I promised my next several blog posts would be about my new book Finding Grace which will be published in a few short months on July 19th, 2022.  Last month I started by writing about how the cover came about. This month, I’ve selected a few paragraphs from Chapter One to introduce you to two main characters in the book, Charles Booker and Caroline Tate.

Not the most romantic place to propose, but Charles Booker knew it fit Caroline perfectly—a rugged bird blind in Nebraska, just before dusk. It was an amazing sight. The sandhill cranes swooped in with their long necks cutting through the sky. Their bodies aligned, following as sharp as knives against the backdrop of the twilight sky.

“Shhh . . . I need to block everything out for this moment.” Caroline shushed him as he crouched down beside her, his feet scattering the gathered leaves on the concrete floor of the blind.

Charlie hoped the afterglow of this wonder would serve to keep Caroline in a state of euphoria long enough for him to get the words out before she reverted to the scientist focused on her next challenge. And who knew if that would include him?

Caroline finally put the binoculars down and lowered her body onto the bench. With her raven-black curls tightly pulled back into her hat, she looked like a high school kid even at twenty-five. After a long, delighted exhale, she jumped up, pulled him to her by his jacket, and gave him a deep kiss. “We did it! Charlie, did you love it? Can you believe it? Is there anything as beautiful as the in migration of the sandhill cranes?”

“It was incredible, just as you said!” He wrapped his arms around her in a bear hug and felt her warmth before plunging ahead, before he lost his nerve. “But, to me, beauty is you, now, in your element. And love is what we have together. And will have, forever.” As he spoke, he lowered her to a seated position on the bench and went down on one knee.

“Caroline Lee Tate, would you share your life with me and be my wife?” His words tapered to a whisper as Caroline started to laugh.

“Charlie, you silly man, what are you doing?” She took his face in her hands and gave him a quick kiss.

He knew Caroline well enough not to expect a conventional response to a proposal of marriage, so he held his position on one knee and deftly pulled a little box from his jacket pocket, trying to hide his terror that she would persist in thinking this a joke.

Hopefully, this teaser leaves you wanting more of the story; believe me, this is just the beginning. As a writer, I hope this scene sets up the unconventional relationship between these two moving into marriage. I wrote this scene to contrast Caroline, a serious ornithologist and Charlie, who would do anything to stay in her universe… this setting seemed exactly right for a proposal.

Researching sandhill cranes in Kearney, Nebraska had intrigued me; I had the opportunity to take a road trip there this past week to see it with my own eyes.  After two years of staying put it was great to hit the highway and leave the state on an adventure. The Iain Nicholson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary in Kearney welcomes serious birders as well as the casual nature lover to share the spectacle of the Sandhill Cranes flying to and from the Platte River. The wide open spaces of Nebraska helped to open my horizons and whet my appetite for more travels to come. 

Pre-orders of Finding Grace are now available for ebook and paperback editions. I just chose a producer for the audiobook which will be available by my pub date as well. Head to my website to choose your preferred vendor, or wait to visit a bookstore after July 19th!