I'm most recently a writer. In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot. As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades. An unwilling transplant from the South, twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US. Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect. When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do. Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Following the walkway toward the carriage house, he spotted someone next to one of the many flower beds dotting the grounds; a tall woman, lowering a crate of blooming plants to the ground, displaying a nicely rounded derriere and long legs encased in faded jeans. Slowing his stride, he watched her straighten, place her hands at either side of her waist and heave a sigh. When she turned toward the open rear doors of the nearby van, he waved.
“Good morning! Need some help?”
The woman, her face shaded beneath the brim of a worn straw hat, appeared to take his full measure before answering. “No, thank you.” She continued to watch his approach, squaring her shoulders.
Holding out his hand, he smiled, discreetly making his own survey. “Peter Kosten.”
Pulling off a grimy glove, she extended her hand. “Tess Weldon. Welcome to Walnut Lodge.”
“Thank you. I was planning to look you up later.”
“Were you?” Was it his imagination, or was there an uneasy hitch in her voice?
“Your desk clerk, Cami, said I should.” He’d obviously caught her at a bad time. Her shuttered gaze made him feel awkward. “To discuss my plans with you. Please excuse me. I’ve interrupted your work.”
She seemed to shake herself back to the moment. “No. That’s all right. Cami mentioned you plan to stay with us for a while.” Turning her back to him, she hefted another crate from the van and started toward the flower bed.
“Here. Please let me.” When he stepped in her path, their eyes met. For just a moment, he thought she might refuse his help, but she muttered her thanks and turned away. “Do you do all the gardening yourself?”
“Only the flower beds and containers. Someone else takes care of the rest.”
He placed the crate beside its mate, brushing soil from his hands as he stood. “Still a big job. I gathered from Cami you are both owner and manager here.”
“That’s right.” She set to work, stabbing her spade into the dirt. “I hope the carriage house will meet your needs.”
“It will. It’s quite spacious. I plan to bring my drafting equipment when I come back from St. Louis. Other than a few personal items, I think I have everything I’ll need here. Is there a meal plan?”
Drawing a breath, she launched into what he realized must be a litany she’d repeated countless times. “Breakfast is included with your room, served from six to nine every day. The dining room is open for lunch Monday through Saturday from eleven to two. Dinner is by reservation, seven nights a week starting at five. Sundays we offer brunch and dinner. Maid service every day, laundry and dry cleaning as needed. There’s a business center with internet access in the library and a fitness room in the cellar.” She stopped digging and stared at the horizon. “I think that covers it. You’ll find a list of amenities, including a room service menu, in the desk drawer in your room.”
The breeze caught her hat, flipping it across the flower bed just out of reach. Her attention now on retrieving it, she turned away with an exasperated groan.
Feeling duly dismissed, Peter wondered what he’d done to offend this woman. “Thank you. I look forward to my time here.” He studied her profile as she prepared to go back to work, caught off-balance by something he hadn’t seen until now. Without the hat, her features came into sharper focus; deep blue eyes shaded by dark lashes, honey-colored hair, streaked with subtle highlights, twisted in a thick knot at the back of her head, a dusting of faded freckles on porcelain skin. Something warm and familiar washed over him before he shook free of the sensation. “I should clean up. I was planning to take a drive, check out the area.” Unaccountably breathless, his heart beginning to hammer, he turned toward the carriage house. Across his field of vision, broken images flashed like fireworks. He wondered vaguely if he was having some sort of attack.
Behind him, he heard her say, “Have a nice afternoon.” Why hadn’t he listened before? He would have known immediately if he’d paid attention to her voice. Slowly, as though wading into the surf, he returned to her side, peering down into her face. “Katie?”
Monday, July 28, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
The more miles he put behind him, the better Peter felt about his decision. That he’d chosen the least likely option, that he’d bailed on much of what he’d built in St. Louis over the past twelve years, should at least make sense to those who knew the truth of his situation. Why waste time trying to salvage ruins, when he could move on immediately to rebuilding well out of Kara’s reach? Even Harry hadn’t seemed surprised at his announcement last week, but of course, he knew the reasons behind the divorce. If the truth were known, Peter’s boss and father-in-law likely had some regrets, but he was too loyal to his daughter to ever voice them. The severance package had been more than generous, a sign of Harry’s respect and good wishes. Words had been unnecessary.
When the sun was high overhead, Peter stopped for gas and lowered the top on the car. With the wind in his face and the sun on his shoulders, he turned his thoughts ahead. The prospect of working in a new place—getting out of an office and a suit—fit with his desire to reinvent himself. From Walnut Springs he could explore his options, investigate the feasibility of starting his own firm. He could have taken some time off. Money wasn’t an issue and what he had now was his own. Kara had taken her share, granted the largest share of their combined assets, but she couldn’t take any more. He had everything he needed. The rest he doubted he’d miss.
On his one brief visit to Kansas, to assess the CentAir site and meet with the clients, he’d been unimpressed with the area. Early spring, he’d been told, was typically a cold, gray time. He hoped there would be enough Indian summer weather in the next few weeks to allow him to explore. He’d do some research, play tourist in his free time. Find the best places to run. Search for himself.
His brother Klaus had been appalled at his choice. Why not come home? Their parents would be thrilled. He had family in Holland, including a niece and nephews he’d never met. The kids would love to get to know their Oom Jan Pieter. How could he explain that seeing his brother’s brood would only remind him of what he’d never have? That sounded appallingly self-centered, even to Peter. But the other truth, which he tried to explain to Klaus, was there were things he wanted to do with the rest of his life, things he meant to do before he’d met Kara and been swept into her world. All those years ago, he’d planned to join forces with a girl who shared his ideals, who wanted the same simple life dedicated to making some kind of difference. He might have lost the girl forever, but there was still time enough to find the path he’d once been so certain led to fulfillment. What he hoped to do in the next few months was shrug off his failures and set his feet in that direction again, even if he had to do it alone.
Idealistic clap-trap? That’s what Kara called it when he told her his plans. She’d accused him of running away, of being afraid to face their friends without her beside him. He’d resisted the urge to tell her he never considered them his friends, only hers. He had no problem facing them, even less turning his back on them. Maybe his plans were idealistic, but hadn’t he once taken pride in his idealism? He’d been surprised and pleased to discover Kara hadn’t stripped him of that along with his sense of self and his manhood.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Every writer feels that way, I'm sure. Blurbs, like so much of the stuff we do to get the attention of readers, are a necessary evil. They do, however, challenge us as writers to the ultimate in "less is more," which is not a bad thing at all.
So, after hours of writing, rewriting, and groaning over the keyboard, here's what I've come up with for Katie Lost and Found. There will very likely be more revisions before it's released next month, but you gotta start somewhere!
Feel free to tell me what you think.