Thursday, November 29, 2007

Poll: Which Story to Continue on the Google Group?

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I have to say something about yesterday before I move on to the main topic of this post. My mother, Adrenee Gwenell Glover Freeman, died on November 28, 1992 at the age of 42. That's fifteen years ago. Yesterday was definitely one of those "some days are harder than others" days, but I thought I should say something here in commemoration.

So . . . segue, anyone?

50,234. Yeah, I won NaNo 2007. So I'm four for four. This one is still yet untitled, but I'm proud of it. I think I actually see my growth as a writer with this one, so hopefully now that the pressure's off I can still write on it and find more excitement for all the other writer I let drift (hello, Vietnam Story and Gym Story and Trust Fall and The Blueprint and I'm going to stop now before I depress myself lol). Anyway, I posted chapters 1-3 on the Google group, but here's a nice excerpt of chapter 3 to entice.

I hope everyone had a good week.



It was as if the sun had decided to rise inside the cabin, it was so hot and bright to Deborah. She groaned and burrowed underneath the covers, knowing that would do little to muffle Aunt Flora’s calls for her to rise or to stop the sun from shining, until Deborah realized no one was yelling at her and she was so warm. Normally she was shivering as she awoke.

She pushed the covers from over her head and sat up slightly, a little confused why her body shook from such effort. Her chest ached. Nothing looked familiar. She wasn’t in the kitchen as she normally would be. There was no Aunt Flora bustling about getting mush ready and complaining about how Deborah would sleep the day away if her aunt didn’t wake her up. She looked down and recognized nothing she wore, other than the fact it was too large for her frame. She clutched the fabric and breathed slowly, knowing it wouldn’t do to lose her wits. She was certain she hadn’t been sold off, so why—?

She spied her original clothes to her left, neatly folded with a brown glass bottle lying atop them. She remembered her errand, the storm.


She didn’t see him anywhere. The space next to her was empty and cold. In fact, she didn’t even remember him sleeping next to her. As soon as he had pulled the covers over her form, her eyes had closed and sleep had claimed her. Truth be told, it was one of the best sleeps she’d had in months and one of the most comfortable.

She really didn’t want to get up . . .

“Mister Owen,” she called, knowing she would have to anyway. She should earn her keep; she wasn’t anyone’s mistress, after all.

Silence answered back, and Deborah eased into a sitting position. She breathed heavily, slightly winded, but at least she could hold her body up, but she did scoot her way to the sofa to help brace herself. She let out a long sigh and pressed her hand to her head. It ached mildly, but it wasn’t anything she couldn’t handle. Thank goodness it stopped snowing, too. Maybe she could find her way back to the farm.

She heard tree branches pop under the weight of the ice, and a faint crack pierced through the air. Deborah hoped Owen was all right. Even at her usual strength, she knew she didn’t have the ability to bring him to safety as he had with her—at least without a mule and some rope.

A burst of winter suddenly invaded the room and she shuddered, grabbing the blankets and wrapping herself tighter.

“Deborah?” he called out.

“I’m awake,” she told him, shifting so she could look behind her. He was closing the door and holding something in his hands.

When he met her eyes his smile widened, and he held up his hands. “Rabbit!”

Her stomach growled. “Rabbit?”

“You look better,” he said, going into the kitchen. “Do you feel better?”

“I do,” she assured him.

He returned with a tin cup filled with water. “Drink.”

She took the cup with a bemused smile. “Normally it’s me tellin’ Miss Luella to drink. She likes tea with syrup in it. Aunt Flora’s in the kitchen makin’ mush and then I go feed the animals—”

Owen tipped the rim of the cup to her mouth, and she parted her lips just in time to let the water slide through them. After a few swallows, she pulled the cup away and glared at him. “I can’t believe you did that!”

“You weren’t drinking!” he said, giving her a wink.

“I was talkin’,” she muttered, and took another drink so she could hide the smile that was trying to emerge. When she finished drinking all the water, Owen took the cup from her with one hand and squeezed her elbow with the other.

“There’s a whole heap o’ snow out there,” he said, his eyes looking gray in the sunlight. “Not nearly so cold, but it’s hard to walk. Good thing it’s also hard to run or else we would be eating those beans again.”

“That rabbit big enough to feed both o’ us?” she asked skeptically. It didn’t even look like enough to feed him, let alone both of them!

Owen looked toward the ceiling and gave an exasperated shrug. “If we do it right—”

“One meal, at most,” Deborah said. “But I’ll be fine on the beans—”

His fingers were cool as they touched her lips. The contact felt nice, especially since her skin was still a bit chapped, though they didn’t hurt like before.

“I found the witch hazel,” he mumbled, pressing his thumb against a corner of her mouth. That explained why her lips felt better; he must’ve tended to them while she slept. She blushed at the realization, and harder when he smiled at her. “Among other things. I figure we might be here for a while.”

“Thank you,” she whispered. “A while?”

He nodded. “Like I said, a lot of snow. Everything is white. No markers to let us know if we were going the right way anyway. Do you have any idea where we are?” Deborah shook her head. “Well,” he sighed, his fingers now drifting over her jaw and heading toward her scarred cheek. “One day at a time.”

“One day . . .”

Monday, November 12, 2007

Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

I didn't become a finalist *woe*, but I did get a very pleasant judge's rating and comments, and a shiny certificate for my participation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh, hello.

It's been a month. Heh. Things have been full of me spiritually regrouping, so to speak. Now it's National Novel Writing Month, so I'm currently working on that right now. 50K words in a month sounds pretty daunting, except I've done it for the past for years, starting in 2004 with Being Plumville. That worked out fairly well, didn't it? ;). I've won every year I've done it. 2005 was The Blueprint, although that novel isn't done, and last year it was Manna Tree, which is. This year's NaNo is called NaNo07. It has no title, but I'm thinking that I tend to like historical settings for NaNo, except for last year's of course. This one is set in the mid 1850s, surrounding the events of Bleeding Kansas. That's all I'll say about it at the moment, but I got the idea during my day job as I was proofreading an American history textbook. Go figure. Anyway, right now I'm currently ahead of pace, and hopefully it'll stay that way.

At any rate, this is just a note to tell everyone I am still alive and writing my own original fic. Want proof? Here's the first single-spaced page of NaNo07. It's not beta'ed or spell-checked or anything, as one of the rules not to edit (yes, I do fudge it a little, sue me!) I hope you enjoy!




The heavy dark clouds had besieged the sky like an invading army, and its cavalry of freezing rain, sleet, and snow attacked with merciless precision. Deborah thought she’d left the farm early enough to beat the storm, but Mrs. Fogg had started talking so, asking how Miss Luella was getting on; and if Mister Grayson was going to try for Kansas City and a proper doctor now that he had gotten that wheel on his wagon fixed; and she how couldn’t wait for another one of Aunt Flora’s buttermilk pies. She’d bounced on the balls of her feet, her bottom lip tucked between her teeth as she gave wary glances to the sky through the window just above Mrs. Fogg’s head. Nevertheless, she had nodded and given appropriate mews of agreement when Mrs. Fogg had poured the brewed remedy in the brown glass bottle and promised to pray for Miss Luella’s cough to go away. The illness had gripped poor Miss Luella since before Thanksgiving, and the remedy had been the only thing that had managed to ease it. Though the remedy hadn’t been low, Mister Grayson had wanted to get more before the storm arrived. It had smelled like a big mean one; yesterday, the air had been so still and silent even Miss Luella’s coughs had whimpered out her body as if afraid to hurry tempest along. Deborah would’ve fetched the remedy yesterday, but Mister Grayson had to go into town to pick up supplies for the oncoming storm, and Mrs. Fogg lived three miles in the other direction. Mister Grayson didn’t feel comfortable leaving his wife with only Aunt Flora to look after her, the woman older and not as mobile as Deborah was, and since the ground was already snow-dusted from an earlier, yet gentler snowfall, Deborah would be much more able and quicker to retrieve help. Had Mister Grayson not sold off her husband Isaiah a few months before they had moved here year ago, he would’ve stayed with Aunt Flora and Miss Luella while she went off to Mrs. Fogg.

At the rate she was currently going, however, Deborah doubted she was making any better progress than Aunt Flora would have. It felt as if she was sinking into snow and earth and not moving forward at all, instead just marching futilely in place. Cold speared its way through her threadbare wool coat. The snow melted and pooled in her too-big brown pegged brogans, saturating her holey socks and making water squish between her toes with each step she made. The remedy bottle tinged from each pelt of freezing rain, but the squalling winds soon drowned out the sound, joining the snowy brigade and conspiring against her quest home. They lanced frigid precipitation against her naked face, though she’d gratefully her nose and ears had lost sensation early in her trek. Though she’d tried to hide her hands in the sleeves of her coat, they still tingled with the retreat of feeling. She had to get back, though. Miss Luella still needed the remedy, and with this storm going like it was, it would be a long time before Mrs. Fogg could gather more ingredients for another brew, or for anyone to go to Mrs. Fogg’s cabin to get more should she make more. Not only that, Miss Luella had always been so kind to her and Aunt Flora, and Deborah didn’t even want to think about what Mister Grayson would do should his wife become worse. He loved Miss Luella dearly . . .

Deborah’s calves and thighs burned, growing leaden, as if the muscles swelling and constricting simultaneously against the fierceness of the storm. Her head ached, frozen raindrops and snowflakes falling upon her head like mallets. Another squall and an unseen ground hazard sent Deborah stumbling into the snow. Icy shock seized her body, and though her brain demanded her arms to lift her body, she was too exhausted to heed the command.

“Oh, Lord, help me,” she whispered, forcing her panic into a tight ball deep in her belly. She prayed the bottle didn’t break, though she wouldn’t be able to tell because her entire body was soaked and she could no longer feel her hands. A traitorous sob stole from her mouth, but she clamped her chapped lips close together so that more wouldn’t follow. She was stuck outside an unforgiving tempest and had no idea where she was. She didn’t know if she’d past the point of no return . . . didn’t even know where that point would be. Everything around her was gray, white, and dull. She recognized nothing.