Writing the Next Chapter

Welcome to Pella Road Publishing. You will find a variety of information about my writing and related photographs and outtakes.

Book Four of The Twirler Quartet is available!

Spinning Sideways

Their love was like a twister, spinning sideways too fast to dodge. How could something so bewitching cause such destruction? Opposites attract in the final book of the Twirler Quartet.

Tom was the salt of the earth, straight off his family’s Sandhills ranch. His cocky grin accessorized his Stetson and boots. He was slightly older and wiser, yet charming and debonair. No girl in 1968 would dare ask for more.

Linda never meant to be traditional. Athletic. Impulsive. Assertive. Rebellious. Artistic. Daring. She believed lines were meant to be crossed. It was so comfortable finding happiness with Tom.  Why was her tumultuous spirit pulling her toward new horizons?

He loved that she kept him on his toes. She loved that he made her feel secure. Their mutual reverence for family life gave them a common bond. But even their parents’ sheltered secrets made them question the power of enduring relationships.

As time went by, Linda and Tom grappled with trying to face their feelings honestly and openly. They couldn’t give each other what they needed most. Ultimately, they risked everything to find the path to true love.

The stories of Yvonne, Debbie, and Nancy contain a few more tidbits as the twirlers come together for a twenty-year reunion capping off their continued friendship.

Learning To Twirl

Two devout teenagers faced love amid tragedy circa 1969. An Army enlistment during the Vietnam Conflict promised career opportunities but tore their dreams apart.

As a Roman Catholic, Nancy knew better than to succumb to temptation. She was following the example of her two older sisters:  one a nun, and the other a wife who’d had three children in quick succession. But when a sweet-talking devilishly-handsome boy began charming her, it wasn’t just her baton that was twirling. It was her heart. 

Peter knew he shouldn’t resent his older brother, the golden boy. Terry excelled in sports, academics, and winning friends leaving Peter stuck at home milking cows. Their parents expected Peter to hold down the farm when Terry’s world was upended by an accident. Once Peter fell for a beautiful red-haired angel, he knew his prayers had been answered.

Later, while Peter performed his patriotic duty in Vietnam, he discovered his brother was ambushing him on the home front, about to steal his cherished wife and daughter. Did his devotion to the Army’s cause create an unbridgeable rift in his marriage?

Return to the mythical Capital High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, for the third in the Twirler Quartet series that delivers more heartbreak and joy at a time when naïve teenage boys were being drafted, surprised college students were being attacked at protest marches, and the president promised peace and love to the youth of America.

Twirling Fire

Debbie was always playing second-fiddle, or at least second clarinet. She’d spent her childhood in the shadow of her accomplished twin brother and her gorgeous best friend. She was never thin enough, smart enough, or talented enough to stand out. So, when a handsome young man with a budding Afro and magical dance moves turned his dazzling smile on her, she’d do anything to protect their relationship.

No one was immune to social unrest in the summer of 1968. But Robert had five siblings who could carry the torch for civil rights. His preacher father and teacher mother had taught him to be responsible, hard-working and ambitious. His future as an engineer was laid out as neatly as a chess board. He wasn’t about to let prejudice keep him from his new blonde girlfriend. Until they were both caught in a firestorm of using their friends, lying to their parents and taking risks that they’d never dreamed of.

Their romance couldn’t be kept secret for long.

Catch It Spinning

Head back to 1968 in this slice-of-life novel of a woman navigating friendship and love through high school and adulthood.  Yvonne’s teenage life seems idyllic: twirling batons with her best friends in the school’s marching band, and plenty of boyfriends.  But she soon learns that boys can wreak havoc on your long-term goals, when her friends start getting into trouble. 

Ten years later, she finds herself married and ready for children. But once again, happiness appears elusive. Her plans are spinning out of reach just like that baton she once tried to master.

Based on the author’s experiences growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, Catch It Spinning is the first book of the Twirler Quartet. Four friends come of age while the fight for gender and racial equality, the War in Vietnam, and the sexual revolution simmer in the background. 

More About Her Side of History: Finding My Foremothers’ Footprints

Author Claudia J. Severin took things into her own hands when her genealogy research seemed limiting. Follow her foremothers, four mothers plucked from her family tree. She reimagines the lives of ancestral families in this anthology. Ina, the tragic suffragette, traded her college degree and teaching career for a loving husband and children in the 1910s, in the shadow of the Great War, but things did not work out as she planned. Mary, a German immigrant, finds love with an Iowa farmer, and crosses the state in a covered wagon with his entire family to become a homesteader on the Nebraska plains in 1869. She didn’t know that Indian encounters, prairie fires and locusts would threaten her and her rapidly growing family. Nellie fell for the bad boy, the Good Time Charley who didn’t let a little thing like Prohibition stand in his way. She tries to control his drinking and spending, while supporting her family in times of calamity in the 1920s and 1930s traveling from Nebraska to Kansas and back again. Katie finds herself the sole heir to her father’s farm in southeastern Nebraska decades after the Homestead Act took most of the land ownership out of play. She enjoys playing the flirtatious games learned from her older half-sisters. But are her suitors interested in her or her inheritance?

About the author

Claudia Johnson Severin lives with her husband on a southeastern Nebraska farm that was homesteaded in 1869 by her husband’s great-grandparents, a setting for a portion of Her Side of History. At one time, the farm was home to dairy cows and chickens, as well as children. The cows, chickens, and children have all moved on, along with her day job.

She grew up and worked in Lincoln, Nebraska before beginning a second chapter writing historical fiction and romance novels. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Journalism. Her three children and three grandchildren keep her entertained and provide inspiration.