Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What's In a Name? A Rose by Any Other Name isn't a Coincidence.

I've mentioned here before that genealogy is a hobby of mine. It's like solving a mystery, going back in time like that, finding our relatives and how they lived. My daughter caught the bug too, and likes to delve in the past--ours or someone else's.

She's currently working on her mother-in-law's genealogy. It is especially interesting because her MIL was adopted at age two weeks, and didn't learn this until she was well into adulthood. The clues they had (such as her MIL's birth mother's name) took her just so far, then DNA took her further.

Before telling more of this story, I have to tell you that her MIL is very patriotic. Her home is decorated in red, white, and blue and she has Americana in every room. She drives a red car, red being her favorite color. July 4 is a really big day at their house.

So a few days ago, my daughter had gotten as far back as her MIL's great-grandmother. She called. "You'll never guess what your great-grandmother's name was."

"Oh, I hope it was Liberty. Liberty or America. I've always wished my name was Liberty or America. When I was a little girl I used to pretend it was!" she replies.

I'll give you two guesses what great-grandmother's name was, and the first one doesn't count.

God Bless . . . .

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Valentine

This is the tenth Valentine's Day I've spent without my own Valentine. It's easier than it was the first one.

The first one, he'd been gone six months, and I was really sad to be without him. It had been getting better, but Valentine's Day is the day of the year you really want your sweetheart with you.

I had cried off and on all day. Not the big, sobbing kind of crying, just the kind that catches you off-guard and has the tears flowing again. Memories that flash suddenly, without warning, and puts that lump back in your throat.

I cried a bit as I went to sleep that night. As is common among those of us who are 'a certain age', I woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I was still sure-footed enough that I didn't turn on the light. Coming back, in the doorway from bathroom to bedroom I stepped on something soft and furry. I backed up a half-step and turned on the bathroom light. It was a small stuffed rabbit which a friend had given Jim when he was in the hospital. There it was, in the path I had taken a minute earlier.

I stopped telling people this story when they started saying, "It must have been there before. You just didn't notice it." Yeah, right. A stuffed animal was on the floor in the doorway to the bathroom and I just didn't notice it. I guess that's as likely to some people as the thought that Jim put it there for me.

The rabbit sits on the old trunk that serves as my nightstand. It's been there for ten years now.

Some people will say it was just a coincidence it appeared there on Valentine's night.
I say it was Jim letting me know he is still close by.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Genealogy and Books

((Sigh)). Ok, I admit it. I've been so lazy about this blog. I haven't posted in . . . well . . . it's been a long time. Not that I think anybody has missed it, but still, when I start something, I really should keep it up. Like cleaning house . . .well, let's forget about that.

I'm still noticing coincidences, and one of these days I'll get back to writing about them. For now, let me tell you about my writing, and, come to think about it, about how coincidences shape the series that Betrayal on the Brazos has turned in to.

The idea really started with genealogy. That's one of my interests, and one of my daughters, the one who lives nearby, has inherited that interest. We have both my family and that of my late husband, traced back a long, long way. And the weird thing we found was the coincidences that show up along the way.

Now I don't know if I can explain this properly in a blog, but stay with me while I try. We keep finding long ago relatives who live next door to, or marry into a family, of people who show up in 'modern times'. Example: My mother-in-law was orphaned and adopted as a young child. Her adopting mother was a cousin of her father. That branch of the family had moved here from Indiana maybe 50 years previously. Her adopting father's family moved here from Tennessee a generation previously. In Tennessee, they lived NEXT DOOR to the ancestors of the man my mother-in-law would eventually marry.

And my daughter and I have ceased to be surprised at the numerous coincidences that pop up. People from one side marrying into a branch of the other side, a hundred years before the modern couple even meet.

She's working on the tree of her mother-in-law, who was adopted and knew very little of her biological parents. Wouldn't you know I'd find that in her lineage was the same ancestor from my husband's side of the family--back in 1700s Virginia. That means my daughter and her husband are very distant cousins.

Edgar Cayce said we reincarnate with the same groups of people, and it looks like that is what is happening. If you believe in reincarnation. And I do.

So what does that have to do with my books?

Betrayal on the Brazos is the first in the series Tales From the Brazos. All the books will take place on or near the Brazos River. Some of them will emphasize the complete name of the river, The River of the Arms of God, and that name will have meaning to the story. They will not be written in chronological order, but can be read in any order. Each one is a stand alone story, but characters will show up in various books, much as in real life we meet a person, lose track of them, and meet them again later. Just as coincidences happen in real life, they'll happen in the lives of my characters.

So far, the earliest book in the series, time-wise, is Betrayal on the Brazos, which starts in approximately 1875 when Maggie's uncle sends her to the fictional town of Rock Springs, Texas, to care for her cousin's children. There are laughs and love, along with murder, before the Happily Ever After.

My WIP (work-in-progress) is set a couple of years later, and it is about Rachel, who moves her family by covered wagon from Mississippi to Texas to join her husband on the same ranch where Betrayal on the Brazos takes place. There are lots of surprises, both good and bad, and you'll meet some characters you met in Betrayal. The title of this one is Wherever Life Leads. Coincidences play a big part in this one.

Just because it is the next chronologically, that doesn't mean I haven't been writing others in the series. Gussie and the Cherokee Kid is next one to be released.  It is set in 1901 and follows the daughter of a character in Betrayal on the Brazos as she accompanies orphaned six-year-old Julia, to  her   uncle in Rock Springs. Full of more laughs and love, I think you'll like it. Release date is Feb. 10, 2016.

Next is The Marriage Bargain, set in 1932. The Brazos River plays a big part in this one, along with the full meaning of the river's name. It has a lot more action and some sadness. That's the way life is, you know. Some fun. Some not so much. But if you have faith, it all works out in the end. Release date for that one is March 30, 2016.

When I finish Wherever Life Leads, I have lots of options about what to write next. I have sticky-notes all around my computer monitor with ideas, and I have ordered scads of books to give background whichever direction I go. I even have one that will involve the mob and be full of tension, but I can't write that one yet until I pull the series closer to present time so I can connect the characters. I don't know yet how it will connect to those long-ago people I've already written about, but it will. The coincidence just hasn't shown up yet.

In the meantime, maybe I'll start with the young man who comes back from WWI damaged in mind and body and the young woman who helps him. Or maybe the young woman who learns to fly airplanes, or Julia, who grows up to fall in love with the boy next door, who owns a vineyard and winery--during prohibition.

In YOUR meantime, start looking for coincidences in your own life. Remember, they are signs of something. It's up to you to figure out just what!