I hope this morning finds the sun shining and the sky blue above you. Well, of course it always is, you just can't always see it because of those clouds that get in the way.
The last homeschool conference for me is over and I'd rather glad. I enjoy conferences, but after a while they do get tiring. Now maybe I can get back into writing for real. This week hasn't had much of interest except my sister's birthday and my parent's anniversary. (All on the same day.) I've gotten some writing done in the evenings, but not much. It's been one of those times where I can't seem to figure out what to write on any of the stories started on NEO, or if I have ideas, I can't seem to get them from my brain to the screen. But, it is getting better. I actually finished a short story that's been on there since February! Worked on another story that's been on there longer than that, and even got some ideas and wrote a little on a story that was started a LONG time ago. But that's not all. I do have some news for you. :)
Triple Creek Ranch - Book 1 has been written! Now I didn't say it was ready for publication. The ending was approved this week, I re-read and marked corrections and handed the notebook off to my first test reader/best friend/chapter divider. Once she's done with it, I'll give it to my sister for another read before making all the corrections and dividing the book into chapters with chapter names. :) Then the book has to go to my test readers, get to my illustrator and all that sort of thing. And, since I didn't think you all would like it if you got the first book and then had to wait several years for the 2nd book, I'm going to start work on the 2nd book hopefully very soon. I'd really like to be able to get them published within a few months of each other. So, you can pray that I'm inspired. :)
All readers who would like to enter cattle brands for Triple Creek -- This is your last week to do so! Since I have finished writing the first book, I'm going to need the Brand soon. (Can't have the cattle running around unmarked.) Send your brands to firstname.lastname@example.org You might want to make sure your brands only have Triple Creek in them. (Or some form of the name or initials.) Don't use Norman's initials because the Triple Creek was around long before it was his. Also, you might want to leave Ranch out of the brand since all the ranches had brands like "Silver Spur," "Rimrock," "Broken K" and so on. Feel free to enter as many brands as you would like. The more I get the more I'll like it. :)
Now, since I couldn't decide just want story to post this week since I haven't gotten any new ones written and ready, I went looking through my files. Ah hah! What did I discover but a few stories that I had written for "Ria and the Gang." However, when I decided not to write that book, I kept all the stories and never posted them. This is the very first story I wrote about Ria and the Gang. I hope you enjoy it! :) I'm chuckling just rereading some of it again. :D
The smell of freshly baked cookies pervaded the kitchen and drifted out into the rest of the house. Ria Mitchell paused before the front screen door and sniffed. Her mouth was already watering as she pulled open the door and stepped in letting it slam behind her.
“Mom!” Ria’s steps halted in the kitchen doorway.
Mrs. Mitchell looked up from the cookies she was placing on a tray. “Hi Ria. Did you have fun shopping with Grandma?”
Ria nodded and reached for a cookie. “Are you leaving soon?”
After a quick glance at the clock, her mother nodded. “As soon as I get the last pan of cookies out of the oven. You don’t mind staying here alone for a little while, do you?”
Ria grinned. “It won’t be long. The gang is supposed to be here in fifteen minutes, and unless Jason or Sam delay them, they’ll be here then.”
The last pan of cookies was pulled from the oven before Mrs. Mitchell replied. “If they are late, you can always go over to Corporal’s house. He told me he would be home all day today. You can even take him a plate of cookies if you want. But you might want to fix the plate first or the gang will eat all the cookies.”
Mother and daughter laughed. They well knew the gang’s ability to make food disappear. The so called “gang” was composed of Ria’s brothers, male cousins and a few friends, all of whom were older than herself. The Mitchell home, central in its location in town, was the usual meeting place for the gang. It was here in the spacious front room with its large fireplace and numerous windows that discussions and debates were held and plans made for the future doings of the members. Mrs. Mitchell, or “Aunt Emma” as nearly all the gang called her, was a welcomed guest whenever she chose to make an appearance as was “Uncle Mitch.” Ria came and went at her own pleasure among the gang knowing she would be welcomed, petted or teased depending on the mood of the lads. Being the only girl cousin around, above the age of four years, made her rather special. If she had been anyone else, Ria would no doubt have been lonely. As it was, however, she made the most of the gang and thrived like a daisy among the thistles. Having twenty-five lads around could grow somewhat tiring and Ria was thankful for her new best friend Lydia Smith and her correspondence with her cousin, Milly, who lived in Massachusetts.
As Mrs. Mitchell drove away, Ria stood in the doorway waving. The sun was shining brightly and everywhere things were green. Birds sang here and there in the trees and over at a neighbor’s house, a dog barked.
With a giggle Ria suddenly bent down and pulled the extra key from under the doormat, shut the door and locked it. Hurrying to the back door she shut and locked that as well. She was quite hungry. The cookies were waiting. No one was there. She really wasn’t going to eat them all. She knew better than that. First of all she fixed a plate of cookies for Corporal and set a note on top.
Pouring herself a glass of milk, Ria sat down at the kitchen table and picked up a cookie. She could hear the voices of several of the boys approaching the house and she hoped Ed didn’t have a key. Quickly she glanced toward the door. No, the key was still hanging on the hook. A smile flickered across her face and then settled into a broad grin as she heard the door being tried unsuccessfully.
“Mom must have left. Hey!” Jimmy exclaimed, “The key isn’t here. Oh well,” he added, “The back door is probably unlocked. Come on.”
They were coming! Ria couldn’t contain a little laugh and nearly choked on her cookie. It wasn’t everyday she could think of something like this to do.
“This door is locked too, Ed.”
“What? Well, knock on the door. I’m sure Ria is home or Mom would have left a key or one of the doors unlocked.”
“Hey!” the voice of the youngest Mitchell lad was heard. “Ria is in the kitchen eating the cookies!”
Ria grinned to herself and pretended not to hear.
The door was pounded on with great force, but Ria remained unmoved. Even the rattle of the window didn’t disturb her quiet enjoyment of freshly baked cookies.
“Ria! Open this door!” Ed’s voice was commanding.
“Come on, Ria, please!” Tom begged.
“Yeah, we’re hungry.” Jack rattled the door handle.
“If you open the door now we promise to not do anything to you,” Ray told her.
And Will added, “But if you don’t open the door . . .” To all coaxing, pleading and threats Ria remained deaf. After a little while she would unlock a door and then run for her life. But right now she was enjoying her little joke.
Outside, Ed spoke softly to Tom and Jack, “Keep up the knocking and demanding an entrance.” Then, beckoning the rest of the gang to follow him, he led them some distance into the yard. “All right. It looks like Ria is in a stubborn streak right now and there’s no telling when she’ll let us in. Johnny, you and Jimmy, Winston and Sam go around to the front door and knock and call and try to get the door open. Don’t stop until the door opens.”
The four boys set off at once.
“Will, Jason and Fred, go help at the back door.”
William nodded, and they hurried back to the house.
“Now, Chris, Dave and Walt, you three see if you can get in at a window somewhere. You are small enough to fit in. Just be quiet about it. Once you are in, one of you slip to the front door and unlock it and the others take the back door and Ria. Ray and Phil, they might need a hand. The rest of us will help wherever we’re needed.”
It was only five minutes later that Chris discovered the sewing room window was unlatched and, softly calling to the others, pushed it open. With great caution Ray and Phil assisted the three younger lads to crawl in through the window. Once in Chris, Dave and Walt grinned at each other.
Ria was on her fifth cookie when suddenly Chris and Walt burst into the room. Before she could run, Walt had the back door open and the older boys came pouring in. Quickly she turned towards the front of the house in hopes of escape, but to her dismay the others had come in through the front door which Dave had unlocked. Her hour of doom had arrived.
She saw the grim teasing looks in every face before her and knew there was no hope.
“Take her up to her room and lock her in!” Ed ordered in stern tones of an officer. Instantly Ria felt herself being seized and hustled from the room.
“Al!” she cried above the noise of boyish voices. “Save me! I promise I won’t do it again!”
Her pleading might have released her, for Al was soft hearted when it came to this cousin of his, but Ria couldn’t keep back the giggle that rose at the thought of what she had done. That giggle sealed her fate, and she was born up the stairs by brothers and cousins alike and locked securely in her room.
What would you have done to Ria?
Or would you have been Ria and locked the others out?
What do you think Ria did?
Come back next week for the rest of the story.