It’s release day!!
Happy Book Birthday, Renewed Hope!
Welcome to the month-long blog series about various features of Renewed Hope.
To kick off the festivities, meet this month’s Women Honoring the West, or in this case, Indigenous Woman Honoring the West, Sophie Cayes.
Fun and Not-So-Fun Facts about Sophie
- She’s a mother to preschooler Basin.
- She loves to paint.
- Her medium of choice is watercolor.
- She teaches painting at a local Polson Montana art consortium.
- Her subject of choice to paint is wildlife and wilderness landscapes.
- She’s a single parent.
- She’s a domestic violence survivor.
- She was raised by her late grandmother.
- She survives her sister, Bria.
- She loves to sing.
- She’s honest and dependable.
- She’s an entrepreneur.
- She’s a daughter of God.
I loved creating Sophie’s character. She is kind and warm. She’s the kind of young lady you want to sit down with, have a cup of tea, and visit for hours, laughing and singing and having a grand time.
She’s an amazing mom and will do anything to protect her son. Anything!
Powwows are her culture as she’s a tribal member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation in Pablo, Montana, where she and Basin reside in a single-wide mobile home. A home filled with love and laughter. And dinosaurs. Lots of them.
Here’s a snippet from the opening scene of Renewed Hope.
Saturday, May 1, Late Morning
Sandpiper Art Gallery & Gifts, Polson, Montana
Sophie Cayes’s tummy twisted when she read the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Celebration leaflet, MMIW for short. Jeannette, one of the gallery’s consortium members, had given her the brochure before Sophie taught her morning art lesson.
Her angst heightened at the thought of standing on the stage in Elmo, talking about Bria’s murder. All eyes on her. In seven days. She hugged herself. Nope. A hard pass. Besides, her hands were full with her abusive ex-husband’s attempt to rip Basin away from her.
She set the flyer on the worktable next to a tote of paintbrushes. “I can’t.” Saying her sister’s name? In a crowd? When she couldn’t even say it in private without unraveling? No way. She plucked a paper towel off the countertop, her body trembling like ripples on a lake in a stiff breeze. She needed to focus on retaining full custody of her son.
“Think about it. And remember, I got your back. With Basin. With your lessons. With the celebration.” Jeannette headed to the gallery showroom.
Sophie turned to her art student, Natalie, when the front door’s bell chimed, and Matt’s deep-timbre voice stormed into the room. “Where’s Sophie?”
Oh, God, no. Not here. Not today. Wiping her quivering hands on her apron, she hurried to the gallery. The sight of him made her cringe inside. She couldn’t afford a disfigured reputation, not when she needed prestigious galleries and museums to take her seriously.
“What are you doing here, Matt?” Sophie glanced at Jeannette and shook her head. Disgust and dread slinked down her throat and settled into her stomach. Why hadn’t she turned Matt in for abuse years ago? Then maybe she wouldn’t have a custody battle on her hands. She hated how terrified of him she used to be. Still was. Oh, how she’d love to be in a peaceful place where she could paint, and her son could grow up without his vicious father lurking on weekends and holidays.
Jeannette slid her cell out of her pocket. Glad her friend had offered to be the bad guy and call the cops if he happened to show up, Sophie kept an eye on her. She hadn’t expected Matt to drop in. At least not today.
“Thought you had your pack test.”
“Got done early.”
“What about your survival refresher training? Don’t they do it all in one day?”
“You know I have it in the afternoons.” He encroached on her personal bubble, and she took a step back. Then another, feeling like she’d pass out. “I want Basin for the weekend. Olivia wants to take him to the River Honoring on Monday morning.”
Matt’s new wife wants him again. Are you kidding me? No. Definitely not. The River Honoring, held by the Flathead River, hosted elementary-aged kids who went from station to station learning various skills about nature, energy, and culture. Certainly no place for a four-year-old with breathing issues.
“She wants him all week, actually.”
All week? Her heart punched her rib cage. “It’s supposed to rain. You know he has trouble—”
“Geeze, Sophie. He’ll be fine. Quit hovering over him like a—”
She backed up a step and glared. Get out of here! “Fine.”
Matt always got his way. If not, he’d slap her. She needed to agree with him and get him out of the gallery before he made a scene. Before Jeannette called the cops. And she wasn’t familiar enough with Natalie to know if the woman would spread gossip or not. She certainly didn’t need to be the talk of the rez. “I’ll bring him over after dinner.” Or not.
“No need. Olivia’s picking him up at childcare.”
Dirty bugger. The blonde bomb had no business picking up her son. She struggled to keep her tone even. “I didn’t agree to her picking him up today.”
“She’s on her way to his day care now.” He held up his key to her house. The one she’d sworn she’d gotten back. “I’ll get his stuff.” He turned with a smirk on his face and left.
I hope you enjoyed this short excerpt. And remember, no, this is not a spoiler because this is a romance story, Sophie does have a happily ever after. You’ll have to read her story to find out how!
This week, my publisher, Iron Stream Fiction, has placed the Kindle copy on sale for .99 cents!!
Stay tuned…next week you’ll learn about Sophie’s art project dedicated to her sister.
For a chance to win a signed copy of Renewed Hope (US only), tell me what you think about this story so far. Share your thoughts in the comment section.
*Names will be randomly drawn on Friday. I will post the winner in the comments.