Friday, July 26, 2019

Triplets - Part 2

Good morning!
This week the weather has been oh, so lovely! The nights have gotten down into the low 60s and even 58º one night. And the days haven't been humid and miserable! My sister and I have gotten out to walk nearly every morning which has been great! And we've had the house open every morning! I'm dreaming of fall! ;)

Speaking of fall, I've spent a lot of time this week getting work done on the Five Fall Favorites blog party. I think I finally have everything out to all the bloggers. Now everyone can choose their books, and get their blog posts ready. It's coming, folks! And the Grand Prize! :)

I've also been working on the Blog Tour for Angie's and my new books. We still have a few days that "could" use another blogger, but we don't have to have them. I think it will be fun. It's going to be a bit different than your normal blog tours in that there are not going to be any "book spotlights" and each post will be different. I won't tell you anything else. You'll just have to come to it. ;)

I've also done some writing. I took a break from the other stories I was working on and wrote a new Christmas story. Yeah, I know. I shouldn't be working on Another Christmas story! It's only July! I know all that but it didn't help. This story wanted to be written and so write it I did. I may end up with 3 Christmas Collection books coming out this year. :P

Well, I'm going to go get to work on other things. My sis and I might walk before breakfast today since it's so nice, and we have to clean the house after breakfast. So enjoy this next part of the story!

Part 2

    Not pausing to look back, the three girls raced for the alley, tripping and stumbling over the carpet of ivy that caught at their shoes in a seeming attempt to delay them. At last they reached the alley. With hands gripping, they fled to the street, and were soon pounding back down the uneven pavement. Gasping for breath and running until their sides hurt, they pressed forward at a rapid walk. No one said a word until their own familiar house stood before them, and Sofia had retrieved the key from its hiding place, and had unlocked the door. Only after they were safely inside with the door locked behind them did they stop to draw several long breaths.
    Vienna sank on to the sagging couch and looked at her sisters. “Why did we run?”
    Sitting on the only chair, Geneva’s eyes widened. “Didn’t you hear the noises? Like someone was hurt or–”
    “It was coming from inside that old shed place,” Sofia added. She joined Vienna on the couch. “It was creepy.”
    “Like something, or someone, was in there.” Geneva’s voice was almost a whisper.
    “I know, but it could have been just a bird or a mouse. The window was open, you know.” When neither of her triplets answered, Vienna shrugged. “Besides, aren’t we a little old to be so frightened of just a little sound? We are in high school, remember. And we just turned fourteen.”
    “Yeah.” Geneva didn’t sound convinced.
    “You were scared too,” Sofia pointed out.
    “Some, but more from losing my step and falling, I think.” She grinned across the room at Geneva. Then she looked down at her scraped arms. Her hands were only lightly scratched, but her right arm was bleeding a little. “I think I’ll go wash these scratches.”
    Geneva sprang to her feet. “Did I make you hurt yourself? Oh, Vivi, I’m so sorry! I’ll get stuff and–”
    “Forget it, Gen. They’re just scratches. I’ll take care of them. After I wash them off, I think we need to go back.”
    Geneva sank down onto the floor in front of the couch, blocking Vienna’s way. “Go back?” she quavered, looking from Vienna to Sofia and back again.
    “I don’t know,” Sofia began slowly. “Maybe we should wait until Grandma gets home–” Her voice trailed off.
    “Grandma won’t be home from work until after five.” Standing, Vienna side-stepped her sister, and called back over her shoulder as she headed for the bathroom, “If we don’t go back today, we’ll have nightmares tonight.” As she washed the scratches, wincing at the sting they gave, she wasn’t at all sure she wanted to go back to that brick building any more than her sisters did. “But I don’t want to dream about it either,” she muttered, turning off the water.

    It took some convincing–an entire lunch time worth–but in the end Vienna’s idea won. Armed with a flashlight, the old cellphone Grandma had given them to use if they needed something, and as many cheerful possibilities of what the noise could be as they could think of, the triplets started out again. The sun still shone brightly. There seemed nothing to be afraid of on that summer afternoon.
    Until they saw the old, red building before them.
    Standing in the road with hands clasped tightly together, the flashlight in Sofia’s pocket and the cellphone in Vienna’s, the three girls stared. Vienna’s eyes scanned the building from one side to the other. On the far right bushes, vines, and other brush formed a protecting wall at the corner. On the front and left only un-mowed grass grew. She knew that behind the building ivy climbed the walls and carpeted the ground between the wall and the row of trees.
    “Why are there no windows in the front?” Sofia whispered.
    “Maybe it used to be the back?” Geneva answered.
    “Oh, look!” Vienna pointed. “See the way those bricks are arranged? Kind of like in an arch. I’ll bet this used to be the front of the building and there were large doors there. Of course they wouldn’t need windows if they had big doors.”
    “Like a garage?” Geneva looked at her sister.
    “Vivi is right,” Sofia answered, nodding. “They must have decided not to use them anymore and just bricked them up. We didn’t pay close attention the first time we looked.”
    “Do they have to crawl through the window to get inside now?” Geneva’s voice was skeptical.
    “I’m sure there’s a door somewhere.” Vienna tried to remember if there might have been a door on the back wall, but decided there wasn’t.
    “Let’s look around,” suggested Sofia. “Not in the back,” she added quickly, “but here in the open.” She pulled her sisters with her to the tall grass. “We can check this side first. I couldn’t see it very well from the alley, could you?”
    Vienna, who was looking at the bricks, suddenly bumped into Geneva. “Sorry.” She noticed that Geneva had let go of Sofia’s hand. “Aren’t you going on?”
    Geneva shook her head. “There might be poison ivy in that grass.”
    “I’m not afraid of poison ivy,” Sofia retorted over her shoulder, plunging into the tall grass.
    “You would be if you’d had it.” Geneva backed into the road still keeping hold of Vienna’s hand.
    Silently Vienna waited in the road with Geneva and watched. Sofia carefully examined the side of the building. She even went to the corner and looked down the back. With a shake of her head she returned to the road. “Nothing there?” Vienna asked.
    Sofia shook her head again. “No door, and no sign of a door. But there is a high window on this end. It’s too high to look in though.” She pointed to a small window near the point of the roof.
    “That must mean the door’s on the other end.”
    “If there is one,” Geneva said in a low voice.
    “There has to be a door, Gen.” Vienna laughed a little nervously. For some reason, the thought of a building without a door, but with an open window, sounded more frightening than . . . than going to a football game at a new school when you didn’t know anyone.

Would you have wanted to go back to that building?
Are you excited for the FFF party?
How has your week been?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Triplets - Part 1

Good morning Favorite Friday Fiction Fans,
It's a very warm morning here at my grandparents' house. Yesterday it was 102º with a heat index of at least 109º. Ugh! That's too hot. We are heading home late morning. We've had a good time up here this week celebrating Grandma's 91st birthday. You probably wouldn't guess she was 91 if you saw her. And you wouldn't have a clue that Grandpa was 90! I helped Grandma clean out some things, and we worked puzzles, and every night we played Dominoes. Have you ever played Dominoes?

Since I'm still doing Camp NaNo even though I'm on vacation, I tried to get a little writing in. I was hoping for 100 words a day. My total since being here is 1,313 words. It may not seem like much, but seeing as how I don't usually get Anything written while I'm here, this was really good.

But now I'm ready to get back home and get to work! I have the Five Fall Favorites to get to work on now that we have all our bloggers. I need to work on the blog tour for Angie's and my book releases (If you want to help with it, let me know), I have emails to reply to, writing to do, books to read, and the list goes on. But it has been good to spend time with my grandparents. And my aunt.

Okay, this is a story I was going to enter in a writing contest, but I felt that something was missing from the story. Not sure if it wasn't long enough, or if there wasn't enough background, or if it was something else that was off. Anyway, here's the first part of the story. You can tell me what you think of it.

Part 1

    “Come on, Sofia!” Vienna waved her arm to get her sister’s attention, then pushed back her long hair. Some people called it blond–that was before they saw Sofia’s hair–but Vienna thought of it as brown. Just plain brown. There weren’t even any curls in it like Sofia had. It was just straight brown hair. Long and straight. Geneva had chopped her hair off a few weeks ago leaving it just below her shoulders, but Vienna didn’t want to just chop hers off, she wanted it to look nice after it was cut.
    “Sorry,” Sofia apologized breathlessly. “I had to stop twice to tie my shoes. These laces are so broken that they don’t like to stay tied. Where’s Geneva?”
    Vienna pointed to a lone figure down the block. She sat on a stone wall and looked up into a leafy tree, no doubt watching a bird or squirrel. The early summer sun flashed off the rims of her glasses. “She’s waiting for us there. Come on, let’s go explore.”
    “Right with you.”
    Quickly the two girls hurried down the quiet street. Geneva joined them, and together the three girls, with arms linked, turned down a side street and followed the uneven pavement of the road. From the back, the three girls looked nothing like sisters for Geneva was a good two inches shorter than her sisters, and Sofia had blonde hair, but if you studied their faces, a resemblance was there–though some people never saw it. A glance often mistook them for friends, and they were. Best of friends. They were also triplets.
    “Oh, look!” Sofia pointed to an old brick building. The farthest side was nearly hidden with vines and brush, but the side near the road was clear of vegetation. There was no house nearby, so the girls hurried over to it.
    “No windows,” Geneva complained, eyeing the front of the building with a frown.
    “Maybe there are some in the back,” Vienna suggested. “But there’s no door on this side either, so maybe this is the back.”
    Following a sort of alley near the structure, the girls soon reached the back of the old building. For several minutes they paused and looked. A few tall trees stood near the structure reaching out leafy arms, while ivy grew in frofusion all around. It crept up the trees and even up the red brick walls, creating a charming contrast.
    “There’s windows, Gen,” Sofia said, pointing “But they’re kind of high up.”
    “We can make a step with our hands, and each of us can take a turn looking in.” Vienna was curious about the old building. What was it? Where was the door? And what was it used for now?
    Stepping from the alley into the grass, Vienna and Sofia started forward, but Geneva hung back.
    “Um, what if that’s poison ivy?”
    “It’s not, Geneva,” Sofia said.
    And Vienna added, “It’s some kind of English ivy, I think.”
    “You don’t know?” Geneva hadn’t moved.
    Vienna looked at Sofia. Ever since Geneva had gotten a bad case of poison ivy when she was seven, she had always been timid around any kind of ivy. “No, I don’t know what it’s really called, but it looks just like the stuff that grows over those houses in England. You know, the ones in those old movies.” Vienna wasn’t really sure it was the same stuff, but she knew it wasn’t poison ivy. “Come on, let’s look in the windows.”
    Pushing her glasses more firmly on her nose, Geneva cautiously advanced. “Are you sure it’s not poison ivy?” she asked again.
    “Positive.” Sofia led the way confidently.
    Behind her, Vienna waited for their triplet. “Come on.”
    Slowly Geneva stepped behind the old shed and then stopped. “What if it is poison ivy?”
    “It’s not, Gen,” Vienna assured. “Poison ivy has three leaves and red in the middle, remember? These don’t look anything like that.” She held out her hand. “Sofia’s waiting for us.”
    With reluctance Geneva stepped into the ivy, cringing as she did so.
    When they were all gathered under the first window, they looked at each other.
    “Who’s going to look first?”
    “You are,” Vienna said.
    “Yeah,” Geneva echoed. “You saw the windows first.”
    Sofia shrugged. “Okay. Make a step and I’ll look in.”
    Though Geneva shrank from getting too close to the wall where the ivy grew, she clasped hands with Vienna. Quickly Sofia stepped up and held on to the bottom sill of the window.
    “It’s dark inside, so it’s hard to see,” she remarked, trying to cup one hand on the glass to shade her view from the sun. “I don’t really see anything. Coming down!” With a quick, light push from her foot against the wall, Sofia jumped backwards, stumbled a little when she landed, then straightened. “Who wants to look next?”
    “What’s the use if we can’t see anything?” Geneva rubbed her hands and eyed the ivy again distrustfully.
    Instead of answering, Vienna moved farther down. “This window doesn’t have any glass,” she remarked. “Why don’t we try this one? Geneva, you can look first in this one if you want.”
    But Geneva shook her head. “There might be something creepy in there. You look first.”
    Soon Vienna stood on her sisters’ hands and, folding her arms on the windowsill to try and keep as much of her weight off them as possible, stuck her head in the open window. All was dark and quiet. Strange objects could be seen, but in the darkness it was impossible to tell what they were. “I can’t see much,” she started, “but–”
    A loud creak, a rattle, and then a moaning sound startled all three girls. Geneva, forgetting her job of holding up her sister, jumped back, and Vienna, trying to hurry down, lost her footing, clutched vainly for a hold on the brick wall, and fell with a slight cry.
    “Let’s get out of here!” Geneva begged, her eyes wide and terrified behind her glasses.
    Sofia, frightened from her usual composure, nodded. “Yeah. You okay, Vivi?”
    Scrambling to her feet, Vienna felt her heart pounding. “I think so. Let’s go!” Her arms and hands stung from their scraping along the wall, but she ignored them.

Have you ever gotten poison ivy?
Would you have been scared by that noise?
Do you play Dominoes?
P.S. How do you like the new background?

Friday, July 12, 2019

A 4th of July to Remember – Part 3

Good morning, FFFs,
(And no, that's not Five Fall Favorites.)
How has your week been? Mine's been good. Not as busy and stuff as last week with the 4th and a picnic on Saturday. I've gotten a lot of writing done this week which has been good. I now have two Christmas stories finished and a 3rd started. Well, one of those first 2 hasn't been edited yet, but I did reach the end of the story. :) "Lawrence & Lenexa" is coming right along. And so is my secret project.

I've also been working on getting our final bloggers for the Five Fall Favorite blog party. Yeah, I know, that doesn't happen until October, but we have to give everyone time to pick their books and write their blog posts.
I feel as though there should be other things I need to get done, but I'm having trouble remembering what they are. :P Oh, well.

Oh, I do have more audio books in the works! "Hymns in the Hills," "Stories Through the Seasons," "His Law is Love," and "TCR-4" are all in the works.

Okay, here's the final part of this 4th of July story. Let me know what you think of it.

A 4th of July to Remember
Part 3

    But at last Mr. Lewis returned to the mic. “There is one more special person who is going to share with you this evening. Most of you already know Al Wu, but this week he and his family experienced something that I don’t think any of us have ever had to go through. And I want him to tell you about it.” He turned toward the door. “Al?”
    Stepping up to the microphone, Mr. Wu shook his head and adjusted the stand. “I have never spoken to a crowd this large before. Actually, I don’t think I’ve spoken to a crowd at all.”
    A ripple of laughter went through the listeners at his words but hushed again as he cleared his throat.
    “My name is Al Wu, for those who do not know me. My wife, Mei, and son, Eric, are down there somewhere. This week the three of us and our unborn baby went to the the courthouse. No, we were not in trouble. Many other people were there too. It was an event that forever changed our lives. There we became citizens of the United States of America. I–”
    He wasn’t able to say anything else, for cheers and applause drowned out any words he might have said.
    When the crowd quieted, Mr. Wu continued. “To those of you who have grown up here in America, you do not know the joy I have in my heart right now. You have not lived in a country where your pastor was taken away to prison for teaching his congregation of Jesus. You’ve never lived where you must be very careful what you say to others, and where you can not go to church freely without fear. You have not been told you can only have one child.
    “Here we can openly and with joy welcome our little one when she comes. We can teach our son to love his country and honor God. We can have a say in who will govern us by voting. The years I have lived here in America I have dreamed of the day when I too could vote in your elections. Now, thank God, I can! My wife can. And, in about eight years, our son can.”
    This brought laughter from those listening, and several heads turned to smile at Eric.
    “We are not just free from fear, from persecution, from pressure to do what the government decides we should do, but we have liberty! Liberty to teach the truth to our children, to gather together as friends, to worship, to pray, to work, to serve. I saw a quote by one of your, no, our presidents–” he smiled as he corrected his mistake. “He said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.’ And, my friends, I feel that longing to do something for my country here,” he placed his hand over his heart, “in my heart. To you this feeling might be old; it might not have ever stirred, but to me, to my wife, and I hope, to my son, this liberty stirs my heart. It was paid for by the blood of many, many lives who died to defend it, and still it lives on. With liberty and justice for all.” His voice broke, and he looked up into the evening sky. It was still light, and not a cloud was to be seen. “This is my country.” He drew a quick breath. “Land that I love.” He paused, hesitated, and then turned and walked away from the mic.
    For a moment the crowd below was quiet, then the applause started and the cheers rang across the countryside.
    It was an evening the Wu family never forgot, for after Mr. Lewis had dismissed everyone, friends new and old gathered around the family and welcomed them with smiles and congratulations. In the middle of talking with Mrs. Lewis, Mei suddenly pressed a hand over her stomach and gasped.
    “Mei?” Mrs. Lewis asked anxiously. “Is it the baby?”
    “Yes. The baby–I need my husband.”
    One of the other ladies disappeared, and a moment later Al was beside her. “We will leave Eric here and go to the hospital,” he told her.


    From her room in the hospital, Mei cradled the small baby in her arms and looked out the window. She could see fireworks now and then, even though it was almost midnight.
    “I think,” the nurse said softly, “that your little one wanted to celebrate her birthday in a big way every year.” And she smiled down at the baby.
    After the nurse had left the room, Mei looked down at the sleeping baby as Al gently took off the pink hat. Tiny bits of black hair covered the baby’s round head. “She’s so tiny and perfect. Our little American baby.”
    A tap came on the room door, and Al left the bed to let Eric in. He motioned him to the bed. “Go meet your sister,” he whispered. Then he noticed Mr. and Mrs. Lewis in the hallway. “Come meet the newest addition to the American family.”
    Though they protested, he insisted and led them into the room.
    Mei smiled at them as she placed the baby in Eric’s arms.
    “What’s her name?” Eric asked, not taking his eyes off the sleeping face of his little sister.
    “Ann Liberty Wu.”
    “What a lovely name,” Mrs. Lewis exclaimed softly, leaning over to look at the baby.
    “We had to name her Ann,” Al said. At the inquiring looks, he explained, “If you take the first letter of my name and Mei’s. And add Eric’s name and Ann, only with one N, what do you have?”
    “American,” Mei answered when the others remained puzzled. “She is our first born American baby. And she shares the birthday of our new country. Together our family has struggled, prayed, hoped, and dreamed, and now at last we are Americans. This little one,” and Mei gently brushed her daughter’s cheek with her finger, “is our reminder of everything.”
    The baby stretched and opened her hand. Mr. Wu placed the stick of a small American flag in it, and the baby gripped it tightly. Outside the distant boom and pop of fireworks echoed, and bright colors, sparkling and shining, lit the night sky on that memorable 4th of July.

How has your week been?
Did you enjoy this story?
Are you excited about the upcoming FFF party?

Friday, July 5, 2019

A 4th of July to Remember – Part 2

Happy late Independence Day!
I hope you had a lovely 4th of July. (Even those who live outside the US.) I mowed in the morning. The yard looks so much nicer when it's just been mowed. Who mows the yard at your house? I didn't do a whole lot, read some, and did a few things. But I did write. My mom had suggested I write 1776 words on the 4th. So that was my goal. And I did it! I had to stop in the middle of a sentence, but I reached 1776 words, which was fun! :) I could have gone out to watch the city's fireworks last night with my best friend, but I didn't really want to go out in the heat and humidity again. So I just watched the neighbors' fireworks out the windows, and then went to bed.

The rest of the week has been pretty normal. We haven't done any babysitting, and I don't think we will since we'll be going to some friends' house on Saturday for a church picnic/4th of July party.

But as far as writing goes, this is the first week of Camp NaNo, and I'm already being told that I'll finish on the 7th of July. :P I guess I need to up my goal. I had made it only 10k since I will be gone for a week this month. However, I've already written over 6k words. We have a great group of girls in the cabin this month and almost all of them have gotten something written.

But anyway, here's the next part of this story. I hope you enjoy it. It will end next week.

A 4th of July to Remember
Part 2

    It was a busy morning in the Wu home. After breakfast was eaten, and the family had read the Bible together and prayed, there were dishes to wash, and food to prepare for the large get together a family from church was having. Mei was thankful the family were neighbors and lived just down the road. She didn’t feel like driving very far.
    Al disappeared onto the back porch to work on the speech he was to give that evening at the gathering.
    As for Eric, he rushed here and there, now helping his mom, now running up to get something from his room, and finally getting permission to ride his bike to the Lewis’s to help them get ready for the company.
    “You call when you arrive so I will not worry about you,” Mei instructed him, handing him her cell phone.
    “Sure. Okay, Mom.” Eric’s smile was wide, and his eyes sparkled with the excitement of the day. Quickly his put on his helmet and mounted his bicycle. “Call if you need me to come back and help.”
    Standing on the porch, Mei waved. “I will. Be helpful there or come home.” She sank onto the porch swing and watched Eric pedal up the country road. “A country as grand as this ought to spend a week celebrating its birthday.” Smiling to herself, she gave the swing a gentle push. “But that wouldn’t make the day as special,” she decided. “I feel like I should go to school again to learn all about the history of America. I have learned much already, but still there is much I do not know. Will either of my children grow up to do something for this their country? Something that will be remembered in the history books? Others have. Why not the son and daughter of immigrants from China?”

    Al found her still on the swing some thirty minutes later. “Eric called me when you didn’t answer the house phone,” he told her.
    “Oh, I forgot. I got to dreaming out here and didn’t hear it.”
    Sitting down beside her, Al put an arm across the back of the swing and rubbed her shoulder with his thumb. “What were you dreaming about?”
    “Our children growing up in this great land. Here they have freedom. Here they have a future.” She rested her head on his shoulder and fell silent.


    There were people everywhere! Mei looked around from her chair in the shade. There were children on the swings and play-set, other children were shooting off water rockets, while a group had gathered down the hill to play baseball in the field. Earlier in the afternoon there had been relays and games for all ages. Most of the adults, young people, and children had participated in the activities to some extent, and there was much laughter and cheering.
    Soon the food would be brought out and then the speeches and songs. Mei smiled to think that her husband was to give one of those speeches.


    Full and tired, Mei leaned back in her chair. The food had been delicious. It had taken time, but she had grown to enjoy American food as much as the kind of food she had grown up eating. Rubbing her stomach and wincing slightly as the baby kicked hard, she smiled as Eric came over and dropped down in the chair beside her. His black hair was wet with sweat, but his smile couldn’t have been brighter.
    “They said it was almost time for the speeches,” he told her before reaching for his cup of lemonade and downing the rest of it with a few large gulps. “Think I’ll get some more. You want any more, Mom?”
    “No, thank you.”
    Eric was soon back, and others began to gather with chairs or blankets facing the house. “Dad’s inside waiting for his turn to talk.”
    “Did he seem nervous?” Mei asked anxiously.
    But Eric shook his head. “No, just excited and proud. Look!” He pointed to a door on the second floor that led onto the flat roof of the porch. “I guess that’s where they’re going to give the speeches. Everyone’ll be able to see them.”
    He was right. Mr. Lewis came out first and set a microphone up. “Testing, testing.” Tapping the mic he looked down at the faces. “Can you all hear?”
    “Okay. Then let’s get this evening started out right. First off, thank you all for coming. I hope you’ve enjoyed the day as much as I have.”
    Mei clapped with the others.
    “Now I’ve asked Ed Henry, who served as a chaplain in the Army for–” he looked back over his shoulder at an elderly gentleman “–how many years? For forty-five years. I’m going to ask him to come lead us in a word of prayer and then the pledge of allegiance.”
    Bowing her head, Mei Wu listened with tears in her eyes to the words of the prayer. For the first time in her life she was now a citizen in a country where men of prayer ministered and served in the armed forces. When the prayer was over, she rose to her feet and placed her right hand over her heart as her eyes turned toward the American flag flying freely on the flag pole.
    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America . . .”
    Before anyone could sit down, the music of the Star-Spangled Banner was heard, and from every throat the stirring song filled the evening air.
    The Declaration of Independence was read by someone dressed in period costume, which Mei and Eric found quite interesting as they had only seen pictures of the outfits worn during the American Revolution.
    Eric leaned over after the reading was done and whispered, “I’ll bet he was hot!”

Have you ever dressed up in colonial clothes?
How was your 4th of July?
Did you watch any fireworks last night?