Jenny Kane & Jennifer Ash

Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

Tag: Kellie Butler

Opening Lines with Kellie Butler: The Broken Tree

It’s Opening Lines time again.

This week I’m delighted to welcome Kellie Butler, with the first 500 words from her brand new novel, The Broken Tree.

 

Hi, my name is Kellie Butler and I’m back again for another installment of the first 500 words from my new book The Broken Tree. Thanks so much for having me back, Jenny!

The  Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga follows the Cavert family from the beginning of the Second World War through the mid-1970s. It centers on siblings  Lydie Cavert and her brother Edward. My initial inspiration for this series was writing about trauma from the perspective of an adolescent that endures a lot of things we go through in life and then some. Every family has secrets, and her family certainly has a bevy full. I draw inspiration from classic film, television, literature, and historical research.

For the third installment in the series, I was initially inspired by a camping story a friend of mine from Lancashire told me about lightning striking a tree up on Pendle Hill. It reminded me of a story I had heard long ago of a tree holding the curse of a young boy who was shunned by his community for the practice of divination, even though he had made his community wealthy. If the tree ever broke or fell, the curse would come alive. It inspired me to research the Lancashire Witch Trials and craft a story of how events from those times during the summer of 1612 would affect the Cavert family in the late 1950’s.

Here’s the blurb of this captivating story of love, loss, and betrayal.

An anxious homecoming. A three-hundred-year-old curse. A betrayal that threatens to tear the Cavert and Bainbridge families apart. Welcome home to Laurelhurst.

Lancashire, Summer 1959. Fifteen years ago, Lydie Cavert Bainbridge left the dark memories of her youth at Laurelhurst Manor behind her.

Now thirty-two, an expectant Lydie returns with her family of five with two goals: to protect her children from her horrific experience at Laurelhurst and to spend a peaceful summer before the arrival of her fourth child.

When Lydie comes across an ancient oak tree split in the middle on the edge of the estate, an old secret from three hundred years ago involving an enemy is revealed, along with  specters of the past she had hoped to leave behind.

As the tree casts a shadow upon the house and loyalties are tested, Lydie must choose between the love she holds for her family and the love for her brother. Can the Cavert family stay together, or will splinter like the tree found on the moors?

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First 500 words…

On a balmy June afternoon in 1959, the waters of Morecambe Bay shimmered in the sun. Yet underneath the surface, danger lurked for any unfortunate person who might have misjudged the swift currents and shifting sands, as five of Lancashire’s rivers emptied into the bay. Lydie had relayed to her husband, Henry, the stories she had heard in school of fishermen who had perilously misjudged the sands and lost their lives in search of a bountiful catch of cockles. She had warned him on their way towards the beach not to venture too far from the shore, as some areas of the bay contained quicksand. Henry took the story to heart.

Lydie lounged on a blanket while Henry played with their three children—Robert (Bobby), Eleanor (Nora), and Soon-Li (Suzy). While the children were far away from danger, Lydie still placed an instinctive hand upon her pink gingham shirtdress. She was four months pregnant, and she barely showed.

Henry tossed a frisbee while he kept a watchful eye on all three tots. Lydie’s lips curled into a smile as she watched his tall, trim body, lean muscles rippling underneath his short-sleeved white cotton shirt and khaki shorts.  His short, golden brown hair, still cut in the same sleek cut he had sported since his Ivy League days, appeared like caramel in the sun.  Lydie knew she was blessed to have such a wonderful husband. She heard many stories in the beauty parlors and at the occasional bridge game she attended with young mothers. Stories of husbands who told their wives they were working late in the city while they were actually out carousing around.  She knew two women in her neighborhood who sat alone many a night without a word from their husbands.

The years hadn’t always been easy. Only three months after they had married, almost nine summers ago, the army had drafted Henry into service in Korea under the Doctor’s Draft of 1950. Within months, Henry had left for several weeks of basic training and by the time they had rung in 1951, he had been on a flight west, missing their first anniversary together.

Henry’s homecoming came at the end of summer in 1953. Lydie had met him at Idlewild Airport in their Buick Roadmaster and drove him to a cabin just north of Ithaca near Tannenhough State Park. After a surprise welcome home party, they had spent a week making up for lost time. Bobby and Nora were conceived on a hot August night by the shores of Cayuga Lake. The sound of the lapping waves had lulled them to sleep after their ardent lovemaking. The twins arrived in 1954, and Suzy, who was the same age as the twins, became a part of their family in 1955.

Lydie watched their beautiful twins as they joined another group of children in play. Suzy and Henry retreated to the blanket. Now in the late afternoon sun, she smiled on her happy family and reached over to hold …

***

If you want to read more, go to http://getbook.at/brokentree  for the paperback and Kindle editions. You can also purchase the eBook through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and other retailers at this link: https://books2read.com/u/3JJkxE. Thank you very much for reading!

About the Author: Kellie Butler is the author of The Laurelhurst Chronicles, which has received excellent reviews.  A freelance writer and paralegal, she lives in a quaint small town in the southeastern United States. She enjoys  hiking, cooking, knitting, reading, and walks with her dog, Chip. Visit her website www.kellierbutler.com to connect with her on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) and to sign up for her newsletter.

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Many thanks for joining us today Kellie,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x

Opening Lines: Before the Flood by Kellie Butler

Thursday has arrived once more, and it’s ‘Opening Lines’ time.

This week I’m welcoming Kellie Butler to my blog with the very beginning of her new release, Before the Flood.

Over to you Kellie…

Hi, my name is Kellie Butler and I’m next up on the first 500 words blog series.  Thank you, Jenny, for hosting me on your blog!

My Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga follows the Cavert family from the beginning of the Second World War through the mid-1970s. It centers on a young Lydie Cavert, who is an adolescent when the first novel begins. My initial inspiration for this series was writing about trauma from the perspective of an adolescent that endures a lot of things we go through in life and then some. Every family has secrets, and her family certainly has a bevy full. I draw inspiration from classic film, television, literature, and historical research.

I’ve just released the second chapter in the saga!

Here’s the blurb:

Before the Flood is a beautiful, haunting celebration of the lasting bonds of family and friendship, and returns readers to the world of the Cavert family.

Fiery art student Lydie Cavert nearly has it all after putting the shadows of her uncle’s sinister legacy behind her:  great friends, a blossoming art career, and romance with the handsome but reserved Dr. Henry Bainbridge, her brother’s best friend and colleague. Her hope for peace is shattered when she returns to England to help Henry’s recovering sister Kate find her own happiness during the London Season. The sinister empire that claimed her uncle has plans for Lydia. Plans that could threaten her and Henry’s happiness by exposing secrets both would like to keep from resurfacing.

From New York City’s vibrant streets and the idyllic farmlands of Upstate New York to the cosmopolitan avenues of London and Paris, Before the Flood tells a story of the richness of family bonds, the searing heartbreak of betrayal and innocence lost, and the redeeming power of love and friendship.

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To celebrate the release of Before the Flood, I’m offering the first 500 words:

On a crisp October day, Lydie counted the minutes till the end of a freshman class assembly at Barnard College, so she could take the subway across town to her studio: the one place where life made sense. When the assembly ended, she tugged at her cardigan as rows of glossy-haired girls in saddle shoes and heels filed out in front of her. The musty air of the auditorium mingled with the sea of perfume and it gave her a headache. She pushed through the crowd until she breathed the open air of the city. Inhaling the sweet crisp scent of rain on the wind, she hurried through the school’s gates towards the subway station.

Minutes later, she sat on a woven cane seat of a packed subway car, clutching her books with long, slender fingers. After a short ride, she exited the packed train and emerged onto a busy street, walking down the pavement until she reached  a four-story brick building with large windows. Climbing up the stairs to the top floor, she fetched her key out of her red leather bag to unlock a large metal door. She entered her sanctuary and tossed her books onto a chair before setting up her easel and palette. Releasing a heavy sigh, she unrolled her brushes before pouring linseed oil into a glass jar that sat next to her brushes.  Pondering what she would paint that day, she changed clothes behind a screen in the corner of the studio.

From next door, she could hear the wailing of a saxophone, the tinkling keys of a piano, and the gentle plucks of a bass violin as a group practiced.  It settled her soul. Emerging in an old blouse, rolled up jeans, and canvas shoes, she stretched as the late afternoon sun bathed the room and highlighted  her waves of reddish-gold hair. Pulling an old scarf from her pocket, she tied her hair up to keep it from falling in her face. Lydie stepped towards the canvas, picked up a brush, and prepared to release the doubt out of her unsettled mind.

Her doubt never began as a torrent for her. It began as tiny drops of discord. The drops pooled and formed into small trickles. Trickles into streams. Streams converged into rivers, and rivers overflowed their banks into floods. As Lydie mixed paint, she gauged that she was right before the flood stage. The only thing that brought her back from her emotions overtaking her was to let the current flow through her arm, down into her brush, and onto the canvas.

Lydie’s conscience wasn’t clear. Ever since arriving a few months ago, she’d doubted why she could escape England start over somewhere else when so many people were greater victims during the war and never got that chance. It made her feel guilty sometimes. She knew she had been close to becoming another victim of evil. An evil that wore a kind face and charming smile.

Some people had said she…

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If you want to read more, go to http://getbook.at/beforetheflood for the paperback and Kindle editions. You can also purchase the eBook through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and other retailers at this link: https://www.books2read.com/u/md0xRX. Thank you very much for reading!

Bio

Kellie Butler is the author of Beneath a Moonless Sky and Before the Flood. A freelance writer and paralegal, she lives in a quaint small town in the southeastern United States. She enjoys  hiking, cooking, knitting, reading, and walks with her dog, Chip. Visit her website www.kellierbutler.com to connect with her on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) and to sign up for her newsletter.

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Many thanks Kellie. A great opener.

Come back next week to read 500 words from James D Mortain.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

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