Fiction: Sleeping Arrangements

“Mrs. Crenshaw, I want to apologize for my acid tongue earlier on,” Mrs. Markham said. “I was worried over Buck, as I’m sure you were, but that was no excuse.” Margaret surveyed the plump, plain, little woman. “I accept your apology. We Easterners have high standards as far as manners go. I couldn’t possibly hold…

Fiction: The Invalid

The front door opened in the hallway. Mrs. Markham called in, “Everything all set in there? We have eager visitors, so stop your sparking!” Her voice was high and nervous. Before Thankful or Lieutenant Fahy could respond, the Crenshaws stepped in from outside and crowded the hallway. Fahy grabbed his blanket and Thankful threw another…

Do You Have Theme Songs For Your Life?

Today feels like a day to listen more than to talk. I’ve noticed when writing novels that random music will stop me in my tracks —  as if the characters in the books are begging me to listen to another layer of who they are. I write about BROKEN HEARTS so I don’t think it…

Fiction: Into the Gloaming

“So now you give up and hide behind your little Bible studies and weird friends? You heap embarrassment upon the whole family. What will our friends at West Point say?” “You’re no embarrassment, Buck,” Graham said. “It’s only that you’re lost in there somewhere behind those bandages. And you’re right to say I was never…

Fiction: Revelations

The Crenshaws followed the men to the camp hospital and waited as Buck sullenly had his face bandaged yet again. Maybe God was punishing him. He’d handled his family all wrong. In a matter of a few hours he had managed to insult his sister, annoy his mother, hurt his father, and fight his brother….

Fiction: Battle-tested

“No,” Graham said. “Buck can and should stand on his own. He’s struggling lately. It’s why he needs the crutch of religion, but it’ll pass when he’s stronger.” “Father! How dare you pretend to know me when all you’ve ever done is overlook me! Don’t make excuses for me. Don’t belittle my faith. God doesn’t…

Fiction: Honest Appraisals

A soldier poked his head in to the coach to greet the Crenshaw family when they came to a stop. He scanned the group of strangers. Opening the door, the soldier held out his hand to Buck’s sister Meg. “Allow me to help you, miss.” Despite her best efforts to appear unmoved, she giggled, blushed,…

Fiction: Family Shots

“Merciful heavens, Graham, look at Buck’s face. It’s worse than ever!” Margaret cried. “Mother, you look well,” Buck said and kissed her cheek. “You look terrible.” “Well, I was shot.” “What?” Fred cried in disbelief. “Who shot you?” “An Apache.” “Damn, you were in a shoot-out with Indians?” Fred asked in jealous awe. “You lucky…

Dream Attained. Closing Shop.

Fifteen years. Five books finished. The final chapters in the lives of my best friends soon to be sent off to the editor. I feel like I want to die. Or maybe write an epilogue? Maybe another spin-off? My issue with God and writing books is that I followed the instruction to love my neighbor…

Fiction: The Wedding Party

On the train west, Margaret Crenshaw insulted the coachmen and train conductors while fretting over the linens and china purchased and packed with great care for Thankful’s wedding. Fred in his booming arrogance educated his family about Indian tribes and the sinister Chinese—betraying his ignorance of both. Meg stared out the window, chin in hand,…

Shakers Lie

The Shakers were a religious sect who believed that favoritism in love was a bad thing. They believed that passion for a partner drained the proper passion one should have for God. Sorry, but I think they were nuts. Back at the beginning of the nineteenth century they were considered by most people to be…