Tag Archive | polygamy

Colorful Characters

In life we meet many people, some stand out, others blend in. Colorful characters are ones we always remember, they don’t necessarily have to be bold and flamboyant, but often are very memorable in some way. Throughout my life I’ve met many people who have been memorable, some I’ve met in person, some I’ve met through other mediums such as literature, film, or stories told by people I know. I think the ones that have been memorable to me are the ones who I can connect with on some level, be that level humor, or emotion, or like circumstances. No matter what brings that memorable connection we all find colorful characters in our lives. In my book New Parish, there are a few memorable characters that I’ve connected with, I hope all of you will too when you read the book – very soon!

One of my favorite characters in New Parish is Uncle Alex. He’s definitely a colorful character in this book and plays a very large role in the next book, Return to New Parish.  He’s one of those people when you meet him you never quite forget him for many reasons. He’s got a lot of depth that isn’t always available at first sight. He’s a person who lives life full on, come heck or high water he’s going to be himself whether anyone likes it or not.

 

New Parish Coming Very Soon!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Mary shrugged an ‘I have no clue shrug’ and said, “Hey do you want to go on the hayride? Looks like they’re getting the first one ready.”

            “Oh, yeah, sure,” Sarah said, “I’ve never been on a hayride before.”

            “I love them!” Mary said excitedly as they both sat their plates down for later and quickly walked toward the barn where people were climbing onboard the wagon.

            When they reached the wagon a very jovial voice said, “Well, hello there little Mary!”

            “Hi, Uncle Alex!” Mary returned smiling brightly at the man.

            “Who’s this pretty little filly with you?” asked Uncle Alex.

            Mary laughed and said, “This is my friend Sarah.”

            “Howdy ma’am,” Uncle Alex stretched out his hand to Sarah smiling broadly beneath his mustache.

            Sarah smiled back and took his hand, “Hi.” She mentally flushed the instant thoughts of the other cowboy that came to her mind when she heard Uncle Alex say ‘howdy ma’am and did her best to not let that interfere with her meeting this cowboy, and the impending fun.

            “You sure are a pretty little thing,” he smiled at her looking her up and down.

            Sarah blushed a bit, but recovered quickly, “Thank you, you’re not so bad yourself,” she returned the tease, looking him up and down. He was tall and slender, wearing a brown leather jacket with fringe, jeans, a leather belt with a large silver and turquoise buckle, a black cowboy hat with a silver and turquoise band, and black cowboy boots. He had 70/40 silver hair ratio with blue eyes that somehow reminded her of that cowboy she was trying very hard not to think of.

            Uncle Alex laughed loudly and said, “I like you.””

Letter to a Friend

Dear Friend,

I’d like to tell you about my new book, New Parish. It’s a literary fiction, romantic comedy, about a young southern woman, Sarah, who feels like life is passing her by – well the life she wants to have.

Sarah is of course full of southern sass, spunk, and moxie, which comes out often throughout the story. Her independent nature has her living in the big city of Atlanta, working in her dream job, and doing volunteer work at a children’s center. She has almost everything she wants, she’s near enough to go visit her family whenever she wants – in Savannah, she loves kids and gets to play with them on a regular basis – at the children’s center, her dream job is as a graphic artist for a large publishing company – working on children’s books, lets her work from home. What she doesn’t have is a wonderful husband, and awesome children of her own… this becomes more and more of a bother to her as she gets into her later 20’s.

She’s dated, a lot! But hasn’t been able to find a decent guy to spend her life with… yet. She gave up on a knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse to rescue her long ago. She just wants someone nice, genuine, and not afraid to commit to a long term relationship.

Any who… her new friend Mary tells her about an option she hadn’t thought of before. Sarah goes from wondering if this new option is something she could really consider to wondering about her sanity for even thinking about it.

Hope you like my book… hope to hear from you soon…

Julie

P.S. Only about 3 more weeks till the book will be available!

 

Excerpt from New Parish:
From Chapter 5 – The Storm

            “Stepping out onto the sidewalk made her feel alive and in control, she was a kid again going out to have fun, she loved feeling this excitement. The burdens she’d been carrying were slowly abating and she was finding a calm happy place inside.

            She chose a table near the front of the very familiar restaurant and ordered the crab cake sandwich, which was what she always ordered there and quickly inhaled it. Being near the ocean always made her hungry. From her table she could see the beach and ocean beyond, something inside her longed to be there and feel the sand beneath her feet, so she didn’t linger at the restaurant.

            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.”

Wednesday Morning…

Have you ever wondered what a writer does? Sometimes, of course, they write, other times you may see them staring off into space, this is called plotting….

Whether you’re a writer or not, I hope everyone  plots out a wonderful day today 😊

Oh, yeah… New Parish Coming Very Soon!!!

Happily Ever After… Maybe

Our own happily ever after, is something we all want. It seems like some people find their happily ever after, easily, while for some of us it’s illusive and not so easy to obtain – we know what we want, but not quite how to get there, and no matter how hard we work for it, it seems just out of our reach.

From childhood up, we’ve all strived to achieve that Disney version of happily ever after, you know the one where everything works out for our good, even if it’s not what we envisioned for our lives. Our happily ever after can be love, or family, or wealth, or a dream job… Happily ever after is different for everyone.

Even though some happily ever afters can work out just the way we thought they would, with everything we thought we’d have – sometimes happily ever afters can take us on a different path that we have to find the courage and strength to be able to accomplish… they may even demand that we go across the country and live very differently, for our happily ever after to come true…

In my book New Parish, Sarah has to dig deep to find the courage she needs to give her happily ever after a chance to come true.

New Parish Coming Very Soon!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“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.”

When a Plan Comes Together

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? In life sometimes, it feels like we spend most of our time waiting for something to happen, (yes, I just wrote about waiting), but when it all starts happening it gets exciting.

My book New Parish will be ready in a couple of weeks, and so will the first issue of my magazine! I didn’t plan it that way, but I’m glad its worked out the way it has. Its been a long wait and a lot of work! But it’s finally coming together…

In my book New Parish Sarah feels the same way when things finally start working out for her, she waited a long time and worked hard to make her dreams come true. Things didn’t happen exactly the way she’d planned, but dreams are funny like that.

New Parish Coming Very Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

            “Sarah emerged from her thoughts about an hour away from Atlanta, “Call Brother Michael,” she instructed her cell phone. It obeyed, and she could hear the phone ringing almost immediately.

            After the third ring she heard the familiar voice of Brother Michael, “Hello, Sarah. How are you this fine day?”

            She laughed at his wonderful, friendly, charming voice, “I’m doing great! How are you?”

            “Always awesome!” he replied.

            Sarah laughed again, he was like a breath of fresh air after the weekend she’d spent and the conversation she’d had with her parents.

            “I’ve made my decision,” she said very seriously, the laughter had stopped now, Brother Michael was silent on the other end of the line waiting for her to continue. “I’m coming back out there, I want to do plural marriage,” she finished and waited for him to reply.

            “Are you sure? Did you pray about this?” he asked her with a very somber tone to his voice.

            “Yes, and yes,” Sarah said earnestly. “I’ve struggled with this decision since I left New Parish. I went to the beach this weekend to think about it without any distractions so I could make my decision. I’ve made it now, I don’t have any doubts, I’m ready to do this.”

            “Okay, then,” Brother Michael’s voice lightened a bit, “What’s your plan on getting out here?””

Waiting…

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.”

Life is like a scrap book…

We’re always building our lives, tweaking them, rebuilding them, adding things that make them better, removing things that we no longer need… Like life, making a scrapbook can be challenging and fun, it allows us to see with a unique perspective the things that are important to us at different times in our lives. We not only place pictures in our scrapbooks but also mementos that remind us of special times, or activities, or places that are important to us. Whether it’s making a scrapbook or living our lives we are drawn to what we love, what we want, and what will make us happy. Tweaking our lives or our scrapbooks is always a bit of work, okay, sometimes a lot of work, but in the end, we end up with something that we love…

In New Parish, Sarah doesn’t make a scrapbook per se, but in her scrapbook of life she’s making some big changes that gives her a unique perspective, and that she hopes will be just the right tweak…

Where will Sarah find a place to put her new life’s picture? In New Parish, of course!

 

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

“Sarah nodded again, listening intently to what Brother Michael was saying.

            “The last thing I want to suggest to you is to take some time to ponder and pray about this decision. This is your life. Is this really what you want for your life? This lifestyle has many blessings but it can also be considered a curse to those who don’t have the capacity to accept it in all its varied and sometimes complicated components. I want you to understand that I only want the best for you. If this is truly what you want to do, then I’ll do everything in my power to make it happen for you. But, if you have doubts about it, then take the time to find the answers you need to put those doubts to rest, before you make your decision. Okay?”

            Still nodding Sarah said, “Yes, and thanks for helping me, and for letting me come out here and stay in your home, with your family.”

            “You’re very welcome,” Brother Michael said with a smile and a wink, “I’ve got nothing to hide… really.””

Heroes and Villains

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…”

The Game

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a huge NBA fan. I have players and teams that I like, and some I don’t. The meter by which I measure the players is by their skill and finesse in playing the game. Some of the most skillful players don’t always win the game, but they always walk away with their honor intact. When playing the game with integrity, even if you don’t win the game, you don’t have to look back and wish you’d not done something… that doesn’t mean you can’t be bold and courageous on the court, it just means that you don’t have to hurt someone else to achieve your goals. To me skill and finesse is much preferred to playing dirty. The old saying, “Life is what you make it,” is true, we can live our lives and play the game with honor, or without… either way it’s what we make it.

I think life is a lot like basketball, it’s an exhilarating adventure that we’re all on… we can choose to play with integrity, or commit fouls… but at the end of the game we all have to live the life we’ve made. We can walk away with our honor intact or wishing we’d done better.

In my book New Parish there’s no basketball, but there are people living their lives with integrity, or at least doing their best, to do their best. Sarah finds new friends who’ve learned that it’s better to help others along their way than to stick a foot out to trip them as they go by. She finds people who are willing to work hard instead of cheat their way to the hoop – and people who help you up instead of kicking you when you’re down. She even finds a new team to be a part of, a team where she can not only fulfill her own dreams but help others make their dreams come true too. Even though there’s no basketball in New Parish there’s lots of game and plenty of adventure.

New Parish Coming Soon!!!!!!

Excerpt from New Parish:

““So can I ask you guys some questions about plural marriage? I need to know the whole story, warts and all,” Sarah almost pleaded with Susan.

            “Sure, just give me a few minutes to set things up,” Susan replied. She busied herself with gathering dishes and food, all these were placed on the large island in the kitchen. “This is how we do it,” Susan smiled at Sarah who was watching her actions in bewildered silence. There were brownies, ice cream, cupcakes, and cookies covering the top of the island now, with dishes at each corner, “Okay, we’ve got all the essentials for “girl talk,” Susan said as she completed her task.

            Sarah laughed and thought, “Yeah, after getting to know them, this fits them exactly.”

            Susan sent a text to her sister wives and Mary and soon everyone was entering the kitchen wondering what the “girl talk” session was about. “Sarah wants the low down on plural marriage,” explained Susan grabbing a brownie and sitting on one of the high stools around the island, “Warts and all.” They all laughed and gathered around the sugar smorgasbord.

              Sarah smiled and asked, “Has it always been this way? You all seem so happy… What about jealousy? Do you get jealous? How do you deal with it? How does Brother Michael deal with it?””

If you want the answers to Sarah’s questions, you have to read the book… which is coming soon!

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.”