My Knotty Jolene – an excerpt

I am thrilled to announce that the official release date for “My Knotty Jolene” is set for May of 2016 with Red Sage Publishing.

The fantastic news is that book 2, “Amy’s Maiden Voyage,” is well underway. I will announce its release date soon. Red Sage has picked up the publishing rights to all 4 books in the series.

Look for more announcements to come soon.

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to “My Knotty Jolene” with this excerpt.

Jessica blows a kiss before disappearing down the dock and I collapse onto one of the cushioned seats that form a semi-circle around the helm. Minutes pass before I grab a messenger bag and throw in my keys, phone, wallet, a bottle of water, and an apple and I hop back on my bike and head toward my store.

I enjoy the sounds, smells, and scenery during the one-mile bike ride from the marina to the studio. It gives me time to clear my head and make the transition to artisan. It also helps me to keep in shape.

Clouds sway across the backdrop of the powder blue sky. A cool Gulf breeze carries a trace of leftover pink evening primrose in the late morning air. Locals call them “pink buttercups.” I just call them heaven.

I inhale deeply, savoring the sweet scent.

Once, it electrified me.

Now, it grounds me.

Seagulls cry in the distance, begging anglers for a bite from their bait buckets. Waves spill onto the shore and then roll back into the hazy, blue depths. It’s January. Tourist season has not yet begun, so the sand-lined streets are clean and quiet.

In the small coastal town of Port Aransas, Texas, businesses depend on their profit from the tourist season that begins in March and winds down in late August to carry them through the slow winter months. This winter has been especially hard on my business.

I lean to the right as I round the last corner and the studio comes into view. The large sign above the door reads, “Jolene’s Treasures.” Wesley painted the sign. I’ll never forget how proud he was on the day he gave me the keys and the lease to the store.

The bell over the door chimes as I roll my bike over the threshold and into the studio. Metal sculptures inspired by the sea are displayed on the wall to the left. Waves. Fish. Seashells. My inspiration from days past is clear. In the corners are display cases with metal jewelry – earrings, rings, belts, bracelets, cuffs. Each piece is uniquely designed and forged in my metal shop in the back. To the right are my newest pieces that have inspired many controversial debates in the small town, though I’m not sure why. When making them, I let the metal speak to me and molded them into abstract shapes. To me, they’re modern, enigmatic. I guess with every other store in town offering starfish and sharks, my conceptual art is too odd for the locals.

During the off-season, my time is spent mostly in creating and crafting. I work long hours to fill the shelves and display cases so that I can focus on customers when tourist season begins. Since I can’t afford to pay an assistant, I take clients by appointment only during the winter months. This allows me the focused time necessary to design and create new pieces, as well as the privacy to dive into my work without being interrupted.

I roll my bike into the back room and lean it against the wall. My workbench is just as I left it with a partially hammered bracelet secured in a small vice. I crank up Pink and sing along as I hammer the bracelet into submission. “They knew better, still you said forever…and ever…who knew!” I belt out the words and pound the bracelet with every syllable. Tears mix with sweat and slide down my cheeks and fall onto the table. “I miss you, my darling….”

A movement in the corner catches my eye, causing me to pause mid-lyric. The most beautiful and exotic woman I ever saw strolls toward me with a well-dressed man following closely behind her. I turn off the stereo and use the back of my sleeve to wipe my eyes. She extends a graceful hand in my direction and asks, “Open?” in a thick, Spanish accent.

“Sorry, yes. I am.” Dummy, you forgot to lock the door, I chastise inwardly.

She’s holding something in her other hand that appears to be the end of a dog’s leash. A tinkling sound echoes in the concrete workroom and I discover its source. The man is wearing a black, leather spiked dog collar and a delicate silver chain is attached to the front on one end and to this mystery woman’s hand on the other end. What the hell…..