There are days when technology maddens me, and there are days when, like today, I figure something out and it makes me happy. As they used to say on The X-Files, “I made this!” using video and images I shot in Venice last week.
Back in April of this year, across a restaurant table, Bella Andre leaned in and shared with our business creativity group that her Four Weddings and a Fiasco series (which she writes as Lucy Kevin) would be getting its own Kindle World. And since sweet romance is one of the things I write, she asked me if I’d like to contribute a novella. Would I..! However, if I was to make my production schedule, between April and September stood a Magnificent Devices book and a Healing Grace book. A busy summer ensued, and when those were completed, I got busy dreaming of what might happen when … somebody gave away a wedding.
The result was a novella of 30,000 words, Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Scandal, out today and exclusive to Amazon!
A giveaway wedding … a runaway bride …
Three days before their wedding at the Rose Chalet, actor Drake Devlin tells veterinary technician Lynette Brunelli that he’s given away ceremony, flowers, catering—the whole wedding—to a needy couple as a publicity stunt for the Dare To Wish Foundation. Which would have been fine if his next sentence hadn’t ended their engagement! So Lynette boards a plane to Venice, determined to take her honeymoon alone.
Best man Grant Hiller is bound for Venice on the same flight for a photography assignment, appalled that his friend has treated this beautiful woman in such a shocking way. When she finds out he has nowhere to stay and invites him to share the gorgeous palazzo on the Grand Canal, he can’t resist the chance to get to know Lynette better. But it’s only after he helps her treat an injured bird that he realizes just how special she is … and how much he wants her in his life.
But scandal has followed them all the way to Italy and back to San Francisco. Will her past with Drake come between them forever? Or will there be a wedding at the Rose Chalet after all?
A little while ago, I asked your opinions on which cover model would work best to represent Alice Chalmers on the cover of A Lady of Integrity. Your votes seemed heavily weighted in favor of the rather windswept blonde who didn’t seem quite comfortable in clothes that weren’t work pants and a flight jacket.
I’m delighted to say that, with the help of pixel wizard Claudia at Phat Puppy Art, and cover designer Kalen O’Donnell, who is responsible for the distinctive look of the series—along with you folks who gave me your thoughts—A Lady of Integrity‘s cover is ready to make its bows!
Look for the novel’s release toward the end of this year. I’m off shortly to do some onsite research in one or two of its locations (Venice!) and will begin writing as soon as I get back. After all, I have to figure out how to get our Jake out of that underwater prison.
For the most part, a writer’s life is spent in solitude at the keyboard, at the desk, with a pad and pen (or in my case, out in the garden with the chickens, typing madly on my trusty Alphasmart Neo). But of necessity, we have to come out of our private spaces into the public eye and talk about our books. Most of the time we can hang out on Facebook or on our blogs, but once in a while events dictate that we get dressed up (what? no yoga pants and T-shirt?) and go public.
Yesterday was one such event: the first-ever Los Gatos Library Literary Fair. Thirty authors on the lawn at city hall, talking about our books and meeting readers. And I got to meet Laurie R. King (the dignified one without the balloons)! :: insert fangirl squee! :: For more pictures, see book enabler Lloyd Russell’s blog, The Book Sage.
This morning, I had the absolute pleasure of recording a podcast for Realm of Books, a science fiction producer, with Fiona Hardingham, who as you know, performs the audiobooks for the Magnificent Devices series. It was so much fun! Who snacks on a green apple before she works? Who was so shy as a child she hid behind the couch and read books instead of talking to people? And who scripted and acted out plays for siblings and neighborhood kids? (Hint: both of us.) The podcast will be up in a couple of weeks and both Fiona and I hope you’ll listen in and enjoy.
Finally, I’m off into the wide world next month. I’ll be going to Italy to speak at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, along with my writing friends Bella Andre, Tina Folsom, Sharon Hamilton, Linda McGinnis, and Nancy Warren. I don’t think Italy is ready for this! After the conference, we’ll travel north through Siena and Florence, to wind up in Venice, where I’ll be photographing, painting, and doing research for A Lady of Integrity. Jake is in prison there, you know, for running guns, and Alice and the Lady have to figure out how to get him out!
Some of you probably know that I write under two different names–Shelley Adina for the steampunk, of course, and Adina Senft for women’s fiction set in Amish country, with Amish characters. Some of you may also know that I grew up “plain,” so while I wasn’t Amish, writing about them isn’t the stretch it might be otherwise.
On August 5, my fourth Amish novel comes out, so I wanted to tell you about it in case it might interest you! These are quiet, gentle stories in which nothing blows up and everything takes place in about two square miles of Pennsylvania countryside. Jane Austen once famously said that her books were a two-inch bit of ivory on which she “paints with so fine a brush.” I’m no Austen, but writing these books feels a little like that.
For lots more information about these books, visit my other self’s website.
Amish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm—under protest—and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he’s come to know.
Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family—the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.
“Senft is a talented author and her research on various herbs is a welcome surprise to readers. The story incorporates facts about herbs, what each of them can be used for and what will happen if used incorrectly. This sweet romance has a believable storyline with a lot of heart.”
—4-star review from RT Book Reviews magazine
Behind the book
Medicinal herbs have been part of the human experience for thousands of years, as evidenced by the multitude of folk names some of them have collected. When I was researching the Healing Grace novels, I realized that people often summed up some spiritual property in certain herbs through the names they gave them, and the idea for this series was born.
In each novel, the folk name reflects a healing property in the herb itself. But going a little further, God can effect a similar healing process in the spirit. So, in Book 1, “herb of grace” is the folk name for rue, a bitter and astringent herb used in small quantities for ailments of the digestive system. And as we know, rue is also a verb meaning to be sorry for something one has done in the past … but there is a world of difference between ruing one’s mistake and coming to that place of repentance where God’s grace can begin its healing work …
Since Audible.com put Lady of Devices on sale back in the spring, many, many listeners have been introduced to the Magnificent Devices world. They’ve raced through books two and three, and I’ve had lots of reader mail asking for book four.
Fiona Hardingham and I are just going into production on the audiobook for Brilliant Devices, and we hope to have it completed by summer’s end. Thanks so much for your messages—it’s really encouraging to both of us that the audiobooks are being so well received!
Load up those e-readers for summer at the Digital Book Day website, which is offering hundreds of FREE e-books, just for fun! Lady of Devices is among them, so if you know someone who enjoys steampunk and hasn’t yet met the Lady, this would be a good opportunity to make an introduction!