Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Welcome to Flowers and Thorns, Deb. 

So wonderful of you to visit during this busy holiday week.

Please tell us about family and your new book to be released soon.

Family is about more than blood or DNA or genetics. It's about love. The bonds that make a family stay together through the trials and tribulations life throws at us are far more complicated--yet simple--than birthright. 

MAID MARIAN AND THE LAWMAN is a story about unconditional love, which is what my special children and my late husband have taught me. It doesn't matter what we look like, whose eyes we have, what color our skin is, or what our IQ is. All that matters is love, dedication, loyalty, and honor.


I hope you enjoy this special story as much as I have enjoyed my special family.


Barbi, Bonnie and Ben--this one is for you and your daddy. Love, Mom.





Southern Kansas—1888

The relentless north wind sliced through Mary Goode’s threadbare coat as she trudged along the narrow trail. An image flashed through her mind of a warm fire and sweet tea with hot milk. Ah, but England was a far better place than this godforsaken land, where parents died of mysterious fevers and left their children homeless orphans.

Tears pricked her eyes, but she blinked them into submission. Now was not the time, and if all went as planned, she would never succumb to tears again. Crying was for children, and fate had decreed that at thirteen, Mary was no longer a child.

Huge snowflakes floated down from the blue-black canopy until whiteness nearly obliterated the dark sky. She paused and pulled her coat closer, wishing she still had the warm muffler her mother had knitted last winter. Alas, her guardians had taken everything.

Including Robin.

Her breath caught in her throat at the thought of seeing her brother again. Soon, she promised herself. Very soon.

Turning her face into the wind, she continued her journey, pausing at the top of a slight hill. She tucked a stray curl beneath her hood and blinked several times. At last, the massive brick and stone structure came into view.

God, please let him still be here.

Three months had passed since their parents’ deaths, when the sheriff had taken her brother to this dreadful place. Though they called it an asylum, in truth it was a prison where people like Robin were locked away until they died and were no longer a burden to anyone.

Mary would never forget that horrible day when they’d dragged Robin from her side. Weak from the same fever that had killed their parents, she’d been unable to run away and hide her brother. But now she was strong, and she would take Robin across the border to Indian Territory, where they would hide until their grandfather came for them.

What horrible things might these people have done to her smiling brother, whose laughter brightened even the most dreary days? Her mother had often called him one of God’s special angels, and their father had raised Robin with patience and love. Not once could Mary recall having heard her father refuse to read his son the same bedtime story. Every night until that horrible fever had rendered their father unconscious, he had read from The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. Of course it was also his favorite, which was why Lawrence Goode’s only son bore the name Robin.

Mary knew the entire story by heart, though she no longer had the book. That, along with everything else she’d loved, was gone. But no one could take her memories. Those were hers to cherish, and soon she would have her brother to share them.

She blinked, certain no one in this place had ever read Robin his favorite bedtime story. She would recite it to him herself once they were safe, but first she had to find him. “Please, God, make it so,” she whispered into the snowy night. “Please.”

Her mother’s last words echoed through Mary’s mind, as they often did. Look after your brother, Mary. He will always be a child.

Mary stumbled and her throat worked convulsively, her vision blurred. I will not cry. She drew a shuddering breath; the icy air cleansed her lungs and purged her mind.

Stealthily, she crept around the building, searching for a window without bars. There had to be a way for her to get inside to Robin. Soft light streamed through a ground-floor window, spilling onto the freshly fallen snow in a square of gold. Peering into the room, she determined it was the kitchen and, more importantly, unoccupied.

She widened her stance and gripped the window, easing it open very slowly. The old wood creaked and her heart pressed against her throat, a tight fist of trepidation.

And hope.

Within a matter of moments, she was inside. At first, she thought to leave the window open to aid their escape, but in this weather that would surely draw unwanted attention. 
After closing the window, she rubbed her arms, savoring the kitchen’s warmth. Without knowing where in this huge building she might find her brother, she resigned herself to searching every room on every floor if necessary. A narrow staircase drew her attention, and she decided upstairs made the most sense this time of night.


Her eyes readjusted to the darkness by the time she reached the next floor. She stood with her back pressed against the wall, waiting and wondering, listening to her heart pummel her ribs and echo through her head.
A lone lamp burned at the far end of the hall, and she inched along the wall until she came to the first closed door. With sweaty fingers, she turned the handle and peered inside. A lamp burned near the window, illuminating the room enough for her to see several cage-like iron cribs lined up against the far wall. Most of them were occupied by small bundles.

Oh, dear God. She held her breath and her throat burned with the need to vent her rage at this injustice. If she were rich, she’d take all the babies home and raise them herself. With a shudder and a powerful sense of futility, she left the room and proceeded to the next door.

On the fourth floor, she noted one door slightly ajar with light overflowing into the hall. She heard someone talking from inside, though the words were muffled. Still, something about the voice’s inflection and tone beckoned her.

Holding her breath, she peered through the open door. Joy surged through her when she recognized Robin sitting cross-legged on a narrow bed near the window. He clearly didn’t see or hear her as she stepped into the room, for he continued moving his hands and talking excitedly, reciting his favorite story.

He remembers. Mary’s determination renewed itself. She would find a way to take Robin away from here, to a place where they could live together again as brother and sister. Though he was six years her senior, he would always be her little brother in so many ways.

Her eyes blurred as she searched the stark room until her gaze came to rest on two men seated on the floor near Robin’s bed. They were staring up at him, hanging on his every word. One of them was very tall and dark, obviously an Indian. The other man was the complete opposite, and she knew if he stood he wouldn’t even reach her shoulder. She’d seen a man like him once—a midget, her father had called him.
At first, she remained in the shadows near the door, wondering if the men would try to stop her. But the expressions on their faces told her of the trust and adoration they obviously felt for her brother.
Robin continued the story, pronouncing some words in ways she knew most people wouldn’t understand. However, Robin’s audience, whoever they were, obviously understood.
Knowing she could delay no longer, Mary stepped into the lamplight. “Robin,” she said quietly. “It’s me, Ma—”

Robin leapt to his feet and rushed into her arms. “Maid Marian,” he whispered.

Hearing her father’s pet name for her made Mary’s heart flutter. “Yes, Robin. I’ve come for you.” She cast a furtive glance at the men, who now rose.

“This is Little John,” he indicated the towering Indian, “and that’s Friar Tuck.” He patted the smaller man on the shoulder.

Mary swallowed hard. “How nice. I’m pleased to meet you both.” She looked at her brother again. “We must hurry, Robin.”

“All right.” Obediently, he went to the corner and pulled on an old coat, several sizes too large. “Make haste, men.”

As Mary stared in surprise, the mismatched pair imitated Robin’s actions. The small man donned a coat far too large for his short frame, while the Indian wrapped a blanket around his shoulders.

“We go,” Little John said.

Friar Tuck put a fist on one hip and glowered up at Mary. “You’re but a child,” he said, shaking his finger at her. “But that’s all right, Maid Marian. I shall take care of you all.”

Mary realized that if she refused to allow the men to accompany them, they might alert the staff to Robin’s escape. “Very well then, follow me.”

“Where we going?” Robin asked, his eyes wide and filled with unconditional trust.

Praying for a miracle, Mary reached up to push a stray dark curl from her brother’s brow. With a smile, she said, “Why, to Sherwood Forest, of course.”

1989: Front: Barbi Stover Carr. In arms Ben Stover. Standing, Dave Stover. In backpack, Bonnie Stover (our Sunshine).
Once upon a time, Deb Stover wanted to be Lois Lane, until she discovered Clark Kent is a fraud and there is no Superman. Since publication of her first novel in 1995, Stover has received dozens of awards for her work, and published twenty titles, including including contributions to anthologies. Her work has been published internationally in several formats and languages.
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Deb and her family have called five states home over the years, but recently she made the choice to follow the Yellow Brick Road back to her roots. There’s no place like home, after all, and there’s always another story to tell.
Her next scheduled release is MAID MARIAN AND THE LAWMAN in December 2013 from Bellbridge Books.
May all your days include a bit of magic!                                     
We love comments. Please leave one for Deb if you decided to stop by.







  1. Using Robin Hood in such a different setting is brilliant. Maid Marian will sure have her hands full with the Merry Men. Congrats on the new release.

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    1. It's late and my fingers didn't go where they should on the keyboard. *sigh* I'll try again.
      I haven't read historicals for a long time, but this one sounds fascinating! Thanks for sharing, Deb.

  3. Thank you. Full disclosure--MAID MARIAN AND THE LAWMAN was originally released in 1999 as STOLEN WISHES. Bell Bridge is bringing it back to life after a spruce-up by moi with a new title and new cover. This book won a Reviewer's Choice Award from RT for Best Innovative Historical, and has always been very special to me. I hope you enjoy it. :)