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TNB NEWSLETTER, VOLUME 6: Write Your Own New Year

As humans we have the God-given ability to write our own destiny and even re-write it if we must. The New Year of 2014 is no exception. We are the only ones in control of what we do. We can either choose what is dealt us or change it to make it what we want. So although TNB Newsletter is all about the news in books, what about the books we write ourselves? I challenge you, each chapter, each paragraph, each sentence, each word, whether it is fictional novels or true life biographies—write your own new year, 2014 is a blank slate. Welcome to TNB Newsletter, volume six.

In This Issue : . . . . . . . HELP !! How Do I Write My Own New Year . . . . . . . The Challenge Made for Children: Writing, Reading, Learning . . . . . . . Excited to Write . . . . . . . Homeschool Curriculum . . . . . . . FEATURED AUTHOR—Luciana House . . . . . . . POETIC JOURNEYS—Rebecca Graf The Perfect Life Can No Longer Be Found in Modernism . . . . . . . POETRY CORNER FLEETING—Poem by Natasha Rose LOST—Poem by Bethanie . . . . . . . SERIAL NOVELS Legend of the Eclipse—Michelle Cornwell-Jordan Leigh—Rebecca Graf Across the Fields—Bethanie Armstrong . . . . . . . BLOG HOPS AND UPCOMING BLOG HOPS

HELP!! How Do I Write My Own New Year How do you write your own new year? Well if I told you that then it wouldn’t be your own, so here is a little advice. You must begin. It is midnight on New Year’s Eve (by the way, Happy New Year). Here is your chance to make it everything you want it to be. Start with you. Your life experiences write your story. All you have to do is use them. Some writers use life experiences to tell their fictional stories. Some actually write their own autobiography. Still it is their life they are writing about. Many things in life create stories. It could be a brief glance of a couple’s picnic, or a photo in a magazine. It could be a picture you see on a social website or even something someone has said. It could be an experience during your work day. Whatever it is, if it tugs at your heart or your mind, write it down. It doesn’t have to turn into a full novel right away. Let it sit and it may be the one that turns into a New York Time’s Bestseller. You never know what your New Year holds. That is how you write your own New Year. Make it what you want it to be. HAPPY WRITING !! ~Bethanie

THE CHALLENGE MADE FOR CHILDREN: WRITING, READING, LEARNING So, guess what. Even though I set forth the challenge, who’s to say children can’t join in too. If you choose to start now with your children you may develop a lifelong love of writing in them, along with a life-long love of reading, because you can’t write if you can’t read. Challenge them to write a sentence a day and make sure all of the sentences are about the same subject, before you know it, you have helped your children write a book. Use the time to edit as an English and grammar session. Teach them the way words are to be used in a sentence, as well as sentence structure, and the punctuation needed to set them off in the right context. We all know the wonderfully amazing, and simply annoying comma. However, if not used correctly someone may think the children already ate grandma. This is what I am talking about— 1) The children already ate grandma. (EEE, oh no) 2) The children already ate, grandma. (oh good) Amazing, that one simple mark made everyone understand the children did not eat their grandma, but they went over to her house and grandma knew she didn't have to cook. The comma gives a stopping point for the correct meaning the writer was trying to set forth. Okay, I have suggested how to use writing time, now let’s read about ways we can get kids to write.

(Wonder what he’s thinking?)

Excited to Write Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. So here we goooooo! One of the main things within schools today is trying to get children to write. Honestly, they hate it, they don’t want to do it, and forcing the issue just makes it worse. See, very much like reading. So, how do we make writing fun? How do we get them to love it? Well I’ll offer a few suggestions and you can pick what may work best for your child or children, whichever that may be. First let’s answer the question—How do we make writing fun? Well, don’t MAKE them do it. I can already hear the whispers and possible yells coming my way. Many of you are saying, we have to make them. My answer is no, you really don’t, especially if they don’t realize that is what they are doing. Take the fun little books called “Mad Libs” and give them one. Within these, if most of you my age remember, they have the fun little stories in them where children can add an adjective, verb, noun, adverb, etc. to whichever blank calls for it. Soon they have no idea, especially with the giggles and laughter, that they have written a story. Once they “fill in the blanks” get them to read them aloud. Then inform them they have just written a story. These are great for young children. They work well for older children, too. I even enjoy them now and then. In my day these were called writing prompts. When they see how much fun those were, go up another step. Actually give them a writing prompt, something fun. Don’t use “Once upon a time . . .” It is old and worn out. Here are a few suggestions:  The park ranger . . .  The wind . . .  The forest . . .  As the leaves . . .  He / She was . . .  The most beautiful . . .  The glittery sparkle . . .  The morning / night . . .  My dog . . .  My cat . . . Another way to get children interested in writing is to start a story chain or a writing chain. Story chain, you write it down, writing chain they write their part down and read it aloud for the next person to add

to it. This can be done with two or more children. It really becomes fun when it is done at a birthday party or some kind of get-together. Once it starts, though, be prepared for things to get loud and laughter to chime across the room. It becomes fun and they want to do it more and more, sometimes you could even add pictures. Picture prompts can also be used. These can be pulled from magazines, the colorful ones like Southern Living or National Geographic. Coastal Living is also another good one. It can also turn into a field trip to the local art museum, or any kind of museum, really. Show them different things. Have them keep a journal with them. When they find something that interests them, either you or they can write one sentence about it. Before they even know what has happened, they have begun writing and guess what, it becomes fun! ~Bethanie

Homeschool Curriculum Another way to write your own new year is to develop your own curriculum. WOW, what a challenge that is for some of us. Those of us that homeschool, I am one, are constantly looking for ways to make learning fun for our children. Let’s face it. Workbooks are boring; however, there are some things that we get pulled into believing that workbooks are the only way to go. I have learned, in homeschooling for almost three years, that there are creative ways to teach—everything. I am still learning how. Science and history / geography / social studies are the thorns in my side as far as that goes, so that is the one I am trying to re-write instead of making reading and notes the main focus. I am currently working on a combo to make it fun. We’ll see how it turns out. That is part of my plan to

write my own New Year in history and science. I also have a great friend that is helping me with it. She is the history guru, as far as I’m concerned. Who said we couldn’t ask for help? Not me.  ~Bethanie


Luciana is an amazing writer. I read her book, Burning Angel a few years ago and was mesmerized by the world and characters she created. Her book is currently undergoing a few changes, including the title. The new working title is The Land without a King, and I can hardly wait to see the finished product. She works fulltime and I know it will take some time for it to be published, but trust me, once it is, many will fall in love with the story.

Author Bio—

Luciana House is 27 years old and lives in England where she is currently working as a cinema manager. She writes in her spare time whilst she pursues her dream of becoming a published author. Follow Lucy on Twitter - @lucianahouse

Burning Angel by Luciana House

Synopsis: “Do you honestly believe that science and logic have everything right? It’s naïve to believe we know absolutely everything about our universe. You should know that better than anyone.” I used to think fairytales only existed within the dusty pages of a book. I was wrong. Unlike the stories I’ve read, it isn’t easy. No, in real life it’s hard. In an ideal world the hero would meet a beautiful princess and fall in love, and they would marry and live happily ever after. But we don’t live in an ideal world. And I am not a princess. Emily cannot remember her life before the accident, before her parents died. She hides herself away, afraid that someone will realise she’s crazy. Because she is crazy. How else can she explain the shadows? The way she can feel people’s emotions, the recurring prophetic nightmares? When she meets Henry, and recognises him during a bank robbery, he takes her prisoner, to another world. A world where magic, fairytales and monsters are real. Where Henry is heir to a kingdom damaged by war, a kingdom living in fear. With the help of Henry and his sister, Emily must face demons, struggle to remember her past, and deeply question her sanity. The innocent victims she sees in her dreams are being brutally murdered, and when she becomes the next target, Emily’s journey becomes a fight for survival. But it isn’t death she’s afraid of; she must fight against her greatest fear of all - falling in love.

Will Emily remember her past? Will she ever allow anyone to get close to her? Find out in Burning Angel, the first book in the Kingdom of Enydis series.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is a taste of Burning Angel (The Land without a King): Drip… drip… drip… I heard the gentle dripping before I felt it tapping against my chest; the drops collected in a pool, trickling over my shoulders into my hair. I opened my eyes and attempted to lift my head, examining the darkness. Where am I? It was cold, and I was flat on my back on a rough stone tablet, my spine bruising. My neck was stiff and my side was sore, the stab wound sharp and pinching. It was dim, a damp stench stifled the air. My eyes adjusted. My dirty cell had a crumbling hole for a door, it led onto a dark corridor, frosty air streaming in. The only items in the room were two wavering oil lamps, their light nowhere near sufficient; one hung from the high ceiling, the other was somewhere behind me on the floor. A ticking noise came from somewhere, quietly tapping in the background. The blood coating my face and side had dried tight, clotting over the skin. I remembered Kate hitting the wall, laying lifelessly on the ground, Pandarus stabbing me… Pandarus. I trembled. What did he do with her? Where had he taken me? My breath fogged. I shivered. Astoundingly, that was the strangest part. I was freezing. And the cold could only mean one thing. Shadowland. My stomach took a steep dive. Please don’t be in the castle, please don’t be in the castle. I remembered the spell Pandarus had cast to hide it. No-one would ever be able to find me. I took a deep breath and tried to sit up. As my back lifted an inch, pain seared through my left thigh. I stifled a scream, my body shuddering with waves of agony. Something was in my leg, in my leg. I took another gulp of air and pushed myself up, shaking until I was sitting. My stab wound had been sealed, but felt as though the dagger was still inside me, carving my flesh. I was torn between relief and terror. Why is he keeping me alive? Why hasn’t he killed me already? I lowered my eyes to my thigh. A strip of leather about two inches wide held me down. It was strapped over the top of my leg, and a belt buckle connected it to the stone. It was the only restraint I had and although I couldn’t see them, there were spikes embedded into my thigh, pinning me down. My hand flew to my mouth. I sobbed, tears streaming down my face. I tried to calm down, ordering my body to relax, my heart raced so fast I couldn't decipher each beat. Crying wasn’t going to help my situation but I couldn’t stop. I was terrified. I tried to clear my mind, tried to concentrate on what was

happening; Pandarus could be anywhere and he could come for me at any minute. I had no choice but to pull them out. One of the grandest books I have ever read sits between these pages of Burning Angel, now with the new working title, A Land without a King. You will be pulled in immediately by this amazing land and its unforgettable characters. I can hardly wait until the final publication! ~Bethanie

POETIC JOURNEYS— The Perfect Life Can No Longer Be Found in Modernism By Rebecca Graf

The concept of the perfect life climaxed during the Victorian era as the seeds of war were sown and the world plummeted into the likes of war that had not been seen for centuries. The new literature

movement, Modernism, that came from “a series of cultural shocks” tossed aside the fascination with nature and the spiritual self. It began to focus more on the darker side of life by looking intently at “decay and a growing alienation of the individual” (“Modernism”). I found this description most evident in three poems assigned to us. In ‘they’, Siegfried Sassoon directly states that the boys that left for war “will not be the same; for they’ll have fought” and “challenged Death and dared him face to face”. The innocence is no longer there. The focus on beauty is no longer there. Death is now the focus of the words. The flowers that once occupied poetry are replaced with lines that are dark and depressing. Wilfred Owen takes the reader straight to the feel of war. It is “Only the monstrous anger of the guns” the reader can hear. There are no more birds chirping. Life had turned dark for the poet as well as for the rest of the world. Works Cited: “Modernism.” The Literature Network. Web. 19 August 2012. Owen, Wilfred. “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” Poetry Foundation. Web. 19 August 2012. Sassoon, Siegfried. “they.” Web. 19 August 2012.

POETRY CORNER— Poem by Natasha Rose

Fleeting Love Is Not Fleeting A Summer Fling A Winter Thing A Spring Romance

A Fall Dance True Love is Forever Lasting True Love Is Never Aging As the Stars Rise And the Sun Sets Let Our Love Be Sweet Night If This Shall Be Our Last Dance Let It Be Danced On Top of the Waters of Love Spinning In the Winds of Eternity As The Moon Shines Bright Tonight Let the Flame of Our Love, Be Ever Lasting © 2013 Natasha Rose—used by permission

Poem by Bethanie

LOST She walks out into the night, as the darkness seems to press. There are no lights this evening to light her path. The moon has gone away; the stars have all gone out. She wishes he could see her. She feels lost, will he find her? Does he even know she’s missing? She wonders where he could have gone. He sits beside her, but not beside her.

He kisses her, but he doesn’t. He holds her, but doesn’t hold her. Everything has become a routine to him. He’s pushing her away from him. The heart that once held hers is slowly fading away. She pleads silently because her lips they cannot speak. They are paralyzed in fear of what he doesn’t want to keep. The silence becomes louder as she struggles to hold on. The darkness becomes darker, she’s afraid to walk alone. As the fog rolls in from under it swallows up her path. The vastness of the dark has a hold on her at last. She cries as she keeps walking. Not knowing any direction, she is afraid. She knows there is a cliff out there. Will he find her before it is too late? She wants to cry out in anger, But her heart knows him so she can’t. She’s lost without direction not knowing when her next step will be her fate. © 2013 Bethanie Armstrong—used by permission

SERIAL NOVELS— The following novels are authors, Michelle Cornwell-Jordan’s, Rebecca Graf’s, and Bethanie Armstrong’s works in progress. They have given TNB Newsletter permission to use them. They are lightly edited so

there will be mistakes. These are for your enjoyment purposes only, no critiquing or reviews are necessary. Happy Reading!

LEGEND OF THE ECLIPSE (New Adult) © SERIAL NOVEL Michelle Cornwell-Jordan Volume 1 –ALPHA


I apologized to Reba for the small unintended slight, promised her I would meet her in an hour over at the campus dining hall. I was happy to finally be nestled in my room. My first reaction when I entered was one of awe. My new home looked less like the dorm residences, I saw on human television; but closer to that of a luxurious medieval chamber. The room had a forest and field theme; warm browns and gold permeated the walls and trimming; accented by a deep chocolate carpet. Heavy draperies were a combination of forest green, antique gold and russet with golden tassels at the end. There was a long golden rope as they once used back in the day, which would summon the servants. I unceremoniously dropped my duffel bag on the floor and walked over to the golden rope and gave it a tug. Although there was no sound, I theorized there might be a silent alarm, but when no willing maid appeared at the door, I figured it was mainly for show. I walked over to the high bed that had thick satin coverings in the same colors as the draperies; I hopped onto the bed and fell back with arms outstretched, making an air angel in the satin coverings. The silk was cool to my flesh, and the near constant aching in my forehead that traveled to the back of my head, actually began to leave. I closed my eyes, and simply allowed my mind to drift.

I wonder what everyone was doing. I wonder what he was doing? Rafael I miss you. At that moment I felt the buzz of my cell phone that was lodged in my back jeans pocket. I lifted my hip and pulled out my phone. The small screen said Rafael. I smiled and felt joy race through me. I knew I shouldn’t since we were taking a break, whatever that meant… but I couldn’t wait to hear his voice. I pushed the button. “Hey.” I said, my voice came out breathless, I suppose from the excitement.

Way to go Angel, just keep playing it cool.

“Hey.” His voice was like warm cocoa, smooth, deep and rich. I simply wanted to drink it in. “You all settled now?” He said. Turning over onto my stomach, I traced indiscriminate patterns into the creases of the bedspread. “Yep, I just got into my room, after the longest entrance interview ever.” He chuckled. “Well, how is everything…everyone?” “Fine, I like Headmistress Draul, she’s very elegant; a real sweet miss thing going on…she reminds me a little of…” I paused as the pain throbbed fresh in my chest. “…a little of Madison…” My voice cracked slightly. “Angel…” His voice soft, reached inside me to the hurting places and warmed me, I was no longer as cold inside from the pain. “I-I’m okay.” I said quickly. I could no longer depend totally on Rafael; I had to stand on my own. “I-I…just wanted to make sure you were okay? You’re not going to make this easy are you?” He questioned, he sounded slightly irritated. I rolled back over onto my back. “I’m not trying to make it difficult…I just can’t fall apart every time I have a bad thought. If I did…then I will stay…broken.” “Then I will fix you…” His voice was almost a whisper. “No one can fix another person…” I frowned. “Okay…” he said suddenly. “Okay?” I was surprised that he was giving in this time, he had not been happy about our having some distance.” He laughed slightly. “What? Did you believe I would fight you on this? I only want your happiness, and if this…being away from me is what you need… then I will not stand in the way. Plus I know I can’t fix another person… knew it went when the words passed my lips. If I could…I would have fixed…us…” He allowed his words to drift off. I filled in the last part of his statement; we sometimes thought on the same frequency; I could always guess for the most part where his thoughts would flow. After all that Rafael had gone through recently and in our history…I understood he had demons inside to slay. “Just thought, maybe you would put up more fight” I smiled into the phone. “Do you want to fight?” I heard the smile in his voice as he teased me. “No, of course not.” I smirked. Even though I knew he couldn’t see it. “Good, neither do I… I don’t like the route you’ve chosen…but I know if you haven’t been raised in it like I have, then it can be overwhelming…so we’re good.” “Okay” I smiled into my phone. “Okay” he said. I could almost see his cheesy grin.

“How are Mr. M. and the new recruits that headed your way for the Hunter Society?” His voice shifted--all business now. “Better, there was resistance from more of the more set members of the Alliance. “Meaning the council?” I interrupted. I was assured that the older generation of the Alliance-- who made up the council-- once again had caused more drama than necessary. “Nothing we can’t handle on this end…. You just make sure you’re okay down there…” “Actually it’s up…I’m more northern geographically…” “Thanks for the lesson….when can I visit?” I heard the hesitancy in his voice regarding the question. “Rafael, I-I just need…” I let my words fall off because I was not really sure what I needed. “WHAT? He let out a huge sigh. “I understand, just more time…it’s just I sometimes find it difficult to breathe when you’re not here” His voice went lower; it felt as if it seeped into my blood and my bone marrow. I cleared my throat. “Well, if that was true you wouldn’t be alive…” He snorted. “I don’t feel very alive without you…but, okay we’re good. I better go; I have some things to take care of for Mr. M.” A jarring sense of loss shot through me at the thought of his disconnecting. “Okay…” I said in a small voice. “Angel?” He asked his voice full of concern. “No…seriously, that’s fine; I have to finish settling in…I have…” I checked the clock on my phone. “Ugh, I have about twenty minutes left before meeting Reba…” “Reba?” He asked. “Another story for another day… trust me…” I allowed my words to drift off. I focused on a sound that caught my attention; it sounded like a scuffle or scratching. The sound carried from across the room. I sat up and glimpsed around my surroundings. I appeared alone as I should have been. But I heard that slight hesitant--scratching? “Angel? You okay? What’s happening?” Rafael’s voices harden with concern; he always knew when there was something wrong or when I was in danger. Not wanting to concern him, I said. “Oh, nothing Rafe, I just thought I heard something, apparently some of the other residence members were already heading down to eat.” I slid off the bed, as I still clutched the phone, and walked in the direction of the sound. It was a low, muffled scratching. I stopped in front of the wall that was situated between the bathroom and the window. ‘I’m choosing to believe you, based on the fact that I know you can handle yourself. I can sense that something’s not right.” He said.

I should have known that the Thunderkin mojo would kick in. “I’m good, okay?” The sound was growing louder, and I realized it was coming from within the wall. “Let me know if you need back up” He said, he voice strained. I realized how difficult it was for him not to be here, to help and protect. I would feel the same if we were in opposite shoes. “Be careful Angel” I imagined his gentle hands caressing my face. “I will.” I said softly. We hung up, not saying goodbye, because it was understood that it was never goodbye between us. I shoved my cell phone into the back of jean pocket. Refocusing, I moved nearer the wall where the sounds were coming. I leaned in and the sound grew louder, with a loud bang that emitted from the other side. BANG! The thump which caused me to jump vibrated as if someone punched the wall from the other side. Yeah if that other person was Godzilla. I hesitated and then placed my palm against the wall, instantly jerking it back. “OW!” I said. The surface of was frigid; the type of cold that felt as if it could rip off skin. I looked down at my palm that was reddening, and as I stared more at my hand I realized that a shape formed on its surface. A face appeared, eyes slanted, mouth opened as if in a howl, but the image slowly faded. I looked back up at the wall; all things seemed quiet; when I looked back down at my hand, the face was gone. But I realized something… that I had found what I was looking for; the Sanctuary definitely had a baddie who was here to play; things were now going to get very interesting. © 2013 Michelle Cornwell-Jordan—used by permission

Leigh By Rebecca Graf Chapter 5 The days went by in a whirl. The hospital beds always seemed to be full of loud, demanding patients. Without fail, this resulted in my exhaustion every night. Being busy did not stop me from having lunch with George, the highlight of my day. To actually talk with someone who listened to me and heard what I said helped me unwind. Truthfully, I could not remember the last time anyone had done that with me. It felt good. George was encouraging me to go ahead and take classes like I wanted to, no matter what everyone else thought. It pulled at my heart all the time, but to be constantly fighting with everyone was too much to think about. There was not enough energy in me to even think of doing that. I truly believed that things would fall into place one day. They just had to. It was on a Thursday when a trip to the linen closet on the next floor up was needed. There had been a rash of dismissals and little staff left at that time of day. The job of remaking all the beds fell to me. After a futile search, all the closets on our floor were found to be empty. What was going on in the laundry department? Relief flowed over me when a full closet of linens was discovered on the other floor, but it turned to frustration as none of the pieces were in the right place. For the next twenty minutes, sorting the linen closet was priority in order to get exactly what was needed for our floor. As my lips mumbled curses at the person who had done the damage, the door opened. The bright lights from the hallway illuminated the dimly lit linen closet. Turning my head, I saw George as he walked in. “Hey, what are you doing here?” Surprised filled me. He was so far from his department at the other end of the hospital. George smiled and shrugged. “Radiology is extremely slow, so I was up here to gather some linens for emergency. Got to earn my pay somehow!” Looking at me kneeling on the floor with my hair falling out of the barrette and down in the front of my face, a look of confusion crossed his face. “I think I should be asking what you are doing here.”

Laughing, I straightened up. “We needed more linens and our closet is completely empty. When I came here, the room looked as though a tornado had blown through. Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I have been here about half an hour and probably have another thirty minutes yet to go.” I swept my long auburn hair off my face and tried to clamp it back in place with the barrette. With a laugh George said, “I can’t wait that long. Show me what to do and I’ll help you get it done.” We began working together organizing the closet. Within ten minutes the job was done and each of us had gathered what we needed. Stacking the much needed linen on the edge of the hamper, I turned to thank him for his help. “Tha…” The words of gratitude did not get to be formed completely. As I turned around to express my appreciation, George was standing right there. I was face to face with him with only a couple of inches separating us. My heart began to race. I had never noticed how enticing his cologne was. Then again, I had never been this close to him. My own body came alive. Everything about us was charged. A part of me wanted to lean forward and feel his lips on mine and his arms wrapped tightly around me. I wanted to give in and feel the thrill of it. Excitement coursed through my veins as he leaned in. His intention was clear. My first passion filled kiss in months was coming right at me. The angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other one began an all-out war. My ears were roaring from the clashing of their swords. At the last second, the angel won out, and I quickly averted my head. Grabbing the linens, I shot back a “Thank you” and literally ran down the hall and the stairs to my own floor. Before opening the door that would lead to the nurses’ station, I leaned against the wall. Rapidly breathing with flushed cheeks, my composure had to be regained before walking into the nurses’ station and facing those waiting on the linen. Work had to continue no matter what foolish activity I was involved in, or almost involved in. A few hours later while sitting on the patio, I pushed aside my normal glass of wine and grabbed a much needed wine cooler. In fact, that was my second one. The first was consumed as yet another dinner was eaten alone at a table set for two. Now self-pity was swimming through me. The episode in the linen closet had really shaken me up more than I wanted to admit. When the nurses quizzed me on my shortness of breath, my excuse was being out of shape and a difficult climb up the stairs. They shrugged and that was the end of it for them. For me, it was only the beginning. The events by the linen closet kept replaying in my head. Each time, I hoped it would play out differently. Angrily, I should have slapped him for being too forward, but instead I found myself gazing at his luscious lips, desiring to feel them on my own. I found myself longing to know what his arms felt like wrapped around me. Each time, a part of my heart broke. I was a Jezebel! Here I was, a married woman with almost adult children finding myself in a closet about to make out with a co-worker. How much worse could it get? What did this say about me? What did it say about my marriage?

Depression dug in its heels as another drink was taken and my gaze turned up toward the brightly twinkling stars. The patio lights were turned off, so just the darkness and the stars could be seen. To be lost in the stars and feel nothing would be heavenly. Never had the thought even crossed my mind to cheat on my husband. Never had I entertained images of being with another man. Was this incident a sign that my marriage was about to end? A tear rolled down my face. Here I was alone and drinking. Taking down the last of the drink, I headed inside to grab another drink and find some TV show to distract me. Maybe by the time Mark came home, I would be somewhat composed. Š 2013 Rebecca Graf—used by permission

Chapter 6 As I sat and listened to the conversations going on, I noticed Jace was gone. “Holden, where did Jace go?” “Oh, he probably went down to the lake. He goes there every night.” “Why? Any particular reason?” “I never asked; I just know he does it.” I stood up off the couch. Walking over to Mama Ruth, I knelt down beside her chair. “Mama Ruth.” “Yes, Honey, what is it?” “Where is Jace?” “My guess would be down at the lake. He likes it down there. It gives him a place to think.” “Think about what?” “You know, Cami; I believe you were sent here for a reason, why don’t you go talk to him about it. The moon will light your way.” “Even through the . . .” She smiled at me like she knew something. “Even through the woods, it is a beautiful walk to take at night.” I started out of the room. Eli called my name. “Cami, where are you going?” “To find Jace. Don’t worry I won’t get lost. I know this place.” Eli looked at me a little confused. “How do you know this place?” “Jace and Tucker showed me and Sierra around.”

He pinched his lower lip and shook his head. “I’m not sure about that, Cami.” I hugged him. “Don’t worry I’ll be fine.” Back home there were times when I would have to go out of the house at night. I would be scared, because it was so dark. This place though gave me a serene feeling, like I would be safe even if I walked by myself to the camp in the woods. With everything painted white, the moon glowed off of it and it was almost like it was lit, even the gravel roads were pristine white quartz rocks, I wondered where those came from. As I passed the stables I heard the horses whinnying as they were settling down for the night. I guessed that was part of Jace’s duties, to stable the horses at night. I walked down a different path than we took this afternoon, but I still knew where I was going. It was like this place left an imprint on my mind and nothing I did would cause me to get lost. I walked through the woods to the lake and there is where I found Jace. He was sitting on the pebbled shoreline throwing them into the water. I walked silently towards him. Nothing crunched under my steps. It was strange how peacefully quiet everything was, except the water lapping the shore. There are some who would call it eerily quiet, but even though this place was very different, there was nothing eerie about it. “Hey, Cami.” That startled me; he never saw me nor heard me, but knew I was there. “Hey, Jace, everything okay.” “Yeah, pull you up some rocks and have a seat.” I laughed and sat down with him. Being around him for a better part of the day I realized something about him. Something haunted him for some reason. I was not going to just flat out ask, but hoped in some part of the conversation we were about to have, we would eventually get around to it. I already thought of him as my brother. It was so easy to accept and be accepted by this family. I had never experienced anything like it before. My mom and my brothers were that way, but to be accepted by a family who were complete strangers that morning, it suddenly seemed like I had known them my entire life. “So, Cami, what’s on your mind or did someone send you down here to get me?” “No, no one sent me down here to get you, but your mom told me where I might find you.” “Why were you looking for me?” “Well, everyone was in the living room talking. I looked around and you weren’t. I was just coming to make sure there was nothing wrong, I don’t know, like three people showing up at your farm who were total strangers and all of a sudden being accepted like we had always been members of your family, and known each other all our lives.” Jace laughed. “I promise you that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything. I’ll have to admit though, I was a little shocked when you stepped out of your brother’s truck.” “Oh, because of my face?” I suddenly felt self-conscious again as I touched my face and looked down at the ground. “Yes, but not in the way you are thinking.” “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean yes, but not because of the bruise, although that still makes me angry that your Dad did that to you. I meant because of your features. You look very similar to someone I used to know. I would almost call you her twin.” “Okay . . . What was she, an old girlfriend or something?” “Or something.” He was quiet for a moment. I looked up at the sky. “It sure is beautiful out here at night even as much as the day.” “Yeah, I know. I come down here just about every night.” “Why, Jace?” “To think about things and wonder about things.” “What things?” “Things that I wished I would have never done. Things that I wish I could change, but I can’t.” “Jace, what could you have possibly done that was so bad?” “I caused something to happen to someone that I cared about very deeply. Her name was Lily.” “Jace, you’re just twenty. You’re acting like this happened years ago.” “I know, but time seems to have stood still since then.” “What happened to her?” “Let’s just say I almost caused her to lose everything. I stood in the way when I shouldn’t have. She ended up being hurt way beyond what she should have been.” “You broke up with her?” “In a manner of speaking, yes. The way we had to part was rather cruel, but it was my fault. I broke the rules.” Jace’s eyes shifted from side to side quickly. Now I was extremely interested in what these rules, he supposedly broke, are, and why there were rules about whatever to begin with. I wanted to know more. He tried his best to cover over what he just said, but it didn’t work, not with me at least. “She would have been happy sooner had I not stood in the way. From then on I promised I would never do anything like that again. I did help her find her way in the end though. She has been happy ever since.” “What rules, and how do you know?” He seemed slightly annoyed that I wouldn’t let it go. “I check on her occasionally, making sure that she is still happy.” “You stalk her?” Jace laughed. “No, not hardly.” “Well then how do you know? Do you know where she lives?” “Yeah, she lives in Alabama.”

“Wow, from Nebraska to Alabama.” “No, actually from Alabama to Nebraska.” “What? I am so confused.” “You will understand when it’s time.” “Time for what?” “Time to make your choice.” “What choice?” “The choice to stay or go.” “What? Wait a minute. Does this have anything to do with what Mama Ruth said to me before I came out here?” “I don’t know; what did she say to you.” “She said she believed I was sent here for a reason and that I should come down here and talk to you about it.” “Well, then she’s right. You have a choice to make and you will know when it is time to make that choice. I will say this. Holt has already made that choice and Tucker is going to have to make that choice. I have already made mine. Mom and Dad both made theirs a long time ago. The only thing you will remember of this conversation is that you will have a choice to make. I believe your brothers and sister will too. You just figured it out before everyone else. Everyone that has ever come to this farm like you have—has had a choice to make. There is a reason you’re here. I am sure one day soon you will know what that reason is.” I watched as Jace threw a large pebble into the water. The ripple effect made the moon’s reflection on the water, wiggle. A sudden, blinding pain in my head made me grab the sides of my head, squeezing them, trying to force the pain to stop. “Cami, are you okay?” “I . . . think . . . so. My head . . . really hurts, though.” Jace helped me up from the ground. “I think you just need some good sleep. This has been a really big day for you. Come on I’ll take you back up to the house.” “I wish I could stay here forever.” Jace smiled, hearing those words. I didn’t know why. Then my head started pounding as my sight blurred. We made it to the house and Jace caught me before I passed out. I heard him call Holden as everything went black. * * * * I had the strangest dream. Going to heaven, a mission, as an angel, to go back and help others find their path in life, was given to me. For some reason this was very important to me. It seemed like that was what I was meant to do all along . . .

Coming to, the light in the room seemed blinding, even though my eyes were closed. There was a wet washcloth on my head. I opened my eyes to the unfocused face of Holden. He was sitting there, at the side of my bed, wiping my face down. “Hey little sister. There you are. I am so glad you’re okay. You had me scared. You’ve been out for three days.” After blinking a few times his face finally became clear. I tried to sit up but he held me down. Just moving that little bit made the room flip. I put my hand over my eyes. “Everything is spinning. Make it stop.” “Shh, Cami, it’s okay. Calm down.” I heard a knock on the door. Holden answered it. “Come in.” “Holden, how is she?” “She’s awake, come on in.” Eli came and sat on the other side of my bed. “Hey, little sister, are you okay?” “I think so. I just feel really dizzy. Where is everyone?” It was a little frightening for a moment as I squeaked, “wait a minute, this isn’t my room.” “Yes it is. Remember we are on the . . .” My memory came back to me as I let out my breath. “. . . Masters’ farm. The place that is completely white.” “Yeah, that’s the one.” Holden and Eli chuckled. “I’m glad you’re okay.” Another knock came. Holden answered. “Come in.” “How’s our girl?” Hearing Mama Ruth’s words, I couldn't help but smile. “She’s better. She’s awake at least.” “Mama Ruth, I am so sorry I didn’t help with Sunday dinner.” “Honey, you’ve been sick. Don’t apologize for that. You didn’t plan to be sick. I’ll let you get back to resting. Get better.” “Thank you, Mama Ruth.” Then she walked out the door. “Holden, I feel so weak. What is wrong with me?” “Their daughter, Lila, remember she is the pediatrician?” “Yeah, I remember.” “Anyway, she said you had strep throat. That is why you spiked such a high fever. Why didn’t you tell anyone you weren’t feeling well?” “I didn’t want to complain in front of Dad. I just thought it was a cold anyway.”

“Cami, sweetie, you didn’t say anything to me when you got here Saturday either. Why not? I need to know when you’re not feeling well.” “I was just so happy to see you that I didn’t want to spoil anything.” Tears started rolling out of my eyes. “I’m sorry, Holden. I’m sorry I had you worried.” “No, sweetie, no. It’s okay. Shh. Don’t cry.” He picked me up off the bed and hugged me to him, kissing the top of my head where he rested his chin. “Just calm down, everything is okay.” I nodded against his shoulder. He gently laid me back down on my pillows. I was sniffling and tears were still leaking from my eyes. Holden handed me a tissue. He laughed, commenting. “Yeah, I was never too big on the snot thing.” I smiled and laughed as I took it from him. “Thanks.” “You’re welcome. I’m going to run down stairs for a minute and bring you up some tea. I’ll be right back.” He left my room. Eli stayed. “We were worried sick about you, little sis. You’ve been out of it for three days. You would kind of come to and then Holden could get you to drink something and give you your medicine and then you would just go back to sleep. He has not moved from this room since Saturday night. He has even been sleeping on the floor on a palette. You have been one sick little sister. Your fever spiked at 105 degrees at one time. We thought we were going to have to take you to the hospital, but Mama Ruth came through. She brought a large bowl of water up and bathed down your arms and legs and face, and that made your fever break. Holden has been about to have a nervous breakdown. He has not been out to the fields since Saturday.” “Eli, what day is it?” “Tuesday. You missed your first day of school and it looks like the rest of the week isn’t looking to good for you right now either.” “I guess that is where Sierra and Tucker are?” “Yeah, Sierra was nervous about the first day, but Tucker took her under his wing. Jace has been worried about you too. Pretty much the whole household has been concerned.” “That was nice of him. The short time that I talked to him he seemed rather nice. Of course, all of their family, that I have met so far, is nice. It makes me want to be a part of it. I mean I love Mom, but I don’t want to leave here.” “Cami, that’s strange, because I don’t want to leave either. It seems like I belong here, that I am supposed to use my college degree to stay here and help out. I have already decided that I could build a house with a vet’s office and take care of other animals as well as the ones here. People could come to my office with their animals and I will have a place to kennel them, stable them, and walk them. You know Holt is building in the back of the property, but he is building a house/office to work his business from here. He wants to build some more cabins for the camp and of course he already designs homes and things for customers. He has a really good business. He says he can run his business out of his house and have his office and drafting room. He has it all planned out.” “Eli, don’t you ever want to get married and have a family?” “You know, Cam, I thought about that at one time, but now I’m not sure anymore. I know I want to be a vet. I’m just not sure about the marriage thing. I don’t have anything against it, but we

will just have to wait and see. I have a feeling my path will be shown to me and that will tell me what I need to do. Well, I am going to let you get some sleep. I’m going to help Papa Bo back out in the fields. I’ll come up and see you later. Love you sis.” “I love you too, Eli.” He smiled as he walked out of my room. A few minutes later Holden came back into my room. “Cami, I brought you some fresh tea. Sit up and drink it for me.” He came over to my bed and helped me prop my pillows up and I leaned back against them and drank my tea. It was fresh and Mama Ruth added extra sugar and lemon. It hurt going down though. I guess my throat was still raw. At the same time it felt good, almost like it was healing as I swallowed. “At least some of your color is coming back. You were really pale there for a while. You still have a little fever, but you are mending. How do you feel?” “Tired and weak.” “Well I’m sure you’ll start getting better soon. Some more rest and you will be back to yourself in no time. Why don’t you lie back down and go to sleep? I will be sitting in that chair over there if you need me.” “Holden, you don’t have to stay with me if you have something else to do. I’ll be fine.” here.”

“I know that, but I will feel better knowing that you are getting better. I think I’ll stay right

I nodded my head and went back to sleep. I had another strange dream. I was tending the horses in the stables, and Jace came up from pasturing the others. One horse was left and she was about to foal and Jace came and we helped the horse bring her new little foal into the world. It was an amazing experience. Within minutes the new little foal was up on her wobbly legs and as beautiful as her mother, a honey-gold Golden American Saddlebred. I cried because I was so touched by the experience. I patted the momma horse. “Good work Shimmer.” It was like she talked to me but whinnied instead. Then Jace looked at me. “Could you really give this up, Cami?” I must have been on the farm a while, because what I had just done seemed like second nature. “You’ll soon have to make your decision. I can’t make it for you.” Jace and I carried on a conversation in my dream. “Jace, is it always like this; everything is always so perfect here?” “Cami, it is always like this. Everything happens on this farm like it would on any other farm, but you know this farm is special. You and your sister and your brothers were a God-send, Mom said so, remember the first day you came.” “Yeah, so why am I meant to be here?” “I can’t answer that for you. You’ll have to figure that out for yourself, but I want you to stay.” “Jace, you’ll get taken away again, stop talking.” “No, I won’t I’m not standing in your way like I was with Lily, you were brought here; I didn’t ask for you to come. I didn’t find you. Your brother brought you to us.”

“What about him, Jace? I don’t want him to leave me again. Nothing was ever good when he was gone while I lived back home.” “Cami, have you thought that your final decision might be all that he is waiting for. You and Sierra were his life. Sierra and Tucker made their decision and Holden stood behind her. He understood why she wanted what she wanted, just like Grey, Jake, Sarah, and Ashley wanted what they wanted. I believe Caroline is going to decide like they did, but I don’t think Eli is going to and she really wants him to be with her. Eli made his decision though a while back. You know what it is too. Please, stay.” In my dream it thundered and lightning flashed. I was begging Jace. “Jace, please stop I don’t want you to be taken away again.” Tears were streaming down his face as he took hold of my shoulders. Lightning flashed brighter and it thundered louder. “Please, Cami; if I can only have you as my sister I will be fine with that, just don’t go.” I begged some more as lightning and thunder flashed and crashed. It seemed like the sky was about to bury us. The wind started picking up and rain started pouring. “Jace, please, don’t say anymore, you’ll be taken away. Just stop. Just stop . . .” Someone started shaking me. My eyes flew open, and I saw Holden. I was breathing really hard like I had just run from something that scared me. “Cami, it’s okay. Calm down little sister.” He brushed my hair away from my face and laughed a little at me. “You never were one to do well during thunderstorms. By the way it doesn’t work to tell the storms to just stop.” I looked at him and calmed down as I realized that there really was a thunderstorm going on outside and what happened was just a dream. Holden sat in my bed with me and pulled my pillows up so I could lean against him. We sat there and listened to the thunder and watched the lightning flashes. For now I felt safe. My big brother was there and taking care of me. He was better than any Dad as far as I was concerned. That dream still bothered me though. Why was Jace taken away and how did I know that? © 2013 Bethanie Armstrong—used by permission


Fulfilling the Prophecy Blog Hop – January 6-15, 2014

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Fulfilling the Prophecy Blog Hop January 6-15, 2014

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Write Your Own New Year


Write Your Own New Year