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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Books I've Read Recently

Greetings, faithful readers!!

To ease back into this blogging thing, I thought I would share with you some books I have read more recently that I enjoyed.

Okay, actually, these are the only books I have finished recently. And, the first one I finished this August... so, that says something about how little I read anymore.

I really need to get back into it.

But, in the meantime, here are some books I've read and enjoyed, along with my thoughts on them. Because I can't not tell people my opinions about stuff. Not on my blog.

Anyway!! Without further ado, my book list:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Where to begin.

I do not think I have the words to express how much this book meant to me. It moved me and made me laugh and cry and scream with rage and open my eyes to just how horrible people can be while also giving me hope by showing me just how amazing they can be.

Seriously, words cannot express the amazingness of this book. I picked it up cheap at a bookstore because I’ve been trying to branch out in my reading. I tend to read the same sort of stuff and have seriously read no adult books that don’t fall under classic or Christian Romance. So, I thought I would give it a try, take a risk. So. Glad. I. Did.

There are a few major concerns with the book. Due to content, I would recommend not reading it until you’re an adult, an older teen if you’re not super sensitive to content. Aside from some of the language, it’s all necessary and nothing is done without a reason. It’s not bad stuff, just serious. It’s mostly language and thematic elements. Nothing inappropriate just heavy themes.

But yeah, if you are old enough and haven’t read it, you need to. You. Need. To.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
I read this one for book club and had no idea what it was even about when I started it. But, then the
more I read, the more I loved it.

On the surface, it seems like a super simple fantasy story about a girl in the modern world whose family holds a secret- on their thirteenth birthday, each member of the family gains a savvy (a special talent).

But, if you dig deeper, it’s a coming of age story about finding your place in the world. It’s about how scary growing up is and how you need to learn to embrace the changes that come to you. It also sparked some really awesome discussions about relationships that showed me just how mature my girls really are.

I adored this book. And, I need to read the sequels. Because this book is wonderful. And, the best part is that while it deals with such serious themes, the way it’s told, in it’s beautiful, lighthearted way, it’s totally appropriate for its target audience. So, there’s no need to be concerned when giving it to a middle grade reader.

In Between: Book One of the Katie Parker Series by Jenny B. Jones
I have read two books by this author. I adored her There You’ll Find Me beyond words. But, her So, Not Happening just wasn’t my cup of tea at all. But, this book is free on Kindle so I figured I might as well give it a try.

It had me from the opening line. Told from Katie’s perspective, the book starts with a perfectly snarky line that is enough to make me love her right from the get go. There You’ll Find Me is still my favorite book by this author. But, this book did not disappoint me.

It’s very realistic in terms of how it’s told. Katie is the typical foster kid- she wants so desperately to be loved, to be accepted, but she’s terrified and has no faith whatsoever that it will happen. So, she pushes people away. At the beginning of the book, she is trying to do everything in her power to get sent back to the group home. Better to get it over with now, instead of getting comfortable.

I also love how Katie is sent to live with a pastor and his wife but she doesn’t accept what they’re offering right away. It’s not your stereotypical Christian fiction book. She doesn’t jump right on it, there’s no “magic moment” where everything falls into place and she’s suddenly a model Christian. I firmly believe that people have those moments. But, not everyone does and I think it’s dangerous to portray that as being the be-all-end-all in terms of experiences with God. What Katie feels is real. It’s relatable. And, it also leaves it open for her to grow and experience more in future books.

Future books that I can’t wait to read!!

The Mercenary’s Marriage by Rachel Rossano
I have been waiting years to read this book. Every time I went to buy it the time just wasn't right and I
never got ahold of it. I finally bought it on Kindle yesterday and plowed through it in an afternoon. And, loved it so much I bought a copy of Duty on Kindle as soon as I finished it and promptly started to read that. I can't believe I'm only just reading these now. I might have a new author to add to my long list of favorites.

This book is so sweet and beautiful. It's also very short so it can be read in a sitting or two. The main characters are very sweet and their romance it adorable. It's very tame, so if you're looking for a bodice ripper, I would suggest looking elsewhere. The world is also only based on the medieval era, so don't read it if you are a die-hard medieval fan looking for 100% historical accuracy.

But, if you're just looking for a sweet, gentle romance with a medieval setting, you need to read this, because it is amazing. It reminds me so much of the stories I want to write and it inspired me so much. And, also made me just really happy and excited and yeah, I loved it.

Duty by Rachel Rossano
As I mentioned above, I bought this as soon as I finished her other book. I however did not realize what I was getting into when I started it. Unlike the last book, this one is not short. I was hoping to read it that same afternoon and ended up giving myself a headache from reading too long (yes, that can happen- when you’re reading on a Kindle. Which is why print books are superior)

Anyway! Aside from it being much longer than I expected, the book was amazing. Even better than her other one. Her couple was possibly sweeter in this one than the other and her guy was so well written. He was everything you would want from a guy in a romance but at the same time he was so believable it almost hurt. Like, one minute he was telling her that he was glad he married her because she was so strong and amazing and the next he was forgetting to tell her super important details because they slipped his mind or his didn’t think she needed to know them right that second.

And, the main character, Brielle was also so good because the author did a great job making her super strong and independent while also keeping her very organic to her story world. She was every inch a medieval woman while at the same time she was far from a simpering miss who cowered in the corner and could not protect herself. And, as you know from my Here's to Heroines Series I have very strong opinions about that sort of thing.

I will definitely be reading more of Ms. Rossano’s work in the future. This book has a sequel that just came out and I’m opting for the print version this time so as to avoid any headaches. But, I plan to plow through it just as quickly as her other works.

And, there you have it! Comment below with your thoughts on any of these books. Or with things you would like to see me write about in the future.

Until next time, dear readers. Stay awesome!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Greetings, faithful readers!

I am sure many of you have been wondering if I am in fact still alive.

I am, as I’m sure you assumed.

Otherwise, me updating my blog right now would be suuuuuuuuuper creepy…

Anyway! I am alive and I know I totally dropped the ball with this whole blog thing.

Honestly, ever since I started working this summer I’ve been really torn about my purpose in life and I feel like the creativity has been sucked out of me. I’ve been going through a really dry spell. While I was working I was just too exhausted to write my posts. And, now that I’m not I have too much time on my hands and I start wondering things like: If I can’t write, am I really qualified to tell others how to?

But, I’ve been teaching a writing class every week and a good friend of mine just emailed me recently to ask for my advice. And, I realized I can still in fact write about writing even if I'm having trouble writing. I also realized how much I miss this.

So, I’m back. I’m not promising a return to the normal routine, not right away. But, I’m going to start writing and updating again.

And, you can help me out. Drop a comment below about something you would like to see me post- be it a topic you want covered, a question you want answered, a book you want reviewed, a story you want written, details about my life, anything at all. Just drop a comment below and then I’ll have somewhere to start with this jump back into blogging.

Also, before I go, just wanted to say I appreciate all of you. Knowing that when I update this, people are actually going to read it is the reason I’m doing it. Without you, I wouldn’t have a reason to update.

Love you, peeps!


Friday, August 28, 2015

Mrs. Malcolm's School for Aspiring Housewives- Another Blast from My Writing Past

I really wanted to call my book the title above. But, people convinced me that didn't represent my book well enough, so I've decided to change it. To what, I have no idea, but change it I shall.

This story is a mix of western, boarding school, and medieval. Three very different genres, but I hope to make it work.

This is from my old draft. The first one. Somewhere along the way, Piper has changed drastically. Her story, I realized, is a "Man Who Learned Better." So, because I wanted her to change for the better, I had to change her for the worse first. So, she's not nearly as nice in the later drafts than she is here in the original.

But, the other characters are the same. Essentially. There might be a few small changes for them, but at their core, they're the same as you find them here.

Chapter One
On Friday, August eleventh, one-hundred-and-seven girls arrived at Mrs. Malcolm’s School for Aspiring Housewives. Here they would spend four years of their lives learning to keep a proper household and to assist an upper middle-class husband in running a business. A sort of college for those seeking to pursue a “useful education” as most folks saw it.

When Mrs. Malcolm sent Delmar Slade- the school’s odd jobs boy- down to the gate at five-thirty to open up, he found someone was already there; a girl, sitting against the gate post on a worn carpet bag.

Her clothes were a tad too shabby for an Aspiring Housewife, her ginger hair a tad too wild, and her air not quite affluent enough. And, her shoes were in too sorry a state, as worn and scoffed as they were. Del figured she was a wanderer who needed a rest and decided to take it in front of the school.

“Get along with you,” he said, trying to sound tough and failing. He was small for his age- which was sixteen- and had never been very intimidating.

“I will,” the girl said amiably. “Just as soon as you open the gate.”

“And what do you need me to open the gate for?” he asked.

She stood up then and faced him, a hand on her hip, and eyebrow cocked. This impressed him; he’d never seen a girl cock just one eyebrow before. He’d seen boys do it plenty of times, but, never a girl.

“How do you expect me to get in if the gate’s locked?” she replied, a hint of amusement in her voice. Del wondered what she found so funny.

“I’m only supposed to let in students,” he told her.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a rather wrinkled and slightly grubby piece of paper and handed it to him through the bars.

“What’s this?”

She grinned wryly. “If you read it, you’ll find out.”

So, he did just that. And found it was an acceptance letter, signed by Mrs. Malcolm, herself.

“Guess this means I can let you in,” he said, unlocking the gate and returning the letter to her. She stuffed it back in her pocket.

“I reckon so,” she said, picking up her carpet bag and stepping inside. “Am I the first one here?”

Del nodded. “Except for a few returning students who arrived early.”

They started up the walk to the front door. He thought he should offer to carry her bag but, somehow, it didn’t seem right. Besides, she was busy taking in her surroundings and he didn’t want to interrupt.

When they reached the door, he opened and held it for her. “Mrs. Malcolm’s office is the first door on the left. You register there and she’ll assign you a room and get you settled in.”

She smiled and her green eyes shone with excitement. “Thanks-” She paused. “I don’t believe you dropped your name.”

“Del,” he said. “I’m the odd jobs boy ‘round here, so, if you need anything, just holler.”

“Will do,” she said. “I’m Piper Maxwell, by the way,” she added, offering her hand.

Del wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, as a student had never offered him her hand before. But suspended in the air like that, he figured he ought to do something with it. So, he shook it, which was the first thing he thought of. Apparently, that was what she intended because her smiled widened.

“See you around,” she said and went inside. He closed the door behind her and headed around the back to see if Cook had enough wood for the breakfast fire.

Chapter Two
Two to a bed Piper thought as she put her bag on one of the room’s two beds. It was more of an observation than a thought as she was used to sharing a bed- first with her siblings and then with the other girls at the orphanage. She wondered if the other girls had ever shared before. Somehow, she doubted it.

Mrs. Malcolm had made it very clear that she hadn’t known Piper was an orphan. And, if she had, Piper never would have been accepted. Piper had expected as much, which was why she’d been careful to keep it a secret. And, the only reason she’d come clean was because Mrs. Malcolm had been most probing with her questions.

Apparently, most girls didn’t arrive alone, first thing in the morning.

Oh, well, I’m in now, so what’s it matter? she thought as she opened her bag and began putting things into a dresser drawer. It was a large drawer and it looked rather empty, even after she had finished unpacking. She tried to remind herself of something her mother had always said: It’s not belongings a girl needs to her name, it’s character.

You obviously never attended Mrs. Malcolm’s, Mama. I don’t think they care a bit about character. It’s all about money and knowing the right people. She sighed. Classes haven’t even started and already I’m getting lessons in middle-class politics.

The carpet bag was into another drawer and Piper stretched out on top of the bed. She’d been told the other students probably wouldn’t arrive for a while yet and it was possible that her roommates might not get in ‘til late. Besides, she felt just plain exhausted.

Pushing aside all her troubled thoughts, she made mind go blank and focused on her breathing.

In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In.

In no time at all, she was fast asleep.

The door flew open and Piper woke with a start. “I’m sorry, Mrs.-”

She cut herself off as it all came back to her. She wasn’t at the orphanage; she was at Mrs. Malcolm’s School for Aspiring Housewives. It wasn’t Mrs. White; it was her new roommate.

“I’m sorry t’ frighten you, Sugar,” the girl said in a thick southern accent. She was a curly-headed blonde, with large, hazel eyes and rosy, white skin. She wore a cream-colored blouse and a little jacket with belled sleeves. Piper guessed she had a least five petticoats on under her skirt.

Piper hoped the other girls weren’t quite as dressy. Two more of her won’t fit in here.

“I’m Abbie- Lee Cutler,” she said.

“Piper Maxwell,” she volunteered.

“Well, Piper, honey, it’s a pleasure t’ meet you.”

“Likewise, I’m sure.”

Standing behind her, in the doorway, was a rather disgruntled looking Del. He was holding a trunk and, judging by the look on his face, Piper guessed it was heavy.

“Where should I put this?” he asked through gritted teeth.

Abbie-Lee laughed. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. Just put it over there. And, just put the others next t’ it.”

“There’s more?” Piper asked, alarmed.

Abbie-Lee looked surprised. “Why, o’ course, Piper, honey. I’m gonna be here four years.”

It was Piper’s turn to laugh. This girl is crazy. “You go home for breaks. And you get the summer off.”

Abbie-Lee smiled, but didn’t say anything. Del returned with the second trunk and set it on top of the first. Piper began to wonder how everyone was going to fit in the room. Too much stuff was never a problem she’d had to deal with before.

Abbie-Lee opened the first trunk and began piling dresses onto the bed. “Piper, honey, be a dear and give me a hand?”

With a sigh, Piper climbed from the bed and began hanging dresses in the wardrobe. It’s not like you haven’t got two hands of your own.

They were such pretty dresses. Piper had never touched such fine things before. Normally, girls who wore clothes like that shrunk away from a grubby little orphan like Piper. Not that Piper really was grubby; ‘cause she wasn’t. In fact, she always paid the utmost care to her appearance. But, when you’re an orphan, people don’t pay much attention to your appearance.

She ran her hand over the rich fabric. “It’s beautiful,” she breathed, forgetting momentarily that Abbie-Lee was still in the room.

Abbie-Lee laughed. “That ol’ thing? Why, that’s just something I-” Her gaze fell on Piper’s dress and she cut herself off. “Thank you, Sugar. That’s sweet of you t’ say.”

Piper smiled feeling completely embarrassed. She hurried to hang up another dress.

“So, Piper, honey,” Abbie-Lee said, braking the awkward silence. “Which class are you most looking forward t’ takin’?”

Piper shrugged. “None of them, really. I already know how to do a lot of the stuff we’re supposed to learn. The only reason I’m here it ‘cause it’ll increase the chances of me finding a more well-to-do husband.”

Abbie-Lee nodded. “My uncle thinks my bein’ here will increase my chances of makin’ a good match too. He says it’ll do me good to be away from home too.”

Piper didn’t reply. No, you don’t understand. Any husband you find’ll be rich enough to keep you in diamonds and silk. I’ll be lucky if I don’t get stuck with some dirt-poor farmer.

Abbie-Lee laughed and Piper began to think she did that a lot. At least it was a pretty sound and not one of those annoying, grating laughs. “Of course, Sugar, if you want a boy to look at you, you’re gonna have t’ do better than you are now.”

Piper turned from the wardrobe and looked at her with one eyebrow cocked. “How do you mean?”

She looked Piper up and down. “Well, for starters, that dress,” she said. Piper opened her mouth to tell her that not every girl could afford the prettiest things when she added, “The color doesn’t suit you a’tall.” She shook her head. “Sugar, yellow just isn’t your color.”

Rummaging through her trunk, she pulled out an airy green dress with tiny print flowers. She held it against Piper. “See, this is more your style. It matches the color of your eyes and compliments that ginger hair of yours.”

Her grin was so wide that Piper couldn’t get mad. So, maybe she had insulted her dress, but, Piper guessed that it never crossed her mind that she couldn’t afford anything better.

“Go ahead, try, it on,” Abbie-Lee coaxed. Piper shook her head. “You know you want t’.”

Del came in just then, his arms loaded down with traveling bags. He dumped them on the floor next to the trunks. “That’s the last of it.”

“Thank you dear,” she said. “Now, do tell Piper here just how cute she’d look in this dress.”

Piper felt her face grow hot as Del looked at her. He shrugged. “Sure, you’d look great. I got work t’ do.” He left.

Abbie-Lee sighed. “See what I mean?  If you were actually wearin’ the dress he’d’ve noticed you.”

Piper shook her head. “I’m plain,” she said. “And I have freckles. Boys don’t like girls with freckles.”

“Those lil’ ol’ thing?” Abbie-Lee said. “Why, I bet he didn’t even notice ‘em.”

“Miss Cutler, I appreciate the gesture,” Piper began.

Abbie-Lee cut her off with a laugh. “Miss Cutler? Piper, honey, if we’re gonna be sharin’ a room for the next four years, we might as well call me Abbie-Lee.”

Piper smiled. “All right, Abbie-Lee. Look, I appreciate what your trying to do, but I know I’m not gonna catch a man with my looks and I’m fine with it.”

Abbie-Lee rolled her eyes. “Piper, honey, this school is gonna guarantee you get a man with money. This dress will help see that he’s a good lookin’ man with money.”

Piper laughed. “When you put it that way, I can’t refuse. Shut the door and I’ll try it on.”

With a grin, Abbie-Lee handed Piper the dress and moved to shut the door.

Piper pulled off her dress and shoes and slipped into Abbie-Lee’s dress. The fabric felt soft and cool against her skin and made her feel distinctly more proper. She giggled with delight.

Her roommate grinned. “Why, Piper, honey, you’re simply stunnin’! Let me put up your hair?”

Piper shrugged, feeling quite pleased with herself. Abbie-Lee rustled through one of her bags and pulled out a brush. “You just set yourself down here,” she said, motioning to the room’s dressing table.

Piper did as she was bid and Abbie-Lee set to work. In no time at all, the ginger curls shone. “Well, there you are,” Abbie-Lee said. “You’ll be the belle of the ball, Miss Piper Maxwell.”

Piper smiled as she admired herself in the mirror.

“You have a gorgeous smile, honey,” she added. “You ought t’ try smilin’ more often.”

Piper’s smile widened.

“There now, if that don’t get that handsome young handy man t’ notice you, nothin’ will.”

“I thought I was after handsome young men with money?” Piper teased.

Abbie-Lee frowned. “Oh, yeah, that’s right. Oh, well, you’ll have t’ break his heart then. When Piper looked at her, her eyes wide with horror, the girl giggled. “I’m teasin’, Sugar.”

Piper burst into laughter. The door opened then and a young, dark-haired woman entered the room. Something in her air made the girls suddenly stop giggling. She looked so serious they couldn’t help feeling a tad serious themselves.

“Hello,” Abbie-Lee said. “Are you another of our roommates?”

The girl nodded. “I am Millicent Paige. And you are?”

“I’m Abbie-Lee,” the girl said. “And, this is Piper.”

Millicent nodded gracefully. “It is a pleasure to meet both of you.” She didn’t exactly sound like she meant it but rather like she was saying it because it was the thing to say.

Piper smiled, feeling a tad embarrassed to be wearing a borrowed dress and looking so different than she normally did. Del came in carrying the girl’s trunk.

“Where do you want-” He stopped as his gaze fell on Piper. He stared at her for a minute and once again she felt her face grow hot. He finally gained enough composure to say, “Ah, w-where do you want this?”

Millicent surveyed the room. “Over there would be best, thank you.”

Del did as she instructed. “Is that all you’ll be needin’?”

She winced. “Yes, thank you; that is all that the assistance I require.”

Piper giggled to herself, wondering how this girl was going to survive with Abbie-Lee and herself for roommates if she couldn’t stand a bit of an accent. Poor girl. It’s going to be a long year.

Del turned his eyes back to her. She blushed again. Abbie-Lee giggled and Millicent tsked disapprovingly. His face reddened and he made a quick escape from the room.

Millicent tsked again. “I wonder if Mrs. Malcolm realizes that she has a boy in her employ who makes lovesick eyes at her students.”

“Oh, not at all her students,” Abbie-Lee chimed in. “Just Piper.”

Piper’s face grew even redder. Millicent gasped. “Well!” She turned to Piper. “And, you do not have any problem with that? A hired boy making such obvious love to a girl like yourself?”

“What do you mean, ‘a girl such as myself?’” Piper asked.

Millicent was obviously taken back by the question. “Well- well, I mean, a girl such as yourself.”

“So you said,” Piper replied, keeping her expression as deadpan as possible. She found a little pleasure in the way it seemed to unnerve the girl.

“I mean a girl with your social background,” she finally settled on.

Piper tried not to laugh. Honey, if you only knew. “Naw, it doesn’t really bother me. Sure it’s a little embarrassin’, but, he doesn’t mean any offense by it.”

“Are you sure?” she said quietly, almost to herself. Piper decided to ignore it.

“I’d better-”

Del appeared in the doorway again, a large trunk in his hands. “One last girl and then y’all’ll be rid of me.”

He set the trunk down and turned around. He sighed. “There’s no need t’ be afraid, Miss Dorn. You can come on in.”

A small, pale face, topped with pale- almost white- blonde hair, peeked around the doorway. Her pale blue eyes were filled with a timidity that cut into Piper’s heart. She reminded her of shy little Meg Fletcher from the orphanage. That same hollow expression, making her look so lost. That expression that somehow made her look so little and yet a whole lot older than she really was. Piper couldn’t have cared if she was the crown princess herself, she still wanted to take her in her arms and hug her ‘til she knew everything was all right.

She gave the girl a big smile. “Hello, I’m Piper Maxwell.”

The girl gave a shy smile and stepped cautiously into the room. “I-I’m Annie Dorn.”

“Hello, Annie,” Piper said. “I’m Piper and this is Abbie-Lee and Millicent.”

Del dropped her trunk on the floor and lit out of the room as fast as he could. Annie watched him, her eyes wide and frightened.

“Don’t mind him,” Piper said. “He’s just a bit jumpy today.”

“And, he’s embarrassed because he thinks Piper is pretty,” Abbie-Lee added.

Annie smiled at her. “You are very pretty.”

Piper blushed even redder and got up from the dressing table to cross to the trunk. “Why don’t you start unpacking?”

Annie opened the trunk’s clasps. “Where do I put my things?”

 “Well, since Piper and I are sharin’ a wardrobe, you an’ Millicent here can share the other one,” Abbie-Lee put in, motioning to the other wardrobe with a dainty wave of her hand.

“We’re… sharing…?” Piper said.

Abbie-Lee smiled. “Yeah, and that reminds me, I think you ought t’ put on another petticoat. The way you are now is close to indecent.”

She opened the wardrobe, pulled out one of her own, and held it out to her. Piper shook her head. “Abbie-Lee, I can’t-”

“Oh, you might as well get used t’ changin’ in front of all of us. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a long four years.”

Piper was at a loss. This girl sure had a way of being oblivious to the real issue that it got her what she wanted. She wondered if she really was that na├»ve or if she was just acting to get her way. Either way, she’s very effective.

She took the petticoat and slipped it on under her dress.  Abbie-Lee nodded approvingly. “Very nice.”

Annie smiled and nodded in agreement and Millicent frowned disapprovingly. “That is a good amount of fuss over a dress when there is work to be done.”

Piper blushed. “You’re right. I already put all my things away, so can I help one of you with your unpackin’?”

Millicent shook her head. “No, thank you. I do not require any assistance.”

“I’m good, thanks,” Abbie-Lee said, grinning.

Annie looked down at her feet. “I-I’ve never put my own things away before.”

“Then I can show you how,” Piper offered. “It’s really very simple.”

Annie smiled a little. “Thank you. I’d like that.”

They set to work unpacking her things and hanging them in the closet while the other girls did the same with their own luggage. When the bell rang for supper they set the unpacking aside and went down to face the other girls.

Now the lessons really begin Piper thought. I hope I survive.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nollie Benson- Another Blast from My Writing Past

I started writing this just after I wrote The Crimson Banner. I never finished it (obviously) and I honestly only really like this scene out of everything I've got written.

I hope to write more someday, because Nollie's actually kind of special to me. And, her story is different from what I usually write (I can't say how, because SPOILERS!). Plus, she lives on a sheep farm and sheep are really cool. I like sheep.

It's a bit like The Crimson Banner in that it's set in a made up kingdom, but the world is realistic enough it's not really a fantasy. Her country is slightly based off of Australia in the 1800's, except the whole deal with there being a king who lives in the country instead of the country being a colony thing thrown in.

And, you should know before you even start reading it that Riff and Nollie are not a couple. They're like siblings, basically, except with the fact that she's his employer to complicate things the tiniest bit. But, only a tiny bit. They're basically brother and sister. So, don't try set them up with each other, because then when I write more your hearts will be broken.

And, I'd rather not break your heart over something so silly.

So, I'll stop talking now and let you read. Here you go, Chapter One of Nollie's story:

“Nollie, come on!” Riff’s voice came up the stairs. I could hear the annoyance that tinged it and felt sorry for having risen a little later than usual. Riff’s father- who was also my foreman, Brahms- was away at market, selling our sheep and wouldn’t be home for another few weeks. Riff had taken it upon himself to see that Benson Heights thrived in his absence and, nobility or not, I had my fair share of work to do, from which he wasn’t about to let me slack.

“I’m coming, Riff,” I called back. “Hold your horses.”

“Stop worrying about the horses and get down here!”

I hurriedly plaited my dark hair into a simple braid. “Come up and get me,” I challenged, tying a scarf over my head.

“Don’t tempt me,” he grumbled.

I grinned as I moved quietly toward the casement. I heard Riff’s boots on the stairs as I eased the window open. Swinging my legs over the sill, I climbed onto the lean-to roof and slid the window closed. I heard Riff pound on my door as I moved across the roof.

“Nollie, come on. We haven’t got all day, you know.”

The pounding and pleas grew quieter and died as I eased toward the roof’s edge. Thankful that Brahms saw fit to let me wear jeans, I grabbed the edge and slipped over. I dangled for a second before I let myself drop and fell with a small thud.

Rising to my feet, I dusted myself off and went inside. Riff wasn’t in the kitchen or main room, meaning he was still up trying to coax me from my room.

“Riff,” I called up the stairs. “Are you coming or not?”

I heard his boots on the wood as he came down the stairs, each step making a solid, ringing thump.

His stern green eyes took me in when he reached the bottom. “How?”

I grinned impishly. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Nollie Benson, I’m going to get you,” he muttered.

I darted out the back door toward the barn and he followed.

“You can’t catch me,” I called over my shoulder, as I rounded the corner of the barn. I stopped in my tracks. In the short time it had taken me to go into the kitchen and tease Riff, the yard had filled with men on horseback. There were about fifteen of them, all of who save one wore blue uniforms with yellow sashes tied around their waists. Royal Guards?

The other man was dressed richly in clothes of deep red with golden trim. He wore a thin circlet of gold around his head.

He couldn’t be who I thought he was.

Riff came around the side of the barn and his grin faded. He moved to stand beside me and tower over me protectively. That’s what I loved about Riff- one minute he was chasing me, intent on making me pay for my tricks, and the next he was my gallant protector. Yes, Riff Ramsey was definitely the ultimate older brother figure.

 “Can I help you?” I asked.

The lead rider stepped off his horse and gave me a judgmental sniff. I suddenly realized how terrible I must look in my jeans and t-shirt. “A female laborer,” he said. “How… modern. Please inform your master that His Highness the king of Stratus is here.”

He was who I thought he was. The king. In my yard. I felt a little faint.

“I’m Lady Magnolia Benson of Benson Heights,” I told the lead man. He eyed me again and raised an eyebrow skeptically.

“I really am,” I felt the need to add.

The un-uniformed man dismounted and approached us. I curtsied as best I could in pants.

“Your Majesty.”

“I’m very sorry, Lady Benson, if this is an inconvenient time,” he said. “I was passing by and I thought perhaps I might trouble you for a drink of water.”

Seriously? The king stopped by for some water? Wow…

“I am very sorry to have bothered you,” he continued. “This is obviously not a good time and I apologize for-”

“Oh, it’s fine,” I hurried to tell him before considering that perhaps it was unwise to interrupt one’s king. “That is, it’s no inconvenience at all, Your Majesty. The- the well’s just over there.”

Riff looked at me like I was insane. “You don’t offer a king well water,” he hissed. “At least, not like that. You could at least offer him a cup.”

But, it was too late. King William had already moved to the well and had his man draw a bucket. Unlatching the dipper from the well’s side, he dipped it in the bucket and took a swig before handing it to his man.

“That was the very best water I’ve had in years,” he said, coming back to where Riff and I stood. He smiled a very charming smile. “Thank you most kindly, milady.”

My heart did a strange pitter-patter and I smiled back shyly. “You are most welcome, Your Majesty.”

He took my hand and kissed it. “Good day, milady,” he said, before turning and remounting his horse.

We watched him and his men ride away before Riff turned to me and said, as if none of that had just happened, “So, where did we leave off?”

With a squeal, I darted for the barn, Riff close behind.

And there you have it! The only decent scene of the whole book. I hope you enjoyed it because, as I said, I would love to write more about Nollie someday. Especially Riff. I adore Riff.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Scripted- Another Excerpt from the Past

I adore this story. I have no idea if it's any good. But I love it.

It's the only time I have written in 1st person from of boy's perspective. At least, written anything worth noting. A few sentences here and there don't really count.

But, this is David's story. Scripted. About the boy who lives in a small town and how his life got turned upside down.

I got the idea when I was reading a book (I don't even remember which one now...). I thought I knew where the story was going and what the plot twist was going to be at the end. But, that wasn't what happened in the story and I was like "Yeah, I'm going to take that and write it." So, David and Violet were born.

I hope you enjoy!

Chapter One: The Thursday Something Happened

Nothing ever happened in the little no-account town where I grew up.

Especially on Thursdays.

Thursdays were the slowest, most boring days of the entire week. And, it’s not just that nothing good ever happened; nothing bad ever happened either. Thursdays were the days when there were no school holidays and no math tests; no surprise snowfalls to play in and no heavy rainstorms to damage your crops; no getting word that Uncle Harry died and left you a thousand dollars and no getting word that Uncle Harry died and didn’t leave you anything at all.

No, nothing ever happened in Lovejoy. Not on a Thursday. And, if anything ever did happen in Lovejoy on a Thursday, it wouldn’t be a girl with strange tattoos falling out of a tree. It wouldn’t be a mysterious woman coming and asking all sorts of nosy questions. And, it certainly wouldn’t be anything that would change my life. No, nothing like that could ever happen in Lovejoy. Not on a Thursday.

At least, that’s what I thought, until that Thursday in May when the girl with the strange tattoos fell right out of the tree, landing smack-dab on the ground directly in front of me. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was walking home from school that day- because, being a Thursday, it wasn’t a holiday. I was muttering to myself, muttering about how boring school was, about all the homework I had to do when I got home, and most of all, about how nothing- and I mean nothing- ever happened in my life.

I took the shortcut through Mr. MacTolliver’s orchard. It cut four miles off my walk going that way, rather than by the road and Mr. MacTolliver had told me before that he didn’t mind. I walked through the rows of apple trees, all blossomed and smelly, the fallen petals crunched under my feet. I continued muttering.

“Boring old town. Boring old people. Boring old school. Boring old Thursdays. Boring old homework. Boring old life. Boring old-”

That’s when it happened. Right there in the middle of my muttering, a girl fell right out of an apple tree, landing on the ground in front of me. A few inches more and she’d have been on top of me.

My first instinct was to stare at her. I mean, it wasn’t every day a girl fell at my feet. Especially on a Thursday. Needless to say, I was in shock.

“Are-are you all right,” I managed to stammer after a minute.


There didn’t appear to be any blood, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t hurt. Besides, she wasn’t moving. For all I knew, she could be dead.

I sort of knelt beside her a little and gave her a small shake. “Are you okay?”

She groaned and stirred.

Well, at least she wasn’t dead.

She rolled over a little and I got a look at her face. I drew back in surprise, gasping.

I’d seen tattoos in my life, but never any like this. Her entire face was covered in a strange script, almost as if there were words and sentences written on her face, only I couldn’t actually read what it said.

That really weirded me out. As I tried to shake the feeling, I glanced around me, wanting something else to focus on until my mind cleared. Then it hit me that she couldn’t have actually fallen from the tree. There was no way she could have been in the tree; it was too puny for that. I glanced around for a ladder or something of that sort that she could have fallen from but saw nothing.

She groaned again. I turned my attention back to her. Her eyes fluttered open and she stirred a little.


“You’re in Mr. MacTolliver’s orchard,” I replied. “You fell from… uh… somewhere…”

She sat up quickly and glanced around, fear in her wide green eyes. Her breathing came in small panting breaths. “How long have I been here?”

I shrugged and shook my head. “Just a minute or two. Are you feeling okay?”

She pushed herself up, wobbling a little as she did so. Once on her feet, she leaned against the tree to steady herself.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” I asked.

She snorted. Her hand moved to her forehead, like my sister’s did when she had a headache. She looked a little pale under all her tattoos.

“I’d like to help you if I can,” I told her. I really should have been getting home to my homework, but this was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me and it wasn’t likely to happen again anytime soon.

She looked at me in surprise, as if seeing me for the first time, fear written in her eyes.

 “Are you related to Mr. MacTolliver?” I pressed. I’d never heard of him having any family besides his son, but it seemed a reasonable explanation as to why she was in his orchard.

“Um… uh… um… Wh-what’s the name of this place?”

I figured she couldn’t mean Mr. MacTolliver’s orchard, since I’d said that a few times now. “Lovejoy,” I told her. “You’re in Lovejoy.”

She repeated the name to herself. “I-is there a woman by the name of Camilla Deveraux around here?”

I shook my head. “No, not that I know of.” And, since the town was so small, I knew of everyone in it.

“Are you sure?” Her green eyes narrowed, and she glared at me.


She breathed a relieved sigh. “Well, that’s something.” She pushed away from the tree until she was standing by herself. “Well, thanks for the help.”

“Sure,” I said. “So, where’d you fall from?”

“The tree,” she replied.

“The tree’s too little, you’ve have damaged it,” I said.

She gave me a shaky smile. “Are you calling me fat?”

My eyes widened. “No!”

“I was just teasing,” she said. “Don’t sweat it.”

“Oh… so… um… who are you?”

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” she asked. “Something better to do than ask a lot of pesky questions?”

I shrugged. “I was going home but if you need help, I can stay and help you.”

“I’m fine,” she told me. “Thanks for the offer, but I don’t need any help.” Her eyes darted all around her, taking in every little thing.

“Are you sure? You fell pretty hard.”

“I’m fine.”

“Okay.” I shrugged again. “So, who are you? What are you doing here in Mr. MacTolliver’s orchard?”

She shrugged. “Just cutting through.”

“In the trees?”

“Boy, you’re nosy,” she said.

I shrugged once more. “Just curious. You’re the most exciting thing that’s happened around here. So, do you have a name?”

“Sure I do,” she snapped. “Everyone has a name.”

“Are you going to tell me what it is?”

She shook her head. “I don’t give my name out to strangers. Now, weren’t you going home?”

“Yeah.” I turned to go and then turned back to her. “I’m David, by the way. I live in the green house just south of here, it’s the one with the sign out front for the Pillow Puffs. If you decide you do need help, that’s where you can find me most days.”

I turned again and started to walk away.


I turned back to her again. “Yeah?”

“You won’t tell anyone you saw me, will you?” Her huge green eyes pleaded with me.

I shrugged. “I don’t have to if you don’t want me to.”

She offered me another shaky smile. “Thanks.”

And there you have it! There'll be a short little snippet of another story I adore on Friday. Hope you'll be back!

Friday, August 7, 2015

No Defense- A Short Story from the Past

I am still incredibly proud of this one. I wrote it in church one Sunday as the Lord was speaking it to me that week. I don't mean the story was divinely written, but the inspiration certainly came from God.

It's just this one short story, though I always wanted to write more. But, it never happened so, I guess it wasn't meant to be?

Anyway, not really much to say about it, except that I hope you enjoy!

I have no defense.

I know I’m guilty and there is no hope for mercy so I don’t even bother asking for it as I stand before the stern-faced judge. My legs are wobbly and my stomach is all aflutter, so I grip the podium before me to support myself.

My accuser stands to my left, a smug expression on his cruel face. I close my eyes to shut that look out but it does no good. That face is branded in my mind. I’ve seen it so many times. The same expression he always wears when he brings someone down.

I’ve been here so many times. I should have known he’d bring me down with him again. They don’t call him the Destroyer for nothing. He’s known for deceiving people, conning them into trusting him and then exposing their innermost thoughts and using them against them. He’s done it to me a million times.

And yet I chose to trust him.

I have no defense.

I open my eyes because the judge is taking a long time passing my sentence. I dare to look up into his face and find it isn’t stern, as I assumed.

It’s warm, filled with compassion and deep sorrow. He regards me with an expression that stirs hope in me. The judge doesn’t want to pass this sentence on me.

And yet, there’s an unwavering resolve in his eyes that causes me to push that hope down. I know what I deserve. Even a compassionate judge must be just.

I deserve death and so that’s what I must get.

“May I speak?” a voice behind me asks.

Gripping the podium, my knuckles are white and my fingers lock as my knees buckle under me. I can barely manage to remain standing. I know that voice even without turning to see the speaker.


My mind floods with all the things I’ve done to him. All the times I’ve betrayed him. All the times I’ve denied him, been unfaithful to him, and used him to further my own selfishness.

My stomach churns as I turn to face him coming through the crowd. I want to shrink away in his presence. He’s so perfect, so pure, so righteous.

I feel so dirty, so unclean, so unworthy as his eyes meet mine. I avert my gaze, knowing full well what he’s here for. I want to hide from his accusations because I know they are all true. And they have all been committed against him.

I don’t care how my accuser sees me because anything he says against me, I can say the same and worse against him. But Joshua’s different.

I can’t say the same about him because he’s not like that. He’s Joshua.

I know he’s still looking at me and I long to sink into the floor. I don’t want his eyes on me. Don’t want him to see the sin-filled person I am. I want him to speak words of love, of hope, of acceptance. I want to defend myself to him, tell him I’m sorry, ask him to forgive me.

But I push those thoughts aside. I know why he’s here. I’ve betrayed him and his love and he’s going to condemn me.

And, I have no defense.

I deserve death.

And, he’s here to make sure I get that.

I close my eyes again, breathing deeply. The judge gives him permission to speak and I brace myself for his convicting words.

I have no defense.

Joshua clears his throat. I wonder how I could have dared to sin against him. My accuser’s smug expression burns in my mind. How could I have ever wanted any part of him? How could I have ever wanted more than Joshua offered?

I have no defense.

And then Joshua finally speaks.

“This one’s mine, Dad,” he says. “I’ve got her covered.”

I open my eyes to stare at him, not believing or understanding what I’m hearing. I see he’s holding a book, open to a certain page. Written there in blood red ink, along with many others, is my name.

“Her debt is paid.”

The judge nods solemnly and says, “You’re free to go.”

I shake my head, knowing they’re teasing me, knowing Joshua is making me pay for what I’ve done to him.

My accuser protests vehemently, screaming forth a list of all the things I have done wrong. I want to cover my ears against them, want to melt into the floor to avoid them, want to run and hide from them. But, I can’t.

I have no defense.

Joshua turns to my accuser and fixes him with a glare. “I have paid her debt. You have no claims to her.”

My accuser shrinks under his gaze and slinks away. Joshua turns to me.

I open my mouth to tell him I’m sorry. He puts a finger to my lips to keep me silent. “You’re free,” he whispers. “You’re forgiven.”

Free? Forgiven? It can’t be. I want to tell him all the things I’ve done, all the horrible crimes I’ve committed, even though he already knows. I want to remind him, remind him of what I’ve done and what I deserve.

But, his hand is still on my lips. I look down at it and see the little scar in the middle, the little hole, a mirror of the one on his other hand.

“You’re clean now,” he says quietly. “Washed clean and free of all that.”

Tears well in me and I choke back a sob. He takes me in his arms and holds me tight. I have no right to enjoy his embrace but it makes me feel protected, makes me feel safe. It makes me feel clean.


“No buts,” he says. “You’re clean, my precious one. I paid your debt to make you free. I love you.”

I know he does. He’s told me this a thousand times. But, still, I’ve sinned. I’ve-

“I’ve washed it away,” he whispers gently in my ear. “I was forsaken so you might be forgiven. I was condemned so you might be accepted into my kingdom. I died so you might live.”

His words sink it, understanding slowly dawning on me.

I’m clean. I’m forgiven. I’m accepted. I’m loved.

And, I have a defense.

And that's that!

Next week will be another except. I hope you'll return for that! :D