A few months ago my young adult novel Winter Begins was named a finalist in the FCRW Romance Writer’s of America’s Unpublished Beacon contest. Well, the final round judges have made their decision, and Winter Begins was awarded second place.

Not too shabby. Fingers are crossed that this is the first step toward finding Winter Begins a home.

In celebration, I’m posting a snippet from the book. Winter isn’t strictly a romance novel, but does have a healthy romance subplot. Main character Kate has been having some seriously creepy dreams. The kind that make her think she just might be crazy. Well, part of those dreams shows up in her history class. Here’s an introduction to both Kate and our hero Thad. This is their first conversation.

“Now there’s a woman with something on her mind,” the guy from my dreams said. Again his voice reverberated in my sternum, turning me into a human tuning fork.

I offered him a partial smile as I gathered my things, because what else could I do?

“I’m Thad. Though, I guess you might have already heard that part.” Guys who looked like that could pull off the odd preacher kid name. Admittedly, I have no idea who Thad was or what made him special in the Bible, but I was familiar enough to know it was a Jesus-loving name.


“Winter? I wouldn’t have pegged you as a Winter.”

Okay, we might be able to like him. Everyone else loved calling me Winter. The pale hair, the uber fair skin, all of it made everyone think of snow banks and Christmas pageants, I guess.

“Agreed. My name is actually Kate. Well, Kate Winter. Everyone has just always called me Winter because of the general washed-out look.”

“Can I call you Kate?”

“Um, sure, but it may take a few tries before I recognize it.”

We walked side-by-side down the hall. Nearly touching. It wasn’t purposeful, but something about him—maybe the tuning fork thing—pulled me closer. Ever so often you meet people you immediately like and discover a preordained connection as though you were friends in another life. I’m not saying that was the case with Thad, but something similar was happening. Given the dreams I should have been more concerned.


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