Friday, April 24, 2015

Priscilla's Hot Air Balloon Ride - Part 2

Hello Friday Fiction Fans,
Here I sit on my bed in the hotel room. In a few hours we'll be busy with the conference and I'm excited. Though I do grow tired of doing them when we have to help with many, the first one is always fun. Not to mention that we like this particular conference. :)

Since my birthday was this week, I was going to do a "party" of sorts today, but I was so busy with writing and getting ready to leave and listening to the audio of "The Graham Quartet" that I didn't have time to get it all set up. So . . . I guess that means you'll have to come back next week. :)

Writing went well this week even if I only had three evenings to write. I was able to get 6 thousand words written. And, I only have about 4-6 parts left to write of TCR-5. :) Oh, and this week I got an idea for a new Graham Quartet mystery. Anyone interested in reading it once I get it written?

Well, it's about time for breakfast, so I'll end this and let you read the last part of

Priscilla's Hot Air Balloon Ride

    For a moment Priscilla was left to think as the burner was turned on and a blast of flames shot up to keep the air warm inside the giant balloon. When it was quiet again, she replied, “I suppose that might cause a problem. But if they didn’t know you were there—“
    “‘Cilla, how could anyone not know a giant thing like this was floating over their heads?”
    Fingering her strands of pearls she always wore, Priscilla pursed her lips. “Why, I don’t know. Perhaps if the bad guys didn’t know they were being spied on . . .” She frowned thoughtfully before shrugging. “It was just a thought. I should write to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and suggest the possibility of using such a thing as this wonderful invention to further enhance their investigative angles. Though of course you can’t hover in them and that might prevent you from hearing the most important part of the conversation. I must give it some more thought.”
    Suddenly Susanna, who hadn’t been paying any attention to the conversation, pointed. “Look at the sunrise!”
    It was breathtaking, seen from above all the trees and buildings which normally block the views of the most beautiful sunrises. The sky was a brilliant pink, the clouds a dusty purple tinged with yellow, and in the center, glowing like a ball of polished gold, rose the sun. No one spoke until the colors in the sky had faded, the sun looked like itself and day had arrived.
    “Oh, that was so pretty,” Elizabeth sighed. “I wish my camera was nice enough to do the sunrise justice.”
    Everyone agreed with her and conversation drifted to small talk.
    It wasn’t long, however, before there occurred an event which will always be remembered by those in that basket underneath the balloon.
    Priscilla, leaning out of the basket so as to see the lovely trees below, let out a sudden cry. “My hat!”
    “What? The Cream Creation?” Amy asked. “‘Cilla, how did your hat fall off?”
    “I thought you said you had that thing pinned on, ma’am?” Mr. Archer said.
    Priscilla sniffed. “I did. I mean, I thought I did. Yes, I know I put a hat pin in to hold it on, but, oh dear, I must not have gotten the pins in my hair at all! Now I’ve lost—Or can we land—"
    Before she could finish her sentence, the man shook his head. “I’m afraid you’ve lost the hat, lady, if it fell off here. Sorry about that.”
    “Ah, my lovely hat, my delightful cream creation, gone forever.”
    All the girls peered over the edges in hopes of seeing the hat land, but it had disappeared.
    “The very thought of this loss is tragic to my mind,” moaned Miss Priscilla, who adored hats of all colors, shapes, sizes and decorations. She already had a collection of hats with them in the RV and was always on the lookout for a new one. This loss of one hat seemed to be quite a calamity to Priscilla, though Amy was secretly delighted. It would mean a little more room, until it was replaced by a different one.
    “Perhaps it will land on the head of a cow,” Amy suggested in an attempt to cheer her companion up. “Then the cow will wear it home and some little girl will find it and will be oh so delighted about it.”
    Looking brighter already, Priscilla smiled faintly. “Maybe so.” Her smile widened. “Oh, it would be a pleasant thing indeed if my hat were to make some small girl happy. If only I had thought to write the name of it inside on the band. How will she know what to call it?” Tipping her head up, she gazed thoughtfully into the inside of the balloon. “My cream creation might be the first hat in the little girl’s collection. It may be the first in a fabulous gathering of hats, though maybe not as extensive as my own. She’s probably never had a real hat before. Those things,” she looked at Amy almost reproachfully, “you call hats, those baseball caps, are not in the same category as a real hat! Claiming it as such is almost an insult to the true hats.”
    Amy said not a word in answer but gave the others an amused look. She was used to Priscilla’s strange fascination with hats.
    The rest of the trip was a delightful experience for everyone and when they landed, many were the exclamations of thanks and the expressions of enjoyment over their excursion.
    “Mr. Archer, had it not been for the loss of my poor cream creation,” Priscilla said, as she shook the balloon man’s hand before they left, “I would have said this was one of the most delightful adventures of my trip. However, it was not your fault, and I lay no blame on you or on your balloon. Many people say they left their heart someplace, now I will have to say, ‘I left my hat in Alabama.’ Good bye, sir. Come along girls, we still have a drive before us.”
    And so, with many waves, the four traveling companions returned to their RV and continued on their trip across the state of Alabama, leaving behind one hat.

Do you agree with Priscilla about baseball caps?
Will you be back next week for the "party"?
Do you still want to ride in a hot air balloon?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Priscilla's Hot Air Balloon Ride - Part 1

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
Right now I'm listening to the cute little voices of my two youngest nephews talk about the penguins they are watching with Aunt S on a live cam. (The other nephew is still sleeping.) Yesterday was sunny and the perfect day to go to the park. The little boys loved it! Then we went home to eat lunch and then we went out and got ice cream. :) Sometimes you just have to do fun things when you only have three of the grandkids staying at the house.

I really didn't think I'd get 5k written this week as I only had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to write. But I did. I don't know if I'll be able to get anything else written this week as we'll have the little boys until after lunch on Sunday. But who knows, maybe during some nap time I can get a little more written. I only have about 10-12 more parts to write of TCR-5. :)

This story is a re-write of one of the adventures of Priscilla de Silvosa. If you followed her travels partway across the U.S. you might remember this story. But it has been several years, so I hope you enjoy it anyway. It's only two parts.

Priscilla's Hot Air Balloon Ride
Part 1

    It was a lovely October morning in southern Alabama. Miss Priscilla de Silvosa hurried her traveling companions out of her friend’s house and over to their parked RV.
    “I believe it is your turn to drive, Amy,” she said, turning to the dark-haired girl beside her. Amy Lassiter, a younger friend from back home, had agreed to become Priscilla’s traveling companion as she spent a year visiting every state in the United States. Their “home away from home” was a red RV and Priscilla was quite proud of it.
    Susanna and Elizabeth, the two younger girls who were spending a week traveling through Alabama with Priscilla and Amy, quickly climbed into their seats, and, after a final wave to their friends who had been so gracious about opening their small home to them for the night, the RV pulled away from the house.
    It was still very early. The sun hadn’t risen yet and the air was a bit chilly, even for Alabama.
    “I can’t believe I’m going to ride in a real hot air balloon!” Elizabeth exclaimed.
    “Me either!” echoed Susanna.
    Miss Priscilla looked back with a smile. “I believe I’m just as excited as you are, girls. Only Amy here seems to take the idea as calmly as though she has ridden in a hot air balloon every week of her life. But then, she takes almost everything in a calm way.” She shook her head teasingly at the driver and her pearl necklaces clicked together.
    Still keeping her eyes on the road, Amy retorted, “Someone has to be calm and sensible on this trip. If I don’t, who would?”
    Now before my readers begin to wonder just who these four companions are, let me tell you a bit about them.
    Miss Priscilla de Silvosa was by far the oldest one of the party. Having spent many years abroad where she had helped track down the infamous “Marshmallow Thief" and enjoyed other delightful and thrilling adventures, Priscilla had returned to her native land where she settled down once more in her large mansion with her many dogs, two cats, and her wonderful secretary, Miss Smith. However, it wasn’t long before, realizing how little she had seen of her own country, Priscilla had the idea to travel across the good old USA by RV, spending about a week in each state, visiting places of interest, exploring state parks, and learning about the country along the way. Not wanting to go alone, Priscilla settled on Amy Lassiter as the perfect companion for her expedition.
    Amy was an only girl in a family with many boys. She had grown up on a farm outside of the town Miss Priscilla lived in. As her education had been finished, Amy’s parents thought this trip would be a good experience for her and, much to Amy’s delight, gave their consent. Both Priscilla and Amy brought along a dog. Amy’s dog, Timber, was a rather large German shepherd whose very presence added to the feeling of safety the travelers felt. After much consideration, Priscilla chose to bring her small, dog whose name was Penelope, though Amy quickly shortened it to “Nellie.” (Amy dearly loved nicknames.)
    As the trip grew closer and Priscilla noticed the extra beds, she had her secretary send out open invitations to all her friends and acquaintances stating that she and Amy would be happy to have two others join them in each state. There had been other companions joining them in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, but in Alabama, Susanna and her best friend, Elizabeth had joined them.
    “Sensible?” Miss Priscilla scoffed with a little laugh. “Who needs to be sensible when you are about to take your first trip in a hot air balloon?”
    Amy laughed too. She had told Miss Smith that her main objective in the trip was to keep ‘Cilla (as she quickly nicknamed Miss Priscilla) from doing too many crazy things. It was quite difficult at times, but Amy was enjoying herself.
    The drive to the launching site for the balloon ride was reached at last and everyone climbed eagerly from the RV. Priscilla was excited. She had climbed mountains and been out on boats, she had flown in airplanes and ridden on trains (her favorite mode of transportation), but never had she gone soaring up into the blue sky in a balloon. Quickly she shoved a hat pin into her hat called, “cream creation.” She didn’t want it falling off on their adventure.
    After some instructions, the owner of the balloon, Mr. Archer, helped everyone in and all ties with earth were taken up.
    There was much nervous laughter as the basket lifted off the ground.
    As they rose higher and higher, Priscilla peeked over the side. This was so different from a plane. When the noisy flames which heated the air in the balloon were turned off, everything was silent and they drifted along on the wind current.
    “I feel like I should whisper,” Elizabeth said softly.
    “Can anyone hear us from below?” asked Amy.
    Mr. Archer shook his head. “No, not really. I suppose if we were close and you shouted, they might, but you can hear people talking on the ground from one of these.”
    “Really?” Priscilla looked interested. “I wish we could go over some people. It would be quite an experience, I am sure. Oh, I wonder if the F.B.I. uses hot air balloons to find out what some criminals are saying. Imagine drifting along above them and listening to their conversation, all from the safety of the air.”
    “And what would happen if they shot a hole in your balloon?” Practical Amy looked up at the large bag filled with hot air.

Have you ever ridden in a hot air balloon?
Do you think a hot air balloon would be good to use for surveillance?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Millie Comes to Visit - Part 6

Greetings Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
  Today is staring off chilly, but the sun is shining and it is supposed to warm up. :)

It's been a busy week and I really haven't gotten much writing done. Last week I ended up with 6k written, but, though that is not as good as 8k, it's still better than 5k. :) Since I spend a very long day at the polls on Tuesday and didn't get home until 9 pm (I got up about 4:10 am), I didn't get any writing done that day. And last night I attended, for the first time, the local writer's guild and ended up staying longer and talking with two very interested people about self-publishing using CreateSpace. :) That was fun.
I'm hoping to get more written tonight and tomorrow night and am going to try to reach 5 thousand words.

This is the last part of this story, so I hope you have enjoyed it. It's a good thing I have two other stories written to post because next week we'll have my two youngest nephews for three and a half days, and I won't have much time to write.

I don't seem to have much to tell you this week. I hope you won't mind just getting right to the last part of

Millie Comes to Visit
Part 6

    The rest of the days flew by. There were no more times of sitting around and wondering what to do. A trip to the farm occupied the whole of one day and Millie was introduced to the barn swing. Allie took one look and returned to the house.
    “She doesn’t like anything that is high up,” Millie informed Ria who was climbing the ladder to show her cousin how to properly swing off of it.
    “Do you like high places?”
    Millie shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never been on a swing like that before. How do you do it?”
    “Like this, watch.” And Ria, grasping the rope with both hands, suddenly jumped from the ladder and swung out across the barn floor. “Whee!” After several swings, Ria, with the agility of much practice, let go of the rope at just the right time to land in a soft pile of hay. Scrambling to her feet, she laughed. “That is so much fun. You try it now, Millie.”
    Slowly Millie climbed the ladder. “How do I get the rope?” she asked, looking down.
    “You were supposed to take it with you. But I’ll bring it to you.” Ria snatched the rope and mounted the ladder. “Here,” she said, handing the thick rope up. “Just hang on to it above the knot like I did.”
    Holding on to the rope with one hand the rung of the ladder with the other, Millie shook her head. “I don’t think I can do it. I . . . I can’t reach the knot.”
    Ria offered some advice. “Just grab it with your other hand.”
    “But I’ll fall!” Millie protested. “Maybe I should just not try it, Ria.”
    “But you have to!”
    “I can’t. You can do it and I’ll just climb down.” Millie tried to hand the rope back to her cousin but Ria was obstinate.
    “No, you have swing down, Millie. I’m not going to climb down this ladder. You’ll just have to swing off. Come on, you can do it!”
    “Ria,” Millie begged, “just let me climb down. I don’t think I can do it.”
    Not about to give up, Ria glanced around. “Jimmy! Johnny!” she shouted, spying her brothers outside.
    The twins looked around.
    “In the barn!” Ria shouted again, waving her hand.
    “Ria,” pleaded Millie, growing more nervous the longer she remained up on the ladder. “We don’t want them!”
    There was no direct reply from Ria, for her brothers stepped into the barn and looked up.
    “Trying out the swing, Millie?” Jimmy asked.
    Millie shook her head.
    “She would, but she’s afraid to hold on to the rope with both hands,” Ria put in.
    Jimmy motioned with his hand. “Climb down, Ria. I’ll go up and help her."
    “And I’ll be down here to catch you if you need it,” Johnny grinned up at his cousin though his arms remained folded.
    It was a matter of moments for Ria to drop to the barn floor and Jimmy to take her place on the ladder. Feeling more secure with her older cousin behind her, Millie, following Jimmy’s directions, soon took her first breathless ride on the barn swing. Loud were the cheers when she dropped safely into the hay.
    “You did it, Millie!” Ria pulled her cousin up. “Wasn’t it great fun? Don’t you want to do it again? Come on, we’ve got to get out of the way so Jimmy can swing.” Still chattering, Ria drew Millie over to the side where they watched the twins each take a turn.
    Before long Millie was enjoying herself as much as Ria. She was still slower and it always took her a moment to gather her courage before each jump.
    When at last both girls declared that they were tired, they sat in the hay and talked. They were still talking when the dinner bell rang.
    Hand in hand, Ria and Millie raced to the farm house. They were hungry.

    Monday afternoon came all too soon for Ria. She and Millie had been almost inseparable during the visit. With the entire family over to the farm after church, they had stuck close together. Not even the lure of playing baseball with the gang and uncle, or playing tag with the younger boys, had drawn Ria into activities she usually delighted in. “It wouldn’t let us be together as much,” Ria explained to her dad. “I only have Millie for a little bit longer and I don’t want to miss a minute with her.”
    Ria had taken Millie and Allie for one more visit with Mrs. Laningsburg on Monday morning.
    “I did so enjoy our tea party together,” that lady said, hugging each of the girls good bye. “I know Ria is going to miss her two cousins. But you girls come back and visit again.”
    “We will,” Millie promised. “I wish we could move here.”
    It was a hard parting. All the gang had gathered at the Mitchell home to say good bye, but only Uncle Mitch, Aunt Emma, and Ria had gone to the station to see them off.
    “Good bye, Millie!” Ria whispered, fighting to keep back her tears. “Write me as soon as you get home!”
    “I will,” promised Millie, holding her cousin close in a tight embrace. “Oh, Ria, I had so much fun. I don’t want to leave!”
    Ria couldn’t say anything. She knew she would cry if she did.
    “Come, Millie,” Aunt Carrie called. “You can wave to Ria from your seat.”
    Reluctantly Millie pulled away and, with many backward looks, hurried to the train.
    “Good bye, Millie!” Ria shouted, waving her hand when her cousin’s face appeared at a window. “Good bye!” She waved until the train was but a dark object in the distance.
    Mrs. Mitchell put an arm around her daughter. “Come, Ria, it’s time to go home.”
    Heaving a long sigh, Ria turned and trudged towards the waiting car. “Home to a house full of boys.”

Would you have tried the barn swing?
Is it hard for you to say good bye to cousins you hardly ever see?
I have a two part story starting next week.
Will you be here?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Millie Comes to Visit - Part 5

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
It certainly is spring complete with spring storms and tornado warnings. I could do without the latter things, but since I live in "tornado alley" I've gotten rather used to them.

This week has been crazy! Starting with last Saturday late afternoon. The five kiddos came over and were here until 9:30 or after. We did have fun and roast marshmallows over a fire we had built and ate s'mores. :) Then we had Sunday. Followed by a crazy Monday with the kids coming back over about 8:30 in the morning. (Little Sis had her 6 week check-up) They didn't head home until about 2:00. Needless to say, I didn't get much done. Oh, and my brain was spinning with all the things I needed to work on and yet, when I went to write them down, I couldn't think of half of them. Tuesday had me going to the County Clerks Office and voting and picking up keys for the voting machine. (Yep, I'll be an election judge again on Tuesday.) Then getting ready and spending an hour after lunch working with someone on reading. Oh, and my list of things to do kept growing longer. Finally on Wednesday I was able to start crossing things off and getting things done.
Yesterday I went over to my brother's house and held Little Sis for at least 45 minutes! It was so much fun since I hadn't held her in about a month! She smiled and cooed and talked, and then cuddled down on my shoulder and went to sleep. :) Babies are so much fun!

Writing. Well, last week I got 8k written. But this week, I'm thinking I might get 5-6k. You see, the writing has been rather slow this week. I think it is partly because I've been so busy (tornado sirens last evening didn't help my writing), but the story is also a bit slower right here and it's taking more work to get it out. But I'm nearly 2/3 of the way done.

I talked with my producer of the audio for TCR-1 and she thinks she'll have it finished around the beginning of May!
And, I had an audition for "The Graham Quartet." This reader is perfect for the story! I listened to the audition and wanted him to keep reading. I wanted to know what happened next, even if I did write the story. :)

Oh, and one more thing, tomorrow I'll be joining other local authors for a "local author book signing" at our public library. It should be interesting as I'll have all my books there. It's from 1-3 and I just wish all of you could stop by and say hi. :)

Don't forget that "Gift from the Storm" is available on kindle for 99 cents only through tomorrow. But if you want a book form, you can contact me and get your special blog reader code to get a special discount.

And that's all. Here's the next to last part of 

Millie Comes to Visit
Part 5

    The girls begged to ride in the back with the others instead of in the cab with Pete. This was granted, and amid laughter and much shouting, the gang drove away in a cloud of dust with Ria and Millie waving to those remaining behind. One of the boys started singing a popular song and soon everyone had joined in.

    Fishing soon proved to be more of an excuse to enjoy the water than catch fish and only the few dedicated fishermen continued, though they had to move away a considerable distance where there might be a chance of the fish not being frightened. Ria and Millie fished for a while, but neither one could resist the lure of wading in the stream, for the sun was hot and the shade trees few.
    When at last Phil’s shrill whistle sounded, most of the gang and the girls were quite wet. “That was such fun,” Millie whispered to Ria as they were helped into the back of the truck.
    Ria nodded. “I’m glad we came. Even if no one caught any fish.” Both girls giggled.

    The next afternoon found Ria, Millie and Allie sitting listlessly on the porch swing at the Mitchell home. “What are we going to do?” Ria asked for the fifth time. They had spent the morning playing dolls and dressing up in some old clothes from the attic, but they had grown tired of it and were seeking a new diversion.
    “Where are the boys,” Allie asked.
    Ria shrugged. “I think Chris is out somewhere, and I know Ed is here somewhere but I don’t know what he’s doing. And who knows where the twins are.” She sighed.
    “Maybe we should have gone with Aunt Emma to the farm,” Millie remarked, thinking that at least they would have had little Dory and baby Paul to play with.
    “It’s too late now.” And Ria sighed and shoved the porch with her toe, setting the swing into motion.
    When Jimmy and Johnny strolled up the sidewalk a few minutes later, they saw the forlorn faces of the three girls. “What’s wrong?” Johnny inquired, pausing as they came up the steps.
    “We don’t know what to do,” Ria told him. “We’re tired of dressing up and playing dolls, and Mom is gone and there’s nothing else to do.”
    “Sounds pretty serious,” Jimmy agreed. “Why don’t you give us a few minutes to put on our thinking caps and see what we can come up with. Is Ed here?”
    Ria nodded, a faint hope that her brothers would think of something fun begining to glimmer in her mind. Maybe, just maybe, they could do something with them.
    “Do you think they’ll really think of something?” Allie whispered.
    There was silence on the porch until the screen door was shoved open and Ed came out followed by the twins. “Would you ladies like to take a stroll with us?” Ed asked with a smile which told Ria they had though up something fun to do.
    “Yes!” the girls exclaimed in unison, springing from the swing, their eyes sparkling again.
    “Where are we going?” Allie asked, slipping her hand into Ed’s and giving a little bounce.
    “Down town,” was all the reply she received, but that was enough for her.
    Skipping down the sidewalk to keep up with the longer strides of the boys, Ria and Millie swung hands and chattered. It wasn’t often that Ria went somewhere with only her brothers and no other members of the gang tagging along. To her mind this was a treat, and she voiced her thoughts. “Ed, we should do this more often.”
    Glancing back over his shoulder, Ed looked at his sister. “Do what?”
    “Do something or go somewhere without others in the gang along.”
    Jimmy spoke up from behind. “You know, Ed, she may have something there.”
    Ed nodded. “We have been rather neglectful of you, haven’t we, Ria?”
    “Not really.” Ria didn’t want her brothers to feel like she didn’t enjoy the others. It was just—well, it was hard to explain. “I like doing things with all of you and everything, but sometimes it gets to be too much. Especially if Dave and Chris are together."
    “I’ll have to agree with you there, Sis. Those two are almost getting out of hand lately.”
    Johnny grunted to show his agreement with his twin’s statement.
    Turning down Main street, Ed and Allie led the way, stopping before the local drug store. “Would you ladies care for some ice cream?” Ed held open the door as his sister and cousins entered with eyes wide and shining. To be taken for ice cream, to the drug store where all the older kids hung out, was indeed a treat.
    Finding six empty seats at the counter, the boys helped the girls up on shiny red stools and took places beside them. Orders were placed and when the waitress behind the counter placed a sparkling glass dish filled with chocolate ice cream, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and topped with a real cherry before Allie, she drew a sharp breath.
    “Is this all for me?” Her eyes couldn’t open any wider as she watched the waitress stick a long silver spoon in the dish.
    With a wink at the girl behind the counter, a classmate from school, Ed leaned down and assured, “As much of it as you can eat.”
    “I don’t have to share it?”
    “Who would you share it with?” Johnny, who was seated on the other side of her, asked.
    After looking carefully down the counter and seeing that Millie and Ria had exactly what she had, she gave no reply but started eating.
    The girls had a lovely time, for the boys conversed with them as though they were “real almost grown up ladies,” as Ria told her mother that evening. The ice cream was enjoyed to the last bite and when it was gone and they were all out in the hot summer sun once more, Millie expressed herself.
    “Thank you!” she exclaimed looking up at her cousins. “I’ve never been to a drug store for ice cream before and gotten to sit on the stools like a lady! Why, I feel quite grown up now.”
    “Me too!” Ria echoed giving her nearest brother a hug.
    “It was our pleasure,” Ed assured them. “Now, would you like to go back home or pretend you have lots of money and do a little window shopping?”
    “Window shopping!” exclaimed all three girls in delight.

Would you have enjoyed ice cream at the local drug store?
Do you like window shopping?
Will you be back next week for the final part?