Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Page Wednesday - Sky Tinted Water by Keta Diablo

Sky Tinted Water
Historical Romance
Keta Diablo


* Mystery
* Suspense

Malevolent schemes and passion collide in this sweet historical novel. Set in Minnesota during the Civil War and the Sioux uprising, this is the story of Rory Hudson, the exquisite Irish lass with an unbreakable spirit and the enigmatic Dawson Finch, a man bound by honor, duty and loyalty.

When Dawson enlists in the army to bring peace to nation divided, Rory’s world plummets into a tailspin. War, distance and time separate them, but nothing can dispel the haunting memories of their love. Not even death can destroy their fierce passion or a love so strong it beats the odds of the impossible.

First Look from Chapter One:
Midwest plains

A dissonant shout jolted Rory Hudson awake. "Indians! Indians!"

She scrambled from her bedroll in the back of the wagon and peered out the open flap. The
eldest of her nephews, Clark and James, stood beside their parents' wagon pointing to the sky.
Rory's gaze followed their outstretched arms to a stream of smoke rising above the treetops. Her
sister, Isabelle, and husband, Jon Caldwell, ran in the direction the wagon train covered yesterday.
The wagon master, Ezekiel Harmon, had warned his little flock against Indian attacks before
they left Boston. He'd insisted they study his simple drawings and practice circling the wagons to
form a line of defense. Rory dressed in haste, rushed from the wagon and glanced at the sky as she
ran. Dense gray puffs wound toward the clouds and the smell of burnt wood tainted the air.

Ezekiel's worst nightmare had come true—hostiles had struck.

A smoldering canvas and charred arrows brought Rory to a stiff–legged halt. The wooden
frame of the McCall wagon stood stark and bleak against the verdant landscape. And the enemy
had slipped away like thieves in the night after striking their death blow. When Amelia McCall went
into labor yesterday, her husband had halted their wagon near a groove of pines, promising to
rejoin the train once the babe arrived. They didn't have to worry about falling too far behind now.
Her hands buffeting the heat, Isabelle screamed and rushed toward the flaming Conestoga.

Ezekiel lunged for her wrist. "You can't go in there, Mrs. Caldwell. Nothing left but bones
With an anguished groan, her sister fell to her knees. "They didn't get out?"
Ezekiel shook his head.

"It can't be true!" Isabelle turned a tear–stained face to her husband. "Another baby dead, and
I just brought that child into the world last night."

Aware of her sister's misery over the death of her own boy, Rory whispered his name. "Jon
Henry." Whenever a child passed now, Isabelle relived the death of the infant who died in her
arms. She wondered how long her sister would continue to practice midwifery after this nightmare.
Jon clutched his wife's elbow and tugged her to her feet. "Come along, girl. No telling when the
hostiles will return."

Struggling upward, her voice cracked. "Let them come. I don't care." Her face ravaged by
angst, she lifted her chin. "Where is God's mercy now, Jon?"

Leading her back to their wagon, his hushed voice reached Rory's ears. "It's not for us to
question His reasoning."

Rory took in the devastation. Hissing shafts of arrows protruded from the blackened ruins, the
acrid smoke turning her stomach. Blankets, trunks and clothing riddled the landscape, and beyond,
empty vats of flour and dry goods littered the ground. Amid the horror, a magnificent ribbon of
sunlight broke through the clouds. How could such terror visit on this glorious day?

Ezekiel broke through her thoughts with a nudge. "Although you're a grown–up young lady, I'm
about to pull rank. Your brother–in–law is right; no telling if the Indians will return. That means I
have to move the wagon train out right away." Shoulders sagging, she nodded and followed him
back to safety.

After shooing her twin toddlers, Sophia and Eliza, to the wagon packed with their household
furnishings, Isabelle took to her wagon for the remainder of the day. Rory had faith her sister would
emerge before long, her invisible armor still penetrable but stronger in intent and purpose. Isabelle
might retreat for a time but she'd never surrender.

The following morning, Ezekiel pulled his horse to a halt near their wagons and plucked a map
from his vest pocket. "We're here, Jon," He pointed to an area on the map. "The border of
southern Minnesota. We'll say goodbye now, be on our way to Dakota Territory and hope we
make Wyoming before the snow falls."

"Godspeed, Ezekiel. We wish you the best in the coming weeks."

Ezekiel tipped his wide–brimmed hat, turned his mount around and directed the wagon train
west. Rory sighed with relief. Always ready for a grand adventure, she'd never choose the life of a
wanderlust fool as long as she lived.

* * *

Reviews from Amazon:

"Ms. Diablo will capture your attention and once she's got it and will not let go until you read the very last sentence. Set in the Midwest during the late 1800s, Sky Tinted Water follows young Rory Hudson as she heads West with her older sister's family, settles in and meets the young man that truly captivates her from the first time she lays eyes on him. Theirs is love at first sight even when all they have is a glimpse of each other and no names to fall back on. Follow Rory and Dawson as their love as it grows and is strengthened by time, tragedy and even war.

To call this simply a Sweet Romance is not doing it justice. If you're not careful, Ms. Diablo will not only capture your attention, she'll capture your heart."
 5 Stars!

* * *
"I was very impressed. The characters were rich and full, immediately lovable and relatable. And yes, there were the typical romance scenes in the book, but this was so much more. I instantly loved the main character, Rory, and turned every page anxiously to see what was coming next. The story seemed very true to the times, and remembering the harsh reality of the civil war and the tribulations between the people who settled in the States and the Natives who were already here, there were moments when the story was heartbreaking and tough. But that's one of the best parts of this book!

As per usual, I don't want to give too much detail or spoilers, because this book is so worth reading. I enjoyed every minute of it, and would not hesitate to pick up another of Keta Diablo's books. I give this a firm five of five stars and urge you to give this book a try." 5 Stars

* * *
"This is the story of a family who moved to Minnesota from the Boston area back in the time of the civil war and Indian uprisings. It is the story of their everyday life--the ups and downs, the joys and the worries. It depicts how people stuck together and helped each other. When an Indian family shows up at their door with a very pregnant wife-she is helped-and a son is born. That act of kindness is repaid-how I will not tell you or I will give away part of the story! It is also the story of a true love--between a husband and wife of long standing and the sweet romance and marriage of a young couple.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this--it was refreshing. I will be watching out for the sequel" 5 Stars

* * *
Sky Tinted Water Available Here:
Visit Keta's Web site to learn more about her books:


  1. Keta,
    Mystery, suspense, romance, this book has all of the makings for a must read. Sky Tinted Water sounds terrific!

  2. I just have to clear some of the books on my kindle and then I will be reading this. Love the excerpt.

  3. Hello Peggy, thanks so much for hosting Sky Tinted Water. If your followers love historical with mystery and suspense, I'm certain they'll love the novel. Set in Minnesota, you'll find a little Dakota uprising history, Civil War events and, of course, romance between the pages.

    Great idea to post "First Page" from books. Hope everyone enjoys the snippet,

    Best, Keta

  4. Loved the excerpt, Keta. Sounds like a must read. I've read one of yours (though the title escapes me) and enjoyed it immensely so once this school year winds down .... definitely on my TBR list.

  5. Beautiful cover, great story. Just my kind of historical.