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I’m daydreaming…looking at man with an oversized cowboy hat riding a bull or a wild horse in a large corral. I’m not sure which it was because I was wondering more about why this vision was invading my thoughts. I dismissed it, but then when I saw the same sight in my mind’s eye the following day, I decided to sit down and meditate upon it.
As I relaxed into this vision, I realized that the man was an Italian singer that I enjoyed listening to. This realization made the whole daydream even more bizarre. I started to make notes as I watched the sketchy images of an unfolding story. I wrote the short story, “That’s Just the Way it Is” in a little over two hours which I published in 2013. A little later I wrote a sequel, “Return to Texas,” published in 2014. The cowboy from the vision became John Colter, who is the protagonist Becky’s, first husband.
Somehow Becky’s story never “felt” finished…too many loose ends needed to be connected. Life got in the way until 2020 when I began working on a book that would reveal a more complete version of Becky’s life. This book became the novella Where the Heart Goes in which Becky’s shares scenes from her life as a child up until her death, from a place that seems like the afterlife. It’s like a saga packed into a novella-sized book informally narrated by the protagonist. This is a story of love, guided by the heart.
Where do stories like this come from? Is this a past life memory…mine or someone else’s shot out of the collective unconscious? Was I Rebecca? Perhaps it’s just the product of an unbridled somewhat creative mind. We will never know for sure, will we? What I do know is that this story was meant to be written and lives in a special place inside my heart. I hope that it will find a place in yours as well!
I’m happy to announce that my novella, Where the Heart Goes, is now available on Amazon for purchase as a Kindle or paperback! The book is a western about a young woman who moves from Philadelphia to Texas in the 1800s on a journey of self-discovery where the events and people in her life bring her to a greater understanding of love. Those of you who liked my short stores from a few years ago will delight in this extended and more detailed story of Becky’s life! (link below)
I’m happy to say that my novella will FINALLY be released in November, 2021.
“Where the Heart Goes” is narrated by Rebecca Adams, a strong, unforgettable woman who travels from Pennsylvania to Texas to follow her dreams in the mid-1800s. She shares with the reader clips of the most memorable and poignant moments of her lifetime beginning in young adulthood. It’s an ordinary life in many ways, woven with themes of love, romance, motherhood, abuse, spirituality and death. Yet, Rebecca has a remarkable ability to learn and reflect from the experiences of her heart. She aptly sums it up with, “It’s strange how the heart can take the reins from you but still allows you to think you’re in control.”
When I published two short stories several years ago about Rebecca’s life, I had no idea her saga was not yet complete, on paper that is. The original idea was inspired from an unusual daydream I had of a man riding a bronco, who became the character, John Coulter. From there, the story took on a life of its own and developed into “That’s Just the Way It Is” and “Return to Texas.” This follow-up novella is a deeper and much expanded version of the earlier short stories with more emphasis on the historical times in which it took place. Perhaps its basic theme—deep love that lives in the heart and soul, never truly dies—bears repeating in a world that often appears loveless. It has truly been a joy and a heart-warming experience to write this piece.
The book will be available in paperback and Kindle formats…I’m looking forward to sharing more information with you next month!
FREE Kindle on Amazon Today through February 23, 2020
He kept them in a night table drawer—a treasure of poems carefully hand-written in a composition book by his mother fifty years before. One of the poems, “My Boy,” was about him. How it must have warmed my Dad’s heart when he read it. Reece Wilmer Press, Jr. looked a lot like his mother and had inherited her stocky body build splattered with freckles, as I did.
I wasn’t particularly interested in the poems back then. It wasn’t until 1972, when he gave them to me, that I remembered they even existed. Martha Walton Press had died nine years before my birth. I am truly sorry that I never had the chance to know her. Dad didn’t talk much about his early family life, but I had the impression that it was a bit troubled. My mother mentioned to me that he had to quit school at age 16 to help support the family when his parents split up. (Ten years later, though, he graduated with a diploma in civil engineering from Drexel University).
The poems, written between 1899 and 1911, survived the five moves to date in my life. During this time, the writing has faded and the pages have become slightly torn and dog-eared. A few years ago when I took up genealogy, I read the poems several times, searching her words and studying the stylish handwriting in an attempt to know her better.
When I began self-publishing, it became apparent that these poems should be preserved in print. The themes of love, friendship, death and life are timeless. The words are cumbersome by today’s standards but their simplicity conveys a richness of emotion and nostalgia. Moreover, my grandmother was a feisty, creative, intelligent woman who played piano by ear, sewed clothing that she saw on a model and ran her own beauty shop. From the little I know about her, she seemed ahead of her time. When she became divorced, she married her younger brother-in-law, a bit unusual for the 1920s. She deserves to be remembered, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory.
As I continue in my writing journey, I feel that Martha’s spirit watches me, cheering me on. I sometimes wonder if she would have done more with her writing if life hadn’t gotten in the way. The luxury of retirement was not available to her; at the age of 57 she passed away from colon cancer.
I published her twelve poems in a short book entitled, “Martha’s Words,” in 2015. Here is the first poem—I hope you like it and will want to read more of her work.
A rose lies withered in my hand,
And one by one, its petals fall.
My thoughts oft turn to a better land
Where no flowers will fall at all.
It reminds me too of an aimless past,
Ah, full of regrets I now see.
Yes, one by one, hopes all fall fast;
There’s naught sure but eternity.
‘Tis sweet to live just day to day
For hope fadeth with the morrow.
And the prize we seek in a worldly way
Is only a false hope we borrow.
I often pray that God, to me, may gift
A life like the pure simple flower,
Content to take his sunshine to live
And scatter his blessings each hour.
Martha Walton (July 27, 1899)
I am happy to say that I have returned to writing daily (at least for now 😊) It feels comfortable, and for the most part, the words are flowing. In 2016, I slowed down considerably due to family issues and then experienced several changes which required my time and attention. Now I’m back with renewed enthusiasm and a more focused perspective on where my writing is going.
Some of you may remember the strong, female protagonist, Rebecca, in the two short stories I published. She has been insistent about my finishing her story before I complete anything else. Rather than making a trilogy of the stories, I have decided (with her help) to write a richer, expanded version of the first two stories and complete it with the final section into a novella. “Where the Heart Goes” will be released early in 2020. For those of you who haven’t read my short stories, this is historical fiction with a romantic theme that takes place primarily in Texas in the late 1800’s.
The novella will be followed by a novel, “Trip to a Lifetime.” I began writing this several years ago after a trip to Italy. About two-thirds of it is written and if all goes well, it will be published in 2021. It is spiritual fiction with a reincarnation theme.
Thank you for following me on this journey. Your support is important to me and hopefully it will keep me from slacking off. 😊
I’ve been quiet for a while as far as blogging or any type of writing goes. While I have been dedicating some of my time to genealogy and home improvement projects, as well as life in general, there have been serious moments of reflection about my writing.
Rebecca, the protagonist from my first two short stories, “That’s Just the Way It Is” and “Return to Texas” has become very vocal (to me, at least) about the fact that her story is not complete and asked me to please allow her to finish it. All too ready to put aside the novel I’ve been working on for a few years, probably because I know it needs the dreaded major revision, I have agreed.
The new short story will be called, “Last Breath.” Parts of it are written, and I am in the process of doing the cover. Although I dislike boxing myself in, I will say that it should be available by May. While writing this story, I am doing more historical research about the time period of this piece (1884-1891 in Texas) and the impact it has on the storyline.
In addition, I have decided to do a novelette where I will be expanding these three stories, and including some historical influences especially the Civil War. Much more will be revealed about Rebecca’s early life in Philadelphia before she and her parents moved to Texas right before the War. At this point, I haven’t decided whether this additional project will be completed before or after my novel.
While it’s nice to see your words in print, it must be even nicer to hold them in your hands, which aside from the noise from Becky, is motivating me to put these stories into a “real” book. Perhaps I could even stretch it out to a novella. I’ll probably let her decide.
I welcome any comments or ideas, especially from those of you who have read my first two stories. For my fellow writers, how’s your writing life going? What’s new? What’s flowing, or not? It’s time to make a little noise on this blog!
Photo credit: copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_fintastique’>fintastique / 123RF Stock Photo
I’m happy to announce that the e-book of my grandmother’s poetry, “Martha’s Words,” is now available for sale at Amazon.com. I am sharing with you another one of her poems as I did last year. I have learned from this selection, as well as from some of her other work, that my grandmother was a good judge of character and had a keen sense of whether someone was being “true or false.” 🙂 I have not given up the idea of a hardback book and am continuing to explore options.
True or False
“Vanity, vanity, all is vanity,”
Should have been said in this our day.
Look well north or south,
East or west;
The over-dressed, fashionable
Hold full sway.
Is it true or false?
Leave I you to decide
That a wolf very nicely
In sheep’s clothing may hide.
Martha Walton Press
February 17, 1911
Return to Texas is FREE today and tomorrow, April 22nd and 23rd!
That’s Just the Way It Is is FREE Thursday and Friday, April 24th and 25th!
If you don’t have a Kindle and want to read on your tablet, smartphone, or computer, you can download the Kindle App!
I am so happy to finally say that “Return to Texas” was published on Amazon yesterday. This is a stand-alone sequel to the first story, “That’s Just the Way it Is,” giving just enough backstory so that you can enjoy it even if you didn’t read the first one.
It came in at around 6500 words, about four thousand more than the first. It is written in first person past and covers a two-year period of time unlike the first that shared moments in time that spanned a twenty-year period. Looking back, I probably should have aimed for a novella rather than these non-traditional (in terms of format) short stories, but I felt more comfortable doing smaller projects first. They have taught me a lot, and I do believe I am a better writer now.
I hope that some of you will read and enjoy it. Please let me know how you like it. As always, reviews are deeply appreciated, especially on the Amazon site where they help the story to reach a wider audience and become more successful.