Contest closed 3/4/2013!
I am very pleased to announce that because of all my awesome fans, my blog has reached my first goal:
I’ve been writing this story since 2009. It is the longest book I have; over 600 pages, and it still isn’t even close to being done. I’d like to split it up into a trilogy, but before I can submit it to an agent, I have a lot of editing to do. What do you think about this sample chapter? Think I have a shot at getting it published?
How do you face the morrow, when you are caught in the pain of the past? Can you move on? Can you forget the sorrow, the pain, and the bitter resentment? Or do you remain? Dwelling, soaking, in the memory of loved ones lost? What if the memory reoccurs in your nightmares? How would you find the courage and the strength to move on and fight for the safety of total strangers? There is only one answer: love. This is the story of my long-ago Grandfather, Lane Williamson.
A new day will always dawn. The sun over the beautiful land and the wind stirs the tree branches. A lark bunting whistles a soft song and then takes flight. A lone deer grazes in the meadow and a butterfly floats by, fluttering its soft yellow wings. The quiet of the morning is suddenly broken by the pounding of hooves.
A group of twelve horses race through the trees. The horses’ riders are sad and tired looking. They are the only survivors left from the terrible battle that was fought in the middle of their homes. They were all heavily dressed for a southern winter, not the northern summer.
No one saw them coming, just suddenly, they were upon them. There was no time to think, no time to prepare. With only the crudest of weapons, the villagers fought for their lives and for the lives of their families. One by one, they fell, leaving no one to defend the women, the children, or the elderly. Finally, the few people who were left fled for their lives, taking only a few of their belongings, with only the smallest hope of getting away. Every person who had escaped had lost at least one member of their family.
In the lead is a man with iron gray hair and a thinning moustache. Beside him rides a pale girl with long brown hair wound up into a loose bun. Behind them comes a woman clutching a baby, the arms of a small girl wrapped tightly around her waist. Close beside them rides two small boys on a swayed-back mare. Then there is a young man and an old woman. Behind them, there is a burly man and a dainty girl, each holding a small child in their arms. Behind them ride three young ladies who are fair skinned, dark eyed sisters. And last of all, comes a young man, tall, with black hair and miserable, smoldering, brown eyes.
These people have not seen any other human being in weeks. They have traveled for many, many miles. They were just about to abandon all hope of finding a civilized place to live in safety again, when suddenly, up ahead, they saw a small house! A woman leaned out one of the window and looked at them. A man stepped out the door, crossing his arms and frowning. There were two small children playing in the grass by the door, and a cow grazed contentedly in the tall grass.
As the people on the horses drew closer to the house, the man called out, “Greeting, my good people. How may I be of service to you?” The man in the lead pulled his horse to a stop and dismounted, favoring his left leg slightly. He shook the other man’s hand and said, “Greetings, sir. I am Jonas Donaldson. I humbly ask for food and water for myself and my people. We have traveled a far way, and we are weary.” The kindly man looked sympathetically at Jonas and said, “Of course sir. If you all would come into my house, my wife will get you something to eat. My name is Lukas.”
The people entered Lukas’ house and were warmly greeted by Lukas’ wife, Mary, who served them tea and small, white cakes. And while the weary travelers ate, Lukas asked them why they had come to travel so far from home. As Jonas told the unhappy tale, Lukas and Mary stared at them in horror. Mary breathlessly asked, “What attacked you?” Jonas cleared his throat and looked at the people around him before he said, “Our people knew them as the Evil Ones. No one knows who they are or where they came from, but wherever they go, they bring evilness with them.”
Mary bit her lip nervously and looked at her husband out of the corner of her eye. Lukas said, “I’m sure you will all be welcome in our village.” Jonas smiled and said, “Thank you; that would be a blessing to us all.” Lukas stood up and put on his hat. He said, “Jonas, if you will allow me to, I will escort you and your people to the village, and take you to the Mayor.” Jonas nodded and said, “Thank you.” Everyone stood up and mumbled their thanks to Mary, and then they went outside and mounted their now rested horses.
Lukas led them to a great stone house in the middle of a quaint, peaceful looking village. Lukas motioned to the door and said, “This is the Mayor’s house. Mayor Greg is a not very patient man, but I know he will not refuse you. Good luck and safe passage to you all!” Jonas shook hands warmly with Lukas and said, “And safe passage to you, my friend.” As Lukas rode away, Jonas and his people walked single file into the Mayor’s house.
The Mayor was a short, fat man with a big, round nose and small, beady eyes. He was sitting in a big rocking chair smoking a pipe. He motioned the people to enter, and curtly told them to sit down. Since there were no other chairs in the room, everyone had to sit on the floor. Two somber young ladies entered the room carrying large trays filled with cups of tea and tiny fruit tarts. A third girl entered the room carrying a big leather bound book, an ink well, and a quill pen.
The Mayor put down his pipe and surveyed the group of people before him with shred eyes. After a long pause, he spoke. His voice sounded like a thousand rasps grating across rocks. It was almost torture to listen to him. He said, “I do not know you. You are not from here. Why have you come, and are you planning to stay?” Jonas stood and bowed formally, saying, “Yes, Mayor, we want to stay. We are from a village far from here. We have traveled here because our village was attacked, and we are the only survivors.”
The Mayor rasped, “If what you speak is true, and since you have nowhere else to go, I cannot turn you away. You are welcome here. Now, I shall need to know your names.” Jonas said, “My name is Jonas Donaldson,” and then he pointed to the brown haired girl who was always by his side, saying “and this is my daughter, Lucille.” Jonas pointed to each person in turn, naming them, and last of all, he pointed to the tall young man with the sad eyes and said, “And this is Lane Williamson.” The girl with the book scribbled down all their names, then bobbed a curtsy, and hurried out of the room. “Now,” the Mayor continued, “my sons will escort you to the village and find you a place to stay.” Jonas bowed again and said, “Thank you, sir,”
Three young men led the people out of the house and through the village. Many of the village people opened their homes to the weary strangers, and in the end, the only one who still had nowhere to spend the night was Lane Williamson. The Mayor’s sons asked many people to take him in for the night, but they all refused, apparently thinking he looked like a troublemaker.
As the sun went down, the Mayor’s sons turned to go home. One, the youngest, called back over his shoulder to Lane, “Good luck, we hope you will find a place to sleep.” Lane trudged off through the twilight, looking for a hay stack or a deserted barn in which he could sleep.
*** To be Continued ***
I recently found a website that sells “Modern Furniture, Outdoor Accessories, Rugs, Home Decor, and Lighting”. Wow! I was amazed! This website has some really beautiful chandeliers and clocks. There is also some serving dishes and platters I would really love to have. There are some amazing coffee tables, too! If nothing else, you should really check out the website: there is a ton of great stuff there and orders over $100 get free shipping!
How do you come up with inspiration? What inspires you to write? For me, my writing have often been influenced by music. That is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. Sometimes it is my dreams that give me a basic plot on which to write. Such is the case with my self published book, “The untold story of Margaret Hearst, alias Maugrim Valletta”. There are times that I’ll watch a movie or read a book that gives me an idea. And then there are times that whatever I may be doing, riding a horse, playing in the pond, fishing, or working in the field.
But what inspires you?
“Even the History Books tend to favor one side of the Story.” (c)
After writing the book about Billy the Kid that is in production, courtesy of Tate Publishing and Enterprises, LLC. I thought up this quote, which I believe could be very valuable to any historical fiction novel. Though many things are based on truth, there is one key element in my story which is purely fiction: Angel, Billy the Kid’s girlfriend, as well as the fact I portrayed Billy as a victim instead of the bad guy.
Here is my column for the Fence Post this month.
This Cowboy’s Hat
For centuries, cowboys have worn hats. The early vaqueros wore sombreros to protect their heads and faces from the burning sun. I’m not sure when or how, but the sombrero evolved into our modern day cowboy hats. The cowboy hat is a symbol of a true cowboy. Think of all those old cowboy movies: where would John Wayne, Gene Autry, or Roy Rogers have been without their cowboy hats?
Made of felt or straw, cowboy hats betray their wearer as being a cowboy; either as a weekend rodeo fan or a lifelong cowpoke. Some men have worn the same hat, or at least the same style of hat, for years, and their friends can easily pick them out of a crowd simply by spotting their uniquely-personal hats. And as with anything you’ve had for a long time, be it a horse, a couch, or a picture, there is usually a story behind it, and a cowboy hat is not different. Just like the Chris LeDoux song ‘This Cowboy’s Hat’, most men can tell you at least one story about their hat.
Take my dad for example; he had a white straw hat that he’d worn for years. And the front of the brim was slightly broken and bent downward. If asked what happened to the hat, Dad would say that he’d been out walking through the trees when a branch fell on his head! Don’t worry, he walked away from the accident unscathed, but it sure made for an interesting story! Even I have a hat story, though it isn’t nearly as exciting: I got a felt hat for my birthday, with a hatband decorated with round silver conchas. The first time I wore that hat was during a rainstorm, branding calves with my best friend. And yes, my hat got soaked through, and to this day, I cannot completely scrub all the rust off the once beautiful silver conchas!
But by far, it is my little brother who has some of the most entertaining stories to tell about his hats. He likes to wear not only baseball caps but felt and straw cowboy hats as well. He’d outgrown the felt hat he’d been given as a toddler, and didn’t care for any of Dad’s hand-me-downs, so Mama took him to the country store so he could pick out a new one. He chose a fine straw hat, simple, with only a black ribbon for decoration, but he was very proud of it. The same day he wore it into the grocery store, and once Mama was done shopping, they headed out the door. A sudden gust of wind stole his hat and blew it out into the road…right in front of an oncoming SUV. The driver swerved, but the tire didn’t miss the hat. Little brother ran to retrieve his now flattened hat with teary eyes.
The next hat he got was something called a ‘crushable’ felt hat. And yes, you could run it over with a car and it would retain its shape. Well, on his first trip to the new permit in the mountains, as he was high-tailing it after a cow and calf through some dense oak brush, and you guessed it: the hat was knocked off his head. Luckily, he remembered where he lost it and returned for and recovered it, and the rest of the day managed to keep it on his head.
And lastly, one day when we were out sledding, my brother’s baseball cap fell off and I found it…with the four-wheeler tire!
For Christmas last year Little Brother received a beautiful new Stetson, and as of yet, the only thing that has happened to it is that the crown is dusty from sitting on top of the bedpost! But I’m sure it won’t be too long before that hat has a story worth being told. After all, you put a new hat and a teenage boy in a pen of rambunctious calves, and something is going to come of it*
I have never used wax warmers. I’ve always preferred candles. But at the store I always love to check out the wonderful fragrances available. Well, recently I discovered Scentsy Wickless Candle Products. And I was amazed at how inexpensive and amazing these products are! Not only can you buy the warmers and wax cubes, you can also buy foaming hand soap, perfume, body wash, dryer sheets, stuffed animals and much more! Awesome! This is an especially good product to use as an alternative to candles if you have little ones running around!
And February is 10% discount month, and I took advantage of the deal and contacted my local representative yesterday. I’ve attached a link to my reprasintative’s page. Check it out! I think you’ll be as surprised as I was
Customers appreciate the fact that Scentsy offers a product that is kid friendly, whether their “child” has two legs or four. The gorgeous Scentsy warmers won’t get hot enough to burn a child’s skin. And, should your little one be impressed by waxy finger molds, Scentsy wax won’t burn them either. Scentsy wax is a special blend made to melt at a “low” temperature. The wax will get to just above body temperature. Think Safe, Go Flameless!!
Wondering about wax warmers and wax fragerance cubes vs. candles? Check out this post to find out more! https://www.facebook.com/notes/claires-safe-wickless-candles/scentsy-questions-and-answers/396754830402825
Here is the Fall/Winter 2012 Scentsy catalog:
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (not whipped cream)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
a couple drops almond extract
2-3 drops food coloring (optional)
Strawberry jam or pureed, sugared strawberries (for the topping) or *Strawberry whipped cream
Grease a Jell-O mold or four individual tart molds. Put 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Set aside. In a pot, heat remaining milk, cream, sugar, and food coloring (I used neon purple and got a beautiful lavender-pink color) until hot but not boiling! (About 3-5 minutes) Stir in the softened gelatin mixture. If the gelatin doesn’t dissolve all the way, turn the heat back on to medium-low and cook for another minute or so. Do Not Boil!!! Stir in the almond extract. Pour into mold(s) and refrigerate until firm. Serve with strawberry sauce or jam.
This is a French dish and I thought it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! It sets up very fast, 2 or three hours at most!
I tweaked the recipe a little, but the original version came from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.
*Strawberry Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup strawberry syrup
1-2 teaspoons sugar
With a hand mixer, whip all ingredients together until firm. Chill. Top Blancmange with a generous dollop and serve cold!
What do YOU take for Granted?
Your house? Your job? Your parents? Your spouse? The food that’s in your pantry? The air that you breathe? I watched a movie last night starring Sandra Bullock. It was called “Hope Floats”. At the end, Berdie’s (Sandra Bullock’s character) mother dies abruptly.
That got me thinking: I take so much for granted.
I take my Mom for granted. I know she loves me. She’d do anything for me. But I don’t always take the time to thank her. The same goes for my Dad and two siblings. They all love and support me. And I love them, too, but I sometimes take them for granted. I take for granted the beautiful sun the Lord put in the sky to lighted and warm our world. But one beautiful sunset came make me stop and remember to thank Him. I take for granted all the baby calves that are born. Until we lose one. Then I remember to be thankful that the rest were spared. I hurt my back last summer, and I’d always taken for granted that fact that I could go out and irrigate twice every day, until I couldn’t do it anymore. It was the day I finally felt well again that I gave thanks for a strong back. I take it for granted that I have an imagination gifted enough to write stories. Then I remember the One who gave me my imagination and talent. I’m thankful all over again. I’m thankful for the farm in the country I live on, even though in the summer it tire of the work and complain. I’m thankful of the bountiful garden that provides fresh food for my family, even though weeding is not my favorite pastime.
Today is Valentine’s Day. Take the time today to stop and think about all the things you’ve been given. And please remember to tell all the special people in your life that you love them and appreciate them.