Friday, July 21, 2017

Through an Author's Eyes - Part 5

Morning FFFs,
It's HOT. The heat index today is supposed to be 105ΒΊ. 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 100ΒΊ 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?

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Emancipation . . . - Part 5

Good morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
What a week! I didn't go anywhere except to church on Sunday. No one came over, we didn't babysit any nieces or nephews, but still, it was a bit crazy. Why?

Well, Saturday wasn't too bad, and Sunday I worked in the nursery and then got to read an entire book in the afternoon, so that was nice. Then came Monday.
The 3-2-1 Write! blog party started Monday morning. And, while it wasn't crazy busy, it did mean I had to keep an eye on things, read all the other author's posts, and answer comments and things, while also doing other stuff.
Tuesday was a fairly slow day at the party. Not many comments or things. So I decided to see if I could find an image that looked like "Dylan" in my story. Do you have any idea how long that could take? A LONG time. I ended up with a couple possibilities and decided to just play around and see if any would work. My plan was to find a picture and then get someone else to do the cover. Think again. I started trying a few things. The first one was "blah". Not going to use that. Tried a different picture and a different background. Within fifteen minutes I had a mock cover! And it's been approved by at least three other people. Next I worked on an idea for "Finding Joy." You see, while searching for "Dylan" I found "Paige" from "Finding Joy." (Could someone please tell me while a woman showed up on a page when I was searching for 'boys'?) It had to have been my Heavenly Father's blessing. Again, 15-20 minutes later, the mock cover for that book was done. Now I just have to finish writing the book!
So, my brain was wanting to create the real covers, but I was busy on Wednesday with more party stuff as things picked up. I also decided to get myself a second NEO so I'd have a backup. And I thought I'd offer to get any others one as well.
Yesterday was the end of the party with winners announced and prizes given out. I had to send several wrap-up emails to all the authors who helped host the party. Then I was doing this and that, and my brain wanted to do some other things, and I wanted to write "Finding Joy" but I'm waiting to hear back from someone about something that I know nothing about, and I didn't, so I didn't write, and my brain kept going on and on kind of like this sentence which really should stop as you most likely have already given up.

Yep, it's been a busy week. :)

But now maybe you can enjoy the last part of this story. :) I'd love to know your final thoughts on it. And come back next week because I'm hoping to start posting my "Author" story. (It has no name yet and it isn't finished, but . . . When has that stopped me?) I probably wouldn't have made this first part so long except that I was told this is what several people read. So . . . ;)

The Emancipation of
Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
Part 5

    That night Chester didn’t sleep well. He kept waking up. He had been so tired and exhausted the night before that he hadn’t noticed the hard ground nor how cold his nose got. Now it was different. If he had had his iPhone, things would have been better, he assured himself, not once thinking that he might not be able to get reception way out there in the middle of nowhere. If he had his iPhone he could have sent out a message on Facebook or Twitter that he and the little E-bay man were lost and where they were. But just where were they? Chester had no idea and finally fell asleep wondering.

    The following day found Chester Reginald Donavan, Esq., restless and completely out of sorts. He had never had to rely on his own creativity when he was bored, and he found it too much work to try now. Finally when the afternoon had come the little E-bay man suggested they try to figure out just where they were using their compasses and maps. Chester agreed reluctantly.
    When evening came, the little E-bay man began to point out the constellations to his companion, and Chester, much to his own astonishment, found this to be very fascinating, and it was quite late before they turned in.
    For three more days the two companions busied themselves with learning all they could about living out in the wild. It was really the little E-bay man who started it, and he was the teacher, for he had grown up loving things of this sort. Chester, having never thought about them before, found them to hold an almost irresistible fascination for his quick brain. Before long he had forgotten his missing iPhone and even the fact that the day for his great test as a lawyer was fast approaching while he remained stuck in the mountain wilderness. He grew eager to test and try the things his companion told him about and didn’t even notice that the days were growing colder and shorter.
    It was the fifth night after that memorable one of his tent collapsing that Chester and the little E-bay man were sitting beside their camp fire gazing into the flames.
    “You know,” Chester remarked, “I’ll be sad when this trip is over. I never knew that the real world was so interesting. I’ve always lived in the world of computer games, fast food, TV, internet, fancy cars and iPhones.” He added the last with a laugh. “I always thought everything else was dull and worthless. I’m beginning to see things from a new perspective.”
    “Good. Do you think you’ll want to go on another camping trip?”
    “Absolutely!” Chester was enthusiastic and for several minutes talked about what he had learned. “But you know,” he added quietly after a little while of silence, “I think the thing that has made the biggest impression on me is what you said that first day about a designer making everything. I’m not sure I buy into the creation account yet, but I’m going to do some serious studying.”
    The little E-bay man was silent, and for several more minutes they sat thus, each busy with his own thoughts.
    At last Chester spoke again. “Hey, E-bay, look at those clouds over in the north west. Think they mean anything?”
    Turning around, the little E-bay man studied the bank of clouds for a minute before saying, “It looks like snow.”
    “Really! That ought to make things interesting. Do you think it will be a lot or just a dusting like the peaks over there got this morning?”
    His companion shrugged. “That’s one thing I can’t say for sure. Hopefully it will just be a dusting. But what say we turn in?”

    When Chester crawled out of his tent the next morning, he discovered a dusting of snow had fallen during the night and the sky was overcast. The distant peaks were nearly white though the valley below them was still golden brown. Chester got the fire going and was fixing breakfast when the little E-bay man emerged from his tent.
    “See, I’m getting the hang of this camping out stuff,” Chester laughed. “Another few days and I’ll be an expert. Well,” he admitted as the little E-bay man gave a snort. “Okay, not quite, but it’s an improvement.”
    To this his companion agreed, and they began to partake of the hot food. Suddenly the little E-bay man paused and cocked his head as though listening. Chester listened too and thought he could hear voices. Was it his imagination or was a rescue party really coming? The two men were on their feet, eyes searching for signs of other humans. At last with a shout, Chester pointed to the valley in the distance. There indeed was a group heading their way!
    “Come on,” the little E-bay man ordered. “Let’s get this camp packed up so we can leave. I think a storm might be on its way.”
    With no more words, the two men began a rapid packing up of their gear. But when Chester came to take down his tent,
    “E-bay!” he hollered, “How in the world do you get these stake things out of the ground? What did you do, cement them in?”
    Both men chuckled as E-bay showed Chester the easiest way to pull out a stake, and then helped him fold and pack his tent.
    “I hope I can set it up without the instructions next time. If I can’t, I’ll be calling you up, E-bay.”
    “On that iPhone of yours no doubt.”
    “Why of course. And I was thinking of checking on E-bay for a warm jacket.”

    By the time the rescue party reached the two lost campers, they were packed and ready to go. The Park rangers were greatly relieved to find neither one injured and set off at once, for a snow storm was blowing in.

Do you think Chester went hiking again?
Did you attend the party this week?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Emancipation . . . - Part 4 and an Invitation

Good morning,
I'm not sure if anyone is reading this story or not (except perhaps Christian), but I don't have anything new to post. So if you don't like it, well you can wait until this story is over and see what I post then. I don't know what I'll post next.

This week is disappearing quickly. The kids went home Sunday late afternoon, and I've actually gotten 1,000 words written each day so far. I've also been working on another project. In fact, here is your invitation!

We have great prizes, lots of information, and fun! I hope you'll come join us.

Now I'll let you get to reading. If you are even interested in this story.

The Emancipation of
Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
Part 4 

     “Stay calm and let me have a look at this mess. You sure did manage--” but the little E-bay man left the rest unfinished, and propping up his flashlight where it would do the most good, set about trying to free his captive companion. This was no easy task, for in his twisting and turning search for his flashlight, Chester had unknowingly rolled over the front zipper thus trapping himself inside. It was with great difficulty that he was at last coaxed into rolling back and that only after a fire had been built which gave added light to the rescuer’s efforts. It was a good forty minutes before Chester was at last standing in the open, a shivering and shaking figure.
    “Here, take this coat and go sit by the fire while I set this back up.” The little man gave Chester a gentle shove towards the bright blaze and turned back to the tent. “Why, where are all your stakes?” he exclaimed in astonishment.
    “I d-didn’t think I’d n-need them all,” admitted Chester, teeth chattering from cold. “And I hit m-my thumb so m-many times, I thought it w-wasn’t w-worth it,” he added to justify his actions or lack of them.
    With a shake of his head, the other man went to work and in short order had the tent up and properly staked and had found the missing flashlight. “Now,” he asked coming over to the fire, “do you think you can go to sleep again? The tent is set up and there are still several hours before daylight comes.” He yawned. “And I for one could use some more shut eye.”
    “I think I can if you are sure it won’t fall again?”
    “I’m sure.”
    “I think I’ll take my flashlight into my sleeping bag this time. Just in case.”

    For several hours Chester lay rigid and stiff in his sleeping bag inside his tent. He was wide awake. Never in all his thirty-one years of life had he ever slept outside separated from the elements by only a nylon tent. Every sound that came through the thin wall seemed to his ears to be as loud as the train near his house. But this was the wilderness! This was an untamed mountainside miles from anyone except the little E-bay man. He wondered what his friend Michael would say to this story. “He’d probably laugh and think it a good joke,” he thought. “Wish I had my iPhone. I’d text him. Hmm, what would I tell him?” For the next several minutes he composed all sorts of texts that he would enjoy sending if only he could. Finally just before dawn broke, he fell asleep.

    “So, E-bay, when do we pack up camp and head out again?” The two men were finishing up their breakfast and enjoying the warm sun as they drank their last cups of coffee.
    “Well, I think we’ll just stay here.”
    “Here? Why?”
    “For one, it’s a good place to camp: water, plenty of wood for the fire, shelter, a nice view. And since we are lost, we should stay in one place so they can find us. It is always harder to find someone if they keep moving. Besides,” the little E-bay man added, “it’s awfully hard hiking with feet covered in blisters.”
    Chester looked down at his stocking feet and grimaced. That was true. His feet ached at the very thought of boots.
    “You know, you should always try to break in your new hiking boots before you go on a hike. It’s easier on the feet.”
    “How long did it take to break yours in?”
    The little E-bay man glanced down at his warm, but quite comfortable boots. “Oh I don’t know, they were slightly used when I got them off of E-bay--”
    Chester groaned. “Do you get everything off of E-bay?”
    “Just about. Like I said, it’s kind of a hobby.”
    Chester nodded. Strangest hobby he’d ever heard of.
    “So, what do we do all day? Sit here like two old men?” Sarcasm flooded each word that broke the long silence.
    The little E-bay man laughed. He did a lot of laughing, Chester noticed. “I suppose we could, but we could at least talk about something. You know, have a discussion. I didn’t say an argument. We might even venture for a short walk if you feel up to it, or if your feet do, I should say.”
    “My feet don’t want to move right now.”
    “Well then, suppose you pick a topic and we’ll start talking.”

    Talk they did, and even though the little E-bay man said they weren’t to argue, they came mighty close to it several times, especially when the little E-bay man made a statement that the world was created by a Creator, and Chester declared it evolved over millions of years. Most of that day they did nothing but talk. And it was nearing the late afternoon hours before a lull came over them.
    “When do you think they’ll find us?” Chester questioned somewhat hesitatingly for he wasn’t sure he really wanted to know the answer.
    His companion shrugged. “It could be this evening or it might not be for a couple of days.”
    “A couple of days?” Chester had never thought of that possibility. “I can’t possibly live without my iPhone for that long!”
    The little E-bay man shrugged again. “Then I guess you’ll die if it takes them a while. I think you could at least try to survive so I’m not alone. But seriously, it could take them that long because they first have to figure out we’re gone, and then figure out where we got lost and if we got lost together or separately and then find out which direction we went and then find us. Sound complicated?”
    When Chester nodded, he added, “Believe me it is more complicated to find us than it is to find good bargains on E-bay.”
    And so the hours passed into evening with Chester grumbling and complaining about his missing iPhone while his companion, the little E-bay man, sought to divert his thoughts and to cheer him up. Lurking in the back of Chester’s mind was worry. Worry that they would never be found, worry that they’d run out of food, worry that he wouldn’t get back home in time for this important case he was working on.
Have you ever gotten lost while hiking?
Do you shop on E-bay?
Will you be coming to the party next week?

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Emancipation . . . - Part 3

Good morning FFFs,
It's a very noisy morning. The birds are singing loudly and have been for probably over an hour. And, Ti-K (niece #2) age, 2, and Lukesters (nephew #4) age 4, decided they should get up at 6:30 this AM. We sent them back to bed until 7. But Ti-K decided that she needed to sing. I wish I had a recording of her singing her own version of "To God Be the Glory" and "Jesus Loves Me" or a mixture of both. Absolutely adorable.

We don't just have Ti-K and Lukesters, Sissy is also here with us. We'll have these three until late Sunday afternoon. And they've been here since Wednesday morning. The other three boys are at their other grandparents, and their parents are at a homeschool conference.

So, I haven't done must writing this week. Only one night of it as Monday night we attended a baseball game. (First time to do that!) Hopefully next week I can write more. I did sign up for Camp NaNo in July. But I'm hoping to do some sprinting this month with "Finding Joy."

Ti-K is very busy this morning. She was building train tracks, and when one broke she said, "Oops-y Sketty oh!" :) Now she's got her baby in the stroller. Oh, and last night we got to see two "boing-boings." (Translated: rabbits)

Enjoy this next part of this story.
The Emancipation of
Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
Part 3

    When Chester discovered his loss he began to fume and fuss, for without that paper he could never hope to get the tent set up. “E-bay!” he shouted.
    “Do you need some help,” a perfectly calm voice replied behind him.
    “I guess so,” growled Chester. “My directions blew away and I can’t get this ridiculous thing set up.”
    “The wind does like to blow things up here. Have to be careful to put something heavy on the light things or stake them down or we’ll wind up losing ‘em.” The little E-bay man worked as he talked and soon had the small one-man tent set up. “All that needs done now is to stake it down. I usually stake it first, but with this size it doesn’t matter.”
    “No problem. Think you can stake it while I go start the supper?”
    At Chester’s nod, he walked away leaving his young companion to hammer in the stakes. After hitting his thumb three times to every two he hit the stake, Chester managed to get the first stake in. Then he glanced with dismay at all the stakes still left. “There is no way I need that many stakes,” he mumbled to himself. “Besides, I don’t have that many thumbs left. If I just put one on the opposite corner I should be fine. I mean it can’t blow away because I’ll be in it.”
    In a minute he was done and leaving his pack in the tent he limped over to the fire with his mess kit.
    “All set up?”
    “Well the food’s ready. Dig in.”
    Chester needed no second invitation for he was ravenous after hiking all day. He did notice the momentary pause and bowing of the head of his companion, however, and thought, “Great, not only is he some E-bay freak but also a religious nut no doubt.” Then he shrugged and continued eating.
    Finally both men were satisfied, and their cooking and eating dishes having been cleaned, they were packed away in their packs again. The sun was setting in the west and one by one the stars were beginning to show themselves to the two solitary beings on the mountain. A cold wind blew down upon them as they sat before the fire. Chester shivered in his windbreaker and sighed.
    “If it weren’t for my feet hurting so much I’d go dig out my coat.”
    “Here,” The little E-bay man tossed a jacket to him. “I always carry an extra one just in case it is needed. What’s wrong with your feet?”
    Chester put on the jacket, though it was rather a snug fit, and immediately felt the difference as the wind could no longer get through to him. “Blisters.”
    “Take your boots off. It won’t hurt you to walk the short way to your tent without them. Besides you should be careful about blisters. They are mighty uncomfortable if they get infected.”
    Chester followed this advice and then sat toasting his stocking feet before the flickering flames of the camp fire.
    “E-bay,” he finally asked, “What do you do?”
    The little man laughed. “You know I rather like that name you’ve given me. It kind of fits. I’m a teacher in a local high school back home, and as a hobby I buy and sell on E-bay. In fact that is where I got most of my gear. It saves money if you know how to use it right. And what about you? Did I hear you say something about having a case?”
    “Yeah, I’m a lawyer. Just passed the bar six months ago. I’ve won every case I’ve tried. Of course they were easy. I don’t know why they even bothered going to court about them, but it gave me some easy dough.” Chester yawned. He hadn’t noticed it before but he was really tired. More tired than he remembered being for a very long time. In fact, he was so tired he didn’t even remember his missing iPhone.
    The little E-bay man also yawned and stretching asked, “What say we turn in for the night?”
    “Great idea!”

    How long he had slept Chester Reginald Donavan, Esq., had no idea. Undoubtedly it had been for some hours, but he was so exhausted he never stirred until he was startled awake by something falling on top of him. For a moment he tried to realize where he was, then it hit him. He was camping in the mountains. Then what had fallen? He could hear the wind roaring and could feel a small cold draft coming from a crack in the top of his sleeping bag. He didn’t want to stir from his cozy, warm nest, but he had to know what had happened. In a dazed, still half-asleep manner he wriggled and squirmed and tried to sit up. That is when he discovered to his great amazement that he couldn’t do it. Instantly he was wide awake. Reaching out a hand he could feel the cold nylon sides of the tent on either side and Great Scott! It was over his sleeping bag too! His tent had fallen down! Where was his flashlight? He knew it had to be somewhere for he had had it when he went to bed. In his frantic searching he soon became all twisted up in his sleeping bag, and he still couldn’t find the flashlight. The roaring of the wind sounded to him like a vicious beast about to attack. Where was that light? He felt himself growing panicked. “Stay calm,” he whispered, but the very fright in his voice only added to his terror and when his foot, which was somewhere down in the tightly tangled, twisted mess, bumped against something hard, Chester Reginald Donavan, Esq., the great budding lawyer let out a yell so loud that it awakened echoes up and down the mountain side. “E-bay!”
    Chester was trembling in fright. He didn’t dare move, but he felt as though he couldn’t breathe. There was no air! The tent was flat! He was hopelessly trapped! Just when he felt he could stand the strain no longer, a deep but perfectly calm and even slightly amused voice sounded, and a light was played back and forth over where he lay.
    “So, you having a little problem? If you are cold, I really wouldn’t recommend knocking down your tent. Do you want a little help?”
    “Just get me out!” came Chester’s wavering voice.

Have you ever been stuck in a collapsed tent?
Do you follow written directions or attempt things on your own?
Do you like to sleep in or get up early?

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Emancipation . . . - Part 2

Good morning FFFs,
It's a lovely morning here. The windows are open, the birds chirping and singing. It's a little cloudy and there is a chance of rain later today, but right now it is perfect. Not too warm or too chilly. It makes me want to go for a walk or go camping.

Okay, so let's get past the dreaming. 
I have finally gotten to the point in "Finding Joy" when I can just write again! After cutting 9,700+ words out of the story, perhaps I can actually get it finished. Wouldn't that be fun. But don't stop praying. I'm not sure when it ends. But it feels more on track. :) And it's nice to be able to write without having to stop and re-read, and cut and write a little more, and do some editing, and then a little more writing.

Now, in case you read this blog and not my Read Another Page blog, I'm doing a giveaway for an audio copy of "Gift from the Storm" if you want to head over and enter.

I hope you enjoy the second part of this story. I laughed quite a bit when I wrote it, and I still chuckle over parts of it.

The Emancipation of
Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
Part 2

    After thinking hard for several minutes, Chester suddenly let out a groan. “No! I left it in my new, black 2009 Hummer! How could I be so stupid! I had called Michael and must have forgotten to put it back. Great! And if anything happens to me way out here in the middle of no where, no one is going to be able to contact anyone!”
    “Can’t someone just get it out of your car when we get back? Not that anything is going to happen,” the little man hastened to add.
    “Get something out of it? Yeah right! Hey man, this is a brand new 2009 Hummer! Man, no one can get in that thing unless they know the right stuff!” Chester rolled his eyes at the ignorance of his companion. Doesn’t the guy know anything except E-bay? Suddenly a new and to him dreadful thought struck him, and he slapped his head with a cry that made the little man beside him turn in a hurry and stare.
    “This is just great. Just great! Now what am I supposed to do. Everything was on that iPhone. How am I supposed to get internet access without it? I can’t get on facebook, or on twitter. I can’t even work on the case I’ve got now. Ugh!” Growing frantic Chester grasped his blonde hair with both hands and growled. He stomped his foot in vexation. “This is not a vacation, this is . . . is . . . plain torture! I’ve got to have that phone!”
    The other man tried to encourage him. “Well, it is only for a few days. Why don’t you just relax and try to enjoy this break?”
    “Look, E-bay, you obviously have no clue what that iPhone was. I mean it had everything on it!”
    “Your gear wasn’t on there.” The logical statement only seemed to make Chester Reginald Donavan, Esq., more disgusted than before, for he answered sarcastically,
    “Okay, so my gear wasn’t on there. Big deal. I suppose I should be glad I have water in my canteen.”
    His companion nodded. “That’s an important part of camping out.”
    Chester fought to get his temper under control before he said, “E-bay, or whatever your name is, I know you probably think I’m nuts, but really, I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I’ll be bored stiff if I have to go for three days without the internet!” He shrugged as he tried to express himself in words that maybe his companion could understand. “It’s my life. Everything is online. Even all my files and research for this case I have coming up.” He sighed.
    “Well, no use crying over spilled milk,” the little E-bay man remarked sagely. “Shall we continue on and try to find a good spot to settle down for the night?”
    “Might as well.” There was no spirit in Chester’s words; indeed he hardly seemed to notice as they set off down the other side of the mountain. His mind was still raging over his stupidity, his idiocy, his dumbness. He called himself all kinds of names, many of which it wouldn’t do to repeat. Finally he began to lecture and chide himself, saying this ought to teach him a good lesson to never leave his iPhone anywhere but in his pocket or pouch again. So busy was he with his thoughts that, had his companion not grabbed his arm, he would have continued walking, right off the edge of a cliff!
    “Wake up, Chester! Bring your mind back to earth or you’ll wind up trying to fly.”
    Chester started and stared in horror at the yawning chasm before him. “Hey thanks, E-bay! Yeah, I guess you’re right. I should pay attention.” He gave a shudder and turned away. “So what do we do?”
    “Well, first thing is to find a place to pitch our tents.”
    “Right. Uh, where would that be?” Chester was expecting, when he signed up for this trip, to find their campsite like those he had seen as a boy. Of course he had always stayed in a camper and never in a tent, but still, he had seen the places for tents.
    The little E-bay man spoke again. “First we need to find a good source of water. I think we should head up this direction as I’ve been hearing a stream for several minutes.”
    Chester merely nodded. He didn’t voice his thoughts. Why did they need to find a stream? Didn’t all campsites have water? At least a pump if not faucets.

    It was a good fifteen minutes at least by Chester Donavon's watch before his companion halted and, looking about him with a satisfied air, declared, “I think this is a perfect spot.”
    Gazing around, Chester looked in vain for the water pump. At last he asked, “How are we going to get water, there is no pump?”
    “Pump? Of course there is no pump. This is the wilderness up here, Chester. It isn’t some local camping site for city folks. This is the real thing. We get water from the stream. Of course we’ll have to boil or filter it before we use it, but who cares, right?”
    The young lawyer’s mouth dropped open, but for perhaps the first time in his life, he was speechless. In silence he followed his companion’s directions about getting a fire ring set up so that they could start a fire. Then digging in his gear to pull out his tent, he noticed for the two dozenth time that his feet were killing him.
    “How about I go get some water while you set up your tent?” E-bay called over to him after his own tent was set up.
    “Sure.” Chester was shaking his head. Now how in the world was he supposed to get all these pieces together to make his tent work? After messing with it all for several minutes, he finally pulled out the directions. “Hmmm,” he muttered. “Okay, doesn’t seem too hard. Here goes.” So saying, he set the paper down and began to push and pull, tug and tighten the poles, loops, knots and so forth that comprised his tent. So intent was he that he didn’t notice the mischievous wind begin to play with the instructions. First it blew it a little to the side, then it tossed it up to let if fall back down and finally with a sudden gust it carried it completely away never to be found again.

Is your life on your phone? 
Have you ever been camping?
Do you like sleeping in a tent or a camper?

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Emancipation . . . - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
It's a chilly, rainy morning. Not cold, but when the breeze blows in through the open window, it's got a coolness to it that hasn't been there the last few days. Yesterday afternoon we actually turned on the AC for the first time this year. It's off again now. We've had a lot of warm, sunny days.

I'm trying to get back into working on "Finding Joy" but it is difficult. Probably partly because I have to go back and rewrite things because the story got off track. But it needs done. I've also been working on planning and preparing for  . . .
Another blog party! With other bloggers, and a giveaway, and lots of fun. Only it will be on my Read Another Page blog, not this one. And it has to do with writing. Stay tuned.

Today is the homeschool convention in Springfield, but I won't be there. We'll be watching all but two of the kids all day today. I'm sure it will be a busy day.

I got up this morning and was doing my usual things and all of a sudden it hit me. I didn't have anything ready to post! (I like to have the stories on my posts ahead of time.) Was it really Friday? It didn't seem possible. So I grabbed a story I had thought about posting, and here it is. I know this story was posted on here about 7 years ago, and it's also published in "The Lower Lights" but, as that is not a popular seller, I thought no one would mind if I posted it again. Besides, I rather like it. πŸ˜„ And I hope you enjoy it too.

The Emancipation of
Chester Reginald Donavan; Esquire
Part 1

    “Hey, um, do you know where we are?”
    “Well,” there was a slight laugh. “I know we are on a mountain in the Mosquito Range in Colorado, but just where, I’m not sure.”
    “That’s what I was afraid of.” Chester Reginald Donavan, Esq., hitched up the straps on his gear and frowned. This vacation was not turning out to be what he had planned. Here he was separated from the rest of the group with this guy whose name he never could remember. If only his best friend and lawyer buddy hadn’t broken his leg last week! Chester was a tall and well built young man who looked to be in his late twenties, having about him a definite high class air in spite of or maybe enhanced by his top-of-the-line outdoor clothes and gear.
    “Aren’t you coming too?”
    Chester jerked out of his misery to notice his companion had begun to climb some more. Taking a deep breath he set off after him.
    It was slightly chilly even with his windbreaker on, and Chester glanced at the little man before him. He didn’t seem to be bothered by cold, and his jacket looked warm. The man was only about five feet three with dark hair streaked here and there with gray. Slight in build though he was, the man walked briskly with no apparent fatigue.
    Chester was soon gasping for breath, and it was all he could do to keep his aching feet and legs moving at all. His shoulders sagged, and he bent his head against the wind staring at the ground beneath his feet.
    “Say, why don’t we take a breather. You look just about done in.”
    Unclasping his pack Chester lowered it to the ground and sank down beside it with a sigh. For several minutes he didn’t say anything. He couldn’t talk, for he was still trying to catch his breath. Finally he managed to ask,
    “Hey, what is your name again? I don’t recall.”
    “Oh yeah.”
    Silence again fell. Chester eyed his companion rather as he would have eyed a strange, little dog. He certainly didn’t look like his other friends. He wondered what he was like. Chester found the silence oppressing and sought for some way to break it. He blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.
    “So, where did you get your jacket?”
    The little man turned his eyes away from the mountain peaks before them. “On E-bay.”
    “Oh sure. You do know what E-bay is?”
    Chester nodded with a look of surprised skepticism. Who would ever buy something like that on E-bay?”
    The little man went on, not seeming to notice Chester’s look. “It is a great jacket, warm yet lightweight. I got it for a great deal. I think it was only $10.00 counting shipping.”
    Chester stared. “You spent $10.00 on a jacket?” his tone implied that that was absurd.
    “Where did you get yours?”
    “New from the online store, 60 Degrees North. Probably never heard of it. It was top of the line Edlgja and only $332.00 not counting shipping.”
    “Oh.” The monosyllable was full of disbelief.
    Once more silence fell on the two men. Chester was thinking of all the money he had spent on getting ready for this trip. Of how he and Michael had discussed different brands and prices. It was only the top of the line, high dollar brand items that would last the rigors of such trips, Michael had assured him. And after all, Michael should know, for he had been on such trips all his life. What would he have said to the little man about his E-bay jacket?
    “If you have recovered your wind, we might want to head on. Who knows, we could catch a glimpse of the others at the top.” The little man had stood up and was waiting for Chester.
    “What? Oh yeah, sure.”
    Struggling up the side of that mountain was the hardest thing Chester had ever done. His feet were killing him, for his boots, high dollar though they were, hadn’t been broken in and his feet felt covered in blisters. The thin air was making breathing difficult for him, and he wondered for the seventh time that day why he had ever agreed to this hike in the first place. He knew why; it was because he had worked and pushed himself so hard that his doctor told him to take a few days off or he would break down. So, when his friend had mentioned this trip, he had agreed.
    At last the summit was reached. Though this was one of the lower mountains, they could still see for miles. The clouds hung low to the south and west while a cold wind from the north bit at their faces and fingers.
    “Wow! Quite a sight, isn’t it? I never get tired of looking out over the mountains. Everything is so quiet and peaceful here. Of course in the summer things are even more lovely with the flowers blooming, but I couldn’t get away then, so this late camp out was perfect. I wonder if we’ll get snow while we are here?” The little man gazed in delight at all he saw.
    “Hey, why don’t we call the other group and um, find out where they are?” Chester asked, adding with a mutter to himself,. “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”
    The other man gave a little laugh. “That’s not a bad idea, but I can’t get reception up here with my phone.” He drew a rather old looking cell phone from its pouch and looked at it.
    Chester’s lip curled at the sight of it. He couldn’t help asking “Where did you get that?”
    “On E-bay. It was a package deal.” The man laughed again. “I know it isn’t the newest phone, but it works for me. And it was cheap.”
    “I’ll bet,” Chester mumbled. “I’ll just use mine,” and he reached for the side of his belt where he kept his iPhone. The pouch was empty! “What!” Chester gasped “How could it have gotten lost? I mean this pouch was latched!”
    “Are you sure you didn’t use it and set it down some place before we set off?” his companion was trying to be helpful.

Have you ever gone hiking in the mountains before?
Have you ever lost your phone?
Where do you think Chester's phone is?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dylan's Story - Part 9

Good morning FFFs,
It's cloudy right now. I think there's a slight chance of rain this morning and then it's supposed to clear up. Yesterday was rather strange because now and then the sun would come out and it would look like it was clearing up only to have the clouds gather even darker and hide the sun.

We babysat Doodle Bug, Lukesters, and Ti-K yesterday for a few hours while my brother helped my dad on a roof and my sis-in-law is laid up with a sprained ankle. Please pray for her. She's pregnant, has 6 kids to take care of (with little miss Ti-K being a handful by herself. πŸ˜›), and now has a sprained ankle.

This has not been a "lot of words written" week. I have written some, but not a whole lot. Part of it I'm blaming on the weather because when it get's just a little too warm upstairs in my room, I don't feel like writing. I'm also blaming it on other distractions, and the fact that I was doing quite a bit of editing. But, you will no doubt be happy to hear that "Dylan's Story" is now waiting for the first of my beta readers (my sister) to start reading it! And yes, I will be contacting other beta readers later.

And, just because I'm nice, I thought I'd let you all read one more part of "Dylan's Story" before you have to wait for it to be published. I wasn't going to give you more, but the story ended up being 12k words longer than I had hoped it would be. I hope you don't mind. πŸ˜‰

Dylan's Story
Part 9

    “There he is,” Aunt Autumn smiled as he entered the dining room. “We can–Why, Dylan, where are your socks? It’s too cold to be going around barefoot.”
    “I don’t have any more clean ones,” Dylan mumbled, staring down at the floor and feeling his face growing warm.
    “I have a pair of socks that shrank in the wash,” Scott began. “They don’t fit me, but I kept them anyway. After we pray, I’ll run up and get them. They’ll at least be warmer than nothing.”
    Without a word, Dylan slid into his chair. At least Fern hadn’t said anything.
    The socks were an almost perfect fit, and Dylan nodded when asked if they would keep his feet warm. With warm feet, hot food, and the soothing sound of rain pattering against the window, Dylan relaxed and the dismal thoughts of earlier melted.

    After lunch was finished, Autumn stood up and remarked, “I think I’ll do some laundry this afternoon. Dylan and Fern, find all of your clothes that need washed and, . . .” She frowned thoughtfully a moment. “Scott, could you get the laundry basket and set it in the hall upstairs? If they just brought their clothes down, we’d probably end up with a trail of things they dropped.” She cast a quick wink at Dylan.
    “Sure thing.”
    Then Fern piped up. “I don’t do laundry. Dylan does it.”
    Autumn couldn’t refrain a slight chuckle. “Well, I’m doing the laundry this time; all you have to do is get your dirty clothes in the basket.”
    “That’s Dylan’s job.” Fern slid from her chair and carried her dishes to the kitchen, her dark hair swinging loose about her shoulders.
    “Just take care of your things, Dylan,” Autumn said quietly. “Fern is old enough to carry her own dirty clothes to a laundry basket.”
    However, Fern didn’t think so. She didn’t get angry but shook her head innocently and repeated her statement each time Autumn told her she was to get her own dirty clothes to the basket. At last Autumn grew tired of trying to persuade her to change her mind. Crouching down in the kitchen so she could look right into the little girl’s dark eyes, Autumn said, “Fern, I’m not asking you to take care of your clothes, I’m telling you to. And I’m not going to listen to any more excuses. You are old enough to know which of your clothes have been worn and which haven’t. Now go upstairs to your room, collect all your dirty clothes, and put them in the basket.”
    Bursting into tears, Fern turned and fled from the room.
    After she had left, Autumn stood up and leaned on the counter. “This may be more of a challenge than I had first thought.”
    “What is Fern crying about?”
    Glancing over at her husband as he stepped into the kitchen, Autumn gave a small smile. “I told her she had to put her dirty clothes in the basket herself.”
    Scott raised his eyebrows. “She’s crying over that?”
    “Uh huh.”
    For a minute Scott didn’t speak, and Autumn wondered what he was thinking. At last he spoke. “I think I’ll just go upstairs and see how Dylan is coming along. I was thinking we might play a game or something, if he was interested. And I’ll bring the laundry basket to you in ten minutes.”
    “Thank you. Fern seems to respond better to your authority than mine.”
    “We’ll work on it.”
    Autumn had finished cleaning up the kitchen before the laundry basket was brought down. “Did she do it?”
    Scott nodded. “Yes, but only after I told her that she couldn’t go play a game or do anything else until her clothes were in the basket. I don’t know if she actually knew which ones were dirty, or if she just grabbed everything off the floor. But it’s there.” He nodded towards the basket.
    “That’s it?”
    “Yep, Dylan’s suitcase, at least, was empty. I told him we’d put their suitcases in the closet and he could use the dresser now.” Scott turned as though to go.
    “They really don’t have anything else?” Autumn looked up from the basket of clothes to her husband with a troubled face.
    “Not that I know of. Unless–”
    Hesitating a moment, Scott’s eyebrows drew together thoughtfully. “Their mom’s car was packed with boxes and things. I wonder if they have more clothes in there. I think I’ll call the sheriff later and see if the car, or at least what’s in it, can be brought over and unloaded. It can’t be good for everything to stay in there.” He glanced out the window. The rain had stopped, but it was still dreary and the wind continued to blow. “Maybe I’ll make a quick call before we start the game.”
    “I wish you would. If it continues to grow colder, the kids are going to need warm coats and warmer clothes than they have been wearing.”
    After seeing her husband nod, Autumn started the washing machine. Several times she shook her head as she saw the few items of clothing Dylan and Fern each had. “Only enough clean clothes for about six days. However did they manage it?”

    Scott and Dylan were in the middle of an intense game of Monopoly when the doorbell rang. Dylan paused with the dice in his hands and looked questioningly at the player opposite.
    “Let’s pause the game for a few minutes, Dylan,” Scott suggested. “I think that might be the sheriff with your car.”
    “Our car? Why would it be here? Is Mom here too?” Dropping the dice, Dylan sprang to his feet.
    “No,” Uncle Scott shook his head. “Your mom isn’t here. But we thought it might be a good idea to unload the car so that nothing got ruined from being in it too long. We’ll put everything in the mud room unless it’s needed.”
Do you do your own laundry?
Could you fit all your clothes in one suitcase?
Do you enjoy playing Monopoly?