Have you ever heard the expression too many irons in the fire? Meaning too many things going on at once… I’ve always been a person who likes to keep busy. Not just busy, but busy doing things that I love to be totally engaged in. The New Parish books are one of my irons in the fire and the other is Brigham Tea Magazine. Those two irons keep me very busy and very engaged. I know you haven’t seen the magazine yet, but you’re all going to love it, when I get it up and running. There are so many articles about the west – histories of people that I’m trying not to let fade away for good, places that don’t need to be forgotten, and the awesome grandeur and beauty of the real wild west that still exists.
So, I thought I’d share a few excerpts today from all my Irons in the Fire. Hope you enjoy…
“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…””
Return to New Parish:
“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 had 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 shocked 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. It was slowly sinking in, but she knew this 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 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 all the opportunities of married life.”
“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.”
Home to New Parish:
““So when’s your return flight?” Samantha asked entering Brenda’s bedroom and interrupting the moment of peaceful delight she was enjoying.
“It’s the same as I told you before, Mom, January 3rd at eleven in the morning,” Brenda returned in a we’ve already discussed this tone, and giving Wren a little scoot to get him on his way.
“Just checking,” Samantha said with raised eyebrows. “You know how I feel about you going out there.”
“Mom, I’m going to spend Christmas with my sisters, at one of my sister’s home. We’re going to have a wonderful time, and it’ll be good for the kids,” Brenda returned, trying to sound logical and ignore her Mom’s innuendo.
“As long as you and Beth come back with no plans of repeating what Sarah and Hannah did,” Samantha stated firmly.
“I’m over thirty and have four kids, Mom. Believe me, no one wants me, here or there,” Brenda sighed defeatedly and resumed packing.
“That’s not true,” Samantha stammered, looking awkwardly uncomfortable. “I’m sure you’ll find someone wonderful, here.”
“Really, Mom?” Brenda paused and looked at her mom with a very doubtful expression.
“Yes, really,” Samantha returned defensively.
Brenda sighed, shook her head and once again resumed packing. Her cell phone rang cutting off her Mom’s inquiry.
“Hello,” Brenda answered, waving her mom off.”
Passion in New Parish:
Only in the planning stages – it’s Beth’s journey to New Parish.
Brigham Tea Magazine:
When the first pioneers moved west and settled along the Arizona Strip, rations could get a bit scarce. Some reports say that the Mormons learned about Brigham Tea from friendly Indians and that it was previously called squaw tea. I don’t have any concrete evidence of how they found out about it, just that they did, and they drank it.
In our day, there are so many teas to choose from, that everyone can find something they like. I think it’s good that we have a wide variety of tea to choose from, and a wide variety of people to get to know, and wonderful places to explore. I’ve found that people gravitate toward what they like, whether it’s tea, or friends, or places. There are times when we want what’s familiar and comfortable and other times when we want to try something else, that’s new or different.
Heroes of the Past
Jacob Hamblin Part 1
In researching the people who lived out here in the wild west, back when it was very wild, I’ve found that there were many who were real life heroes, who lived lives like Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett – they were true to life characters that John Wayne would have played in his best old cowboy movies.
One of the real-life heroes that made his mark on the Arizona Strip was Jacob Hamblin. Most of the research I’m using in this series of articles is from the man himself, through James A. Little. Little spent time interviewing Jacob Hamblin and recorded what he said in text form. I find Jacob Hamblin fascinating… He was born in Salem Ohio on April 6, 1819. When he was just a few months old his family moved to another county in Ohio, Geauga, and continued the family business, farming. When he was a young man, around 17 years old, his family moved again – this time to the Wisconsin Territory in Spring Prairie. He homesteaded eighty acres of his own land there, next to his father’s homestead of the same acreage.
Pipe Springs National Monument
A while back I visited an amazing place, not too far from where I live, called Pipe Springs National Monument. The discovery of Pipe Spring by the white man, happened when Jacob Hamblin and his group of explorers found it back in 1858. I could see why explorers in the desert would be drawn to this place. It was, and is literally an oasis in the middle of the desert. It has tall trees and lots of green around. The reason for the green is the natural spring that’s been quenching the thirst of the land, Native Americans, pioneers, and many a weary traveler for as long as recorded or verbal history can tell. It’s truly like stepping back, into the past.
The first actual settlers to the area were James Witmore and his brother in law Robert McIntire, in the spring of 1863. They lived in a small dugout house near where the fort was later built. They raised cattle, until 1866 when the settlement was ended with an Indian raid that took their cattle and their lives.
A Day in the Life of a Sister Wife
The moss ladened trees of Savanah strolled through Sarah’s mind as she sat on her balcony overlooking the mesas just past the desert prairie. Her new home in Arizona was a stark contrast to her old one in Georgia. Her new life was hugely different as well. If anyone had told her a couple of years ago that she’d be married to a cowboy who’d already been married twice, she’d have told them they were nuts. Sarah chuckled to herself thinking, “Yes, Max has been married twice. But, the thing is – he’s never been divorced.” Thinking back to the day she met her sister wives, Sarah remembered that she’d liked them instantly. That like had grown into a deep love and respect very quickly,” she smiled. “The like had taken a while with Max.”
The mug of hot chocolate warmed her as she braced for impact. She knew tomorrow would be a supreme test of her “mom” skills. Both her sister wives, Myra and Del, were going to be busy and gone all day, Myra had a meeting with a local art gallery and Del was going to her pre-natal checkup and then on to do some much needed shopping. So, Sarah would have her own baby, Parley (six months old), the family toddler Annie (18 months old), and two four year olds, Mia and Rosie to take care of, along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner to prepare for the whole family, which consisted of about seventeen people, if no one brought friends home for lunch. Sarah had always liked the fact that everyone came home for lunch, it was something she looked forward to each day, her feelings about tomorrow’s lunch held a little more stress.
There are many more irons in the fire for me. I hope you’ll all enjoy the ones I’ve shared…
New Parish Available Now!
New Parish by Julie Worthington on Amazon.com –
Also available at:
Bee’s Grocery (in Centennial Park)
Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe AZ
Coming soon to many new bookstores!
There are many different types of families. The “traditional” family with a dad and mom raising a kid or two, the large family with a dad and mom and four or more kids, single moms with a few kids, or single dads with a few kids. There’s also grandparents raising grandchildren, two dads raising children, or two moms raising children, even a dad and several moms raising children. There are probably many more types of families than I’ve mentioned here, my point is that, all families are different. There’s nothing wrong with being different, America was founded on principles of being different, in many ways. Freedom to choose who we live our lives with is, (should be), an American right.
In New Parish Sarah finds very large families, these families are full of love, kindness, and caring. She sees women being happy, fulfilled, safe, and secure. She sees happy children who are nurtured, well taken care of, and bright with life. The dads might be a bit busy and tired on occasion but they seem very happy to her too.
Sarah makes lots of new friends and falls in love with the absolute beauty of the area. She thinks it could be perfect, except for that darn cowboy….
Excerpt from New Parish:
“Sarah coughed to cover an escaped giggle, her mom’s expression was completely humorous. First she looked taken aback, then she looked like she might have understood what Mary had said, then she simply looked confused.
As they emerged from the park, Sarah saw something that made her blush with excitement and a weird frustrated awkwardness that she didn’t know quite how to deal with. She didn’t want to see him, not him…
“Howdy,” Max drawled, “How’re you?” he asked as his beautiful blue eyes pierced into the depths of her soul.
Sarah found herself without the capacity to speak, it was like when she’d seen him the first time… then the rush of memory of what had happened that time came to her mind. She felt sick…
Mary came to her rescue, “Hi, Max. We’re all doing good. These are Sarah’s parents, David and Samantha Nichols.”
“Howdy,” Max smiled at them and tipped his somewhat dingy cowboy hat.”
I can’t wait to share the whole book with everyone!
There’s a lot of life that has happened on the Arizona Strip. The Native Americans, the early explorers, and the Mormon pioneers, were all a part of that life. I think they all were looking for a place to live differently, to find new ways of expanding their freedoms, knowledge, and experiences. The Arizona Strip is still full of life with new explorers and pioneers of today. It’s an amazing thing to go explore along the Honeymoon Trial, Pipe Springs, Lees Ferry, Zion’s Park, the Grand Canyon, and countless other places here.
When I visit these places it’s amazing to see that much of the natural wonders have been wisely preserved. It’s like stepping back in time, you can feel the spirit of the place and the people who walked there long ago. I love history! For me being able to visit history by going to places that haven’t changed in hundreds of years is very inspiring. Studying the history of this area through books, journals, and articles, allows me to gain a deeper understanding of how things have evolved and how the characters in my books would have evolved from the rich heritage that was, to the present day culture that exists, because of their history.
“Sarah woke early the next morning she quickly showered, dressed, and sneaked out of the house. She wanted to spend some quiet time alone this morning, to take in the beauty of the little community that was weaving its way into her heart. There was still snow around but all the walk ways were cleared away, and the snow created accents to the surrounding areas, it really gave contrast to the mountains. The sun was just starting to peek up over the horizon, there were a few clouds in the sky, which looked like it went on forever. This created the most beautiful sunrise she had ever seen. It looked like the sky was lined and smudged with pink and purple cotton candy. Sarah slowed her pace and thought, “This is really an absolutely amazingly beautiful place…””
This place, the Arizona Strip, makes an amazing and incredible setting for my books, and my adventures! I’m very much looking forward to many more adventures…
Yeah, the one everyone writes about, the Grand Canyon. There are several view points, I think I’ve been to all of them now except the one I most want to visit. The one where you can stand on a glass overlook and look straight down into the canyon… someday. I’d seen pictures before I actually visited the Grand Canyon, I remember thinking, “Yeah, that’s big, looks amazing.” Well, no, it’s not big, its huge! It’s breathtakingly humongous. It’s much more than amazing, it’s awe inspiring. No picture could ever really give you the full giganticness and grandeur of it. You really do have to experience it for yourself…
Here’s an excerpt from my book as my characters experienced the Grand Canyon:
“A few minutes more and the plane was showing them the vastness of the Grand Canyon. They all oohed and ahead as the glorious scene entered their view. The vast canyon seemed to go on forever, it was as though there were a whole mountain range within the canyon with deep ravines, cliffs, and a river. The beauty of it had Sarah and her parents repeatedly saying “oh look at that,” for the duration of the time they were above the Grand Canyon.”
This is a review from a friend, (Socrates) who’s visited the place a lot:
Reviewed May 20, 2015
Once again we returned to our favorite vantage point of this unbelievable natural wonder, Point Sublime… and once again we were amazed at the overpowering scope of its thrilling beauty. Although it requires a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle and just under two hours of slow going to reach this, the best view of the canyon, the scenery of the forest and meadows is breathtaking, wild life abundant, and only a handful of visitors to share your view… a peaceful picnic on a finger jutting out into the this awesome chasm is truly life at its most generous moment…”
As I said before pictures can’t really show the full canyon effect, but I of course took some. So here’s my feeble attempt at capturing something beyond the camera’s capacity:
Kanab UT, ever since the first time I visited this awesome place I’ve called it The Cowboy Town. There have been some amazing real and fictional cowboys roaming the streets of Kanab and the surrounding areas throughout its history. They filmed loads of old western movies there, and around there, there’s even a museum with some of the old movie sets out back to show off the history of that era. The local restaurants have signed photos of the actors who frequented their establishments hanging on the walls, well, Nedra’s does anyways. If you go to Kanab you have to go to Nedra’s and the museum, they’ll both give you some necessary history and culture of the Cowboy Town.
Kanab is also another stop along the Honeymoon trail, which I’ve been writing about lately. The fella I mentioned in my last post, Jim Emett, (that was a guide to Zane Grey), was the marshal of Kanab for a while before he went to Lees Ferry to work there. I’m learning more and more about Jim Emett, he was quite an amazing person, the kind of person legends are made of.
Because of my interest in the area, its history and Jim Emett, I’m reading Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey, (I usually stick with Louis L’Amour) I found out that Zane Grey wrote about the areas I’ve been living in and visiting and described them in some detail in this book and a couple of other books. It’s been an interesting read so far, it’s fiction of course, and he doesn’t have too many good things to say about the Mormons and their system of plural marriage but the descriptions of the area are good. He did make at least two visits out to this area, but only met a few Mormons and never lived the religion, or as far as I know experienced it except from an outside looking in with a prejudice perspective, so his point of view on that is spurious. (I think the rest of the story needs to be told on the plural marriage issue, lots has been told on one side, it’s time for the other side to emerge.) I do love his descriptors of Pipe Springs, Lees Ferry, the Grand Canyon, and the surrounding areas, though. He used the experiences he had in this wondrous place to create an amazing setting for his book.
In my books I try to infuse my characters with the real life experiences that have been so inspiring to me, both out here and back home in Georgia and Tennessee. I think a writer should write about what they know or have experienced, it fills the story with life. It also gives the writer some pretty great adventures…
Every year in Kanab they have what the locals call Cowboy Days. I’ve watched as the wagon train came in from the long ride. It was wonderful to watch and experience, actually going out on the trail and doing that must be so incredible, I can only imagine… The link below will show you what things are like during those Cowboy Days.
The trail ride:
A few pictures from my adventures…