Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hi Readers,
I've got a treat for you. I'm one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Reviews Spring Fling Scavenger Hunt.
During this event I'm going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check my featured title out along the way.
The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card. There will be over 90 winners. The prize pool is $850!
Enter Now at: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Spring-Fling-2017


When hotel inspector, Tallulah Thompson, is called in along with her pug, Franny, to investigate renovation delays, she meets an extremely annoyed and dapper turn-of-the-century innkeeper. The only problem is he’s in limbo, neither dead nor alive, and Tallulah and the pug are the first to see him in a hundred years.

Cursed by a medicine woman, “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em Lucius” Stewart is stuck between worlds until he finds his true love and gives her his heart. When he first sees Tallulah, he doesn’t know what he’s feeling. Yet, her stunning beauty, and feisty attitude pull him in.

With the fate of Hotel LaBelle on the line, Tallulah with the help of a powerful medicine woman turns Lucius back into a flesh and blood man. She and Lucius team up to save the hotel, but Tallulah can't help but wonder if he will ever let go of his past love and learn to love again.

Excerpt:
A book flew at his head—and sailed through him, bouncing off the wall and landing on the floor.

Mouth agape, the woman stared from him to the book and back to him again. “You’re a ghost.”

“Not exactly. Shall we start over?” He leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his chest. “After a hundred years of being invisible to everyone except you, I’d like to know who you are and what you’re doing here.”

“Of course. Why not? Could today get any weirder?” She sank into the desk chair, shook her head, and sighed. “My name is Tallulah Thompson. I’m a hotel inspector, hired by the current owner as a consultant to find out why the renovations are delayed and what he needs to do to fix it. He’s teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.”

“What tribe are you?”

She jerked her head up and those doggone lapis lazuli eyes of hers sparked as if she’d strike him with lightning and kill him with one look. “No one asks that. It’s not politically correct.”

“Well, I guess you haven’t been talking to the right people. And I don’t know what you mean by that last part. I’ve never been involved in politics.”

“Nowadays, it’s considered rude to ask about another person’s national origins.” She threw her hands up. “Why am I giving a ghost an etiquette lesson? What am I thinking?”

BUY: The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | iBooks | Kobo | Bookstrand

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Debut Novel: Second Chance in Laguna by Claire Marti

When Sophie Barnes’s fiancĂ© jilts her at the altar, her carefully planned life implodes. Considering her ex’s betrayal to be a rude wake-up call, she leaves everything she knows in San Diego and flees to Laguna Beach. She vows to transform her life by avoiding men for a year and by fulfilling her dream of writing a wildly successful novel. 

Sophie’s new landlord, Nicholas Morgan, is a gorgeous, successful architect with a player reputation. He makes it tough for Sophie to remember that she’s sworn to be single. Nick’s avoided the intimacy of a long-term relationship--until Sophie’s independence, courage, and beauty touch his guarded heart. Both Sophie and Nick are terrified of being hurt again, but can they resist the pull of true love?

EXCERPT
Nick arrived right on time, looking gorgeous in faded jeans and a plain white t-shirt. How did he always manage to start the butterflies fluttering in her stomach? Just by standing there with the setting sun framing him? She was in trouble.

“Hi beautiful, ready to go?” He clasped her face in his hands and planted a soft kiss on her lips.

Returning his kiss, Sophie wound her arms around his neck and deepened it. She couldn’t resist. His strong arms wrapped around her waist, hugging her close to his broad chest.

“Mmmm, feel free to greet me like that every time I come over,” he said, lips curved up into a sweet smile.

Heat washed her cheeks and she returned his smile. “Let’s go. Prepare to be blown away by the movie snack of the century.”

Determined to keep things light and enjoy the movie before “the talk,” Sophie thrust down the lick of panic bubbling in her gut. She’d accomplished next to nothing all afternoon, instead wrestling with whether she needed to tell him about Doug.

The angel on her shoulder whispered to tell him because if they were going to have any kind of relationship, even a friends-with-benefits one, honesty and trust were vital.

The devil urged her to zip it. They’d only known each other a few weeks. What if he lived up to his “Player of Laguna” reputation and expected only a fun fling? Even though he seemed deeper than that. What if she scared him off with a premature talk?
BUY LINKS:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kafVLW
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.: http://bit.ly/2jk8iQY
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2mpGgq9
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/second-chance-in-laguna
iBooks:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/second-chance-in-laguna/id1196981760?mt=11

Claire Marti
started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.

Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga. Her debut releases from The Wild Rose Press on March 31, 2017 and is the first in the Finding Forever in Laguna series.

WEBSITE: www.clairemarti.com
Twitter: @clairepmarti
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ClaireMartiAuthor/

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Release: To Hell in a Coach Bag by MJ Schiller

Four Midwest lunch ladies on a cross-country road trip...
But the road to love can be rocky. What can save Alex’s marriage when her hubby’s driving her crazy? How can Max ever feel close to her man again when he never puts out? And just when Dani and Tucker are getting close, dreams of Darren’s death begin to haunt her. Can she move past them? And what about Sam? Although Kyle’s logged some serious ice time, her cold shoulder may put his heart in perma-freeze.
Is happiness around the next corner? Or are these four women simply headed TO HELL IN A COACH BAG?

They may be on the road to Hell, but at least they’d enjoy the trip.
 EXCERPT: Tucker’s (hero) POV
The heads popped up in unison, and Maxine stared at Sam who was pale as a ghost. "I am so sorry."
"That's okay," Sam answered quickly.

"Okay?" Alex screamed. "That's a four-hundred-dollar Coach purse."

That got my attention. I stuck out my head. "Excuse me, ladies, but I couldn't help but overhear. Did you say four-hundred-dollar purse?"

"Oh, Tucker," Maxine wailed, grabbing ahold of my shirt with both fists. "You have to get that purse."

"O-o-okay." Was she the next to crack? I started to leave, but Max called me back.

"Oh, and Tucker, be careful."

"I will," I replied, bewildered. It wasn't like I was going to have to scale the edge of the building to get it. There were stairs.

It was not until I got below that I understood her statement. The billion-dollar purse was stuck on a tree branch hanging over a muddy ravine separating the tennis courts from the outer courtyard. Here and there, quaint little bridges crossed the ravine. There had been some recent mountain storms, and it was plenty full at that point. I looked up to the balcony where the three women watched me.

"How much did you say this purse cost?" I yelled.

"Four-hundred dollars," they yelled in unison.

As I leaned against the tree trunk and took off my loafers, I glared at them, wondering about the twisty path that brought me to this. I jumped and caught a low branch, then muscled my way to sit on it.

"Oh, my!" Maxine exclaimed.

I analyzed the branch the purse was hooked on and noted no branches were near enough to reach it. One above it appeared questionable, with patches of stripped bark. I climbed higher, hoping to angle my way down, and finally made it to a position where I was directly above it. I laid flat on the branch, holding on with one hand. The other I tried to extend to the purse. I was within inches. Pushing a little farther, I leaned to my right and gave my reach the added inch, and I snagged it.

"Got it!" I called triumphantly. But as I did, my weight carried me around the branch, and I found myself hanging upside down, with my arms and legs wrapped around the branch. Squeals of delight came from the Musketeers, but I ignored them and concentrated on my predicament.

I needed to free my hands to walk myself back in, so I stuck the handle of the purse in my mouth, careful not to leave bite marks on the expensive leather. But when I returned my hand to the branch, an unpleasant noise sounded over the rush of the water below. I prayed the crack came from another branch, and held very still, just in case. To my relief, nothing happened.

Until I began to inch back toward the trunk, at which point a very loud CRACK rent the air. Oh shit. My stomach lurched as I fell through the air, hitting several smaller branches on my way down. I landed with a thud on the soggy bank.

From above came a threefold gasp, followed by a hushed silence.

I assessed my condition, moving to determine if anything was broken. Sore yes, broken no. So, I rose, covered in mud like a horror movie swamp monster. It was smeared on my face, in my hair, and all over my white shirt. I held out my hands as they dripped and looked at my trio of spectators.
"Oh, good. You still have it," Sam yelled happily.
Links ~ For MJ
Website: www.mjschillerauthor.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MJ-Schiller-Romance-Author/286382241460365?ref=hl
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mjschiller/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mjschiller
Tumblr: http://mjschilz.tumblr.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/mjschiller
Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/0/110797684036386240402/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6479377.M_J_Schiller
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.J.-Schiller/e/B009JOQFQQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

BUY LINK: TO HELL IN A COACH BAG
Amazon:  http://mybook.to/ToHellInACoachBag

M.J. Schiller
is a lunch lady/romance-romantic suspense writer. She enjoys writing novels whose characters include rock stars, desert princes, teachers, futuristic Knights, construction workers, cops, and a wide variety of others. In her mind everybody has a romance. She is the mother of a twenty-two-year-old and three twenty-year-olds. That's right, triplets! So having recently taught four children to drive, she likes to escape from life on occasion by pretending to be a rock star at karaoke. However…you won’t be seeing her name on any record labels soon.

Monday, March 27, 2017

New Release: Lapses of Memory by M.S. Spencer


She stopped his meandering with her lips. His arms went tentatively around her. For a minute they floated in a cocoon of mist, the voices and music fading into the background. She drowned in a mixture of new feelings and old memories, of hope and despair, of the past and the possibility, hitherto unanticipated, of a future.”

Thank you so much for having me today, Sharon. I want to talk about my new romantic suspense, Lapses of Memory, and share a little background.
One of my favorite pre-release activities is deciding on the Dedication. For The Mason’s Mark—which I wrote while my house was being renovated—the dedication went to the team of contractors who not only made it happen, but were amazingly accommodating to the owner being constantly underfoot because she had to finish her story. The Penhallow Train Incident was dedicated to my adorable granddaughter, who was actually born (in a baby pool) in our house in Maine. My new release, Lapses of Memory, is, I confess, a teensy bit autobiographical. And while Elian Davies, the hero, is nothing like Michael R, they are both first-and-forever loves. It also took both Sydney and me many years to realize it. Luckily for Sydney, it wasn’t too late. For me, I will spend the rest of my life doing what Sydney fears will happen to her daughter Olivia.
Excerpt (G): Olivia’s choice
Sydney waited until she heard the door slam and sprinted to the drawing room. Taking a wary look around, she slipped the notebook out of what Olivia mistakenly believed to be a hiding place. Ha. She turned to the last page and read.
She got in the cab. “I’ll write when I get home.”
He nodded. “Sure.”
She blew him a kiss. He caught it and blew it back. She gazed into his eyes, his English eyes, cold as the whiskey and warm as the dew. They shimmered. He waved but turned away before she could lift an unsteady hand.
She gave her instructions to the driver. No point in looking back. She looked. Nothing but the back of his head, cocoa brown waves of hair, thinning slightly. Moving away.
It was over.
Sydney closed the notebook and put it away. Over? Except that, unless I fix this, every night in the shower for the next twenty years, she’ll think of him.
Lapses of Memory,

Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret.

Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

Buy Links:
TWRP: http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4896-lapses-of-memory.html
I Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lapses-of-memory/id1196959922?mt=11
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lapses-Memory-M-S-Spencer-ebook/dp/B01N5P9FTU
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lapses-of-memory-ms-spencer/1115291373
KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/lapses-of-memory-1
Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/lapses-of-memory-0

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Contacts
My calendar of events Romance Books 4 Us: http://www.romancebooks4us.com/M.S._Spencer.html

Monday, March 20, 2017

Interview with Detective, Alec Pearce, hero of The Eyewitness by Nancy Weeks.


Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood? I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and my childhood is something I don’t talk about.
Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you'd rather be doing? I still live in Maryland and am a detective with the Baltimore Police Department. Being a cop is the last thing I planned to be, but I’m good at it. I can’t reveal where I live. I don’t want the ass-wipes—sorry, I’ll try and keep this interview clean. I don’t need the jerk balls I arrest dropping in for a visit.
What's going on in your life right now? Someone killed my partner. Joe D’Azzo is the only man in this world I will ever love. The damn coward hid in the trees and shot Joe while he was walking his dog. His daughter Emersyn was with him and … shit, sorry. Just the thought of that night makes me want to put my fist into the nearest wall. Em is an eyewitness. I’ll protect her with my life, a promised I made Joe just before he died in my arms. There is no place on earth this guy can hide from me. He picked the wrong target.
Is there someone special in your life? Yeah, but I have no business wanting her like I do. Besides, Emersyn and I are like oil and vinegar with each other. It’s my fault. I can’t tell you why because Nancy may just kill me off in book two for spoiling her story.
How did you meet? What's his/her family like? The first time I saw Emersyn, she was about twelve or thirteen. She dashed out of her house and into Joe’s arms, almost knocking Joe on his ass. Damn funny moment. I didn’t meet her face to face until years later. After I became Joe’s partner, he invited me for dinner almost every week. His wife, Grace is a fantastic cook, and her chocolate cake is almost better than sex.  I didn’t always accept his invitation. I wasn’t doing anything special. I felt like I was infringing on his family time, and I wasn’t family. But looking back, I wish I wasn’t such a moron.
What's keeping you two apart? Ahhh, damn a whole pile of shi…stuff. Who I am, where I came from, it’s not Emersyn’s world.  I try like hell to be a man like Joe D’Azzo, but I’m not much better than the scumbags I put away. Joe knows that and doesn’t want me anywhere near Emersyn or her sister, Tessa. He never said the words out loud. Hell, the words weren’t necessary. I’m going to honor that. Besides, I need to find Joe’s killer. Nothing else in my life matters.
What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out? Like I said, find her father’s killer and keep her safe in the process. I can’t see beyond that. So, Sharon, you look like a smart lady. Can you tell me how I get over wanting something I can’t have?
Any last comments? Nancy wanted me to tell your readers she has a giveaway. You can read it to everyone. So, if we are done, I need to get back to work. I have a killer’s face I can’t wait to slam my fist into. It was great meeting you.
GIVEAWAY from Nancy C. Weeks
My simple pleasure is sipping my favorite coffee while reading a great book. I’m passing that on to you. Answer the question below for a chance to win a digital book from my backlist—including The Eyewitness, and winner’s choice of a $5 Starbucks or Teavana tea gift card. Hint hint—read the excerpt.

What is Emersyn hiding from Alec?
Nancy C. Weeks has loved happy-ever-after romances since her early teens. While still in college, she met and married her hero. She spent the next several years honeymooning and working overseas. Today, she lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she enjoys spending her days writing suspenseful happily-ever-after adventures outside on the deck as the local bird population keeps her company. When she is not writing, Nancy loves to blog about fascinating people, both real and fictional. The one quote that kept her dream alive:
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~Thomas Edison~
If you want to know more about Nancy, go ahead a stalk her on her social media sites below. She would especially love it if you would join her Newsletter and Nancy’s Corner, a site she created for a more personal relationship between her and her readers.
Coming Soon from the PUBLISHER AND BUY LINK
BUY LINKS TO THE EYEWITNESS
Fans of TV’s Blue Bloods will love this dynamic new suspense series.
Maryland PD forensic scientist Emersyn D’Azzo has an explosive past with her father’s younger, sexy partner, Detective Alec Pearce. Then an ill-timed kiss destroys the thin line of trust between her and her dad, just before tragedy strikes and someone guns down her father.
The fatal bullet turns out to be tied to the ongoing spree of random sniper kills across the state, but Emersyn knows this wasn’t a random act of violence and is determined to find the killer.
To do so, she’ll need to rely on help from Alec, whom she doesn’t quite trust but just can’t resist. When they discover a connection to a decades-old disappearance of a college student, their investigation takes a deadly twist. Can they learn to trust each other with their hearts to save their lives? 
Excerpt for The Eyewitness –Enjoy!

Emersyn opened the driver’s door then faced Alec. He moved in close, the back of his finger brushing away the moisture on her cheeks. She didn’t pull away when his hand rested on her waist. “I’m sorry, Alec. I thought clearing my father’s office would help.”
“You don’t owe me an apology. I get why you came here, and it is me who should apologize. I took my mood out on you.”
He tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Emersyn ached to press her hand over his and feel his heat on her face. But at the same time, a new sense of self-preservation prickled across her skin. Who could she trust? Her own mother had warned her that she really didn’t know the man in front of her.
Fear had a way of distorting reality. Her world had become so damn confusing she couldn’t find balance. She slipped her hand into her pocket and fingered the flash drive. The small piece of plastic could be nothing—or it could be everything.
“Em, where did you go?”
She faked a smile. “Just thinking about work. I keep expecting an email from security requesting my badge.”
He drew her close, wrapping his arms around her, his warmth calming her immediately. She couldn’t pull away. She needed this—something else she couldn’t understand.
He finally dropped his arms and took a step back. “I know Angela McCain well. Regardless of how she feels about you right now, she will get to the bottom of what happened yesterday.”
“I keep running the events through my head. The fire had to come from inside the walls, but there was no burning smell.”
“The fire marshal and CI team are on scene. This wasn’t a lab accident, and they aren’t treating it as one.”
“Why haven’t they questioned me?”
“I’m sure they will at some point.” He lifted her chin. “Something else is wrong. I see it in your eyes. What else happened?”
“Nothing.”
“You are a terrible liar.” He let her go, resting his arm on the roof of her car. If he was trying to make her feel trapped, it worked.
“From my house to here, what could have possibly happened?”
“What do I have to do to get you to trust me, Em?”
The annoyance in his voice set her back up. “I’m not getting into this with you in the parking lot.”
“Answer my damn question.”
And they were right back where they always seemed to fall, at each other’s throats. She tossed her shoulder bag into the front seat. Hell, if it was a fight he wanted, then maybe a good bitch-slap was what she needed to clear her head. “For starters, you can stop pissing me off with things like this.” Emersyn knocked his arm off her car so she could drop into the seat. He blocked the door when she tried to close it.
“How, Em? I walk into a room, and your blood starts to boil.”
She couldn’t get the shields up fast enough. “You could at least pretend you don’t despise me, maybe treat me once in a while like you treat Tessa.”
He knelt and reached for her hand. “I don’t despise you.”
“Now who is lying?”
*



Monday, March 13, 2017

In Honor of Deaf History and Women's History Month: Wordless Love

Sharon, Age 3, with Cousin Gloria
In 1954, at the age of three years old, my mother put me on a plane in Washington, D.C., and sent me to Connecticut to live with my deaf, non-speaking grandmother, my aunt, uncle, cousin, two Chihuahuas, and a parakeet. At night, I would cry because I missed my family. As I sobbed, my grandmother would take me in her arms and hug me, making grunting noises. I’d fall asleep to her wordless lullaby of love, wondering if I’d ever see my family again, not knowing that my parents were divorcing.

A year after being shipped north, I was reunited with my family. Another year later, we moved out of my aunt’s basement and into government subsidized housing. Now when we visited my aunt’s house, I had to share my grandmother with my siblings. On birthdays and graduations, she created scavenger hunts for us, leaving a trail of written clues. She must have spent hours planning the hints, writing them out in her beautiful calligraphy, and placing them throughout the house.

As I grew older and wrestled with the demons of poverty and abuse, my desire to break away from my home life dwarfed my relationship with my grandmother. Opportunity arrived in the form of a large scholarship to a university in Texas, over a thousand miles away from my mother. During the first semester of my freshman year, my grandmother became ill and died at home at the age of eighty-nine. Claiming that she didn’t want to “disrupt” my studies, my mother withheld the knowledge until I came home months later. I was devastated. I never had the chance to say good-bye to the woman who loved me unconditionally.

As I hit my fifth decade, I began to reflect on my life and lack of closure regarding her death. I felt compelled to research my family tree, beginning with my grandmother. My only clues were embedded in childhood memories of kitchen table conversations between my mother and aunt. The family legend, told and re-told, with hand-signed consultations for verification, was that my grandmother was born hearing and healthy to a wealthy family.

“Oh yes, her people were landowners,” my aunt said.

“She had pet peacocks,” my mother added, “and a pet pig that came when she clapped her hands.”

“She came down with spinal meningitis when she was three. If her parents hadn’t been so rich, she would have died,” my aunt said between puffs on her cigarette.

“Grandma’s parents sent her off to a boarding school for ladies,” my mother recalled. “She was too wealthy to be with the other girls, so she stayed with the teachers.”

As I searched for family records, calling my sister and brother for confirmation, tantalizing tidbits emerged.

“After she graduated, she went to work in Washington, D.C., addressing envelopes for a Congressman because she had such beautiful handwriting,” my sister said.

“Grandma and Grandpa were fixed up on a blind date. He was a wild young man with a motorcycle, a graduate of Gallaudet University. He was deaf from scarlet fever.” My brother, the oldest child, recalled vividly. “They fell in love and married against her family’s wishes. She was supposed to go back to Kentucky and marry a cousin, but she wouldn’t leave her gardener.”

Oral history wasn’t much to go on, but it was a start. It helped that I recalled the name of the town where we’d visited another uncle, aunt, and cousin on the way to Texas: Stanford, Kentucky. Using an online genealogy site, I was able to see U.S. Census records dating as far back as the 1700’s. I rooted around in the 1800’s with no luck. One night, I received an excited call from my best friend from high school and genealogy genius. By searching in an online National Society Daughters of the American Revolution registry, and entering two of my family names, Engleman and Harris, my friend found my Stanford, Kentucky ancestors and my family lines tracing back to the Revolutionary War. Thanks to the DAR, I had the first clues in my very own family scavenger hunt.

The elusive “ladies’ school for the deaf kept me awake at night. More weeks, more digging, more walls. After months of research, I was ready to quit. But I kept feeling as if my grandmother was standing behind me at the computer, smiling and urging me to find her. At last, I found the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD), in Danville, Kentucky. It was the first public school for the deaf in the United States, originally called the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf & Dumb when it was built in 1823. I emailed the school, asking for information on a possible alumna named Bessie Engleman.

In the meantime, I kept mousing around in the 1900 Census files for Danville and randomly selected Enumeration District 88 (ED 88). When I retrieved the image, I discovered that the majority of people counted in ED 88 were enrolled at the Kentucky Institute for Deaf Mutes. My eyes adjusted to the old-fashioned script of the census taker, and there she was on line 19: Engleman, Bessie, White, Female, born in 1883. Within days of that find, a KSD staff member sent me an email telling me he had found her original admission card.

Bessie Engleman was student number 933 admitted to KSD. The daughter of George and Susan Harris Engleman became deaf from meningitis at sixteen months, not age three, as the family legend told. The middle child in a three girl family, KSD admitted her from Lincoln County, Kentucky when she was eight years old in 1889 and graduated her in 1902 when she was twenty-one years old. Nine years later, she married Carl E. Rhodes on September 20, 1911 and lived in Washington, D.C. in 1918.

I now had enough information to find my great-grandparents, my great-great-grandparents, and beyond, because all my grandmother’s “people” lived in Lincoln County, Kentucky—and married their cousins. In some census records, I found Harris and Engleman in-laws, brothers, sisters, and cousins, all living in the same household.

My curiosity was piqued. If the oral history about my grandmother was fairly accurate, why wouldn’t the part about my grandfather be true, too? Gallaudet University’s alumni office found my grandfather’s records on microfilm. According to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, my grandfather, Carl E. Rhodes, was deemed a “…proper person to be received into the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, and to be instructed and maintained therein at the expense of the United States…” The same department responsible for the welfare of Native Americans in the 1800’s was responsible for my grandfather’s education. He attended the Kendall School from 1892 to 1903, but did not attend Gallaudet University, contrary to family stories. And, he wasn’t deaf secondary to scarlet fever. Congenitally deaf, a midwife home-delivered the sixth child, Carl E. Rhodes, to a grocer named James H. Rhodes and his wife, Elizabeth Cockrell Rhodes: my great-grandparents.

Despite their incredible obstacles in life, my grandparents attended school, graduated, obtained good jobs, weathered the anger of my grandmother’s wealthy family, and raised six hearing and speaking children to become productive members of society. During the depression and beyond, my grandfather was employed by the federal government as a gardener, often tending to the roses and other plantings at the White House. My brother owns a book, handed down from my grandmother, with a photograph of my grandfather working as the Assistant Head Gardener in the U.S. Botanical Gardens.   

What predicts who will be disabled in life? What foretells if a disability will cripple an individual emotionally? When I was a little girl and refused to cave in under my mother’s abuse, she would say I was stubborn, “just like your grandmother.” Instead of being humiliated, I was proud to be linked in some clear way to the woman who raised me, who loved me, and whom I adored. Today, looking back across half a century, I have a few clues to her inner strength and resilience. When I think of her, which is often, I thank her for teaching me that having a disability does not mean inability and for holding me tight and rocking me to sleep with her lullaby of wordless love.