13. February 2018 · Comments Off on BLOG, Feb. 13, 2018 · Categories: Blog

As noted in my Home page, here is the first chapter of my children’s book, “Snow.” Read it to your kids, or your neighbor’s kids, and see how they like it. I’d love to hear what you and they think.

SNOW

Becky Treymore lived with Mama and Daddy on a very nice horse ranch in western Oregon. She loved to stare out her bedroom window into the field behind the house where a great many of her daddy’s horses ran loose.

When she grew older, her daddy let her stand outside the fence near the barn where the horses were trained. Every time she went there she picked out her favorite horse. Once it was a beautiful brown horse Daddy told her was a stallion. He walked around the ring with his head held high and his tail bouncing behind. He was shiny, and the same beautiful brown as Mama’s hair. In her head, Becky called him Chocolate since he made her think of her favorite ice cream flavor.

Once the horse she picked as her favorite was lame, and limped all around the ring. But Becky thought he was proud, and ignored whatever was causing him to limp. This horse, a gelding Daddy said, was speckled gray and white. His mane and tail were dark gray. She called him Spider because he made her think of a grey spider Daddy had caught in the barn and brought outside. She hoped it had found its way to a better place.

When she was nine, Daddy told her one of the mares was going to have a baby. She knew that a mare was a female horse, and the baby would be a very small copy of the mare. It wouldn’t be little and pink and bawling like Frankie’s baby sister. Frankie lived on the next farm down the road. Every time Mama took her there to play with Frankie, his little sister never seemed to stop bawling.

But the new baby horse, Daddy told her, was going to be hers.

“Mine?” she asked, amazed that one of those beautiful creatures she always admired might be hers. “Will it be a boy horse or a girl horse?” she asked. “I will need to know before I name it.”

Daddy laughed. “Yes,” he said, “you need to know if it’ll be a colt or a filly. A colt is a boy horse and a filly is a girl horse.”

“Then I want a filly,” Becky said. “And I think I’ll name her Belle.”

“Well,” Daddy said, mussing up her hair, “we won’t know whether it’s a filly until it’s born. You wouldn’t want to name your boy horse Belle, would you?”

Becky giggled. “No,” she said, shaking her head.  “When will the baby horse be born?”

“In just six more months,” Daddy said. “Its mother is Nightingale, the white horse just outside the barn there.”

Becky looked over at Nightingale. She was a beautiful white horse, and just at that very moment, she nickered as she looked over at Becky.

“Oh,” she cried, “Nightingale is talking to me. She’s telling me she knows her baby will be mine.”

18. January 2018 · Comments Off on BLOG, Jan. 18, 2018 · Categories: Blog

I’ve been working on a new book that I hope will intrigue some of you. It’s actually an update of a story I wanted to tell about my mother, who came to Detroit from her home on a farm in Lincoln Park, Michigan, in 1935. She was very shy and inexperienced, and I started out just to show what happens to a young woman in the big city during the Great Depression.

The story morphed from that into a romance, and then into a combination romance-thriller, and that’s the story I’m working on now. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter. I’m hoping to get it published by a traditional publishing company, but that may not happen and I may have to go the self-published route.

SNATCHED

I never could have guessed what was in store for me, both terrifying and wonderful, when I arrived at my cousin’s house in Detroit in the middle of what they weren’t yet calling The Great Depression.

I recalled what had happened when my cousin Carol came to the farm to ask for my help. She wore a colorful cast on her broken arm, as if to proclaim her injury.

“Aunt Pearl,” she said to Mama as the kitchen doors swung shut behind her, “I’m here to ask your permission to move Kat in with me and Jack, at least for the summer. You know, we love that big house Jack inherited, but it needs a lot of work. With my broken arm, I just haven’t been able to do much, and Kat would be such a help. We have a nice bedroom just for her, with its own bathroom, and the neighborhood is very quiet. She could help me with the gardening, babysitting for Edgar and Marcy, and she’d be a great help to Jack while he remodels the house. You know how good Kat is with plumbing, and she could even learn to crochet.”

“Crochet?” Mama’s voice seemed to shake a little; she was never very articulate. “But Carol, she’s so young.”

Carol said soothingly, “I know, Aunt Pearl. Kat’s only seventeen, and she’s never been anywhere but downtown Vassar. But she wants to travel, and she loves to learn. This would really be good for her.”

Mama said, “You want to take my baby to Detroit? But it’s terrifying in the city! With the depression and all? It’s only been six years since Black Tuesday, and I’ve heard on the radio that there are starving and desperate homeless people in the cities. I’m sure her father would agree that Kat should stay here on the farm, where we grow enough food to feed ourselves, and we can keep her safe. I’m sure she thinks so, too.”

Carol’s voice was strong and assured; I could visualize her nodding and smiling. She’d always been able to get around Mama. “Yes, Aunt Pearl, she’d be safe here, and healthy. But I don’t think she wants to stay on the farm. And you and Uncle Dan don’t really need her here, with Esther, Stella, and the boys. It would be an adventure for her to come to Detroit. Every girl needs some adventure in her life, doesn’t she?”

“Well, but . . . my baby isn’t strong, you know. She’s fragile, and I’m afraid she’d be too frightened, even with you and Jack to protect her.”

My older sister Mary-Ann, visiting Mama with her husband Vic, arrived at the back door just then and, knowing why Carol was here, joined her voice to Carol’s. Mama just couldn’t resist the two of them.

Listening behind the swinging kitchen door, I couldn’t tell if Mama was being swayed by Carol’s arguments, and it was almost time for Dad to come in for lunch.  I nibbled on my fingertips and held my breath – it wasn’t going at all well. Mama didn’t want to risk her baby. But I really, really wanted the risk; how else would I get over my fears, learn how the world worked?  It was good to know that Mama felt so protective of me, but I knew that I must get away from all that security. Sometimes I really felt smothered. Carol wouldn’t hover, like Mama and my sisters did.

 

I hope you like it, and I’m working to get it done in the next few months.

 

20. September 2017 · Comments Off on BLOG, Sept. 20, 2017 · Categories: Blog, Short Stories

I promised I would post the last portion of the little story I wrote, Gorta and the Hole. I revised it and made it a short story, so the last seven pages are gone, but I’m hoping to include it in a collection of stories from prehistoric times, probably within the next few months. If I do publish it, it will be on Amazon.com, and I will make note of it on this website, if it’s still here (see the Home page for an explanation).

Meanwhile, I do have another short story you might enjoy. I hope the little pictures I added show through, but if they don’t, they’re just what I think these characters should look like.  Here it is.

CREATURES OF THE FOREST

By Harriet Darling

A young pixie called Emerald was on his way home after finishing his job helping a sick child. It was a hot day so he decided to cut through a section of the forest that looked nice and shady. “It’ll just take a few minutes,” he assured himself. “Nothing can happen to me in just a few minutes.”

But as he started onto the path through the trees, the sun went behind a cloud and the leaf-laden branches hanging over the path cut off the warmth and light that had been there just a moment before.

Emerald, now shivering a little from the abrupt cold, stopped short and whispered, “Oh, no.” He wondered if he should keep walking, or turn back. “Oh, there’s nothing here that can hurt me,” he told himself sternly. “It’s only trees, and I love trees.”

A dead log lay beside the path just ahead, and Emerald saw an indentation in the log where he might sit if he were tired. “But I’m not tired,” he murmured as if explaining to someone. He kept walking, but just as he passed the indentation, a large brown and green thing suddenly burst out of the seat and flew straight into Emerald’s face, screeching loudly and flapping pea-green translucent wings.

After screaming in terror, Emerald calmed down a bit and assured himself, “It’s only a wood nymph.”  But he was actually terrified; the creature was twice his size, and fluttered far too close to his face, laughing and pointing at him.

He could hear the gravelly voice of the nymph jeering at him: “Little pixie, the woods are no place for you! This is my domain, I’m the one in charge here, and you are not welcome!”

Emerald squeezed his eyes shut and told himself, “That is not true; the wood nymph only belongs in tree trunks and dead logs; she is not in charge of the entire forest! She cannot hurt me, and she has no business threatening me!”

But in spite of this seeming confidence, Emerald knew that at least the nymph could flutter around his face and perhaps cause him to stumble, or fall into a hole or off a cliff. She did have a certain amount of power over a pixie. Even the fairies steered clear of wood nymphs despite their magic, which was usually strong enough to conquer most any other creature.

The only ones who could walk fearlessly through the forest were the elves, who were taller and stronger than any of the other magical creatures of the forest. But Emerald was no elf.

The next thing the little pixie knew, he was out of the shaded trees and running just as fast as he could on the path, which was now sunlit once again. In explanation to no one, Emerald muttered as he ran, “This is why I stay out of forests. Now let’s hurry on home before that creature comes after me.”

And he ran all the rest of the way home.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Well, the pictures didn’t come through, but the story did.]

08. September 2017 · Comments Off on BLOG, Sept. 8, 2017 · Categories: Blog

As promised, here are the next seven pages of the story, Gorta and the Hole. However, upon further reflection, and some research, I’ve decided I won’t be finishing the story and publishing it. I have started a children’s story that’s closer to the age group it’s intended for, but I will post the last seven pages of this story, in case anyone happens to be interested.

GORTA AND THE HOLE

Cont.

Page 7 – When everything was packed up, Mama and Daddy put on their furs.  Mama helped Gorta put his furs on.  It would be cold as they set out.  But when they reached the hut beside the river, it would be warm.

Page 8 – On the first day, it was very cold and Gorta was happy he had his furs.  They were the skins of some animals that Daddy had hunted.

Page 9 – Gorta saw lots of little animals as they walked.  Broot had a good time chasing some of them, like birds and squirrels.  When he first ran off, Gorta was worried.  But Broot always came back.

Page 10 – The first night, Daddy found a nice group of trees and said they would stay there.  Mama unpacked some food and Daddy made a fire.  Broot lay down beside the fire.  He knew he would eat soon.

Page 11 – In the morning, Mama said it was still cold enough for their furs.  So she put Gorta’s furs on and packed everything up, and they started out.

Page 12 – Gorta was glad whenever they stopped walking.  He got tired, but Daddy was happy to let him ride on his shoulders until Gorta was ready to walk again.

Page 13 – On the second afternoon, Daddy said they should make camp soon.  He was looking around for a good site, but there was a big hole and he fell into it.

04. September 2017 · Comments Off on BLOG, Sept. 2, 2017 · Categories: Blog

I just wanted to tell you about a new story I’m working on, a departure for me. It’s a children’s book about a boy who lives in prehistoric times. His people are hunter-gatherers, but they’re living in a pre-agricultural revolution period.  In other words, though his people are mostly nomadic, and travel from place to place depending on the season, other people, even in their living area, are beginning to plant trees and vegetables, in order to have food available where they live, rather than having to move around all the time.

So here’s a portion of my first draft of GORTA AND THE HOLE.

Page 1 – A long, long time ago, little Gorta lived in a hut with his mama and daddy.  Gorta was 7 years old, and he had a dog.  The two of them loved to play.

Page 2 – The dog’s name was Broot.  He was almost as big as Gorta.  The hut where they lived in the summer was only half of their home.

Page 3 – In the winter, Gorta and his mama and daddy and Broot would go to their winter hut.  They would walk a long way, for three whole days, to their hut near a river.

Page 4 – When it was almost time to go to the winter hut, Mama started to pack up food.  She went to the store house and packed some meat that Daddy had hunted.

Page 5 – The day before they would leave for the river, Daddy went on a last hunt with four other hunters.  The shaman prayed to the people’s gods that the hunt would be good.

Page 6 – When Daddy came home from the hunt, he had enough meat for their walk to the winter hut.  Mama was happy, so Gorta and Broot were happy, too.

I plan (hope) to get someone to do illustrations for the book; my vision is an illustration on each page showing whatever I wrote for the page.  For instance, for page 4, the illustration would show Mama packing some food in the store house.

I’ll share the next 6 or 7 pages in a few days. 

I’m also on the lookout for a photographer or artist to help me design a better cover for my book “The Dawn People.”  I’m just not happy with the cave and seashore image the book has now.