June 16, 2019

A Father Remembered

photo by Bob Harkins
Our father, Leo Harkins, planted these daisies in our backyard years ago.  Our brother, Bob Harkins, retired Navy Chief, keeps them well tended.  Each time I look at them, I see the tenderness with which he planted them and remember the tenderness in which he covered his children. Thank you, Bobby, for keeping these sweet delights alive and healthy for Daddy's family.  

Happy Father's Day All

June 11, 2019

Our Version of Jack in the Box

     Lucky us at Gracious Jane Marie!  You never know when a dog head will appear, so we like to call this week's version Abs in the Sleeve.  Here we have Abby Lou in the cuff of a sweatshirt sleeve, which is part of a pile of clean laundry needing to be folded.
     
     P.S. Abby, our spokesdog for this blog, is pulling double duty as Director of Security for our Goodbye Lie historical romance series.  Since the former director, our bird named Bird, is now flying with the angels after 20-plus years on earth, the Abster is our overly zealous protector.  Her big dog mouth filled with incessant barking at the first rustle of a leaf, squeak of a door or gate hinge or the dreaded, on our part, ringing of the doorbell, is enough to drive away bad guys, plus reduce every ones ability to hear.  

June 4, 2019

Original Manuscript Unearthed

     Whilst organizing (?) the office, I came across the original handwritten pages of The Goodbye Lie, the first novel in my historical romance series. It made me smile to see where I had written Chapter 1, page 1.  But then, what else would I have put to identify this effort? 
     The gist of the opening scene is basically the same as the published version, yet many of the words are not. I have typed, here, the the first handwritten page as shown in the photo as well as the final, published first page, for comparison.
     For me, it's fun to see how the story evolved.  Hope you find it interesting, too.

Original Handwritten Manuscript - 
Chapter 1, Page 1:   

     She had been looking down as the ground slid past, the pebbles in the road a soft blur.  She was thinking hard about all she had to do in the next. her battle plan. So much to do in the days forthcoming. Thinking about ... Noir screamed.  So piercing was it, that it shocked her into nearly falling off  out of the saddle.  His sleek black coat was instantly covered in a fine mist of fear.  She heard it first coming from the right - Her head snapped up and turned seeing the fast approaching slate grey grey/black inverted tower.  It bobbed and weaved its way forward as if it were a child skipping a madly twirling rope. "Dear God protect us," Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love entrust me here. Ever this day" but she couldn't finish the prayer the nuns had taught her as a girl. Her thoughts froze in her mind chilled with from the horror and the sound of the app nearing tor cyclone.  The wild wind beat her as she automatically clung to Noir's mane for a life line,. This time the wild wind [illegible] and battered them with [illegible].Noir was uncontrolable with his fear, altho she didn't know what to do if she did have power over him. Through all the fury and fear she willed herself to pray for a peaceful end for them both. "Dear God, please" ... Then it was over, as she was struck from behind and thrown to the ground, crushed. under

Published Manuscript


 1882  Sultry Summer on Amelia Island, Florida


Chapter 1

       The girl's body flew through the air.
     Moments earlier, she’d been riding her black stallion down the beach. Conscious only of thoughts of her job at the local newspaper, the girl languishing on her horse's back gave no response to the urgent cry, "This way! Ride this way!" Nor did she hear the distant shouts, sharp whistle or even the pop of gunfire that followed - though her animal perked his ears at the faint warning.
     When the growl of her own hunger invaded her contemplation, the girl realized the hour had grown late. More importantly, the wind was beginning to swirl. She was alert now to her surroundings and noticed the sea birds struggling against invisible air currents. She listened hard for the usual humming of native insects as strands of her hair tangled in the blustery breeze, but all she heard was the ever-increasing whine of wind and pounding surf. Overhead, low-running clouds in a queer yellow domed sky shrouded a heavy sun dropping in the west.
     Noir's unexpected whinny stunned her, and she nearly toppled from the saddle. He reared up, forelegs scraping the air as he sought imaginary rescue. His sleek black hide glistened and the ebony animal bolted forward, taking his mistress with him. The horse was uncontrollable with fear and the girl could smell his terror despite the churn of the atmosphere. As his eyes ballooned with dread and frothy panic dripped from his mouth, his rider called to him, "What’s the matter, boy? You should be used to a little wind and rain. It's Florida, after all." She patted his powerful neck in useless reassurance only to be interrupted by a thunderous roar of nature's authority. 
     Then the girl's head snapped to the right as her eyes took in the ghastly sight of three white waterspouts sprinting just above the ocean’s boiling surface. Lightning charged the sky as pricking needles of rain began drilling the rough sea. The girl rallied all her strength. Winding the reins around her gloved hands, she held tight, flattening herself along Noir's length as he galloped full-fury, trying to out distance death. She refused to look again at the monstrous funnels gaining on them. She knew their purpose - to take them as partners in a heinous pirouette of extinction. 
     The girl gamely chose to spend her last breath in prayer, "Dear Lord, please ..."
     Then everything stilled as she was struck from behind and cast to the ground.