Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for--including Stolen Christmas. My short story, "Christmas Joy Ride" is included in this anthology of LDS short stories. It's available at

What happens when you're so poor you have to steal your Christmas presents? Have you ever taken a punch in the face as your Christmas gift to the girl you love? Or saved Christmas while hunting were-weevils? These award-winning Christmas stories are the best of the best from the LDS Publisher Christmas Story Contests. From Christmases past, to present, to future; from sweet and inspirational, to zany and delightful-there's a story for everyone in this eclectic collection. Seventeen stories to celebrate the season, from Sarah M. Eden, Tristi Pinkston, Joyce DiPastena, Christine Thackeray, Don Carey, and more. Including me!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Escape from Hell

Crows perched like winged demons on the thatched rooftops. Rats scurried through the gutter and hordes of flies swarmed on the filth. It was the summer of 1665, the year of the Black Death, and London Towne reeked with the stink of rotting corpses. Panicked Londoners fled the city like ants from a flooded nest. James Moore, a cobbler by trade, fumbled with the harness as he hitched the shaggy pony to his two-wheel cart.
Lord, forgive me, he prayed. James blamed himself for waiting too long. Now the plague had reached his parish. Every night more bodies were abandoned in the street for the death cart to haul away. It was said that a man might eat a hearty breakfast at dawn, sneeze at noon and be dead before dark.
James heard sobs and glanced over his shoulder. The narrow lane was empty except for his neighbor, a tavern keeper. The man stood over the blackened, swollen body of his wife. He held a club to guard against the crows and the brigands who roamed the streets, stealing from the corpses. Like James, he’d been reluctant to leave his shop.
Now it was too late.
“Lord, have mercy,” James muttered, pulling his tunic up over his nose.
At that moment his Bess Moore appeared at the door, her arms full of linens and bedding. "Come, girls and be quick about it." She led a parade of four golden-haired little girls, each carrying a sack of their belongings.
"Get back,” James shouted and his fear exploded in anger. "What're you thinking, Wife?"
Bess shooed the little ones back inside and returned alone with the bedding. James stowed it on the cart. “Be brave, Bess,” he said, when he saw her tears. She cupped her hand over her nose and hurried back into the shop.
He had loaded a chest of his cobbler's tools and was securing it with a rope when Bess came out of the shop once again. This time she carried the wooden cradle. “There’s not room,” he said, knotting the rope.
“Such a stubborn man I married.” Bess set the cradle down at his feet. “There’s room for your things, not mine?”
“I have need of these tools.”
"I need this cradle too," she said, her arms folded across her chest.
James turned to his wife. "What are you telling me, Bess?"
"Your son will be here before the snow falls." She placed her hand on her stomach. "I felt him kick this morning."
James's face brightened. He loved his daughters, each blessed his heart. He'd given up hope of having a son. "My son?"
Bess grinned. "A boy as stubborn as his father." Then she returned to the shop without another word.
James clawed at the knotted rope, tugging it apart, and set the cradle on top of the load. Thoughts of the baby strengthened his will and flooded his heart with hope.
When he finished securing the load, James glanced at the sky to judge the time. He saw a black cloud billowing above the rooftops. The odor of burning flesh wafted on the breeze. "Wife," he called. "Bring the children now."
Bess and the girls came out of the house. Each held a flower to her nose to cover up the stench. James led the horse; Bess walked beside her husband. The children held hands walking behind their parents. They did not look back.
As they neared the river a strange sight came into view. “Who's that?” Bess asked. She pointed to a group of children, dancing in a circle before a bonfire. Garlic bulbs hung like jewels around their necks.
“The spice trader’s children,” James said. "The man claims garlic will ward off the plague.”
“Will it?” Bess still held the crumpled flower under her nose. “Better than posies?”
He muttered an oath. “I don’t have the money to buy the man’s garlic. He asks a fortune for it.” James saw a familiar cart next to the fire and he quickened his pace. “Turn away, Bess,” he whispered. “Don’t look. Girls, lower your heads. Mind your feet.” He didn’t want them to see the hooded men, dressed in black, throwing corpses into the flames.
As the family trudged past the macabre scene, they heard the spice trader's children sing a merry tune. “Ring a ring o’ roses, a pocketful of posies. Atch chew, Atch chew, we all fall down.”
By nightfall they were outside the city, sleeping in a farmer’s field. James held his wife in his arms. The girls huddled under a quilt nearby. James offered a silent prayer of thanksgiving. With the Lord’s help, James knew all would be well.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's snowing today! It was sunny (but cool) yesterday when Erica and I explored Maple Canyon. I took lots of pictures of the Fall colors. One maple was so brilliant I called it "the burning bush." Erica and I were the only ones there in the magical forest. About writing: A few weeks ago, LDSPublisher posted a writing prompt on her blog about the plague. It caught my imagination and I liked the challenge.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I won again!

My name was drawn out of the hat at, and I won a copy of Uncut Diamonds by Karen Jones Gowen. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I won!!!

I'm so thrilled and excited! I entered a Christmas short story in a contest at and I won the publisher's "unpublished author" choice. My story, "Christmas Joy Ride" is a children's story about a twelve year-old boy who takes his grandfather's golf cart into the desert. Check it out:

I've been reading other LDS author's blogs--they're great! Very inspiring. I'm going to try to post on my blog regularly. I don't work at the library today, so I'll work on my novel. Fun stuff! And I'll check in later to "report."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring is springing!

The snow is melting in the pasture and there's a creek running across the front lawn. Temperatures have gone up. Yesterday it was 60! The weatherman said it's supposed to snow tomorrow though. We'll see. I worked at the library today for five hours. Now I'm sitting at the computer reading writers' blogs. Very interesting. About my own novel--I've printed the first 6 chapters and finally feel like I'm "off and running." Instead of constantly re-writing the beginning and re-creating the characters and their motivations. Each of the six chapters is about 3,000 words. That's 18,000 words so far. The book is going to be too long. Dang! I've already written the next 7 chapters, but I need to tweak them. I'd like to get the first draft completely finished this year. If I can write 3 chapters a month, I'll do it. Wow! I've attached a snowy scene from earlier this month. March is supposed to go out like a lamb. We'll see.