Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fool for Love by Merry Farmer @MerryFarmer20

Chapter Four

The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name.  Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts.  The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past.  It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.

Seven days to a new world.  It was an exact description of everything her life had become.  It was every bit as daunting.

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her.  It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life.  It was another thing entirely to go through with it.

She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house.  This time it wasn’t morning sickness.  That was long past.  At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries.  Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less.  The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.

She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior.  Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful.  Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was.  Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded.  Like her father.  Like Nick.  She was a fool to agree to this.  She pivoted and marched away from the ship.

No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made.  She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers.  This was right.


“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”

The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries.  She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.

“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.

“Yeah.  I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”

Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched.  “Oh.  Oh dear.  Well I suppose….”

She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver.  As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over.  All that worrying for nothing.

She squared her shoulders to face her fate.  “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”

Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown.  “Regardless?”

“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained.  “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….”  She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.

Eric’s lips twitched.  The morning sunlight caught in his eyes.  “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”

Amelia blinked.  “You what?”

“I told them we’re newlyweds.  I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over.  Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again.  Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom.  They sold me a ticket for that.”  He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’.  “Sorry.”

Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him.  He wasn’t abandoning her.  He had gone out of his way to help her.  Her heart squeezed as it never had before.  She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his.  She was rescued after all.

“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan.  You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.”  She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.

“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.


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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Website http://merryfarmer.net

How #Authors Can Turn Rejection into Growth by Josh VanBrakle @joshvanbrakle #writetip #amwriting

The Query Blues: Turn Rejection into Growth
You’ve put your heart into writing your first novel: years of your life, uncounted long nights, and even more uncounted tears. Finally, you’re ready. You put together a brilliant, personalized query letter and send it to an agent. Days pass, then weeks. Nothing. Not even a form response.
What a cold, cold thing to do to a writer. You’ve written a masterpiece, and some schmuck in New York won’t even return your email. I know that feeling. My first novel, The Wings of Dragons, was rejected by not one, not ten, but over fifty agents. Most never replied at all. A few wrote me that they really liked my book, but they weren’t confident they could sell it to an editor “in this market.”
Every one of those rejections hit me hard. They made me feel like all the work I’d put in - over two years - was wasted.
Somewhere in the middle of all those rejections, though, I had my epiphany. I could see the rejections as an annoyance, as some suit in some distant agency not giving my book its due, or I could recognize them for what they were: opportunities to improve. These agents, whose job it is to sell books, were telling me something valuable. “Do you want to sell books? Then go back and spruce up this manuscript.”
So that’s what I did. I studied what those agents were looking for: fast-paced plots, a beginning few chapters that screamed “Keep reading me!”, and above all, sympathetic, multi-layered characters. Agents look for these traits, because they’re what make a book stand out. With that knowledge in hand, I knew where to focus my revisions.
In the end, no agent picked me up. I had no credentials, and my only publishing credits were a couple scientific journal articles, hardly gripping reads. No one would take a chance on me, so I took a chance on me and indie published. It’s paid off; my book became a #1 best-seller in its category on Amazon. Even so, I don’t laugh at the agents who rejected my work. I thank them. They were right to reject it. It wasn’t finished yet. If it had been published, or if I’d indie published without trying the traditional route first, I would have been unsatisfied with the result. I would have known I could have written a better book. A big part of why my book succeeded as an indie is because I tried the traditional approach first, and then I used what I learned to make my novel the best I could write at that point in my life.
It’s easy to let rejection convince you that your work is garbage, or worse, that your work is awesome and agents are too stupid to see it. Instead, see rejection as someone in the industry who knows a lot about what sells giving you free advice on how to make your book even better. Kick your ego to the curb and use that advice to grow as an author.
The Wings of Dragons
From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom's only known Left, that's meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It's harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia's charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It's a suicide mission, and Iren's chances aren't helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon's spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren's team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who - and how - to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
"A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going." - ForeWord Reviews
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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