Can I Keep Up? And Chapter 40 of The Voice In The Forest


Hi everybody! 

I… I am that proverbial chicken without its head.

Yep.Hi. *chagrined wave*

Have you ever wanted to do it all? Have you ever TRIED to do it all? Who told us this was the way to be? I need to have words with them.

So, I am addicted to spreading myself thin. This isn’t a surprise. Not to me. Not to you. Not to anyone who has ever known me for more than five minutes.

But boy howdy did I do a number on myself this time.

However! That means there is a lot of good stuff coming.

That also means there is so much coming this summer I am more than a little gobsmacked at how to get it all to you in a way that won’t be like a firehose of my particular brand of wild ride.I guess all I can say is, buckle in, I drive like a bat out of hell anyway and I always get to my destination. We’ll just call this the summer of my style of driving and hope for the best.

First things first: BOOK 4 is almost here!

Okay, I’ll stop shouting. But book 4, After Midnight Strikes, is soooo close now. The first arc readers are even starting to post their reviews and I am super excited.

Quick reminder on that front, Heart of Cinders, the first book in the series is on sale for $.99 right now and the preorder of After Midnight Strikes is also only $.99. For the month of May I am donating all the proceeds from the sale of books 1 and 2 to Read For Our Rights as well. So this is the perfect time to get caught up on this series and read it during the summer before book 5 comes out this fall.

Here is one link and all other links are on the website.

Can I Keep Up?

Me and my small army of planners and notebooks are trying!

While I figure this side out, let me explain.

Yes, there is a new book coming in the Cinders in Midnight Glass series at the end of this month. I am super excited about this book and I hope you love it as much as I do.

Also yes, book 5 in that series will come out in September which means there is all the last minute work happening on that book. And because this is the penultimate book in the series it is… a lot, and trying to weave everything together in a satisfying way without dropping any of the threads will never not be a challenge.

More yes, there is a new book coming in the Grimm Star story universe this summer so again, lots of work.

Even more yes, this is also true of the Comfort Food Romance series.

But wait, there’s more yes! Crossroad Inn is coming in book form. This one is all on me because of the nature of Vella and publishing and is proving to be more work than I expected to reformat it and do it right. It also will include at least some new content.

In addition to all of this, I have decided to pull a book out from the archives.

You see, I have a book that I wrote before the panini that I think needs to be out there.

From The Archives

So, this book I wrote so long ago… I feel I need to explain why right now feels like it needs to be out there and get read.

This book will be under the J. D. Everly pen name that handles contemporary titles including YA and horror/thrillers. It is Young Adult contemporary not a horror or thriller. I have those books in the archives too, but it isn’t yet their time.

Because of this, it is not steamy like Cinder’s books, but it does deal with a topic that is directly in front of us right now in a way that many didn’t feel it was previously.Cultivating Marigold is the title of the book and I will have a blurb out to you soon, but this book is about a teen girl who gets pregnant and the choice she makes.

Of course, there is a lot more that happens in the course of the book, but because of recent events I have rewritten the book to reflect the current realities and will be releasing this year regardless of whether I need to do it completely on my own or not.

None of this was in the plan. None of this was foreseeable to even begin to plan for.

But sometimes plans change.

And sometimes that is more than okay.

There will be more news on this front coming, including that I would like to open this book when it is ready to be a free download for all of you here on the newsletter in exchange for a review. It will also have a free prequel short story that I will give to all of you before the book is available.So far, this is what I know about this project. I will keep you updated as it comes closer to being released.

Now, let’s get on with the chapter for our little hot mess rough draft story.

The Voice In The Forest

Chapter 40

The flurry of activity grew by the second as people, including Henry, ran back and forth across the yard from the house to the woods.

I wanted to see the casket. But it was more than that. I needed to see it.That driving urge built within me as I held Montgomery’s still shaking hands.

He couldn’t go in there again.

Not today. Not right now.But I needed to. And how I would manage that in my current state, I didn’t know.

Looking his way, his eyes tried to stay fixed away from the woods but kept drifting back that direction. Every time they did, his entire body went rigid or shuddered and his face blanched.

“Montgomery,” I whispered, running my fingers along the back of his hand.

“Ara.” His voice was thin and almost as insubstantial as his he was to everyone else.

“I need to speak to my mother, but can you wait for me in my room? I’ll get Trenton to bring me up.” Please, I begged him in my mind, make this easier on yourself.

He swallowed and I could see the shake of his head start, but his eyes strayed to the woods again and a muscle in his jaw jumped before he slumped and nodded.Good.But before he left me to get himself away from whatever was happening here and causing him so mush distress, he helped me up on shaking legs and walked me around the corner of the house.

So many of members of the household were gathered near one of the sets of French doors on that side, I stopped in my tracks for a moment to take in exactly how many people we actually had in the house.

Most of the gathered were servants, and most of them I had never seen before.

Of course, I spent most of my time with the one member of the household that none of them knew existed.

Petra was at the back of the crowd with Jameson, the look on her face as if she smelled something bad.

After this, they had to finally leave. Caskets found unexpectedly on the property was not on the list of things I expected either of them to be able to deal with.

Not that I had any better idea why they were even here in the first place.

Trenton stood next to Mother, a hand playing with his collar while he stared, pursed lipped, into the woods.

She was whispering furiously to one of the servants, her hands flying and coming dangerously close to smacking the people around her.

No one seemed willing to raise their voice above a murmur, but as so many people muttered to each other, the air seemed thick with the unease floating in their words, weighing them down and making then creep along the ground to puddle at our feet. Henry made his trek back across the yard, a solemn figure with his face pointed at the grass and his arms folded loosely in front of him, it was impossible to get any real idea from the look on his face.

“Excuse me,” I said to one of the servants in front of me, who looked up at me and startled while I tried to smile, “Can you help me get to my mother?”

At their nod, I gave Montgomery a swift squeeze and took hold of the servant’s offered arm.

Whatever Henry had to say, I didn’t think Montgomery needed to be here for it.Not when being surrounded by my mother and everyone else meant I couldn’t offer him whatever support he would need.

I may not have understood why I thought he was sure to need me when he found out, but I wasn’t about to risk him being even more strongly affected by whatever was going on when I couldn’t help him just because I was stubborn.

He was gone between one blink and the next and I took a deep breath.My legs ached, every muscle in my body more than angry at me forcing them to do so much today. But it was my heart that hurt the worst.Seeing him hurt, no matter what caused it, made my heart pump sharp pain into my veins instead of blood.

Finally, we reached my mother just as Henry did, his eyes finding mine before he looked to my mother.

His gaze was inscrutable, a barrier drawn up across his eyes that didn’t allow me any additional information about the strange events of the day, but I thought I saw a glimpse of… fear.

Was he like so many people and afraid of caskets and the shadow of death that followed with them? If it turned out that what Montgomery thought was a casket was in fact that.

Part of me couldn’t believe that with known burial plots on the grounds anyone would put a casket in the lake, but I didn’t think Montgomery was a liar either.

There had to be some other kind of explanation.

What it was, I couldn’t guess.

But there had to be.

It was the only thing that made any sense.

Maybe it was a weird box to hold very valuable wine. Maybe it was someone’s trunk of personal items they wanted to keep anyone from ever finding. Maybe it was buried treasure, well… sunken.

None of my guesses made much sense either, but so many possibilities ran through my head in the seconds that ticked by while Henry stood stoic and still and all the hushed conversations around us fell away.

Everyone seemed to hold their breath, leaning in to hear what he would say.But he still didn’t speak.

And mother yelled, “Well? Spit it out. What’s going on?”

He took a deep breath and his eyes glanced to me again before returning to my mother.

“I told you not to touch the lake.”

She reared back like she was about to scream in his face, but he just kept talking.

“They found the casket of the lost heir.”

“Lost heir?” I whispered, trying to understand the unfamiliar phrase.

“After all this time,” Henry shook his head, “they found the remains of Montgomery Blackwell.”

I hope you are planning for a relaxing summer so I can live vicariously through you.

As always, Thanks for reading everybody!

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