“I can go anywhere I like and be whoever I choose to be when I write.”
– Sarah Martin Byrd
Hello everyone, welcome to my website. I hope you enjoy yourself as you browse around. Don’t miss my weekly blog. I am so excited about the release of my new novel, The River Keeper. Thanks to all who read my first work, Guardian Spirit and my second novel, The Color of My Heart and my children’s book, The Manger Mouse. Your encouraging comments have sustained me through many long hours of editing and re-writes.
In the Coal Mine Shadows
In the Coal Mine Shadows is a gritty southern tale of Mame. After a coal mine explosion kills her father in 1922, young, pretty Mame Blackwell is anything but willing to accept her mother’s hardscrabble plan for farming burley tobacco in rural West Virginia. Mame soon finds out that trying to survive in a nearly deserted coal mining town, without a father in the early 1900’s is anything but easy. She’s got to find a way out of the sleepy little town of Beckley. Facing nothing but hard labor, Mame eagerly leaves on her first trip to Charleston. She meets tobacco heir Clint Paddington and sees her chance to move up in the world. While she connives to snare him, little does she know that Clint’s father, Paddy, also owns part of the deadly mine and has befriended her mother, further entangling the two families. But it is Mame’s wild, naïve choices that expose both families to even deeper dangers for generations to come. Do children inherit the sins of their fathers? Are there dark forces that walk the earth? Enter lawless roustabout Jack Marsh, and watch the damage escalate as ambition and romance go awry, adding betrayal, kidnapping, rape, and even murder to the mining tragedy. Will Mame’s secrets push her to madness? Or will her solid roots in the coal mining country help her survive her mistakes? Or at least be forgiven of them?
In the Coal Mine Shadows, softcover edition
The River Keeper
In 1940 eight-year-old Callie Mae McCauley and her family lead a simple, yet full life in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a small town called, Mouth of Wilson.
Little does Callie know she’ll never see her family again when she climbs the hill to stand on the rise above her house to get a better look at the New River. Heavy rains have her running bank full. What Callie witnesses that day will forever change her life. Orphaned at eight she must go and live with her Granny Jane. Callie loves her Granny, but she doesn’t know if she loves her enough to live with her full time.
Callie soon realizes that the shock of what’s happened to her has stolen her voice. She can’t speak. A new neighbor, Chloe Combs, and a swarm of honeybees help Callie find her tongue. A friendship between the two begins. Callie thinks Miss Chloe is peculiar, but she soon finds out that Chloe may be her only friend when her mean uncles come to claim their share of Granny Jane’s property.
Greed seeps its way into the mountains when Callie’s uncles try to retain ownership of their Ma’s twelve acres that lie on both sides of the New River. They have a plan, and they won’t let anything, or anyone stand in their way, not even their niece Callie.
When Callie ends up in an orphanage, she soon finds out that there are a lot of children in this world in worse shape than she is. But a mountain girl can’t be held inside walls of plaster and wood. A mountain girl’s got to smell the earth and feel it under her feet. She’s got to converse with the birds and listen as the river makes sweet music in her ears.
Finally at the orphanage she strikes up a friendship with a crippled boy named Hackney, and a mysterious girl named Anna. Their adventure to save the river from being dammed up by a Hydroelectric Plant begins.
Readers will fall in love with The River Keeper. You’ll experience the rich dialect of the people from Appalachia, and ride the swift rapids of adventure into the worrisome life of Callie Mae McCauley. Callie knows a girl’s got to be leathery, or she’ll be tore to pieces by the weight of all her troubles and trials.
The River Keeper, softcover edition
The Manger Mouse
What really happened the night Jesus was born?
Matty’s mother tells him he will take part in the most important thing to ever happen in history. Why him, a meek and lowly stable mouse? All Matty the manger mouse wants to do is snuggle into the warmth of his mother and fall asleep—but the Creator of the world has another plan for him. Will the little stable mouse surrender to his own needs or bow to the will of the Savior?
Children and adults will be touched by Matty’s brave little heart. As the story of that first Christmas unfolds, come join Matty and all the other stable dwellers—portrayed in lush and charming pastel illustrations.
The Manger Mouse, hardcover
The Color of My Heart
Living in the foothills of North Carolina, Laura Carter has it all: a nice home, wonderful adoptive parents, two lovely teenage daughters, and a to-die-for handsome husband. As they celebrate freedom on the Fourth of July, she’s certain that nothing could ever shatter her perfect American life: Or could it?
An unexpected letter from her great-grandmother brings Laura face-to-face with her birth family. At their first, shocking meeting, she receives a stack of diaries that trace a heartbreaking voyage from Africa to Jekyll Island, Georgia, via a slave ship. Thanks to the missionary who lived with her ancestors in Africa and taught them how to speak and write English, Laura holds in her hands a gripping record of their lives.
Could the realities of her mixed-race heritage destroy her family? Laura tries to live honorably, but her husband resists, and daughter Lakin has her own secrets. Lurking in the shadows is a small group called the brethren. The brethren’s dirty deeds are meant to preserve the purity of race in a South that still wears old patches of hate. Will they succeed in chopping down Laura’s family tree, or will the newest branches have a better chance at peace and acceptance in a more open-minded South?
This is the scripture that I base The Color of My Heart on: Galatians 3:28-29
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The Color of My Heart, softcover edition
A little girl’s world should be all sugar and spice and everything nice, but that is not the case for twelve-year-old Sadie Madison. She, her mother Millie, and little brother have all felt the strong hand of her abusive father.
After many attempts, they escape to Millie’s childhood playground. From Texas to North Carolina, they travel to the cherished cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, back to the memories that were left behind over twenty years before.
Millie longs to reconnect with her treasured Grandma Ann, but can she risk contacting her? Will their spirits find a way? How long can they hide before Millie’s husband Brad finds them? And what horrible things will he do to them if he does? Who or what can save them?
The Madison family perseveres as proudly as the local Cherokee Indians did on their Trail of Tears over one hundred and thirty years ago. They discover that their journey is mysteriously and miraculously interwoven with the fate of the Indians, the animal spirits, and even the land. Can time itself open up a safe haven and create a long overdue reunion of souls? Some believe in the Guardian Spirit. Do you?
Sadie’s Indian name is “Wakanda” which means possessor of magic power. Will this young girl be able to harness that power in time to help the Guardian Spirit save them? Yes!
Guardian Spirit, softcover edition
In the Press…
Guardian Spirit mentioned in an article about Domestic Violence in Ms. Magazine!
Watch the Guardian Spirit book trailer!