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Friday, April 27, 2018

My Camp NaNo Story - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
It's a sunny morning here. Still in the 40s, but it's supposed to warm up to the upper 60s or low 70s. Things are really starting to look green. Since we've had such a strange winter/spring these last two months, most of the trees haven't leafed out like they usually have by this time. Now they are starting to.
This past week has been good and not good. The good in that I've been able to write most days, I only have 400 words left to reach my Camp NaNo goal, I had a birthday, and I've sold a few kindle books and a couple paperbacks. The not so good is that I've been fighting some allergy thing. It's gone from just something annoying, to an ear ache, to a bad sore throat, to a cough, to headaches. Yeah, fun. :P Okay, not so fun.

If you haven't seen it yet, I am celebrating my birthday this week! You can get all the info on Read Another Page. But just remember, if you are going to order any of my books from Light of Faith, and want them sighed, do it before Saturday night because you can use the code BIRTHDAY and get 20% off! And the Triple Creek Ranch kindle books are all on sale for $1.99 right now. The price returns to $4.99 Saturday night.

Here's the very first part of my Camp NaNo story. Much to my delighted surprise, I've actually worked on this story all month! Now I need to do some more research before I get much farther into it. I hope you like it.

[It needs a working title]
Part 1

    Stirring his cold scrambled eggs around on his plate, Austin Sparks frowned. They were dry. Again. In disgust he pushed them to the side of his plate and looked across the table to where his dad sat buried behind a newspaper. He assumed his dad hadn’t even noticed the dry eggs, the half burnt bacon, or the sour orange juice.
    “Austin,” a young voice whispered.
    Glancing to his left, Austin raised questioning eyebrows as his younger sisters. They were twins and he didn’t know which had said his name.
    “Do we have to eat our eggs?” Addy asked.
    Wordlessly he shook his head. If he couldn’t stomach them, he doubted his younger siblings could. Well, except for Drew. The ten-year-old had cleaned his plate and was busy licking the butter knife. “Did you want more eggs, Drew?” he asked.
    “Nope. Can I be excused?”
    Mr. Sparks didn’t move, and after waiting a moment, Austin nodded. “Take care of your dishes.”
    The twins took Drew’s permission for their own and scooted back their chairs quickly, no doubt eager to get out into the warm summer sunshine away from the gloomy kitchen.
    The kitchen hadn’t always been gloomy, Austin recalled, standing up and carrying his own dishes to the sink. When Mom was still alive the whole house was bright and happy. After dumping the cold eggs into the garbage disposal, Austin ran it before turning the water to hot and filling up the sink in preparation for washing the dishes. Everyone took turns washing the dishes, and Saturday mornings was Austin’s turn.
    The sound of the children outside on the swings brought back memories of the hours Austin had spent outside on those swings with his mom pushing him. For the first seven years of his life it had just been his mom, his dad, and him. Then Drew came along, followed two years later by the twins. A smile crossed Austin’s face as he recalled the commotion the arrival of Adeline and Avonlea had caused.
    “We’re moving.”
    Dropping the glass he had just picked up, Austin turned slowly. “What?”
    Still at the table, Mr. Sparks folded the newspaper slowly and laid it on the table. “To the ranch.”
    “Grandpa’s ranch?”
    “Yep.”
    “Dad, you hate that ranch.” Sudsy water dripped from Austin’s hands onto the tile floor, but he took no notice of it.
    His father shrugged. “It’s better than nothing. And we can’t stay here.” Pain filled the man’s eyes and spread across his face as he looked about the room. His wife’s death six months before had left him with little will to go on.
    Turning back to the sink, Austin mechanically washed the rest of the dishes and rinsed them before he said, “When are we leaving?”
    “Next week.”
    “Dad!” This time Austin grabbed the back of a chair, spun it around and straddled it backwards preparing for an argument. “You can’t expect us to just pack up our whole lives in a few days and move states away. It’s going to take longer than that. Not to mention going through Mom’s stuff that’s in the attic.” The pain in his father’s eyes deepened, but Austin ignored it. “Why do we have to move so suddenly? What about your job?”
    “I was let go yesterday. And,” he shifted in his chair, “the house sold.”
    “Our house?”
    Mr. Sparks nodded, rubbing a hand over his rough chin. He hadn’t shaved that morning. “Your aunt Mimmie is coming on Monday. She’ll help. Grandpa said the old trailer on his land has been updated, or something. We’ll stay there. At least until I can find a better place.” He looked up at his son, pleading in his eyes. “You’ve got to help me, Austin; I just can’t do it here any more. The memories . . .” He shook his head and looked away. “It’s too much.”
    Austin didn’t reply. Since cancer had claimed the life of his mom, he had watched as his dad had withdrawn more and more into himself, grieving for the love of his life and seeming to forget the four children she had left him. He also seemed to forget or to ignore the healing God offered him, or so it seemed to his son. Drawing a long breath, Austin nodded. “Okay, Dad, but it’s not going to be easy.”
    “I know. But Austin, I can’t keep going here. I’ve tried. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve prayed, and when your grandpa offered us the trailer, I felt it might be a step in the right direction, especially since work–” He cleared his throat. “Then I got a call from the realtor saying there’d been an offer on the house. A better offer than I had hoped for. Papers were signed yesterday.
    Letting out a frustrated sigh, Austin gripped the back of the chair. “But why didn’t you tell us this sooner? Drew’s going to be upset when he has to leave his baseball team.”
    “I thought he liked the ranch?” Mr. Sparks looked unsure.
    “He does. Or at least last year he did. But that was later, after the baseball season ended.”
    “I didn’t realize he’d started playing already this year.” Defeat filled Mr. Sparks’ voice and, resting his elbows on the table, he buried his face in his hands.
    Silence filled the kitchen.

Did this catch your interest?
Do you feel sympathy for Austin? or Mr. Sparks?
Have you ever had to move suddenly?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Again?

Please tell me it's not Friday!
I'm not ready for it to be Friday. I haven't even replied to comments from last week! Sorry! *promises to do that today*

You want to know why I was caught by surprise by Friday? Let's see . . .

Last Friday and Saturday I was at the TPA Convention in Wichita. It was a lot of fun. Somewhat slow on Friday, but more people on Saturday. I sold about 20 books which was nice. My best friend and I drove home Saturday night.

Sunday morning I was so tired from several nights where I didn't sleep well. (I never sleep well the first night in a hotel.) I had a hard time staying awake in Sunday School. But my sister was kind enough to let me take her place in the nursery during church so I could stay awake playing with the little ones. That afternoon I took a nap. I don't usually take a nap on Sunday afternoons as I like to read. But I just couldn't stay awake.

On Monday I played Catch-Up. I'm afraid I didn't do so well. I was still tired.

Tuesday was kind of different because I didn't have writing classes to teach. Instead I worked on a lap quilt for someone and listened to an audio book with my sister. But that was in the morning. I was able to get some other things done in the afternoon and wrote! I also kept playing "catch-up."

Wednesday found the sun shining again though it was cooler. But it wasn't cold. It was more of the same with listening and hand sewing the binding on the quilt in the morning. Then other things and writing later. I thought I might start sharing a bit of this new story I'm working on with you all, but I haven't gotten anything ready yet. Hopefully next week.

Yesterday I finished the quilt. Wrote another thousand words, and babysat my three youngest nieces and nephews. I'm also fighting allergies or a cold of some sort. Not fun.

So, sorry I don't have a story for you. I did think about it once. But then forgot all about it. But you'll have to come to Read Another Page on MONDAY! Yes, I am going to be posting a day early next week on that blog. Why? Because. *whistles Happy Birthday* *looks innocent* *hints at something special* You'll just have to come and find out. I'm excited about it!

And that, said John, is that.
Where is that quote from?
What did you do this week?
Would you like to read a bit of my new story?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Convention Day!

I'm getting this ready at night when I want to go to bed. :P

Good morning FFFs!
Sorry, no story today. I was too busy this week to get anything ready. I had my final writing classes to teach, followed by a pizza party.

Then things were rather crazy trying to keep writing for Camp NaNo, and get things ready for the trip to Wichita! But I did it! After a fashion. ;)

And here we are. My best friend and I drove to Wichita, met up with Jesseca, and set up part of our booth. Then BF and I went back to check into the hotel and waited until Kate arrived. Then the four of us went out for ice cream, and then took a walk in the 80º or warmer weather. That was fun. After dropping BF and I back at our hotel, Jesseca and Kate headed on their way. So, to tide you over until later (check my Read Another Page blog on Tuesday), enjoy these pictures. Sorry there aren't more.

Best Friend and me on the 3 1/2 hour drive.

 This is our corner of the booth. Look like fun?

Wish you could all be there tomorrow!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Hurray for Newsy Jones! - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been trying to win at "Catch-Up" all week and still haven't done it. Not to mention the crazy weather we are having! Of all the crazy weather we've had, this week has got to rank in some of the craziest.

Sunday– Easter, it was cold and rainy, and we actually had things coated with ice because it got so cold. Now some of you won't think that strange. But our daffodils have bloomed, we have buds on our lilac, the tulips are starting to bloom, and the trees are covered with buds and blossoms. Some trees have even lost their blossoms and gotten leaves.

Monday– It got into the 40s. The ice melted. I tried to catch up on things and get some things done. But . . . I had to get the key to my polling place, Mom and I went to a thrift store, and so that put me behind. I managed to get 520 words written for my first day of Camp NaNo. Not impressive, but some.

Tuesday– It was really windy when I got up at 4:30. And it was in the 60s! It was a slow day at the polls as far as voters go. We only had 82 people come vote all day long. But it didn't really feel slow like we all expected. Two of the ladies read my Christmas story that isn't published yet. Then in the afternoon I asked for some ideas for my new story that I'm working on this month. Boy, that was fun! They had all sorts of ideas! Suddenly the story that had a good start but had kind of died, had new life and plenty of things to have happen. I even have an ending. :) Oh, sometime during the late morning the temperature dropped from 70º to about 40º in about 15 minutes.

Wednesday– Started off around 25º. Dad and I took my car to get it checked out before my trip next week. The all 7 kids came over about 11, and didn't leave until 1:30ish. It was fun to have them, and to get to play with the little guy. :) I did get a wonderful amount of writing in that evening thanks to a lot of sprints with fellow Campers.

Thursday– This morning I actually got to go listen to an audio with my sister for a while. (I'd been trying to do that all week!) But then I worked with my BF on her website for over an hour. I attempted to get the April story finished in the afternoon, but I didn't. I haven't found a scene break image yet. And I don't have a synopsis written. But I did get 1,400 words written. It was up to 75º in the afternoon.

Today– I haven't had much of the day, but I know I need to clean the house. And finish the April story, And write. Oh, and we're supposed to get freezing rain, snow, and sleet tonight with a low of 21º. :P So much for spring.

But if you actually read all that, I'm impressed. I'm not even reading it all again. I have other things to do. I'm sure you do to. But here's the end of this story. Oh, and just so you know, personality wise, these characters fit the actors. ;)


Hurray for Newsy Jones
Part 2

    From her window in the library, Miss Marian saw the sheriff stride back toward his office. Those men must have denied robbing the bank. “But I wonder what that soldier has in his saddlebags,” she mused, eyeing the soldier’s bags leaning against the side of the hotel. For Miss Marian, to wonder was to act. Quietly she slipped from the library, crossed the street, and crouched down using her parasol as a shield from prying eyes. Had Newsy Jones been nearby he would have heard her startled, “Oh!” But he was not nearby.
    “Sheriff!”
    Giving a sigh, Sheriff Tompkins reluctantly turned around. Why couldn’t Miss Marian stick to being the librarian?
    Newsy Jones also heard the call and quickly drew near.
    “Yes?”
    “I saw money in that soldier’s saddlebag! Quite a lot of money. Of course, I didn’t go digging in it, but it was quite visible on the top!” Miss Marian was almost out of breath with her discovery.
    “What?” ejaculated the sheriff. Suddenly all signs of discouragement and worry vanished. Without so much as a thank you, he hurried to the town square once more.
    “Sir, come with me,” he said, gripping the soldier’s arm firmly. “You’re under arrest.”
    “For what?” sputtered Private Sam, dropping his paper and looking about him in confusion.
    “For robbing the bank. Now let’s go.”
    Watching it all, Newsy Jones shook his head. He knew it was doubtful that the soldier had helped rob the bank because he had just bought a paper from Curly not long before the bank was robbed. “But I suppose there might have been time,” he thought. “But I need proof.” He looked around. Where was Curly? She was never around when he most needed her.
    It took Newsy Jones a good twenty minutes before Curly was found reading their own paper. Quickly he told her what she needed to do, and Curly, always eager to help her friend, rushed off to the library.
    Walking back more slowly so that Curly would have time to distract Miss Marian and get her away from her window, Newsy Jones passed by the jail.
    A sudden commotion caught his attention. Juan, from Mexico had been standing at the barred window talking to the soldier when the sheriff suddenly appeared.
    “Ah ha!” Sheriff Tompkins exclaimed, grabbing Juan from behind. “I caught you! You’re under arrest now too, for robbing the bank.” With that, poor Juan was hustled inside and locked into the cell next to Private Sam.
    “Juan would never rob the bank,” Newsy Jones said to himself. “I’ve known Juan for a long time now, nearly eight days. He would never do a thing like that. I must find a way to prove he and that soldier didn’t do it.”
    Quickly he neared the hotel where the soldier’s saddlebags still rested in the shade of a bush. A quick glance at the library window showed that Miss Marian was not there. “Good,” Newsy Jones thought, “Curly will keep her busy for at least ten minutes.”
    Darting behind the bushes, the newsman pulled the saddlebags over and looked inside. “Army pay,” he muttered, finding a slip of paper with the money Miss Marian had seen. “It’s just his Army pay.”
    After crawling from behind the bushes, Newsy Jones set off for the bank, hoping to find something there to help him. Soon his sharp eyes spied two shiny gold pieces in the dust. At first he thought they were gold coins, but picking them up he discovered that they were tokens from a fancy club in the nearby city.
    “Hmm,” Newsy Jones thought. “This looks an awful lot like someone from the city robbed the bank. And it reminds me of something . . . What was it? That’s it!” He snapped his fingers. “About four weeks ago another town was robbed, and the robbers had dressed to look like two newcomers in town. But they were caught later, however, and they were both members of this special club. I wonder if it’s the same two men, or if it was other members of the same club? I’ll wire my friend.”
    Trying not to attract attention, Newsy Jones hurried to the telegraph office. The attendant was friendly but not nosy. Within five minutes of sending the message to his fellow newsman, Newsy Jones had a reply. The robbers had escaped from jail just the other week.
    “It has to have been them,” Newsy Jones murmured to himself as he turned to go.
    “Wait a minute, Newsy Jones,” the telegraph operator said, “Here’s another message for you.”
    It read: Robbers just caught trying to rob city bank. No other money found.
    Rushing from the telegraph office with the tokens and telegraphs in his hand, Newsy Jones paused on the sidewalk. Should he go to the sheriff first or look for the stolen money? The money. It had to be found and the sooner the better. Remembering the sort of places the robbers had hidden the stolen money from the other town, Newsy Jones hurried to the edge of Little Silverton There, after a little looking, he discovered a large sack filled with the stolen money in a hollow among the rocks.
    In great excitement, he went back to town and got the sheriff. After showing him the tokens and the telegrams, he took him out and showed him the stolen money.
    “I guess I should let those other two men go,” Sheriff Tompkins said. “I’m glad they didn’t do it, but I wish I had gotten the real robbers.”
    “Don’t worry, Sheriff,” Newsy Jones said, “they’ve been caught trying to rob another bank.”
    Somehow Miss Marian heard about the discovery of the bank money and hurried over, not even remembering to lock up the library. “Sheriff!” she called when she arrived.
    Sheriff Tompkins sighed.
    “Sheriff, this is the second time you’ve locked up the wrong people,” she scolded. “You really should be more careful.” She shook her head and her hat fell off. “Oh, I really should get a new hat,” she exclaimed, brushing off the hat and setting it back on her head.
    Newsy Jones didn’t say anything, but he couldn’t help thinking that Miss Marian herself was largely to blame for this mistake, for if she hadn’t been so nosy, the sheriff would never have suspected Private Sam and Juan.
    When the two innocent men were let out of jail, they thanked Newsy Jones for his help.
    “Hurray for Newsy Jones!” Curly shouted. “He saved the day.”
    “Si,” Juan, from Mexico agreed, “that he did.”
    “If it hadn’t been for Newsy Jones, my two day pass from the Army wouldn’t have been any fun,” Private Sam said. “Three cheers for Newsy Jones!”
    These were given heartily, but Newsy Jones didn’t stay to listen to them. He and Curly started off for the newspaper office. Newsy Jones had a story to write.

Did you enjoy this story?
Who was your favorite character?
What has your weather been like?