Friday, September 22, 2017

A Rainbow Week

Good Morning FFFs,
Sorry, I don't have any fiction for you today. There are two reasons: One, I didn't have time to get something new ready, and two, Wednesday happened so I didn't get anything old ready. But let me tell you of my Rainbow Week.

Green Saturday
Green for progress, lots done, being outside, etc. Dad and I washed 22 out of 23 windows in our house both inside and out, and the screens. It took us nearly all day as 11 of those windows were upstairs and that meant we had to get out the ladders to reach them. And many of these windows hadn't been washed in years, so they were filthy!

Sunday was some quiet pastel.
Not sure just what color it was. We had rain that morning during church. We needed a good rain as things were dry. Then, in the afternoon, I spend about 4 hours readings. I got the last half of an almost 500 page book read. :) And yes, I will admit that toward the end I read a little faster.

Blue Monday
Aren't many Mondays that color? You have a long list of things you are going to work on and get done, but things always seem to take longer, and you have more interruptions, and other things happen you weren't expecting. And I didn't get as much writing done as I had hoped.

Yellow Tuesday
It was a good day. Nothing spectacular. Writing classes went well, I made good progress on things, and I got 1,000 words written! I even had time to read a little in the evening.

Black Wednesday
No, I wasn't selling anything like on Black Friday, and no, it wasn't storming. My computer, the one with all my book files, my covers, my short stories, my images, my fonts, my–well, everything really, that wasn't backed up–decided not to turn on. Well, it did turn on at first, but it was having trouble, so I restarted it. It hasn't turned back on since. I took it somewhere and they said it had a corrupt operating system. That means that all those files are stuck on that computer. I was told it might turn on sometime for a few minutes, and then I can get as much off as I can, but . . . I'm hoping and praying we'll be able to get the hard drive out and be able to get at least some of my files that way.
Now you know why it was a Black Wednesday

Purple Thursday
Still unsure of my files on my computer, but thankful I have an old computer I can use for some things, I was able to send emails and such. My mom, sis, and I went to our new library that morning. Wow! Very nice. I'd like to go there and write. We checked out some things and then came home. So that was some of the red in the purple. The blue came in the afternoon when I waited and waited, and waited, for the mailman, hoping he would bring me my proof copies. He finally arrived just before supper time. No books. :( But the evening was better because my grandpa had come down and we went to a concert together. It was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I sometimes do because my mind kept going back to my computer and all my missing files.

I don't know what today's color will be. Perhaps my proof copies will come today. We might be babysitting the kiddos. If you could be praying that I could at least get my book files off my computer, that would be very much appreciated. And I am going to get something to back them all up from now on! Every time I create a new book, I'm backing it up. If I design a new cover, I'm backing it up.

Anyway, this is really long. It's probably a good thing I don't have a fiction story for you. You wouldn't have time to read it. :)

Here is an invitation for you! I hope you all can come and join the fun! The Grand Prize is sitting on my desk here and I'm getting a bit jealous of the one who wins it. ;)

I can't ask you about the story.
Have you ever had a computer act this way?
What colors would you describe your week?
Are you excited about the party?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Started and Story Prompt

Hello, FFFs,
If there are any faithful Friday fiction fans left. ;)

The weather has warmed up and now feels like summer again. But we've had some really lovely, cool mornings, some chilly nights, and some beautiful days. Now a few days of heat won't be too annoying. :) We haven't had a frost yet, so the trees haven't turned. But it is a little early for that.

This has been a good week. A busy one, but a productive one. All my Christmas books were ready to order the proof copies by Monday. I got Dylan's Story corrected and ready to order my final copy. No, it's not published yet. But I'm going to be doing a blog tour of it when the time comes, so if you have a blog and want to be a part, let me know. :) (I've never, ever done a blog tour with any of my 15 published books! I'm excited, nervous, and have no clue what I'm doing, so it's a good think I'll have someone putting it all together for me.)
And then on Tuesday, after I taught writing classes, I worked on formatting Finding Joy. And some on the cover.
On Wednesday I finished the cover.
Yesterday morning I ordered all 9 proof copies and copies of Dylan's Story! :D I can't wait till they come! I'll try to share a picture of the Christmas books on here if you want to see them.

Now, on to other things. For some time now, I've been thinking of this blog. I guess it started last year when I decided to re-post stories I had posted years ago. Now I'm wondering if I should keep doing that. I could keep posting my personal updates every Friday, since some of you only have time to read that anyway. And then when I had a new story to share, I could post it. But it's a bit difficult to decide on what story to re-post, and then wonder if it's just filling space or if it's being read. What do you all think? July and August were terrible for writing anything to post. This month I've been working on a story, but it's not finished yet, so I can't post it.
Let me know what you are thinking.
  • Should I keep re-posting every Friday if I don't have a new story?
  • Should I just post my personal update if I don't have a new story?
  • Should I just post when I have something new for you to read?
Help me out! :)

As I was telling you, I haven't had much chance to write anything new. And I didn't have much chance to pick a story to re-post. So  . . . I decided to give you the start to one story. I needed to just write something and this is what came out. If you'll give me some basic ideas for what you think happens next, maybe I'll actually write it. :)

And the other is a story starter, or a story prompt that I dreamed. Yes, I woke up just after I thought this line and found it rather amusing. So, either write a story using that line, or give me an outline for a story for it. :) Have fun!

    The day was warm, warmer than most autumn days, and I knew it wouldn't last. Before long the air would be brisk and frosty. The leaves of the tall trees which marched across the landscape like a rag-tag army were changing already. Soon they would spread a carpet of riotous colors across my lawn and the long driveway. Nuts dropped from the few nut trees with soft thumps and from somewhere a chattering squirrel could be heard, the cry of a bluejay and softer twitters of sparrows and finches sounded from the feeder. I gave a long sigh and started my rocking chair creaking slowly back and forth, back and forth.
    Time slipped by slowly as it so often does when one is alone and idle. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, so why shouldn't I sit there and enjoy the warm afternoon? That was before it happened.
    It was so startling, so unexpected, so . . . well, perhaps I should just tell you the story.

And now the Story Starter or Story Prompt.

She was heartbroken, and so was her dishwasher.

Did you laugh over that last Story Prompt? I do.
What do you think happens in the other story?
And what should I do about this blog?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Riding "Bear"back

Good morning FFFs,
It really has felt like fall here this week. One night got as low as 49ยบ which, for us, is quite unusual for this early in September. There are crows out, the squirrels are acting crazy with their nuts and just in general. We had a Rough Legged hawk in our yard the other day. We've never seen one before. Nuts are dropping from our pecan tree onto the sidewalk and our roof. The trees may not be turning yet, but fall is coming!

I've had a productive week. Not only did I get some things for the Grand Prize for the coming blog party (if you're excited about the coming Five Fall Favorites party, let me know in a comment!), but I got some writing in! This is the first time since back in July that I've written every day so far this week. Except Sunday when I don't write. Now, I haven't written 1k each day, but I have written. And I'm working on a fall story. Hopefully I can get it done in time to let you all read it before winter comes. :P

And guess what? I got all 8 Christmas books formatted (using a very lovely template designed by Perry Elisabeth!), and the covers all put together with the spines, and everything uploaded yesterday. I hope you are excited about these cute Christmas books as I am! Now I need to format the interior for "Finding Joy" and design the final cover. Then I'll have to make corrections in "Dylan's Story" and hopefully I can order everything at once. Wouldn't that be a fun box to arrive! Nine proof copies and a final copy of another new book. Sounds exciting to me!

I had no idea what to post today. I didn't have anything new, and I wasn't sure if I should try to do a two or three part story or not. So I went looking in my archives and came across this story. Actually it is an essay about a "family vacation" that I wrote about seven years ago. My students and I were tossing out ideas for a made up vacation story that was to be written as an essay. We made a key word outline and then all of us wrote our version of the story. They were hilarious! So, enjoy this lighthearted story, get a good laugh at it, and please, tell me what you want to read next week.

Riding "Bare"back

My family and I love to go hiking. When we go we usually explore many trails hoping that there will be one which will lead to an exciting adventure. Unexpectedly I found it. After it was over I wished I hadn’t found it since it involved getting lost, encountering a bear and being out in a thunderstorm.

We were hiking along a path which had many curves and turns in it, so when I got distracted, it was easy to get lost. At least I think so. Spying something shiny on the ground, I stooped to examine it. Was it gold? After testing it with my teeth, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t gold, but I dropped it in my pocket anyway. When I glanced up, I discovered that my family had vanished! I started on again; however, I unknowingly took the wrong path. Rapidly I sprinted, trying to catch up with my missing family. Hearing a sound just ahead around the next turn, I hurried on so as not to get lost.

Imagine my terrified surprise when suddenly, instead of my family, I encountered a bear! I screamed! I couldn’t help it, I was so scared. The grouchy, grumpy grizzly turned slowly with a growl. Before he could come close to me I was clambering up a slender tree very quickly. Gasping for breath, I paused on the highest branch just out of the bear’s reach. Then, with an unexpected crack, the branch broke beneath my weight which dumped me on the bear’s back. Instantly the bear began to lumber away in fright while I hung on for dear life. Never will I forget that ride. Before I could gather my senses enough to let go, a branch smacked me on the side of the head, causing me to tumble into a small stream. Although I was thankful to have survived my encounter with the bear, I was still rather bewildered.

When the thunderstorm broke just after I landed in the stream, it took several minutes to register the fact that I needed to get out of there. I lay in the water stunned. A blinding flash of lightning followed by ground shaking thunder roused me from my stupor. “I must get away!” I thought as I staggered to my feet. Stumbling along, I tripped over a tree root and fell. Beyond the trees I glimpsed a dark hole. Slowly, painfully, I worked my way towards the cave which I had seen. Once I fell. Twice I tripped. On I went. At last I made it only to fall exhausted and breathless on the floor of the cavern. It was then that I noticed other sounds besides the thunderstorm; my family was there waiting. Boy, was I surprised.

I will never hear a thunderstorm again without remembering the grumpy bear which I rode when I got lost. After that experience, I don’t love hiking as much as I did. Seeking an adventure is no longer as extremely important to me as sticking with my family. The most exciting part of my getting lost was riding “bear back.”

So, did you laugh at it?
What is a family vacation memory you have?
Are you excited about the coming Five Fall Favorites party?

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 5

Good morning FFFs,
It's the first of September! Can you believe it? Already summer has come and is now waving goodbye. Soon we'll have trees dressed in their fall leaves, the nights will grow chillier and the days shorter. . .

Here I sit dreaming. I'd better get on with this or I won't get it posted. :)

This week has been busy and good. I've gotten things done, and that always feels good. :) The planning for Kate's and my Five Fall Favorite party is coming right along! Yes, we are doing another one of those really fun blog parties. And we have new bloggers to join us, an incredible Grand Prize, and more! So, mark your calendars for the first week of October!

I still haven't written at all. Writing seems to have slipped away into some hidden corner of my mind and is sleeping. What will it take to rouse it again? I do need to do a little writing and add a new ending to one of the Christmas stories before I publish it. But after that, I don't know. I'd like to get back to writing, but I feel that I need to get some books finished and published first. Would you like that?

And now, here's the last part of your summer mystery. :) Enjoy!

A Good Summer
Part 5

    It was mid afternoon when Patrick, Kathleen and Angelina, armed with cookies and cool water from the well and feeling very brave, set off for the barn. At the foot of the ladder they hesitated and looked about. No one was to be seen and all was quiet in the loft. Without a word, Patrick started up, followed closely by his twin and a little more slowly by Angelina.
    “If you are up here,” Patrick spoke bravely though his knees were shaking, “we wish you’d come out just, for we brought you more cookies and—”
    “We’d like to be your friends if you aren’t a bad person entirely,” Kathleen finished.
    “Kath!” Patrick hissed reprovingly.
    A sudden noise arrested their attention. It was coming from a shadowy corner.
    Angelina, still on the ladder, froze, clinging to the sides and staring, not sure if she wanted to stay, and yet not quite daring to move. The twins, without realizing that they had done so, clasped the other’s hand and fairly held their breath.
    “No I ain’t a bad person entirely,” a voice said, followed by a slight groan. “Mama brought me up better’n that.” A slight figure crawled from behind a pile of hay and stood up. The boy wasn’t much larger than the three children and he moved towards them with a decided limp.
    On seeing that, Patrick let go of Kathleen’s hand and moved over to help him while Angelina climbed up into the loft and Kathleen made a place to sit.
    It wasn’t until the boy, who wasn’t much older than eleven, had eaten three cookies and drunk two glasses of water that anyone spoke.
    “What is your name? Where did you come from and why are you hiding in the barn loft?” It was irrepressible Kathleen who broke the silence.
    The boy gave a slight laugh. “Name’s Harry. Came from New York originally, but my folks died an’ I was sent out to live with some cousin who didn’t want me. He died an’ I’ve been on my own ever since.”
    “But why were you hiding in the barn?” persisted Kathleen.
    “‘Cause I hurt my leg an’ didn’t figure nobody’d give me work if I was hurt. Thought I could stay here for a day or two . . .” his voice trailed off and he looked down with such a look of discouragement that Angelina said,
    “There is no need to stay up here.”
    “Not at all,” Patrick agreed quickly. “Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy would be for taking you in.”
    “I ain’t goin’ back to no orphanage,” Harry declared fiercely.
    “Tis not likely they’d be sending you neither,” Kathleen put in.
    It took some persuading by all three children before their new friend, for so they considered him, would come with them to the house.

    Mr. and Mrs. Cutlass were both sitting on the porch when they saw the children approaching.
    “Now who is that with them?” Mrs. Cutlass asked.
    “I’m not sure, but I suspect it is the same one who has been using our pump and sleeping in our barn loft. I’m glad the children have convinced him to come up to the house. I’m sure he could use a good meal tonight, Nancy.”
    “I’d be happy to fix him one. But he’s hurt,” she added, noticing that the young stranger limped and was helped along by Patrick.
    Mr. Cutlass only nodded.
    Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy welcomed the new young guest with smiles and kindness. Uncle Dan attended to the injured leg while the girls helped Aunt Nancy prepare supper, though Angelina was of more help than Kathleen who kept running back to say something to Harry or Patrick.

    It was while everyone was still eating that a sudden rumble startled them all.
    “Look at them clouds!” Harry exclaimed.
    “And feel that breeze!” Aunt Nancy added as the wind tossed the curtains about and ruffled the tablecloth. It wasn’t dry and hot as it had been but pleasant with a hint of moisture.
    Uncle Dan had stood up and moved out to the porch. “The rain’s coming!”
    A few minutes later the rain did come, gently but steadily and everyone gathered on the porch to watch it, breathing in the fresh scent and listening to the drops pattering on the roof.
    Mr. and Mrs. Cutlass looked about them and exchanged smiles. Kathleen was sitting on the porch rail alternately sticking a foot out in the rain and bringing it back dripping wet, laughing and chattering. Angelina on the floor, her arms clasped about her legs, was sitting silently with her chin resting on her knees, watching the rain. Patrick was roving about the porch, commenting now and then about the effects of the rain on different parts of the yard, while Harry sat on the porch swing, his injured leg resting on a chair, a look of contentment on his face.
    “Well, Nan,” Mr. Cutlass remarked quietly, “We’ve got rain and four young ones. It should be a good rest of the summer.”

Do you think Harry stayed with the Cutlasses?
Did you enjoy the ending of this story?
What do you want to read next?

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Summer Story - Part 4

Good morning FFFs!
Well, it's about an hour later than I usually get this posted. But I'm on vacation. Just be glad I remembered it was Friday at all! ;)
My mom, sister, and I are spending a week at my grandparents' which has been fun. We've gone out to eat, helped clean out some things, watched several games of the Little League World Series, watched the eclipse from the driveway, and have enjoyed our time. We head back home tomorrow afternoon. Back to the business of life, of teaching, writing, publishing and planning a blog party. :)

And, since I am on vacation, I'm not going to write more here. I'll let you read the next part of this story. Enjoy!

A Good Summer
Part 4

    Off the shoes and stockings came in a flash and Kathleen sighed, “It’s cooler I’m feeling already.”
    “Come on,” shouted Patrick, racing to the barn with Kathleen and Angelina at his heels.
    Stopping in the shade, the three children began whispering.
    “Let’s see if the blanket is still in the loft,” Pat suggested.
    “Tis the pump we should check first,” Kathleen countered.
    “T’would give him more time to hide entirely,” objected Pat.
    “Tis not a long time we’d be taking to see if he’d been at the pump,” Kathleen persisted.
    Then Angelina said quietly, “How do you know it is a he? Perhaps it is a she.”
    The twins looked first at Angelina and then at each other. A girl? Neither one had thought of that. “But thieves are always men.”
    Pat gave his sister a disgusted look. “And it’s not certain you are that this one is a thief.”
    At last Kathleen ran off to check the pump while Patrick and Angelina softly entered the barn. The contrast between the brilliant world outdoors and the dusty darkness of the barn was greater than it had been the night before. Kathleen soon joined them, reporting that there was no sign of anyone having used the pump recently.
    Beckoning to the others to follow, Patrick led the way over to the ladder and climbed up. Since all three children were used to going around without their shoes in the city, the hayloft caused no problems.
    “Over here,” whispered Kathleen, pointing to where the blanket had showed the evening before.
    It was gone. They dug in the hay but found no sign of it anywhere.
    “Oh dear,” Kathleen wailed, sitting down, “tis certain we’ll never know who it was now.”
    Sitting in a dejected bunch, the children were silent until Angelina suddenly turned around, her dark eyes scanning the farther side of the hay loft. She didn’t see anything, but she again felt as though she was being watched. “Come along,” she breathed, her eyes wide and half frightened.
    Wonderingly, the twins followed her down the ladder, out of the barn and across the grass until they were under the sheltering branches of a tree. There they stopped breathless and Angelina shivered.
    “Why did we come out here?” demanded Patrick panting from the run.
    “Aye,” Kathleen echoed.
    “Someone else was in the barn,” Angelina gasped.
    “Did you see him?”
    Angelina shook her head. “I felt the eyes on me. He or she was on the other side of the loft.”
    The twins looked at each other. Then all three children looked back at the barn. Who was hiding in the barn and why?
    It was Patrick who broke the silence. “It’s hungry he must be living out there.”
    “If we could only feed him . . .” Angelina sighed. She couldn’t help feeling pity for this stranger who had to live in a barn loft, hiding away from others.
    “Ah, tis a grand idea entirely! I’ll run and ask Aunt for some cookies.”
    “Kath,” Pat caught her arm before she raced away, “don’t tell her.”
    “I won’t,” she promised and dashed off.
    Soon she was back with a hand full of cookies and the three children ran back to the barn. Slowly, looking about everywhere, they entered. Cautiously they climbed up the ladder and all felt relief when nothing looked changed. Patrick pulled out a clean handkerchief from his pocket and on it they placed the cookies and Pat said, “I hope this tells him or her that we want to be friends.”
    Then, as though their own actions had frightened them, they clambered down the ladder quickly and rushed out of the barn as though afraid the mysterious person was chasing them. Nor did they stop running until safely under the sheltering arms of the tree.

    Not one of the children ventured back to the barn until after supper when Uncle was ready to do chores. Angelina, more timid than the twins, again remained behind and helped wash the dishes. It was rather late when the chores were finished and Aunt Nancy sent the children off to bed.
    After they had been tucked in and Mrs. Cutlass had gone back downstairs, Patrick again tiptoed to the girls’ room.
    “Come quickly, Pat,” Kathleen beckoned. “We must tell Lina the new clue.”
    Sitting on Kathleen’s bed, the twins told Angelina about finding the cookies gone and the handkerchief folded neatly.
    “I only had time to shove it in my pocket before Uncle came up.”
    “Aye, it was a narrow escape just,” his twin sighed.
    “What Kath doesn’t know,” Patrick went on quietly, “is the note in the handkerchief.”
    “A note!” exclaimed Kathleen, but her brother slapped his hand over her mouth and glanced towards the door.
    Angelina hugged her knees and everyone sat still. Had anyone heard them? At last, after several minutes of waiting, they were satisfied that Kathleen’s involuntary exclamation had gone unnoticed.
    “What did the note say?” Angelina whispered.
    “It said, ‘Thank you’.”
    “Nothing else?”
    Patrick shook his head. “That was it entirely.”
    None of the children could decide what to make of the note and after praying once again for the stranger, Patrick returned to his own room and all fell asleep quickly.

Who do you think wrote the note?
Would you have fed the mysterious person?
Did you get to see the eclipse at all?

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 3

Hello, Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Even if you don't read it on Friday. :) I hope you are having a good week. I'm having a disappearing week. You know, the kind that starts out with a relaxed Sunday, you go to bed, and then suddenly it's Friday. I think there were some days in-between that, but it sure feels like I'm missing several days.

Right now the windows are open and the sun is up in the east. The birds are pretty quiet except for a Bluejay. I saw a squirrel in a tree, but not the "baby boing boing" as my 2 1/2 year old niece, Ti-K calls rabbits. :) I think it's supposed to get warm again, so we'll enjoy the open windows while we can.

I got "Finding Joy" corrected! Now I have to divide it into chapters, print it and take it to a test/beta reader on Sunday. I'm hoping to be publishing it some time in October with a blog tour, so if you have a blog and want to be a part of this new release, leave a comment, or sent me an email and I'll put you on the list.
Speaking of releasing new books, I'm hoping to release "Dylan's Story" next month. If it doesn't get released then, I might do a double release with both "Dylan's Story" and "Finding Joy." What do you think? Should I release them separately or together?
And I still need to get my Christmas stories finished. I seem to work on them here and there with days or even a full week between times. I have made progress, but it's just rather slow. I did get the synopses written for the rest of the stories I am publishing this year, so that's good. That means I can do the covers. These are going to be so much fun to release! I love Christmas stories!

Okay, okay, I'll let you get back to this mystery, and I'll get on to other things. Happy reading!

A Good Summer
Part 3

    Patrick, Kathleen and Angelina scampered and soon Aunt Nan came up, and after listening to prayers, kissed each one and tucked them in saying, “God bless you and keep you safe through the night. Sweet dreams.”
    After she had gone downstairs, Kathleen bounced up in bed. “Lina,” she whispered, “isn’t it such a quiet as you’ve never heard?”
    “And tis still light outside.”
    Angelina sat up. A rosy gleam from the setting sun seemed to make their pink room glow with a soft light. “It is so pretty here,” she breathed.
    “Yes,” Kathleen agreed, “but you remember that pump?”
    Angelina nodded but didn’t reply as a step outside their room was heard, the door softly opened and Patrick’s red head looked in.
    “Sure tis you’re wanting to talk about the mystery too,” Kathleen whispered and motioned to her bed.
    Patrick tiptoed across and perched on his sister’s bed. “Sure,” he replied softly, “tis a mystery for us all.”
    “When Pat and I went up in the loft, we saw a bit of a blanket in a corner, like it was thought to be hiding just, but—”
    “I asked Uncle all he keeps up there and he said hay,” Patrick finished.
    Sitting in bed with her arms clasped about the sheet around her knees, Angelina listened with wide eyes.
    “What do you think of it, Lina?”
    For a moment the girl was quiet, then in a whisper so soft that the twins crept closer to hear, she told them about seeing a movement and the feeling of being watched.
    “Ah, tis indeed a real mystery,” sighed Kathleen in delight. “Could it be just a thief or a desperate character?”
    Angelina shivered. The room had lost its glow and was growing dark. “I don’t think I like it,” she whispered.
    “For shame, Kath,” Patrick chided, “Tis not kind to say such things. Like as not tis someone in need of a friend.” Patrick’s imagination wasn’t as dramatic as his sister’s and preferred thinking the best of people and situations.
    “But,” Kathleen protested, “if it’s a friend he needs, why does he hide?”
    Patrick shrugged and the trio in the dark bedroom sat in silence for a full minute.
    “Whoever it is needs a friend sure,” Patrick at last broke the silence, “and a better friend he could not have than Jesus Christ sure. Why don’t we pray for him?”
    “Tis the right thing just,” Kathleen agreed and the three children slipped to their knees and prayed for the mysterious person.

    The sun was barely above the eastern horizon when the children rose. All were eager to see what the day held and hurried with their clothes. The twins, as soon as they were dressed, dashed down the stairs while Angelina remained behind. Being the second child in a family of eleven, Angelina had early learned that neatness and order were important, therefore, she made her bed and that of Kathleen and hung up their clothes before she slipped down the stairs.
    Aunt Nancy greeted her in the kitchen with a smile. “The twins are out helping Uncle Dan with the morning chores,” she told her young guest. “Would you like to go out too?”
    “May I set the table?”
    To this Mrs. Cutlass readily assented, delighted to have about her the quiet, helpful girl.
    By the time Mr. Cutlass came in with his two helpers, breakfast was ready to be served as soon as they washed up.
    During the meal, Uncle Dan asked what the children had planned for the day.
    As usual it was Kathleen who spoke first, “Ah, tis a mystery—”
    She stopped short as her twin kicked her under the table and finished for her, “for we haven’t talked with you.”
    Uncle Dan laughed. These youngsters were so amusing. “I haven’t any plans for you unless you want to learn to ride the horses this morning before it grows too hot.”
    An excited squeal came from Kathleen, all thoughts of a mystery vanishing at once from her mind.
    “It’s sure we would be liking that, Uncle Dan,” Patrick replied, eyes sparkling.
    “And what about you?” Uncle Dan turned to the still shy girl at his right. “Would you like to learn to ride a horse too?”
    The girl’s dark eyes looked eager, but she spoke hesitatingly, “If Aunt Nan doesn’t need me—”
    “Not at all, Child,” Aunt Nancy interrupted. “You’ve helped this morning and there isn’t much more that needs done. You go along. Uncle Dan could use a quiet person like you around for a bit. You can help me later.”

    It wasn’t until after lunch that any of the children thought about the mud under the pump or the corner of a blanket hidden up in the hay loft. Uncle Dan had gone off to work elsewhere on the ranch telling the children that after a few more days of riding he’d take them out and teach them to mend fences and bring in the cattle. Aunt Nancy was settled on the shady porch with her mending basket and when Angelina offered to help her mend, saying that she did it at home, Aunt Nancy said, “I’m sure you are a help to your mother, Dear, but I don’t have that much mending right now. You just run along with the twins and play. You can help me mend another time when Pat gets holes in his trousers and— Goodness, children!” Aunt Nancy exclaimed, “Take off those shoes and stockings! There is no need to wear them now!”

Is your imagination as wild as Kath's?
Would you prefer to run around barefoot or with shoes?
Have you ever ridden a horse?

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 2

It's a rainy, rumble-y morning. Quite delightful and restful. I'd love to just curl up in a chair and read this morning, but alas, I must get this posted, do some other things, and then clean the house. Perhaps the rain will stick around all day.

Guess what I did yesterday? No, don't bother guessing. I'll just tell you. I published the Bike Trip book! After about 2 years of working on it, it's finally finished! I thought I just had corrections to make, but Grandpa remembered a bike trip that wasn't in the book at all! And it was the longest solo trip he had taken–1500 miles! But it's done. And it's available on Amazon here.
If you haven't worked on a project for that long, you don't know what a delight it is to have it finished! :D

This week was also the first writing classes of the school year. I have five students this year in three classes. And they vary in ages from 9-15.

I haven't written this week besides editing more Christmas stories. I just can't seem to get back to it. I thought this would be a better month for writing than July was, but so far it hasn't been. Perhaps if I were to actually try to write I might get somewhere. :P I've been letting myself get distracted with other things. Hopefully that will change. Maybe I need to get an accountability partner. :)

Anyway . . . I hope your week has gone well. Enjoy this next part of this story. It was so much fun to write with three different accents. :)

A Good Summer
Part 2

    Upon their arrival at the ranch, the twins jumped quickly from the truck and began asking questions eagerly, hardly waiting for answers.
    “Where do we sleep?”
    “Is it many cows you have?”
    “Can we feed the chickens?”
    “Do you have a dog?”
    “And gather the eggs?”
    “Where are the horses?”
    “Don’t you have any neighbors?”
    At last Uncle Dan dropped the bags on the porch, put his hands over his ears and called out, “Nan, I reckon its a good thing Mary sent along one quiet child. We’re going to need her!”
    Mrs. Cutlass laughed, putting an arm around Angelina’s thin shoulders, “Come along, Dear. If those two decide they want answers, they can come too; I’ll show you where you’ll be sleeping.” She led the way inside.
    Up the narrow stairs were two rooms opening into the short hallway. Mrs. Cutlass opened the door on the right saying, “This will be the girls’ room. I know it isn’t very large for two girls, but—” she got no farther, for Kathleen, who had hurried after her aunt, burst forth.
    “Oh, it’s lovely! And the walls are the shade of a pink sunset just!”
    Two beds were nestled under the eves on one side of the room while an old fashioned dresser stood opposite. A window with plain muslin curtains looped back with a bit of faded pink ribbon looked out over a field empty of cattle but full of tall grasses.
    Mrs. Cutlass turned and opened the door on the other side of the small hall saying, “This room will be yours, Pat,”
    The room was nearly identical to the room the girls were staying in only the walls were a pale yellow. Patrick set his baggage down with a thump and raced to the window.
    “I can see the barn!” he exclaimed. “Uncle Dan, can’t I help with chores?”
    “Sure can,” his uncle chuckled, having set the girls’ luggage in their room.

    The rest of that first day flew by, for the children at least. The twins were eager to explore every place around the house and barn while Angelina, too timid to be left behind, followed quietly after them. The house didn’t take too long and soon they were outside.
    “It’s hot for sure out here,” Patrick remarked.
    “It is just,” his twin agreed while Angelina only nodded. “But not like the city.”
    Scampering around the barn, Patrick pointed, “Hey look, a pump!”
    “Does it work?” Kathleen asked.
    “It must for there is mud underneath it.”
    “Why is there mud?” Angelina asked. “Was someone using it?”
    Patrick scratched his head. “And who would be a-using it? Uncle Dan has been in the house, and he told me they don’t have anyone else around.”
    “Tis a mystery now, I’m thinking,” Kathleen breathed, her green eyes sparkling with adventure.
    “Maybe the pump drips,” shyly offered Angelina.
    But the twins shook their heads. “It hasn’t dripped since we’ve come, so tis not likely seein’ how the sun would dry it up if it took too long,” Kathleen stated.
    “Let’s go explore the barn.” Patrick had turned from the pump and was heading for the open barn door.
    The girls hurried to catch up with him, Kathleen chattering about maybe finding a clue in the barn. Angelina didn’t say a word,
    It was dim in the barn after the brightness of the late afternoon sun outside and it took some time for the children’s eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then, just as they were about to begin exploring, the sound of a bell was heard and Aunt Nancy’s voice called, “Supper!”
    At once the twins turned and dashed for the house, all thoughts of exploring vanishing in the thought of food. As Angelina turned to follow them, she thought she caught a glimpse of something moving in the hay loft. Quickly she glanced up, but on seeing nothing, she hurried after the twins. As she left the barn she had a feeling that someone or something was watching her.

    Pushing back his chair, Uncle Dan stood up, “Who would like to help me do the evening chores?”
    “I would!” Patrick shouted, springing up so quickly he knocked his chair over with a crash.
    “Isn’t there something I can help with too?” Kathleen asked.
    “You can stay and wash the dishes,” Patrick began.
    But Kathleen looked at her uncle with such pleading eyes that he grinned. “I could teach you to milk a cow,” he stated after glancing at Mrs. Cutlass.
    “Oh, tis a fine milker I’ll make, sure,” Kathleen was all smiles.
    “And what would you like to do, Angelina?” Mrs. Cutlass turned to look at the quiet girl who had scarcely said a word all through the meal though she ate everything that was set before her.
    In a voice quite soft and almost timid, she replied, “Mama said I wash dishes well.”
    “Very well,” Aunt Nancy declared standing up, “Dan, you take those two chatterboxes out to the barn and let this child and me clean up the kitchen.”

    The sun was beginning to set when Mrs. Cutlass called outside, “Come along you young’uns, Uncle Dan and I have to get our sleep so it’s off to bed with you now. You’ll have the rest of the summer to spend outdoors. And nothing will run away during the night. Now tell your Uncle good night and scamper up to bed. I’ll be along shortly to hear your prayers and tuck you in. Up stairs with you now.”
Would you like to find a mystery when you were visiting?
Have you ever milked a cow?
Will you be back next week?