Author Jude Knight takes over the blog today with her new release, Forged in Fire, part of the Bluestocking Belle’s 2017 collection of stories.
Made-to-order stories and box sets
I love telling stories. I always have. My mother used to claim that I entertained my dolls with stories in my cot, and certainly in my nursery school days I used to run playground-wide stories involving classmates as pirates, knights, dragons and whatever else our fertile imaginations could invent.
Many years ago, made-to-order stories kept my children entertained on car journeys. Each child would choose one item, person, or story trope. Or two, if it was a particularly long journey. And I’d invent a tale that included them all.
I carried this concept into my author career. For the past three years, I’ve been giving away made-to-order stories as party prizes, with winners giving me a couple of items or people, and a trope. Two wolves, an angry duke, and the virgin widow trope became The Heart of a Wolf. A blind duke, a violin, and a wicked sister became The Prisoners of Wyvern Castle.
The Belles’s Made to Order
Several of my friends have also given away made-to-order stories, so when the Bluestocking Belles were thinking about our 2017 box set and someone suggested a contest to decide the theme, the made-to-order story concept gave us a framework for the contest.
And so, early in the year, we found ourselves with four winners, each giving us an element for our stories.
- A heroine in her 30s, who is young at heart. She has brown hair and hazel eyes, and is plain (but pretty on the inside where it counts), and always overlooked because she isn’t flashy.
- A very wise old man.
- Our hero’s most prized possession, his grandmother’s bible, which she gave him on the occasion of his 18th birthday.
- A compromising situation that isn’t what it means.
As we’d predicted from the first, eight storytellers created eight very different tales with those elements, and the result is the box set Never Too Late.
Forged in Fire
My offering is Forged in Fire, set in 1886 in New Zealand.
Burned in their youth, neither Tad nor Lottie expect to feel the fires of love. The years have soothed the pain, and each has built a comfortable, if not fully satisfying, life, on paths that intersect and then diverge again.
But then the inferno of a volcanic eruption sears away the lies of the past and frees them to forge a future together.
Forged in Fire excerpt
She began to follow his instructions to work out due South, but they both fell silent when an explosion attracted their attention to a large inky black cloud that welled up above the mountain beyond the ridge between them and the lake, lit by constant flashes of lighting. Lottie sat up and edged closer to Mr. Berry.
“It’s Tarawera,” he said, leaning in close and shouting to be heard. “It has erupted.”
The shakes continued, as they watched the mountain in awe.
Several men started up the hill from the hotel. Lottie was relieved they followed a path further along than the one she and Mr. Berry had taken.
Mr. Berry watched them until they went out of sight around a curve in the path. “They’ll be going to the old mission station. They’ll get a good view from there.”
A sudden explosive roar, louder than she had ever heard, brought her surging to her knees. A great curtain of fire rose heavenward from three points along the mountain. Another earthquake shook the ground, and Lottie clutched Mr. Berry’s hand as the billowing cloud began to shoot fireballs like rockets, showering down on the lake and the mountain side.
The explosions continued, battering their ears for several minutes at a time, dying to distant rumbles for a long moment, then returning to full force as the earthquakes kept coming.
The cloud, now thousands of yards high, began to spread out from the column of fire, rapidly approaching across the sky towards Te Wairoa.
“We need to take cover,” Mr. Berry said. He grabbed her hand, and she followed where he led, stumbling over snags on the bush floor and pushing between ferns. A sudden vicious wind snarled into them, and stones and great dollops of mud began to fall, battering at the arms they held up to protect their heads.
Then, suddenly, they were in a dark space, and just in time, as the deluge thickened, drumming onto whatever protected them from above. When Mr. Berry wrapped his arms around her, Lottie did not object but leant into his comfort.
“It’s an abandoned house,” Mr. Berry said into her ear so he didn’t have to shout to be heard over the racket of the deluge of airborne missiles. “It’s still solid. I hope it’s strong enough to keep us safe.”
As the barrage continued, so did the same pattern of explosions and shakes: periods of sound and fury followed by brief lulls in which they could speak, raising their voices to be heard over the noise of the downfall.
“I beg your pardon, Miss Thompson. I am taking liberties.” Mr. Berry was apologising, but not, Lottie noted, letting go.
“I appreciate the comfort of being held, Mr. Berry. Do you not think you should call me Lottie, since you are taking liberties?”
She could hear the smile in his voice when he replied. “Lottie, then. For Charlotte? And I am Tad.”
Lottie shook her head. “For Otillie. At school, they used to call me Tillie, and I hated it. Is Tad short for Thaddeus?”
Never Too Late
Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.
Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.
It’s Never Too Late to find love.
25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.
The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing
True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack
A solitary widow, a landless knight, and a crumbling castle.
A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale
An earl and his housekeeper face their feelings for one another in the midst of the English Civil War.
The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter
One night to risk it all in the midst of the French Revolution.
The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story by Amy Quinton
The Umbrella Strikes Again: St. Vincent’s downfall (aka betrothal) is assured.
A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis
A harmonious duo is better than two lonely solos for a violinist and a lady gardener.
Forged in Fire by Jude Knight
Forged in volcanic fire, their love will create them anew.
Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield
In the darkness of war, hope flickers. In the gardens of Picardy, love catches fire.
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2y53vyf
About Jude Knight
Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything. She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.
- Website: http://judeknightauthor.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudeKnightAuthor/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudeKnightBooks
- Newsletter: http://judeknightauthor.com/newsletter/
- Pinterest: https://nz.pinterest.com/jknight1033/
I just returned from the InD’Scribe Conference in Burbank, CA, where I got to see two of the Bluestocking Belles in person. I’m sharing a picture here of the lovely Caroline Warfield and Sherry Ewing at the opening night gala.
This photo is courtesy of Author Jenna Barwin.
Jude and the rest of you Belles–you were missed!