reason for Ben's visit. Usually, my characters come to urge me to tell their story, but I'm in the midst of doing just that with Rulon Owen, and to a lesser degree, with Ben.

Me: I'm glad to make your acquaintance, Ben.

Ben (eyeing me speculatively): Are you now, Mom?

Me: Indeed.

Ben: Rulon's gettin' the bulk of the words you write. Sometimes I feel a mite cast aside.

Me: This is the first draft, Ben, and I'm jumping around a lot, and writing out-of-order scenes with this novel. Be patient.

Ben (squirming a bit in his chair): I ain't a patient man. Ella Ruth can attest to that.

Me (arching an eyebrow in my best imitation of Randolph Hilbrands): You're much like Rulon in that area. You take care. I don't want to add a tragic subplot about an unwed mother.

Ben (rising to his feet): Unwed mother! I wouldn't-- Well, I'm sorely tempted, but I'd druther not face Ma's fury on that head. She would flail the skin off my bones, she would.

Me (signaling him to be seated): Then control your passions. Don't meet the girl in private. Keep to crowds when she's with you.

Ben: That wasn't my idea, there behind the mill. She crept up on me. Surprised me.

Me: Don't let it happen again.

Ben (hanging his head): She makes it difficult. A body would think, well, it would almost appear she . . . (his voice trails off)

Me: Ben, she's more than a little bit spoiled. She expects to get anything she desires. (I look pointedly at him.) She desires you, but wrapped around her little finger and doing her utmost bidding.

Ben: I get that same feeling, ma'am. I recall that speech she spoke me about the suit she expects me to wear for her dream weddin'! I can't afford such outlandish trappings, nor would I buy them if I could. But ma'am, Mom, how my body does betray me whenever I get a whiff of that good-smellin' perfume she wears!

Me: Benjamin, you must strive to be the good Christian gentleman your mother raised you up to be. Strong. Mannerly. Celibate. (I stress my final word.)

Ben (groans): Ma does have her standards. (He looks at me searchingly.) Did Rulon--

Me: No, he didn't. I expect you to be the consummate Southern gentleman, as well. I have my standards, too.

Ben (seeming to grit his teeth between halting phrases): Then I will . . . give my most . . . fervent efforts toward that end, Mom.

Me: You will keep yourself in hand?

Ben: Help me. Don't let Ella Ruth, ah, ambush me again.

Me (quirking an eyebrow): Fervent efforts, Ben. Fervent efforts.

The sun comes out, and he's gone.


Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at marshaward.com or Westward Books.