I am delighted to introduce my second guest blogger, fellow Tirgearran and author Annette Drake. As we are coming up to Halloween, her debut novel, Celebration House seems highly appropriate. It premiered on August 1, 2013 with Tirgearr Publishing. Her work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences.
Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.
Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.
Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.
But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.
Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.
Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?
And here to whet your appetite is an excerpt from the book:CELEBRATION HOUSE by Annette Drake
But there was something else. The house itself seemed strange to townsfolk. There were whispers of lights coming on and off and tales of unexplained accidents. A real-estate entrepreneur from Kansas City bought the house on the courthouse steps for delinquent taxes. When he inspected the property in person, he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. He told anyone who would listen that he’d been pushed. He put the house back on the market.
Teenagers gathered for drinking parties at the house. Or they did until the night when two boys dared each other to go sit on the front porch and drink there. With a few 12-ounce cans of courage already behind them, the two pimply-faced youths strode up the brick walk, jumped over the waist-high picket fence and made themselves at home on the front porch. Their friends shouted cheers of encouragement from outside the gate. The two boys sat there, grins on their faces, and clinked their cans together to toast one another. After a minute, they heard a loud whisper.
“Leave this place,” the voice said, like a mother scolding a naughty child in a church pew.
They looked at one another.
The wind whipped up, and the branches of the willow tree in the front yard beat against the wooden fence. One boy reached down for his beer can and felt something. He turned and saw an old man standing next to him. The man planted his leather boot on top of the teenager’s hand.
“Get off my porch!” he bellowed.
The two boys ran, stopping to unlatch the front gate, but it wouldn’t open. The wind whipped the willow branches through the air, striking the boys on their faces and shoulders. Finally one of the boys kicked the gate open, and they bolted for their pickups. They drove off as fast as Chevrolet could take them.
You can follow her writing at www.Annettedrake.com. She welcomes correspondence at: Write2me@annettedrake.com.