Asked For

perf5.000x8.000.inddMy favorite topics to explore in my novels are wrapped around moral dilemmas, and “Asked For” is no exception. Not yet released, this story has been picked up by The Wild Rose Press and is being readied for publication. It was a challenging story to write and is proving to be a difficult story to edit, intertwining plots from two different characters’ perspectives building until they converge at a defining moment which answers the question – Did she or didn’t she?

Lana is in the eighth grade when Cletus, an older widower, spots her. He wants sons, and he wants a wife, not a bride. And he wants someone young and uncomplicated to supply these sons for him. Lana’s imagination is full of stories of princes and princesses, heroes and heroines, when her grandmother tells her she is to be wed, that someone has asked for her. “Do what’s right, let him be king of his castle, and don’t sass.” Armed with Grandma’s advice and a handful of dresses, Lana leaves behind a fatherless upbringing, a girlhood lacking the affirmation she longed for other than what her friend Jim offered, as she takes off with Cletus.

James is Lana’s last son, the one Cletus denied was his, the one Cletus referred to as That Boy instead of as James. James never understood his own love of baseball, since he looked nothing like his father and had none of Cletus’ natural ability for the game. James lacked height, he lacked slender limbs that reacted like snakes, he lacked his father’s support and encouragement. “Baseball’s not in your blood,” was all Cletus would say. But another man, Mr. Morgan, told James he had his mother’s heart, and heart was more valuable than raw talent. Mr. Morgan came alongside James, filling the spot Cletus failed to fill. He was so much like James, so much like his mother, Lana, that James saw both of them in Mr. Morgan’s eyes – James’ hurt and Lana’s admonition to keep going above the hurt at all times.

Mine to Tell

“Mine to Tell” was a NaNoWriMo novel written at least a year before it was picked up and published by The Wild Rose Press. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, an event held every November wherein people from all over the world sign up to write a 50,000 word novel between 12:01 AM November first and midnight November thirtieth. I signed up with zeal that year, plenty of anticipation, but not a single idea what I would write. As November 1st approached, fretting grew, and I began to comb the world for inspiration. Part of it finally came, unexpectedly, late at night as I tossed and turned on my bed, certain I should withdraw my name from NaNoWriMo that year.

“Mine to Tell.” There it was, almost like an inaudible voice in the night. “You will write a book called, ‘Mine to Tell.’” Shocked, but full of promise, I rolled over and fell asleep.

By October 31st, great title in hand, I still lacked a story to go with it. Anxious, I drifted around the internet in search of ideas. I stewed, I racked my brain, and I prayed…what do I write? What does “Mine to Tell” mean? By midnight that night when all good NaNoWriMo-ers were readying themselves to begin, no real story had taken root in my head as of yet. At 12:01AM, November 1st, I sat up in bed with my laptop on my lap, fingers on its keys. I glanced at the clock. It was time, and I began to write. “Mama…” And then the story came.

Annabelle was born, and so was Julianne. Two women, bound to one another, yet never meeting on this earth…each one loving, losing, and suffering…each one with a truth to tell that no one wanted to hear. “Mine to Tell” began to make sense. Mine to Tell is the opportunity everyone should be given. It’s their story, their truth, and their life. Your story, your truth, and your life.

Other characters began to join Annabelle and Julianne – Trevor and Isaac, men who represented the wrong side of loving, one coming to understand the necessity of forgiveness while the other died withholding it. Paul Junior, who represented those who want to judge and control, willing to bind up others so their own world remains the unaltered. Mama, who lived the role of so many women, performing what was right just because. Jill, color and comic relief, a necessary ingredient in every life. John represented the love we all long for, staid and constant in the heart no matter what came between him and his chosen. And lastly Kyle. Kyle was my dream man. If any character was the result of deliberate brush strokes, it was Kyle. He was my intentional hero, even though the course he took at the end wasn’t expected. Not even by me.

My mom, who by reason of her vast reading has earned the merit to be a trusted critique partner and plot developer, has suggested I write a sequel to “Mine to Tell” more than once. She and I have batted ideas around – who would be the hero, the heroine…what would be the plot, the theme, the story arc? Her suggestions are good, and still churning inside, waiting to take root so I can take off, fingers on keys and carrying these characters into deeper and richer adventures in life and love.