The days start coming and they don’t stop coming

Hello there beautiful ones,

How are you? I hope this message does not find you well, I hope it finds you sublime, energized, hopeful, ecstatic, and transcendent.

(but I will settle for well)

Me? I’m doing all right, thanks for asking. It’s October, which means the first anniversary of my father’s death is rapidly approaching. He left this world on the 21st after a struggle the likes of which I’ve never seen. Despite his constant admonitions to his children to “be ready”, he was not.

My mother got sick over last Thanksgiving and said good-bye on December 8th, so suffice to say, there are some not-fun memories coming up. I keep having urges to get in the car and just drive away, go to the beach or the Grand Canyon and look out over something that’s more overwhelming than my emotions.

In the incomparable novel All the Light We Cannot See, Warner Pfennig, the young German man whose story makes up half the book, sees the ocean for the first time and writes to his sister, saying “It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”

I wish I could take the sorrow that sits like a stone in the pit of my stomach and hurl it into the waves, but I know in my heart that sorrow is just the B-side to the album of love, and so I will try to cherish it instead.

In other news, I don’t have a lot of other news other than I am still working on my fantasy romance The Oracle’s Choice. Here’s an excerpt:


By the time Vincent took his seat beside Blythe at the table in the middle of the open field to partake in the evening feast, he found himself weary of the continual cries of huzzah that surrounded him wherever he turned. He longed for his quiet room in the castle, and a chance to reflect on the day’s events and his own mind, which was a confusion of conflicting thoughts.

Hold it together he told himself. Just keep smiling.

He focused on the practical and pleasurable aspects of being engaged. As Baldwyn had said, a wife would be undeniably welcome as company throughout the trials and joys of life. Someone to care for, and be cared by, was not in any way distasteful to his mind. And children, of course, had always been something he had looked forward to having. No, being married was certain to be a joy, even if it complicated things.

As for Blythe, she was every bit as gracious as her reputation had assured him. She smiled at him kindly, and when she spoke, her lilting voice was full of good humor and sense. They had canvassed many subjects throughout the day, and she had shown herself to be well-educated in politics and philosophy and art. They shared many of the same opinions and had a similar outlook on life in general.

Why, then, was there an uncomfortable twisting in his gut when he thought of taking her as his bride?

“It must be an awful trial to be celebrated so,” a voice said beside him. He turned to see Ginny settling into the chair next to him, now dressed in a pale purple gown.

“Eh?” he asked, distracted. Her freckled cheeks were rosy in the late afternoon sunshine, and his pulse quickened unexpectedly.

“You were frowning very hard just now,” she said with a wry smile. “And I’m sure I would too, under such tedious circumstances.”

“I beg your pardon,” he said, clearing his throat and forcing his face to be composed. Was he forever to be apologizing to her? “My expression was not meant to imply displeasure.”

“I’m relieved to hear that,” Ginny said. “I would hate to think marrying my sister was causing you pain.”

“We have not formally met,” Vincent said, anxious to change the subject. “The day has been a busy one, and I’ve been much preoccupied. It’s Ginny, I believe?”

“Guilty,” the princess said, bowing her head slightly. “I’m happy to make your acquaintance at last, Sir Vincent of Windsmere.”

“Well met, indeed,” he replied, nodding as well. “And please, do me the favor of calling me Vincent. I watched your archery display with great interest. You’re very good.”

“Very good! High praise, from the champion of the battle of Darksmill. Thank you.”

Vincent detected the faintest tinge of disappointment in her expression and sought to erase it.

“You’re excellent, rather,” he said. “I did not mean to understate your skill. You made your fellows look like quite the amateurs.”

That was better. Ginny beamed at him.

“I hope our earlier encounter did not incline you to think harshly of me,” he continued.

“Not at all,” Ginny said, tilting her head. “Although I have to admit your lack of enthusiasm for your betrothal is concerning to me.”

“Ah. Forgive me,” Vincent said, chafing at the realization that he was apologizing again. “I’m simply preoccupied; I don’t wish to seem…ungrateful.”

“Ungrateful! No. You seem like a man more doomed to the gallows than headed for the altar.”

Vincent stared at the girl, whose brown eyes seemed to see straight into his soul.

Lord, she strikes right to the heart he thought.

“The Oracle’s wisdom is known throughout the land,” he said carefully. “I am not one to doubt her decision. But I admit I had not given thought to marriage yet.”

“And thus lies your hesitation? Not in my sister herself?”

“Certainly not. Your sister is everything a man could wish for in a partner, that much is plain. I am honored to be chosen.”

“Honored is not the same as pleased, nor thrilled. I would wish you to be both.”

“I cannot be more than I am at the moment. But surely such feelings will grow over the weeks to come.”

“One would hope,” Ginny said, still fixing him with her direct stare. Vincent felt a prickle of irritation, and a desire to end the interrogation.

“You seem determined to think harshly of me,” he said. “Again, I say I am honored to be chosen, and will do my best to be worthy of your sister. Though whether that is possible, in your estimation, remains to be seen.”

“Oh, certainly it’s not possible,” Ginny said, laughing brightly, her face transforming with merriment. “But don’t despair; no one could truly be worthy of Blythe. Come, shake my hand and be my friend. I’ll not question you further. With enough wine, I might even forgive you.”

Vincent took her outstretched hand and shook it, surprised by the firmness of her grasp.

“You give me hope,” he said. “In time, perhaps you might even come to like me.”

“If my sister likes you, it will be enough,” she said. “Make that your goal.”

With that, she turned to speak to the guest seated to her left, and Vincent could only shake his head, unnerved by the entire conversation and feeling distinctly unbalanced. Surely the girl didn’t expect him to be in love with Blythe in a day’s time; it was ridiculous! The impulse to tap her on the shoulder and defend himself was strong, but before he could, Clement’s voice rang out.

“A toast to the happy couple,” the king exclaimed, lifting his glass of wine. “May they live in harmony and joy all the days of their lives.”

“Hear, hear,” the guests cried.

Vincent clinked his glass against Blythe’s. Her blue eyes met his and she smiled. She was stunning, and smart, he told himself, and he willed the anxiety in his chest to be still as he drank. All he needed was a little time, he told himself, and the feelings would come. He just needed a little time.

He’d show Ginny just how in love a man could be.


Haha! What on earth will happen next?? Not somebody falling in love with somebody they’re not supposed to, surely. That would be ridiculous.

And so I must take my leave. I hope the coming weeks bring you crisp, cool weather, trees that burst with color, spooky stories to keep you shivering, and pumpkin spice latte galore (bleh!). Take care of yourselves and hug your loved ones tight, remembering that life is grueling and wonderful and difficult and, above all else, worthy of our full attention.

Nothing runs like a Deere,

J.W. Rose