Dear readers, Anne is another Texas author and a very good friend. You'll love her writing.
Welcome back, Anne. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
At the moment I’m working on two new books. Several publishers are looking at my romantic suspense, Murder in
Istanbul. And I’m working on a book set in
the 1920s in , titled Cupid Goes
Barnstorming. And, I’m about to start another Christmas novella with the
tentative title TROUBLE FOR A LONE STAR CHRISTMAS WEDDING. I have so many
stories pounding in my head for attention, I can’t mention any others. God is
blessing my latest released MARRIAGE BY
ARRANGEMENT. That Scottish historical is getting excellent reviews. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Tell us a little about your family.
This could be a long story. I’ll try to shorten it. I married my sweetheart when I was nineteen and he was twenty-one. We had a blessed marriage because we both received the Lord after we’d been married for two years. We had two lovely children, a girl and a boy. Then when our son was only seven years old, God took my dear husband. He’s waiting for me now in his heavenly home. Two years later (two seems to be significant in my life) I married another wonderful, Godly man. We’ve been married a number of years now and are extremely happy.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Yes, writing has changed my reading habits. I’ve enjoyed reading all my life. Fell in love with books when I was about four years old. Up until I started writing, I read almost exclusively fiction books. I read all kinds. I easily read three and four books a week. Now that I write, I find enjoying books more difficult because I’m unable to turn off the editor in my head. I’ve done far too much critiquing for other authors. I find it much more difficult to simply get lost in another author’s story. I’m silently telling the author the pacing is too slow, the concept not logical, the story line not well thought out, etc. And, now that I’m writing every day, I find far less time to read. So when another author’s book doesn’t capture my attention, I set it aside and don’t pick it up again. Sorry, but that’s the sad facts. Now when I read, mostly I read to research my own books. I do have favorite authors I turn to on those few occasions when I have time to read. They still have the magic to suck me into their stories.
What outside interests do you have?
Since I sit at my computer six to eight hours a day, I try to spend at least an hour a day exercising. I don’t succeed as much as I would like, and in company with many other authors, I’ve developed a larger posterior than I would like. I do spend time travelling. My husband and I have visited thirty foreign countries and I’ve been in every state in the
US. I get many
book ideas from my travels. I spend a lot of time with my family. I like to
shop. I wish I could say I love to cook, but I don’t. I enjoy painting
portraits when I have the time. I sing in a one-hundred-fifty voice choir
backed by a full orchestra. We performed twice for our Christmas program and
are already scheduled for our Spring Concert. I love being with my friends. I
usually spend the last hour and a half a night relaxing and watching a movie
video. I do spend time with the Lord, usually just before I write each day. My
family call me when they are in need of prayer. So, I’m just a regular person
whose full-time job is writing.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
Often the setting for my books come from my travels. My first book, Trail of Tears, however resulted from a missionary telling of his mission. Then I visited the sites where the Cherokee were removed from their homeland and resettled in
. My second book, MASQUERADE
MARRIAGE and its sequel, MARRIAGE BY
ARRANGMENT, resulted from a long trip to Oklahoma Territory Scotland and falling in love with
that country. A TEXAS CHRISTMAS MYSTERY,
followed an exciting trip to , and a visit to an
off-shore oil rig. Several books, still unpublished and looking for homes grew
from ideas when I visited Galveston,
Texas Harlingen, Texas; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and the outer banks; ;
and various other exotic locations. Istanbul, Turkey
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
When I started writing novels I worked alone. I didn’t know of other writer groups or critique groups. I could have sliced off five years of lonely toil had I been involved in either a writing group or a critique group. I’ve learned so much from both that I’ve started to give back by creating my own home critique group and giving writing lessons on line. You can find my writing lessons at http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com. I hope you will visit me there. I have a loyal following who find my lessons helpful.
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Learn the craft. Join a writers group, get into a critique group and visit my blogspot for helpful information and fun.
Tell us about the featured book?
A MARRIAGE COVENANT
Why does a handsome, powerful noble of the highest rank in
England stoop to marry a mere Lady
of Lowland Scotland?
A GREAT SECRET
Are the whispered stories about him true? With his shadowy past and strange behavior what awful secret does he hide? Each change of clothes transforms him into a different man.
AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE
Can Lady Cailin keep her vow to make her marriage happy and successful, unlike that of her parents, or to save her unborn child, must she arrange for the Duke’s accidental death?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Castle Drummond, home of Lord and Lady MacMurry, near the
of Kirkmichael in Lowland -–
April 19, 1746 Scotland
“I won’t run.” A shudder skipped down Lady Cailin MacMurry’s spine, and she stared at her younger sister. “I’m committed.”
“It’s not too late. I heard another scandalous rumor about Duke Avondale.” Lady Megan MacMurry grasped Cailin’s arm.
“I won’t listen to gossip.” Cailin pulled away from her sister and lifted her wedding bouquet to inhale the white rose fragrance. If only the sweet scent could overcome Megan’s words, and her own misgivings. Though most arranged marriages turned out badly, surely God would give her a loving one. After all, since her earliest years, she’d prayed for a happily-ever-after love.
“Ask yourself why such a grand noble would stoop to marry a Scottish lass with but the title Lady? Why did he not choose an English Duchess or Marchioness or even a Countess?” Megan tilted her head and lifted elegant brows.
Why indeed? Cailin clutched her enormous diamond engagement necklace. The thing felt heavy with responsibility.
“The man’s an English duke. He owns palaces all over
planted her hands on her slender, mossy-green silk covered hips. “Every noble
lass in the land should be offering to give her right arm to be in your shoes.
And yet they are not.”
New knots formed in the nape of Cailin’s neck. She held her finger to her lips. “Too late to turn back now. The wedding chorus has begun.” She forced her feet to take the first step and then began the slow glide from the stone castle’s rear archway through the garden toward the rose arbor.
With a jerk, Megan lifted and straightened Cailin’s cumbersome satin train. “In truth, beyond his wealth and titles, our family knows little about the English Duke.” She gathered up her own long skirts, and ran ahead to lead Cailin down the flower-strewn path.
Seven bridesmaids stopped giggling and chatting and moved to their places in front of Megan to head the procession.
Beneath her veil, Cailin smoothed her frown. Papa had chosen to take this path in light of the violent upheaval following
latest battle with the Highlanders. Her marriage to the Duke would shelter her
family with his great cloak of protection. Neither the English nor the Scots
would dare invade a castle guarded by the powerful Duke’s Coat of Arms.
More goosebump fingers shivered her spine. Surely jealousy fueled the flagrant tittle-tattle. She pulled in a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and took measured steps in time to the music toward the loch gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. She would not let whispers spoil her wedding. She laid her hand lightly on her father’s offered arm.
Their procession passed the scores of guests assembled on both sides of the flowered path. Ahead her groom stood beneath the rose bower, sunlight from the loch gleaming on him, the pastor, and his groomsman.
Her heart fluttered.
The Duke looked the perfect picture of manhood. He towered above his shorter groomsman and the pastor. Sun glinting off his iceberg blue satin coat, heavily laced with gold, almost blinded her. His chocolate eyes gazed past the dazzling crowd of guests and focused on her. Beneath those beckoning eyes, the straight bridge of his nose above softly smiling lips formed the most handsome face she’d ever seen. Her pulse quickened. Butterflies flitted from her stomach to her heart and back.
Her pulse quickened. Butterflies flitted from her stomach to her heart and back. As she reached her groom and the chamber music died, her high-heeled slippers sunk into the grassy moor, but her foreboding dissolved like fog before the sunshine.
The rose bower in the garden where she and the Duke stood together and promised their fidelity was pure romance with its lush greenery, heavy scent of roses, and panorama of softly rolling, newly green glen. Though she didn’t know the man she wed, she repeated with all her heart to love, honor, and obey him as long as she should live.
Marrying a man one had barely met happened more often than not to daughters of Lords. So why were her knees shaking? Her attractive groom, with his mahogany hair, wide shoulders, and square jaw, held her hand gently in his warm, strong grasp. Rumors were just rumors, and, truth be told, if he were not perfect, neither was she.
A breeze loosened strands of brown hair from the gold band that tied the thick mass neatly behind his muscular neck to dance around his face.
She was glad he had not powdered his hair. Her throat tightened. Loving him would be easy.
Oh God, please let him love me.
She would love him so greatly, with everything inside her heart. Surely he would love her in return. She would work hard to make certain her marriage turned out differently from Mums. There would be no coldness, nor violent arguments between her and her grand Duke. No sleeping in separate parts of the castle. No making their daughters’ lives miserable with the dislike they bore one another.
As the magnificent sunset painted him gold, the Duke’s chestnut eyes stared into hers with promise, his inviting lips tipped upwards at the corners, and his demeanor was affectionate and approving.
Joy burst through her chest, and she gave him a brilliant smile. Yes, her marriage would be happy. A storybook marriage like Cinderella’s.
The English parson the Duke had brought with him raised a hand in blessing. “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
She handed her heavy bouquet of roses and lilies to Megan and tipped her chin up.
The tall, lithe, young Duke stepped forward and lifted her expensive
veil. She was so very fortunate he was not old.
She closed her eyes.
He touched his lips to hers.
Oh! Her eyes flew open. The bridal kiss had been so short…and disappointing. The pledge in his gaze had led her to expect so much more. She frowned. Their first kiss was like melding lips with someone on stage, acting a part.
He dropped his arms and moved back.
Megan handed her the wedding bouquet.
Guests surged forward, surrounded them, and poured out congratulations.
She swallowed. So, in obedience to Papa, she had made vows to a complete stranger...vows that could not be broken. Though the cold kiss dropped a mantle of heaviness over her heart, she shook off the shroud, smiled, and lifted her chin. She’d done her duty. Now the family was safe. She had her whole life to discover what manner of man she’d wed, and her whole life to make him happy. She firmed her wobbly smile. And come sickness or death, she would make him happy.
Nearby, musicians, seated next to the newly constructed dance floor, struck up the music for the traditional four-reel.
The Duke took her hand, his groomsman took Megan’s, and the four of them stepped up onto the dance platform.
She draped her silky train over one arm and lifted her heavy skirts. As her new husband led her through the lively dance, his hand felt strong holding hers, and firm and sheltering on the small of her back. She smiled into his dusky eyes. He smelled of manhood, expensive scent, and new clothes. Her heart flip-flopped. Perhaps he’d been nervous and the impersonal kiss had no meaning. Heat warmed her cheeks. Tonight he would kiss her in a quite different manner.
Too soon the dance ended.
Other guests stepped up onto the wooden platform. The musicians slowed the tempo and glided into a Mozart minuet. The wooden floor filled, vibrating under the thud of many feet, and couples overflowed to the grassy glen.
Her husband bowed and left to claim Mums for the Parents Dance.
Carried along by well-wishers, she lifted her skirts and stepped down onto the grass.
Megan slipped to her side. “Now, while all the guests are busy, I won’t be missed. I must make my bid for freedom and escape.” Her sister’s whisper tickled Cailin’s ear.
“I have a few minutes while no one is expecting anything of me.” Cailin edged away from the swirling dancers. “The guests will think I left to attend to my personal matters. I’ll see you off.” She lifted her skirts and glided through the garden after her sister. They hastened around the garden maze, through the purpling heather thinly spread over the spongy peat moss, past the herb garden, and sprinted toward the carriage house.
Four horses harnessed to Papa’s carriage pawed the gravel path.
When they appeared, Molly, Megan’s maid, stopped frowning. Her booted foot quit tapping. A grin brightened her homely face. She handed Megan a white, folded gown, gathered high her ankle-length woolen skirts, hopped up into the carriage, and took up the multiple reins.
Cailin pulled Megan into a hug. “Do be careful.”
Megan nodded. Green eyes sparkling, her wedding gown draped in her arms, she climbed the step, and settled inside the open carriage.
Molly gave a chirrup and slapped the reins, and the vehicle lunged forward spewing gravel and dust.
Cailin watched, hugging her arms, pebbles pricking the soles of her thin slippers, until Papa’s carriage clattered down the drive, and turned into the road leading to
Oh, God, I pray Megan’s doing the right thing.
She pressed her lips together. Despite her own wedding excitement, she must keep her sister’s secret, or Papa would send an army of servants galloping after Megan and stop her.
Cailin turned and hurried back, her high-heeled slippers sometimes sinking into the grass. She held her veil in place, draped her cumbersome train over one arm, and rushed through the violet shades of descending dusk on a line to the candle-bright castle. She drew a deep breath as a stiffening breeze blew in scents of moor and wood.
People would gather soon inside the ballroom and expect to see her.
She panted so, she could scarce hear the crickets chirping as she rushed over the rough ground and onto the stone walkway leading to the front door and the entrance hall.
She hadn’t soiled her wedding dress, but she brushed a clinging straw from her skirt and straightened her satin-clad shoulders. Already she missed Megan. All her life she’d counted upon her sister to hold her hand before she entered her bridal chamber. She’d expected Megan to help shoo away the butterflies that swooped through her stomach no matter how often she tried to talk them away. She’d scarcely been around men, and the Duke was a stranger. She frowned. And his kiss had held so little promise.
Another terrifying thought swirled through her brain like a ghost. Since Papa had betrothed Megan to a cruel man, what type of man had he selected for her? Were safety and titles and lands more important to Papa than both his daughters’ happiness?
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com. My facebook page is www.facebook.com/AnneWGreeneAuthor . My Anne Greene Fiction Writing Class is http://www/anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com. On twitter my handle is @TheAnneGreene. Do come and visit with me.
Thank you, Anne, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Marriage by Arrangement - paperback
Marriage by Arrangement - Kindle
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