Thursday, September 22, 2016

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Deleted scene from Shadow of a Life

I recently came across the original opening scene for my book Shadow of a Life. I cut this scene before I even sent the manuscript out to publishers/agents. Since today is Throwback Thursday, I decided it might be fun to share it here.

Disclaimer: This scene was written very, very early in my writing career. Pretend it sounds nice and pretty and that I didn't overuse adverbs or head hop. Okay? Okay. This is a real event from history, so the characters are 100% real.

Also, don't forget that Shadow of a Life is currently free on Amazon and Smashwords. If you download it through Amazon, you can get the audiobook for only $1.99!

Shadow of a Life
December 1872

          “Captain! Captain! There’s a ship ahead!” John Johnson bellowed. “Take a look, sir.  Somethin’ ain’t right about her.”   
            Captain David Morehouse, captain of the Dei Gratia, strode towards the helmsman and snatched the spyglass from his outstretched hand. Just ahead of them a brigantine bobbed up and down in the rolling waves. The sails of the large, two-masted ship were worn and she listed slightly to one side. Captain Morehouse ordered his crew to approach cautiously. They sailed nearer, their apprehension growing with every splash of the water. When they were close enough to see the main deck, he again raised the spyglass to his eye, but there was no sign of life on the mysterious ship.
             “Circle around her. Maybe we can see the name on her bow,” Captain Morehouse ordered. The Dei Gratia slowly cut a path through the dark waters. An eerie quiet hung in the air.    
               Captain Morehouse cursed when he saw the name emblazoned on the side of the boat.  “It’s the Mary Celeste. She should have reached Italy days ago.” 
            The crew of the Dei Gratia gathered around her bow and watched in silence, waiting for something to happen, not knowing what to expect. It was a long time before Captain Morehouse cleared his throat to speak again.
            “Deveau, take a couple men and board the ship. Captain Briggs is a friend of mine. It’s our duty to assist him and his crew.”
            “Yes, sir!” Oliver Deveau served as chief mate of the Dei Gratia. In all his years sailing, even as a captain himself at one time, he’d never come upon such a bizarre scene. The waters were a busy shipping area and it wasn’t uncommon to pass multiple vessels on a journey across the Atlantic, but he’d never seen one that appeared to be sailing itself. 
            With the help of two others, Deveau rowed the small lifeboat to the waiting Mary Celeste and boarded her wooden planks. Cautiously, they explored the main deck and then, with ever growing anticipation, made their way below deck.
            From the Dei Gratia, Captain Morehouse watched with a sinking feeling gnawing at his stomach. Captain Briggs was a fine captain and would not willingly abandon his ship. The two captains were friends and had sailed together in their younger years. On the evening of November 4th, just one month earlier, they’d met for dinner with their wives. The Mary Celeste left port the next day, bound for Europe. Captain Briggs’ wife and two-year-old daughter were accompanying him on his trans-Atlantic voyage while his seven-year-old son stayed home to attend school. Everything had appeared to be in place for an uneventful trip.
             “Well?” Morehouse demanded of Deveau as the men climbed back over the rail of the Dei Gratia a short time later. “What did you find?  Has there been some tragedy?  Have they all come down with yellow fever?”
            “Sir, the ship looks a little worse for the wear, but she’s in sailing condition. I think we should take her in for salvage,” Deveau replied.
            “And the fate of the crew?” Morehouse asked impatiently.
           Deveau hesitated. “I can’t answer that, sir. There’s nothing there. No people. No bodies rotting in their beds. Everyone has vanished.” He paused before going on. “Sir, it’s as if she were a ghost ship.” 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Giveaway and Rone Awards!

I'm excited and honored to announce that my novella, ALL IS MERRI AND BRIGHT, has been nominated for a Rone Award by InD'Tale magazine. 

Because I'm so excited, I'm going to give away an ebook of my latest novella, LOSING INDEPENDENCE, and an audiobook copy of SHADOW OF A LIFE.

I would appreciate any and all votes for ALL IS MERRI AND BRIGHT. To vote, pop on over to InD'Tale, sign up, and vote for your favorite. (Hopefully it's mine!)

Enter my giveaway by clicking below.

As always, thanks to all of you (my fans) for your continualsupport!

--Tifani Clark

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mmm...Tifani's Easy Bread Recipe

Growing up, my mom made all of our bread. Each Saturday she'd make six loaves of the deliciousness. If she bought something from the store, it grew green-stuff-that-shall-not-be-named before anyone ate it. To this day, she still makes all her bread and I get warm memories just thinking about the wonderful smell it created in our home. 

I think of myself as a decent baker, but for some reason, I've never been able to perfect Mom's bread recipe. (I'll blame it on differences in elevation. Cough...cough...) Since Lauren's mom in Losing Independence makes a ton of bread, too, I decided to share a recipe I adapted that DOES work for me. I don't make bread every time we run out, but when I do, I double the recipe and make 4 loaves. They freeze well and my kids love the bread for sandwiches and toast. Enjoy!

                                               Tifani's Easy White Bread

                                                        Makes 2 loaves

                                         1 ½ cups warm water
                                         1 heaping tablespoon instant yeast
                                         4 tablespoons vegetable oil
                                         4 tablespoons sugar                                      
                                         2 teaspoons salt
                                         4 1/2 cups flour                                     

In a large bowl (or mixer with dough hook), add all ingredients in the order listed. Mix well. Dump dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until elastic. Put dough back in bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place for 40-45 minutes. Divide the dough into two halves and shape into two loaves. Place dough in bread pans and let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Note #1:  If you have a bread machine, use the dough setting to make the dough, and then shape into two loaves and bake as directed.

Note #2: Never shaped bread loaves before? Here's  a picture tutorial of how it's done. First, roll the dough into a rectangle with the shorter side being approximately the width of your bread pan. While you're rolling, make sure you are eliminating bubbles in the dough. Next, roll the rectangle up, starting with the shorter side, and pinch the dough together. Last, pinch the sides down and plop it into your pan.

Kneaded Dough

Rolled Dough

Shaped Dough

Ready for the oven!

Baked to a golden brown.

Enjoy with homemade jam.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Little Bit of Luck

It's time for a cover reveal! 

What will it look like?

On March 1st, the latest installment of my Holiday Novella Collection will be released. As of today, you can pre-order 
A Little Bit of Luck on Amazon by clicking on the title.

If you missed them, you can read the first two books in the Holiday Novella Collection for a discounted price.

And, if you love history and ghosts, check out my Soul Saver Series.

Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for... Here is the cover of A Little Bit of Luck.

Tifani Clark

Bree Donovan’s life revolves around good luck charms and superstitions. She blames her obsessions on her Irish heritage. When her best friend sets her up on a blind date with Landon Murray, an efficiency consultant, Bree’s beliefs are challenged.

Landon is convinced he can prove to Bree in one weekend that luck doesn’t exist. She’s convinced she can prove that it’s real. As the weekend progresses, she experiences unexpected consequences of their challenge. She’s falling for him, but he thinks of her as nothing more than a problem to fix.

Will Bree find happiness, or will her luck officially run out?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Cursed Vacation

Summer vacations are supposed to be fun and entertaining and stress-free. Right? RIGHT???  Well, that's usually how our vacations go, but this summer our simple trip had a few bumps.

It all started the night before we left. I was busy trying to pack and twice found that one of the kids had spilled water on the kitchen floor and failed to clean it up. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy. When it happened again, my husband and I realized it wasn't the kids.  Nope. The icemaker in the fridge was broken.


We shut it down, cleaned up the mess, and finished packing. The next morning, Jeff was loading the truck for our trip to Glacier National Park. Camping with six people can be fun, but it requires squeezing a lot of gear into a not-so-big space. One of our dear children sat in the front of the truck, pretending to drive, and pushing a lot of buttons. We finally got everything and everyone loaded and prepared to back out of the garage. Except the truck wouldn't start.


Apparently one too many buttons got pushed while the dear child was playing make believe and the battery drained. A quick jump later and we were on our way to eastern Montana to visit the in-laws and attend my husband's class reunion before heading to the national park. The weekend was great and we had fun meeting with old friends. But then, the curse struck again. We woke up Monday morning to leave and our oldest child was sick. The kind of sick you don't want someone to be when you have a long drive in enclosed spaces.


We didn't have another choice, so we grabbed some large Ziploc bags and left--or at least we tried to leave. After rolling the window down to wave goodbye to Grandma, the driver's side window wouldn't roll back up. We'd never before had a problem with it. GRR!


Not wanting to head into bear country without a window that closed at night, we took a different route and drove to Billings (almost two hours away) and the nearest mechanic with the right parts. Our poor, sick child laid on a couch in the waiting room for the few hours it took to fix the window. Back on the road, we soon realized we wouldn't make it to the park in time to secure one of the few camping spots. We stopped in Great Falls and got a hotel room.

The next morning, our sick child felt better and we were on the road again. We arrived in Glacier National Park and found a great spot. Despite the record-breaking heat, we managed to get our tent set up and the kids began exploring. All was well until our evening campfire. Dinner was great and we decided to make s'mores. Jeff was chopping wood to add to the fire and a large splinter broke off and flew into his leg in a freak accident. It wouldn't come out. And trust me, we tried everything--including disinfecting a pocket knife to cut it out.

Not wanting an infection, we gave up and headed out of the park and into West Glacier a few miles away. Sadly, the medical clinic was closed for the night so we had to turn around and wait until morning. Apparently mishaps in the park are common place because there was quite the line at the one room clinic when we returned the next day. The doctor decided the only way to get the embedded wood out was to cut into Jeff's leg. He closed a curtain so we were separated from the rest of the line (not that they couldn't hear everything going on) and began the procedure. I became the doctor's assistant, handing him tools and even putting his goggles on him after he'd scrubbed up. Yes, I laughed the entire time. That's just how I am. A few stitches and a giant bandage later, we were on our way. Jeff decided to tell everyone he fought off a bear because it sounded better.

Oh, and did I mention yet that Jeff accidentally/sort-of-on-purpose bear sprayed the kids?

Sad that our trip didn't go as planned, I asked the kids on the way home what they would remember most about our trip. They didn't mention the vehicle problems, or the sickness, or the heat, or the time spent in the clinic. Nope. This is what they mentioned:

And this:

And this grizzly:

And skipping rocks:

And playing in the snow and watching rams: 

And splashing in the clear glacial water:

And the amazing scenery:

Despite everything, my kids managed to look past the chaos and remember the magical moments. I think I'll do the same. I can't wait for next year's summer vacation!

P.S. If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, you can do that by clicking this link. The odds are in YOUR favor! PLEASE take time to look at it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's GIVEAWAY time!!!

I think it's about time for another giveaway. Wahoo! On Liberty's Watch has been out for two months now and I want to know what you think of it. For this giveaway, everyone gets a free entry, but if you've left a review of Shadow of a Life, Haven Waiting, or On Liberty's Watch on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble, you get additional entries. Not bad, huh?

So, let's get down to the important stuff: The Prizes.

GRAND PRIZE: Shadow of a Life audiobook, a pocket watch like the one from On Liberty's Watch, and signed bookmarks from the entire Soul Saver series.

RUNNER-UP: Shadow of a Life audiobook

Click here to enter the contest: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all those entering and thanks for reading my books. Wait...what was that you asked? When will my next book be released? Well, I'll be making that announcement before the end of the month.      --Tifani Clark