The book cover is finally here! It won’t be much longer till I can share New Parish with everyone!
The old saying that, “a picture says a thousand words” is true… enjoy!
It seems sometimes that we spend our lives waiting… waiting for things to change, or waiting for things to get better, or waiting for the book cover to arrive… oh wait that’s probably just me. Anyways, waiting is part of our lives, maybe the part that we like least. In my book New Parish Sarah finds herself waiting for her dreams to come true and seeing them move further and further out of her reach.
What can we do when we get tasked with the dreaded waiting issue in our lives? I suppose we all have our different ways of dealing with it, trying to stay busy doing something, trying not to think about it, checking status… oh, wait that’s just me again.
There are times when our waiting brings us great joy, after the waiting is done – there are other times it simply brings relief that the waiting is over. Will Sarah find great joy, or the simple relief? Find out in New Parish…
New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!
Excerpt from New Parish:
“That night, Thanksgiving Eve, as they were putting things in the fridge, doing the final clean up, and getting ready for the final stretch of food prep in the morning before the feast, Sarah’s mom said, “You know Sarah, Donnie’s back from Europe, he’s not married yet. He’d be a good catch.”
“Eeew, Mom,” was Sarah’s instant reply, while Hannah giggled at her from the sink.
“What’s wrong with him?” her mom asked in surprise.
“Besides the fact that he’s completely self absorbed, thinks he’s the most intelligent person on the planet, lives in his parent’s basement and will never move out, is very condescending and talks down to everyone, and is a jerk – nothing really,” Sarah listed.
“Okay, okay,” conceded her mom. “But, I’m sure if you give it some effort, you could find a really good guy. Have you tried some of those online things?”
“Yes, I have,” Sarah rolled her eyes. “They’re not bad really, but online people can lie just as easily as they can in person, maybe even easier. I’m tired of “putting in effort” on guys who aren’t worth it.”
“All men take work, even the really good ones,” advised Sarah’s mom. “They’re usually oblivious, forgetful, and have no clue, until a good woman works on them.”
Sarah and Hannah both burst out laughing to hear their mom talking about men like that.
Later that night there was a knock on Sarah’s bedroom door, “Come in,” she said, but Hannah had already opened the door and was entering the room.
“Hey,” she said tentatively.
“Hey,” Sarah replied curiously.
“So, tell me about this New Parish place and plural marriage,” Hannah said, as she plopped down at the end of Sarah’s bed and sat with her legs crossed like an Indian – just like she used to do when they were kids.
“What do you want to know?” Sarah inquired with surprise.
“You’re not the only one who’s had “dating” experiences with guys who aren’t who you want to spend your life with. If this is a good thing, I might think about considering it too,” explained Hannah.
“Oh,” Sarah said, now in complete surprise. “Okay, well, what I’ve learned so far is that they have the same beliefs we were taught growing up in the church, except, they still have everything that was restored and didn’t give anything up, back in the day.”
“Okay, so how do they do it?” Hannah urged her sister on.
“They use an old traditional matchmaking system, but no dowries, the girls have freedom to choose and get out of the marriage if it’s not working out. Brother Michael, the church leader is so funny…”
Sarah spent over two hours explaining what she’d learned to Hannah. When Hannah finally left her room, Sarah felt like she somehow understood the whole thing better. As she lay there drifting off to sleep she thought, “Maybe explaining to Hannah clarified things in my own mind.” She felt very much at peace with things, and hoped she could stay that way.”
Every story has to have both heroes and villains, there’s really no way around it if you want a good intriguing, interesting, and involving story. In life we find a few heroes and run up on a villain or two as we sojourn here on planet earth. Sometimes heroes are easy to spot and sometimes villains are easy to spot, sometimes they’re not… I’ve been fooled a few times myself, as I’m sure most people have. The old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” is very true when detecting either a hero or a villain – and even then, we can be fooled.
There are times in life when we get into situations where we have to be rescued by heroes and there are other times we have to become our own hero and recuse ourselves. In either situation it’s not easy, if you need rescuing that always means you’re in trouble. In New Parish there is more than one hero and more than one villain. There are a few times where Sarah is rescued by these other heroes and there are a couple of times where she has to become her own hero. Finding the inner strength to become her own hero isn’t easy, and leads to emotions she doesn’t want to face, but she finds a way…
New Parish Coming Soon!!!
Excerpt from New Parish:
“When the waiter left to get their drinks Brad nodded toward the dance floor and smiling broadly said, “Let’s dance.”
“Okay,” Sarah smiled back.
He took her hand in his and led her to an open space on the floor – the band was playing A Moment Like This. Brad pulled her into him, uncomfortably close for Sarah. She tried to position herself to create a little more distance between them, as the vocalist sang, “Some people wait a life time for a moment like this.” He encircled her in his arms, moving even closer, caressing her back as they danced. Sarah could feel his body against hers, this made her feel very awkwardly compromised. She felt a little breathless and was working hard to regain her composure.
He spoke softly near her ear, “I have to be in Key West tomorrow morning.”
“Okay so maybe we could exchange emails and keep in touch,” she suggested.
He responded, “We have tonight.” His hand dropped to touch her hip, his fingers quickly following her panty line.
Sarah swiftly grabbed his hand and put it back on her waist, “That’s very inappropriate,” she said firmly.
“Lighten up,” he smiled broadly at her.
Sarah didn’t think his smile was nearly as attractive as she had before the dance begun. She noticed several people watching her, she didn’t know why they were watching but that made her feel even more uncomfortable.
“I want you,” Brad whispered in her ear.
“Yeah,” she said emphatically, “That’s not going to happen!”
Brad slid his hand from her back around her waist and up her side, Sarah tried to wriggle out of his arms, “Let go!” she demanded.
Brad laughed and grabbed her breast.
Sarah’s instincts took over, the self defense classes she’d taken when she moved to Atlanta came freshly to her mind… her knee found its target with the precise results that her instincts and training had intended to extract. Brad let out a loud groan and fell to his knees holding his crotch, then onto the floor in a fetal position.
He’d let go of Sarah immediately, free from his grip Sarah took deep a breath and began her move to the exit. Some guys at the bar were laughing so hard they had to hold onto the bar to steady themselves. Sarah forced herself to be in control, she held her head high not making eye contact with anyone and walked toward the door of the restaurant. Two girls sitting at the end of the bar, said as she passed them, “You go girl!” Sarah kept walking, inside she could feel herself falling…
She stepped through the door and felt a tear escape. She quickened her step and was across the parking lot in a few seconds. Stepping on the boardwalk she left the lights of the restaurant and parking lot behind – the darkness matched her feelings. Her pace was slowing, she felt like she was crashing inside. At the end of the boardwalk she stopped at the swing that had earlier been her respite to prepare for a new adventure. Earlier when she was excited to meet an incredibly handsome, nice, friendly guy for lunch… Now memories of many other failed dates were creeping into her thoughts, all the jerks, of her past were laughing at her for falling for this completely stupid social interaction called dating! “Why did I even go out with him?” she thought to herself then she answered herself, “He was handsome and friendly. That’s why! How stupid…” Then with a firm resolve, “I’ll never do it again!” she said aloud. “How could I have been sucked back into a situation like that?” she asked. All the emotions of what had happened on her “last date” and the thoughts and feelings of not knowing what to do about the decision she came out here to make came crashing down on her like the whole ocean had landed on her. She knew that now she had to think about the hard choices, and what she wanted for the rest of her life, and what she was willing to live with for the rest of her life. Never being a mom wasn’t something she wanted to live with for the rest of her life. She sat there and cried for a while… she’d never felt so alone in her life. She’d figured out long ago that there wouldn’t be a Knight in shining armor riding on horse that would come rescue her, but she’d always thought there would be a nice guy to spend her life with, out there somewhere.
Sarah pulled her sandals off and got up, she started walking down the beach trying to clear her head of the emotions she was fighting. She could feel the sand beneath her feet which was a vaguely comforting. The wind started blowing, making her scarf float behind her like a flag of surrender. Anger began cropping up first on her emotions list, for allowing herself to get tricked into that situation, embarrassment was next for what he’d tried to do, then sadness, frustration, disappointment, and back to loneliness…”
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.”
As Spring is rapidly approaching my thoughts wander off to the changing of the seasons. Everyone has their favorite season, mine is Fall or Autumn if one is formal. That’s where New Parish begins, I don’t think I planned it that way on purpose, but maybe that’s where it began because of my love of Fall. Oh, I like the other seasons too and they’re all present in my book New Parish, but I’ve always enjoyed Fall the best. Sarah enjoys Fall with her family in Savannah for Thanksgiving then the story moves on to Winter. Winter is nice, I like the cooler weather, but it can get too cold and have other challenges, such as wild winter storms. Sarah’s first visit to New Parish is in the winter, this visit, isn’t just fun, but very enlightening… Sarah’s first winter in New Parish becomes an inner journey of winter changing into Spring. Spring is nice, it’s like life begins again, after a long time of barrenness… Sarah’s first Spring in New Parish is by far the most unique one she’s ever experienced, I won’t give spoilers… Spring is also a prelude to Summer. Summer can be nice in New Parish, early in the morning and late in the evening, after the sun goes down, but it can get too hot and has lots of insects that like to munch on a person. I don’t talk about the insects much in my book, New Parish, there’s way too many other things to be getting on with. As summer fades in New Parish the cycle begins again, and Fall returns with a whole new situation…
Of all the seasons we enjoy in New Parish or anywhere else I remain firm in my love of Fall, it’s cool but not too cold, there are still flowers hanging around, and it kicks off the holiday season, which if I’m honest is really my favorite season…
I hope everyone will enjoy all the seasons in Sarah’s journey to New Parish!
New Parish Coming Soon!!!!
Excerpt from New Parish: Winter was Sarah’s first season in New Parish
“The next day after breakfast Sarah and Mary decided to get out and explore some of the community and enjoy the snow that had fallen. Several of Mary’s little brothers and sisters tagged along with them. They were all bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Sarah laughed at herself and the rest of the gang, they were definitely prepared. Sarah had already decided that the community was quite beautiful but now with a blanket of snow it seemed like a picture postcard of a Christmas village from long ago. There was even a wooden wagon with red painted wheels going down the road pulled by two large chocolate brown horses, it was all very picturesque.”
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.”
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…
My mind has been reflecting on Christmases past. There have been wonderfully happy times that will linger in my memories throughout eternity. Watching my children reach a level of joy that could only be associated with Christmas morning, reading the story of the first Christmas to them, and of course all the covert and sneaky activities throughout the year to create the Christmas morning that will last forever.
As I reflect on those Christmases past, my thoughts drift over to the Christmases I’ve written about in New Parish. These Christmases are filled with family, large families, and Christmas traditions that have been observed in these families for generations. Sarah’s first Christmas in New Parish is as a guest in her friend Mary’s home, as she investigates maybe moving west herself – she finds a Christmas morning that will linger in her memory forever…
New Parish Coming Soon!!!
Excerpt of New Parish:
“On Christmas morning Sarah and Mary were up early because Mary said Sarah, “didn’t want to miss this!” Entering the main sitting room, it looked to Sarah like a magical place of happiness. The tree was full of colored lights and was filled to the brim with ornaments that depicted children, toys, and candy, and all sorts of Christmas happiness. The tree had been there when Sarah first arrived and she’d immediately loved it. Mary had complained that she missed the decorating and explained to Sarah that the whole family gets in on the event, they put the tree up together, place the lights together, hang the ornaments together, make homemade things like popcorn and cranberry garland together and put it on together. She’d given Sarah the whole run down on Christmas at her home.
The presents that had been added over night were covering a third of the room and there was a table with hot chocolate, marshmallows, and cool-whip. The table, with hot chocolate, made Sarah think of that “incident” she had been trying not to think of, she quickly put that out of her mind. The room looked and felt like Christmas, the best part of Christmas, you could feel it when you walked in… the kids were all filing in with excitement in their eyes and big smiles on their faces. Everyone was in their pajamas. This made Sarah think of her own childhood and the wonderful feelings she had on Christmas morning. This made her both happy and sad, as a deep longing to share this type of experience with her own children filled her heart.
Brother Michael came in last and as the kids excitedly jumped up and down pleading with him for permission to open presents he laughed and said, “Okay, have at it.” They did just that, there was a present opening frenzy the likes of which Sarah had never seen. She watched as Brother Michael slowly walked over and put his arms around two of his wives and kissed each on the cheek. Sarah smiled thinking she might like something like this, “It could really work… maybe,” she thought.”
Oh yeah, just wait till you read what happens at Christmas time in Return to New Parish… I can’t wait to share that with you too!
Going home can be wonderful, difficult, complicated, or even a great adventure. This week has been a journey of going home to see family and friends… Without getting too personal, I’ll just say this has been a great adventure! Planes, trains, and automobiles…
I guess the most complicated part has been the unexpected snow… it impaired my ability to go and see someone I dearly wanted to see. Life can be that way, unexpected things happen to change our plans… We live with those things, we learn from them, and we grow…
Excerpt from New Parish:
“Sarah’s memory of last year’s arrival continued in her mind, last year when there were shouts of “Aunt Sarah,” and nieces and nephews coming out to greet her. She wondered what the greeting would be this year. She didn’t have to wait long for her answer to that uncertain quandary. The door burst open just like last year and the usual shouts of, “Aunt Sarah,” rang out.”
“The last evening with her family was spent telling old stories and sharing new ones. Sarah told about how she and Max first met, everyone laughed, Dave laughed so hard he almost fell off the sofa.
Falling asleep that night Sarah thought, “This was nice, I’ll miss them but it’ll be good to get home. Home, she thought… home.””