It gives me great pleasure to host today’s Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author, Nancy M Bell!!!
Take it away, Nancy! 🙂 …
Here’s an excerpt from Go Gently: (If it’s too long, just cut it off wherever you think best)
“Dad!” Laurel stamped her foot. “Why can’t I go?”
“Don’t you stamp your foot at me, young lady,” Colt Rowan spoke evenly.
“You’re being so unfair. I have the money to pay for plane fare.” Laurel tried to lower her voice.
“It’s not about being fair, Laurel.”
“Then what is it about?” she demanded.
“Watch your tone of voice,” her dad warned.
“Fine.” She twirled a piece of hair around her finger and clenched her teeth.
“Laurel, honey. Try to see your dad’s point of view.” Anna Rowan tried to make peace with her warring family.
“I don’t understand his point of view. What’s so wrong about wanting to go and visit Ash, and Gort, and Coll?”
“I don’t like you hanging around boys I’ve never met. Why can’t you give Chance a break?” Colton argued.
“What’s Chance got to do with me going to Cornwall?” Laurel rounded on her dad.
“Nothing, other than he’s good kid and he worships the ground you walk on.”
“Dad! He’s like my brother. You’re imagining things.” She let herself be distracted for a moment.
“Colt, don’t push the boy on her,” Anna warned her husband.
“There’s nothing wrong with the boy. His parent’s land abuts ours, it’s going to be his one day. It only seems natural that the two of them should get together,” he continued.
“Hey, I’m still here. Quit talking like I’m not in the room,” Laurel broke in.
“You’re right, sweetie. Sorry,” her mom said.
“Aisling asked me to stay with her, at her house. It’s not like I’m going to be staying at Emily’s in the same house as Coll,” she argued.
“I don’t like it,” Colton growled.
“It’s Christmas, Laurel. Don’t you want to be home for Christmas?” Her dad tried a different tack.
“What if I went now and came home just before Christmas? I could fly on Christmas Eve, or the twenty-third,” she suggested.
“That might work, Colton,” Anna said. “There’s no harm in her wanting to see her friends.”
“Who’s going to make sure she doesn’t get into trouble? We don’t even know this girl’s parents. That Sarah, or Sarie, or whatever her name is, I don’t trust her one bit. She was in cahoots with my mother all that time ago,” Colton warmed to his subject.
“You could call and talk to Ash’s parents,” Laurel attempted to sidetrack her father before he really got wound up.
“We could call them,” Anna said.
“Whose side are you on? Are you saying you think her going is a good idea?” Colton demanded.
“I remember what it was like being her age and liking a boy my parent’s didn’t approve of.” She lifted an eyebrow and smiled gently. Her husband had the grace to blush.
“That was different,” he muttered.
“How is it different?” Laurel demanded. “If you like Chance so much, you hook up with him!” She turned on her heel and stormed out of the room. She let the porch door slam behind her and jumped down the step. She slapped the hat she’d grabbed on the way on onto her head and crossed the yard to the barn. Even though it was November, the day was fairly warm.
She stopped at the corral fence and leaned on the top rail. Laurel whistled shrilly and waited for the small herd grazing in the pasture to come to her call. Sam threw his head up and whinnied. Wheeling on his haunches, he cantered through the open corral gate toward the fence where she stood. The buckskin gelding came to a snorting halt in front of her. Laurel reached for the halter lead shank draped over the rail and climbed over the corral fence. She fished a treat out of her jacket pocket and slipped the halter over his head. Tossing the shank over the gelding’s neck, she tied the free end to the nose band of the halter.
Grasping at handful of mane, she vaulted lightly to his back. Touching him with her heel, she turned him from the fence and trotted down to the gate. Kneeing him closer, she asked Sam to side-pass against the barrier. Leaning over, she unhooked the gate and pushed it open. Keeping her hand on it she rode through, pivoting as his rump cleared the opening. Sam side-passed neatly to help her close it. Laurel pointed the horse’s nose across the rolling prairie toward the Old Man River.
A herd of cattle grazed in the distance, she gave them wide berth, and they in turn ignored the horse and rider. The sun was warm though the wind had a bite to it. Laurel pulled the hat lower on her head and raised the collar of her jacket up around her ears. She was glad of the warmth of the gelding beneath her. She squinted at the position of the sun. It was low on the horizon and she reckoned she had an hour of sunlight left. Plenty of time to ride to the river bluffs and back. The gelding was content to amble along, picking his own way across the short grass prairie. She skirted the arrangement of large rocks laid out in a rough circle. The place had an oddly peaceful feeling to it. Often in the summer she’d ride out and leave Sam to graze while she walked among the stones, wondering how long they’d been there and what they represented.
Mom said people of the Blackfoot Nation created the circle a long time ago. She didn’t know how long exactly or what it had been used for, but she taught Laurel to always treat it with respect and never move any of the rocks. As she passed it, Laurel dropped a bit of cornbread she kept in her pocket for Sam. It always felt right to leave some sort of offering when she came there. A little further on was a figure of a man and a giant turtle laid out on the prairie in rocks covered with rusty coloured lichen. Laurel smiled and halted Sam so she could savour the sight. It always amused her and she wondered if the figure of the man was leading the turtle, or if the turtle was chasing the man. She always thought of the stone figure as the native trickster Na’pe, Old Man, in English. That’s who the Old Man River was named after, she imagined.
Shaking her head, she nudged Sam forward. She set him into a rocking lope and laughed as the wind whipped across the plains from the west. Before long she reached the clay coloured bluff overlooking the winding river far below. There were other places where trails led down into the river valley, but there was no time for that today. She let Sam drop his head and pull at the tough gamma grass. She braced her hands on his withers and watched the shadows change as the sun dropped lower. The wind whipped the grass so it rippled like the waves on the sea. Her thoughts turned back to Gramma Bella and Cornwall. Why can’t Dad see I need to follow Gramma Bella to England? And what’s with Dad going on about Chance and me like he expects us to get married some day? As if!
Laurel Rowan is determined to find her estranged grandmother. She wants answers to some questions that arose after her visit to Cornwall. Laurel needs to know why her father is angry with Gramma Bella. Arriving in the hamlet of Bragg Creek, Alberta, Laurel is disappointed to find Gramma Bella has gone to England. A Christmas visit to her friends in Cornwall seems like a good idea, after all that’s where all the questions started. What she finds there is both exciting and disturbing. Laurel and her friends embark on another adventure over the windswept moors and down the narrow winding streets of Cornish villages. The biggest question is: Where is Gramma Bella and what does Vear Du know about it?
Books We Love – http://bookswelove.net/authors/bell-nancy/
Nancy M Bell is a proud Canadian and lives near Balzac, Alberta with her husband and various critters. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Guild of Alberta. Nancy had numerous writing credits to her name and her work has been recognized and honored with various awards. Nancy has presented at the Surrey International Writers Conference and the Writers Guild of Alberta Conference. Her publishing credits include poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
Twitter – @emilypikkasso
Facebook – http://facebook.com/NancyMBell
Website – http://www.nancymbell.ca
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