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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Seize the Night Blog Tour

 

This isn't Friday, and it's not how I usually start a blog post, but it's December! And in December I post whenever I feel like it. And today I agreed to share about this new collection of Christmas stories and review the book.

Seize the Night

 An Anthology honoring the Birth of the Savior

When Oliver is offered help in the search for his son, will he answer the Voice in the night and the
forgiveness extended to him?
 
A lifetime of inferiority; a mistake with tragic consequences–can anything convince Brett that he isn't
too young for Christmas, after all?

A baking mistake pushes a perfectionist out of her comfort zone.

Sometimes forgiveness takes love, patience, and being stranded in a snowstorm.

A young girl struggles to understand Christmas is all about God walking with us through the darkness and making it bright.

Two siblings hurting thousands of miles apart. Will a kindly hero make a way for them to reunite?

A wounded prisoner and a little girl teach us about having a Real Christmas.

During the Christmas of 1945, Lane Mueller just wants to get home but getting from Los Angeles to Amarillo is no easy task when going home is what everyone else wants too.

Featuring various genres sure to please the whole family.

My Review of the book: 


3.5 star
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. (Still not sure who else would think the same things I do, but that’s another matter.)

I was quite excited when I heard another group of authors was coming together to write Christmas stories. I had already read some stories by a few of these authors and enjoyed them, and since this collection was supposed to feature the true meaning of Christmas and not all the fake stuff, I was looking forward to reading it.
I decided to review each story individually.

A Voice in the Night
3 stars
This was an interesting story. It kept me reading and while it didn’t feel very Christmasy, it did have enough to give me the feeling of Christmas time. It does deal with drugs and gangs, and yes, some of it felt a little overdone for this short of a story, but I still enjoyed it.

Too Young for Christmas
3 stars
This story went back and forth between the past and the present. There was a good message in it, and I liked the characters, but I never felt like I really got to know anyone very well. Perhaps it was the way the story was written. There were a few times I wanted to know a little more about Brett's and Callie’s families. 

Salt Cookies
3 stars
A fun little story. It made me smile. And enough Christmas stuff to feel Christmasy.

Everly After
3 stars
I liked the characters, the story, and the plot, but I couldn’t find Christmas in it. No decorations, no mention of the first Christmas, nothing. But I still liked the the story. It just wasn’t what I would consider a “Christmas” story.

Her Unexpected Rescue
4 stars
I felt sorry for Isabella. It would be hard to have a Christmas like she was expecting. Or not expecting. Anyway, I liked the messages in this story, and the characters. I loved seeing the snow and the problems that can cause. And now I want to go read the rest of this story.

Unconditional
3 stars
When I started this story, I had a completely different picture of Laylah and Levi’s relationship, so the sudden announcement over half way through the story was a little jarring. Perhaps I should have picked up on a hint earlier, but I didn’t. I liked the forgiveness and getting things worked out, but [spoiler: the fact that Levi was in the hospital pretty seriously injured and not a single person in the family mentioned it to Laylah and she never knew, seems very far fetched. Also, that she chose to not listen to his voicemail for three years? I don’t think so.]

A Heart without Christmas
4.5 stars
So sweet. So enjoyable even if it takes place in the middle of a war. I smiled a few times, and felt a few tears at once point. And all the Christmasy things and feelings made it even better.

Despite the Odds
2.5 stars
The idea was great, and the struggles of trying to get home for Christmas make an interesting plot, but unfortunately, the historical errors made me not enjoy it like I wanted to. [spoiler: Why would the army send a troop ship from Europe all the way around the wold to California instead of just across the Atlantic to New York or someplace like that? And was Los Angeles ever used as a Navel Base? I’ve heard it was used for submarines but I can’t find anything about ships. And if he was heading to Texas, it would make much more sense to head straight east and not up to Denver. That just didn’t make any sense.]

 

Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/mVAvVP

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/seize-the-night-by-abbigail-raine-b

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62905019-seize-the-night

 It releases on Saturday!

And they are having a Giveaway!


 

 

Open: December 1st-25th, 2022, winner announced on the 26th.

Prize: Paperback of Seize the Night, swag, release day goodies only given in the release giveaway.
Special contributions to the giveaway from other authors (Some authors who are being featured in
Abigail Kay Harris’
31 for 31 Christmas Book Reviews) and a special edition candle from Between the
Pages Gifts:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/BetweenThePagesGifts

Entry Link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/01e7097d5/?

 

Seize the Night: Blog Tour Schedule

1st of December: 

Rebekah’s Reading Room | Spotlight and Review

Read Review Rejoice | Spotlight

2nd of December: 

Allyson Jamison | Author Spotlight and Candle Giveaway 

Redeem the Times | Author Interview/Guest Post and eBook Giveaway

Saw Publishing | Spotlight

3rd of December (Release Day!): 

Little Blossoms for Jesus | Review

Lauren’s Easel | Guest Post

The Book Cubicle | Review 

4th of December: 

Rue Lilith | Review

5th of December:

Vanessa Hall, Author | Spotlight and eBook Giveaway

Lillian Keith, Author | Spotlight and eBook Giveaway

Madi’s Musings | Author Interview, eBook Giveaway and Spotlight

Discipleship with Joy | Review
 

M.L. Milligan, Author | Spotlight


 

Friday, November 25, 2022

One Thanksgiving

 Well!

I can't believe I forgot! At least it's still Friday. Is that what happens when life is busy? And you are trying to do different things and it doesn't seem like Friday? Maybe. Whatever the case, I completely and totally forgot I was supposed to post this morning.

But here's your better-late-than-never post. :D 

Today there is a HUGE book sale going on! I mean HUGE There are over 600 books by Indie Authors participating! And every book is either $.99 or Free! And yes, some of my books are listed on there. And some authors are selling their paperback books for discounted prices too, so check for them.





 Anyway, that's going on. And camp is still going on. And I'm trying to get things together for our Christmas Play practice on Sunday. And I'm trying to get some other things done. So yeah. Staying busy. But here's a story for you. It was one of my very early stories, so don't expect it to be as good as my later ones.

 

One Thanksgiving


“Girls, you want to explore the old trail tomorrow morning? The one Dad and I found while hunting.” The speaker was a tall, slim young man of about fourteen. His dark skin and straight black hair gave proof of his Indian ancestry.
Jessie looked up. “But tomorrow is Thanksgiving.” She hesitated. “When would we go?”
Cassie raised her head from her book. “Let’s go early! Real early.” Her black eyes flashed with excitement. “Say we can go early, Steve!”
Her brother grinned. “Why don’t we leave at 5:00. That’ll give plenty of time to be back before Mom needs your help for the 2:00 dinner.”
Suddenly Cassie seemed to have second thoughts. “Would it be just us three?”
Steven nodded.
“Couldn’t we take Major?”
“No, he’d scare off anything worth seeing, but I’ll take my gun, if you want,” Steve told her.
“But . . .” Suddenly all the stories she had read of danger came back to her mind and she shivered.
Thirteen-year-old Jessie was growing tired of her sister’s timidity. “Cass, one would think you weren’t a direct descendent of a great Indian chief.”
Thus chided by her older sister, Cassie took a deep breath, squared her slim shoulders and lifted her eyes to meet those of her siblings.
Steven chuckled, “That’s the spirit, Cass. We’ll make you a brave Indian yet. Now, do we pack food for our little expedition or attempt to eat before we leave?”
Both girls were for packing it.

It was cold and nippy when the three adventurers gathered by the back steps the following morning. Cassie was shivering with excitement and cold while she clutched Jessie’s hand tightly. Inspite of her ancestors, she admitted to herself that she was just a little bit scared.
“Are you both ready?” Steven’s whisper broke the silence.
“Yes,” came the equally quiet response.
Cassie cast a quick look back at the lighted kitchen windows knowing their mother was there at that moment putting the turkey in the oven. For a moment, only a moment, she wished she hadn’t suggested they go early. At least Steven had his gun. It was so dark, she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face.
“Steve,” she whispered, “can’t we turn on a flashlight?”
Steven’s voice replied from the other side of Jessie, “No, you’re eyes will grow accustomed to the darkness.”
For several minutes no sound was heard but their soft footsteps and the crunch of fallen leaves.
“Careful now, it’s the barbed wire fence. I’ll lift the bottom of it up, and Jess, you crawl under first. Careful,” as Jessie let go of his arm and dropped to the ground without a word, “make sure you stay low.”
“I’m through.”
“Okay, Cass, now you.”
“But I don’t know where to go,” her voice was a whimper.
“Come to my voice. There, I’m right in front of you. Drop down and crawl under to Jessie.” Steven’s soft but fearless voice seemed to inspire Cassie with courage, and she obeyed without a word. Steven was also soon over and joined his sisters.

“Now we must move in single file as the path is only a deer trail.”
“Won’t you run into a tree without a light?”
“Indians can see in the dark, Cass,” was the reply.
Cassie glanced around. To her astonishment she discovered that she too could see the dark outlines of trees and of Steven and Jessie before her.
“I am the great granddaughter of Chief Strong-Arm, and I must be as stouthearted and brave as he.” The thought nerved Cassie to only flinch when a twig snapped somewhere off to her right. A tingling sensation crept up her spine at the thought of what might be watching her at that moment. She wondered if Jessie had heard the noise. Was she scared? She wouldn’t ask, for she didn’t want to break the silence.

On the threesome moved with a steady pace. Cassie marveled at how confidently Steven led them up and down hills, not pausing when the trail twisted and curved. “He is as all Indian braves should be. They must find their way in many a darker night than this. He is leading us to a powwow with other great chiefs. Or, no,” Cassie frowned in the darkness. “he is leading us to safety, for some other tribe wants to carry Jess and me off as captives.”
Her dreaming was interrupted by the sudden halt of Jessie and Steven. She glanced up in time to see a large, six-point buck pause motionless no more than five yards from them. For only an instant he stood there, then with swift leaps, he disappeared into the morning dawn.
“Oh, how pretty!” Jessie breathed.
Steven nodded and once again set off.
The light of the coming dawn was giving them enough light to see though a morning mist hung about them.

“Here we are,” Steve’s voice broke the quiet.
“We’re at the old bridge,” Cassie sounded surprised.
“Yes, and just past it, around that farther bend, we will find the old trail. It is on the right of the path. Cass, do you want to lead?”
With a toss of her black hair she stepped out in front. “Everything depends on me now,” she thought. “I must find the only path to safety and not let the enemy see or know.” With great caution she crept forward, her black eyes darting everywhere.
Behind her, Steve and Jess exchanged amused glances, and Steven tossed an acorn at her
“Come out of your dream world, Cass, and let’s get going.”
Cassie sighed. Why did they have to ruin the most exciting part of the adventure? Well, she’d save it for another time.
“It is so quiet out here,” Jessie breathed, “and so still.”
Nothing more was said until Cassie halted and pointed towards a faint opening in the woods.
“Good job, Cass, you’ll make a tracker after all.” Steven grinned at his youngest sister and shifted his gun to the other arm. “Jess, do you want to lead?”
Jessie shook her head.
“Cass?”
Cassie hesitated and began to shake her head.
“Are you losing your nerve?” Steven couldn’t resist teasing a little.
Cassie grinned. “Indians don’t explore an unknown path without a weapon. Now if you’ll give me the gun--”
“No way,” Steve interrupted. “Dad would skin me alive if I did.”
“Then you lead Steve,” Jess broke in.

The path was faint and narrow. The three children moved down it carefully, ears and eyes open for any sign of wildlife. Here and there they spied turkeys or deer, and once Jessie spied an owl, but it flew off before the others saw it. All at once Steven stopped and listened.
A faint sound was coming from their left. To Cassie’s imaginative mind it sounded like the call of their Indian foe!
“It sounds as though someone is moaning,” Steven whispered. “Come on.” He deliberately stepped off the path in the direction of the sound.
“Steve!” Cassie’s hushed call made him turn his head. “It’s a trap. They want your scalp!”
Steven’s black eyes gazed straight into those of his sister. “Cut out the pretending, Cassie. This is for real.” Then he once more set off toward the sound, his sisters following.
Each passing moment brought more light although the sky remained cloudy and the mist hung heavy. The moans grew louder, and suddenly through the trees the figure of a man lying on the ground was to be seen.
“Hello,” Steven’s voice broke the silence.
The man raised his head and looked at the three who had suddenly appeared before him.
As the man didn’t speak, Steven spoke again, “Are you hurt?”
The man nodded with a groan and let his head fall back. “I was out huntin’ a few days ago, and my gun backfired and knocked me clear down the ledge yonder an’ I ain’t been able to get farther’n this.”
By then Jessie and Cassie had drawn near, and Steven was kneeling beside the stranger. He introduced himself and his sisters.
“I’m Sam,” the stranger told them. “An’ I’d be much obliged if you could help me.”
Steven and Jessie went to work bandaging, as well as they could, Sam’s arm and head and putting a splint on his leg.
“If I had some crutches, I think I could make it to the path.”
“Here, lean on me,” Steve offered. Then with Steven on one side and Jessie on the other, they set off for the main path, Cassie leading the way. All dreams of enemies had vanished from her mind leaving only one thought. “Find the path.”
To her own surprise, she came out on the path right beside the old bridge.
“Here,” Steven handed Jessie his gun. “You and Cass wait here with Sam while I run home and get Dad.”

Before anyone could protest, Steven was gone. The girls made Sam as comfortable as they could, and Jessie pulled out a small pack of jerky.
“Here,” she offered, “eat. And here’s water.”
Sam accepted them gratefully.
“Where are you going to have Thanksgiving dinner?” queried Cassie.
“Thanksgiving? Nowhere. But I didn’t know Indians celebrated it since us white men took your land.” Sam looked curious.
Jessie spoke softly. “Yes, they took land, but if the white man had never come, we would never have learned of Jesus Christ.”
Sam gazed at the colored leaves around him, then at the two dark, yet beautiful faces near him.
“Wouldn’t you like to have Thanksgiving with us?” Cassie asked.
Sam nodded, and all three fell silent.

 

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?
Do you do any Black Friday shopping?
Have you gotten any books from the Indie sale?

Friday, November 18, 2022

Neglected and Forsaken - Part 3

 Good morning!

It's cloudy this morning and in the 20s. The high today is supposed to be 31º. That's a bit crazy for before Thanksgiving. We've already had snow this week. It snowed for a while but only dusted some things and then melted. I don't know if we got any snow last night or not. If we did, it didn't stick.

I've gotten a lot more writing done this week than I thought I would. You see, my sis and I both came down with colds and something else came up so we didn't end up going to my aunt's house. So I wrote 2k words instead. We are still fighting these colds. Pray we get over them soon since we're supposed to sing on Sunday, and it's hard to sing when you are coughing.

Anyway, writing is going well. I reached my goal of 20k already, so I'm hoping I can get up to 30k or more this month. We'll see since I finished the one Christmas story I was working on, and now am focusing on Kate & Kylie. At least right now. I may work on another story, but we'll see.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I can't.

But I hope you enjoy this final part of this story.

 

 

Neglected and Forsaken
Part 3

    “Yah, but Will,” Joe put in, “What’re we goin’ to do with all the snow we dig out?”
    “First we’ll fill a few pails to melt for our use. After that, well, I reckon at first we’ll have ta tote the buckets upstairs an’ dump them out the window. But that’ll only be ‘till we get a good start on it ‘cause then we can use it ta reinforce the tunnel as we go.”
    It was hard, exhausting work digging that tunnel. Many times Joe paused to shake his head and mutter, “Sure glad I don’t work in the mine. Never could stand much of this type of thing.”
    Will worked patiently but carefully, packing the snow firmly on all sides of the tunnel. When the two men grew too cold to work, they would retire to the upper level of the mine. And so for the next day and a half the storm raged above them as they worked on their tunnel. At last Will stopped short, cocked his head and listened.
    “Say Joe, ya hear voices?”
    Joe nodded, a grin spread across his face, and they both fell to work again with renewed vigor. Soon a wooded wall appeared. After an hour or two more, the door was uncovered, and they burst into the boarding house to the astonishment of the boarders. Before too long a second tunnel was started; this time heading to town. The storm was forgotten in the excitement of tunnel digging. And with more hands, this one progressed much faster. And so day followed day. The snow continued to fall and the wind continued to howl and blow, but under it all, the men and yes, even some of the brave women were digging tunnels to get about. Before the storm had stopped, nearly every building in town was connected.
    The snow had reached the top of the second story windows in the mine. Will and Joe climbed up to the small window in the loft. Peering out they saw, not blowing snow, but sunshine!
    “Well, I’ll be! If that ain’t the prettiest sight I’ve ever seen,” Will murmured. “What day did the storm start, Joe?”
    Joe thought a moment and then gave a low whistle. “This is the twenty-third day, Will! That ought to be a record. Twenty-three days of blizzard! How much ya think got dumped this time?”
    Will, who had been busy calculating as he noticed how high the snow came up on the mine, turned around. “I’d say twenty-five feet.”

    The old man shook his head at the remembrance. “That sure ‘nough was quite a snow storm wasn’t it, old girl? An’ other years it was the avalanches that came down one side of those slopes,” here his gaze rose to the mountain peaks on his right, “an’ went right up that other side.” His gaze shifted to the farther side of the mountains. “They sure enough did a lot of damage to the town.”
    The silence that followed was broken by the call of a bird in a nearby tree. “Well, Frisco, we’ve had many pleasant times together. This town jest never was the same after Silverton became the county seat. Them rich mine owners left Animas Forks for Silverton. An’ then, you know what happened. We watched it together. Folks just up an’ left. An’ now . . ..” The old timer’s voice trailed away. For some time he just sat there, his eyes on the old worn mine before him. At last he stood up. “I reckon I’ll be sayin’ good bye now, Frisco. My nephew wants me ta go help him with his mine farther west, so I won’t be able ta come up here no more. But don’t fret, I’ll never be forgettin’ ya. So long, girl.”
    It was with slow steps that the old man trudged dejectedly away towards the ramshackle log houses that used to be the town of Animas Forks. At the edge of the town, Old William Croften stopped and looked back at the timeworn Frisco Mine. He could hear faintly the creaking of her loose boards as the wind blew down on her. Slowly he turned and continued on his way. Soon he was lost to view down the obscure overgrown trail that led down the mountain.
    The sun was beginning to set in a blaze of glowing colors. The twitter of birds was heard. A few small animals crept into their nests inside the old mine, and her boards creaked in the wind. Alone on the mountainside, the Frisco Mine stood like a sentry left at a forsaken post. Alone. She was forgotten by most who ever knew her. A weary, lonely sigh seemed to come from her as the darkness closed around. Would anyone ever come back to visit the old Frisco Mine? Or would she crumble into dust with no one to care?

 

Do you have plans for Thanksgiving?
Have you been writing this week?
Would you rather have snow or warm weather on Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 11, 2022

Neglected and Forsaken - Part 2

 Good morning!

It's cloudy and cold outside. Yesterday was sunny with the wind out of the south and temperatures in the upper 70s. But around 6:30 PM, the wind changed directions, and we had rain in the night. Now it's in the 30s and not supposed to get out of the 40s today. Our yard has a thick carpet of leaves and some trees haven't lost their leaves yet. 

This week I haven't written as much as I might have wished, but I worked the election on Tuesday and so was a little busy then. And today my nieces and nephews will be over mid afternoon until evening. That will be fun.

Writing camp is going well. Lots of chatting and writing. I'm at 50% of my goal already, which is nice. I know there will be days I won't get to write, so I like to get as much done early as I can. This is by far the largest camp we've ever had.

Well, I'm not going to make this long. I have other things to do before breakfast and then house cleaning. I hope you enjoy this next part.

 

 

Neglected and Forsaken
Part 2


    The stooped shoulders shook with laughter, and the faded eyes grew bright with mirth. “Now that was a good one, wasn’t it, Frisco? Us, the highest court in the United States. It does beat all what folks’ll say. Of course at that time we did have, oh I reckon ‘bout four hundred-fifty people livin’ here. Speaking of the highest,” with stiff fingers the old man pulled out a yellowed paper from his jacket pocket. “You remember this here advertisement ‘bout Animas Forks, don’t ya?” After clearing his throat a few times he held the paper up and read:
    “Animas Forks, the most populated town in the world.” The old man grinned and held the paper closer squinting to read the fine print under the headlines. “At this altitude.” The grin turned into a chuckle which in turn grew to a full and hearty laugh. The rocky mountain slopes tossed the laughter back and forth until it seemed that they too had joined in the joke. The old mine creaked more loudly as a stronger gust of wind swept down the mountainside.
    For several minutes the old man, the mine and the mountains enjoyed their merriment.
    “Well,” the man said at last, wiping his eyes, “I won’t read it all to ya as the rest of it ain’t that interesting. It’s just about the town an’ the mining of galena and that silver-bearing grey copper. But we know all about that, don’t we, old girl? Of course this is jest an advertisement for the town. I kind a wonder if anyone took any heed of it. Ya know what I mean, Frisco? Well, all I’s got to say is ‘The Animas Forks Pioneer’ was a heap more interesting to read.” Saying which he folded up the paper and stuffed it back in his pocket. “I’ve been hankerin’ for that old newspaper, but since the press closed down I’ve had to do with Silverton’s paper. But it jest isn’t the same, is it?”
    The slamming of a loose board somewhere in the mine was the answer. And then followed a long silence.

    At last the old man stood up stiffly and slowly began to make his way around the aged mine. He peered in at the empty windows, shook his head at the loose boards and sighed. Coming back to the rock, he resumed his seat where he sat motionless for some time. Finally he began to speak.
    “You remember the blizzard don’t you, Frisco? That was the winter of 1884 . . .”

    “I say, Joe, jest look at that snow come down, would ya?”
    “I know. Ain’t it somethin’ to see! Ya know, Will, I don’t even want to try to make it back to my room at the hotel in this. It’s hard to see even the boardin’ house.”
    Will took another look out the window. “Say! This ain’t jest a little snow storm. I’m thinking we’re in for a blizzard!”
    The two men looked at each other. They both knew the danger of trying to go anywhere in a storm like this. The mine was closed for the winter, but Will always kept a stash of food supplies there “jest in case” he always said. Well, that “jest in case” had finally arrived.
    “I reckon we might as well jest make ourselves at home an’ wait for the storm to blow over.”
    Joe nodded in agreement. “It’s a good thing neither of us is married, Will.”
    “How’s that?”
    “Then we’d have ta try ta get home or the women folk would be all upset.” He grinned. “I know as that’s the way it is with my brother.”
    The two men passed the rest of the day talking or just sitting and watching the swirling white clouds of snow out the windows. By bed time the storm showed no signs of abating, and the men rolled themselves up in blankets near the stove and slept. The next day and the next the storm raged. Drifts piled high against the sides of the mine covering up the lower windows. The men upstairs spent the time in telling stories and in game after game of checkers.
    On the sixth day, the entire lower part of the mine was covered and to look out the upper windows gave the appearance of being on the lower level.
    “My, this is one mean snow storm, I’m tellin’ you Joe!”
    “Don’t tell me,” Joe growled, “I know. An’ I don’t mind tellin’ you that this here business of doin’ nothing but playin’ checkers, in which you always win I might add, has about drove me crazy. Can’t ya think of anything else ta do?”
    Will looked thoughtful, his hand scratching his head as it did when he was thinking. Suddenly his eyes lit up. “How ‘bout we try digging a tunnel to the boardin’ house?”
    The suggestion met with Joe’s instant agreement, and the two descended the stairs to the strangely dark and cold first level. After lighting one of the lanterns that was used in the mine, Will cautiously pulled open the door. A solid wall of snow stood before them. Will reached out and took a handful. With a grin he turned to Joe.
    “This is the perfect kind of snow to make a tunnel in. See how well it packs?”

 

Do you like getting things done early?
Have you ever made a tunnel in the snow?
What would you do if you were snowed in for a few days?

Friday, November 4, 2022

Neglected and Forsaken - Part 1

 Good morning!

It's dark right now. The sun comes up later and later, and this morning it is cloudy so it's even darker. But it sure is nice out! We have the windows open and hope to go walk before breakfast. Then we'll clean the house, and I'm not sure what. There are some volleyball games tonight. I plan to go as it's the highest level team and fun to watch. Besides, Pickle Puss is playing on it. 

Yesterday I got a lot done in the morning and then my youngest niece and nephew came over because they were done watching volleyball. The three of us played outside in the leaves some, went for a walk, ate lunch together, read books, and then went back outside to play.

The King's Daughters' Writing Camp officially opened on November 1st, and we have had more campers than ever before! Since Nov. 1st, I've gotten over 4k words written which has been fun. I didn't think I'd get that many in this week with working nursery on Wednesday, and not sure if I'd have kids Thursday-Saturday, but I got 2k written the first day, and 700 written on Wednesday, and 1,400+ written yesterday. It's lots of fun seeing all the writing going on at camp. The sprints, and pushes, and crawls.

Besides camp and volleyball, there's not a whole lot going on this week. But I teach Children's church on Sunday, then work the election on Tuesday. No idea what else is going on.

Anyway, today's story is one I first posted back in 2009 and then again in 2016, I think. It was an interesting story to research and write. And yes, the accounts of things that happened there a long time ago are real. Enjoy!


Neglected and Forsaken
Part 1
 

    A warm breath of air blew down the mountainside stirring the grasses and causing the branches of the pine and fir trees to quiver and sway. Summer was here again. The old weathered sides of the Frisco Mine creaked while a loose shingle slid down through a  hole in the roof to the floor below.
    An aged man, somewhat stooped, with grey hair and whiskers and leaning heavily on a stout stick, paused before the decaying building. His breath was short and panting as though he had just made an arduous climb up the side of a steep mountain. With a trembling hand he wiped the perspiration off his face with his worn handkerchief.
    “The air’s thin up here,” he muttered to himself. “Always was an’ always will be I reckon.” He looked up at the old silent building before him. “We know what it’s like, don’t we?”
    A creaking board was the only answer, but that seemed to satisfy the old timer, for with a tired smile he made his way over to a rock and sank wearily down on it.
    The sun shone brightly down from a pale blue sky. A few lazy clouds seemed to cling still to the mountain tops nearby as though reluctant to leave them in spite of the wind’s promise of future mountain tops. All around was quiet and still. No human voices were heard. No wagons rumbled by, No trains whistled. Everything was peaceful and serene.
    Slowly, with a sigh of contentment, the old man lifted his head and looked about. A faint smile crossed his face as he gazed at the mine before him. “We’ve seen a lot, you an’ I. Haven’t we, Old Girl?” His eyes took on a far away look, and it seemed as though he could see it all again, just as it was then.

    A sharp pull at the string and the whistle blew announcing noon. Men seemed to appear out of no where into the open air. A steady stream headed for the nearby boarding house. In the town, voices floated back and forth as the people headed home or to the hotel or saloon, whichever suited their fancy for their mid day meal.
    William Croften leaned against the side of the mine near the whistle string he had just pulled. “It’s hard ta believe, ain’t it Frisco,” here he looked around at the sturdy walls of the mine with its gleaming glass windows and dark roof. He went on. “Hard to believe that only three years ago there was only one log cabin here abouts. An’ now in ‘76, would ya jest look at that town. I counted thirty cabins now an’ that don’t count the hotel, saloon, general store nor the post office. I reckon this is an up an’ comin’ place. But ya know, Frisco, it’s odd when ya come to think of it, jest how much the folks around here depend on your whistle.” William gave a grin, glanced at his watch and then strode off for his own cabin not far away.

    A small stone rolling down the mountain brought the old man back to the present with a start. Reaching down he picked up a handful of rocks and stared at them. “I reckon you recall, old girl, the day . . .”

    “Hey, Will!”
    “Yah?”
    “Did ya hear the news?”
    “What news?” Will glanced up from his desk.
    “We’ve got the highest court in the land.”
    Will snorted. “Ah, you expect me to believe that, Joe? Go along with yer foolin’.”
    Joe chuckled at something vastly pleasing as he dropped into an empty chair in the office of the Frisco Mine. “I ain’t foolin’ this time. That’s the sure ‘nough truth. It has ta be true, the judge jest said it.”
    At his companion’s incredulous look, Joe chuckled again. “Ya should ‘ave been there at the trial, Will.”
    “I know it, but the mine won’t run itself,” he glanced out the window and down towards the town. “So, what happened?”
    Joe was all eager to tell. Since this was the county seat, there were many trials held there, and Joe liked nothing better than to attend them. “Some day,” he liked to tell his friend Will, “I’m going ta be a lawyer, then you be sure an’ come an’ listen to the verdict.” Since he wasn’t yet a lawyer, he had to be content with sitting in the court sessions.
    “And so,” he wound up the story of the trial, “the judge fined him ten dollars and court costs. ‘Course Tom didn’t like it a bit and said he, ‘I’ll take this case to a higher court.’ He was right mad, but the judge jest looks him square in the eye an’ says cool as snow, ‘Man, there isn’t a higher court. You’ve jest been tried and found guilty in the highest court in all the United States.’ Now I call that something.” Joe paused out of breath.
    Will scratched his head and frowned in puzzlement. “How’s that, Joe? I must be gettin’ slow from all this book work.”
    Joe grinned. “Will, this town of Animas Forks is 11,300 feet or so above sea level. Now, do you know of any other court that is that high?”

 

How has your week been?
Have you read this story before?
What books have you read lately?

Friday, October 28, 2022

Untitled

 Good morning!

Well, um, I don't know what to post. This week has been crazy busy with opening the gates of camp, and having already reached and passed our record for the number of campers. Plus, our book "A Homewood Christmas" is having its launch tour this week. And I've been trying to write, and we found out yesterday that my aunt and grandpa are coming down today and will be here through Saturday. My oldest niece and the 4 oldest nephews all have volleyball games tonight and tomorrow and grandpa wanted to see his great grandchildren playing. I also had training for the upcoming election. Anyway, it's been crazy and I just realized this morning that today was Friday and I was supposed to post something. I'll have to see what I can find.

The weather this week has been more fall. It's warmer than it was last week, but we had two lovely days of rain, which we really needed. Now we've had sunshine and temperatures in the 60s in the day time. Makes for lovely walking weather.

But that's that. I don't have time to give you a big long post about my day to day life this week. But I know today will be busy. Tomorrow my aunt, best friend and I are going on a 5 mile hike at one of the State Parks nearby. Then I'll probably have at least Goosey Girl (my 2-y-o niece), and maybe Busters and Ti-K that afternoon/evening while the others have games. And then on Sunday my sis and I are singing in the ladies ensemble for church and then we have a fellowship meal afterwards. (We'll be celebrating the church's 80th year.) So busy keeps going.


Untitled

    Kevin and Kenzie stood by the brown picket fence which separated their aunt’s house from the neighbors.
    “‘Tis a lovely house entirely,” Kenzie sighed. “So different from our cottage back home.”
    “Aye,” her brother nodded. “Sure and everything here in this country is new and different. We aren’t likely to be seein’ fields of heather, an’ the crags of these mountains are different sure.”
    “But it’s not the crags I’m lookin’ at Kevin, ‘tis that house. Don’t you think we might go over an’ give them the top o’ the morning?”
    Kevin shook his head. “Aunt Shelia said we were to stay in the yard until she is ready to go out with us. Sure and it wouldn’t be a good way to start our visit by leavin’ the yard after that.”
    “But,” persisted Kenzie, staring at the brown, weathered house, “t’would only be next door just.”
    “Aye, but she didn’t say not to wander off, she said don’t leave the yard. Those are different things entirely. But we can look at the house from here. Have ye ever seen stairs like them on the outside of a house? Tis curious indeed where they lead to. Aunt Shelia has no such stairs.”
    “Aye, an’ look at all the window panes, Kevin, it’s glad I am not to be havin’ the washin’ of them entirely!”
    Kevin nodded.
    “Kevin! Kenzie!”
    The brother and sister turned from the fence and ran to the door where their aunt stood.
    “I’m so sorry, but I won’t be able to take you out this morning. That phone call just put a wrinkle in my plans. I’ll have to stay here and take care of some things. But if you two would like to go wander the village, I’ll let you go alone. Kevin, you have a watch, don’t you?”
    “Sure and he has a watch, Aunt Shelia.”
    Aunt Shelia smiled. “Very well then, you two can run along but be back by noon if you want some lunch. Another day I’ll pack you a lunch to take with you.”
    As the siblings started toward the gate, Kenzie said, “Sure and now we can go and see who lives in that old house entirely!”

How was your week?
What do you think of this short story?
Any ideas of what happens next?

Friday, October 21, 2022

Monday's Mystery - Part 2

 Good morning and Happy Friday!

This month is flying! It's rather strange. I was working hard to get things done so I could relax and enjoy fall, but other things keep popping up that need done. But I am getting a lot done. I actually have blog posts (for Read Another Page) except for a few links done for the rest of the year! I'm ready for writing camp, the books I wanted to publish this year are published, and I almost have my lines memorized for the Christmas play.

Last weekend was really busy with kids here and stuff, but it was also fun. I didn't get any writing done last weekend, but I've been able to get some writing in this week. So many stories want to be written! I am trying to finish up "Finding Home" (not sure if it will get a different title or not), and "Kate & Kylie" want me to keep working on their story. But I have to get a Christmas story written to put in our Christmas cards this year. I am working on one, but it might end up too long, so . . . If it is too long, I'll have to write another one. And then I got an idea for another Homewood Christmas story for next year. Ha! Crazy. "A Homewood Christmas" releases on Monday (though I'll tell you a little secret: it's already published!) and some of us are talking about another collection. Hopefully this first book will sell well.

Okay, the weather. We had temperatures drop down into the 20s one night, and into the 30s two other nights. But today it's supposed to be 81º.  Maybe that cold snap will make the rest of the trees change colors. Some already have, but others are still holding on to their summer dress of green.

Registration for KDWC is open now and we have over 80 campers signed up. The gates open on Tuesday. Busy times are starting. But it's a good busy. Lots of writing. I'm hoping that I can get a lot written during camp. And now I'll quit talking and let you read the next part of this story. One of these days maybe I'll get back to it and finish it. If you have any suggestions for why Bets needs her brother, let me know, because right now, I don't know.

 

Monday's Mystery
Part 2

 

    “Hang on, Bets, I’m coming,” he murmured.
    Arriving home, Lucas went inside and looked around. How long was he going to be gone? What sort of things should he pack? Should he let anyone know he was leaving? There were no parents to worry about his absence, and he only really knew one of his neighbors, but there would be some people at church who would worry when he didn’t appear for choir practice.
    “Lists,” he muttered. “I need lists. But I should know where Wimberley is and how to get there first.” Logan Lucas Kent was nothing if not practical. He sat down at his desk and opened his laptop. Soon he had the route to the small town figured out. He printed the directions, just in case he couldn’t remember them later, and tucked them into the pocket of his laptop case.
    “Now for the lists.”
    Quickly he grabbed a legal pad and sat down at the table. Soon several pages written in his neat hand were spread before him. There was a list of who he needed to contact about his absence, a list of things he needed to take with him, a list of things that needed done at the house before he left, like making sure the fridge was empty of anything that would spoil in more than five days and taking out the trash, and he had a list of food items for the trip. He was thankful his work could be done anywhere and that he was his own boss.
    After looking over his lists and feeling fairly satisfied that he hadn’t forgotten anything, Lucas began to get ready in an orderly, steady way. There was no jumping between tasks or leaving one half done because he’d suddenly remembered another thing. Clothes were packed quickly but neatly in his large suitcase. He had debated for a moment about how much he should take, but decided to be on the safe side in case he had to stay a little while. His sleeping bag and pillow were added to the growing stack by the door. A few books, his Bible, a few of his favorite CDs, and a newly filled water bottle all resided in a plastic tub. Everything he needed for work, his laptop, planner, notebook, and power cords were loaded into his laptop case and set near the other items.
    Next he headed to the kitchen. The small cooler was packed to overflowing with items from his fridge. “At least I haven’t been to the grocery store this week,” he muttered, shaking his head when the lid wouldn’t shut. Finding it difficult to try and repack the cooler as he crouched on the floor, he took everything to the dining room table and spread it out. The small amounts of leftovers he dumped since he wasn’t sure he’d have a way to heat them up. Sandwich things like meat and cheese, lettuce and avocados, along with the half gallon of milk, jelly, hard-boiled eggs, and mustard now fit nicely in the cooler. “But I’m going to need salt and pepper and plates and– My camping stuff!” Lucas rushed into the garage and grabbed a sturdy box. He knew there were more things in the box than he needed, but he didn’t want to take the time to sort it out. Before he returned to the kitchen, his eyes landed on his inflatable mattress. “I don’t know if Bets will have enough beds. Better be on the safe side and take it with me.”
    He packed another box in the kitchen with things like fruit, bread, some snacks, and the last bag of chips. “This ought to last me.”
    The visit to his neighbor didn’t take long. The older man promised to keep an eye on Lucas’s place while he was gone. He didn’t ask any questions about why he as heading to Texas and told Lucas to have a good trip. As he walked back to his house, Lucas called up the choir director at church.
    “Hey, Seth, this is Lucas Kent. I’m well, but I wanted to let you know that there’s been an emergency, and I will be leaving town for an unknown number of days . . . Yes, I am too. No, I’m not sure. Hopefully not too long . . . Thanks . . . Sure, I’ll let you know . . . You too. Bye.”
    “I can text Nate later.” Shoving his phone into his pocket, Lucas began the task of loading his car. This only took a short time, and a quick walk through his house assured him that he hadn’t forgotten anything important. He’d taken the trash out, the fridge was empty, the AC was turned down, lights were off, and he had everything packed and loaded. Upon seeing his lists and leagal pad still on the table, Lucas grabbed them and carried them out to the car. “Never know when you might need some paper.”
    Just before he pulled out of his driveway, Lucas paused. Was this a crazy idea? His practical side said it was. How was he going to find his sister even in a small town? Was he going to have to go to every house, knock on the door, and find out if Bethany Jordon lived there? It all sounded wild and ridiculous, not something someone as organized and methodical as Logan Lucas Kent would do. And yet he couldn’t get the words out of his mind.
    “Key, I need you.”
    He’d do almost anything to help his baby sister.
     “Even leaving my orderly life for the unknown.” Bowing his head on the steering wheel, Lucas prayed, asking for help and safety, and for wisdom on how to help his sister. “And, Lord, please keep Bets safe right now. Be her strength and shield.” 

 

Have you been busy?
Are you planning on coming to camp?
Do you have any ideas for this story?