We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Three of my four books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.
I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.
I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was Director of Research for our state’s education department.
Those Children Are Ours
Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.
True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around completely.
But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.
Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father believes that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not visitation.
If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives may be impossible. What happens next tests her confidence in herself, her love for her children, and, ultimately, threatens her life, itself.
To Fall in Love Again
Drew Nelson did not plan to fall in love that morning.
He did not even want to talk with anyone, and he resisted all of Amy’s attempts to draw him out. But the flight attendant offered coffee, a muscle in Amy’s back twitched, the cup tipped, and the hot liquid puddled in Drew’s lap. Then they began to talk!
Relationships do not exist in vacuums. Drew is quite wealthy; Amy is middle class. Amy is new in town; Drew’s family arrived three centuries ago. Class warfare is less violent than it once was, but when Drew invites Amy to the St Cecelia Ball, battle lines are drawn. Friends choose sides. Allies are found in unexpected places. Opposition comes from among those who were thought to be friends.
Amy begins to suspect that Drew is one of them, the rich snobs who despise her, while Drew concludes that Amy neither trusts him nor cares for him. Amy discovers that she must learn to see Drew, not as a copy of the husband who betrayed her and not as a clone of those who look down on her, but simply as a man who wants to fall in love again, with her.
Handfasting: A Celtic ceremony of engagement or betrothal.
Ten years had passed since Katie had last seen Steven.
They had met during the summer while traveling in Europe and had fallen in love. They could not be married then. Years of school lay ahead, but they joined hands in the old Scottish abbey and pledged their love.
Steven had promised to come for her.
For ten years, Katie had hoped and prayed that Steven would come, but as the tenth year passed, she began to lose hope. On her birthday, though, a vase of yellow roses appeared at her door, an invitation to dinner tucked in among the flowers.
Steven, though, is not Katie’s only suitor. Bill has long intended to marry her. He tells everyone of his plans, everyone except Katie. He finally stakes his claim, but when Katie refuses to pay him attention, his courtship becomes violent. He convinces her that she isn’t worthy of Steven’s love and threatens to destroy Katie’s dreams unless she accepts his proposal.
What happens next tests the love that Katie and Steven share as she must decide how much she will risk for the man she loves.
It all started with an invitation to Michael’s high school reunion.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” he asks as the reunion winds down, “if you could crawl through a worm hole and find yourself in high school, again?”
Over the next few weeks, Allison attempts to cope with the strange things that happen as Michael “crawls though the worm hole,” and morphs back into the person he was thirty years earlier, setting in motion events which disrupt their lives and tear the couple apart.
As Michael spends long hours in his new art studio, Allison feels rejected and begins to build a life of her own. Before long, Michael and Allison, a couple who seldom spent time apart, rarely spend time together. They both feel neglected, and each blames the other. A long separation, the unexpected appearance of Michael’s college girlfriend, an unplanned rendezvous, and a charge of adultery threaten to end their marriage forever - and Allison must decide how to reach out to the man she loves.