Monday, August 1, 2011

Character Connections

Good Monday morning everyone! Today Sarah and I are discussing our favorite characters from each others short stories, which each benefits the victims of natural disasters. In case your new to our blog tour (welcome!), Sarah's short, Hawthorne benefits the victims of the Japan earthquake. My short story, To Urn Her Love benefits the victims of the Alabama tornado's. Please check out which characters Sarah connected with the most, and remember each comment you leave at her blog, mine or any other blog we visit along the way counts as an entry for fabulous prizes, including a $10 gift card to Amazon!

Character Connections:
Sarah Ballance

To Urn Her Love: Elaina's character Caylie had me from the first page. Really, is there anyone alive who can't relate to that feeling of everything going wrong? Or, in Caylie's case, everything actually going wrong? I'm an only child so I've not experienced sibling angst firsthand, but as a mother I totally feel the brunt of a day gone awry. And it just doesn't get any worse than when the so-called rock bottom hits in the form of a stolen urn … belonging to The One Who Got Away, no less. AK! Granted, I haven't been in those particular shoes, but in the land of "What next?" this one takes the cake. Elaina made Caylie so easy to relate to, I dug her from the beginning!

Hawthorne: As soon as the end scene of HAWTHORNE hit me, Noah had my heart. In fact, LOL, I think I formed some sort of guilt-inspired attachment to him. It might be hard to fully appreciate this unless you've read the story, but once I knew the manor's secrets I was absolutely driven to bring the tale to life through his character. I love him so much I've even—gulp—planned a sequel. The plot is an absolute continuation of HAWTHORNE—believe it or not, the truth is still buried deep in the belly of the mansion—but I am terrified I won't be able to re-create that connection for readers. That said, I sure hope Noah remains my favorite because there's a lot of potential for arch-nemesis territory here, LOL!

Total awesomeness Sarah, on all accounts! *grin* I am discussing this same topic over at Sarah's Blog, so be sure to go check out how I felt about characters from her short as well as mine!!!

~ About Hawthorne ~

Blurb - After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home. She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace. In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything. What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?

Excerpt -

The car slowed to a stop and a decade's worth of memories tumbled onto the sun-blanched asphalt.

Hawthorne Manor.

The hand-painted sign hadn't changed in years. In the thick, damp air filling the Louisiana landscape, the wood display remain inexplicably unaffected. There it sat—every meticulously scripted letter as crisp and clean as the stark white walls of the manor it lauded, oblivious to the passage of time.

Emma Hawthorne tensed in the seat of the Mustang convertible, staring at her past with ice sluicing her spine Anywhere else, the view would have been gorgeous. The drive, lined on both sides with live oak laden with Spanish moss, was the South personified. At the end, Hawthorne Manor held court. Pristine, proud, the boastful antebellum home beamed, lording over its acreage.

But it harbored the unspeakable. No amount of time could erase what happened to her on the other side of the expanse of green lawn. Nothing could change what she'd seen there. Some might say she was crazy—that she'd imagined or invented the whole ordeal—but her scars were all the proof she needed. Whether the shadows lurking behind the fa├žade of the picturesque plantation were real or born of an overactive imagination, there was no way she was going back into that house.

Especially not for a dead woman.

Sparing a glance in the rearview, Emma steeled herself against a trembling in her hands that threatened to overtake her body. She released a pent-up breath, her heart settling into a less acrobatic rhythm at the thought of leaving. She didn't have to stay here.

Let the South win this one. She was going home.

A split second after she decided to go, something caught her eye. She blinked, trying to see through the swaying canopy of leaves and moss, certain a figure stood atop the widow's walk straddling the roofline of the house. But no one—

Something brushed the car, rocking it. Swallowing panic, Emma tried to tear her focus from Hawthorne Manor, but fear kept her from looking anywhere else. Time and distance hadn't done her any favors; she was a fool for coming anywhere near this place, much less with the ragtop down.

The car rocked harder. The something refused to be ignored.

Fighting the grip of panic tightening her throat—fighting the ghosts of her past—Emma forced herself to look away from the house, toward the intrusion over her left shoulder.

The first thing she saw was an aged set of gnarled fingers resting on the door, blue automotive paint showing through an ugly translucence.

The second was the face—withered, centurion, and expressionless. Haunting.



Emma screamed.


It couldn't be her.

Noah Garrett tore down the drive, slapping through a muggy afternoon haze comprised of mosquitoes and humidity. He couldn't know that scream, but he felt the connection the moment the sound of her fear pierced the thick air.

Emma Grace.

The one reason he allowed himself to stagnate on the old plantation, long after life and reason moved on without him. Long after she had.

A blue Mustang sat at the end of the driveway. He wondered if it could be hers—even as he knew it impossible—but she was nowhere in sight.

He slowed to a trot. The sprint left him drenched with sweat and not entirely disappointed his imagination had gotten away from him. His dream of one more chance to see Emma Grace had never included himself as a dripping mess. He wiped the moisture from his brow, fast concluding the car must belong to a tourist. They often parked at the end of the drive and took pictures of the condescending mansion most thought beautiful. He assumed the intrusion seemed small to their frequent guests, but the constant ding of the hidden bell announcing a visitor could drive a man to the edge.

As if losing Emma Grace hadn't already accomplished that.

Noah closed in on the convertible, giving the nearby grounds a cursory look. The lawn was meticulous, the beds overflowing with sprays of purple garden phlox which trailed around the bend in the road and disappeared. A riot of white and rust-red irises backed the smaller purple flowers, their leaves deep green and glossy. Overhead, Spanish moss swayed only occasionally atop a maze of live oak, more likely a result of a passing swarm of insects than an actual air current. The land was still. If there were tourists snapping photos of the historic plantation—or doing anything else—he didn't see them. But someone had been there, the seemingly familiar scream so real.

Wasn't it always?

Resigned to another night alone with his memories, Noah pivoted.

And found himself nose to nose with Emma Grace.

Astounded, he opened his mouth, then closed it. He wanted to reach for her, but his arms refused the notion; they hung uselessly by his sides, the effort futile. His mouth wasn't much on cooperation, either. Finally, he found his tongue. "Em—"

Her expression cut him off. Green eyes wide, skin pale, her small frame shaking, she spoke. "I saw her, Noah. She's back." The words, nearly soundless, seemed to catch in the thick air. Lingering. Threatening.

And ripping the heart from his chest.

Want to know what happens next? Make your donation to find out! Astraea Press, Amazon

Already bought your copy of Hawthorne or To Urn Her Love? Please click HERE to fill out a simple form for your FREE Thank You gift. Sarah and I really want to show our appreciation for your support.

Thank you!!!!



  1. I probably have to agree...Caylie reminds me of myself, but RICK,oh, yeah...he's FINE!
    And I could not help but truly me moved by Emma Grace, although Noah got my heart as well.
    Loved the characters, Ladies!
    {I cannot stay logged in on Blogger}

  2. Rick was definitely a nice catch! LOL. And Rick and Caylie's HEA was so wonderfully written.

    As for my story, I just really, really hope I can carry everything beloved about Noah into book two. I'll be worried about that until those first reviews come in, and since I've yet to write beyond the first chapter I think I have a while to wait! LOL.

    Always great to see you, Tonette!

  3. Aww, thank you so much, Tonette!

    Everything about Sarah's story was capturing. I KNOW she'll do fine with Noah...

    That's a hint-hint there, Sarah... *grin*