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Not to mention that I have horses, and I can keep an eye on them in the pasture. Nothing is quite as concentration-blowing as the sudden thunder of hooves in the front yard!
The outdoors is deeply entwined in my writing, from growing up as a farm kid to riding the back country every chance I get. “In Heaven’s Shadow” opens with the heroine sitting on her front porch admiring the sunset. Oh, how I wish I could! My house faces east, a view entirely wasted on this non-morning person. But the peace out there is heavenly!
Lilith Stark knows from experience that dead doesn't necessarily mean gone. Gettysburg took Joab's life, but her husband struck a bargain with Heaven to come home instead. She’s not about to turn away whatever the Yankees have left to her of their all-too-brief marriage. But when she inadvertently lets slip to the neighbors that not only Joab has come home, but one of the neighbor boys as well, she ignites a town already rubbed raw by the endless sorrows of civil war. Joab’s insistence on trying to “do” for her as though he were still alive, and Lilith's happy penchant for creating unexpected rainbows, only make things worse. A private little war between Lilith and the unrelentingly proper Reverend Fisk leads to a very public confrontation in which Lilith will either get the town to accept her--magic, ghosts, and all--or find herself locked away as a madwoman, deprived of everything that makes her life worthwhile.
Enjoy an excerpt:
“Lilith!” Joab roared on top of Bert’s, “Miz Stark!”
Bert disappeared from the doorway. Joab stepped toward her; she tried to hush herself up but couldn’t manage it. Her ribs hurt and she couldn’t breathe, and still the giggles just kept bubbling up out of her. Pretty soon she caught a wispy movement in the corner of her eye and saw the giggles turning to little floaty sparks bouncing around her like soap bubbles. The nearside mule snorted at one and bounced it back toward her. It splatted into another one, and they rained light all over the dirt in the barnyard and laid there, glowing sort of silvery gold.
“What in hell…?”
That was Bert, arrived in the yard still clutching his pistol and staring like an owl. Lilith knew she couldn’t explain if she tried all year. She gave up on the notion and just let the giggles take her.
Joab squatted down in the dirt beside her. “Come on now, pull yourself together. Bert thinks you’re loonier than Abe Lincoln. What’s the matter with you?”
Lilith tried to stop but discovered she couldn’t. She fought to take a deep breath and get control of herself. Her lungs seemed locked up somehow, and she just couldn’t stop laughing. “Hysterical,” Joab muttered, sounding so disgusted that Lilith wanted to slap him but couldn’t manage that, either.
She floundered around, trying to get to her feet, and found Bert Cummings waving a hand down in her face. She reached up to take it.
“Lilith Stark! What in the name of God are you doing?”
Even the mules shied from the outrage in the Reverend Fisk’s voice.
About the Author:S. A. Bolich's books often open quietly—but don’t be fooled. By page 10 you may be hooked so thoroughly you’ll forget to get off at your bus stop. Her worlds are lived-in, magical, sometimes mind-bendingly exotic, always historically accurate, and inhabited by people who reach out and grab us by the throat and make us care about their problems. An historian, former military intelligence officer, and lifelong horsewoman, she brings a deep love of wild places and a degree in history to her work, creating enchanting and believable worlds with a sideways slant on reality. She writes everything from “straight” and alternate history to fantasy and science fiction, filled with characters who remain in your heart long after the book is closed. She is also an accomplished rider who helps aspiring writers get their fictional equines right through her “Horses in Fiction” series on her blog. Learn more and find the complete list of her works at www.sabolichbooks.com.
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