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.
One of the things that surprised me when I first started writing fiction was how strong and independent the characters can become, even to the point of wanting to speak outside of the story. Let me introduce to you Rebecca Coulter from That’s Just the Way It Is which is FREE on Amazon February 3rd through February 5th!
It’s me, Becky Coulter. Thanks for stopping by today. I invite you to read the first part my story if you haven’t done so and to say thanks if you have.
It was difficult to find the love I had dreamed of in my Texas cowboy, John, but I did discover incredible love with my children, and well, as you’ll see in the sequel there were a few bright spots in my later life. My children were the most important thing to me; I sure hope I did right by them.
It’s a terrible thing for a mother to bury a child and even harder when the father had a part in the deed. Johnny was the love of my life and my biggest disappointment. I always told the young’uns, “don’t expect too much of anyone else, just yourself. That way you won’t feel let down, but you can always be proud of the person you are.”
I hope you like my pictures. My parents took them before they left Texas with one of those new fancy cameras from Philadelphia so they’d have something to remember me by. Pa had to close his store when the war got underway ‘cause Mama wanted to go back East. In 1862 I was only twenty-three and so full of hopes and dreams. I was happy then, and it was good to feel that way.
John never wanted his picture taken so you can only see a glimpse of him. Thinking back, that’s just the way John was. He never let anyone, even me, completely know him. It was like he held on to a part of himself too fragile to share with the world. I don’t think he was a bad man, just carried too many wounds from childhood that scarred his soul a bit. It gave him a dark side and placed a shadow over the way he looked at life. He and I never did see the world in quite the same way; it’s really sad when you think about it.
I believe life is what you make it, but the Lord had a spoon in the batter so when it was all over it was the right life for me, just not what I expected. A year after I left John, my youngest, Matty, and I took that long dusty ride back to Texas into the second half of my life. My saddest moments came along then, but also many of the best. I look forward to sharing more of them with you soon in the sequel that’s being written now.
I have heard that authors write what they know. I find myself doing that, both with fiction and non-fiction. It’s comfortable and familiar to build on experience as well as professional training. To me it seems, too, that a writer can’t hide for very long the totality of who they are. If they write extensively, and from that deep part inside of themselves some call the soul, many readers will come to know and understand them, even in a way their family or friends may not.
Where do those crazy, creative ideas in our heads come from? Some may say it’s the collective unconscious. Did you ever hear the phrase, “There are no new ideas?” Everything that has ever been experienced or thought about is out there, if only we can just tune into it. For me, that includes reincarnation; I believe that it’s a past lifetime I’m writing about when I’m emotionally involved in the story such as with my short story, “That’s Just the Way It Is.” It seems further confirmation that it’s one of my own lifetimes when I recognize people I presently know wearing unfamiliar clothing in a past time period.
“That’s Just the Way It Is” is free today on Amazon.com through October 25th. It takes place in Texas in the 1870’s. The personal connection to me is discussed in the “Afterword.” Here’s an excerpt from one of the action scenes between Rebecca and John:
“What the devil’s wrong with you? Carryin’ on with a scalawag like that? Good thing I came in when I did. In a couple more minutes he’d of had you bare-assed on the table.”
“For heaven’s sake, John. What’s the matter? Calm down. The children will hear you, and I’m sure Jake already did.”
“I’m not the problem. And don’t you ever go against what I say in front of the cowboys, or anybody for that matter.” John was getting red in the face and his lips were starting to protrude. I thought for a moment he was going to spit on me. I stood up, and he suddenly raised his arm and slapped my face with the back of his hand, followed by a harder slap on my other cheek with the front of his hand.
“I won’t have you carryin’ on with him. I’m firin’ him tomorrow,” he shouted.
“John,” I cried. ”Please come to your senses. There’s absolutely nothing going on between me and Mr. Johnson. Stop being so unreasonable. Don’t you dare fire him. That man has children depending on him.”
Emily and the boys had run into the kitchen by now. They stared in silence, four pairs of eyes wide open with fear. Emily hurried over and put her arms around my waist.
“Get away from her, Em. I’m not through yet,” he said angrily while he took off his belt.
I nodded to Emily and she stepped back. “Take your brothers into the parlor,” I told her.
John grabbed me by the arm. I struggled when he began hitting me with the buckle end, leaving deep gashes in the skin on my neck and arms. I tried to cover my face, and my hands became streaked with blood. After I started screaming, Emily came running and tried to pull his arm back. John accidently knocked her down.
“Stop it! Let me go! I’m pregnant,” I shouted angrily.
My first short story, “That’s Just the Way It Is,” has now been published on Amazon.com as a e-book. It should also be available in some countries other than the United States. This is a mini-milestone in my writing career, one that I’m pleased to have reached. Thanks so very much to all of you who have been supporting and encouraging me for the past 20 months, which is when this journey first began.
It is a 3800-word story of love, violence and clash of values with a spiritual twist. It begins:
“It comes to me now in flashes—pieces of memories from a past lifetime that creep into my consciousness. I see myself staring at a weathered barn through a kitchen window. Calico curtains blow wildly in the dry, dusty wind, dancing to the familiar hum of cows mooing in the distance. Warm air whips across my face, entering the house like a welcomed visitor on an unbearably hot Texas day in the 1870’s. I’m Becky, married with four children, to a man I both love and hate.”