Sunday, September 21, 2014

The votes are in: the name "Benjamin" won by a larger margin; "Richard" was second place, but not close enough to do another vote between the two. So "Uncle Benjamin" it is (or "Uncle Ben"). It has a nice ring to it and I like it. Thanks for your help! Now . . . I have to go change the Family Tree and eventually update that post.

Daniel, age 17
Here is a picture of my cousin Daniel, Uncle Benjamin and Ellen's son. He is a major character in my adventure in CCM Book 3, The Last Ride. You can read about him on the "My Family" page, but here's a short biography. I'll write more when I get to know him better.

DANIEL CARTER is the son of Uncle Benjamin, my father, James's twin brother. Daniel is the youngest of 4 children and the only one to have survived infancy. He looks enough like my brother Mitch to be his twin, but he is barely 2 years old than I. Their family lives in New York City, where Daniel pretty much does whatever he pleases. (I guess with the "baby" of the family being the only child to survive, Uncle Ben and Aunt Ellen have spoiled him way too much.) When trouble finally catches up with Daniel at age 17, his parents send him out West to our ranch (lucky us), where they hope he will learn the value of hard work. 

Stay tuned to see what havoc Daniel can wreak on the Circle C ranch. And since this story is still in the makings, feel free to toss down any ideas that pop into your heads. I don't guarantee that I'll use them, but brainstorming is so much fun, and I've come to appreciate your input. 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Front Piece for Thick as Thieves

Breaking news for my loyal blog readers: today I got the proof pages (the very last step before the book goes to the printer). I wasn't sure what the designer would do for the front piece, but now I can see it. And I like it a lot, even better than what I had suggested with the "poster-like" graphic I shared months ago. This looks perfect for an older audience, and it's clean and crisp. (But I'm not sure if the FRIENDSHIP is a bit too big.) Thoughts?

And below is the font they chose for Andi's journal entries. I'm so happy they picked an old-fashioned font instead of plain, old italics.But here's the thing. They took out the "Andi's Journal" label, thinking it was redundant (it is, I guess).

So you tell me . . . if you just see the journal entry, are y'all smart enough to figure out Andi is writing it down somewhere (especially since it's in cursive) without me needing to include "Andi's Journal" every single time? Or should there be a date, maybe? (Date = a lot of work for me to go back and find them.) Check it out below and tell me what you think about needing (or not needing) a label on each journal entry. You can see it up close by clicking on the new STORY EXCERPT, which I updated with the new fonts and things (since the JPG below is rather small and hard to see). Let me know before September 26!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Faith Needs Some Encouragement

Faith sent me an email with a request for prayers for her situation. Let's all join in giving her a little encouragement and prayer today!

Since my father (Faith's) officially resigned the last Sunday of August nothing has been just right. Seven people that I can quickly think of have questioned his decision. Some of them suggested he take a few weeks off to think it over, but he declined.

The first verse of the song posted by Bethany S. a few weeks back ("I'll pray again") well describes our situation. But the chorus doesn't, because my father isn't saying "I'll pray again; I'll continue the fight for Jesus even if it's hard." He is giving up, taking the easy way out, quitting.

I don't mean to sound judging but I keep thinking about the last time he resigned from a church. It was 7 years ago and yes, it was hard but it was NOTHING like this.

Please continue to pray for my family and my father's decision. I can feel your prays at work!

Thanks, my sisters in Christ! 
Faith Potts

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Now This Is Living!

Okay, the author has been taking over quite a bit these days, so it's time I (Andi) got "back in the saddle" and started recording a few interesting happenings.

First off, my second adventure in the Circle C Milestones is finished. I think it's going to be called Danger Trail, on account of the fact that I finally--after much pleading and suggesting to Mother that this is what I want to do for my 15th birthday--go along on a short, easygoing cattle drive. (I find out there is nothing easy about any kind of cattle drive.)

Kitty Wilkins, the horse queen of Idaho
How did I manage this feat? Well, I spent a long time gathering ammunition (i.e. news stories about other women and ladies who do things not normally associated with a "young lady.") I found a couple of "heroines," like Kitty Wilkins, the "Horse Queen of Idaho," and her horse is the same color as Taffy--a palomino!

Her picture was in the paper (I'm not sure why this picture doesn't show Kitty on her palomino, but oh, well, at least she's on a horse!). And she runs her own ranch and rounds up mustangs and sells them and . . . bosses the ranch hands too!

Sadie Austin
My other heroine is Sadie Austin. She's closer to my own age. That's her in the picture to the left. While Kitty rides sidesaddle in her riding habit (too much for me), Sadie wears a split-skirt (hurrah!) topped by a shorter skirt over the top. This young lady is noted for her accomplishments and fine ways, and she can play the piano (I cannot). 

I like her getup, except I think I'll have to pass on the rifle. Sadie is a great shot, while I--alas--am not. And it's not because Chad hasn't tried to teach me, either.

When I showed Mother I'd done my research and wasn't about to disgrace the family name by wanting to help on the cattle drive (since these ladies did those things too), Mother gave her permission.

It didn't take long until I wished she hadn't. But that, my friends, is another story . . . coming Fall 2015. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Choose a Name for Andi's Uncle

A young James Carter
James Carter just before his death in 1874
You have all given me some great ideas for names for Andi's uncle. So many good ones, in fact, that I've decided to put up another poll to determine which one will end up being his name for Book 3 of the CCMilestones, The Last Ride.

I picked out 6 names that 1) didn't start with a letter in the Carter family already or anyone else of significance in the books and 2) sound old-fashioned and not too modern. I put up 2 pictures of Andi's father, James Carter. This is, of course, what his twin brother, [insert new name], looks like too. That's so you can "see" him. So, vote! Does he look like a Timothy, a Benjamin, a Robert, a Nathaniel, a Richard, or a Paul?

Here is a short bio on [insert new name], to see if that helps you decide on his name:

While James Carter was busy out West striking it rich in the California Gold Rush in 1849 and 1850 (and marrying Elizabeth and starting his ranch with the gold), his older sister, Rebecca (yes, THAT Aunt Rebecca) and their brother [insert new name] stayed back east in New York City, where their parents resided. James' twin brother busily went about making his own fortune in the city and became an important architect, who actually ends up being involved in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge in the 1880s.When Andi's father died in 1874, his brother and his family made the trip out West for James' funeral. Andi was too young to remember much of that visit, and the New York Carters haven't been west since (until book 3 of the Milestones series). Aunt Rebecca moved permanently to San Francisco to be near James' family, but [insert new name] stayed on the East coast.

[Insert new name] and his wife, Ellen, had four children, but only the youngest, Daniel (key player in The Last Ride), survived infancy. Which might be the reason why his mother and father dote on Daniel and overlook his many character flaws, excusing his behavior rather than curbing it.

Which reminds me! I need a picture of Daniel! Feel free to email me at with any possibilities. The only thing the story states is that he looks enough like Mitch (tall, blond, handsome) to be his twin, but he's obviously not matured and filled out like Mitch. And I don't just want to use another picture of Mitch (which I've had a hard time finding anyway).

By the way, here is my latest picture of Mitch.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I need a name

I need your help. Years ago I created a family tree and had Andi's father, James Carter, the twin brother to David. Uncle David and Aunt Ellen have one son, Daniel, a couple years older than Andi.

Well, Daniel is going to play a significant role in Book 3 of the Circle C Milestones (which I'm getting ready to work on, now that Danger Trail, book 2, is finished). BUT . . . the 2 "D's" might be a problem (David and Daniel). I'm really used to Daniel's name, so I will keep that name, but what I would like is for you all to think up alternate names for David, James' twin brother.

I have enough "J" names, so don't think of anything with a J (like John. Besides, we already have a Johnny Wilson in the series) . . . or any other letter I've already used for the Carters. Also . . . it needs to be an 1800s-friendly name and not too modern.

Looking forward to your ideas!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Prayer Request from Jesseca

A loyal reader has asked for prayer for a family friend:
This past Thursday a dear, old friend of our family passed away.
Dad grew up with their family and was close friends with their son. She was older, so it wasn't exactly unexpected, and we are rejoicing because we know she is in heaven and free from the pain she had. But it's also hard for the rest of her family who are still here on earth and miss her very much. Could you just pray for them as they have the funeral that they would be comforted during this time?
Jesseca Dawn


Andi's Winds of Change part 2 . . . by Kendra

Here is part 2! Thanks, Kendra, for entering last year so we can enjoy your story!

Part 2

I brought the apple pie Mother baked and set it on the picnic table. It was Sunday and we were all eating together afterwards. I liked Sundays in general, but when we ate afterwards it was even better. Pies, ham, green beans and countless other foods were laid out on the tables outside. My mouth watered at the sight of them.
Then I felt two arms around my waist and a sharp chin rested on my shoulder. I turned around, and my smiling friend Virginia greeted me. “Andi,” She said, “You look just lovely in that light blue dress. It really brings out your eyes.”
“Thanks,” I hugged her. Virginia and I hadn’t always been friends, but time had made us grow closer. She was one of my best friends in Fresno. Her father used to be the schoolmaster, but he quit a few years ago and the town has been searching for a consistent teacher ever since. “What have you been up to this week, Virginia?” I asked.
Virginia rolls her eyes. “Nothing, really. Mother and I have still been sewing, but that’s not news. A new Godey Lady’s Book came out this week though,”
But my eyes and thoughts were on someone else. Henry was just a few yards away from me, talking to my older brother, Mitch. Mitch and his wife, Doris, were in for the weekend. It was strange having everyone so far apart from each other — my sister Melinda had married and moved, though she was still in town. My brother Chad still comes in every once and a while from just north of here in Clovis, but now he’s got a family and a ranch of his own.
My father died when I was five and I barely remember him. Part of me is glad because I don’t have much to miss — but then I’m curious and I want to know what he was like so I can have something more to remember. I wondered if my father would be like Henry. Henry was tall, good-looking, had a job—
“Andi?” Virginia poked me playfully. “What are you staring at?”
But I didn’t have time to explain and I didn’t have to. Virginia’s eyes followed where mine were and she let out a giggle. “Isn’t he attractive?” She whispered in my ear.
I turned red and elbowed her. “Stop.”
“He’s nice looking, but you really can’t like him, can you? Father says he doesn’t have the best reputation.” Virginia kept whispering. I didn’t hear her, because Henry was heading our way.
“Hi Andrea, Virginia,” He said, as he gave us a dashing smile. “Or do you like to be called Andi? I’ve heard both.”
My words came out unsteady. “I like Andi, but whatever you want,”
“Okay, Andi.” Henry said, “That’s a pretty dress, by the way,”
I was sure my face was even redder. “Thanks.”
When he was out of earshot Virginia went back to talking. “Andi, he talked to you!” She squealed. “I’m sure he likes you.”
“Hush. He talks to girls all the time.”
“I know,” Said Virginia. “My sister thinks he’s a big flirt.”
“Come on, let’s get some food.”
We ate heartily and even Virginia went back for seconds. After eating, Virginia and I walked around. I told her about my mother wanting me to teach school, and she seemed sympathetic. We both tried to propose other ideas, yet to no avail. After a while I told her I had prayed about it and she thought that was a good idea, saying herself that she would pray, too.
By the time we headed back to where the others were, the picnic tables had been cleared and only the Fosters, Virginia’s family, remained. They waited in their carriage.
“I suppose mother thought I could just ride Taffy home when I wanted,” I told Virginia.
“We can drive you home, if Taffy will follow,” Virginia offered.
“It’s no problem—“
“I’ll see that she gets home,” Another voice cut in. Henry stepped out from behind me.
“Alright,” Virginia winked at me as she stepped into her carriage. “Have fun. Goodbye!”
“Bye!” I said, as their carriage drove away. I looked up at Henry, who smiled down at me. Oh my goodness, I told myself, his eyes look even better up close. I couldn’t believe that I was standing here, alone with him. I couldn’t believe he had offered to see me home. I was half delighted and half horrified. “Well,” I said, walking quickly over to where I had tied Taffy. “I guess we should head home. Do you know where my ranch is?”
“Yes, I do. Perhaps we should walk together and let the horse walk alone.” Henry said. “I’ve never been infatuated with horses.”
I wasn’t sure what infatuated meant, but I had a feeling it wasn’t something good. “Okay.” I said. I started walking in the direction of the ranch, leading Taffy behind me. “Why don’t you like horses?”
“They make me sneeze and cough if I sit on one for long enough, and besides, they reek of barn odors.” Henry said, walking closer to me.
“Oh.” I hoped I didn’t reek of barn odors. I did hang around in the barn a lot. “Well, what do you like to do?”
“You know that I work at the lumberyard, don’t you?” Henry said.
“Yes,” I replied. I knew all sorts of things about him, even if I had never had a conversation with him that lasted longer than a few minutes. “But what do you like to do in your spare time?”
Henry laughed. “I don’t have much spare time. I prefer to advance my education.”
“That’s nice. What are you hankering to do?”
“Excuse me?”
I cleared my throat. “You know. What do you want to be when you ‘grow up’? Like a farmer, a lawyer—“
“Oh, I see. I long to see New York one day and become a business man. What do you wish to become?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m not sure. I’m working at the general store right now, but only for a short while because they really need the help. I guess I’ll hang around the ranch at home and help with chores.”
“Hmm,” Said Henry, “That’s interesting.” But I could tell he wasn’t really listening. The more I talked to Henry the more foolish I felt. How could I have liked this boy? We were as different as night and day. While people say opposites attract, maybe we were too opposite.
The rest of the walk home was long and tiresome. And awkward. We both knew we were trying to think of polite things to say. The more we talked the more we found out there were things we didn’t like about each other. When the ranch finally came into sight, I don’t think I was ever so glad to see it.
Henry was going to lead me to the doorstep, but I told him I needed to put Taffy away. “Thank you for walking me home,” I said, as nicely as I could.
“You’re welcome, it was no trouble.” Henry looked at me and smiled. I had never felt so uncomfortable. What was I supposed to do? But then he turned, and with one last goodbye, he walked away.
I let out a sigh of relief. “Whew Taffy,” I whispered to her. “I’m glad that’s over. Oh Taffy,” I said, looking at her soft eyes as mine filled with tears, “How could I have been so stupid? I was so obsessed over Henry that I never saw that we’d be horrible for each other. Taffy, he doesn’t even like horses!” I sighed, this time a disappointed one and I led Taffy into the barn.
When I walked into the house, my mother greeted me with a warm hug. “Andrea,” She said, “I saw who walked you home.”
“Yes,” I said. My heart felt heavier than ever. I sank down into the sofa. “It was awful.”
“Awful?” Mother sat down next to me and put a comforting arm around my shoulder.
“Yes.” I said, burying my head in my hands. “Mother, all he wants to do is study and he hates the smell of barns. He doesn’t even like horses!”
“Oh sweetheart,” Mother said. “It’ll all work out.”
“Sure it will!” I stood up, pulling myself away from her. I headed up the stairs. “Just tell the preacher’s wife I’ll be a teacher! I don’t even care what I do with the rest of my life!” And with that, I rushed up to my room, slamming the door behind me.

The next morning I woke up late. I didn’t have to work until later, and I suppose Mother didn’t want to bother me. The sun was shining through my window, filling the room with a glorious golden color. Still, as soon as I remembered yesterday’s events, my heart grew heavy again. I picked my way slowly downstairs and into the kitchen. No one was there.
I stepped outside and the morning air greeted me. As did Cory, who was hauling hay out from the barn.
“Good morning, Andi!” He said cheerfully.
“Good morning,” I muttered.
He stopped and wiped his hands on his shirt. “I have something to tell you.”
“I found you a job.”
“You what?!” My mouth dropped open.
“I think you’ll like it, but you don’t have to take it. It’s in Clovis, not far from where Chad lives, and some friends of mine are starting a ranch. It’s a horse ranch, but a different kind. They’ve got riding horses and they want to open up as a ranch that teaches children to ride. I’m not sure of all the details, but they need trainers to teach the children to ride. They’d include rent and meals as a part of the pay, but if you wanted you could stay at Chad’s, it’s only a short walk. And you can bring Taffy along, if you want.”
“Really?” I squealed. “That’s wonderful!” A smile burst across my face as I tried to catch my breath. Cory handed me a piece of paper with more information. “Oh my goodness! I’ve gotta tell mother!” I shoved the paper in my pocket and ran inside. “Mother!” I shouted until I found her.
“What is it, Andrea?” She said.
“Oh Mother, look what Cory did! He found the perfect job for me,” I blurted out all the news to her.
“My goodness,” She breathed. “That’s wonderful. Did you thank him?”
And then it hit me. I hadn’t thanked him for anything. I rushed back outside and into the barn, where I found Cory. “Oh Cory,” I said, my face aglow. My heart beat faster than it ever had around Henry Wilson. Cory had been there, he’d been there all along and I’d never thought much of him. Why hadn’t I? “I’m taking the job. Thank you!”
“You’re welcome, Andi.” He said, as he stuffed his hands in his pocket and grinned. His eyes weren’t as nice looking as Henry’s, but they were so much warmer and inviting. “You won’t leave Fresno for too long, will you?”
“No,” I said. “Not for too long.” And then, not being able to help myself, I threw my arms around him. “Thanks again, Cory.”
The End