BEST WRITING TIP:
Finish writing the book. It sounds simple, but it’s not. There are so many things that can trip you up. And only by writing can you put to use all the craft things you’ve learned and find your writing voice.
The other thing that sort of goes along with that is that you shouldn’t be afraid of being unique. Yes, there are many conformities that you must adhere to, but having a unique story to tell and a voice that captivates will get you noticed and on your way to success.
SWEET DREAMS BOOK BLURB:
Dusty Fairchild and Paisley Finch are close-knit cousins but opposite in every way. Blonde and top in her class, Dusty has lived a sheltered life, raised on a Texas ranch by her widowed, oilman father. She’s never lacked for material possessions but yearns for a life of adventure and studying geology in college. Instead, her daddy sends her to finishing school in East Texas.
Paisley, has grown up traveling the country with her bohemian mother, and is wise to the ways of the world. Dark haired and clever, she’s grateful to her uncle for letting her join Paisley at Miss Fontaine’s. She’s weary of the “grasshopper” lifestyle of her mother and ready to live a settled life.
At Miss Fontaine's, their loyalty to each other binds them, but when they fall in love with the same handsome young man, their relationship teeters on shaky ground. Only after a tragic accident do they learn where their true hearts-and dreams-lie.
SWEET DREAMS EXCERPT:
Two Forks, Texas ~ 1947
She found the stones the day they buried her mama. Three of them catching the sunlight, twinkling beyond the grave site. Her daddy clamped her small hand in his beefy, calloused one while she busied herself with sniffing the air, the smell of fresh earth tickling and sweet, mixed with the heavy perfume of roses. She itched to break free, to muster her way through the skirts that swished this way and that, to run past the stiff black britches of the men who stood like wooden soldiers at the ends of the box they said held her mama.
She craned her neck, keeping watch on the shiny stones. They winked back from their nesting place along the fence row.
When her daddy’s hand went slack, she dashed for it and dropped to her knees on the grass, the scent of sage sharp from the field next to the graveyard. With plump fingers, she reached shyly and touched the stones. They were warm like the summer sun, one of them full of sparkle with rough edges that bit into her fingers, another smooth, the size and shape of a pecan, black on the top and bottom with a ribbon of white through the middle. And the last one, dull brown and rough to her fingertips but flecked with a million black dots. When curled in her palm, it had a perfect indentation to rest her thumb.
She jerked her head around, then smiled. Her cousin, Paisley, stood with her hands planted firmly on her narrow waist, the taffeta of her dress noisy.
“Nothing.” The spiny stone, the prettiest one, bit into the palm of her balled fist.
“Yes, you do. Show me.”
One by one, she uncurled her fingers. “Here, you can have it.”
“Really? Oh, look, it’s covered with diamonds.”
They plopped their bottoms on the grass and had just gotten settled when a shadow crept over them. Aunt Edith reached down and snatched Paisley up by the arm. “Come on. You’re getting your dress dirty. It’s time to go. Tell Dusty goodbye now.”
When Paisley offered the stone in her open hand, Dusty shook her head. “You can have it and bring it tomorrow when we play.”
Aunt Edith had already started toward the iron gate, pulling Paisley with her. Just one quick wave, and they were gone.
Paisley didn’t come over the next day. Or the day after. Dusty’s daddy said it was good riddance, and the way he spit the words out, she knew Paisley was gone for good. She squeezed her eyes to shut out the tears. Daddy didn’t like crying. No tears for her mama. None for her cousin. All she had left was two stones—one with a skunk stripe, the other dull brown. She carried them everywhere in her pocket, the lumps as familiar as the dimple in her chin and the blue of her eyes when she stood on the bathroom sink and looked in the mirror.
She knew as sure as her name was Dusty Agnes Fairchild that the earth that swallowed her mama had given the stones in exchange. There was no other explanation. Later, when she told her daddy about them, he said she was mistaken about when she got them, that no three-year-old child could remember such a thing. He said there were a dozen places on the ranch she could’ve picked them up, and that her imagination would get her in a heap of trouble.
She left him to his opinions and didn’t mention that she also knew someday Paisley would return. She didn’t know how or when, but the feeling never left her, like a tiny suitcase packed by the door, waiting for the day when the door would burst open and life would return to normal.
Thanks so much for having me at WRITER’S ALLEY! May this be the summer you pursue your dreams with fervor!
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