Friday, January 31, 2014

Graham Quartet - Part 22

Hello FFFs!
Can you believe today is the last day of January, 2014? Where have the days gone? I certainly didn't get any of your days because my month just flew by. It was a good month with a few delightful announcements from friends and quite a bit of writing done, as well as . . .

now available to order! Yep, book two of the Triple Creek Ranch series is now published. If you've read book 1 and are wondering what happens to Norman, Jenelle, Orlena and the rest of the folks on the Triple Creek, here's a chance to find out. And if you haven't read book 1, hurry and join the rest of the readers for excitement, laughter and tears.
You can also order from Amazon or Light of Faith.

I hope you all are still enjoying reading The Graham Quartet. If you are tired of it, I can post something else next week. I would hate to lose my readers just because I posted the same story for too long.
I lent a print copy of the Graham Quartet to some friends who are reading it aloud and they took a vote and decided that I needed to write more stories about the Quartet's adventures. What do you all think?

The Graham Quartet and the Mysterious Strangers
Part 22 
“Too noisy. He’d hear us in a minute and then we really would look suspicious. Besides,” Matt added, “I don’t like the idea of leaving a blazing fire burning in an empty cabin. Maybe the best thing to do, since it looks like only one person, is to just go out like we don’t even know he’s there and head for home as if nothing unusual has happened.”
    Before either of the girls could voice their opinion, Tim hissed from the loft, “Matt, he’s coming to the cabin!”
    “Get down here!” Elsa ordered in low tones. “Let’s all get our things on now that the fire is out.”
    Quickly Tim scrambled down the ladder and thrust his arms into the sleeves of his coat which his oldest sister tossed him. Just as Selena was pushing in the chairs to the table, while Elsa wrapped her scarf about her neck and Matt pulled on his gloves, a knock sounded on the door.
    For a split second, the Quartet exchanged anxious glances and then Matt stepped across the room and reached for the doorknob.
    Opening the door, he was confronted by a stranger. “Hello.” Matt couldn’t think of anything else to say.
    “Hi,” the man said, glancing at Matt’s face and then into the room. “My car got stuck down the road a piece and this is the first sign of life I’ve seen. I was rather hoping that someone lived here.”
    “No, we were just getting warm and are ready  to head back home.”
    “Then this isn’t your cabin?” The man looked slightly suspicious and sounded puzzled.
    Tim hurried up then. “It actually belongs to our dad, so we can use it when we’re out in the area.”
    “Oh, I see. Are you out here often?”
    Matt didn’t like that question and hesitated on how to answer it without giving anything away.
    “Not as much as I’d like to,” Tim put in. “We have to go to school. I think they should have school every-other week. Don’t you think that would be a good idea?”
    The stranger laughed a little. “I never thought of that, but it would have made my boyhood a whole lot easier, as long as they didn’t have school in the summer.”
    “Ugh, that would be terrible!” Tim agreed. “The other thing that’s terrible is missing supper, and we’re going to be late if we don’t hurry, Matt.”
    Matt nodded. “Sorry we couldn’t be of more help, Mister . . .?”
    “I beg your pardon, Bruce is the name. Orin Bruce.”
    “We could tell our dad about your car, and I’m sure he’d be happy to pull it out for you,” Elsa spoke for the first time.
    The man looked quickly around and stared at her a moment. “I’ve seen you before . . . Ah, yes, now I remember. I asked you and another young lady about tours of the furniture factory. I don’t suppose you discovered anything?”
    Elsa, who had recognized the man as soon as she saw and heard him, replied, “I did find out that they don’t give tours any longer. Sorry.”
    The stranger shrugged. “Oh well. I guess I can’t do everything. But I am holding you kids up. Sorry to have bothered you.” And the man lifted his hand in farewell and walked quickly away.
    For a moment the Quartet stood grouped about the door and watched. Then Selena broke the silence. “Come on, you guys, let’s go!”
    “Selena’s right,” Matt said quickly. “We need to leave. Turn the light off, Tim.”
    It only took a few moments for Matt to pull the locked door shut behind them and for everyone to strap on their snow shoes. There was not a dissenting voice when Matt suggested they take the quickest, most direct route home. Everyone was nervous but tried not to show it as they set off at a brisk pace.

    In the entryway at the Graham home, the Quartet talked in low tones as they removed their warm, winter garments.
    “When should we tell Dad?” Selena whispered. 
    “What about at dinner?”
    Matt shook his head. “I don’t want to scare Mom.”
    “Is there time before supper, do you think?” Elsa hung her coat on the hook and draped her scarf over top.
    “I don’t know. I guess we could see, but Mom probably wants help setting the table.”
    “Matt, you’re not going to talk to Dad without us, are you?” Tim questioned his older brother anxiously.
    Carefully lining up their boots, Matt shook his head. “No, I think we should all be there.”
    Right then, Mrs. Graham’s voice called from the kitchen, “Elsa, Selena, can you two set the table for me, please?”
    “Sure Mom,” Elsa called back, adding in lower tones to her siblings, “I guess we’ll just have to wait until after supper.”
    It was hard to wait and not talk about what was uppermost in their minds, but they all knew how to keep quiet when needed. Mr. and Mrs. Graham could tell their children were preoccupied, for they didn’t talk much; even Tim was unusually quiet, and they ate quickly. But neither one said anything, trusting in their good judgment and feeling sure that if they needed to talk about something, they would do so. When the meal was over, the dishes washed and the kitchen spotless, the Quartet made their way to Mr. Graham’s study where they found him seated at his desk.
    Looking up as the four siblings stopped before his open door, Mr. Graham beckoned them in. “What’s going on?” he asked, as Matt carefully shut the door after the others.
    “Dad,” Matt began, having been unanimously elected as spokesperson, “we’ve reached a situation that we don’t know how to handle.”
    Leaning back in his chair, Mr. Graham’s face was expressionless. “I’m listening.”
    Whereupon Matt told of the day’s experience, Guy’s not being at the cabin and the stranger’s appearance and conversation with the Quartet.
    After Matt had finished, Mr. Graham looked thoughtful. “And you’ve never seen this man before?”
    “Only once,” Elsa replied, “when he asked Alice and me if the furniture factory still gave tours.”

Who do you think "Elsa's stranger" is?
What is going on around town?
And where is Guy Fox?
Any ideas, thoughts or comments?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Graham Quartet - Part 21

Good Morning FFFs!
How can it be Friday already? I just posted!  At least it feels that way. It wasn't that this week was super busy or anything, it just went by too quickly.

I have been working on TCR-3 and some times it goes quickly and at other times I can't seem to get anything written. Since last Friday I have managed to get 4 parts written and another part started. As far as Book Two goes, my mom is still trying to finish reading and proofing it. Hopefully next Friday I'll be able to tell you that it is available for purchase. :) Would you like that? I'm wondering, how many of my readers have already purchased or read "Triple Creek Ranch—Unbroken"? And how many of you are waiting to get book one until you can get book two at the same time?

I'm glad to know that some of you are still enjoying the Graham Quartet. :) Things certainly get interesting in this story. At least I thought so when I was writing it. I hope you enjoy this next part.

Part 21 
 They saw nothing, however, and Matt gave the signal knock.
    There was no answer.
    He knocked once more, but again no one came to the door and Matt turned a puzzled look on his siblings.
    “Try the door,” Tim hissed softly.
    It was locked.
    “He did say that he might not be here every time we came,” Selena remarked quietly. “But now he’ll wonder who was here, won’t he?”
    “Probably not,” Matt reassured. “He’ll see all our tracks. Besides, we can send him a note and tell him. But now, let’s head back to the house. I’m hungry and we have homework to do.”
    Tim groaned. “Why’d you have to mention that?”
    “Because if you aren’t done by the time I am, I’m going to work with you on your math.”
    With a snort, Tim turned to Selena who was trudging along through the snow beside him. “Don’t you want Matt to help you tonight, Selena?”
    She shook her head and said, “No, but I do want to eat one of those cookies we brought.”
    “Good idea!”
    In a few minutes, the cookies had all vanished, and feeling more energized, the Quartet started off again with rapid steps.

    The following day, Matt, as he did some research for school in the library across the street from the school, overheard two men discussing a recent trip to Hong Kong. From everything he heard, it had been a business trip, but he made a mental note to write it down in code for Guy. This he did, telling the rest of the Quartet what he had heard after tucking the note inside the hollowed part of the tree.
    “I really don’t think it was much,” he said in answer to Tim’s question. “They were two men I didn’t know.”
    “Did either of them look at all familiar?” Elsa asked, glancing away from the road for a moment.
    “Nope. They were complete strangers.”
    “Isn’t it kind of strange?” Selena mused.
    “What is?”
    “That we’ve seen so many strangers around town, but we only see them once and then they just disappear.”
    There was silence in the car for several minutes before Matt said slowly, “You know, you’re right, Selena. These two men were strangers, you and I saw a stranger talking to Mr. Hinken at the hardware—”
    “Don’t forget my stranger,” Elsa put in.
    “Nor Aaron Burr,” Tim added.
    “That’s five strangers in town. I wonder if the sheriff has noticed any unusual strangers?”
    As Elsa flipped on the turn signal and made the turn into their long driveway, she asked, “Do you want me to drive back to town so you can ask him?”
    Matt snorted and didn’t bother to reply. To have asked Sheriff Marr any questions about strangers in town would have roused his suspicions that the Quartet were on to something, and Guy had told them not to tell anyone.

    The air was bitterly cold on Friday morning and the sky looked heavy with snow. On the way to school, Elsa stopped the car at the tree and Tim ran over to check for a note. Pulling something from the tree, he quickly scrambled back into the car with a small piece of paper clutched in his hand.
    “What does it say?” Matt demanded, as Tim stared at the note with a puzzled face.
    “I don’t know. I can’t read the writing.” He passed the note over to Selena who, after glancing at it, passed it up to Matt.
    Matt, more accustomed to reading illegible handwriting than the others, for his history teacher’s writing was very difficult to decipher, quickly read the note, translating from the secret code. “He wants us at the cabin tomorrow afternoon.” He looked up. “Maybe those two men I heard were important!”
    “Tomorrow!” Tim breathed in excitement, his eyes shining with anticipation. “I don’t think I can wait that long!”
    “There’s more,” Matt added, staring at the note again. “He said not to come all together the same way and . . .” For a minute he squinted at the paper, trying to figure it out. “I think he says to use great caution.”
    Nothing further was said until Elsa had parked the car at the school. She was going to spend the day with Alice.
    Then Tim leaned forward and whispered, “We should have signals and approach the cabin from opposite sides and—”
    “And we should get inside before the bell rings,” Matt interrupted, opening his door and effectively quieting his younger brother. “We’ll plan tonight after we get home. For now focus on school!” He looked into the backseat at both his younger siblings. They nodded.

* * *

    The Quartet had planned all they could about slipping up to the cabin the following day. Their plans were carried out until they reached the cabin and discovered that Guy wasn’t there. He had left them a note saying he had to catch a train. An uneasy feeling of being watched had caused Tim to check out the loft windows. To their dismay, he discovered that there was someone crouched in the shadows watching the cabin. Quickly Matt, Elsa and Selena had moved to other windows. Had this been a trap? Were there others watching the cabin as well?
    After several long minutes of watching and searching every shadow for movement, Matt spoke in low tones. “I don’t see a thing.”
    “Me either,” Elsa and Selena whispered.
    “Tim, what about you?”
    Tim, his eyes still fixed on the motionless shadow that he knew was a man, replied, “Just this one guy, and he hasn’t moved.”
    “How are we going to get home, Matt?” Selena wondered. “I wish this cabin had a phone so we could call Dad to pick us up.”
    “What if we build the fire up again so it looks like we’re still here and then slip out a back window?” Tim offered.
    “Too noisy. He’d hear us in a minute and then we really would look suspicious. Besides,” Matt added, “I don’t like the idea of leaving a blazing fire burning in an empty cabin.

Will you be back next Friday to find out how they get out?
Or do they?
Who is the man watching them?
Must someone come to their rescue?
I'd love to know what you think.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Graham Quartet - Part 20

Hello FFFs!
How is your weather? It's windy and cold here. No snow and the sky looks pretty cloudless. We've had some lovely weather and some windy weather and some cold weather. And as we say here, "If you don't like the weather, wait till tomorrow."

My big exciting news is that the proof copy for TCR-2 has arrived! It looks great, but my mom is going to read it once more and check for any mistakes. If all goes well, this book will be available to purchase by the end of the month, maybe sooner.
TCR-3 is going slowly. I was stuck for a little while because I couldn't figure out where the story was supposed to go next. Was it that evening? The next morning? Finally I skipped an entire day and it's starting to come again. The troubles of a writer. :)

This week I started teaching writing classes again and I even started doing an art course with my niece. We are having fun even if we were pretty much just drawing lines yesterday. :) I have also been working on editing, correcting and doing layout for letters my grandma wrote to her mom in the 70s while my mom and her siblings were growing up. They are quite fun to read. Once I finish editing them I'll put them all in a book for each family to have and enjoy. I already did the 50s and 60s.

But I will take no more of your time, if you even stopped to read this part of my post, and let you get on to what you are really interested in.

The Graham Quartet and the Mysterious Strangers
Part 20 
    “I made a copy for you and I have one. Memorize it and write any notes for me with it. I’ll do the same. That way anyone else who might find the notes will not think a thing about them. One other thing about this; never carry it around with you! If you feel that you may need it later, put it in a safe place where it can’t be easily found. Understand?”
    Solemnly the Quartet nodded their heads.
    “Guy,” Matt spoke softly, “I think we should pray.”
    “I think so too.”

    The drive home was quiet; everyone was trying to take in all that had transpired since they had left the house that morning. A light snow had begun to fall softly, adding yet another blanket to the already covered ground.
    “Well,” Matt asked in low tones just before they reached their driveway, “should we go back home or head back to town?” He turned to look in the back seat where Tim and Selena were riding.
    They both looked at each other and neither replied.
    “I didn’t look to see if they had more yarn.”
    “Then I think we should go back at least to get that,” Matt decided. “Unless you all object.”
    Tim and Elsa shook their heads. Sitting silently, Selena stared out the side window without moving.
    When saying her name didn’t get her attention, Tim stretched his leg out and nudged her foot.
    With a start she turned around. “What?”
    Matt repeated his question and Selena shook her head. “I don’t care, but when we come home—” she hesitated a moment. “Could we go the long way?”
    “The long way?” Elsa glanced in the mirror at her younger sister. “What long way?”
    “By the factory.”
    Matt whistled. “Good idea, Sis! Maybe we’ll see something.”
    “Or someone,” Tim added meaningfully.
    There was no yarn at the store, neither did Selena’s idea of driving by the factory yield anything, for not a soul was to be seen and they drove back home in silence, feeling that it had been a wasted trip.

    Back at the cabin, Guy was turning a few knobs on his radio, his microphone held in his hand. The sound of static came over the set and the knobs were adjusted. The static ceased and Guy spoke. “Henhouse to Farmer. Come in.”
    “Farmer to Henhouse, go ahead.”
    “The Little Red Hen is out. Repeat, the Little Red Hen is out.”
    “I read you. How close is the fox to the prize?”
    “Not close enough. Any report from the mill or the bakery?”
    “Negative. Can you find the Little Red Hen?”
    “Heading out shortly. Will report usual time if possible.”
    “10-4. Will stand by.”
    “Over and out.”
    For a brief moment, the FBI agent remained motionless. Then, with a sigh, he replaced the microphone and stood up. He moved his injured leg and was pleased to notice no pain at all. It was time to get to work.

    In church the following morning, the Graham family sat in the back of the sanctuary. Every stranger who entered after them was discreetly observed by each member of the Quartet, and the back heads of those who were already seated were studied carefully, but nowhere did they see anyone resembling the stranger who had dropped the paper, nor Aaron Burr.
    “I don’t know why we expected either of those men to be at church,” Matt remarked, when the Quartet were gathered in their corner of the library that afternoon. “Not if they are bad guys.”
    “I wasn’t looking for them,” Elsa admitted. “I was sort of hoping my stranger would show up there. But if he was there, I didn’t see him.”
    “Your stranger?” Selena inquired with a puzzled face. “Who?”
    “The man who asked Alice and me about touring the factory.”
    Selena nodded.
    With a groan, Tim slid down in his chair and stretched his legs as far as they would go before him. “I wish we didn’t have to go to school tomorrow.”
    “Why? Are you falling down in your math again?” Matt grinned at his younger brother.
    “I seem to be falling in everything,” Tim admitted, sliding completely off his chair to lie staring at the ceiling. “I just can’t seem to concentrate on anything but this mystery.”
    Selena and Matt nodded sympathetically. It wasn’t easy to pay attention in class and focus on such things as english and math when something big and mysterious was happening right in their town and they were a part of it.

    Monday passed. And then Tuesday with nothing to report. They arrived home early on Wednesday because a friend was passing their house and offered them a lift. This had given the Quartet no time to linger in town listening and searching for new clues. With the lack of new things to think about, the Quartet was growing more restless and when Mrs. Graham suggested they take some freshly baked cookies to Guy at the cabin, the Quartet dashed for coats and boots. In record time they were ready and on their way through the woods to the cabin.
    “You know,” Elsa whispered when their house could no longer be seen, “we always seem to go dashing up to the cabin because we have something to say. Perhaps this time we should see how quietly and stealthily we can approach it.”
    “What if we frighten him?” Tim wanted to know.
    Matt laughed. “Us, frighten Guy? Come on, Tim. Chances are he’ll hear and see us before we even come close to the place. But I think Elsa’s got a good idea.”
    The others agreed, and silently, stealthily and with frequent stops to listen and look about, the four siblings made their way toward the cabin, slipping from tree to tree, crouching behind bushes and trying at times to step in the tracks of the person before them.
    In this manner it took them much longer to reach the cabin than ever before and they approached in silence, watching the windows for signs of anyone watching them.

What do you think of this story?
Any questions or comments?
What do you think happens next?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Answers and Graham Quartet - Part 19

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans!
This has been a rather interesting week as far as weather is concerned. Last Friday and Saturday the snow was melting. Then it began to snow Saturday night and we had several inches when we woke up Sunday morning and it was still snowing and blowing with a wind chill in the -20ºs! Church was cancelled since many people come from quite a distance and most were from where the storm was worse. The next few days were quite a bit below zero with negative degrees at night or with the windchill. Then yesterday it began to grow warmer and last night it remained above freezing! The snow is nearly all gone now and there's a chance of rain today.

My week has been busy in other regards too. A friend and her three kiddos came over on Monday afternoon for a while, I worked really hard on TCR-2 and this morning I was able to order my proof copy! Yipee! I'll let you know as soon as it becomes available for purchase. And, if you haven't gotten your copy of Triple Creek Ranch Book 1 — Unbroken, then be sure you visit Light of Faith, Amazon or my Store to purchase your own copy. If you want it signed, then get it from Light of Faith and request it signed.

Other writing? Well, you all should be happy to know that I worked on TCR Book 3 and now have 3 parts of it written. :) (You'll be able to read a sneak preview of it at the end of book 2.) I also finished "The Graham Quartet and the Mysterious Strangers." Yes, it's the same story you've been reading. However, since the story is so long and the lonely cabin is only in part of it, I thought it needed a different name. There are 33 parts to this story, so it will last a while. :)

But now, the answers to last weeks questions:
Question Two: How many new books did I read in 2013?
Answer: 91
Noah and Joseph were only 4 off with their guesses of 87.

Question One: How many books do we have?
Answer: Well, we counted them last night, but something wasn't right. I knew there was a mistake when we totaled numbers before supper, so after supper I did some recounting. That was better, but something was terribly wrong! How could it be? Oh, the distress and agony, the feeling that it just can't be right, the bewilderment. Over the past year we've gotten rid of books and gotten new ones like always. But something went wrong. It must have. How could it be otherwise when the total was reached? I was ready to call on Miss Priscilla de Silvosa and her dog Piccadilly to solve the case, or perhaps the Graham Quartet would work, but somehow, somewhere, there was an answer to this terrible dilemma. Last year our total was 6004 and this year it was . . .


Yes! Our numbers went down instead of rising! Mom told me she had been weeding quite a bit, but to be down 48 books was quite a shock, let me tell you! But, lest you think everything was terrible, my books went up from 834 to 877 and our books on audio (which we don't count in our books) went up from 125 to 166. So there are still plenty of books for you to borrow if you're ever over this way.
And by the way, Audrey was the closest with 6,200. She was only 234 off. :)

But now you can read the next part of:

The Graham Quartet - Part 19

    “Elsa! Don’t stop!” Selena almost screamed. “Drive! To the cabin!”
    Quickly Matt gripped his younger sister’s shoulders and demanded, “Why do we have to go there?”
    “It was him.”
    “Aaron Burr?”
    Selena nodded.
    “You saw him?” Tim nearly climbed over the back of the seat.
    “Sit down, Tim. We’ll talk about it once we get there,” Matt ordered.
    The silence in the car was intense. Elsa, Matt and Tim were longing to know where Selena had seen the man Guy was looking for, what he was doing and who was with him. Tim especially had a dozen questions on the tip of his tongue, but his brother’s warning look kept them from spilling out. Matt could tell that Selena needed time to compose herself before they arrived at the cabin.
    “Should I drive right up to the cabin?” Elsa wondered as they neared the hiding place of the injured FBI agent.
    “Sure,” Matt said. “If you parked anywhere else it would look suspicious.”
    No sooner had the engine been shut off, than the four siblings climbed quickly from the car and hurried to the door. There Matt gave the SOS knock.
    Almost at once the door was opened and Guy, holding his handgun, motioned them all inside and quickly shut the door. “What’s going on?” he demanded before anyone even had time to remove their coats.
    “Selena saw Aaron Burr!” Tim blurted out before anyone else could say a word.
    Instantly Guy turned to Selena. “Was he in town?”
    She nodded.
    For a moment Guy remained where he was, thinking. Then he nodded towards the fireplace. “Matt, Tim, get a fire going. Girls, get your coats off and take seats. I’ll be right back.”
    In less than five minutes a fire was burning brightly, the boys had their coats off and Guy returned to the room and drew a chair opposite Selena. He held a brown folder in his hands.
    “Now,” he began, “tell me what happened. When did you see him? What was he doing? Was he talking to anyone?”
    “Yes, he was talking to me!” Selena’s words were like an electric current through the room and everyone gasped.
    “Talking to you?” Guy leaned forward. “Why was he talking to you?”
    Taking a deep breath, for she was still rather shaken by the sudden events which had just taken place, Selena told the whole story.
    Guy didn’t interrupt her, but listened until she had finished, his eyes never once leaving her face. “And you are sure it is this man?” And he pulled the picture of the man they called “Aaron Burr” from the file and held it out.
    Selena looked at it and nodded.
    Then followed a long hour and a half of questioning. Guy wanted to know everything about the man Selena could tell him. What was he wearing, which direction did he go? Who worked in the shop he had come from? Did he have an accent when he talked? Did he seem in a hurry? And dozens of other questions, not just about the stranger. Guy also began questioning the others about what they had seen in town that morning, who they had talked to, and even who were in the booths or near enough in the cafe to hear Mr. Stone talking to them.
    Finally Guy fell silent. His brows were drawn together in a slight frown and now and then he tapped his finger on the folder in his lap. At last he spoke. His words were quiet and deliberate, as though he were reciting a memorized speech. “I think things are about to move. You four have done your country a great service. Now it’s my turn. My leg is well enough and it’s time I really got to work.”
    “You mean you’re done with us?” Matt asked.
    Guy looked up and sighed. “I don’t know. You four have gotten more information in one week, and been able to find several missing pieces that we’ve been looking for, than I’ve done in a month. I don’t want to use you any more because things could get really ugly really quickly, but . . .” He hesitated and looked uncomfortable.
    “We’ll be careful,” Elsa promised softly.
    “All right, but we have to find another way to communicate with each other because I may not be here at the cabin all the time now. Any ideas?”
    “We could use the treehouse mailbox,” Tim suggested eagerly.
    “Great idea, Tim.” Matt turned to Guy. “Unless you think it’s too close to the house.”
    “Whose house?”
    “Ours. Did you notice a tree fort back behind the barn?”
    Guy nodded.
    “Well, just in front of it is a tree that is partially hollow. It has a hole in it and if you reach inside you’ll find a metal bucket with a lid. That’s our mailbox. All we’d have to do is write our note, put it in and you could do the same.”
    “Hmm,” the agent mused. “The idea isn’t bad, but . . . let’s have two places just in case I can’t get out to the woods. Some place in town.”
    “The post office?”
    “I can’t be seen in town.”
    Everyone sat in silence, trying to come up with a place that would work in town. The fire died down and Matt added a few more logs and coaxed it into a cheery blaze once more.
    “If your car were there, I could slip something in through a slightly open window,” Guy mused.
    “But Dad might need the car like he did Thursday,” Matt objected, feeling discouraged.
    “But he could use that when we do have the car,” Selena spoke for the first time in a quarter of an hour. “If the car is not there, he could leave a note in the old hollow tree just outside of town.”
    “Selena, that’s the perfect place!” Guy exclaimed. “I noticed that tree several times before I was hurt and even checked out the holes. There is one that faces south that is just the size for a tin can. We can leave messages there.”
    There wasn’t much more talk, for Guy rose and said quietly, “I have work to do. Here’s a code I created this morning.” He pulled a paper from the file he held in his hand.

Any thoughts on this story?
Will you be back next Friday?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Quiz and Graham Quartet - Part 18

Happy New Year Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
I hope your new year started out well. Mine did. It's hard to realize that it is now 2014 and 2013 is over and done with. Many events happened last year that I'll treasure and I'm looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for this year.

Being busy with all kinds of little things, I haven't gotten to finish writing the Graham Quartet like I had hoped, but I think I can finish it tonight. (I hope!) Never would I have dreamed that that first post I did about the Quartet would some day turn into such a long story! But perhaps it is a good thing it is so long, because this way I can keep posting it on Fridays and spend the week writing Triple Creek Ranch - Book 3. Would you all like that?

If you haven't gotten your first book in the series and you have a kindle, be sure to visit Amazon tomorrow because you'll be able to get it for on sale for $.99! And I'm trying to get book 2 put together. Pray that my illustrator will be able to get pictures scanned and sent to me. Right now she has no idea when she can get over to her friends' to do it. Pray that she can get over there soon.

Oh yes, now the fun! January is here and it is time for the yearly guessing game!
Question One: How many books to we have? (Don't count cookbooks, song books or ones we're getting rid of.) Here are some hints to help you. And no, we haven't counted them yet.
In 2009 we had 4,011
In 2010 we had
In 2011 we had
In 2012 we had 5,610
In 2013 we had 6,004

Question Two: How many "new" books did I read in 2012? (These are all chapter books. No little kids books counted.) Hints to help.
1994 - 30
1995 - 82
1996 - 54
1997 - 35
1998 - 52
1999 - 76
2000 - 48
2001 - 43
2002 - 18
2003 - 42
2004 - 53
2005 - 75
2006 - 41
2007 - 40
2008 - 58
2009 - 57
2010 - 74
2011 - 77
2012 - 109

2013 - ?

Put your guesses as comments and next week I'll give you the correct answers. :)

And now that you've figured out your guesses, you can read the next part of this long story.
Graham Quartet - Part 18

    With a chuckle, Mr. Bryant perched on the corner of his desk and folded his arms. “Well, Tim, I’m not sure of everything, but this new manager doesn’t like “revealing the secrets of their fine craftsmanship,” to quote the man directly. We’ve had several complaints come through here, but the manager hasn’t given in yet.”
    “What’s the new manager’s name, anyway?” Matt wondered.
    The newspaper editor scratched his head with a frown. “Uh, let me think a minute . . . I think it’s Duck— no, Swan— that doesn’t seem right either. Wait a minute, I’ll find out.” And he quickly hurried across the room to a large filing cabinet and after rummaging through some files, pulled one out and after scanning a few things, announced, “Gooseman. I knew it was some kind of bird.”
    “Thanks. We’d best be going now. Thank you for your time, Mr. Bryant.” Matt shook hands with the editor.
    “Any time, any time,” Mr. Bryant nodded, shaking hands with the rest of the Quartet. “And if one of you writes up a complaint about the lack of tours in the factory, I’ll print it.”
    “I just might do that,” Tim half promised before following his siblings into the cold, winter day.
    It was overcast and looked like it might begin snowing as the Graham Quartet made their way down the street. They weren’t sure just where they should go next so their steps were slow.
    “Let’s stop at the cafe for some lunch,” Elsa suggested. “We might think better with full stomachs.”
    Matt and Tim were in instant agreement and Selena offered no objections.
    Soon, seated in the warm and friendly cafe at a table near the front windows, the Quartet were enjoying juicy hamburgers and steamy, salty fries. Tim had been the only one interested in a double fudge milkshake, the others had chosen hot cocoa.
    “Where should we go next?” Tim asked, his mouth half full of his lunch.
    “Not here,” Matt breathed to his brother, glancing around the crowded cafe.
    “I want to stop by the store and pick up some more yarn,” Elsa said. “They didn’t have what I wanted the last time I was there.”
    “Sounds good.”
    “Well, if it isn’t the Graham Quartet live and in person.” a new voice at the end of their table startled the Quartet and they looked up.
    “Hello Mr. Stone,” Elsa smiled at the newcomer. “How are you?”
    “Oh, just fine,” the older man replied. “So, what mystery are you all working on now?”
    Matt glanced quickly at Elsa. What were they going to say? Mr. Stone was known for not being able to keep any kind of secret and he was so nosy.
    Neither of them had to reply, however, for Selena answered, “We’re trying to figure out how Tim can stand to eat a cold milkshake on such a freezing day!”
    Laughing, Mr. Stone slapped Tim on the back. “So, you’re the mystery now, huh? How’s it feel?”
    With another laugh, Mr. Stone moved away and perched on a stool at the counter leaving the Quartet to give a collective sigh of relief.
    “Let’s get out of here before he finishes eating,” Matt whispered, glancing over at the counter where their unwelcome visitor was busy talking with one of the waitresses.
    Tim gulped the last of his milkshake as the Quartet slid from their booth and headed for the door. It was a quick getaway. “Now we just have to stay out of Mr. Stone’s sight the rest of the time we’re in town,” Tim noted.
    Turning a corner, Selena, attracted by something she saw in the window of a shop, paused to look.
    Quickly Selena glanced up and realized that the others were already on the next block. As she hurried after them, the door of the shop suddenly opened and the next moment Selena found herself on the ground, knocked over by a stranger.
    “I beg your pardon, young lady,” the stranger said, offering his hand to help her to her feet. “It was careless of me not to look before I opened the door. You are not hurt, are you?”
    Still a little dazed, Selena managed to say, “I’m all right. I’m sorry, I should have watched where I was going—”
    “No, it was my fault entirely,” the stranger insisted with a slight bow.
    Looking up, Selena gave a small smile and said softly, “I’d better be going. I have people waiting for me.”
    With another slight bow and a touch to his hat, the stranger crossed the street and Selena hurried down the sidewalk.
    “What happened, Selena?” Elsa asked as she reached them.
    “Yeah, who was that man?” Tim added.
    But Matt, taking one look at his sister’s face, said, “Selena, what’s wrong? You’re nearly as white as a sheet! Are you hurt?”
    “Let’s get to the car,” Selena gasped, gripping her brother’s arm with a hand the shook.
    “It’s right over here.” And Elsa led the way across a street to the parking lot.
    Not a word was said until all four siblings were in the car. Then Matt, who had climbed in the back with Selena, demanded, “Selena, are you all right? What happened?”
    Selena didn’t even seem to hear him. “Elsa, start the car. We have to leave!”
    “Why do we have to leave?” Tim wondered. “We’ve still got all afternoon to find things out.”
    “No, we have to go now!” Selena insisted, her face still pale and her shaking hands gripping each other.
    Seeing her sister was upset about something, Elsa started up the car and pulled out of the parking lot. “Where are we going, Selena?” she asked.
    Selena was too busy scanning the sides of the streets to answer until Matt touched her arm.
    “Selena, what happened?” His voice was anxious. “Did someone threaten you?”
    “Then what—”
    “Matt, wait,” Elsa said, pulling over to the side of the road as soon as they had left town, “let’s find out where we are to go first. I don’t want to just drive around—”
    “Elsa! Don’t stop!” Selena almost screamed. “Drive! To the cabin!”

What is the hurry?
Any ideas of what is going on?
I'd love to hear questions or comments.
And don't forget to put your guesses in for the two questions!