Sand, Surf, and a Side of Love

Patsy Faye

The wheels are a spinnin’! Series Number One – Love in Hidden Springs – is sketched out and ready to start on. Sand, Surf, and a Side of Love is Series Number Two. The ideas are flowing, the story beginnings twisting away in my brain like a cyclone of ideas.

Now…to start writing.

Fortunately, these are short stories and not full length books. So the writing should go fairly quick. Or, at least quicker.

I’m excited, looking forward to October, when these short stories can start coming to life!

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Change of Plans

Patsy Faye

The plans were to come back to my Oak Grove Square series, a small town in Texas, and start working on that story again.

But plans changed.

I decided that I want to write some short stories first. So another new town was born. Hidden Springs. I’m plotting out the series, which will have eight short stories in it. The short stories will be available as ebooks, releasing one book a week beginning in October. Once all eight short stories are released, the a print version will be released that contains all eight short stories.

Before then, I’ll be sharing some story snippets here so you can meet the people of Hidden Springs. Although none are planning on falling in love…they all have surprises in their future!

Here’s to love and happily ever afters!

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Author Sibling Rivalry Chronicles

I never thought that sibling rivalry was going to be an issue in my writing life.

Trisha Faye has been writing for the past ten to twelve years. Mostly about people and places of the past, some of a more inspirational nature. When I wanted to branch out into children’s stories, I didn’t want the writing to be a jumbled mix, so Jasper Lynn was created.

Jasper Lynn had a few short stories published on a children’s ezine – a piece here and there. Then in 2020 Jasper Lynn branched into books. Two books were published – A Gift from the Heart and This and That. Then Covid shut us down and Jasper Lynn got quiet. (I think she went and hid under the covers with a stack of books and a flashlight.)

Now, Jasper Lynn is back. She just finished the first book in a Cousins Time Traveling Adventure series – Stars in the Sky. But now, this little sister of Trisha Faye is starting to get sassy and I’m about ready to send her back to her room.

Take yesterday’s conversation for example.

JASPER LYNN: Yippee! I sold four books this week!

TRISHA FAYE: That’s wonderful! Congratulations. I’m so happy for you!

JL (While turning cartwheels in the middle of the living room) Sooooo…how many books did YOU sell this week?

TF: I’m not sure. I haven’t looked. I don’t check every day you know.

JL: So….go look.

TF: (Sighing and rolling her eyes) Okay…okay. Hold your horses. Let me look.

TF checks the computer and looks up – Well, I only sold one book this week.

JL (Sticking out her tongue and sending raspberries to TF) Neener, neener, neerer….I sold more books this week than YOU did!

Sigh….ornery little sisters…what is one to do? I might get even though. Next time Jasper Lynn wants a candy bar, I might make her buy her own. After all, she’s the one raking in the big bucks now, right?

To Miss Gail Reynolds

TO MISS GAIL REYNOLDS

It all started out so innocently. A few years back, we were wandering around Lone Star Antiques, and I came across a v-mail letter. In all the hours over all the years that I’d spent in antique stores, I’d never seen one. A v-mail letter is a letter sent from one of our soldiers during World War 2, special War & Navy Departments mail service.

You know that it came home with me.

Then, a few months or a year later, I was in our little local thrift store here in Roanoke. (Texas, not Virginia LOL) In a glass case, they had an old photograph, a vintage postcard, and a v-mail letter. In a thrift store – not an antique store. Of course, all three items came home with me.

But they say you have to have three to have a collection. I didn’t have three. I only had two. So, I wandered over to a site that I rarely visit – ebay. Did they have v-mail letters! More than I’d ever need. There was a collection of around 19 letters that caught my eye. All from George Tweed. Most of them to Miss Gail Reynolds, in Munday, Texas. Letters that came here, not that far from where I am in north Texas.

Yes, I had to bid on those. Yes, I won.

Now, I have more than three – so I have an honest to goodness ‘collection’ now. Ha!

But I wasn’t satisfied to put them on a shelf and let them sit. I needed to know more. Especially when so much information is there in the letters. There was enough that I got a sense of who George Tweed was. But who was Miss Gail Reynolds? What were her hopes and dreams? Did they get together after the war? Did life turn out to be what they’d hoped for?

I’ll add a spoiler here. Yes, George and Gail married. They were together the rest of their lives. And an odd thing … they’re buried together at a cemetery in southern California…the same cemetery that my ex-in-laws are buried in. What are the odds of that?

Using these letters, I wrote a story set during World War 2, To Miss Gail Reynolds. I only hope I did this couple justice as I fictionally told a story about their lives, based on the facts that I could find.

To Miss Gail Reynolds is one of the thirteen historical short stories in Pieces of the Past. It’s available on Amazon here:

UP Reader (Volume 6)

UP Reader: Bring Upper Michigan Literature to the World (Volume 6)

Not being from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or anywhere near there, I wasn’t sure if I’d find anything in this hefty volume to my liking. I have to report – I was dead wrong!

Through the well written stories, both true and fictional, the essays, the memoirs, the local history and the poetry, there was so much packed between the pages here that it kept me entertained for many days.

With each page I visited another place from afar. I spent time at a booth at the fair enjoying the crocheted paradise filled with aprons, dishcloths, coasters, and more. I visited Michigan Technological University – a different world in the 1980s than my childrearing years were. Marlene’s Beauty Parlor. Iroquois Island. Wally’s Superette. I tagged along with the FBI as they followed the trail of the pasty smuggling ring. I frolicked with raccoons, opossums, red foxes, and coyotes.

So many stories. So many memories. So many tales.

Which was my favorite? Oh, such a difficult task that would be to pick just one – or two – or ten.

But, of course, after being an herb lover for so many years – even having my own small herb and garden store for three years (twenty years ago – a lifetime ago it seems), you know there was one that filled my heart with even more joy. ‘Seeds Well Planted: Healing Balm from a Keweenaw Garden’ nudged its way to the top of my favorites list.

Once I read these words, I was hooked: “The parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme intermingled like a Simon & Garfunkel harmony.”

After that, I settled in to follow along as I watched Cindi Perkins battle between Control Freak Gardener and Gin-and-Tonic Gardener, keeping me entertained with every paragraph, every page.

It turned out that I was pleasantly surprised with this volume as the stories and poems treated me from cover to cover.

Calico Connections #1

Vintage Daze

Welcome to this week’s story snippet for Tuesday Tales. We’re starting with a new story – Calico Connections. After spending a month in a cozy mystery, then two weeks off for a plethora of personal commitments snatching all my time away, I’m back. I planned on returning to Ten O’clock Scholar, the story I was working on before. But looking at the calendar and how fast the year is disappearing, I decided I’d better get to working on the story that I want for my Christmas story this year. So, for the next few weeks – probably next few months – we’re going to go back in time – to Iowa in 1934.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘cheese.’

Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.

Sallisaw, Oklahoma

1934

“Cornbread and beans again, Mama?”…

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Second Chances

As the fifth anniversary of my being revived after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest happened (in 2010), I wanted to write about it. After all, we don’t all get a second chance at life. I wanted to commemorate the occasion. However, what I found was that I couldn’t write the story as a true memoir.

I don’t know if I didn’t trust my writing skills. I didn’t know if I doubted my ability to tell the story in a heartfelt and meaningful way. Or – most likely – I didn’t have the strength to dig down deep and acknowledge my true feelings and thoughts from life since that moment.

So, I did what any self-respecting ‘chicken’ would do. I wrote the book but told it in a fictional manner. I created Jenny and had her tell her story. So, although many of the incidents and thoughts are true, including pieces of my actual journal entries here and there, it’s told as a fictional tale in A Second Chance.

I had thoughts about writing another book, this time a true memoir. But it’s not going to happen this year. This year is already so horrendously crazy that I know it won’t happen. Plus…I need to find where I filed all my notes and journals from twelve years ago. You know, where I stashed them for ‘safekeeping’.

Here’s a snippet from A Second Chance.

In trying to narrow down what I really wanted to do with my life, I started examining my dreams and goals. When I talked to someone else, I asked them what theirs were. I guess I thought that in seeing what everyone else dreamed of, I’d find a clue to my own ambitions.

I asked my friends about theirs.

Carla wanted to travel. A lot.

Amber wanted to lose weight. And she wanted to meet a wonderful man and fall in love.

Nancy never shared her private dreams. If she had any, she kept them hidden deep within.

Wanda, she just wanted to be famous. Although she professed that her dream was ‘to help others’, she was more transparent than she thought and time soon revealed her true motives.

I asked people that I met around the neighborhood and while out on errands.

The postman, he wanted to win a marathon.

The cashier at the grocery store, her big dream was to complete her bachelor’s degree.

I asked my coworkers at Crafty Hands.

Diane dreamed of finishing her showpiece garden.

Leanne’s dream was to open her own animal shelter.

Jane dreamed of having a successful business – any business – that wasn’t Crafty Hands.

Marvin fooled me. I thought his answer would be a promotion to manager. Nope. His dream was simply to hang on through the next five years and make it to retirement.

Go to Fiji, work at a big cat sanctuary, learn to weave, learn to make soap…every person I asked had something different. Some desires were small and achievable. Some longings were lofty and seemingly unattainable.

Most could only be accomplished after many steps and sometimes a lot of effort. Patience and fortitude would be required before many saw their end result.

A marathon runner doesn’t go from nothing to a five mile run without repetitive practice and work. Every day, or several times a week, the runner is sprinting, gaining endurance, and building their muscles. Hot or cold. Sunshine or rain. The runner practices, practices, practices until the goal is achieved.

No one else’s dreams and goals helped me focus on my innermost desires. But, they pointed out lessons I still needed. Perseverance was a common denominator in most of the goals. Patience was another.

Practice was needed for almost all of them.

Thinking of the inner critic mentioned above, my thoughts traveled to: I should have done this. I should have said this. I should have added this. That dreaded inner critic of mine never shuts up or goes away.

However, this harping pesky critter, so annoying and obnoxious, often bore knowledge I needed to see or learn.

I’m not the best observer of details. I’ve admitted this for a long time. I’ve often joked that I’d be a horrible police witness. If someone asked me to describe a robber, I’d probably say, “Ummmmm…It was a guy. Just your average guy. Hmmmmm…What he was wearing? I don’t remember. T-shirt and jeans? Maybe a ball cap. Glasses? I don’t remember. I didn’t pay that much attention.”

This inner critic sat on my shoulder the other day, yammering away. As if it’s ever gone for long. It’s summer and the weather is beautiful. You’d think it would be off relaxing somewhere, on a tropical beach or someplace. But no! Here it was, hanging out with me, in the back of a huge air-conditioned building where you can’t even see a window or the glorious outdoors, watching me cut fabric. It sprawled across my shoulder, making itself comfortable.

“Psssst,” I heard a soft whisper in my ear.

I ignored it.

“PSSSSTTTT,” it got louder.

I tried swatting it off of my shoulder, to no avail. It can be so persistent, that inner critic.

“HEY!” it screamed at me. I swear, I think it moonlights wearing that tight little red suit, complete with gleaming horns, a pointed tail and pitchfork in hand.

“What do you want?” I answered back. “Can’t you see I’m working here?”

“You’re not very observant,” Ms. IC told me.

“Yeah, so tell me something I don’t know. Go away, I’m busy.”

“You don’t notice details.”

“Okay,” I admitted. “So…I don’t notice details. I’ve never been good about paying attention to little things. There are more important things in this world than seeing what kind of shirts and shoes everyone has on. So, what about it?”

Ms. IC straightened up her shoulders and cleared her throat. “Don’t you see? If you want to be fully aware of life, you need to pay attention to details. It’s the specifics that will add dimension. You can’t go around, cloaked in oblivion, in your own little world.”

Ah, the voice of wisdom. I stopped trying to swat her off my shoulder and stroked the top of her cute little head.

Minor, insignificant details; I need to pay attention to them. I realized that this will take practice. Maybe I should shoot for that marathon instead. No, I’ll keep muddling through with my other efforts. A bruised ego sounds less painful than hurting, aching muscles.

It’s a funny thing about life, I found. It’s odd to see how the lessons build on each other. Or, was it that the more aware I became, the more I saw?

Researching in Today’s World

One day, on a break at work, I started pulling my thoughts together for an essay I want to write about family stories from World War II. I was still in the preliminary phase. I’d started a handwritten introductory paragraph. I’d also pulled my notes from when I’d talked to my dad’s cousin four years ago. I had a general idea of a few stories she mentioned from war time, but I needed to go back and re-read my notes to make sure I was remembering correctly. And also, to see if I’d forgotten a tidbit or two!

As I was jotting topic ideas in the margin, trying to organize my ideas so they’d flow naturally, a few questions came to mind.

What years was World War II fought? I know early ‘40’s, but never seem to remember the exact years.

What year was Pearl Harbor bombed? December 7th is ingrained in my mind, but not the year.

As I re-read my notes, I saw a mention about how Dorothy read ten books at the library’s summer reading program and won tickets to go see Bambi. The second movie shown was Union Pacific. She hadn’t mentioned any year, or how old she was, and I wasn’t where it fell in the wartime memories she was sharing. One thing I’ve noticed as I try to collect family stories is that they don’t follow a timeline very well. Memories and thoughts seem to jump around. When was Bambi released? When was Union Pacific released?

There questions needed answered before I started getting into the meat of the essay, but I was sitting in my car on a break, miles from my computer or a local library. So out came the phone, I opened a browser and started typing away.

The war was fought from 1939-1945. Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. Bambi was released August 13, 1942. Union Pacific was released 4/27/1939.

Wow! In less than three minutes I had the answers I needed and could start crafting the skeleton of the essay. Ten years ago, I would have had to be at home, connected to a computer. Twenty or twenty-five years ago I would have had to have a set of encyclopedias or make a trip to the library. And now, with a few swipes and taps, I can pull up unlimited information to answer just about any question I have.

When I’m at a family gathering or a social event and see all the faces buried in their phones, I gripe quite a bit about technology and what it has done to our world. But you know, I may have to take some of those grumbles back, because this handy access sure is useful too!

Quilts from the Past

I’ve already admitted in previous blogs how much I enjoy using pieces from the past as inspiration for stories. Sometimes it’s postcards. Sometimes it’s old pictures. Sometimes it’s vintage dish towels. Often, vintage quilts force their way into my stories too.

Years ago, in southern California, I stopped at a yard sale and stole a whole laundry basket full of vintage quilt tops and quilt squares. No, don’t go picking up the phone to call the sheriff. I didn’t really steal them. I paid for them. In cash. I forget whether it was fifteen or twenty dollars. (It was about twenty years ago, so cut my memory some slack, please.) But for that nominal amount, I got three old quilt tops, two of them hand stitched, and a set of thirty quilt squares created in 1934. So, yes, I stole them!

Of the thirty quilt squares, 27 of them had names stitched on them. I know the year was 1934, because one had the year stitched into the bonnet, along with “From Mother, To Doris.”

It took me many years to discover where the squares originated from. By then, I’d moved to Texas, far from where I’d purchased the quilted goods. By then, additional information had been put online, and I found that the women and young girls came from Athelstan, Iowa, a town that no longer existed (except for the few remaining old buildings).

I don’t have the square anymore. When I discovered that a museum nearby would take them, I headed to Iowa to hand them over. They held a Quilt Tea for me, and I met many of the descendants of the women that stitched these squares so long ago, many who are dear friends to this day.

If you’re anywhere near southern Iowa, you can check them out – along with many other wonderful delights – in the most fabulous place – The Taylor County Historical Museum. There are so many delightful treasures there that you could spend all day there – and more – delighting in their pieces of the past.

Just a note – I’m at work at finally writing the story about these squares, which will be my Christmas book this fall. Calico Connections. But I’ll post more about that when I have the cover and we’re closer to the end point.

One of the quilt tops that was in the laundry basket of items was an unusual pattern. It was similar to one called Grandma’s Flower Garden, along with a few other popular names that I’m not recalling as I write this. But the main pattern had an extra hexagon on each side, elongating the design. I loved this quilt top so much, it’s hanging in my window where I write, so I can see it every day. (Protected from the sunlight from the back with a doubled navy blue sheet, of course!)

Several years ago, I finally discovered the pattern name – Diamond Field.

I wanted to use the quilt top in a story, but I also didn’t want it to compete with the quilt squares. (You can find out more about them in Memories on Muslin, or in a easy reader children’s book – A Gift from the Heart, written as Jasper Lynn.) So, I did what fiction writers can do – I moved them.

Having some research from an area in northern Arkansas, Goshen and Mayfield, near my Dad’s house, I moved the quilt top south and proceeded to write the story about some women from Arkansas. (My apologies to whoever created the quilt top originally, most likely someone from Doris Morris’ family in Iowa)

The Diamond Field Quilt is a short story in Pieces of the Past, a collection of 13 historical fiction short stories. It was slated to be out by now, but I got held up with extra medical appointments, scans, infusions etc. (Not for me, but my better half) Pieces of the Past should be out by Mother’s Day.

But even though the writing and publishing isn’t going nowhere near as quickly as I’d planned for this year, I still enjoy looking at the creative work that someone spent so much time on so many, many years ago. Each hexagon, hand stitched together, with many rows of hexagons between them. I can’t fathom the patience it took to stich these all by hand. I tip my hand to you, anonymous woman from the past.

Postcards Turn Into Writing Projects

I used to write in a monthly blog hop – The Insecure Writers Support Group. One month they asked the question: Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

I had to laugh as I read that month’s question. They were asking me? The self-proclaimed Queen of the Antique Stores? The one who can’t always afford to buy the coveted treasures she sees displayed on the shelves and counters?

Ah, but never fear…I can afford to buy photographs and postcards, and thus have filled up my own coffers with these wondrous paper delights. Some of these photographs, and many of the postcards, have been making their way into my Vintage Daze Short Stories. Although many tales are still in the ‘In Progress’ status, and some in the done–but-editing-phase, a few short stories completed and published.

Dear Arlie began with some postcards I inherited from Pauline, an elderly woman that I grew up next door to. The postcards she sent to a friend from 1907-1911 kicked off the story, but then I added vintage photographs from her companion, Bea’s, scrapbook to embellish Dear Arlie.

Another postcard that I discovered in an antique store on one of my jaunts inspired the beginning of a story, The Grotto. The Grotto is a magnificent creation in Iowa that is still in existence. On this story, I had many snippets of Iowa history that I wanted to include, but they were from a wide range of time. Wanting to stay within a short story length and not have a full saga, on this story I created a current day woman visiting her grandmother that suffers from dementia. This way the different periods of time come out in varying memories through their visits. This story is only about halfway completed. It got pushed aside last year so I could start working on some Christmas short stories and I haven’t returned to it yet.

I have a feeling that many authors reading this will be nodding their heads in agreement about the ‘never returned to it yet’ phrase.

Although, I have to share that this postcard in a round about way started off my Christmas book from last year – The POW’s Legacy. During my research for this story, I discovered another fascinating tidbit from northern Iowa, not too far from the grotto. During World War II, a POW camp in Algona housed German soldiers. One man, with a few helpers, created a nativity scene from native materials. It was so well liked that the camp commander asked him about making a larger scene for the next year. Over 75-years later, this nativity scene is still displayed each Christmas. (Up until 2020, when for the first time Covid shut down the display.)

When I was talking to a friend about writing, a friend that happened to come from Iowa, I found out that not only had she visited the Grotto – many times – she’d also seen the nativity scene. She shared a booklet with me that had many stories from the WW2 days, including one from her aunt – and The POW’S Legacy was born.

So many postcards. So many stories I can tell from the many vintage postcards I own. So little time…

Christmas Ornament On A Tree In Front Of The Blue Sea

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