Sunday, May 29, 2011

How About Another Six?

Welcome back, or if you haven't been here before, then just, welcome.  I'm sharing sentences from my recent release, First Degree Innocence.  To give you an idea of the storyline, here's the blurb:


Carrie Lang’s sheltered life ends with a prison sentence for involvement in a bank robbery. Her arrest comes on the day she’s called in sick and stayed inside, so she has no explanation how an eye-witness describes her in great detail, down to the make and model of her car. A terrible mistake’s been made, and her insistence of innocence falls on deaf ears, even among her fellow inmates. A plan for retribution is brewing, and naïve Carrie finds herself smack dab in the middle of an evil scheme concocted by the prison bully.  A ten year sentence seems mild when she’s threatened with death for refusing to participate. Can Carrie find a way out of this horrible nightmare, or is she destined to spend her days locked in terror, isolation, and the cold gray interior of prison walls?

Here's today's six sentences.  Hope you enjoy them.
 “Oh, that feels so good.”  Jet practically moaned.  “So, how do you like the amenities so far?” 
When Carrie glanced in her direction, Jet licked her lips and pushed her sodden hair from her face with slow and exaggerated movements.
Hadn't the woman proclaimed she wasn't a lesbian?  Why did her ogling and suggestive behavior indicate otherwise?

For more exciting six sentences, click here for the links.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Love, Romance and Cicadas?

Cicadas...up until I moved to Tennessee, this insect was something often mentioned in romance novels.   For example:

The sunlight disappeared beyond the horizon, leaving James and Cathy sitting in semi-darkness on the front porch.  An air of awkwardness hung between them, neither knowing what to say.  Cicada's crooned in the background, calling out to a willing mate.

Well brothers and sisters, I'm here to tell you that the crooning around here today is horrific.  The trees everywhere are filled with these nasty looking insects that possess not even a hint of romance when you have one land on you.  Recent rain stirred them from their perches and they fly about in swarms looking for a place to land.  Woe be you if you stop long enough.

These insects return from the ground every thirteen years to mate. Although considered harmless, they are a nuisance if you like the outdoors.  Cicadas live on tree roots underground for all those years and then in an immature form, climb up the tree where they attach themselves in shells from which they will morph into the beautiful bug shown above.

My son's lawn looks as if it's been aerated.  So many holes explain the deafening sound you hear when you go outside.  If you want to get an idea of the constant drone click here.  Just magnify the noise ten times.

Some of these suckers get huge and are so big they merely bounce off the windshield of your car.  I passed through a swarm today and it sounded like someone was pelting me with stones.  Oh, sweet romance...no more shall I think of love when I hear a cicada.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Diane's Pick for Monday's Memorable Mention

For me a good book means you grow sad when the story is ending, and are dying for it to keep you in its fictive dream. That recent experience happened to me when I read The Lady's Slipper, by Deborah Swift. The characters are so vivid, and the story pulls you into life in a 17th century English village where a woman is obsessed with a rare flower. Her stealing it from her Quaker neighbor will unleash all sorts of ramifications, death, torture, and even love, for her and others in a town reawakening from the austure rule of the Puritans. I hated to put this book down, and can see why Ms. Swift won in the New Writing category of a recent major publishing contest. I strive to write as well as she does.

Diane Scott Lewis, author of The False Light and the newly released Elysium

  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - 5/22/11

It's time again for Six Sentence Sunday. (click to visit the hosting blog)  Every week, when I register, I'm amazed at how many new links have been added.  This is the most wonderful way to view a sample of an author's work and I thank those of you who come back each week to read more from First Degree Innocence.

If you recall, my heroine, Carrie Lang, has been arrested for a crime she didn't commit and sentenced to ten long years in prison.  Her mother dead, her father's whereabouts unknown, she faces the horror on her own.  Young and naive, she quickly learns about trust and cynicism. 

Here's this week's six:

Carrie slunk from the holding cell and stopped where instructed. Another female guard shoved a scratchy woolen blanket and two badly worn sheets at her, followed by an oft-used towel that had long ago lost its whiteness, an equally aged washcloth and a packet of toiletries. On top of that she plopped a second change of clothing, two pair of socks, panties and a black
mesh laundry bag.

Carrie fought to balance the lot and glanced apprehensively at Ogden, waiting for further direction—daring not to move.

“Follow me,” the woman snapped. “I have a special bed reserved just for you.”

First Degree Innocence was contracted and published as an ebook by Books We Love Publishing Partners.  It's also available in print via Createspace.  Hope you'll continue to visit as I share more of Carrie Lang's helplessness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ranking and Reviews

When I first started writing, I was awed to receive a 5 out of 5 rating on my work.  A four wasn't bad either, but a three devastated me. In most cases, three means the book was enjoyable, good, and warranted reading.  Isn't that enough?  Some how the caliber of the number 3 diminished and now denotes a "so-so" novel.



 Through the years, I've discovered that there is little correlation between the numerical rating and the written summary of the reviewer.  If we have to continue earning stars, cups, and ribbons, in my opinion, fives should be reserved for potentially award-winning books.  However, in some cases, friendships or fear of hurt feelings dictate the rating outcome.  As much as I enjoy getting fours and fives, I do believe the rating system has lost credibility. Honestly, as authors, we should be paying more attention to the written word over an assigned number.


 As someone who has reviewed for three major sites, I'm always confused by the rating system even though it is prominently displayed.  I would much rather rely on a written summary than try to decide why I shouldn't award the other half of the star, ribbon, clover, or angel.

Is it realistic that we don't see many books receive a three rating?  I don't think so.  Lately, I've read some mediocre ones that make me glad  I no longer have to rate them.  I don't know of anyone who is brave enough to write a review for Amazon under your given name and not fill in all the stars for fear of damaging the author's ego.  I honestly think the rating system should be abolished.  Anyone else agree?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Wow, the number of participants is growing.  I've missed the last two weeks, so I'm happy to add my link, but if you notice, duh-uh...I did it wrong. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.  Instead of my name, I entered the blog's name, but welcome anyhow.  Senility reigns here often. *smile*

Today, I'm sharing six sentences from First Degree Innocence again.  Everyone seemed to like the tension of prison.  :)  Just to remind you of the setting.  My heroine, Carrie Lang has been sentenced to prison for a crime she didn't commit.  This is another scene during her "intake" session:

 Once on, the uniform’s baggy fit completely hid all of her feminine attributes, and the accompanying well-worn shoes felt disturbingly strange.  She pictured all the previous feet that had molded the cracking rubber of the brown slip-ons, and an appropriate saying crept through her mind.  Walk a mile in my shoes.  Had prior wearers been this petrified?
 Dampness from her hair spread onto her shirt. She shivered at the coldness of the cement bench, hugged her knees, and waited. 

First Degree Innocence received a 5-cup review from Coffee.  Here's the summary from the reviewer:
This book took me on a wildly emotional ride as I rapidly turned the pages until I had consumed the entire book down to the final satisfying sentence. The story is told in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact way that, for me, makes Carrie’s internal angst all the more powerful and believable. I feel like I was there with her, surrounded by dingy gray walls and cold steel bars. The various character interactions are portrayed realistically. All have well-defined motivations, and it was quite easy for me to picture the on-going action like a movie in my head. Speaking of which, this story would make an awesome movie! Highly Recommended!
Laurie
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Read more exciting "Six Sentences."

   

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blog Hop Thursday

Today's question, posed by affiliate author, Amy Romine, is:  What do you do with your edits?  Ah....the deadly red pen!

This is a timely question since I just received my first edits on Joy's Revelation, and short story coming later this summer from Muse It Up Publishing.  An author can view edits in one of two ways:
1.  An attack on your writing
2.  The attempt of an editor to help refine your story.

When I first began writing I was definitely a number one person.  How dare someone try to change my words...revise my story.

I soon learned that edits are merely suggestions that might make the story read smoother, correct grammatical errors you might not have noticed, or add more information for the reader's pleasure.

Do I accept every suggestion.  No!  In small publishing companies, many...even most editors are not as versed in the editing business as their title suggests.  Pass a simple test, and you too can be on the other end of the red pen.

My edits are going back with just as many comments as those in the file I received.  If I feel the suggestion changes my voice or style, I balk.  If the noted edit helps enhance my story, then I accept it.  I believe it's important to remember that this is my work and not that of the editor.  Some, I've found, want to substitute my words with words that have the same meaning--some I would never use.

Appreciate the editor's work but don't feel you have to agree with every suggested change.   I've had a few cases where I've known more than the editor.  *grin*

For more answers to today's question, hop on over to An_Alternative_Read and click the link to other blogs.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interview with Sarah Collins – Sarah’s Journey


HOST: Today our guest is Sarah Collins, the heroine in Ginger Simpson's Sarah's Journey. Sarah, it's very nice to have you with us.

Sarah: Thank you. I'm actually glad to be anywhere after the harrowing journey I had.

HOST: Oh, do tell us about it. Our reader's love historical romance novels.

Sarah: Ginger's latest book isn't a romance per se. It falls more along the lines of an "Americana". There's a romantic faction involved and it's peppered with historical facts, but it's really more about me and my struggles--trying to overcome the hatred and prejudice that existed in the old west.

HOST: Unfortunately, we still have some of those problems even today.

Sarah: That's very true. The roots of unkindness run very deep, and often for no real reason. I got a very good dose of unfounded hatred in Sarah's Journey.

HOST: How so?

Sarah: Let me start from the beginning. *cups her chin and sighs*. My parents both died from Typhoid fever and I had no relatives left in Hannibal. Let's just say the banker wasn't at all helpful, and tried to barter to make me his wife in order to save Papa's land. I decided it wasn't worth it, so I sold everything in the barn and a large part of what was in the house. I kept only what I thought I'd need to make a new start. I used the money from the sales to buy a wagon and team then joined a train set for California.

HOST: That seems brave for a single woman. Traveling such a long way, much less handling a team isn't an easy feat.

Sarah: I guess I should have mentioned I found a very nice man to be my driver. Actually, I gave very little thought to danger; I was more excited about seeing a new place and letting go of bad memories.

HOST: Tell us more, please.

Sarah: The wagon master and the other folks traveling with him seemed very nice. I felt safe traveling with the group, and I quickly became fond of Molly. We spent lots of time together, walking alongside the train and talking about our futures. We had such great plans and I never suspected *pauses and wipes a tear*...

HOST:
Suspected what?

Sarah: That Indians would attack the train and kill everyone. I don't know how I survived. *lowers gaze to the floor*.

HOST:
I can see this is very painful for you. Don't feel you have to continue.

Sarah: Oh, it's all right. I'm very lucky to be here. I tried to save Molly, but I didn't have enough medical knowledge or even tools. It was bad enough to lose her friendship, but then I realized I was truly all alone in the middle of nowhere with no idea what to do.

HOST: Oh, my gosh, what did you do?

Sarah: Luckily, I kept my wits about me. I realized that going back the way we came made more sense than heading in an unknown direction. The problem: The Indians took all our livestock and food.

HOST: How in the world did you survive without food?

Sarah: My Ma taught me a lot about roots, berries and such. I had no doubt I could find plenty to eat, and eventually, water. I filled what canteens I found, took just enough extra clothing to keep me warm at night, then set off. I had to leave in case the Indians came back again. Dealing with the coyotes and buzzards was already more than I could handle.

HOST:
So, did you travel all the way back to where the train started?

Sarah: Ginger will have my head if I give away too much of the story. Let me just say that after everything else I'd been through, I got bit by a gol-darned rattlesnake. I thought for sure I was a goner, but a very handsome, and I hate to use this term, 'half-breed', saved me. You'd think I would have been overcome with glee, but I was eaten up with guilt because I realized he was the same person I'd left for dead when I tried to steal his horse. It's a long story, but you'll have to read Sarah's Journey to find out more.

HOST: Well, I'm going to have to read it. I can't stand being left hanging like that, but I understand you can't share more. Can you just give us a hint what happened after he saved you?

Sarah: One more little tidbit and that's it. Wolf promised to take me to Independence and introduce me to a friend of his. That's where I ended up. Wolf, too. Now, that's absolutely all I'm going to divulge. *giggles*

HOST: Well, I won't press for more. I do thank you for being here and taking time to share a little about your journey. I can't wait to read it.

Sarah:
It's available at Eternal Press (http://www.eternalpress.biz in download format and on Amazon in print. I do have to warn you, it's not your typical 'happily ever after' ending. Don't you just get so tired of authors being so predictable?

HOST:
Now you have me hooked for sure. I'll be looking for your story. Thanks again, Sarah.

  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Interview with Cecile from Prairie Peace:\


Today we have a special guest, Cecile Palmer Williams, the heroine from Prairie Peace, by author, Ginger Simpson.

Welcome Cecile. It’s nice to have you with us. I have some questions to ask for our guests about your role in this exciting western historical romance, so let's dig right in.

HOST: How in the world did you ever convince your rigid father to allow you to marry a virtual stranger?

CECILE: *Squaring in her chair* You have to remember that back in the olden days, women married young, and sometimes even without the benefit of knowing their groom. Mail order brides were common so I think my father considered that, by some standards, I was well past marrying age and could make my own decisions. Walt simply swept me off my feet and I would have gone anywhere with him. *She smiles with a cocked head*

HOST: I read, with great interest how you perceived your new ‘home’. That must have been a terrible revelation.

CECILE: *Swipes hand across her brow* Oh, you have no idea. Walt had described the perfect setting; he just failed to tell me that he hadn’t yet built a suitable home. My skin was gray from dirt for days… trying to sweep that horrid shack with half a broom that someone left behind.  And to be perfectly honest… I didn’t know a thing about keeping house. I guess some might say I was spoiled by my parents. *smile*

HOST: I’ll bet you were scared to death when Walt left you alone while he traveled for winter supplies. How did you handle the fear?

CECILE: It wasn’t easy. *Runs a hand through her long hair*. I never realized how many noises there are once the sun goes down. I just prayed that the lock on that old weathered door worked good enough to keep me safe. God knows, I knew nothing about using a weapon. I think if I hadn’t been so exhausted from all the chores everyday, I would have had trouble sleeping. I got used to it after a few nights, but I still didn’t like it.

HOST: The book couldn’t possibly have captured the terror you experienced when Lone Eagle collapsed in front of you. Tell us how that felt.

CECILE: My heart leapt clear up here *clasping throat*. You understand, I’d never seen an Indian before and I expected to look up into the face of my beloved husband. I thought for sure I was going to die, but Lone Eagle fell in a heap at my feet. Lordy, my heart raced... all those stories I'd heard about scalping and such.

HOST: So, of course, being a good person, you did the right thing and nursed him back to health…

CECILE: Of course. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if I’d just let him die. In the end it turned out well for me, but I don’t want to divulge too much to those who haven’t read Prairie Peace. 

HOST: You’re so right. That’s not a good idea.

CECILE:  I can say that the life saving was mutual.  *giggles*

HOST: So without asking questions that reveal the outcome to the readers, I’ll just inquire what life was like in 1867.

CECILE: Oh goodness. *shuddering*. There was a wagon load of difference between my life in Silver City and moving to the prairie with Walt. In town, we bought everything we needed from the mercantile. Mother baked once in a while and cooked delicious meals, but we never had to put up our own vegetables. I was flabbergasted when Walt talked about the garden and the tomatoes, corn and other things we’d grow. I sure never expected that I’d be outside hammering nails in a dilapidated old barn, let alone milking a cow. I think the most frightening experience at first was that darned rooster. Who would have thought that something so small could terrify a body like he did?

HOST: *glances at watch* Well, I see we’re out of time, but I truly want to thank you for being our guest. I'm sure that fearing your husband dead, watching an Indian drop at your feet and having to make the difficult decisions you face presented some difficult challenges.  Prairie Peace certainly was a page turner for me. Can we look forward to a sequel?

CECILE: Well, as you know, Prairie Peace is a re-release of Ginger’s 2003 debut novel with another publisher. She’s really improved how the story flows, and I can only hint that you might visit her website to see if anything looks like a continuation of the story. You can find her at http://www.gingersimpson.com and I can give you another hint: Remember Lone Eagle is Lakota Sioux. *giggles again*

HOST: Thanks again, Cecile. This has been fun. Hopefully your fans will visit Eternal Press and purchase the new version of Prairie Peace. They can find it at http://www.eternalpress.biz

CECILE: One can only hope. I know that Ginger needs another root canal, liposuction on her hips and a neck lift, and that's just the emergency necessities.  Poor dear, growing old has its own challenges and every purchase helps with the expense.  Thanks for inviting me to visit with you…  Oh, and Ginger also  is on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.   Do you have any idea how long it took me to memorize all that?
 

Also available in download from the publisher.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Interview with Tyler Bishop from Sparta Rose


 
Interviewer:
We’re very pleased to have Tyler Bishop with us today.  Mr. Bishop is the hero in Ginger’s Simpson’s western historical romance, Sparta Rose.  So, Mr. Bishop, welcome to Dishin’ It Out.

TB – “Ty, please.  Mr. Bishop was my father.  And thanks for the welcome, but I’m here under duress.”

INT  - “Really.”

TB –“I have things waiting to be done.  Cows need to be moved to another pasture, fences need mendin’ and the longer I dawdle, the more I stand to lose favor with my boss, Ben.”

Int – “Ben?  Would that be Ben Fountain, father of the heroine, Ellie Fountain?”

TB – “Yep, that’d be right.  There’s another reason I need to get movin’… Ellie.  For some reason, that little filly is out to get me.  Seems every time I chew the fat with her pa, she gets her nose out of joint.  I never met someone so… so…what’s the word I’m looking for.  You know, someone who wants to prove they can do everything better than the next feller?”

INT – “Oh, you mean competitive.”

TB – “That’s her in a nutshell.  Just wait till you read the story.  She even went out, bought a gun and learned to shoot.  She’s says it’s because of the polecats next door, threatening to trespass on Ben’s land, but I say different.”

INT – “Really?  Why do you think she bought the gun?”

TB – “To try to show me up.  She already thinks she can ride and rope as good as any man, and lord knows, she could stand to dress up a bit.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell there’s a girl under that big ol’ hat and the layer of dust.”

INT – “Does she always dress in men’s clothing?”

TB – “Well she did until I invited her to a dance.  Ben sort of pushed me into it, but down deep I wanted to go with her.  She looked mighty pretty, all fancied up, but instead of the evening turnin’ out like I planned, she went and got herself in trouble again.  She should have listened to me about those pesky Bryant boys.”

INT – “What kind of trouble did she get into?”

TB – “I may be greener than most folks you know, but I ain’t about to divulge Ginger’s whole story.  Ellie is a real tomboy, and she stays madder than a wet hen at me most times, but I’ll just say, I think she finally realizes there are just times a woman can’t match a man’s strength.”

INT – “Well it sounds like I’ll have to buy my own copy if I want to see how this turns out.”

TB – “You’re right welcome to visit Eternal Press.  That’s where Ellie and my story is being sold. I’m not real savvy when it comes to the Internet, but I wrote this down.  *fishes in pocket*.  Let’s see, http://www.eternalpress.biz.  It’s also available on somethin’ called Amazing…no, that’s not it.  It’s Amazon.  Ain’t got no idea how you get there, but Ginger said to share the names with ya’ll.  I thank you for the time, but I best get going.  I fear Sparta Rose is going to change my life.

INT – “Thank you, Ty, and please visit us again.”

   Sparta Rose was named the "2009 Best Historical Western Romance by Love Romance Cafe."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Interview with Roselle (Ellie) from Sparta Rose:


Our special guest this evening is Miss Roselle Fountain, the heroine from author, Ginger Simpson’s western historical, Sparta Rose.  Welcome, Roselle. 

RF – *Fidgeting* Oh please call me Ellie.  I’ve never much identified with such a flowery name.  You probably can’t tell by the way I’m dressed today, but I’ve always been somewhat of a tomboy.

HOST - *Laughing*.  So I’ve heard.  You look very nice in your flowered print—very much the lady.

RF – That’s Pa’s doing.  He insisted that if I was going to make an appearance, I needed to dress like a lady.  I’d much rather be wearing britches and boots. *Tugs at the neckline of her dress*.  These things are too danged uncomfortable at times.

HOST – So, Ellie, tell the readers a little about Sparta Rose.

RF – *Grins* Well, I can’t give away too much.  Ginger would skin me alive, but I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that it’s got a little romance, a lot of western, and even more feistiness than her last historical romance.  It all starts when Pa hires Tyler Bishop as the ranch foreman.  I kinda figured Pa always wanted a son, and Ty proves me right. Their relationship gets me pretty riled up.  I have a bad temper at times… I think it comes from this red hair.  *pulls a strand of hair forward and smiles*.

HOST – So, besides your being jealous of Ty, is there any adventure involved.

RF – Oh, you bet.  *Squares herself in her chair*.  The polecats that live on the neighboring ranch are aiming to get Fountainhead away from Pa.  Dude Bryant and his twin boys are meaner than snakes… well at least Dude and Jason are.  Joshua comes across as quiet and a follower.  But, *balls hands into fists* I’ll be danged if they’re gonna get my legacy.  I actually bought a gun and taught myself to shoot it. 

HOST – A gun?  What do you plan to do with it?

RF – Protect Fountainhead of course.  I’m aim to show Pa he don’t need Tyler Bishop around when he has me.  I just wish that Ty wasn’t so dang good lookin’.

HOST – I haven’t heard you mention your mother.  How does she feel about you owning a gun?

RF - *Lowers her eyes*.  My ma died when I was very young.  I suppose that’s why I took up with the ranch hands and spend so much time workin’ outdoors.  *Raises a steely gaze*.  But, now that Ty’s in the picture, Pa wants me to spend more time in the house doing womanly things.

HOST – Would that be such a bad thing?

RF – Of course it would.  I don’t much care for cookin’ and cleanin’.  We have Cook for that.  I’d much rather brand a cow as fry one.

HOST – So what about the romance part of the story?

RF – *Chews her bottom lip for a moment* I can’t tell you much more than I accompany Ty to a dance, but as usual, he gets my dander up there, too.  What happens from then on, you’ll have to find out for yourself.  I may look young and naïve, but I’m not silly enough to give away the whole story.  Miz Ginger is counting on sales to help pay for a trip to something called an RT Conference.  I wouldn’t want to let her down.

HOST – I certainly wouldn’t want you to do that either.  You’ve given us enough of a teaser to stir some interest.  Hopefully we’ll see you on a best seller’s list somewhere.

RF – That would be right nice.  It just may happen cause remember, I have a gun.  *Slaps hip and fakes a draw*.

HOST -  Well, here’s hoping you don’t have to use it.  *laughs*.  Thank you so much, Ellie for being with us today.  And good luck in the future.

RF – Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot to tell you that Sparta Rose is available at Eternal Press. You can find them on something called Internet at, *reaches in pocket and pulls out a slip of paper; reads it*  http://www.eternalpress.biz  or for something called a Kindle or Nook on the appropriate sites.


HOST – Thanks again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Interview with Grace from White Heart, Lakota Spirit:


While I'm on my short little vacation, I'm leaving my characters to entertain you. 

Today my guest, Grace Cummings, the heroine in White Heart, Lakota Spirit is here to tell us how she survived being held captive by Indians.  So, without further ado, let's begin the interview:

Just for clarification, HOST will indicate the interviewer’s questions below:

HOST:   It must have been a very traumatic ordeal for you.  Can you tell us about it?

GRACE:  It was horrid. (She shudders) I still hear my mother's screams in my head.  I… 

HOST:  Do you need a moment to compose yourself?

GRACE:  No, I'm fine.  (Deep breath)  It was 1874. My family had moved around a lot because my father, bless his departed soul, was a restless man.   It was hard for a girl my age to make friends, not living in one place for very long, and just when Ma, Kevin and I thought we might settle down, General George Armstrong Custer made an announcement about gold being discovered in the Black Hills of Lakota territory.  That's all it took!  Pa loaded everything back into our Conestoga and insisted this was his chance to strike it big. 

HOST:  Why didn't you mother put her foot down?

GRACE:  You have to understand that back then, women were expected to know their place.  Ma pretty much did as Pa said.  Besides, he promised her that when he hit the mother lode, he would buy us a new house; new furniture and we'd never have to move again.

HOST:  I can see how that might have sounded pretty enticing.

GRACE:  It was.  We all had visions of putting down permanent roots, so being out on the plains, cooking over a campfire again and roughing it for a just a little longer was worth it if Pa and my brother, Kevin, found gold. 

HOST:  Tell us more about your experience, please.

GRACE:  Okay.   We had made camp at the base of the Black Hills, near a sparse stand of trees.  There was a small stream nearby, so water was plentiful.  Ma and I slept on a pallet of blankets in the wagon, while Pa and Kev slept in a makeshift tent.  We had just finished breakfast one morning and were laughing and talking before Pa and Kev went off to the mine, when I happened to spy some riders on the horizon. It soon became clear from the whooping and hollering that they were being attacked by Indians.

HOSTOh my goodness, what did you do?

GRACE:  Pa immediately yelled for Ma and I to get back in the Conestoga, and he and Kev grabbed their rifles and crawled underneath.  I hunkered down behind the tailgate, waiting for Ma, but she never came.  I was so scared, hearing the sound of gunfire and those blood-curdling war cries, I covered my ears, but it didn't help.  When I got the courage to peek outside, I saw the Indians circling our wagon and Ma running in the opposite direction.  I think she was trying to draw them away from me.  I didn't realize it at the time, but Pa and Kevin were already dead.  They were easy pickings with no real shelter.

HOST:  How awful. 

GRACE:  You have no idea!  (Stopping to bite her knuckle, then staring straight ahead). They…they shot my ma down in cold blood right before my eyes.

HOST:  Oh you poor thing.  What did you do then?

GRACE:  (Dabbing at eyes with hanky) I curled myself into a ball and prayed that it was all just a bad dream, and that I'd wake up.   When I didn't hear anything for a while, I found the courage to rise to my knees and peer over the tailgate again.  I almost had heart failure when I came face-to-face with the ugliest sight I'd ever seen.

HOST:    Oh my gosh, I have goose bumps. What was it?

GRACE:  It was the person I later learned was Black Crow.  His face was painted with bright yellow lightning bolts, and he had a scar that ran from ear-to-ear.  He pulled me out of the wagon, barking orders in a strange language, and threw me to the ground.  I felt like my heart was going to pound its way right through my chemise. (Holds hand against chest)

HOST:  Oh my goodness, what was going through your head?

GRACE:  I was certain he was going to kill me, too.  I think he might have had it not been for one of his friends.  The one, called Little Elk, seemed to step in and calm Black Crow down.  Still, it was an awful thing to go through, wondering if you were going to live or die.  After Black Crow tethered my arms together and dragged me along behind his horse, like I was nothing more than an animal, I almost wished I had died.  I fought to keep up all the way to the Indian village.

HOST:  How far was it?

GRACE:  (Holding out her wrists).  I'm not sure, but you can still see the scars where the rawhide bit into my skin.  I didn't have time to get my shoes on, so my feet were pretty raw, too.  I'm used to walking beside the wagon every day, but being dragged is quite different.  It took forever.

HOST:  What happened when you got to the village?

GRACE:  I was so tired I could barely stand, but I dared not drop to the ground when it seemed like the whole village stood in a circle around me, staring and laughing.  I thought for sure I was about to meet my maker, but something very surprising happened.

HOST:  Don't stop now!

GRACE:  A beautiful green-eyed woman walked into the midst of things and protected me.  She spoke their language and dressed in their clothing, but it was evident from her flaming red hair that she was white.  If it hadn't been for her I would never have survived to tell this story, that and the fact that Black Crow's mother didn't like having a white woman share her home.  (Grace chuckles)

HOST:  What happened?

GRACE:  After only one night in her tepee, Black Crow handed me over to Little Elk. He, at least treated me with kindness, allowing Green Eyes to help me bathe and wash my hair.  I was still scared, but not nearly as much.  Pa always said I was headstrong, and it almost got me into  trouble when Little Elk gave me a new name.  (Sitting up straighter, squaring shoulders)

HOST:  Oh gosh, we're almost out of time and I hate to make you stop.  Can you give us a brief summary, and quickly?

GRACE:  Although there is so much more to tell, I'll just say that Little Elk played a big role in the decision I made when the white soldiers raided the camp. Unless you want to invite me back for another visit, I guess you'll just have to read the book.  (Holds out a copy)

HOST:  Is this for me? How nice, and it's autographed.  Grace Cummings, thank you so much for spending time with us and sharing your captivating story. I'd like to remind our readers that White Heart, Lakota Spirit by Ginger Simpson is offered at http://www.eternalpress.biz.  If you prefer Kindle...it's on Amazon. There's more to story, and if you're like me, you want to know how things turned out.  Happy reading!

  

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