Tag Archive | Arizona Strip

Dreams…

Dreams are what motivate us to do great things, or even simple things that make us happy. Dreams can take us to the moon, or inspire us to open our own business, or move to a new place – dreams can also encourage us to become something more than we are, such as a teacher, or a writer, or a mother…

We all have different dreams, things that we want more than anything else, things that quicken us… For Sarah this dream was to become a mother, she wanted that more than anything else – the problem was finding a guy to have children with. At 27 she begins to wonder if her dream will ever come true. She feels her dream is behind schedule, and begins to worry that it’s becoming out of reach…

Turning our dreams into reality takes a lot of hard work and can take a bit of facing fears and new situations that could throw us off track if we let them. Dreams take a lot of focus, and most of the time they take all the dreamer has inside to make them come true…

 

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!!

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

“The frustration of it all boiled over in Sarah’s mind so she decided to go for a walk to try and clear her head.

            The cool air and busy sidewalks were almost enough to distract her mind from the pervading thoughts of how much this plural marriage thing could go wrong. She wanted to believe that things could be as wonderful as Mary said they were, but she knew how people could be, especially men… her thoughts went to, “Maybe I should just drop the whole thing,” then the idea of dating again entered her thoughts which almost made her nauseous. Then the thought of giving up on her dream of having kids and a family came to her mind. A tear rolled down her face, which she quickly brushed away, that thought was the saddest one she’d ever had…

            Sarah looked up at the sky and saw a plane flying west, she knew she would be on one soon… flying west. She breathed out a sigh and with a new resolve walked back to her apartment.”   

Connections…

Have you ever pondered the connections we make throughout our lives? I do sometimes, and the pondering of these connections seems to spread out like an intricate spider web of experiences reaching from one encounter to another… When we’re children we form connections based on what we need or want, that doesn’t change much when we’re adults. We still form connections with others who can provide us with something we need or want – whether that something is friendship, or romance, or simply a bridge from where we are to where we want to be. 

As these connections form we grow, we learn, we experience… our lives become fuller, more defined, and even sometimes more complicated. It’s not always easy to leave the comfortable connections we’re sure of – the ones we’ve known for a long time, and take hold of the new connections that will expand ourselves and our lives. But, as we move forward with these new connections we can look back and find that some of those old connections have become more sure and solid – we find in the end we haven’t lost anything, only grown and gained so much more.

In my book New Parish Sarah worries about her connections, the old ones with her family and the new ones she’s forming with her new friends and the new way of life she’s planning to undertake. I hope you enjoy finding out how she handles all of her connections…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“What came next was her family’s version of a full on intervention. Upon entering the kitchen Sarah found the whole family assembled, “Hey, what’s up?” she asked casually hoping for the best.

            Her older brother Dave, spoke first, “What are you thinking? Going out west to join a commune, and be a part of a cult? I thought you were smarter than that.”

            Sarah laughed, “I’m thinking more than you are! I’ve never depended on your opinion to gage my intelligence. I’ve been doing the research and asking questions, what do you base your information on?”

            He didn’t reply, Sarah’s father spoke next, “Are you serious about this or is this some kind of practical joke? If this is a joke, it’s not funny.”

            “It’s not a joke, Dad, I met this very nice girl at the children’s center, where I volunteer, and she’s from out there. So, we got to talking, she told me about where she’s from and I got curious about it. I’ve had a lot of bad dates lately, well, for several years, there’s just a limited number of decent guys and I haven’t been able to find one, so I thought this might be an option. I haven’t decided on anything yet, but, I’m considering it seriously,” Sarah tried to explain her side of this obviously now blown out of proportion story.

            “So, you’re really thinking about marrying a man who is already married?” Hannah asked.

            “That’s disgusting!” interjected Brenda.

            “Whatever…” Sarah shrugged.

            Hannah spoke up to explain her question, “I didn’t mean it was disgusting,” she eyed Brenda with an annoyed look. “I meant that it could be complicated. What if his other wife or wives don’t like you, or you don’t like them? That could be really complicated.”

            “I’ve talked with the leader out there about a lot of that stuff. There’s ways to deal with it, and the girl always has options, and choices,” Sarah explained.

            Most of the family was shaking their heads in the negative by this time. Sarah was wondering what was going to happen next and how much longer it would take the kids to get into the attic, when a loud bang from that direction shook the house. Everyone in the kitchen could hear the kids shouting and laughing from above.

            “The kids are in the attic!” Brenda shouted with panic in her voice, as everyone except Sarah and Hannah ran out of the room.

            Sarah and Hannah exchanged smiles, “Good save,” Hannah accused Sarah.

            “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sarah feigned innocence.

            “Did you tell them about the old sea captain?” asked Hannah.

            Sarah smiled, “Yep.”

            “Yeah, the others don’t know you like I do, or they’d have sorted that out,” smiled Hannah. “I figured that you’d have some sort of distraction worked out before coming in here. You were a master at it, when we were kids.”

            “A girl’s gotta survive somehow,” Sarah replied.

            They laughed and waited for the others to rejoin them. When the rest of the family returned the energy of the intervention was flattened.

            Sitting down at the kitchen table where there was lots of food in the middle of being prepared, Sarah’s dad said, “Are you really serious about this polygamy thing?”

            “I’m serious about finding out about it, and, if I want to be involved in it,” acknowledged Sarah. “I want to know for sure it’s what I want before I make any decisions about it. I want to have kids and have a big family, but I don’t want to settle for marrying an idiot, or jerk, or worse, just to have a family.” She avoided looking at Brenda when she said this, she’d always felt Brenda had settled for the idiot she married because she had wanted to have children and be married.

            “Promise me that if there’s any abuse or mistreatment of women or girls you won’t get into polygamy. Will you promise me that?” her dad pleaded.

            “Yes, yes, Dad, I promise,” Sarah assured.”

More Than One Way

All my life I’ve heard that there’s more than one way to do something. That old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” always used to gross me out, but it has some real world applications – and some literary ones. In my book New Parish, Sarah definitely finds more than one way to live her life. She grew up in a small town, on a road where everyone knew everyone, then after college moved to Atlanta, which of course is a very large city where most people don’t know their neighbors or the person sitting next to them on the public transportation system. Then she moves to a very small community in the desert of northern Arizona which is more different than any other place she’s ever experienced – with cacti, very short trees, and a healthy smattering of cowboys…

As a writer I like to write about what I know, I’ve visited Savanah Georgia, where Sarah grew up, I’ve visited Atlanta, walked its streets and partaken of the public transportation system. I’ve also lived out west in the area where Sarah settles, and have experienced all the nuances she experiences in moving out there – everything from horse apples, to cacti, to the majestic mountains and mesas that surround the place… and have met a few cowboys along the way as well…

Beside finding more than one place to live, Sarah finds that there’s more than one way to live… finding her happily ever after gets complicated, but she finds her way there – eventually.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish: Part of Sarah’s visit to Tybee Island

            “Before stepping from the pavement to the sand she removed her shoes so that she could enjoy every second of the experience. Tying the strings of her canvas sneakers together she hung them over the strap to her backpack which she slung over one shoulder. Her oversized blue denim shirt was perfect for this time and place. There were a few white puffy clouds in the sky of brilliant blue, the sun was shining down warming her face with its touch. The light cool breeze from the ocean fanned her long white boho skirt that hung down around her ankles. She took a deep breath and stepped out onto the sand to begin her journey toward the decision that would affect the rest of her life.

            Sarah had the beach mostly to herself, she could see a few sage gentlemen standing iconically on the pier fishing, but other than that she was alone with her thoughts and her decision.

            The white sand made a slight scrunching sound beneath her feet and she couldn’t resist digging her toes in it as she walked. The waves gently embracing the shore carried her thoughts to a place where there was no ocean – New Parish…

            Sarah sighed, “Living there would be so different, just the climate with its dry arid environment would be a challenge,” she thought. “I had to use loads more lotion when I was out there for just a few days. I could get used to that, and invest in tons of lip balm.” She pondered over the mountains and mesas of the surrounding areas of New Parish. She stopped her walk and stared out at the ocean waves in the far distance, some were creating little white caps. “It would be so far away from my family,” she thought. “I’m not one of those girls that needs to be near their mom, but living in Atlanta is near enough to go home any time I want.” Sarah sighed again, the “girl talk” session from her last night in New Parish came into her thoughts, “What if I get into a mess like some of those girls?” She walked on down the beach with her thoughts, feeling very heavy and worrisome now.”

 

 

Just Around the Corner

As I’ve said before, the one thing that’s for sure in life, is that things always change. You never know what’s just around the corner… Just around the corner could be a new job, a new place to live, a new person of interest that enters your life, or a myriad of other things. My point is, just around the next corner of life, your life could change forever.

Out here in the wild west, along the Arizona Strip, things can change in an instant. There could be anything from a flash-flood, loose cows, or even a girl from the southeast showing up and shaking the place up a bit. These things happen in real life, and also in my book, New Parish.

 I’ve been the girl from the southeast that’s shook things up, and I’ve encountered loose cows, suddenly, and have seen flash-floods, from a distance. Life brings us surprises we’re not expecting just around the corner… Sarah finds many surprises on her journey to happiness, in New Parish.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

A couple of Sarah’s just around the corner events in New Parish:

“After soaking in a tub of very warm water for a very long time and her body starting to feel like it could actually be warm again, Sarah thought, “Albert is a really nice guy, he would be a great husband…” She removed herself from the tub and wrapped a very soft bathrobe around her still wet body, while slowly drying off. The memory of the “incident” kept running over in her mind, “Why didn’t I move?” she thought, “How could something like that really happen? Why was I so mesmerized by that silly cowboy?” She let out and exasperated, “Ah! I hope I never see him again!””

…….

Later in the story:

““I feel like I’ve stepped into a Louis L’Amour novel,” Sarah said looking around at all the cowboys and horses.

            The cowboy band was playing and there was a square dance going, Mary said, “Come on let’s go!”

            Sarah said, “No way, I’ve never dosey doed in my life. I don’t know how,” trying to excuse herself from this activity.

            Mary grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the dance area in front of the wooden stage the band was on, “I’ll show you, it’s fun!” she said laughing.

            Sarah had an inner dread that she was not only going to dosey doe for the first time, but that Mary had much more confidence in her abilities than she did.

            Mary had her twirling around the grassy dance area in no time. They were both laughing at her many mistakes, and having so much fun. Then Sarah saw one of cowboys on the stage… it was Max, he was playing the guitar, and smiling at her. He was wearing a black cowboy hat with a silver and turquoise band around it, a white shirt with a bolo tie, and a black leather jacket. Her mind had inventoried him quickly and then lost all cohesiveness. After that she lost her footing, causing her right foot to trip over her left foot, she landed on the ground with a thud. “Oh, I hate him,” she thought picking herself up from the ground quickly. Mary tried to help her up while trying to hide the fact that she was almost doubling over laughing at her.

            “Seems you’re always falling for him,” Mary teased.

            Sarah was even more embarrassed to know that Mary had seen the cause of her fall, “Thanks, that helps,” she replied half way laughing too.”

Gone Fishing…

I haven’t literally gone fishing in many, many years, but for a few days I will be out of commission. I’ll be back soon with many more stories, and I’m sure a few bits of history that no one’s ever heard of.

Remember my book New Parish is Coming Soon!!!!!!

 

Monkey Wrenches

We’ve all had times in our lives, when we’re sure someone threw a monkey wrench into what we had planned, or gotten a complete surprise that we weren’t expecting. Sometimes it’s a snow storm that keeps us from doing what we intended, or an illness, or simply being in a big hurry and forgetting something we definitely need when we were out of the house. These things happen so very often in real life that of course I have to use them in my writing… I love working with monkey wrenches! In New Parish Sarah gets hit with many monkey wrenches, some are small and trivial, some are simply annoying, but some are huge and, at times, she thinks, insurmountable.

Sarah is a high-tech modern girl with a few old fashioned values, she simply wants to get married and be that soccer mom that she’s always dreamed of being. Her huge monkey wrench is that she can’t find a fella to do that with…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “Around lunch time she headed out to the children’s center. As she walked down the busy Atlanta sidewalks she looked around at the horde of people on their way to their next destination. She thought about when she’d first moved to Atlanta and how excited she’d been to be living in a big city with so much going on. She’d lost that excitement: it had turned into a tired frustration. The city hadn’t contributed to her dreams at all, her experiences there had diminished them. Her thoughts went to how much her goals and dreams had fragmented over the last few years. Her career was great, but she’d planned on being married and having at least three children by the age of twenty-seven. She sighed thinking, “I have neither a husband or children.” Her frustration on this was starting to grow beyond the normal parameters. Her thoughts turned to her job, “Right out of college, I got this great job, doing what I love, being a graphic artist for children’s books. I’ve worked hard, and now I’m the top artist in the company. I chose this career so I could be a stay at home mom. Sheesh! What’s a girl gotta do to make her dreams come true?”

            Extremely loud sirens jolted Sarah out of her thoughts, she jumped and looked to see what was happening. “Oh, it’s just the cops,” she thought and walked on. No one else seemed to notice. Sighing she thought, “Growing up in Savannah didn’t really prepare me for living in the big city of Atlanta, or the daily adventure each time I leave my apartment.”

            She continued down the sidewalk a few more blocks and entering the children’s center, went to the front desk to sign in. She quickly scanned the sign-in sheet to see if Mary was already there. She was.

            “I can’t believe I’m actually going to ask her about this plural marriage thing,” Sarah thought to herself. “Am I really that desperate?” her thoughts were interrupted by a large group of preschoolers running up to her with giggles and open arms for needed hugs. She spent the next hour playing and reading to them. This calmed her mind, it was therapy for her – her dream of having a big family with lots of children was both eased and made more difficult by the involvement with her little friends.”

Friends…

We’ve all known them, friends, those who come into our lives for a short time, those who we’ve known our whole lives, and those who come into our lives to stay – and change our lives forever. As I’ve said before, I pull from my own experiences when I write. So, I’ve pulled from personalities and characters, bits and pieces of people I’ve either known or heard stories about to create the friends Sarah encounters in my book New Parish. To me this brings the characters to life and gives them depth, because after all, I really know them…

It all begins with Mary, who’s out in Atlanta working on her bachelor’s degree at the local children’s center, where Sarah volunteers. They become fast and true friends, which opens up a whole new world for Sarah… Mary becomes that new friend, who not only becomes one of those who come into her life and changes it forever, but introduces her to more of new friends who become her, forever best friends.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah’s mind went to something her new friend Mary had said when they were working together at the children’s center. Mary had mentioned her home, a place called New Parish in Arizona; she had explained that she was only going to be there for a while, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

That day, Sarah had been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her. Mary revealed to her that in the community she came from the people did plural marriages, so any girl could get a good man and not have to worry about missing out on being a mom. Her descriptions of her home made it sound like a little piece of heaven, where people lived happy lives, and found their happily ever afters.

Sarah sighed, thinking of the small rural community Mary had described, “Maybe…””

……

““Mary!” Sarah waved as she entered the room.

Mary was working with a group of three year olds on coloring pictures of shapes.

            “Hi!” was Mary’s cheery reply.

            “Do you have some time to talk today?” Sarah asked, noticing Mary’s strawberry blonde hair. She always had it done in some really pretty style, today it was rolled up behind with a pretty colorful clip in it. Sarah liked how petite Mary was, she was only about five feet tall and very slender with bright green eyes that always seemed to be ready to smile.  

            “Yes, in about ten minutes when these little guys get to go to the gym,” Mary answered.

            “Cool,” said Sarah, “I’ll wait around in the garden room.”

            “Okay, see you there,” Mary said, as Sarah waved and walked away.

            Sarah was checking messages on her phone when Mary joined her on a bench underneath a big tree. “Hi, what’s up?” asked Mary.

            “Well I don’t know if I’m really desperate, stupid, or what, but I wanted to ask you about that whole plural marriage thing that goes on where you’re from,” Sarah said with some apprehension.

            “Oh?” was all that Mary said as she sat down beside Sarah and waited for her to continue.

            “Yeah, well, how does it work?”

            “Very well, I think,” Mary said, looking quizzically at Sarah.

            “Oh come on! What do they do? What’s the process? Are they miserable? Are the women conditioned to be in these relationships, like “Stepford Wives”? Do men abuse the women? How do the women get along? Are they mean to each other?” Sarah bombed Mary with all the serious questions she could think of, and in a way, trying to talk herself out of further inquiry.”

…….

““All I can tell you is that my mothers all seem very happy, they don’t attack each other, they’re really good friends. They’re always joking around and laughing, I haven’t seen any of that attack stuff,” Mary replied, now looking at Sarah with concern.”

I can’t wait to share the whole story with everyone! Very soonish…

 

Book Cover

I’ve worked for a long time to get to this point, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m enjoying every moment of it. Last week we went out to a special place near New Parish for a photo shoot. We did two days of shooting, and now have some fun decisions to make on what pictures to use for the New Parish book cover. I guess I hadn’t given this part of the book much thought before now, but it’s really fun.

I’m learning so much about all the aspects of, the rest of the story, of writing. Putting a book together and getting it ready for publishing has a lot of details to be tended to. There’s copyrights and ISBN numbers to be purchased, there’s editing, there’s the publisher/printer, there’s marketing, there’s the synopsis and author bio to be written, and reviews to be gathered… Then there’s book covers to be created and book launches… it’s loads of work but I’m having a lot of fun along the way.

I’ve been so focused on the actual writing for so long that this new adventure is a refreshing change… then when it’s all done, I of course will return to New Parish. I can’t stay away from that story for long… Sarah’s journey to New Parish has been an all encompassing journey for me to write, although it’s fiction, it’s full of real life situations, difficult decisions, and choices that will change the course of lives forever. Just as New Parish beckons Sarah, it also calls me back…

New Parish Coming Soon!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah felt like a cool fresh breeze was blowing inside her, “This is so refreshing and energizing to finally be a part, of the next part of my life,” she thought. “I’m going to use this time before being matched, as a learning and adjusting time. I want to learn what it’s actually like to live in such a large family on a regular basis and determine what I need to change or fine tune in myself to be successful in this new life. I’m going to figure out how to do this…””

…….

“At dinner that night Sarah was starting to reflect on the changes that were happening in her life. It was still a bit surreal for her, that she was back in New Parish, and preparing for her dreams to come true. Her thoughts turned to the gratitude she had that her parents hadn’t disowned her. Even though she knew they didn’t really support her choice she was glad they were accepting it. She was again glad they’d come out to New Parish with her. She deep down wanted them to know, that she wasn’t joining a cult or moving into a commune of weirdos.

            Her mom interrupted her thoughts when she leaned over and whispered, “There are so many conversations going on till I don’t know how anyone knows what’s happening.”

            Sarah smiled and said, “Just think of it like Thanksgiving dinner with a few extra.”

            Her mother’s eyes widened as she whispered, “A few?!?””

 

New Year – New Year’s Resolutions

As The Chimes ring in a new year, I have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to. There have been Hard Times over the past few years, but I have Great Expectations for this next year! The Long Voyage through this writing journey has taught me that The Battle of Life has many ups and downs for us all to learn from. My first book New Parish is looming on the New Year horizon! I’m so very excited about all the possibilities this will bring… I’m no Dickens but I do enjoy turning a phrase to maybe make someone think a bit, when I’m writing. New Parish is a bit of A Tale of Two Cities, because Sarah comes from living in a big city, Atlanta, to living in a small community, New Parish, and finding the life she wants to live.

A new book published, a new magazine in the works, lots of writing, lots of research, lots of good times ahead for me! I hope everyone’s new year is as fun, fulfilling, and wonderful as mine’s going to be!

New Parish Coming Soon!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “The flight to Atlanta ran into a lot of turbulence, Sarah felt like it was a foreboding warning of what was ahead for her. In her mind when the plane landed the turbulence didn’t end, her inner turmoil was in full force. What was she going to do? She tried to put the decision out of her mind. She was home and she needed to get back into her routine with work, and volunteering, and life as she knew it, “That’ll calm everything down,” she thought.

She was wrong, she was very wrong, although she tried very hard over the next few days to get back into her old routine, and to work through the turbulence of the decision, the decision was ever present and all consuming.

            Sarah decided to get an email out to Hannah, before things got too far out of control for her. Writing to Hannah sometimes helped her calm down and see things in a clearer perspective.

Hi Hann

So, I went out to New Parish and had a really good visit, I asked so many questions you wouldn’t believe! They were very open and honest with me about everything. I met a lot of people who were very nice. I got to know Brother Michael’s wives a bit and they’re great. I tried to sort out which kid belonged to which mom and I’m still not sure on most of them…

I met a guy that was so incredibly handsome I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him. Too bad he’s one of those macho jerks we both avoid like the plague. He’s a full on cowboy, yeah I know you’d like his horse. LOL

It’s weird now to be back in Atlanta, I feel sort of out of sync like here or there, one, is surreal. I have to decide what I’m going to do, I can’t focus on work or anything really, so I have to figure this out soon. I’m going to check with mom and see if the condo is available soonish…

How’s school? How’s work? Any cute guys?

Love ya

Sarah

            After being home for a week, she was completely miserable. She’d intentionally not contacted Mary or Brother Michael, because she wanted to make sure she was making this decision without any other influences, she wanted this decision to be her decision. Invitations came in from several friends for New Year’s Eve parties, she turned them all down and spent the evening alone thinking about New Parish, dating, children, and what she wanted for the rest of her life.”