A Girl and Her Hero

By Delores Goodrick Beggs

Caleb Cameron appeared in the New Mexico town of Mescal Flats shortly after  Jasper Greon did.  The difference between the men was Jasper liked to dress flashy and often acted a bit rascally when he proposed what he called larks – dubious adventures he dreamed up, bordering on excitement with a touch of danger.

Tennyson Wells found it heady being part of Jasper’s select little group, perhaps a tad too much so. When steady, constant Caleb came to town shortly after Jasper did, Tennyson asked him to complete their little group whenever Jasper proposed a new lark. She wanted to help people who needed assistance, but she sensed some of Jasper’s larks, which he thought of as fun, turned into pranks instead of frolics. She came to depend on Caleb to champion her and keep her out of potential trouble.

Tennyson reminds me at times of my own childhood.  I have a wonderful older brother, my personal hero. I loved to tag after him when I was small, never once giving thought to what his friends, all boys, might think of a little girl ensconcing herself in their group, not just a girl, but one with a hearing disability.

Whatever his friends might have said I’ll never know, but my brother knew; what I observed is from time to time he would ask me to stay back a ways, and some pummeling between boys would result once I moved a safe distance away. Sometimes he would walk me home and ask me to stay there, and a little later he’d return home disheveled, with his shirt tails hanging out, hair mussed, a bruised face, red dripping from a split lip.

 

I knew the wonderful, safe, feeling of having a champion at my side…so I empathize with my heroine Tennyson’s appreciation of Caleb accompanying them, times she agreed to participate in one of Jasper’s larks.

           But how did taciturn Caleb, who never spoke about himself, feel about this situation, protecting a lovely young woman and even removing her from participation when he sensed a planned lark was too shady? How did he feel about Tennyson herself? He never gave any indication of his own feelings until Tennyson’s older sister Mauranie asked him one day:

Excerpt:

“I do believe you care for her more than anyone knows.” Mauranie met his gaze with calm eyes. “Am I right?”

“Don’t take offense, Miss Mauranie, but I’ve not said anything to her.”

“You haven’t said anything yet?” Mauranie looked askance. “Caleb. Perhaps not speaking up for yourself is your problem. When she ran off with Jasper, who did she listen to about returning home? You. When Jasper crossed too far on the wild side, who influenced her to pull back and avoid trouble? You. Don’t sell yourself short, Caleb. Tennyson listens to you the way she doesn’t listen to anyone else. You do like her, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” he admitted. “I like her a lot, but she doesn’t seem to look at me special. I know I’m not exciting and all, like Jasper is. Sometimes I sort of feel like I’m a substitute lover, you know?”

“But don’t you see, Caleb? She doesn’t know. You haven’t told her how you feel. Caleb, tell her. Speak up for yourself.”

Available now  from Desert Breeze Publishing:  Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover By Delores Goodrick Beggs

You can also download today from Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobel, and other major e-book publishers

Also Available by Delores Goodrick Beggs: Place in the Heart Book One: Breaking Point and Charming Champion

 

With Family you’re never alone.

By Delores Goodrick Beggs

Lynette’s birthday photo is almost the same vintage so Delores let her share.

             Family – you have to love them. Nobody stands alone, however much they may think they do. My parents were special, just in helping me to live a normal life with a severe hearing problem, and more.

            Around the time of my seventh birthday, my mother started working too, to help make the family ends meet with four children.  Prior to that my folks, like the other parents on our Kansas City, Kansas block, held birthday parties for each of their children every year. When my birthday rolled around the year Mom began her job. They hadn’t said anything, but I assumed I was having a party as usual and invited my friends.

            On my birthday, my father arrived home from work soon after my party friends and I began a competition of dropping clothespins in an empty glass milk bottle.  I saw a strange look wash over his face when I told him we had gone ahead and started my birthday party, but he didn’t say anything, just stood around looking on while we played. When the winner of the game was declared, he dug into his pocket and produced a nickel for the prize. (a nickel was worth a lot back then, it would buy an ice cream bar.) My friends were both surprised and delighted at the unusual prizes of nickels given that day while we continued to play the usual birthday games.

          My mother arrived home from her job and my parents conferred.  My father went to the store and brought back some ice cream to serve. My party was the excited talk of my friends for days after.

            My wonderful parents never said a word to me about having invited my friends for that unplanned birthday party.  However, I did notice when my siblings birthdays rolled around, no more birthday parties were held, and so I asked my parents about a party the next year instead of inviting my friends, and was told times were really too tight that 1946 year for my family to hold birthday parties. It was then I realized I’d made an impetuous mistake the year before; but my parents never mentioned that party again.

             In my coming newest release, Substitute Lover, Tennyson Wells learns the hard way she’d made an impetuous mistake when she’d left home in defiance of her older sister Mauranie, who’d been supporting her on their ranch. Once she realized her mistake, she returned home.

 Excerpt:

“I came home.” She smiled at Mauranie through teary eyes.

“You are very welcome, dear. I never wanted you to leave.”

“Yes. Well. It’s all about decisions. Sometimes you have to change them.”

“I’m delighted you came back,” Mauranie spoke with a firm voice. “You’re my sister. Sisters should stick together, don’t you think? Come, let’s sit on the porch and celebrate.”

“Celebrate what?” Tennyson startled.

“Sisters.” Mauranie’s smile warmed, her voice firm. “You go on and make yourself comfortable, Tennyson. I’ll get coffee and cookies.”

 Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover, available from Desert Breeze Publishing. Also available from  Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other major e-book publishers

Available now from Desert Breeze Publishing or on Amazon:  Place in the Heart Book One: Breaking Point.

 

A Celebration of Life – New release deals with adaptive devices in the 1800s

By Delores Goodrick Beggs

In my upcoming December 21 release, Substitute Lover, a youth loses a leg rescuing the heroine, Tennyson Wells, who is inspired to start a mobility aids shop in the small, old, western town of Mescal Flats.

I have known two men who lost a leg, a friend and a distant relative, both losses from motorcycle accidents.  Both returned to full activity after a period of adjusting to an artificial limb; in fact I wouldn’t have known about the losses if I hadn’t known in the beginning, they compensated so well with their artificial limbs. But not everyone has the inner determination and resourcefulness to work at overcoming a physical loss.

It often takes an inspiring moment and deep desire to do something to push the action button.

While my hero and heroine (Substitute Lover) make it possible for the youth Theron to do anything he did before losing his leg by providing him with a hand-carved pegleg and a special stirrup on his saddle to hold it in place, he sits in his room focused upon the loss of his leg until one day he gets tired of awaiting assistance and decides to go visit his horse anyway, discovering freedom for himself and taking back his life again.

One of my mother’s favorite sayings was, “When life deals you a lemon, make lemonade.” Whenever she said that, which was often, she usually followed it up with, “There’s something better waiting down the road, but you have to keep on keeping on until you reach it.”

 My mother was a smart woman. She was right. It is all about determination, and celebrating life. When you want something enough, you find a way to get it.

 Excerpt:

“Caleb?” Tennyson followed him out.

“Yeah?” He leaned against a tree trunk and crossed his arms over his chest.

“He’s getting better now isn’t he?”

“Yes. I think he will want to try sitting up today.” Caleb pushed himself away from the tree trunk he’d leaned against, and turned to survey the small stand of trees nearby. He selected a sturdy sapling with a crook at the top, and broke it off near the bottom. He ran a hand over the straight trunk, clearing it of leaves and twigs. He held it out toward Tennyson. “Put it under your arm. Let me see how it fits.”

“A crutch?” She shot him a searching look, and then tried out the makeshift crutch as he’d asked. “I think it will do.”

“I hope so,” he said. He met her gaze and then looked away.

“Caleb, does he know about his leg?”

He sighed. “I don’t think he knows yet. We’ve kept the leg covered. He knows it hurts. He’s apt to guess when I take this in. If he doesn’t, then I’ll be telling him. When we go indoors, I want you to take Annie and go back outside for a bit.”

“But why?” Tennyson saw his mouth turn up in a wry grin at her question.

“I expect he’ll want to take a swing at me. I know I would in his place.”

Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover, coming December 21, 2012 at

Also available from  Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other major e-book publishers

Available now:  Place in the Heart Book One: Breaking Point or on Amazon.com Link:  http://goo.gl/DOo3E

New release – Historical fiction examines Markers in the 1850s, the Issuance of Invitations

by guest blogger Delores Goodrick Beggs

One important use of markers was to issue an invitation to men and youths, wanderers passing by isolated ranches and homesteads, seeking work and/or fortunes of their own. These men ran the gamut from honest fortune-seekers to dangerous outlaws, and yet when folks needed assistance, as they often did, they were willing to chance strangers coming to their door.

One of the connections to my family, I’ll call her Ellie, was placed in this position  when her siblings had left the isolated family homestead and her parents died, victims of one of the many disastrous diseases rampant in the area at that time.

Ellie had arrived in Southern Missouri as a child, with her family in a covered wagon. A wheel of the wagon hit a large rock while crossing a stream, throwing Ellie out of the wagon. She landed in the shallow water, striking her head on another rock, and was deaf after that. She also broke a foot, which healed distorted so she was unable to wear a regular shoe on the misshapen foot. She cut a slit in her shoes ever after to accommodate the healed bulge.

 When Ellie’s parents died, she wore herself tired to the bone trying to keep the homestead going and became desperate for help – she couldn’t manage her father’s farm by herself, and town was too far away to be practical to visit except when she needed supplies. So she put a marker on the front gate.

The markers used in those days to invite persons to come assist the farmer consisted of a strip of old fabric tied to a gatepost to indicate a farmer was looking for assistance. A man looking for a fresh start or a youth looking to strike out on his own knew he would find a welcome at that place, food and a spot to rest, perhaps even wages before he got restless and moved on again.  There was never any telling what kind of person might answer her marker. Ellie was lucky when a very nice gentleman showed up at her door asking for work.  He stayed, they fell in love and eventually got married and had children of their own.

But not all cases of markers ended up so happily.  In my coming December 21, 2012 release Substitute Lover:

“I’m forgetting you’re a town woman.” Jasper smiled again. “All we do is drive around and put one of these markers on gateposts. They’re signals that the folks that live there are looking for help, for workers.”

Just fasten them to gateposts?” It was hard to believe. “What happens next?”

“Oh, travelers pass by, see the marker. They stop up at the house and offer to do a bit of work, help the folks out, in exchange for a meal.”

It appealed to her. She didn’t see any harm in it. In fact, it seemed to her it would help folks like he said, in particular those who had difficulty doing the physical work, like Garrity, like Theron’s father. Even smaller places boasting just a cow or two, a few chickens, and a neat garden plot still involved a large amount of physical work.

“Come on, Tennyson. For old time’s sake. Let’s do this last lark together,” he wheedled.

She bit her lip in indecision, and then made up her mind. “All right. We will do this one last thing, but I warn you, Jasper.  After this, stay away from me.”

“If you say so.” He spread his hands wide and smiled again, making her wonder if he’d listened to her words at all. Jasper made arrangements to meet her later in the evening, and left at last, to her great relief. She turned away and hurried back to her store.

Home again at her store next day, the conversation with Jasper still bothered her, and she felt she should have just walked away from him when he first accosted her. Where had this wonderful insight been earlier when she needed it?

All of a sudden she felt uneasy.  Jasper had proposed a lark and she’d refused. She’d felt quite sure of herself when she’d said no, and then he’d instead proposed helping people. It had made it all different, didn’t it? Helping people? She’d said yes, and last night she’d gone out with him in the wagon to help people.

A wave of uncertain urgency swept through her. She had to seek out Caleb. Now.

Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover, coming December 21, 2012

DBP Breaking Point Link:     http://goo.gl/lH5NE

 Amazon.com Link:       http://goo.gl/DOo3E

About Delores Goodrick Beggs

Delores Goodrick Beggs is a prolific award-winning author in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, having started in high school when she would often awaken with a dream demanding to be captured on paper.

 She turned her notes into her first stories, often writing during short-lived Kansas thunderstorms that barely thinned the sweltering heat of Pony Ring Ranch where her father raised horses and ponies. She wrote her first collection of fiction on a mountaintop in California while watching her part-Appaloosa mare assert mischievous independence in the exercise corral.

Watch for her next novel: Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover, coming late December, 2012 from www.DesertBreezePublishing.com, also available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other major e-book publishers.

Stop by and visit her web site at http://www.goodrickbeggs.wordpress.com

And buy her books from Desert Breeze Publishing at her author page.