Thursday, December 27, 2007

China Doll

For Once Jilted, I've been gaining inspiration from my own keepsakes. I would share with you now, a china doll. This special lady was given to me by my aunt and unfortunately, her origins are not known, but I suspect that it was my great grandmother's doll.China Doll circa 1870

I've found some that are similar dated between 1860 and 1890. They make reference to having been made in Germany which would make sense as my great grandparents came from Switzerland. Her little hands and the dress are replacements, but the head is the original my great grandmother owned as a child.

As I said, all these wonderful items I've been sharing have given me inspiration for scenes, and while I've not yet written this doll into a scene, I suspect the small orphan in my book will wind up the proud owner of a china doll. The gift will be something special, to be treasured always.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Finally got here!

I think Saturday actually is my day to post, but this is the first time I've ever been able to get here. Google has consistently kept telling me I didn't exist and that my email address didn't exist either. Sigh. So where am I in my story? I haven't begun it yet except for the prologue, though my heroine keeps telling me she wants to get off that train and begin her journey into the unknown. Like all of the heroines of the Orphan Train Series, she's had a difficult life so far and hopes against hope for something better. But her struggle to be accepted has many false paths before she finds the right one. My book is called The Outcast and will be the caboose at the end of the train. My heroine Jehenna is not actually an orphan, since she has a father--who apparently has rejected her. Nor will she find a loving home right away.
I'll post more next Saturday--providing Google decides I'm real. For now, I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Jane Toombs

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm past my 60,000 mark

Whoop! Okay, so I may be the only one excited about reaching 60,000 words, but that was my target goal for word count and I feared when I started that I wouldn't be able to make it. I usually write longer stories. However, I think when it's all said and done, Once Jilted will end up being almost 70,000 words and that pleases me immensely. At present I have one chapter left to write and an epilogue and I'm done. Whoo hoo, it will be a party then.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Once a Rebel, Excerpt #3

Won't be long now!!! Here's another excerpt from 'Rebel'...

“Going somewhere?” the predator purred in a tone that could melt an entire barrel full of butter.

“What?” She couldn’t think around the bulk of throbbing masculinity.

“You wouldn’t be thinking of running out on me now, would you?” His voice was low and heavy laden with lusty promises.

“Running out, on you? Why on earth would you think that?”

Powerful arms crossed over his chest as he leaned against the wall. “Hmm, let me see. Could have something to do with the way you were sneaking into the livery with a bag the size of New York City slung over your shoulder.”

“I was not sneaking into the livery, Mr. Hassett.”

“Oh? My apologies.” He bent toward her briefly. “I’d love to hear why you were crawling beneath the fence.”

He was enjoying this, the beastly man! She could see it in the beguiling twinkle in his eyes, the superior stance, the amusing grin spreading his sinfully handsome face. No one had the right to look that good. Especially someone with such malicious intent. Nostrils flaring, Galen turned her back to him and folded her arms atop the fence, gazing out over the field. “I was just coming to check on Oscar.”

“Oscar?” he scoffed, joining her at the fence.

“My--your horse.”

He erupted in laughter. The masculine pitch made her want to hit him and kiss him at the same time. “Oscar?” More bouts of broken chuckles. “You named my horse Oscar?”

She hoped her face wasn’t as red as it felt. “Well, I had to call him something. What would you have me name him--horse?” That comment only served to heighten his pleasure.

“Please, by all means, don’t let me interrupt your errand. Let’s go and see about Oscar.” Still snickering, he extended his arm in invitation. “But this time, let’s use the gate. Quite a marvelous invention. Far less stressful on the knees and back.” He winked.

Once A Rebel, by Angela Ashton coming January 2008

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stereopticon or stereograph?

stereopticonMy mother calls it a stereopticon, but most of the information I found on the net calls it a stereograph or stereoscope. Me? I call it ingenius. I used to love playing with the apparatus when I was younger. My mother's is vintage 1906, but I found reference to the first one and it was developed in 1838 or 1833 (I found two conflicting pieces of information so I'm not real sure.)

Look at these stereopticons. I included a scene in Once Jilted whereby Shauna, my heroine, is intrigued by an object owned by Kane, the hero. Enjoy an unedited snippet:

Her eyebrows rose over wide eyes. “You want me to stay in your tent?”


“Will you be moving your things soon?” She stood, wiping her wet hands on her apron.

“Nay.” He quirked a brow and lifted the corner of his mouth in a smirk. “Nay, I’ll just come get things as I need them. Otherwise, you’re to be making yourself at home.”

“But where will you sleep?”

“Beneath the heavens.” He smiled. “I’ve always enjoyed sleeping outside with nothing more than a blanket of stars.”

“I think I’ll feel like an intruder.”

“Well now, I’m noot given you permission to snoop in me personal belongings,
mind you.”

A becoming blush stole over her features, and she quickly masked her pink features by stepping behind the drying clothes to hang more wet things on the line. Had the lass already done just that? Snoop through his things?

“Of course not, but there are some items that are in clear view.”


She smiled. “I couldn’t help but admire the picture viewer.”

“Ah. That’s a stereopticon, a present from me last employer.” A fond memory entered his thoughts as he reminisced about the bridge they’d built in Missouri.

“Are – are there more pictures for it?”

The eagerness on her face was so adorable, he laughed. “I’ll fish them out for you.”

“Thank you.”

“Well, I haven’t found them yet, lass.” He stared at the puddles made by her wash water then at her soggy hem.

Here's a photo I took of one of the photos in my mother's collection. Somehow the double image adds to the 3D effect when viewed through the stereopticon. I thought of this particular image when drafting another scene where this object came into play. This image is of a young girl playing house.stereopticon photo

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cover Art for Once A Rebel!

Had to share the cover art for Once A Rebel!

I love it!! Captures the essence of the novel.

Not much longer now... Can't wait to see the rest of the covers!

Once a Rebel, by Angela Ashton...coming January '08

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Abby’s human crystal ball

Can you imagine your path crossing with a person who knows things about you that only you know? I mean it’s one thing to seek out psychic counseling; it’s another to have it land in your lap. Talk about freaking out!

Well, this is what happens to Abby on her sixteenth birthday while she is doing her “food liberation dance”, i.e. pocketing food from venders, along Market Street in San Francisco’s Fishing Wharf area.

Mercy is nothing like any other person Abby has ever met. When Mercy tells Abby that she has been in her dreams and visions over the last five years and that they were destine to meet, Abby thinks the old women isn’t sitting squarely in her rocker. But when she lets the bomb drop about knowing its Abby’s birthday – a fact that no other living soul knew - she doesn’t know what to think.

What would you do?

Well, I must get back to working on Abby’s story. Once A Vagabond‘s deadline is looming.

Only 18 shopping days left.

So until next time, happy reading.

Kim Leady
Incredible stories…Unforgettable characters

Let's churn some butter

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThis photo is of a butter churn that has been passed down from my great grandmother. We are guessing vintage 1880 or 1890. The next photo I post is a close-up of the insides. I mentioned churning butter briefly in one of my scenes and thought it might be a fun topic.

Ever really thought about how they made butter way back when? First of all, the frontier women would save the cream that rose to the top of milk for about a week until they had enough to churn into butter. Take a look at this site for more information on making butter. Here's another fun site on how to churn butter that chronicles the history of butter making.

I remember a girl scout activity when I was about ten in which we made butter by vigorously shaking a jar with heavy cream in it. I don't remember much after that. I assume we separated the buttermilk from the butter somehow, but for the life of me, I don't recall how. I do remember spreading it over a cracker and thinking how good it tasted.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Once a Rebel--Excerpt #2

Here's another excerpt from 'Rebel'...

Galen couldn’t keep her head straight. Each thought was muddled with the essence of Joshua. The mild spice and woodsy scent of him, the feel of warm solid muscle as it moved in rhythm with her soul, the soft feel of dark wavy hair as she sifted her fingertips through each silky strand, the husky purr of his voice, the--

“Eve? Are you alright?”

“Huh? Oh!” Galen screeched and grabbed a towel to wipe the smudge of lipstick from her cheek. Landsakes! What on earth was she doing? He was just a man! Public enemy number one! A handsome specimen, if ever there was one. She couldn’t deny it. Even more so than her make-believe prince, Jonathan. That alone made him the most dangerous among men. At all cost, she must push him from her mind, forget about him as she’d been forced to forget her own family.

“My, my, looks like someone’s got somethin’ on her pretty little mind!” Carol teased. “Or perhaps, some dashing gentleman with a proud strut and a smile that could erect a field of sunflowers?”

“Please Carol, spare me your talk of romance and lover’s sonnets.”

“What’s the matter Eve, did Carol hit a nerve?” Donna asked, grinning at her reflection in the mirror. “I saw you talking to him in front of the theater this afternoon. You both look so smitten by each other you could slice a good chunk of lust with a knife.”

“And the way he jerked you off Seymour’s lap! Oh! Be still my heart!” Carol clutched her chest and made a great show of falling onto the bed as though she’d swooned.

Galen rolled her eyes and rounded on Carol. “You know, I hear the theater is always looking for good actresses. Ever consider changing professions?”

Carol chuckled. “I’d change in a minute if the dashing gent showed an interest in me the way he has to you!”

“You’re both crazy as a pair of freckled hens. He’s as interested in me as the next john and that’s the gist of it.”

They giggled in unison. “Really? Is that why he’s downstairs buddying up to Frank?”

Galen froze, the brush stopped midway through her hair. “What?”

“See for yourself.” Donna beamed and waved a hand toward the door. In the next second, Galen was leering over the railing, watching the devil himself glide toward the exit in a proud strut. Carol and Donna were on her heels.

What the hell was he up too? As though he felt her presence, Joshua stopped at the door and looked over his shoulder to meet her baffled stare. The beautiful demon touched long elegant and highly skilled fingertips to his hat and nodded. “Afternoon ladies. Miss Eve. You should wear your hair down more often. It’s very becoming.” As if that wasn’t enough, the smooth talking rake had the nerve to wink and blow a kiss in her direction!

Galen gulped a mouthful of air in her annoyance. Then cringed at the moans exuding from her love-struck co-workers. “I’d give anything to have a man look at me like that just once!” Carol sighed, a dreamy smile plastered across her pixie-like face.

“You can say that again. We sure don’t get many of his kind through Kaleb.”

“Ugh!” Galen stomped her heel like a spoiled child and stormed back into the parlor and resumed the task of raking the brush through her hair. If that meddlesome man had been talking to Frank, nothing good could come of it.

She piled her hair on top of her head, slipped her flask beneath the emerald-colored garter and left her infatuated roommates to swoon over the egotistical buffoon. Let them say what they would, the foolish ninnies. She knew better than to fall for a man full of sultry charms, no matter how striking he might appear. She’d almost allowed herself to do it once, but never again.

Galen had better things to do than listen to the lewd women spin tales of love and chivalry. And the first thing on her agenda was finding out what the dark devil was doing in the saloon this afternoon.

Once A Rebel by Angela Ashton, coming Jan. 2008
*Where Romance Blooms*