Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Dream Bucket Free! December 10 is The Last Day This Year to . . .

. . . obtain a free Kindle copy of The Dream Bucket! Actually it's The Dream Bucket and Manuela Blayne in one Kindle book.

Thanks to those of you who downloaded the book yesterday. As a result Covington Chronicles III and IV, The Dream Bucket and Manuela Blayne reached an impressive spot:

Get your copy by going here: 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

My December Calendar of Countdowns

December Calendar of Countdowns
1 more day I need to shop, clean house, and prepare
2 days until the Sunday School party
2 more days to remind you to download my newest book for free:
11 days until family members come to visit
13 days until more family members come to visit
15 days until Christmas Eve
16 days until Christmas
16 days until more family members come to visit
17 days until our wedding

Some things different this Christmas

Although we try to duplicate our celebration of Christ’s birth every year, Christmas is always different.
Before I get busier with one of the most exciting Christmases I’ll ever have—our wedding with our children attending—I want to give you something.
You have today, December 9, and tomorrow, December 10, to receive it . . . two books (Covington Chronicles III and IV: The Dream Bucket, Manuela Blayneto read on your Kindle. (Maybe I’ll find something else after that to share with you.)

Trudy Cameron’s Christmas in Manuela Blayne turned into an unusual holiday she’s never forget. Here are some snippets she tells of it:
Losing my appetite, I laid my fork on my plate and closed my eyes to pray. . . . What had I done?
What good would revenge do anyway?
I wished I’d kept my mouth shut. . . . Papa took his pistol.
“Mama, could I please be excused?” I didn’t wait for her answer. I ran to my room and threw my face into my pillow. It was a relief to have a good hard cry. . . .
My door slipped open . . . . Mama walked toward my bed. She sat beside me and smoothed my hair with her gentle hand. “You worry too much, Trudy. It isn’t your responsibility to fix everything in the world.”
 “Let me brush your hair.”
“I love my new stuff.” I passed my hands over the shiny gifts. The main present I received for Christmas was a silver dresser set, which included a mirror tray with a comb, brush, hair saver, and hand mirror.
Be nice to yourself. Take time to download this Christmas present today. You can read them when you’re too tired to do anything else, or you can save them to read after the holiday.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Covington Chronicles

Amazon made this pretty page for me:

Covington Chronicles

It shows books 1-4 of the series. What it doesn't show is my latest Kindle book, which is free. It's a compilation of The Dream Bucket and Manuela Blayne inside one e-book.

I really want you to download this one so you can appreciate the flow of the two stories together. Just to show you how much I want you to have this book, I'm giving it to you free this week: Just click here:
Covington Chronicles III and IV, The Dream Bucket and Manuela Blayne.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Manuela Blayne -- an excerpt from Chapter Four

For a limited time you can download a free copy of Covington Chronicles III and IV on Amazon. Chronicle III is The Dream Bucket. Chronicle IV is Manuela Blayne.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter Four of Manuela Blayne.

“Come in.” Manuela motioned toward Bailey and me. “Come see what we done with the newspapers.”
“Is it all right, Papa?” Bailey asked.
“Go ahead.”
Bailey and I followed her into the living room, which was pristine.
Bailey asked, “Why have you got a bed in your front room?”
“Sh-h.” How could I ever stop my sister from asking embarrassing questions?
“We keep this for Mama. This is where she sleeps when she comes home.” Manuela smiled.
The high bed, placed catty-cornered on the wall opposite the fireplace, had a tufted bedspread with a design of many colors.
“I ain’t never seen bedcover like this.” Bailey rubbed it with her hands. “Come on, Trudy. Touch it.”
“It ain’t polite to touch other people’s beds.” I grabbed Bailey’s hands.
“Go on and touch it.” Manuela flashed a wide smile. “You know you want to.”
My hand glided over it. “The fuzziness of it feels soft like a long-haired kitty.”
“It’s a chenille bedspread. Mama got it for us.”
Yellowed newspapers fastened to the walls served as a covering. “How smart!”
“Yeah. I wanted some wallpaper like Mama has in her house, so Granny made some out of newspapers.”
“Do you think it will last very long?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“It don’t matter.” Manuela shrugged her shoulders. “When this wears out, we’ll tear it down and put up some more.”
“It’s a nice house.” Bailey reached her hand down to the rag rug. “The walls don’t leak air in.”
“That’s right.” Manuela nodded. “The roof don’t leak neither. It’s big enough too.”
“What I don’t like about your house is it’s off the main road.” Bailey could be too direct. “It’s in the middle of the woods.”
“But we got a real good road here. Them men driving International pickups and Model T’s come down here to see Grandpa.”
Bailey said the wrong thing again. “It’s too close to the river. You know it floods about every other spring.”
“Bailey, don’t say things like that.” I shook my finger in her face.
“It’s true. Grandpa said that’s why it’s built up off the ground on high poles.”
“Smart.” I nodded in appreciation.
“When I stayed with Yasmin, we lived in a place on a street. Trudy, stop bossing Bailey. I like the way Bailey always be telling the truth.” Manuela bent over and whispered, “Now’s as good a time as any to tell y’all about Mr. Aaron.” 
“Trude. Bailey.” Papa’s deep voice beckoned us.
Bailey dragged her feet toward the front door. “We’s got to go.”
“Bye, Manuela. I like your wallpaper.” I followed Bailey.
As we loaded into the wagon, Nettie stood in the yard. “Mr. Sam, we’ll be over to your place in the morning.”
When we arrived at the house, Papa Sam pulled back on the reins. “Whoa, Bob.”
Big brother turned toward us. “Wait until the wagon is stopped all the way.”
The twins hopped out, but I stayed seated. “I’ll help put up the mules.”
With leading straps clipped to their bridles, the mules were ready to walk back to the horse pasture. Will led Bob Mule, I led Molasses.
Will accused me with his eyes. “I saw you through the window.”
“I didn’t do nothing. Saw what?”
“Saw you and Bailey wallowing your hands on the Blaynes’ bed.”
“We were just checking out the chenille bedspread. Nothing wrong with that.”
“You shouldn’t have put your hands on the bed where Negroes sleep. It was a stupid thing to do.” Will cleared his throat and spit like a grown man chewing tobacco would . . . anything to make him feel adult.
“You’ve got it all wrong. They save that bed for Yasmin. It’s their guest bed. Nobody sleeps on it every night. Do you know what chenille is? It’s a new kind of fancy bedspread. Yasmin got it for them.”
“Sister, I’m trying to protect you. What would your classmates say if they knew you went to colored folks’ houses and put your hands all over their beds?”
I cut my eyes at him. He had crazy notions.
“Keep your distance from Manuela.”

“Keep your distance from Manuela.”

Raw Spots

A young African-American girl walks home from church through the woods. A neighbor jumps from behind a tree into her path, slings her to the ground, and expresses his new manhood. She cannot escape.

The girl walks home along the public road. An elderly Caucasian man, who lives as an eccentric recluse, shoots at her feet. His goal is to coerce her into following him into his hay crib for his casual pleasure.

Like wind whistling through the trees, the adults around me in my childhood spoke of such events. Although I never saw or heard what was described in hushed tones, I had the assurance of actuality. It was as real as bare spots in my father’s cornfield where lightning changed the electrical charge so crops wouldn’t grow there.

I saw scars in brown flesh as devastating as the tracks of tornados along the edge of the highway . . . children without fathers . . . mothers ripped from their dreams of advancement in life . . . anger glazed over with sugary submission.

Trudy, the brave and mischievous child of The Dream Bucket, lives in her rural Mississippi world, in an earlier time than mine. She knows tragedy. Like the black fish-net veils draped over faces beneath women’s hats at church, the adults try to keep the raw spots of life from Trudy’s sight.

After the conclusion of The Dream Bucket, Trudy makes friends with an ethereal young woman named Manuela Blayne.

Since some of the scenes in Manuela Blayne occur on the front porch of the old house where the Cameron family of The Dream Bucket have lived, both of these stories now can be obtained in one book with the haunting image of the cabin featured on the cover.

For a short time, it is a #freebie on as a Kindle book. Please read these stories together. Maybe you’ve already finished The Dream Bucket. You may want to take another look at it, as Trudy tells Manuela Blayne, her latest story in her own voice.

All I ask is your reaction. Please share your honest opinion as an Amazon review. The fictional accounts told in Covington Chronicles III and IV are not literal facts, but they have a level of truth based on childhood in rural Mississippi. I will be grateful to hear from you.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Teenagers before the Word Was Used: Manuela Blayne and Trudy Cameron

Teenager is a modern word describing a type of person from the dawn of history.

Manuela Blayne is a new novella told by an eleven-year-old Caucasian girl about her impressions of her thirteen-year-old African American friend. The time is old, 1910, and yet the problems described are timeless--both old and modern. The narrator Trudy Cameron takes an intense look with her teenaged eyes at the legacy of hate in her world. 

Although teenagers weren't called by that name back then, they thought and acted as teenagers do today in some ways.

Have you ever googled the word teenager?
Here's what I found in
Word Origin and History for teenager
n. also teen ager, teen-ager ; derived noun from teenage (q.v.), 1922. The earlier word for this was teener, attested in American English from 1894,and teen had been used as a noun to mean  "teen-aged person" in 1818,though this was not common before 20c.

Manuela Blayne is free in Kindle form for a limited time.

Now, in the world of books, teenager is an obsolete term. Manuela Blayne is a young adult book.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Two Days . . .

I don't know what happened. When I placed Manuela Blayne on Amazon as a paper book, the pre-orders disappeared, but one person told me she had already received her copy.

Anyway, Manuela Blayne is available on Amazon.

In the simplest of words, I'm trying in this little novella, Manuela Blayne, to evoke some thought about how other people feel inside. For example, I'm trying to paint pictures of how it feels to be African-American and how it feels to be saturated in white people's prejudices in the early 1900's.

From Chapter Two:
Manuela's grandmother has just had a grand mal seizure. Papa Sam helps her walk back to the wagon. Trudy's little brother is shocked that Sam, a white man, is touching an African-American woman.

 Placing her foot in front of her as though she had to tell it what to do, she tried to walk. First she veered to the left and then to the right. Papa Sam and Herschel took her arms and led her.

Buddy, tugging at Billy’s shoulder, spoke too loud as usual.  “Do you see what Papa’s doing? Can you believe it?” 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Manuela Blayne available as a paper book at Create Space

Manuela Blayne will be available on soon. Today, October 31, 2015, it can be purchased at CreateSpace.  Here's the link: Manuela Blayne in CreateSpace Store

Manuela Blayne, a novella, is the fourth book in the Covington Chronicles. It is a complete story that stands alone. To understand some of the characters fully, however, it would be beneficial to read The Dream Bucket first. 

Manuela Blayne is the story of one suffering for another.

A new day dawns for Trudy Cameron. She develops a heightened sensitivity to others around her who endure the hurts brought on by circumstances she tries to influence. Trudy starts to realize she cannot change everything, she cannot fix all the bad in her world. At the same time she develops a streak of mischief. Sometimes she is shocked by her own behavior. As she grows up fast, she finds emotions within herself she didn't expect. 

In the summer of 1910, Trudy Cameron witnesses the aftershock of an event that will disturb her the rest of her life.

It is more than the consequences of the crime that concern her. Cruelty dominates the evolving social system of the South, the only home she knows.

Never will she comprehend all the hurt suffered by her friend Manuela Blayne, but Trudy wants to understand. 

She witnesses firsthand what forgiveness can be. She observes hardships she has never imagined.

In a world that denies mercy to her friend, will Trudy's faith shrink or blossom? She is always honest with herself about her emotions.

Trudy tells her story in first person. 

Come spend some time with the Bentons and Camerons. Delight in the parenting skills of Samuel Benton, as he tries to distract Trudy from her anguish over Manuela Blayne. 

Have a dish of ice cream in the Covington and float on a watermelon in the swim hole at Hot Coffee. Witness the mischief Trudy dares not confess to her parents.

Three more days until Manuela Blayne appears as a Kindle book.

I'm really excited about Manuela Blayne. In Chapter Three, Trudy and Bailey meet Manuela.

Chopping cotton is a challenging experience. When I was young, I never mastered the skill. First, I'll let Manuela explain the procedure:

“We was chopping cotton. That’s why we ain’t come by to see you . . . working for Old Man Aaron, but we done finished doing that. I’m glad we’re through ’cause he’s mean.”
“Is that your hoe?” Bailey pointed to a hoe leaning against the porch.
“Don’t go near it.” Manuela cocked her head at a stern angle.
“Why not?” Bailey asked.
“It’s too sharp for little girls to put their hands on.”
“Chopping cotton? How do you do that?” Bailey asked.
“First you got to have a hoe. A sharp, sharp hoe. My grandpappy can file a hoe like nobody’s business. When he gets through filing it, it cuts good as a knife. We have to be careful when we tote the hoes over our shoulders.”
“But how do you chop cotton?”
“You cut all the little plants but one or two that you leave a hoe width’s apart.”  

Every time I tried to chop cotton, I would do a beautiful job until I reached the final step. Then I'd cut down the one remaining plant. No problem I thought. I'd simply replant it.

After two days there would be blank placed in the field where I had been chopping. My family decided in unison that I'd tote water and help cook. I simply couldn't chop cotton. I was an excellent picker though.

Click here to pre-order the Kindle version of  Manuela Blayne:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Four days until Manuela Blayne appears as a Kindle book

Because Hereschel Blayne made and sold whiskey and wine, Manuela's grandparents lived in a better house then most of their neighbors. They also had a decent road. Still they knew poverty. They papered their walls with newspapers. If they could have afforded a can of paint, they would have been accused of being uppity when they painted the exterior. Life really was that hard, and conditions stayed the same through the middle of the twentieth century.

In Chapter Four, Trudy and Bailey visit Manuela in her grandparents' home for the first time:

Yellowed newspapers fastened to the walls served as a covering. “How smart!”
“Yeah. I wanted some wallpaper like Mama has in her house, so Granny made some out of newspapers.”
“Do you think it will last very long?” I couldn’t resist asking.

“It don’t matter.” Manuela shrugged her shoulders. “When this wears out, we’ll tear it down and put up some more.”

Click here to pre-order the Kindle version of  Manuela Blayne:

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five More Days Until Manuela Blayne Is Released as a Kindle Book

Eating Clay

When I was a young girl, some of my friends ate clay. One girlfriend wanted me to try it, but I didn't have the courage.   

Chapter Five of Manuela Blayne shows the practice of eating clay. 

From Chapter Five:

Manuela—where was she? I turned around in time to see her insert a ball of clay into her mouth. She chewed and swallowed it. “This stuff tastes too good. I been wanting some of it.”
“What are you doing?” I didn’t mean to raise my voice.
“I’m eating me some clay. It’s good for you.”
“No.” Bailey curled her lip.
Manuela held a glob near my mouth. “You got to taste it, Trudy.”
Since she insisted and because she was our new friend, I took a nibble. “Ahrr.” I heaved. “It’s awful.”
“No, it tastes fine.”
I choked, coughed, and spit. Shaking my head and spitting again, I tried to get rid of it. The taste wouldn’t leave my mouth. “What in the world? How do you do this?”
“You don’t like it ’cause you still a little girl. I didn’t start liking it either ’til I growed into a woman.”
Bailey started to put a pinch of it into her mouth.
“No, Bailey. You really won’t like it.” I reached to stop Bailey’s hand.
“Just wait.” Manuela’s voice became mystical. “When you start having your monthlies, you’ll find out it’s good. It’ll make you feel better like medicine.”
“Monthlies?” Bailey screwed up her face. “What do you mean—monthlies?”
I whispered to Bailey, “She’s talking about something we’re not supposed to know about.”
“I’m sorry. I’m talking about the curse.” Manuela lowered her head. “When you bleed every month.”
My sister and I stood as silent as stones. Tears glistened in Bailey’s eyes.


Here's an article that explains most of the reasons people eat clay.

Eating Clay

Thanks for pre-ordering Manuela Blayne:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Fight in the Front Porch Classroom: Manuela Blayne, Day Six in the Countdown

Will pushed out a sarcastic laugh. “So you girls are playing school? Didn’t you get enough school during the regular session to be sick of it?”
Buddy hopped onto the porch and rang our school bell. “Yeah. Men—like us—are working. We’re repairing the barn.”
Bailey looked up as she sighed in exasperation. “Playing carpenters.”
Manuela turned her face to the wall, took a stubby pencil, and began copying from a McGuffey Reader onto a tablet supported by a board.
“Manuela, how many days a month did you go to school anyway?” Will bent over her to look at her work.
She covered the tablet but took care not to lose her page in the reader. Gazing out into the yard, she considered his question. “Oh, I don’t know. About two or three.”
“ABC’s.” Buddy, standing by Will, leaned over her shoulder. “That’s baby stuff.”
“Hush, Buddy.” Bailey moved in front of her twin and pushed him. “It’s baby stuff to you, but you didn’t have to miss school because your grandmother got sick. You think you’re something because you know who your papa was. Manuela don’t know stuff but it ain’t her fault. She’s smart, ain’t she, Trudy?”
“Is that so?” Buddy pushed Bailey.
“And you had somebody older to walk to school with you. And when your school closed down, your papa took you in the automobile.”
Bailey pushed Buddy’s arm.
Buddy hit Bailey’s chest.
The twins locked up in a fight. Bailey, arms flailing and feet kicking, resisted as I pulled her away.

Will grabbed Buddy’s arms. “Leave the girls alone.”
- - -
A click on the picture below will take you to Manuella Blayne's page on Preorder the Kindle version to be one of the first readers to receive a copy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Seven More Days

Seven More Days until Manuela Blayne is published. Here's an excerpt from Chapter Seven:

It must have been about three o’clock when all the church members started walking down the road. We followed. At the edge of the red dirt road winding behind the church, waited a gaping hole big as three graves would have been if they were lined up side by side. It was full of red muddy water.
The people oohed and aahed about the fine job the men of Antioch Church had done digging the hole. I thought it was . . . well . . . pitiful.
“They had to dig it a few days before the ceremony. Otherwise, it would have filled up with mud again,” Papa Sam, who was carrying our sleeping baby brother, said in his low voice. He didn’t need to talk loud because we huddled together feeling strange in a foreign place, even though we were only a short distance from home. It was not like our world.
“So, how did they get the water in here?” I asked.
“They hauled it.” This time Will didn’t call me stupid like he normally did.
I pulled on Mama’s sleeve.
“What is it, Trudy?” She bent over so I could speak into her ear.
“Does God feel honored?” I asked. “I mean they’re going to dip people in a mud hole to baptize them.”
“Right.” She smoothed my hair.
“They’re taking a risk. What if a snake is in there?” I could think of all kinds of bad possibilities.” What if they swallow mud?”
“Trudy, I’m sure God feels very honored.” She spoke in a reverent tone, leaving me to reconsider what was happening.
The twelve reborn Christians marched toward the makeshift baptistery. All of them wore what must have been the worst looking clothes they owned. Manuela, who was acting sophisticated, sneaked a tiny wave and wink at us.
Down in the pit, they must have had blocks of wood for steps on one side.
Reverend Greenfield raised his hands to silence the crowd. He led a prayer before addressing the congregation.
“Brothers and sisters, these twelve new babes have come today to celebrate their birth in Christ Jesus. In the days ahead, Satan will try to reclaim their hearts away from their Savior, but no matter what he throws at them, he can’t steal them.” The preacher emphasized his words by shaking his head and fists.
“These men, women, and children have been Spirit-sealed into the Kingdom of the Father and covered by the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. 

Please pre-order Manuela Blayne on Amazon. com

Monday, October 26, 2015

Eight Days from Manuela Blayne: A Life Apart (Covington Chronicles Book 4) Kindle Edition

In eight days, Manuela Blayne will be a Kindle book available to read. It will be a time to catch up on the life of Trudy, who tells the story, as well as the other Camerons and Bentons.

Here's a little exerpt from Chapter Eight. In this chapter a new character, Hannah Jean, appears.

I was glad Mama busied herself working so she’d quit prodding. By the time we hung the diapers on the clothesline, the Model T came percolating up the road. In the front sat Hannah Jean, the kids were smushed into the back.

Hannah Jean had worked for Mama a few times before. Mama didn’t take in sewing any more. For Hannah Jean she’d make an exception. Hannah Jean would wash and iron our clothes while Mama would sew this woman, who was a professional maid, a pretty dress to wear to church.

Miss Hannah Jean didn’t talk much, didn’t have children in her house, didn’t like having children underfoot. Four days a week—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday—fine cars would come from town to take her to work and bring her home. When Hannah Jean worked in town, she always wore a starched and ironed white uniform. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nine More Days

Manuela Blayne, a sequel to The Dream Bucket, will be available in nine days as a Kindle book. Close to that time, the paper book will be released. Victoria Phelps, an amazing narrator, has released the first fifteen minutes. I love her interpretations of the different characters.

Since it's nine more days,  I'm quoting something Trudy said in Chapter Nine:

It had been a while since I’d gone to the cabin. Nothing could be wrong with going there. After all, it’s where I used to live. Nothing bad could happen if King was with me. I loved our big smart black dog.

I decided to wait and pick the flowers on the way home after collecting the sand. That way black-eyed Susans wouldn’t wilt.

What was that? Standing still, I listened.

Someone moaned.

Clicking on the picture below opens the pathway to reading more about the book and pre-ordering a Kindle copy:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ten Days Until Manuela Blayne Is Released

On November 3, 2015, Manuela Blayne will be released as a Kindle book. I don't know yet whether the paper book will be ready by then.

Here's a quote from Chapter Ten:

Neither did they know how many ways she suffered. I doubted they realized how I felt the pain . . . how Will, Buddy, and Bailey shared the hurt. Especially Bailey. Parents were supposed to know everything, but they didn’t.
I thought I’d lose my mind, but nobody talked to me. Every minute when I didn’t have a chore, I played the piano. The music took me away from the questions.

Every Thursday afternoon, Papa took us kids to town. He dropped me off at Miss Caroline’s. While I had my lesson, the others shopped at the Mercantile. 

The picture below is the link to Amazon that allows you to pre-order Manuela Blayne:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Eleven days until Manuela Blayne Appears on Amazon as a Kindle Book

I'm not sure when the paper copy of Manuela Blayne will be released, but it will be soon.

During the countdown, I'm sharing little tidbits from the chapter that corresponds with the day. Here's something from Chapter Eleven:

(King, the faithful and intelligent dog, is protecting Trudy from danger. Trudy is the narrator.)

Up the way along the path, King stepped in front of me and emitted his low menacing growl.

It reminded me of the day back when we were living in the cabin and we left King to guard the field peas we’d picked.
That day when Mama, Billy Jack and me came back to get them, King stood in the middle of the road. Two men . . . I think they were J. V. Milford’s two oldest sons . . . were clearing out of King’s way.

             That was then, but now King was growling and I didn’t see anyone. On the path that Sunday afternoon, nobody was there, but King sensed someone’s presence. He raised his hackles and scraped sand. Whenever he growled from the bottom of his throat as he was doing then, he meant business. 

Click on the picture below to pre-order or just to read more about the book.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Twelve Days Until Manuela Blayne Is Released as a Kindle.

The countdown continues. In twelve days, Manuela Blayne  will be ready for you to read on your Kindle. In the meantime you can pre-order it. The paper copy is coming soon too, and the audible book is in production.

Without telling too much, I'm giving a little sample of Chapter Twelve:

Will motioned to me. “Come back. Here it is.”
I turned toward him.

He bent over a patch of dried purple-blue rabbit tobacco. He ran the dried silver flowers through his fingers. “Our papa William taught me about this. It clears up your head.” He stripped off some leaves. 

To read more about Manuela Blayne, click on this picture:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Countdown: 13 days until . . .

The Release of Manuela Blayne as a Kindle Book

Trudy Cameron is telling the story of Manuela Blayne in first person. If you pre-order it now, you won't forget about it.

This novella has twenty-five chapters. Starting today, I plan to quote something from the chapter matching the day. Since it's thirteen days until it is scheduled to be a Kindle Book, I'll quote from Chapter Thirteen.

Without spoiling any of the story, I want to give you a flavor of the book.

From Chapter Thirteen:
"With King at our heels, we sprinted toward the garden. When we passed the live oak tree, Will threw his head back. “Y’all come here a minute.” 

"What?” Stomping toward the tree trunk, I didn’t try to conceal my irritation.

"I’ve got something for us.” From one of his small burlap bags, he removed three corncob pipes. . . ."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Update on the Production of Manuela Blayne

Manuela Blayne, the fourth book in the Covington Chronicles, can be ordered now as a Kindle book. Also it will soon be available in paper form. A proof copy is in the mail for a final review. The audible version, which is in production, should be available before Christmas. Victoria Phelps, who has a perky, young voice, will narrate it.

Manuela, whose grandparents were born into slavery, lives the life of a typical young girl. She is full of enthusiasm, despite some obvious health problems. When she comes to live with her grandparents, she becomes acquainted with Trudy Cameron of The Dream Bucket. All is well  until a dreadful event occurs in Manuela's life.

Trudy tells the story in first person. In the meantime, Trudy is swinging like a pendulum between childhood and adolescence. Sometimes mischievous and sometimes sad, Trudy explores her world. She often surprises herself and those in her family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Manuela Blayne, fourth book of the Covington Chronicles, will be released November 3, 2015.

On November 3, 2015, a new novella in the Covington Chronicles--Manuela Blayne--will be available as a Kindle book. Soon it will also be available as a paper book. More good news: Victoria Phelps, a talented narrator, has agreed to produce the book in audible form.

By clicking on the picture of the Kindle cover below, you can pre-order Manuela Blayne so you'll be notified when it is released.

Here's a some information about the story:
The year is 1910.

Trudy Cameron, an eleven-year-old girl introduced to readers in The Dream Bucket, meets a thirteen-year-old neighbor, Manuela Blayne. Trudy and her seven-year-old stepsister, Bailey Benton, make friends with Manuela, while Trudy realizes she can never understand her new friend.

Yasmin, Manuela’s mother, has given the girl to Nettie and Herschel Blayne, who were born into slavery. Manuela’s grandmother Nettie is epileptic. Her grandfather Herschel, an alcoholic, makes and sells all kinds of illegal spirits.

Manuela Blayne, a novella, is the fourth book in the Covington Chronicles. It is a complete story that stands alone. To understand some of the characters fully, however, it would be beneficial to read The Dream Bucket first. In first-person point of view, Trudy tells the story in her own words.

As Trudy and her siblings mature, they indulge in surprising mischief. The novella tells about struggles of young people to achieve what they hope for by overcoming various obstacles. Manuela Blayne is not primarily a romance, but it contains an unexpected romance.

Trudy sees how different her opportunities are from those afforded Manuela. Trudy finds it impossible not to suffer some of what her friend endures. She hopes to help her friend make a difference in life, while Manuela exemplifies a beautiful new kind of hope.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Caroline's Secret Promise

Chad, Caroline's father, holds an important position in the government. Also he is the governor's best friend, confidante, and adviser.
Jxn, Ms Capitol iStock 05-21-15 © jerryhopman

While he spends his time in Jackson at the capitol, she lives in a tiny and dingy room, scarcely bigger than a pantry.

Caroline must live this way because she has made a secret promise. Night after night she sits by her bed and writes letters to her father and the other people she cares about.

Solve the mysteries in Caroline's life by reading Secret Promise
 iStock 11-06-14 © Jarin13

What made Caroline in Secret Promise act in odd ways?


Who would want the man she loved to court her stepsister? 
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More Questions:

Why? What happened? Did Caroline run away?
iStock06-25-15 © Elisanth



Memories Leading to Secret Promise

In Secret Promise, the long way around to Rachel and George's house was secluded and romantic. There was a bridge where lovers liked to stop and sit.  Who went with Jacob MacGregor in his surrey to sit on that bridge?   I can't spoil the story for you.
iStock 08-23-15 © levers2007

I remember a bridge on The Old Road to Taylorsville. When I was a child, our school bus driver used to take  that road. The beavers would build a dam and cause water to flood the bridge.

We would be forced to take a detour until the county broke the dam and repaired the bridge.

Also, I have a funny memory of finding a certain relative sitting on that bridge with her boyfriend in his pea-green Chevrolet.

I wonder whether any of my friends from Taylorsville ever sat on the bridge on The Old Road with their dates just to study the beavers in the creek.

In a few weeks the Audible version of Secret Promise will be available. Jodi Miller Hockinson is recording it She is portraying the voices of the different characters in an amazing fashion--very convincing.

Loretta Larson's Adventures

Loretta Larson had some frightening times.   In my mind's eye, I can see all the horrendous circumstances she endured in one day. As you listen to Jodi Hockinson's recording, I hope you will step into Loretta's life and see how it all turned out.

Here's a short excerpt from The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson

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Then came the hail, hurled rocks of ice showing no mercy. Esther curled tight again, and I curled up too, tucking her underneath my arm. The sound of the child screaming above the roar of the storm made me feel faint.

As quickly as it had approached, the storm passed on. Clouds, leaving bright sunshine, rolled away.

Esther wiggled. “Can we stand up now?”

“Yes.”Slipping in the red clay mud, we climbed out of the ditch.

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Esther backed toward me. “Look at that.”

A discarded snakeskin, sloughed and left empty, lay stretched at least four feet in the side of the bank. The residual moisture gave it the appearance of etched crystal.

Loretta and her young friend Esther found themselves in the presence of Trudy and Zoe from The Dream Bucket. Loretta's story precedes The Dream Bucket, but each story is complete and stands alone.

Click on the picture below to hear a sample of Jodi Hockinson's authentic Southern reading.

 Cover by Rosie Buhrer

Rachel Always Smiled.

Secret Promise

It was the South of the early 1900’s—the time when people from one side of town were not supposed to sit at the table with people from another part of town called “The Quarters” . . . unless no one was looking.

Meet Rachel, the cook for Hortense Clemons, Caroline’s stepmother. Rachel, Caroline’s true mother and best friend, passed through life with her dreams for her grandchildren deferred. 
 iStock 12-31-13 © Nicolas McComber

Rachel learned not to let people know she could read. Smiling, she said all the right things most of the time, but occasionally she spoke her mind. She chose her battles.

 In this excerpt Caroline introduces Jacob to Rachel:

“Rachel, this is Jake MacGregor.”

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Rachel.”

“Same here. Young man, pull up a stool. I’ll pour you some coffee.”

“Madear, could we have cinnamon rolls, please?”

“Sure, baby.”

Soon three warm plates, each with a mountain-high roll appeared. Rachel placed two on the table and one on the farthest cabinet counter. She propped her massive arm on the counter to brace herself as she leaned over.

“Thank you, Miss Rachel,” Jacob said. 
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“Oh, come on. Bring your plate and sit here at the table with us,” Caroline insisted.

When Rachel took her food to the table, Jake felt one of his eyebrows raise. He cleared his throat. In his twenty-three years he had never experienced such social awkwardness.

“Go ahead. Sit down,” Caroline whispered. 

(Thanks to the anonymous model. Pictures are from iStock as indicated.)