Friday, December 30, 2011

Territorial - Responsibility - Secrets

The goddess Ebony misses her beads will they be returned before its too late?

We are, by nature, territorial. Our living space depends on our status which depends on our country, state, town and even the environmental conditions such as weather.

As I watched the bird feeder stations outside my panoramic kitchen window I observed the territorial activity of the early morning feeders, creatures of nature, free from rules--or are they?

A gray squirrel seemed almost frightened about the rabbit while both were engaged in eating the sunflower seeds the birds had pushed out of the other feeders. A huge black crow sauntered down the road bed sorting through and feeding on pedestrian-tossed leftovers. I use the term pedestrians loosely—the walker, jogger, bicyclist and various modes of propelled vehicular transportation populated by humans who, with careless disregard for the rights of others, tossed whatever half-eaten, half-drunk morsels or super sized portions they no longer needed or wanted. 

We have no street cleaners in this small-town, rural community so it is left until home owner/me or the crows, mice, voles, ground squirrels and/or an array of other scavengers see fit to take off with it or dispose of it. I go from enjoying view to my ruffled feathers over other people's lack of concern, or is it responsibility, for my territory – my space. 

Whether it's setting as the background for a fictional story or our own reality we have certain expectations about setting and the things that influence those conditions.

There are countries where you are not allowed to own the land. 

When Native American's were first encountered in America, the concept of owning land was against their beliefs. Some cultures still adhere to that belief. That doesn't give anyone license to use the land and resources irresponsibly. Quite the opposite. It means everyone is responsible for every last inch of space the Universe encompasses, from land to water, and the air one breathes.  Isn't that a better way to look at our territorial rights? 

Could you build a story around a setting with this mind set?  Where universal ownership results in a new kind of manifest destiny—a shared pride in and code of ethics for survival and well being of all?

Of course, there are still territorial issues. Some people are very uncomfortable when another invades their space, their territory, with in-your-face closeness. We are still territorial as are the creatures in nature.

Check out this book it talks of territorial rights in a different way-- anywhere you buy your books even Amazon Kindle HERE

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The First Rule of Creativity

Amazon Buy Link
The first rule according to Kurt Vonnegut is Do not use the semicolon. He adds this reason, "...they are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."
In case you don't know what hermaphrodites are - according to the Oxford English Dictionary they are representing themselves as Male and Female - so as with Vonnegut's quote they are nothing - even while they seem to be everything.

The rule of thumb is if MS Word puts in a semicolon rework your writing into shorter sentences--single idea, single topic, simple sentence. Which is always much more affective than a complex multidimensional sentence. Noun + action is the preferred concept.

So spare the semicolon and raise good sentences.
Do you agree with Mr. Vonnegut?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spice It Up, Creativity From The Kitchen - Spice Up Your Writing, Write to Entice

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Instructor: Billie Williams. There's nothing worse than bland-as-oatmeal writing that doesn't evoke passion, laughter, anger, love…some kind of emotion from your reader. Story tellers who don't elicit emotion won't gain an avid readership. It's that simple.

If you've struggled, wondering how you can get your writing to sparkle like a new penny, or a just cleaned window, learn to see everything as a metaphor for your writing. Start by looking in your spice cabinet, or your herb garden with a fresh perspective.

Garlic, Life Saving but distancing

Easier to write from this perspective but it puts your reader at arm's length--remember readers want to feel, experience, get to be friends with your main character so they can help him/her escape the villains wrath.

Sage, Advice
Sage has several meanings from wise advice to healing properties - what does sage mean to your story? We'll explore.

Basil, The flavor of language, dialect, cultures
Ah Basil - language - should you use dialect in your dialogue? How do you show culture if not through language?

Lavender, Relax feel the flow--in sync [Chat here with a book giveaway as well as a book giveaway at the end]In the flow, relax, meditate let things go where they may--don't lose site of the big picture but let your writing flow with a rhythm and cadence only you can create. Here's how.

Mace, Caustic, self defense, breaking the rules

An irritant chemical, a heavy club with a metal head and spikes - what could these possibly have to do with writing you ask..follow me--it's all about rules.

All Spice, Apple pie or American Graffiti

All Spice is for cookies and more from on genre to another all spice imparts its unique twist, it's unique flavor to your manuscript--your voice. We'll explore more.

Appendix: Handouts, "How to Hook A Reader", "Beginnings to the Work Day By the Masters"

WHEN: Jan 2, 2012 - Feb 19, 2012

COST: $15 for Premium Members

$25 for Basic Members

Cancellation policy: Registrations are non-refundable except when the workshop is cancelled by Savvy Authors.

REGISTRATION: Click Here to Register (Members will not receive member rate unless logged in.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mystery or Horror? Bram Stoker's Dracula

Dracula, by Bram Stoker was first published in 1897 when he was 50 years
Bram Stoker author of Draculaold. He died in 1912 at the age of 65 (according to .

While reading Dracula, I decided it is a good  mystery.

What qualifies it as a mystery? Every genre has the potential to be included in the mystery genre. To qualify as a mystery the story needs certain considerations: A crime, a secret, a detective, suspense and an orderly resolution.

A crime, either the death of Lucy Westener early in the book, or any of the other deaths in the book would qualify. 

A secret---there are plenty of those, even those between Jonathan Harker and his wife Mina who promised never to keep anything from each other. Dr. Seward is the best secret keeper, but the others --each hold something back.

A detective, I think Mina Harker is the best detectives in the book. She is brilliant, and even when under the spell of the monster Count Dracula, she reasons, plots, and delivers the necessary clues.

There are four others (her husband Jonathan), Dr. Seward, Professor Godalming, Mr. Van Helsing, and Arthur Qunicy also plays a part of the detecting crew.Their names intrigue me. The define them.

Suspense, oh yes, there is a whole boatload of suspense here. As to the orderly resolution...
We are taken round trip from Transylvania and back to Transylvania with the original Dracula and his first adversary Jonathan Harker.

Yes, Dracula is a very credible mystery dressed in the clothing of a well plotted horror story. Don't you agree?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Agatha Christie - Contract snafu

The years 1920-1945 were considered the Golden age of British Mysteries, according to John Curran in his book Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, 2009. The queen of those mysteries was Agatha Christie. Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affairs at Styles, took five years from book contract to being published in the UK. The book contract specified she would not receive any pay until 2,000 copies of the book had sold. After that she would get a 10% royalty. That wasn't the only condition though, she was commissioned to write five more novels in the same vein.

Talk about being taken advantage of, luckily Christie learned fast and was assertive. She designed her own contract in subsequent deals and the rest as they say is classic Christie.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Please answer a question for me...

Hi Blog Readers,
 Comments have been severely lacking on the story Painted Pony if anyone is reading it would you please let me know by at least a yes in the comment box - I have another chapter to post but I'm reluctant to put it out there if no one is reading it anyway. So if you are - comment in the comment box Please. Thanks If you do I will put your name in for a drawing for one of my books - your choice - download only. Shout out if you're reading.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Painted Pony Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

While Jamie is in the kitchen getting more coffee together for their guests, she listens to the retelling of some funny details of life before modern technology. Jamie enjoyed the congenial banter, but her mind tried to sort through Courtney’s off the wall behavior. It seemed she always went against the grain.

Sheriff Hale’s appearance drew her back to the present. “Thought you might need a hand,” he said loud enough for the others to assume that was his mission. He pulled Jamie to the far corner of the room, effectively, out of the earshot of the others.

“Be careful of Courtney. Watch your back where she is concerned. I know she’s connected to those we suspect are involved with the marijuana grow. They’ve all been on our radar for a while. Getting evidence –rock solid evidence is the hard part. You could be in a lot of danger, just because of Courtney’s involvement.”

A chill surrounded Jamie and then faded. “She’s my sister. Courtney wouldn’t…” That lie refused see the light of day. Jamie remembered other times when that wasn’t true, not even slightly. When it interfered with what Courtney wanted, no one and nothing was off limits. “I’ll be careful. Do you really think these men or people are dangerous? I mean it’s just marijuana. “

Sheriff Hale’s look turned incredulous, and his shoulders slumped ever so slightly. “It’s illegal.”

“I didn’t mean—I mean-- I know it’s illegal, and sometimes leads to the need for stronger drugs. I really only wondered how important this was to whoever is growing it.”

"Money always speaks loudest. Louder, even, than family or clan connections."

Deep inside Jamie knew what Sheriff Hale meant with everything else in a slump economically—always quick and easy money makers hedged the bets for those who could make it work. "Thank, I'll be careful."

"Well I better get back to doing my job before somebody thinks I'm asleep at the wheel."

Sheriff Hale said his goodbyes—the gaiety of a few minutes before seemed to follow him out the door.

"I better go tend to cattle business and see if there's anything else these guys need from me." BJ plucked his black cowboy hat off the hook by the door.

I thought the good guys wore white hats.

"Glad to see you're back home Jamie, really." BJ flashed her that infectious smile that threatened to make her like him.

She smiled back. Would liking him be a bad thing?

"I'll help you unload your trailer when you're ready."

BJ was turning into quite the gentleman. Maybe his arrogance was all in her perception. "Appreciate that. It can wait until tomorrow." Besides with all the commotion over the grow BJ had more pressing things to attend to.

Jamie picked up empty coffee cups and dessert plates to take to the kitchen. Ben followed with creamer and sugar containers. Soon, they had the kitchen and dining area back to normal order.

"I think I'll grab a few minutes of a catnap a 'fore I begin supper."

Ben looked so tired. Jamie wasn't at all surprised. The tranquil ranch atmosphere had been shattered of late. Not just the marijuana grow, the cut fences, missing cattle, life had taken on an edge Ben wasn't used to and Jamie didn't like.

"I think I'll do the same. It was a long drive and now this." Jamie brushed perplexion and angst away with fluttering fingers toward the outside.

"I'm sure sorry missy." Ben's face furrowed with age old concern.

"It's not a reflection on you Ben. It's just a sign of the troubled times we live in." She gave Ben a hug. "You go rest. Ther4e's nothing you could have done differently."

"Hell, missy, I wouldn't a knowed it was anything but a new kind of weed, if I had seen it."

Jamie kissed Ben's cheek. "I know, go rest."

Ben's referring to the grow as weeds nearly made her laugh. How our language has changed. Words morph into whole new meanings before we can say…

Jamie made her way down the hall to her room. It was more than a room, more like a suite in a grand motel, she mused as she opened the door. It had signatures of her from an earlier time. The shelf with her American Girl collection gathered dust, she would remedy that in short order. It was only now she remembered the painted pony. He was part of her collection of American Girl props, and now—how odd. Is that why she saw the vision of—no, she had led Jamie to the Elder's council fire. She was real. She had followed Jamie back to the ranch.

The ribbon shirt that waited for her at the council fire with the elders hung in her closet now when she opened the door. The ribbon shirt form her youth, revived and looking brand new. Hers had long since been relegated to the storage room in the attic, she thought and then remembered. The shirt, faded, the ribbons ready to come free from the cloth. She had kept the shirt boxed, but with her in college. Then it disappeared in one of her many hasty moves.

The ribbon shirt, this ribbon shirt, was brand new, an exact replica of the old. Jamie brushed a hand lovingly over the shirt. Memories stirred in her. She took the shirt from the hanger and hugged it to her. She could hear the heartbeat of the drum and the singers as if they were in the room with her. She walked ot the window where the view of the LaPlata Mountains rose in an ever changing panorama as shadows from the clouds raced from west to east. The mountains held mystery and intrigue for Jamie. As you can never step in the same river twice, you never see the same mountains twice.

They represented both protection and isolation, comfort in their strength, but danger as well. Mountains, obstacles, or barrier to the onslaught of the uncivilized trouble filled world. As Jamie stood admiring and contemplating all the ways those mountains had influenced her, the painted pony trotted into her line of vision.

Jamie startled, mesmerized by the pony's grace and beauty. Protector or bearer of a summons from her ancestors? Did the elders call, wanting her to follow the painted pony again?

What would the elders say about the illegal grow? What would her father say? Jamie slipped into the ribbon shirt and quietly slipped out of the house so as not to disturb Ben. As she walked to the barn Daisy darted to the paddock where Jamie usually saddled her. Do horses have their own silent language? She never heard a whinny or a snort, no vocalization from either horse, but here was Daisy. Perhaps, Daisy saw her coming and with all the commotion wanted to run to dispel her agitation. Jamie looked up as she saddled Daisy and led her out through the corral gate. Daisy waited impatiently while Jamie closed the gate. No one else appeared. She reasoned the hands were with BJ and or the FBI agents securing the grow field.

Jamie searched the landscape for the Painted Pony. She reared, catching Jamie's attention and Daisy's too, as Daisy danced impatiently, waiting to be nudged into flight. Jamie gently, nudged her heels into Daisy's sides and tipped the reins touching Daisy's left side of her neck. Her response was immediate and spirited. Daisy took a couple steps to the right and then broke into a gallop. Jamie saw the Painted Pony strike out ahead of them.

Daisy seemed to know her target and Jamie was a passenger to a phenomenal experience. She never doubted for a minute where her journey would conclude. She could already smell the council fire and hear the drums. The hills blurred into a mist shrouded valley. Suddenly, as quickly as she started Daisy bounced to a straight-legged stop. Jamie saw the elders around the drum and the council fire.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight
(It's long because I've missed writing this story will I concentrate on my novel for NaNoWriMo. Now that that is finished I hope to get up dates here on time. Thanks for your patience. Any comments or questions are always welcome. Billie)

So much tension, Jamie watched Ben carefully. Was he strong enough for this? He, for sure, had always been stalwart and like the beacon on a stormy sea, you could always count on being there when you needed him. There was only so much a person could shoulder and Ben had seen his share lately. Since her father's death, Jamie could feel Ben slipping away, getting older and aging in more ways than just the number of his years.

"I'm here now. I'll stay, at least until we get this all under wraps. Now, where did that nephew of yours get to?" Jamie was more curious than ever. Would Ben's favorite nephew turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble?

"He's out there." Ben waved his hand toward the door. "He's keepin them company so they don't do somethin stupid to make us lose more cattle. I tell ya missy, lately, if it ain't the four legged coyotes it’s the two legged variety." It seemed Ben retreated into himself again.

Jamie wondered out loud. "Why didn't you call me if there was so much trouble?"

Ben melted into his chair. "Since when does a grown man go cryin fer hep over a few miserable outlaws? That's what they is ya know—outlaws."

It was obvious Ben thought the battle was his. He always did look at her as a girl—a girl child, no less. Hadn't he noticed she had grown up more than capable of handling her share of trouble? Jamie sat on the arm of the chair and draped an arm around Ben's shoulders.

"They think the law was made for Joe Schmo, not them."

Jamie could tell Ben's hackles were bristling. He wasn't one to let law breakers get away with it. But, Jamie didn't want Ben to have a heart attack over it. "I think you and BJ did what had to be done. Sheriff Hale and his men will get to the bottom of this."

As if on cue the door opened and BJ and Sheriff Hale came in deep in conversation, which stopped when BJ saw his uncle so drawn and worried. "Hey Unc—it's all going to be fine. We'll get that field plowed and re-seeded for free." He winked at Jamie.

While she was glad to see his spirits allowed for joking and levity, she wasn't pleased with his something for nothing attitude, perhaps he just did it to lighten the load for his Uncle Ben. Jamie hoped that was the case instead of what she thought.

Sheriff Hale interrupted BJ's jovial spiel. "I need to bring some equipment out to do that Ben." He looked from him to Jamie and back again. "One of you needs to sign the paper work so I can."

Ben patted Jamie's knee. "I'm jist the hired hep here. Miss Jamie is the boss."

Jamie smiled. She's never felt like the boss here. Partner, maybe, boss, never. She couldn't understand why her father didn't leave the ranch to Ben. "Sure, I'll sign, but don't let him fool you, he really is the boss. I'm just a city slicker glad for a little country R & R time, occasionally."

Everyone laughed. Jamie especially liked BJ's laugh. He reminded Jamie of a much younger Ben. Anyone could tell they were kin. It was good to see Ben's spirits brighten. He had, had enough trouble.

When Courtney burst through the door Jamie knew she was just more of the same kind of trouble she was trying to protect Ben from. It never failed if there was any trouble around Courtney was part of it. She sauntered over to the group and hung an arm over Sheriff Hale's shoulder. Jamie thought she detected Sheriff Hale's cringe. "Lookie what we got us here. A meetin of the minds, or is it—oh never mind. What'd ya do this time Ben? You got enough law out there ta start a posse." She threw her head back and cackled at her joke.

Courtney slithered over to BJ. "Or, was it this bad boy who brought them in?" She traced a button on BJ's shirt, hanging on him like a bad odor; she acted as if they were lovers.

Had they been connected since Jamie left? She knew how quickly Courtney could zero in on what she wanted. And, she usually got what she wanted, one way or another.

BJ shook her loose. "I'm thinkin it was more your style of trouble that brought them here."

Ouch, Jamie thought, no one dared talk to Courtney like that without paying for it. Everyone tiptoed and cajoled the spoiled little brat. Jamie suppressed a laugh.

"Aw, the rooster's got his tail feathers singed. So, what's the big deal?" Courtney plopped down on the couch stringing her bubble gum out of her mouth with an index finger and then working a cat's cradle of sorts out of it while everyone watched.

The center of attention always, one way or another, Courtney made sure of that. Jamie waited as it seemed the others did for Sheriff Hale to tell her what he wanted her to know.

"I'm sorry. Can't give you any details just yet. Ongoing investigation and all you know."

Now Courtney took affront. Her anger blew her off the couch as she went toe to toe with Sheriff Hale. She pointed a manicured and detailed red polished finger into his chest. "Listen mister—I am part owner of this blamed acreage if you're on my land, I better know the reason why."

Jamie moved to intercede. Sheriff Hale grabbed Courtney's accusing finger from his chest and moved his face within inches of hers. "Insults will get you a cell with no view. As far as I'm concerned you are an absentee land lord. The people who maintain this place have been notified. I will caution them not to divulge the contents of our investigation to anyone—including—you." He released her hand and stood stock still glaring at her.

For a long cold minute Courtney froze her glare was full of fire and Jamie could nearly feel the ice coursing through her sister's veins. She held her breath—Courtney jerked her finger form Sheriff Hale and spun like a whirling dervish including them all in the venom that spewed from her mouth. "You'll all pay!"

Though her words were nothing more than a loud whisper, she spit them out with such force they all sat paralyzed as Courtney fired toward the door. She turned long enough to glare at Jamie, point at her as if her hand had become a pistol and Courtney was going to pull the trigger. "You—City girl--," she turned and bolted out the door.

It was as though she sucked the air from the room with her. A feeling Jamie had once when she had to escape from the barn being consumed by fire while Jamie tried to get all the horses out—the fire used up all the oxygen, just like Courtney did.

"Whoa, that was some fire ball." BJ was the first to speak in Courtney's wake. "Is she always that charming?"

"Sometimes even worse." Sheriff Hale said shaking his head. "She's a piece of work. Hard to believe she's part of…" He swallowed his words.

Jamie knew Sheriff Hale wouldn't insult one family member to another, no matter what he thought, it wasn't his style. Ben just sat. IT was as if Courtney's display had drained the life out of him.

"She'll get over it. She's always had a short fuse." Jamie couldn't stand the tension Courtney always left in her path.

Ben slapped the chair arm and bounded to his feet. "Let's have us some coffee. I got fresh baked apple pie ta go with it." His energy returned as he made his way to the kitchen. The relief was almost palpable. Courtney was an entity whose influence faded on the surface, but burrowed under the skin and festered like an open sore. Jamie was glad to have her attention diverted, while Courtney's final words singed her mind. What evil would she conjure next?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chapter Seven

[Actually the last chapter was chapter Six this is the REAL chapter Seven]

Chapter Seven

Jamie was allowed into the property, not that anyone, but the rookie questioned her right to. She needed to get to Ben, hear from him, what he was thinking.

"I'll come in and talk to you and Ben soon as I corral these bees and move them out." Sherriff Hale waved a hand toward the army of the various law enforcement personnel.

Jamie knew they would leave a few to watch the grow until they could harvest it, and plow under any roots—at least she assumed they would. They wouldn't dare burn it. She almost chuckled at that thought. Depending on the wind direction, a bunch of happy folks wasn't necessarily a bad thing…she groaned at her private joke, must be the drive made me slap happy.

Ben sat slouched in his favorite thread-bare easy chair. He didn't look relaxed or comfortable. He jolted to his feet when she entered. His face went from happy recognition to overwhelm with the shadows of trouble. He held his hands out to her.

She didn't know what to say to comfort him, instead she wrapped her arms around him and just held on. "What a mess, hey?" She said finally as she released her grip. Ben backed away nodding his head.

Certainly is missy, and I—" He slumped back into his chair leaving the sentence hanging like laundry on a clothes line blowing in the wind.

"I don't know, I never seen, this mari—weed—whatever –growin. In all my years, I never—well, you know."

"I certainly do know Ben." She sat on the arm of the easy chair and draped an arm over his shoulders. "They'll figure it out. Don't you worry."

Jamie could see slight relief in his demeanor, but he was going to worry. That's what Ben did was worry over everything until he had it resolved to his satisfaction.

:Who found it?" Jamie asked the question she had been wondering since she arrived.

Ben stood up again. This time he began pacing, pinching his lips between forefinger and thumb. "How would he know what it was?" He questioned, the question burned in his eyes a she stared through Jamie—for some unknown answers.

"Who?" Jamie felt she already knew, but where was his nephew if he was part of the investigation?

"B.J. He's the one done found it. He was riding fences, checking the ditches—He--." Ben stopped and turned to gaze out the window. Lost in his own thoughts.

"Where is B.J. now?" Jamie wanted to know if he turned in the find, how could he leave his uncle to face the music alone—BJ wasn't stupid—arrogant maybe, but not stupid she decided.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chapter Seven

The Painted Pony Chapter Seven

Jamie questioned her choice of friends as she drove to the family ranch. Why did she choose those like, Donna, with clairvoyant –seer tendencies? Suppose it was partly because of her own tendency to see—what wasn't visible to most. Donna saw danger for her both from a familiar person and a stranger. She did say a familiar person, not a "familiar," didn't she? There's a world of difference in what she said…Now Jamie questioned herself and her memory. I must learn to listen better and not assume.

Courtney was familiar person and always an explosive link in her life. When she wasn't involved in Jamie's life it was a good thing, but Jamie knew, if she returned to the res and the ranch there would be trouble with Courtney. There always was. That was a given.

More pleasant things crowded out those worry thoughts. Arrogant, but interesting, Ben's Grandson. The fact that he wasn't impressed by Courtney's flirting moved him u a notch in Jamie's book. Well, he was only temporary anyway and he'd probably be gone by the time she got back to the ranch.

Ben confided in her that he worried about some of the goings on at the ranch property, cutting fences was only one of them. The small herd of horses and the few cattle, no one should bother with. They certainly weren't worth rustling, not to someone looking for quick cash. So why cut fences?

Jamie was certain it wasn't rustlers, but what then?

She had a feeling she was about to find out as she pulled in to the ranch to see squad cars, troopers in uniform and some men in suits gathered around the bunk house. Where was Ben? Immediately her mind worried over his safety and well-being.

A deputy approached her truck a she slowed the truck and U-haul trailer to a stop. Ben hadn't indicated there was any trouble when she called him to tell him her plans to come back home.

The officer motioned for her to roll her window down. She obeyed without turning the engine off.

"No one is allowed on the premises, a police matter here." He motioned behind him to the men milling around the bunkhouse.

He was abrupt, a rookie showing his power to control. Jamie smiled. She recognized the rooster strut of new hires. "It's okay. I'm the owner. I'm moving back here." She pointed to the U-haul that had a large percentage of her worldly good in it.

Sheriff Ludwick (Ludy to the locals) Hale approached as she tried to reason with the rookie. Jamie smiled at Ludy. "What's up Lucy? Did Ben rob a bank?"

Sherriff Ludy ticked the brim of his hat as a salutation. "Good to see you Jamie." He waved the rookie away. The rookie laced his fingers into his belt and backed off; he didn't wilt, just stood as if on guard to protect his superior. Jamie found the display amusing, but what brought out this entourage of law concerned her more.

The suits definitely were FBI and that wasn't unusual, reservations were treated like a foreign entity, a sovereign nation when it came to law enforcement. Jamie knew this, but why they were here puzzled her.

Sheriff Hale leaned his elbows on the open window. "Discovered a marijuana grow back there."He indicated a region toward the mountain range that bordered the ranch to the North West.

Jamie glanced in that direction and saw J.C. Cole the tribal police chief headed her way. She pulled on the latch to open the truck door and Sherriff Ludy straightened up pulling the door with him.

"Where's Ben," Jamie directed her question to J.C. She didn't like him. He was the type of man who could be bought and often looked the other way when trouble surfaced.

JC shrugged. "Settin warm and cozy in his livin room I 'magin."

Jamie wanted to reach out and smack him. He never grew up. He was always a bully, all through school and continued to think he could get away with it.

She turned to face Sherriff Hale. "You know Ben would never knowingly allow this to happen."

"Well he did," JC fairly gloated.

She ignored him and waited for Sheriff Hale to respond.

"We have to investigate all angles, but I'm as sure as you are that Ben wouldn't have allowed this."

She studied Ludy Hale's face—he was holding something back. She could sense it, but what? Is Ben somehow implicated?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Printed Words: The Next Chapter - Painted Pony

Printed Words: The Next Chapter - Painted Pony

The Next Chapter - Painted Pony

The Painted Pony, Chapter Five
Jamie sat in her office feeling like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. What was Courtney involved in that made her so hateful?  It was hard to imagine the poverty and disruption on the reservation since she had last visited. When her father was alive none of this was going on, now…

Her thoughts were interrupted by a customer entering the store. Herbal tonics and information seemed to be much in demand today. Maybe it wasn’t just her world that was in serious need of intervention, of fixing. The interaction with customers allowed her mind to be consumed with their problems instead of her own. It was lunch time before she realized it. 

If she hoped to have her friend take over the business for the next month so she could go back to the reservation and try to help correct what was happening, she needed to do that today.   Donna had expressed an interest in doing just that for some time now, it would be a good opportunity for her to really get involved and decide if she wanted to open her own store as part of Jamie’s chain. The other managers could handle what they had for a month. They had already proven that to Jamie’s satisfaction.
Donna greeted her with a cheerful hug and hello. “So you need to go home for a while.”

“Actually, I call this home. But I do need to go back to Ignacio to take care of some business. I hope I will be back by Christmas.”

“Wow, that’s over a month. Are you sure?”

“I’m sure if you want to take over the store for me for that long.  It will give you some real experience and help you decide if you want to buy into a franchise with me or not.”

“That it surely would. I am convinced, I already want to. But I’d love the chance to prove I can do it to myself and you.” Donna smiled a kind of faraway glaze came into her eyes.

“Why do I feel like a but, is coming here?”

Donna turned toward her and didn’t answer right away. Her pearl gray eyes seemed even more far away as if she was reading through Jamie. 
“What, what is it?”  Jamie felt a cold sweat start in the palms of her hands. Donna had a tendency to be clairvoyant and while it was part of their attraction to each other it sometimes made Jamie very nervous. What was her friend seeing now that Jamie had failed to see about this whole situation. 

Enjoy - until  next time, I hope it won't be so long.  Mean time think about Donna - how does she fit into this mix, does she see something that Jamie doesn't -- is it possible there is more to the whole than it's collective parts so far? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chapter Four The Painted Pony

Watch For The Raven

Sitting in the old ranch kitchen with Ben, watching him work his magic with the fry bread he'd made especially for her, the world's petty troubles seemed far away and her father closer than ever. She missed him so much. Ben was as close to a second father as any could be, and they were a lot alike. Jamie could appreciate this now. 

"…Nephew comin ta hep out. Get the place ready fer winter 'n all."

Ben's smooth, mellow voice lulled her with its cadence. Nephew? Her mind grabbed the word and she pictured the lanky pain in the patoosie she remembered from earlier times. His flaming red hair, from his mother's side of course—those eyes that seemed to rivet people to the ground they were standing on. Menace, not a help, her mind said. She never really gave much thought to Ben's having relatives as they rarely visited when she was there growing up, or except for that red-headed nephew they were part of the woodwork, so to speak. She pretty much thought Ben appeared from thin air one day and was the total package, as in no relatives or significant others. 

"That'll be nice for you. Are you planning to stay the winter then?" He always had, but he looked so frail she couldn't help but wonder if maybe he should think otherwise this year. 

"Always have. Wouldn't know what else ta do. Not really inta skiin' Aspin or Vale, but love the winters here." 

Maybe his nephew could talk him into leaving. Winters here were tough even for the able bodied.

There was a short rat-tat tat on the door before it burst open and Courtney blew in like a Diablo wind. Courtney didn't acknowledge Ben as she brushed by him, spun a chair from the table so the back faced the table and straddled it in one flash move. Not giving Ben or Jamie a chance to squeeze out a word. She grabbed a piece of fry bread and tore a piece off to shove in her mouth. She looked like a painted hussy to Jamie. 

"So—how long you sitckin this time til the dust of desert sand sticks in your citified hair and you beat it to civilization again?"

Taken aback by her sudden appearance and tart manner, Jamie paused to drink in the full spectrum of a sister she no longer knew, indeed, if she ever did. Before she could respond there was another knock on the door. She and Courtney turned to see who this might be.

Ben's nephew removed his hat before he stepped over the threshold. "I'm here, Unc. " He slid by his uncle as he spotted Courtney and Jamie. After letting out a low whistle and said, "and who are these two visions?" He replaced his black hat on his equally black, full-head of hair. His blue eyes riveted Jamie to the spot. Courtney recovered way quicker than Jamie as she eyed the cowboy from his boots all the way to his six foot plus, to the crown of his hat. Courtney slithered from her chair and extended her hand. "Courtney," dripped from her overly painted lips. "Puleezed to welcome you to my father's house."

The tall stranger's eyes never left Jamie. Oh, cue the music. Jamie could feel soap opera drama smothering the scene. 

"B.J. Archer, meet Courtney and Jamie. They be Jim's daughters." Ben had closed the door and stood beside the mesmerizing BJ.

Jamie found her voice. "Hi and welcome. I hear you've come to help Ben winterize the ranch."

"Don't tell him, but I really just came for some of his vittles. Ya can't get food like this at Mc Donald's."

The air lightened with laughter, like the sunshine after a thunderstorm. Jamie's insides felt scrambled. Ben pulled plates out of the cupboard for all of them and Jamie helped him prepare to serve his meal to the sudden explosion of guests, while Courtney entertained blue-eyed BJ. This couldn't be the gangly teen she remembered, no way.  From the size of the kettle of beef stew, Jamie was certain he was expecting BJ before he showed up at the door.

Through dinner Courtney monopolized the conversation and BJ, though he kept his attention focused on Jamie. Jamie could fee his eyes on her. It made it hard for her to eat. She wished she could read minds. Especially, his mind. She also wished Courtney would evaporate or sink into a black hole and quit embarrassing herself and everyone else with her brash and distasteful swooning over BJ.
Later, much later, after Courtney had finally left and BJ retired to the bunkhouse, Jamie mulled over the impact both Courtney and BJ had had on her. Courtney was nothing but a big flirt and tease. If Damien caught her she would be in a world of hurt. Why she didn't leave that jerk Jamie couldn't figure out. He was trouble with a capital T and her dad knew it. Once Courtney turned eighteen there was no reasoning with her or stopping her.

Jamie tried to brush aside Courtney, BJ and the day to get her mind back to the council fire and the mission that seemed to be calling her. The Painted Pony had escorted her back to the ranch, but he couldn't be coaxed in for grain—she wasn't about to be corralled or confined, obviously. She never had the opportunity to ask Ben about The Painted Pony. In the morning she'd be sure to. Sleep seemed to come over her like Grandmother Nokomis pulling one of her handmade quilts over her. "Yes, morning was soon enough to ask question," Nokomis seemed to whisper.
 Watch for the Raven (Old cover will show - but the new cover, posted above, will be on the book you receive.)