Bea and Conall Gow are an unlikely pair, but they’re certainly a lasting one. Note, if you will, the date on top of the wedding rings. No, that isn’t a typo; this pair of Hunter Fey have been married for 205 years in Keeping House. But their relationship began as a friendship long before this, in 1768 to be exact, at what was later to be known as Coyler’s lead mine near the base of Embreeville Mountain, in Northeast Tennessee. Yes, there’s a lot of history in their friendship and later romance, but I won’t go into it much here. Rather, I’ll give you a snippet from my work in progress (WIP) Striking Balance, which is actually Bea and Conall’s backstory. This story is set in the American Revolutionary War era, 1779 to be exact, and Bea is going by Ben/ he for complex reasons I’ll not go into here, meaning you’ll have to follow along with the WIP Wednesday posts for Striking Balance (which will give you some clues) and wait for the novel, which will probably be released March or April of 2020.
1) Conall and Ben are working on a smallholder farm, meaning they’re tenant farming.
2) Ben is growing gravely ill in this scene and suffering from unrequited love where Conall is concerned.
“You want more tea?” Conall brews Ceardach’s chest-clearing blend for me every evening, and I suspect he’d force it upon me if I refused. But it does help so I always accept. I wish we had enough to share with the Alcotts, but Master Gow only allowed enough for us. Others, he says, must make their own way.
“Yes, thank you.” I’ve been unable to eat much dinner. The days are dragging and the walk to see Emeline taxes my constitution. If I’m not laboring, I’m sleeping, and Conall has twice suggested I should move my bed down to the common space because he’s afraid I’m growing weak. “I think I’ll spread my blanket on the porch tonight.”
“The night air ain’t good for you.” He shakes his head.
“Neither is the heat in here.” I fan myself even as I sip my tea.
“Then we’ll sleep on the porch together with our guns at the ready.”
Why? Ewin and one wild cat have been our only concerns, and the latter happened years ago. “If that’s what you wish.”
We rest nose to toe on the narrow porch, but I turn after Conall falls asleep so the breeze better hits my face. He’s on his right side facing the same direction so I roll against him, elated when his left arm falls across my waist. The moon is full and the leaves are turned up as if to bask in the soft light, more so when lightning bugs descend on the garden to play among the tasseling corn. It’s late in the year for these insects, but they’re flitting about, creating the oddest chirps I’ve ever heard. I don’t understand how Conall sleeps when their chirps become a din, but I eventually fall asleep to their happy noise myself, dreaming of tiny winged people dancing through the beans while larger, darker winged beings observe from the shadows.
I fear this is the first of many such illness-fueled dreams that lie ahead.
Before Keeping House, there was Cleaning House, novel one in the Appalachian Elementals series. Cleaning House is now available in audiobook format from Audible, and it’s a sight to behold or to listen to as the case may be. The novel is narrated by Alex Riley, a true storyteller who brings the story to life in a storyteller’s fashion, complete with character voices.
Cleaning House the audiobook, is available from Audible. If you own an ebook copy of Cleaning House it’s available for as low as $7.49 or, if you’re an Audible subscriber, you can acquire the audiobook with your monthly subscription.
The audiobook link is in the righthand column. Hint, hint.