The Promise of Pierson Orchard
by Kate Brandes
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
In the novel, Green Energy arrives, offering the impoverished rural community of Minden, Pennsylvania, the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a shame-filled twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfill a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade–years ago.
When LeeAnn’s parents have good reason to lease their land, but their decision leads to tragedy, Jack must fight to find a common ground that will save his fractured family, their land, and the way of life they love.
Jack looked back at them only once. The baby and LeeAnn, slick with blood and afterbirth, the cord still connecting them, as though they’d both been born of the swollen creek and washed up on its banks.
The sight of LeeAnn with her arms around the child pushed Jack to move faster. He raced back the way he’d come. The ground was soaked and slippery. He fell several times, blindly grabbing onto rocks and trees, pulling and pushing anything that could move him forward. When he reached the cones across the road, his chest burned and his hands bled. Headlights came toward him and he stepped out into the middle of the road with his arms raised. The car slowed. Gabriel jumped out.
“Jack! I heard about the bridge and came right away. What’s happened? You okay? Where’s LeeAnn? I got no answer on her cell or at her apartment.”
“Call nine-one-one. We need an ambulance. She’s downstream, along the shore, straight ahead.” Jack pointed the way. “Stella and the baby, too. They’re alive, but there isn’t much time. The baby’s more blue than pink. I’m going back to wait with them.”
“Take this,” Gabriel said, removing off his coat and handing it to him after pulling his cell from its pocket.
Jack hurried. By the time he got to LeeAnn he could already hear the sirens. LeeAnn was awake, her skin as chalk white as the sycamore in the moonlight. Her lower lip bled.
“Hold on now, LeeAnn. Help is coming.” The rapid, shallow rhythm of the baby’s breath didn’t seem right even to his untrained eye. He wrapped them both in Gabriel’s coat and then went to Stella. When he shook her, her eyes flickered open. “Just lay still for now. Medics will be here in a few minutes.”
He moved back over next to LeeAnn, stripped off his shirt, and lay down under the coat beside her and the baby, wrapping around them to offer what body warmth he could. “Your dad’s waiting for the ambulance. They’ll be here very soon,” he said, kissing LeeAnn’s forehead. “I’m here with you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted,” he said, muttering it over and over, hoping she heard.
Kate Brandes: 10 Things That Make Me Happy
I’m a long believer in the power of gratitude. My life has been extra busy lately. Busier than I prefer and it’s in the especially crazy moments, when ticking off to myself all that I have (a wonderful family, a home, good health, food, friends, etc.) is as important as it is transformative.
Besides all the foundational good things in my life, there are also smaller things that make me happy. I thought I’d share some of those (listed in no particular order):
- Early mornings. All my life, even as a college student years ago, I’ve been an early riser. I’m up before dawn. I love the quietness of early mornings and seeing the world slowly wake around me as the sun rises.
- This is essential, given the early morning thing.
- I love them all. I’m particularly enchanted with wildflowers growing in the forests in my part of Pennsylvania and I go on long walks looking for them, particularly in the spring.
- Making stuff. I like to do some painting and textile art. Right now I’m working on a paper quilt project.
- Deep conversation. I’m not opposed to chitchat, which is what makes up most of my daily interactions with people. But my favorite conversations are those from the heart.
- See’s Candies Dark Peppermints. Peppermint cream covered in dark chocolate. Yes, pleaseJ
- Well, I need to qualify this one. I wouldn’t say running make me happy while I’m doing it. But I’m very happy to have run when it’s all over. This is the way I feel about writing, too.
- Spring Green toenail polish. It’s my current favorite color, because it’s spring!
- Bogs waterproof boots. I love to pull these boots on for walks with my dog through the cornfields near my house.
- My first novel, The Promise of Pierson Orchard. It debuts on April 22, 2017.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
An environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wildflowers.
In celebration of my upcoming book launch, I’m offering 8 signed paperback copies, 8 small prizes, a $25 Amazon gift card and a list of book-related discussion questions to one lucky book club member to share with your club. All you have to do to enter is tell one person about the book and sign up here: http://katebrandes.com/books/the-promise-of-person-orchard/ Contest runs through my book launch date, April 22, 2017. The winner will be announced the following day! Good luck!
Book tour giveaway
Kate Brandes will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.