Tag Archive | Arizona Strip

Sisters…

All sisters have some things in common, and some very distinct differences. My sister likes the color purple, I’m more inclined towards blue. She doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh (when she was little, she was scared to death in a department store by someone wearing a Pooh costume), he’s one of my favorite characters. She likes pigs. I had to feed them as a small person and discovered I didn’t like them at all. We both love to watch Dancing with the Stars and Downton Abbey. I love to ponder the things we have in common and the things we are so very different in. Our biggest thing we have in common is that we love being sisters! Sisters are always there for you, no matter what, and that’s my very favorite thing about sisters. In my New Parish series readers meet Sarah, Hannah, Brenda, and Beth – all sisters, with very different likes, dislikes, and ways of doing things – but you’ll find that they all love being sisters too.

These southern girls each make a journey that’s very different, even though all the journeys have a common destination – New Parish. In the first book, New Parish, Sarah makes the maiden voyage, discovering a new way of living out west that leads her to her very own happily ever after. In the next book, Return to New Parish, Hannah makes the journey. Yes, it’s the same destination, but the journey is very different for Hannah. Hannah isn’t just looking for her happily ever after, she’s running from something that she needs her sister to help her escape from…

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

“…Now I’m scared, I don’t trust my own feelings about things. Maybe I’m damaged, maybe I’ll always be.”

“No, you’re not damaged,” Sarah defended her little sister, “You’re hurt and shaken, but you’re not damaged. Just like any other wound this needs time to heal, take the time you need to heal and feel better. You’re strong and smart and you’re going to be okay!”

Hannah heard the firmness in her sister’s voice, it gave her some strength and a little peace. Telling Sarah about what happened helped, but it also made the event very real in the now once more. A whirlwind of emotions tried to engulf her, anger, embarrassment, fear, and an overwhelming sadness that felt like it would never leave. She had kept it a secret, and tried desperately to bury it deep inside herself but now it was on the surface and flooding her with pain.”   

New Parish is out now! Return to New Parish will be out in a few months!!!

You can get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Free Ebook

As promised, the free ebook (on Amazon.com) of New Parish will start tomorrow and be available through Friday! Happy Birthday to me, a free gift for you!         You can get a copy of New Parish here: New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com Also available at: Barnesandnoble.com Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park) Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Giving…

I love to give! It’s one of my favorite things. This next week is my birthday, so for my birthday I’m giving away free ebook copies of my book, New Parish, on Amazon.com – Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (1/30-2/1). I hope you all enjoy the adventure of New Parish, I know I have… and still am. Return to New Parish will be available this year and I can’t wait to share that adventure with you all. Excerpt from Return to New Parish: Chapter 5 – Christmas Party “Hearing a light tapping on her door she pulled herself up from the sofa and walked to the door.  “Hi,” Sarah said, entering the room. “I wanted to check in with you before I settled in for the night.”             “I’m good,” Hannah smiled at her sister who looked very tired, “Go settle.”             “I will in a sec,” Sarah shrugged. “What did you think of things today?”             “It was all good fun,” Hannah shrugged back. Then thinking of the guys she’d met asked, “So what do you know about Daniel and Steve?”             “Um, not too much.” Sarah wrinkled her nose as if a bad smell had entered the room then asked, “Why?”             “Well they are cute eligible guys,” Hannah proposed, thinking Sarah had been out of the game too long.             Sarah laughed, “Oh, I see. Well, all the guys here are eligible, but really those two guys are unproven. So I wouldn’t give them much thought.”             Hannah was a bit surprised at Sarah’s comments, “Ah, I guess I hadn’t thought of it that way.” She felt a little weird with the new perspective Sarah had just put forward. She knew the sink in time for this new perspective was going to take some time.             “You have that deer in the headlights look,” Sarah teased her.             Hannah laughed, “I suppose I’m allowed,” she defended. “I really hadn’t thought about that whole eligibility or unproven thing. What do you mean unproven?” she asked, completely not understanding what her sister had said.             “They don’t even have one wife,” Sarah explained with her nose wrinkled again. “Max told me that he went on a work mission, then to college, then built a house and started a ranch and his electrical business before he got married. He said it gave him time to get his head on straight and mature some, so he could appreciate having wives, and becoming a father.”             “Oh,” Hannah said, feeling like the deer in the headlights look had returned to her expression.             Sarah smiled slyly at her and said, “Goodnight.”                  “Goodnight,” Hannah chuckled as Sarah closed the door.” You can get a copy of New Parish here: New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com Also available at: Barnesandnoble.com Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park) Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Writing the West…

Being a good ol’ southern girl from Georgia, living out west has been an adventure. I’ve often marveled at the extreme contrasts and complete differences this land has from that of my nativity. This has become a major focus in my writing. The characters I write about are often in awe at the beauty they find in the west, and just how very different it is from Georgia. Writing about the west for me encompasses not only the New Parish series but also Brigham Tea Magazine (which will be out soon!). The research I do for either New Parish or Brigham Tea Magazine always spills over to the other. At this point in time I’m researching Texas Rangers and Federal or Territorial Marshals from the late 1800’s. This research is part of a new character development I’m working on for an upcoming book, but will most definitely find its way into an article for Brigham Tea Magazine. I love getting to know each new character in New Parish, it’s like making a new friend. For me each character has their own distinct personality and history, so I’m very careful to make sure that uniqueness sticks with them. I hope you’ve all gotten to know some of my friends from New Parish and the wonderful American West. If not here’s some excerpts to introduce some of them, from both New Parish, and Brigham Tea Magazine.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 8 – The Social

           “It was a short trip in Brother Michael’s SUV to the edge of the community where Sarah saw a rustic archway made of rough cedar that said, Lucky A Ranch, with two horses on either side of the words. Sarah thought, “It looked like those ranches she used to see on the old westerns,” an automatic smile came across her lips. When the SUV was parked in what looked like a hayfield across from a huge pasture they walked toward the festivities that were already under way.

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

            A 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 the 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.

            “Food?” Mary suggested, trying to suppress her laughter. She was pointing to two long tables brimming with food across the driveway from where they were, “It’s on the other side of things.”  

            “Good,” said Sarah, “I need to be on the other side of things.””

Excerpt from Return to New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Cowboys and Horses

            “As she neared the small community Hannah saw some men and a small boy riding horses across the prairie next to the main road. She also saw that they had a purpose, they were moving a heard of about thirty cows away from the road. One man, an older cowboy, who seemed to be in charge was sitting on his horse, a large impressive palomino, and pointing while the other men were gathering the cows in the direction he wanted them to go in. The sage cowboy made Hannah think of Sam Elliot, whom she had loved in several westerns.

            The boy stayed near the cowboy in charge until the old truck in front of Hannah made a huge bang! It was a very loud backfire, Hannah jumped and shouted, “Dang!” She looked back to the scene she’d been watching to see the boy’s beautiful blond palomino suddenly dart toward the fence opposite the road she was traveling on. The old cowboy was suddenly on the move, his horse quickly caught up with the one the boy was on. He grabbed the reins of the other horse slowing then stopping the horse. After steadying the boy on his saddle, he patted him on the back reassuringly.

            Hannah smiled, “I’m gonna like it here.” A right turn took her into the community, a few more turns and a couple of miles later and she was pulling up in front of Sarah’s home.”

Excerpt from Brigham Tea Magazine:

The Wild Desert

The Bird

When I go out to explore places along the Arizona Strip, I try to remember to take my bird book with me. When I forget I inevitably hear myself say, “I wish I’d brought my bird book!” I’ve seen many different types of birds as I’ve gone out into the desert, or up on a mountain, or over a prairie. They always seem to catch my eye. Lately several red tail hawks have been near where I live. They are amazing to watch, the birds are very large, almost two feet tall, and have some amazing design detail on their wings and tails.  The details are marked by the stark contrasts between the dark browns, tans, and whites that always make me think of Native American designs I’d seen on blankets or rugs. I saw a rather large red-tailed hawk on a fence post recently, it had very detailed sharp contrasts in its markings. The bird was simply gorgeous. I watched it as I approached, it was very still and obviously deeply engaged in something I couldn’t see. I was hoping it would stay there and let me get close enough to get an amazing picture, and more visual details for myself. My approach was slow and deliberately unthreatening. I actually got within a few feet of the bird and its fence post. It didn’t seem interested in me or my unthreatening approach.

As I neared, it suddenly swooped down onto the ground a few feet away from its perch. I was surprised by this action, as I was expecting it to soar into the sky. I watched as the bird wrestled around on the ground with something for a few minutes, wondering what its quarry was. The bird’s wings expanded and retracted quickly as it aggressively pounced and twisted about in the tall prairie grass, giving me a unique view of its colors and markings. Yes, very beautiful…  I stayed where I was so as not to disturb the struggle, hoping the bird wouldn’t fly away. It didn’t, the bird returned to its fence post with its snack, what looked like a small field mouse, and proceeded to, snack.  The bird and I continued on with our lives, I’m sure it never gave me another thought, but to me that experience will linger in my thoughts for a long while…

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are really goals we set for ourselves. Yes, sometimes we set unreasonable goals that we can’t reach, but there are also those we can achieve as long as we remember to pay attention to all the little steps in-between where we are and where we want to be. Each year I try to look back and see what I actually accomplished and what I need to do next to get the rest of the job done. This last year my first book in the New Parish series was published. That was a wonderful goal to accomplish, but it took completing several other goals to actually get that one done. I know there have been lots of movies that romanticize the life of a writer, but in all actuality it’s really just a lot of hard work… Plotting on many different levels, character development of many different characters, research and more research, editing, and more editing… it goes on and on. Then when the book is finished, it’s not finished, there’s the copyright, ISBN numbers for each type of book you’re publishing, the book cover, the formatting, and the endless marketing once it’s out there. Then even before all that is done, you’re already writing the next book to go through all that process with again…

The gist of it is that we all have goals or resolutions, sometimes they are complicated, sometimes they’re simple, either way we have to take it step by step, paying attention to all the little steps as we go. In my book New Parish Sarah has what she thinks is a very simple goal. She wants to get married to a great guy, have loads of kids and be the quintessential soccer mom. Her goal turned out to be not so simple, it got a bit complicated and she had to think outside the box to actually achieve her goal.  

We can accomplish our goals, as long as we remember to work on each of the other goals – little steps – that will get us to the one we most desire. For me it was publishing my books, and still is, for Sarah it was getting married and being a mom, even if she had to do it a bit differently…  some of her little steps were actually quite big, moving to a whole new place, getting married a very different way, and having children even before she had one of her own.

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 1 – Bad Date

          ““How am I supposed to know which guys to go out with and which ones to not go out with?” she groaned within herself.

            She pulled her long brown hair back into a ponytail and looked at herself in the mirror as she pulled on her pajamas. She scanned her bangs hanging over her forehead while some of the layered strands fell loosely around her face. The events of the evening were flashing through her mind like an old movie, as she thought to herself, “I’m not ugly… why can’t I find a good man? I have curves in all the right places, with ample endowments.” This had been a source of a pride with her as a girl and more especially as she got a little older. Sarah thought it was fun how boys would stutter and stammer at times if she wore a low cut blouse. Her five foot seven, somewhat athletic frame carried her very well, she thought, as she scanned for flaws. She looked at her face to check out what others would see when they looked at her. She had always thought her nose was a bit small but it looked okay, her brown eyes were a little big but they were okay too. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked aloud in frustration. 

            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. Sarah had known her for a few months. Mary was only going to be there for a while longer, just until she finished her degree in early childhood development with the work study program she was involved in at the children’s center.

           Sarah thought about the day she’d been complaining about the poor dating prospects and her dream of being a mom floating away from her, when 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. Mary’s 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…””

 

Want to see how she accomplished her goals? Get your copy of New Parish from any of the places below.

 

   

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

Free Books!!!

One free book each week in December. What better way to gear up for Christmas! Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift, either way get your very own copy of New Parish this month.

This is how it’ll work: all you have to do is use the contact form on my website – www.julieworthington.com to submit your name, address, and email. Each week one name will be drawn for the free book. You’ll receive an email from me letting you know that you’ve won and the free book will be autographed and sent to you free of charge.

Good luck! I hope you enjoy your visit to New Parish…

You can always get a copy of New Parish here:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

Thanksgiving Jetlag

My son and I had loads of fun cooking this year. We made messes and cleaned them up while enjoying the fruits of our labors. We discussed the philosophy of peeling boiled eggs and deciding that sometimes it just doesn’t work out well. There was Christmas music playing in the background and many wonderful aromas to enjoy as the cooking progressed. There was lots of smiles and a bit of laughter…

Two days after Thanksgiving when the cooking is done, the eating is still going on, and the fatigue it still going on… it’s still not over. It’s only the beginning! I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving as a pre-Christmas celebration. I of course don’t mind if others feel differently about it, but to me it has always been that. Two days after Thanksgiving is a time for family and food, and making plans…

So now Christmas plans will be made, well, after the food is gone and we’ve recovered from all that fun…

Here’s a little bit of the end of Sarah’s Thanksgiving from my book New Parish. She’s making plans too…

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 2 – Undecided

“All the food was ready by two o’clock and everyone was seated. Sarah’s father offered a prayer and the family feast began. The conversations were the completion of many different catch up stories for each of them. Sarah listened quietly and was glad the inquisition on her investigation of plural marriage wasn’t the main topic of their conversations.

            By the end of the meal, when everyone was trying to shove more desert down on top of all the other food Sarah’s dad said, “Sarah, your mom and I talked last night about what you are looking into.”        

            Sarah’s heart sank. She’d hoped the subject would be skipped over… She looked her dad in the eye and braced for impact.

            He continued, “We don’t think it’s a good idea at all, but we love you and always want to be a part of your life, and always want you to be in ours. So, we’ve decided to be conscientious objectors to your choice to live that way, if you choose to do so.”

            Sarah saw the resolve and concern in his face as he talked and was very grateful that he was willing to love her and not cut her off because she might want to be different. Her love and respect for her dad grew at that moment far beyond what it had ever been. With a tear in her eye she said, “Thanks Dad, that really means a lot to me.”

            He nodded and smiled warmly at her. The feast continued with lots of family stories past and present, then on to future goals and wishes. The rest of the time Sarah spent with her family was filled with feelings of uneasy calm. No one else said anymore about her plural marriage research, which was a relief, but for Sarah it had become a constant backburner thing in her mind.

            Trying to settle back into her apartment and routine in Atlanta, Sarah thought it all seemed very empty. Her thoughts turned more and more to New Parish and the things Brother Michael had told her. She was planning on going out there for a few days over the Christmas holidays but was still very unsure of what to expect.”

New Parish available now:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful reason each year for us to remember to be grateful for all we’ve been blessed with. Gandalf taught us a truly great lesson, “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” It’s not the big things, but the small everyday things, not just what we get, but what we give as well… There’s so much to be grateful for this year, family, friends, and New Parish.

The traditional Thanksgivings in the south have always been full of family, food, and cooking for at least two days. This special time together is of course included in my book New Parish. Sarah’s Georgia family and her new Arizona family get together for Thanksgiving and things get very interesting. Here’s a small peek into their Thanksgiving…

 

Excerpt from New Parish:

Chapter 12 – Home

“The next morning Sarah and Hannah were back in the kitchen early, preparing the cinnamon rolls that would call everyone to action. The morning frenzy of cooking and mixing was in full on assault. Sarah smiled as she watched her mom and thought, “She’s so loving this.” Then she heard her dad shout, “Hot stuff coming through!” which was his usual battle cry when he took the turkey out of the oven. It always made everyone laugh as he feigned innocence as to why they were laughing.

            By four o’clock the tables were set, and everyone was seated. David said a prayer of gratitude for food and family, then the feast began.”   

 

From all of us in New Parish to all of you, we hope you all have the best Thanksgiving ever!

 

New Parish available now:

New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com

Also available at:

Barnesandnoble.com

Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)

Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ

Coming soon to many new bookstores!