Friday, September 22, 2017

A Rainbow Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 15, 2017

Started and Story Prompt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the Story Starter or Story Prompt.

She was heartbroken, and so was her dishwasher.

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Riding "Bear"back

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

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

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

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

Riding "Bare"back

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 5

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

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

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

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

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

A Good Summer
Part 5

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Summer Story - Part 4

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

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

A Good Summer
Part 4

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

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

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 3

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

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

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

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

A Good Summer
Part 3

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

A Good Summer
Part 2

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 1

Good morning FFFs!
It was cloudy when I got up this morning, but now it looks like the clouds might be breaking up. We have windows open and a breeze is stirring the trees. It's been quite a week since last Friday. You want to hear about it? Okay . . .

Friday: Usual stuff like cleaning the house and then working more on organizing and such.
Saturday: My mom and I spent much of the day doing a lot more organizing, moving some shelves around, cleaning out some things, and getting rid of stuff. I went to bed tired.
Sunday: Early Sunday morning the phone rang. My sis-in-law was in labor and could someone come get the kids? It was about 3:00. While Dad went to get the 5 kids (oldest niece got to stay), Mom, Sis and I got beds put together. Thankfully everyone fell right to sleep when they got here. Well, except the adults. I just couldn't get to sleep.
We took the kids to church and everyone was excited about the coming baby. He was born during church. And weighed 9 lbs and 2 oz. We took the kids to our house for naps, and then we went over to see the baby. Brought Sissy home with us. The kids all spent the night.
Monday: Took the kids to the park for at least 2 hours in the morning. My aunt came by right after lunch for an hour or so on her way home. After supper we took the kids home and got to hold Baby.
Tuesday: I was so tired that I could hardly function. I don't do well with not enough sleep.
Wednesday: Much more awake this day and actually got things done. Plans for writing class made. I start teaching next week.
Thursday: I worked on the covers for some of my Christmas stories, wrote, read, and did some other things.
Today: My grandparents are coming down late morning to see their 7th great grandson and visit with us.

And that, my readers, is that. 

As I was looking through my archives trying to find something to post, I saw this story. It is published in "Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay and Other Stories" but I liked it and figured that most of you probably don't have that book. And if you do, oh well. I'm out of "new" short stories and have hardly written. So I hope you enjoy this Summer story.

A Good Summer
Part 1

    Red. It was all around. Wispy clouds blanketing the sky were glowing with it, the fields stretching out behind the ranch were aflame, even the distant hills appeared hazy with a hint of crimson. Only the southwestern horizon relieved the feeling that the world was on fire. There the strip of brilliant white sky, which almost hurt ones eyes to look at, hung suspended beneath the yellow-tinged burning clouds. Black fence posts stood in the foreground like sentinels silently silhouetted against the scarlet pasture. Swaying the grasses, the evening breeze felt warm, bringing no relief from the oppressive summer heat.
    As he turned away from the barn door, Mr. Cutlass sighed and wiped his forehead with his large bandana. “This heat’s enough to suck the life out of anyone or anything. The cattle sure are feeling it, and if we don’t get rain soon the water in that back pasture will dry up and we’ll have to bring the herd closer and pump their water. It’s sure looking like another hot, dull summer.” The lean rancher shook his head drearily at the very thought, glancing towards the pump. Then he looked again.
    “Strange,” he muttered. “Who’s been using the pump?” He had noticed a small mud puddle underneath.
    Slowly, through the red-glow of the sunset, Mr. Cutlass stalked to the ranch house, up the porch steps and into the kitchen. A supper of cold meat and cheese sandwiches, potato salad, watermelon and one of Mrs. Cutlass’s cherry pies, had been eaten earlier and now Mrs. Cutlass, having finished the dishes, was pouring two glasses of lemonade.
    “When do you think this heat will let up?” she asked, setting one glass down beside her husband.
    “I wish I knew.”
    Silence fell as the cold drinks were slowly sipped and the night descended outside. At last Mrs. Cutlass spoke. “Do you remember, Dan, that Mary is sending the twins here for the rest of the summer to escape the heat of the city?”
    Mr. Cutlass snorted. “Escape the heat. Don’t know which will be worse.” He was silent a minute. “When are they coming?”
    When the clock struck eight, the couple rose. It was time to head to bed. As they moved slowly down the dim hallway, Mr. Cutlass remembered the mud puddle.
    “Nancy,” he asked, “were you using the pump out behind the barn this evening?”
    “No, why?”
    “Someone had been, there was mud underneath it that wasn’t dry.”
    “Well, it’s too hot to worry about it and I won’t begrudge water to anyone in this weather.”

    The old pickup truck, covered with dust, rattled to a halt before the small train station and the Cutlasses got out. They were a few minutes late and the train had just pulled out again leaving three children on the platform eagerly looking around.
    Spying the couple approaching, one of the children, with red pigtails flying, suddenly darted forward crying, “Uncle Dan! Aunt Nancy! We’ve come!”
    “So we see, honey,” Mr. Cutlass grinned as the young pixie flung her arms first about one and then the other.
    “But who is with you, Kathleen?”
    The girl looked back at the platform where a boy with equally red hair was trying to urge forward a slight girl of about eight. The girl, evidently of Italian descent with straight black hair, was clinging to a small handbag and looking half frightened and shy. “Sure tis Angelina, the girl Mama asked about sending in the last letter.”
    Mr. and Mrs. Cutlass glanced at each other. What last letter? The last one they had received had said nothing about an extra child. But no matter. There was plenty of room.
    “Come on, Pat,” Kathleen called. “It’s sure Angelina won’t be coming if you push her.”
    At this advice from his sister, Patrick left the small girl and ran over to his uncle and aunt exclaiming, “It’s glad I am to be here just!”
    “Let’s get your bags and head on back to the ranch,” Uncle Dan suggested, clapping his nephew on the shoulder.
    As the two menfolk lifted the bags to the back of the truck, Aunt Nancy stepped over to the shy child still standing alone on the platform. “Your name is Angelina?” she asked gently.
    The girl nodded.
    “Well, I’m Aunt Nancy or Aunt Nan. I’m sure you will have lots of fun out here, but you must be tired from your trip, so lets head over to the truck before they leave without us.”
    Angelina looked up into the kind face, saw the friendly hand held out, and after hesitating a moment, slipped her own small one into it and followed.
    “You kids hop in the back and hang on,” Uncle Dan instructed. “I don’t want you to bounce out and us have to come back looking for you.”
    Patrick and Kathleen laughed gaily as they clambered into the back of the truck.
    “Come on, Lina,” Kathleen reached down for Angelina’s hand, but Uncle Dan lifted her in and set her down beside his niece.
    As the truck began to bounce down the road with the twins laughing and squealing in the back, Mr. Cutlass glanced at his wife. “That girl needs some meat on her bones. Why she doesn’t weigh as much as new born calf!”

Have you ever stayed at a relatives house for the summer?
Has anyone stayed with you for the summer?
 If you lived in a big city, do you think you'd enjoy a summer in the country?

P.S. If you have a blog and had added my button and it now looks strange, copy the code again because I had to change some things.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Writer's Regret

Good morning FFFs,
Friday. How did it come so quickly? There is still no new nephew so you would think I'd have gotten a lot done this week. I have. But not on writing. I've worked on many different projects, helped Mom with cleaning out and organizing. Lots of emails were written, I worked on the layout of my Christmas books, caught up with my best friend who just came back from a two week visit to her twin sister in Canada. And, well, life hasn't exactly been standing still.

This morning it's cloudy. It rained last night. And the night before. We needed rain! Things have cooled off some which is really nice. I think the next few nights are supposed to be in the 60's. I'm so ready for cooler weather!

This poem was first written and published back in August of 2009. I was going to give you something else, but I had a webinar to attend last evening and then never got a new story decided on and up, so . . . This poem seemed to fit my situation, so I hope you enjoy it. And hopefully next week I'll have some other story. (The Author story hasn't been finished yet.) Enjoy!

A Writer’s Regret

Dear readers and critics, family and friend,
I jot these regrets on paper with pen.
I fear I am ailing, I must have a disease.
It comes suddenly upon me like some giant sneeze!
There’s nothing to do, I can’t stop it you know
For if I should try to a gasket might blow.
Perhaps it is useless to try and explain
I have some strange symptoms, but no fever or pain.
My brain races on full of stories and words
It won’t stop its spinning, it’s growing absurd!
My mind moves much faster than hand with a pen
Perhaps I’ll get NEO and try him instead.
It still doesn’t help much, oh what can I say
It’s no use, I’ve failed to write them today.
The words keep on coming, I’m trying to sleep
Forget what they said, it’s no use to count sheep.
The stories are waiting, piling up with great speed
I know you are longing, your story to read.
But alas I can’t help it, I’m very perplexed
What thing should I write first, and what should be next?
Confused and bewildered, I’m sure you can see
The serious trouble that now faces me.
So accept my apology, understand my regret
If your story is not written, don’t go off and fret.
Some day it will happen, I think, I believe,
But now it seems something hard to achieve.

Do you ever feel this way?
What story would you like next week?
Has your week been busy?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 5

Morning FFFs,
It's HOT. The heat index today is supposed to be 105º. This week I feel rather in limbo. You see, last Friday, my brother ended up being admitted to the hospital because of an infection on his ankle. That meant all 6 kids came over here. My sis-in-law who is due with baby #7 tomorrow, spent the nights at the hospital, and then went home during the day. My brother came home Monday afternoon, and all the kids went home then too. But it was pretty crazy. Now we're waiting. Will the baby be late like most of the other kids? Or will it be on time? How long will we have the kids? The answers to these questions remain unanswered.

So, I did get a little bit of writing done. I finished my goal of 7k for this Camp. :P Yeah, I lowered it again. I just wasn't getting the time to write. Even now I'm not writing much. Actually last night and today I have to listen to all of the 2nd Graham Quartet book and check for mistakes. My producer decided to do the book this week instead of in August. And he just told me that Wednesday night. And last night he got all the chapters up. He wants all the corrections that need made to him by Saturday. It's pushing things, but I'll try.

There are so many things I want to do, but I'm not sure I want to start anything because of not knowing when Baby is coming. We are doing a lot of organizing and rearranging in our house right now. It will look very nice and not so crowded when we get finished. But right now things are rather, shall we say, out of order. ;)

This is the last part of this story that I have corrected. I'm not sure what I'll post next. I might re-post a story. I don't know. Any ideas?

Through an Author's Eyes
Part 5

    “Of course,” Savanna agreed. “But we’d better get going before it’s time to set the table.”
    The tour was quick, and Annette thought it would take her a little while to get the full lay of the land fixed in her mind. She was shown the hay barn, the stables, the corrals, and some of the other outbuildings. She was going to like living out west for a few weeks.

    Supper was full of talk. Annette’s two other cousins, Levi, who was twenty-two, and fourteen-year-old Vic had returned in time to wash up before the food was brought to the table. As everyone ate, Annette observed them all with her writer’s mind. Each cousin was catalogued and little quirks noted, from Levi’s fiddling with anything his hands could touch, to Ava’s giggle, to Savanna’s pushing back a stray piece of hair from her face.
    Uncle Cleveland caught her silently observing and sent a wink in her direction before asking, “So, Annette, what story are you writing now?”
    “I’m not quite sure. I just started it on the way here. I’m writing about an author who goes to spend the summer with a friend she met at a conference.”
    “Is this a boy friend?” Aunt Yvonne asked.
    “No, a girl. But she has a fairly large family. And there are cousins who live near by. I thought of having her have the same sort of things happen to her as I experience.”
    “Oh, like what?” Uncle Cleveland grinned.
    “Like learning to ride a horse.”
    “Haven't’ you ever ridden a horse?” demanded Devon staring at her over his empty plate.
    “Nope.” Annette shook her head. “I did sit on a pony once at a fair and was led around in circles when I was four, but that doesn’t count. I want to ride a real horse.”
    “Levi can teach you,” Savanna said. “He’s good at that.”
    “Will you?” Annette asked, turning to her older cousin.
    Levi nodded, his mouth full of steak.
    “What else do you want to do?” Savanna asked. “Well, besides having those adventures you mentioned,” and she grinned mischievously.
    With a shake of her head, Annette gave a soft snort. Before she answered, she thought for a moment and her eyes drifted to the window where the mountains could be seen. Her face took on a dreamy look as she gazed at the rugged splendor. “I want to hike the mountains.”
    Levi raised his eyebrows. “Have you ever gone hiking in mountains before?”
    “Yes. Dad and I used to hike the Appalachian Trail all the time back home. Once some friends joined Dad and me and we took a five day back-packing trip along the trail. But I want to experience the Rockies. I want to look down from their lofty heights and see the valleys. I want to watch the sun rise from a vantage point up in the mountains. I’ve seen it rise over the ocean, from the Smokey Mountains, and even from a hot air balloon, but never from as far west as the Rockies. I want to hear nature come to life as the sun rises, to watch the light filter through the trees urging the tiny insects to life and telling the night animals to return to their beds for slumber.” She gave a long sigh and sat motionless, her eyes still on the distant mountains. Lost in thoughts and dreams, she didn’t hear the questions asked her or notice the amused glances exchanged.
    Someone nudged her foot, and she brought her gaze back to the room with a start. A quick glance around the table told her she had missed something. “What?”
    “Oh, nothing,” Aunt Yvonne assured her with a smile. “We were just making note of how much you and your uncle are alike.”
    “Getting lost even when everyone is around,” Vic said, grinning from across the table. “Seems to be a habit of writers.”
    “Sorry, I don’t usually lose myself in daydreams when I’m around others, but sometimes I just can’t seem to help myself.”
    Putting his napkin on the table, Uncle Cleveland leaned back with a chuckle. “Not to worry, Annette, everyone is entitled to a bit of eccentricity. Even the dog.”
    Annette’s ears perked up at that though she didn’t say a word.
    “Yep,” Uncle Cleveland went on, “John Wayne has a habit of liking rabbits. He won’t chase them from the garden, but he’ll take on other dogs, coyotes, bobcats, even snakes if he doesn’t like them. But not rabbits. No siree! Rabbits are safe from him on this ranch.”

    By the time Annette had crawled into bed that night, she was exhausted. The time difference and the late nights getting ready to come, all combined to weigh her eyelids down and she knew no more from the time her head touched the pillow until the sun was well up in the sky.

    The first full day at the ranch left no time for Annette to even pull out NEO and try to write. She visited all the horses with Savanna and Levi, and they chose a gray one named Mouse for her to ride. Uncle Cleveland took her to his study and the room which opened from it which was called the library. He showed her his working space and told her to help herself to any books in his office or in the library. She would have loved to settled right down and start skimming books, but Ava pulled her away and gave her a tour of the house, eagerly telling her bits of information in her cute seven-year-old manner.
    In the afternoon Annette helped Aunt Yvonne prepare supper. Only Vic and Devon seemed to be a little unsure of their cousin and kept their distance. They would talk if others were around or if she asked them a question, but they didn’t volunteer to show her things. Savanna quietly said they were the shy and quiet ones of the family.
Are you a writer who gets "lost"?
Do you like hiking?
Have you ever ridden a horse?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 4

Good morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
It's a cloudy, rainy morning here. We've had some gentle rumbles of thunder, some light rain and now things are quiet. I think we're supposed to get more rain later. But this is a nice change from the hot 100º weather we've been having.

This has been a different sort of week. I was planning on writing. Lots of writing. But I wrote for the first time last night. Here's the rundown.
I had been planning on getting the Bike Trip book finished and uploaded to CreateSpace on Saturday. But things weren't right. The files were too large, and I had to spend an hour resizing all the pages I had created, and another hour inserting them again. Then there was something wrong and the pages weren't lining up right.
This is the front cover of the book.
Sunday I checked some files, found some duplicate pages and some missing pages.
Monday I planned to finish things. I made the last corrections, fixed some pages, then tried uploading it. It uploaded, but wouldn't change to a pdf. I finally just decided to wait until Tuesday because I was tired of messing with it!
Tuesday. Story of the day: The file won't save as a pdf. I spent four and a half hours trying everything I could think of. Nothing worked. There were tears, prayers, and finally God nudged me to try opening the file in a different format. I did, it saved as a pdf with no problem. Uploaded the file, finished the cover, and yesterday I ordered my proof copy.

Wednesday we ended up having all 6 grandkids over because my brother had to go to Urgent Care/ER with what they thought might be a blood clot. It's not, thankfully, but it is a bacterial infection. Add that to his athlete's foot, and my sis-in-law who is due next Saturday, and you have a family that could use prayers. :)

Anyway, I got the Bike Trip proof copy ordered, I received my proof copy of Dylan's Story, and I've been working on my Christmas books.

Enjoy this next part of the story.

Through an Author's Eyes
Part 4

    “I think so, but I didn’t know if you would or not. I can’t describe things as you can. Dad said he wants you to paint a word picture of the house and barn as seen from the gate.”
    “Why doesn’t he do it?” Annette was puzzled because her uncle was a writer like she was. Surely he could do just as well if not better than she could at describing his own place.
    “He likes the way you describe scenes. He said, well, I won’t tell you what he said or you may not write a scene again.”
    Unbuckling as Savanna stopped before the house and turned off the car, Annette laughed. She couldn’t imagine anything stopping her from writing. Writing was just a part of who she was. She had to write like some people seemed to have to text all the time.
    A large dog ran around the house barking a warm greeting. “That’s John Wayne; he’ll like you once I introduce you.”
    It took only a minute for the dog, which Savanna said was an Australian German Shepherd mix, to make friends with Annette. The front door of the house swung open and a young girl, a boy a little older, and someone Annette knew had to be her aunt hurried out to the porch followed a few minutes later by a man who looked much like her own dad.
    “Annette!” Aunt Yvonne exclaimed, hurrying down the porch steps with her arms out. “You finally made it!”
    Annette found herself in a warm embrace. “I’m so glad you let me come!”
    “Of course we’d let you come,” laughed Uncle Cleveland, pulling her into hug. “I’m tired of being the lone writer in the place. It’ll be nice to exchange ideas with someone who doesn’t look at me as though I were crazy.”
    Returning the hug, Annette laughed also. “I’d never think you were crazy, but I’m afraid you’ll think I’m a bit of a nut.”
    Uncle Cleveland chuckled and held her off at arm’s length. “You look just like your mom. She wasn’t much of a nut, so I don’t expect you’ll be too bad.” He winked and everyone laughed.
    “Oh, you can talk writing another time,” Savanna interrupted, pulling Annette back. “This is Devon and Ava,” she said, introducing the children. “Ava is seven and Devon just turned eleven. I expect Levi and Vic are out on the range somewhere.”
    It was all a bit of a whirlwind for Annette as the little girl hugged her, Devon shook hands looking slightly shy, and then grabbed part of her luggage while Uncle Cleveland asked questions, the dog barked, and Savanna and Aunt Yvonne talked. In no time at all she found herself inside, following Savanna who kept up a constant chatter about the house as they climbed the stairs and turned down a hall. Finally they stopped before a door which was half way closed. “Here’s your room.”
    Pushing it open, Annette surveyed the room with a smile of complete satisfaction. The room was a comfortable size, not too large, yet not small either. A desk stood beside one wall just waiting for her laptop. The bed was a double bed and covered with a denim and red rag quilt. Three windows let plenty of light into the room, and Annette lost no time in hurrying to look out of one of them. From it she could see the barn and corrals. And the mountains. Oh, those mountains!
    To her right, when she finally pulled herself away from the view, was a walk-in closet large enough for every piece of clothing she owned!
    “You have a bathroom all to yourself,” Savanna informed her, motioning to a door on the other side of the room. “We know writers keep strange hours at times, so we thought it would be easier for you not to have to try and bunk with anyone. Besides, if we shared a room, we’d talk all the time and you’d never get anything written. Now, we’ll let you settle in. Come on, Devon, Ava.” Turning back to her cousin, she added, “You can unpack now or later. But you might want to change into something a little more practical for a tour of the ranch. Something like boots on your feet would be good for a start.”
    Annette looked down at her comfortable shoes. They were low and light colored. “All right, but I don’t have any cowboy boots. We didn’t have time to go shopping for any.”
    “No problem. I’ve got an extra pair. You can wear them for now. Come down when you’re ready.”
    “Thanks, Savanna.”
    Left alone in her room, Annette looked about her once more. The desk was no doubt put there for her use. She wondered if she’d write better at the desk or in front of the window. “I guess I’ll have to try writing in both places,” she decided, setting her carry-on down on the desk’s smooth surface.
    It didn’t take Annette long to unpack and get settled. She quickly changed into her most comfortable denim skirt and a t-shirt. It took a few second to brush her hair back into a fresh ponytail and then she hurried from her room. The glimpses of the house she had seen on her way upstairs made her long to explore, but she knew Savanna would be waiting for her. And she did want to see the rest of the ranch. After making two wrong turns, she discovered the kitchen and found everyone waiting for her. Or at least they were standing around not seeming to be busy about anything.
    “Here,” Savanna said, pointing to a pair of western boots on the floor. “See if these fit you.”
    Sliding her feet in, Annette strode about the house. “I feel ten feet tall and able to lick my weight in wildcats,” she joked, grinning. “They fit.”
    “Can me and Devon go out with you?” Ava begged.

If you are a writer, do people think you're a bit strange?
Do you think other writers are strange?
Do you wear cowboy boots?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 3

Good morning FFFs,
I've come to a conclusion that I'm getting two Fridays a week. How about you? Perhaps you are getting two of another day each week, but for me it's Friday. You see, we clean the house on Friday, and it sure seems as though we just cleaned it two days ago!

This week:
I ordered my proof copy of "Dylan's Story"! Now I can't wait to get it and see what it actually looks like!!! I think it's more exciting to get my proof copy than it is to get my final books.
I reached the end of "Finding Joy" this week! My editor hasn't read it all yet, so I don't know if I'll have to add any thing here or there, but it sure feels good to have finally found the end of the story. :)
I wrote my next part of the "joint author" story I'm writing with Kate.
That was my writing news.

We had a great time last Saturday celebrating the 4th on the 1st at some friends' house. Every year they invite everyone from church over and it seems like each year the numbers grow. We hang out, visit, eat, shoot off fireworks, and go home late. :)
Then on Monday evening we went over to my brother's house to celebrate the 4th only a day early (it was supposed to rain on the 4th), and Doodle Bug's 6th birthday (late!). It was a lot of fun. My youngest niece, Ti-K, wasn't sure she liked the "bang bangs" but she got used to them.

Tomorrow my nieces and nephews are coming over for the morning. I am planning on getting the last picture I need for the "Bike Trip book" when they're here. I need one of them (the 4th generation) all on their bikes. :)

And here's the next part of this story. Enjoy!

Through an Author's Eyes
Part 3

    “This is such a cute place!” Annette craned her neck trying to see everything at once.
    “We’ll come another time or two while you’re here, don’t worry. But I thought we might stop for some ice cream.” Flipping on her blinker Savanna expertly pulled into an angled parking place and shut off the engine. “Aunt May’s is the best ice cream parlor around! And I’m not kidding. It’s an old fashioned place, and a few times a year they hold dress-up days where anyone dressed in whatever sort of costume Aunt May has decided on, gets ice cream for half-price. And, if they really like your outfit, you get it free. The most common dress-up day is the old west. But they have done WWII day and oh, you should have seen the costumes! I spent most of the day there just watching people coming in and out.”
    “Oh!” That one word spoke volumes, and Annette gazed at the store front almost with awe.
    “Come on,” Savanna said, unbuckling and reaching for the door handle. “Let’s go get something.”
    Fascinated by the striped awning, the old-fashioned half curtains on the windows and the name on the door, Annette would have stood on the sidewalk until dark if Savanna’s words hadn’t roused her.
    “Oh, Uncle Art and the sheriff are inside. Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
    “Because Uncle Art is a deputy, and they should both know who you are in case any of those adventures you were wanting require their assistance.” The laugh in Savanna’s voice showed she was teasing.
    Annette blushed as she felt herself being hustled inside the cool, dim shop. It was as quaint inside as it was out. But her cousin gave her no chance to linger looking about.
    “Hi, Uncle Art, Sheriff. I’d like you to meet my cousin, Annette.” She looked at her uncle. “She’s Aunt Marie’s daughter, you know.”
    Both men rose from the table where they had been sitting and held out their hands. “Welcome to Gone, Annette,” Uncle Art said, smiling from a bronzed face. “I haven’t seen you since you were a little girl in pigtails.” He pulled her into a hug.
    “Are you here for a visit or are you planning on settling down?” questioned the sheriff.
    “I’m just visiting for a few weeks.”
    “Well, we’re might happy to have you.”
    Annette nodded, noticing the hats on the table, the holstered guns strapped to the men’s sides, the shiny badges on their shirts and the cowboy boots on their feet. Her quick eyes had already taken in the mustache the sheriff wore. It was dark, and he looked just like she imagined a sheriff in an old western town would look. No police in the city back east looked like these men.
    “Savanna, tell your mom we should be able to make it to supper on Friday,” Uncle Art said.
    “Good. I’ll tell her. Come on, Annette, let’s get some ice cream.”
    Before long Annette was perched on a high stool before the counter staring at the giant scoop of black walnut ice cream before her. “How do you expect me to eat all this?” she demanded.
    Savanna laughed and shrugged. “It’ll tide you over until supper.”
    “It may fill me up until breakfast tomorrow,” Annette retorted, tasting her cold treat. “Yum!”
    In between bites, the two cousins sat and chatted. Savanna seemed to know everyone who came in, and Annette found herself introduced to so many people that she lost count. She had been hungry when she had arrived, but by the time her last bite was taken, all she wanted was a nap.
    “Ready to hit the road again?”
    Annette nodded. “Sure. But I need to take a walk soon if I’m going to stay awake.”
    “We could walk around town for a little while if you want.”
    The girls had stepped outside and blinked in the bright sunshine. After the cool air of the parlor, the warmth felt good and Annette rolled her shoulders in enjoyment. “That’s okay, I think I’d rather just get all the way there. But I will want to come back sometime.” She looked up and down the street, noticing all the shops and cafes, and a little barbershop complete with a red and white striped pole.
    “Then let’s get going. Levi and Vic will probably be out with the cattle, Dad’s probably working on the article that has to be sent in next week, and who knows what the others are doing. Ava is probably driving Mom nuts waiting for us.”
    With a sigh, Annette settled into her seat, clicked her seat belt and leaned back. “Boy, I’m tired,” she yawned. “I still don’t know how long it’ll be before I’ll get settled into the two hour time difference.”
    Laughing, Savanna started the car and backed out of the parking space. “It might also have to do with how early you had to get up.”
    “And my late nights this past week helping get Mom and Dad off and stuff like that.”
    “Maybe,” Savanna laughed again. “I don’t know if you’ll get a nap at the house or not. I know the younger ones are excited that you are coming, though Devon probably won’t say much, and you’ll most likely want to see the house and stuff. But if you want, I can be quiet and you can try to nap on the way. We have about a thirty minute drive.”
    Annette didn’t reply, but yawned again and settled herself back in the seat. She tried closing her eyes, for she figured a short nap would be better than none, but her eyes refused to stay shut. She wanted to see every bit of detail of this new country she was traveling through.

    When Savanna turned the car into a long gravel driveway, Annette sat up and looked about her. “Wow!”
    Glancing over, Savannah grinned. “Bigger than you thought or smaller?”
    “I don’t know. But it’s just . . . just beautiful!”

Would yo like to go to that ice cream shop?
Would you dress up?
What's your favorite kind of ice cream?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 2

Good morning FFFs,

It's a lovely rainy morning here. I woke to the soft patter of raindrops on the roof above my head. I don't know about you, but I like quiet summer rain. No big storms, just gentle rain.

Anyway, it's been another busy week, though not quite like last week. I did have to do some more rearranging of parts and editing and changing of "Finding Joy" though. It just wasn't fitting right. Now it is. I don't think I'll reach the end of it today. Oh, well. I'm almost done. I think.

I worked on designing the real cover for "Dylan's Story." I can't wait to show it to you all! Then I've been working on the final parts of the Bike Trip book. I'm waiting for two pictures, have to design one last page or two, and then I can upload it! After working on this book for 2 years, I'm ready to be done with it.
Let's see, did I do anything else of interest? Oh, yes, I designed my template for a 4 x 6 book. :) Yep, I'm going to publish some small Christmas books! I have so many Christmas stories (I usually write 1-3 each year) that I wanted to publish them. But I didn't want to just do them in a regular book with lots of stories. Small books sounded fun. So, when I heard that someone else did a book that small, I knew I was going to too. I could end up with 6 or more Christmas books this year. Won't that be fun? I love Christmas stories! Do you?

Okay, that's that. Here's the next part of the story. Enjoy. :) And have a wonderful 4th of July! Do you have any plans?

Through an Author's Eyes
Part 2

    “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the name of the town before. It sounds a bit strange.”
    Savanna laughed. “Yep, but if you think that one’s amusing, what will you say when we go to Boring, which is the largest town around. Or to Cats Claw or Cattleton.”
    “I suppose,” Annette began slowly, “if there are a lot of ranches around, Cattleton would fit. But Cats Claw? And Boring?” Stopping in her tracks, Annette turned slowly. “There really isn’t a town called Boring, is there?” Disbelief filled her voice.
    “Let’s just get my luggage. I’ll try to process the names as I go. Boring? Is it really dull in that town?”
    Tucking her thumb in the shoulder strap of her purse, Savanna shook her head. “Nope. But I like Gone better. Here’s the luggage claim.”
    It took only a few minutes for Annette to spot her luggage and haul both suitcases off the conveyer. Thankful that the cases had wheels, the girls pulled them along through the busy airport and out into the bright sunlight of early afternoon.
    Once settled in the car, Savanna pulled out her cell phone and pressed a number. “Hi, Dad. I got her. . . . Yep. . . . We’re about to head out now. We might stop in Gone . . .” She chuckled into the phone. “Yes, that’s what I was thinking. Got to start right, you know.” There was a moment of silence before she said, “All right. Thanks. See you soon. Bye!”

    Before long the two girls were driving down the highway chattering and laughing.
    “So, what’s the population of these remarkably named towns?” questioned Annette.
    “I can’t remember what Boring and Gone are. Cats Claw is sixty-three, if I remember right, and Cattleton is–” Savannah wrinkled her nose in thought though her eyes never left the highway. “I think it’s around eighty, but we can ask Dad or Levi. They’d know. At least Levi should, he drives there often enough.”
    “Uh huh. His girl lives there. Her name’s Jaina Forthright. I have a feeling there’s going to be a purposal before very long. Maybe while you’re here.”
    Annette gave a little squeal of excitement. “I’d love that! I was thinking of having two of my characters, I don’t don’t know who yet, get engaged in my story, and it would be so much fun if there was one happening in real life!”
    “What’s your story about?”
    “It’s a girl who goes to live with some friends for the summer while her dad, he’s in the military, though I don’t know what branch, is stationed overseas. Her mom is with him. There in some country like Japan or something like that. Anyway,” Annette shifted a little in her seat and tucked her right foot up under her left leg, “I’m sort of basing what happens in it, off of what I do out here. Only I’m changing the names, of course. But I don’t know if I’ll change the town names. They are so unique.”
    “Does that mean we’ll have to have lots of adventures?”
    Annette laughed a little. “Well, I don’t want any house or barn fires, I’m not fond of kidnapping, and I don’t really want to end up in the hospital with a broken bone. Anything else, I might be up for.”
    “Rattlesnakes? Stampedes? Cattle rustlers?” Savanna teased. “Which would you prefer?”
    “None. Couldn’t we have something like getting lost for a little while when we drive somewhere, or maybe finding an old house or cabin somewhere that we could explore? Or maybe–” Annette let her sentence remain unfinished as she stared ahead at the landscape with its towering mountain peaks in the distance, the rolling hills before them dotted here and there with cattle, the long stretch of road which rounded a curve and disappeared; the trees, the flowers, the grandeur of it all left her speechless.
    Somehow Savanna sensed she was taking in the scene and after a minute said softly, “Paint it for me.”
    Reaching behind the driver’s seat, but still keeping her eyes on the beauty before her, Annette fumbled for a moment in her carry-on before pulling out NEO. Hardly looking at her fingers as they settled on the key pad, she began to write.
    The sky was blue, the sort of blue that speaks of baby boys and robin’s eggs, and not a cloud was to be seen. The mountains, peak after peak, rose into the sky, some with snow still in crevices, others only a dusty purple. From the distance it was hard to distinguish the treelines on the mountains. Only the patches of darker color indicated where they might be. Below the mountains were the grazing grounds of cattle. Green and lush, carpeted in places with vibrant colors which could only be flowers, the pastures covered the rolling hills. Right through the middle of the pasture lands, winding like a gray ribbon up and down and around the hills, enclosed on either side by wire fences was the road. It was empty at the moment except for their car. It was the sole motor occupant following the asphalt road wherever it might lead.
    Letting out a sigh, Savanna spared a glance at her cousin. “Wow! Dad has read your other books and says he’s looking forward to seeing how you describe the great west.”
    Turning her writing device off, Annette leaned back in her seat and relaxed. “I just write what I see.”
    The girls fell into a comfortable silence. Finally Annette, who had fallen into a doze, roused to hear Savanna say, “There’s the city limit of Gone.”
    After blinking a moment at the afternoon sun, Annette focused her attention on a green sign coming closer. Sure enough there it was: Gone Ridin.’ She shook her head. However did people come up with names for their towns?
    The town began to pop up on either side, first a house, then two, a gas station, more houses, and before long they were driving down the main street.

What's the strangest town name you've ever heard?
Do you like writing descriptions?
What adventure would you like to experience?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 1

Happy Friday FFF,
Wait! Don't tell me it's Friday. It can't be Friday. It just was Friday and we cleaned the house. (We clean house on Fridays. Anyone else do it then too?) Not enough days have gone by for it to be Friday again. Nope. Not possible. I refuse to believe it. It should be Wednesday. That's it. It's Wednesday. Then what on earth am I doing get a post ready? Uh, maybe because I'm a little unsure. If by some chance it did happen to be Friday, I'd hate to spoil my record and cause wonderment, and maybe confusion among my readers. Yet, if it's NOT Friday, . . .
Oh, dear. This is too confusing for my brain. Either it is Friday or it isn't.

This week has absolutely flown by! And it wasn't because I was crazy busy either. In fact I tried to cut back on things so I wasn't rushing around with my brain here, there, and everywhere. Let me see. What did I accomplish?
I am almost finished with this Bike Trip book I've been working on for about 2 years. I'm just waiting for Grandpa to return some checked pages, and get some information from him and one of my uncles. Then I can put all the pages together and attempt to upload the HUGE file. It's going to be crazy.
I've been working on formatting "Dylan's Story" and playing around with the mock cover again. Hopefully soon I'll actually start work on the real cover.
Oh, I received 10 NEOs in the mail and have shipped 2 off already. :) The others are waiting to be mailed. It is so fun sending NEOs to other writers. I can't wait to hear how they like them. :) Do you have a NEO? Have you ever wanted to try one?
And I have been writing. I heard back from a friend about a certain thing for "Finding Joy" so know I can write it and make it real. :) When will this story be finished? I wish I knew. Right now, if I figured correctly, the story is at 83k words. And I'm not at the end yet. It could be one of those really, really long books. Would you mind?

Okay, enough about me. Here's the start of a new story. If you are a writer, you might find some things amusing. If you are not a writer, you may still find some things amusing. But I don't know if this story stays interesting. My mom doesn't think so. I guess I'll let you read it and decide. Of course you only get some of it each week. (It's long.) So, enjoy.

Through an Author’s Eyes

    Settling back into her seat, Annette Jasper let her fingers lightly brush the keys on her NEO as she looked out her window at the clouds below her. When her index fingers found the small raised dots they were accustomed to rest on, she glanced down at the small screen with its blinking curser. She needed a story.
    After a look at the other passengers of the airplane, she began to type. She would write a story about her own trip, only she would change things. Instead of going to visit her cousins because her parents were taking an month long trip to Europe for business, her main character would . . .
    Slowly Annette tapped a finger on the portable, battery-operated typewriter she loved using. A frown creased her forehead.
    “Having trouble there?”
    Turning her head quickly, Annette smiled involuntarily at the older gentleman with iron gray hair who sat one seat away from her with his newspaper.
    “Not really. I’m just trying to decide something for a story I’m writing.”
    The older man folded his paper and looked interested. “What do you have so far?”
    “Not much,” Annette admitted. “I know my main character is going to stay at a ranch in the Rockies, or near the Rockies, and she’s never been there before. I just don’t know why she is going there.”
    “To visit a friend?”
    “How old is she? Does she have parents? Is this a modern story?”
    “Yes, it’s modern; she’s actually traveling by airplane. She has parents, but I don’t know where they are. And I think she’s about eighteen or nineteen.”
    Nodding, the gentleman sat in thoughtful silence for a few minutes before asking, “What does she do when she gets there?”
    At that Annette laughed a little. “I’m not sure. I’m going out to a ranch to visit my cousins and I’ve never been there. I thought it would be fun to write about my adventures, only change it so it wasn’t really me.”
    “Quite a clever idea. So, why aren’t your parents traveling with you?” The man seemed genuinely interested.
    “They are heading to Europe on a business trip.”
    “Ah, well, I suppose your character’s father could be in the military and be stationed in someplace, say–Japan, and was able to take his wife with him. However, your MC wanted something different–”
    “And had a friend who invited her to spend a month or so with her.”
    “Excellent idea!”
    A quick glance showed her that it had been more than four minutes and her NEO had turned off. In a matter of seconds it was back on, and she began typing. At first her fingers were slow, but they seemed to have only been warming up, for in no time they were flying over the keys and the story began to take shape.
    Kate pressed her face closer to the window of the plane and stared out. It was strange to see the clouds from the top instead of from underneath. No matter how many times she had flown, and with her father being in the military, it had been quite a lot, she never tired of watching the clouds or the distant ground, if the day was clear. Someday she would like to fly. . . .

    Annette gave a sigh of satisfaction as she finished rereading the start to her story. Hopefully she could keep adding to it and her blog readers would enjoy it.
    “Finish it?”
    Smiling at her new friend, she nodded. “At least what I could write now. Thanks for your help.”
    “Glad to do it.”
    “Are you an author?” Annette asked, zipping NEO into its protective cover.
    The man smiled. “Well, yes, in a way. I used to write for magazines and literary newspapers. I’ve tried my hand at a few novels for my grandkids, but I didn’t think they’d be of interest to any publishing house, so I just used CreateSpace to print some copies.”
    “Oh, that’s what I use!” Annette exclaimed.
    “So, you’re published already, are you?”
    After that Annette had no time to wonder what her parents were doing or what her cousins would be like, for she was busy swapping publishing stories with the older gentleman, and talking about her other books and his books. It seemed to her that their destination was reached in record time.
    As she gathered her things together and moved into the aisle, she tucked her new friend’s business card into a safe pocket of her carry-on. They had exchanged cards and the older man had said he was hoping he would get to read the finished story of her visit.
    “It is kind of funny,” she thought, moving slowly along in the rush of people disembarking, “to write a fictional story about my real adventures. I wonder if there will even be anything worth writing about. Perhaps there will be a mystery we can solve or . . . something. I think I’d rather not deal with bad guys or disasters. Huh, why do we authors like to make those things happen in books when we’d hate to face them in real life?”
    “Annette! Over here!”
    Pulled from her thoughts, Annette spotted her cousin and waved a greeting as she made her way over to her. “Savanna!”
    The two girls embraced warmly. Though Annette had never seen her youngest three cousins, she had met the oldest two when she was about five, she only vaguely remembered Levi. But she had spent a week with Savanna at a conference two months ago and they had become fast friends. When everything had worked for Annette to stay at her aunt and uncle’s out west, the two cousins had been thrilled.
    “Let’s get your luggage and get going,” Savanna said. “It’s still over an hour until we reach Gone."
    “Gone. Our town. Or at least the town that’s the closet to us and the airport. Actually its real name is Gone Ridin’, but everyone calls it Gone. It’s not very big.”

What is the most interesting town name you've heard?
Have you ever gone to spend a few weeks alone with relatives?
If you could go anywhere in the US, where would you go?