Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Tehachapi Loop

Have you ever heard of the Tehachapi Loop? Levi told me all about it when I was sleeping on the train from Los Angeles to Bakersfield. He was pretty impressed. I wrote about it in my journal after I got home:

So, what is this famous “wonder of the railroad world” Levi couldn’t stop talking about all the way back to the ranch? It is a 3/4 mile-long spiral of railroad track halfway upgrade to the Tehachapi Pass. It connects the city of Mojave in the Mojave Desert with Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. It is one of the busiest single tracks in the entire world. 

One of the engineering feats of its day, the Southern Pacific Railroad built the Loop to ease the steep grade going over the Tehachapi Mountains. Three thousand Chinese workers cut through solid granite with picks, shovels, horse-drawn carts, and blasting powder. The railroad line, of which the Loop is a part, had eighteen tunnels, ten bridges, and a number of water towers to refill the locomotives as they steamed over the Tehachapi Mountains. Work began in 1874 and took two years to complete. This track line was the final piece in the railroad linking San Francisco to Los Angeles. 

When my brothers, Levi, and I rode over the Loop, it had been in operation for eight years. This same track line has remained virtually unchanged since it was first constructed. It is indeed an amazing display of engineering genius.

Note from Mrs. M: To watch a YouTube video showing a modern train tackling the Loop go here:   VIDEO of a train going around the LOOP. Seven engines pull 111 cars. Start at 1:00 and watch at least until 5:30. The train goes over itself in the tunnel and comes close to the screen as it makes its way to Mojave.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Aunt Rebecca's Hat

Gather 'round, friends, and take a peek at what Melinda and I found the other day. We were rummaging through a trunk in the attic and out fell an old picture of me in a big, ugly hat. A minute later, Melinda found another picture. It was of a really pretty young woman. Melinda and I had no idea who it was. It didn't look quite like Mother when she was young but *surprise* she looked a little bit like our sister, Kate. Very strange, because Kate would NEVER put on a hat like that!

We brought both photographs downstairs and asked Mother. She began to laugh. "No, it's not Katherine," she agreed. "But I never knew there was such a resemblance between Rebecca and Katherine." What?? Aunt Rebecca? Old, persnickety Aunt Rebecca? (Honestly, I would prefer not to have heard that, because everybody says I look like my big sister, Kate, which means . . . yikes! Don't say it, but you can extrapolate as easily as I can.)

Melinda and I discovered that another mystery was solved too. What mystery, you ask? Well, the mystery of why on earth our Aunt Rebecca would bring Melinda and me two monstrous hats one summer's day back when I was 8 and Melinda was 13. Just look at the hat dear Aunt Rebecca has perched on her head. One cocky move and crash! That fancy, expensive piece of head gear would be on the ground. It sure explains why she brought us the hats. She must love those things! Like aunt, like nieces . . .?

Oh, how I wish Melinda and I had found the old photograph of her wearing the hat, but alas, only mine was there. Mother looked the pictures over. Then she slipped the one of Aunt Rebecca into her special drawer in her desk and she gave my picture to me. I hid it away. Some day I'll show it to my children and boy howdy! Won't they laugh out loud!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Creek Troubles by . . . Stephanie

A new little fan story from Stephanie. I can't remember, but I think this is her first story for us.

Andrea Carter and Creek Troubles
by Stephanie

Cory pulled his horse to a halt in front of the Carters’ house. He knocked on the door loudly. Chad came out and said, “Cory, what is the---”
Cory cut him off mid-sentence, “It's Andi, she's hurt...badly.”
Chad said, “What happened?”
Melinda appeared behind Chad and complained, “What’s all the fuss? I'm trying to read my magazine in silence.”
Chad said to Melinda, “Nothing, go back to reading your magazine.”
Melinda turned sharply and left with a loud, “Chad Carter, you ought to be more polite to young women.”
Cory laughed but when Melinda turned around to look at him he pretended to clear his throat. When Melinda had left he continued speaking, “We were in the creek doing swim races when she saw a snake.” When he saw Chad's face expressing worry he added, “It wasn't poisonous or nuthin'. It was just a black garden snake.”
Chad urged Cory, “Keep talkin'.”
Cory said, “She swam toward it and hit her head on a rock. Her forehead was bleeding badly when I left her. I cleaned the wound some but she has a big gash in the middle of her forehead.”
Chad said, “You go back to Andi. I'll bring the doctor and some other people.”
Cory mounted his horse, said, “Sure thing Chad,” and galloped off.
Chad went inside the house and into the parlor where Elizabeth was talking to Crystal Smith, who was a good friend of hers. She was twenty-two years old and engaged to Mitch; they had planned to be married in a few months.. 
Elizabeth looked at Chad sharply as Amanda was saying, “Mitch should really come with us. I'm sure he'd have a great time.”
Elizabeth said, “Chad, what is the matter?”
Chad told Elizabeth everything in private in a corner of the parlor. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Heartbreak Trail is here!

Lasso the new Heartbreak Trail book by going to the Circle C Milestones website or by clicking the PayPal button below. This new title is $9.99 + $1.00 shipping (U.S. addresses only). The special dollar shipping ends June 30.

Canadian fans can go to Amazon Canada and pre-order the book.

UK fans can go to Amazon UK to pre-order the book. (But I see it won't arrive at the UK Amazon site site until October 1.) But at least it's there.

Personalize book to

POV story # 15 by Kaitlyn

Can you guess the character from whose point of view this scene has been written? Hint: Check out Dangerous Decision.

Andi got up from a game winning slide to home plate and started brushing herself off, sneezing as a cloud of dust formed around her.  I turned to go inside when Cory said,
            “You’re... um... awfully dirty, Andi.  I wonder what the teacher’ll say.”
            I saw my chance to once more irk my schoolmate.  “I know what my father 
will say,” I said.  “He’ll say he’s never seen such a dreadful sight.  
Then, he’ll probably send her home from school.”
            I could tell Andi knew I was right.
            “You needn’t rub it in,” she said, shaking the dust from her braids.
            I stepped forward, wrinkling my nose.  “You look like one of those dirty little beggar boys I used to see in the city, roaming the streets and picking through garbage.  A shame, really.  You come from such a fine family.”
            Andi straightened up and glared at me.  She didn’t move, trying to decide what to do, just glaring at me.
            “You gonna let her insult you like that, Andi?” Johnny called out, a grin on his face  that showed he was thoroughly enjoying this.
            Finally Andi spoke. “I’d rather be a beggar,” she said with a shrug, “than a liar.”

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Prayer Request from Bethany

Bethany R. has asked me to share this heartfelt request with all of you. Thanks for taking a moment and praying!

I would like to ask for prayer for several things. Firstly, for my grandpa's salvation. He is 80 and starting to slow down but I can see God working on Him. He is starting to soften and for that I am thankful but I just hope that he can choose Christ before it is too late! Secondly, one of my grandmas (not the one married to my grandpa) is nearly 86 and is saved but prayers for her health would be valued. In the last year she has taken two falls and has a slight concussion. Her memory is slowly degrading and she has lots of pain swallowing and in her legs and feet. Thank you all so much!



Saturday, June 20, 2015

Convention "perks"

Here are a few Andi Blog fans who took advantage of the fact that Mrs. M's publisher sent her early copies of the new Circle C Milestones book 2, Heartbreak Trail, so she could share them at a few upcoming conventions. Anne, Kai, and Megs, try not to gloat that you have the new book in your hands. The rest of you loyal fans will be able to get your copies this next week. Mrs. M will put it up and send out an email (and a blog post) as soon as possible with a special $1.00 shipping . . . and as always, no tax. And autographed too. Circle C Milestones website will be the only place to buy the book for at least another month or 6 weeks, if Kregel keeps to the July 28 release date.

Coming up: a fun giveaway/contest to launch the book when it finally officially releases. Stay tuned for more details as the publisher lets Mrs. M in on the secret. :-)
It's like . . . we're triplets. Check out those denim skirts on the left! And a former story-writing contest winner on the right.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Our Favorite Things Part 2

Welcome back to Andi's Journal and her (and Melinda's) favorite things. To read part 1, go HERE.
In the previous journal entry, I talked about our 1) favorite books, 2) our favorite activities, and 3) our favorite winter activities, so now we are going to share some other favorites. And oh! Don't forget to share your favorites of these categories (like books and activities) in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Prayer Request from Olivia

Greetings, friends. Olivia has asked for prayer for her family . . .

We just found out our granddad passed away. He had been having some issues recently, but it is still a large blow to us, especially to our grandmother. He was a Christian and loved Jesus with all of his heart, but it is always hard to loose a loved one. Prayers of comfort are definitely needed right now. If you could post this on the blog I would appreciate it.

Olivia J. 


Friday, June 12, 2015

Fans' POV story #14 . . . by Faith

Sorry. Blogger "posted" this without my say-so the other day, so some of you were probably really confused. I didn't realize it for some time, while I was copying and pasting Faith's POV story into this post. (It was totally blank and probably quite a disappointment for you all.) But it's all fixed now . . .

Faith went all out with changing Family Secret to a number of very interesting characters' points of view. This is the book where Andi has to get used to the fact that her family's been holding out on her all her life. They never found a "good" time to let her in on the secret that she has another, older sister named Katherine. Since the book is from Andi's POV, her encounter with Katherine introduces this new Carter family member when Andi first sees her in the parlor with their mother (and has no clue who she is). Faith writes a scene from Katherine's POV then jumps to Mitch, and Mother's, and Melinda's. I especially like how she has portrayed Chad's reaction. 

It's a fun-filled ride. I know you will all enjoy it. I know I did. It makes me want to rewrite Family Secret and include these priceless tidbits.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New CCMilestons Character Page

It is a lot of work to keep up with two different sites. I don't want to create yet another Blogger "page" to muck up the tabs at the top of this page, so here is the teaser, and then you can hop over to the real page on the web site if you want to see the characters I've put up over there.

"Andi is growing up in the Circle C Milestones series. The books span Andi's life from age fourteen to nearly eighteen years old. A whole new cast of characters (as well as beloved ones from the Circle C Adventures) surround Andi and give her plenty of opportunities for adventures that include not only joy and excitement but also heartbreak and loss---just like real life." To read more, go to the CC MILESTONES CHARACTERS.Then, in a comment, let me know which (if any) other characters you'd like me to put up so you can see what they look like.    

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fans Point of View Stories #13 . . . by Rebekah

Awhile back Mrs. M presented the idea of picking a scene from one of the CCAdventures books and rewriting it from another character's point of view (POV). Rebekah just now sent in her contribution. It is the scene where Andi breaks the schoolroom window hitting a foul ball. This scene is from Virginia Foster's POV. She is standing at the upstairs classroom window. If you want to read the original scene, it starts on page 42 of Dangerous Decision.

Go HERE to read more of these fun POV stories

One day at the noon hour, I was watching the baseball game from the schoolhouse. I watched as Andi was playing baseball. Just like a boy, I thought. I couldn’t understand why a girl would do such boyish things.
The boy named Johnny was throwing the ball really hard towards Andi. Andi had already missed the ball twice. From watching the game, I knew that if you missed three times you were out. 
I hoped Andi would miss again. Giggling at the fact, I hoped the other team would win with that cute boy---- 
My thoughts were interrupted by the shout of one of the boys. “Another foul!” someone grumbled. “I’m tired of chasing all of your---”
I jumped back as a ball broke through the window and landed near me. From inside the room, Father jumped up too.
Andi broke the window! I wondered what would happen next.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

It Started with a Mulberry . . . Part 2 by Kaitlyn

Here is the conclusion to Kaitlyn's fan story:

"It Started with a Mulberry"
by Kaitlyn

Part 2

After supper that night, Chad was about to go upstairs to his bedroom when Mitch said, “Chad, I think you should come look Chase over; he’s not acting himself.”
Chad looked annoyed.  “Couldn’t you have asked me before supper?”  He sighed.  “Come on, let’s go.”
As Mitch followed Chad out of the house he winked at Andi, who grinned back at him.
Wandering into the kitchen, Andi quickly found some ice in the icebox.  It’s good we’re in the middle of summer, she thought with a giggle.
Filling a bowl with ice, she crept past the study where Mother, Justin, and Melinda were sitting, and up the stairs to Chad’s bedroom. She tried to open the door with one hand and balance the bowl of ice in the other arm when crash! The bowl slipped from Andi’s grasp and shattered on the floor, making a big mess of glass pieces and ice chunks.
Andi gasped.  Oh no!  I’m in big trouble now! Before she could think of what to do,  Andi heard footsteps and turned around to see Mother, Justin, and Melinda rushing up the stairs.
“What happened?” Mother asked.
Andi stared at the floor.
“What happened?” Mother repeated her question.
Andi hesitated then blurted out, “Chad made me eat a bad mulberry so Mitch gave me the idea of putting ice under his sheets to get him back. I was trying to open the door and . . .” Her voice trailed off.
Mother sighed.  “All right, let’s get this mess cleaned up.”
 Later, Andi lay in bed, thinking about the smirk Chad gave her when he learned what happened.  The more she thought about it, the more determined she became to play a successful prank on Chad; but, try as she might, she couldn’t think of anything.
Finally, after much tossing and turning, she drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

It Started with a Mulberry . . . Part 1 by Kaitlyn

Here is a new fan story from Kaitlyn. Before today, I never knew what mulberries were (I guess we don't have them in Washington State. But we have huge blackberries, and these mulberries remind me of those . . . without the thorns). So, thank you, Kaitlyn, for educating me about mulberries in a fun way. I only know the song, "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush . . ." Never knew what it looked like.

"It Started with a Mulberry"
by Kaitlyn

Part 1
“Welcome back!” Andi gave her sister Katherine a hug.  “It’s so good to see you again!”  she turned and gave Betsy and Hannah a hug, but kindly refrained from giving Levi one.
“Come on, I want to show you something.”  Andi scooped Hannah into her arms and led Levi & Betsy to a tree behind the ranch house laden with green, pink and purple berries.
Mulberries turn pink then red when ripening, then dark purple or black.
“I love mulberries!” Andi exclaimed, pulling a fat, juicy dark-purple berry off the tree and popping it into her mouth.  She offered one to her nieces and nephew.
Betsy gave her a shy smile.  “I’ve actually never had one before,” she said.
Andi smiled.  “If you’ll help me pick enough, we can see if Louisa will make us a mulberry pie for supper,” she said.  “You’ll never have tasted anything as good!  Well . . . almost, anyway.”
Levi picked a pink mulberry off the tree.  “Here, try this one.” he handed it to Betsy.
Betsy hesitated.  “By the look on your face I don’t know that I should,”  she said.
“Oh, just try it,” her brother urged her.  “What do you have to lose?”
“Levi...” Andi said warningly.
“I wanna try it,” Hannah said, grabbing the berry out of Betsy’s hand and putting it in her mouth.  As she started to chew, her face puckered up and she quickly spit it out.  “Yuck!”
Levi doubled over with laughter.  “Oh, that was a good one!”  he said, wiping tears from his eyes.
Andi’s mouth twitched as she tried not to smile.  When she saw Hannah’s lower lip tremble, she said, “Don’t feel bad, Hannah; Chad did the same thing to me when I was little.  Only I don’t think I handled it as well as you did.”  She thought back seven years ago when Chad had tricked her into eating a pink mulberry; yet he had no idea that playing a trick like that on Andi would result in such consequences . . .

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Our Favorite Things Part 1

My sister Melinda and I sat down one warm Saturday this spring under my favorite valley oak tree (behind the horse barn) and talked about our favorite (and least favorite) things in life. The list went on and on, but I highlighted a few of our answers here.When we finished, we both dissolved into gales of laughter. I mean, honestly? Could two sisters be more different than Melinda Jane and Andrea Rose Carter? There is one area in which we both agree, however. Our mother, Elizabeth Carter, is at the top of our list as "Most admired woman."

But we don't agree on much of anything else. Here is a rundown of three of "Our Favorite Things":

Monday, June 1, 2015

Heartbreak Trail Sneak Peek #3

Here is sneak peek #3. Enjoy! It is the last one until the book comes out.
Set the stage: It's the first night out on the cattle drive. Everybody is still fresh and in high spirits. They're sitting around the campfire singing and telling stories. Levi, Andi's nephew from Family Secret, is also along on this cattle drive.

        “I like cattle drives,” Andi announced around the campfire that night. The smell of wood smoke, leather, and strong coffee wafted over her. She shoveled another forkful of biscuits soaked in rich gravy into her mouth and sighed her contentment. “Where else can I get such great chuck?”
       Andi liked the food. It was salty and greasy and full of raw flavor. She liked not having to eat with a linen napkin or take dainty swallows of milk. She could gulp hot coffee right along with the cowhands. Better yet, nobody cared if she spilled coffee down the front of her shirt.
       Cook grunted his acknowledgment of Andi’s compliment and went back to preparing for tomorrow’s meals.
       “I like ’em too,” Levi said. He’d put away twice as much supper as Andi. He sat on the ground between Bryce and Tripp, two of the temporary hands. “I’m not tired in the least.”
       Chuckles rippled around the campfire. “Everybody likes cattle drives the first night out,” Wyatt quipped. “You two will change your minds soon enough.”
       “I bet I won’t,” Andi challenged.      

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Riley Final

So . . . the voting ended, and here I am right back where I started. LOL An exact tie (and I do mean exact): 50% to 50%; not even one vote difference. Go figure! Shall I flip a coin? Hmmm, maybe not.

A few comments helped me decide on the tie-breaker (of course, there were many good comments supporting Riley B too!):
--- I'm voting for Riley A! Riley B looks to modern, and he doesn't look like someone who works on a ranch!
--- "I like A because it seems more like Riley's personality."
--- "I cast my vote for Riley A because I couldn't get past the 'modern' hair of Riley B."
--- "I think Riley A. That's how I picture him."
--- "Riley B. looks like he has a 'petted' (i.e. spoiled) mouth." (This one came as an email.) I don't want Riley to look spoiled! 

There are a couple lines from the book that make me lean toward Riley A, since you can actually see that this guy needs a shave. Riley B doesn't look like he's old enough to shave.

Excerpt (when Andi learns from the foreman that Chad has hired a wrangler to work with the two-year-olds). I added clarification for you in parentheses:

Andi's stomach somersaulted Experienced? This youngster didn't look old enough to shave. (He's across the yard.) What was Chad thinking? "He's not going anywhere near my colt," she said. 

A page later:

It was no use. Andi didn't recognize him. She did recognize, though, that this Riley was quite old enough to shave, and he should have taken care of it this morning. She flushed. 

Okay, on with the pictures. Let's see if these picture look "young" enough to be an almost-nineteen-year-old but old enough to need to shave. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A prayer request from Cara

"O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?" 1 Corinthians 15:55

Some sad news and a prayer request came to me today. One of our fellow bloggers and a fan of this blog, Cara, has suffered from the loss of her father. Please lift her up and pray for the family. Death comes to all of us (it's the door into Eternity) but yet it is a hard time for those left behind.

Here is Cara's note:

My father passed away 3 days ago. I got the news yesterday and I have been very sad. Will you please just pray for me for comforting? My mom is married to a different man, but my dad and my half-sister Sarrah's dad were really good friends. For more info go to Sarrah's blog: sar0498.blogspot.com or to my blog at which Bethany R. will be moderating for a few days.Thanks so much.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Stallion Strategy . . . by Cheyenne

I received 2 fans stories this past week, and here is the first one. Just the right length so I can keep it to one post. Enjoy!

by Cheyenne

“No! I said no!” Chad bellowed.
Andi sighed. She clearly hadn’t won this battle. She stepped out of the barn and glanced at Chad’s new stallion. He was so beautiful, monstrous though in size, standing well over 16 hands tall, solid black with one white star. I would do anything to just touch him, she thought. Then she turned and sprinted for the house when Chad’s next words froze her in her steps.
“Oh and one more thing little sister. I would be more than happy to let you keep and train a stallion of your own,  but this one is not yours, so,” his voice softened “please don’t touch mine.” He gave her a half smile.
She nodded and took off. Chad said he would be more than happy to let me keep and train a stallion of my own, Andi thought excitedly. But where would I get a stallion of my own? Andi pondered the question until the next day, when she got the answer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A New Puzzle Page

Take a look at the new tab "Jigsaw Puzzles" above. I transferred the online Circle C puzzles from the website to over here. I'm redoing the website and tightening it up, but I didn't want to delete the puzzles altogether!

Enjoy! By the way, they work just fine on my computer. If they don't work for you, check your device and make sure you have the right program to run the puzzle. I think you need Java. It's free.


Friday, May 22, 2015

Vote for Riley

All right, folks. I looked over all of the links that came to me and out of them all I found two "Rileys" that I like. One is a more traditional "western" look (Robert Fuller "A"). The other is a more modern version (Christian Bale "B"). Forget that Christian Bale eventually becomes a modern-day Batman, and I will try to forget that Robert Fuller becomes a doctor on the old Emergency TV show. Think "young."

The poll is at the top of the right sidebar. Please vote for your favorite: Riley A or Riley B.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Riley Prescott

Okay, spoiler alert: behind-the-scenes secret stuff exclusively for Andi fans on this blog. Nowhere
else will I give this away. "Riley returns." I won't tell you in which book he returns, but be assured he's back. And I need your help . . .

In case you haven't heard of Riley Prescott, he's Andi's friend from the Circle C Beginnings. Andi and Riley are "best friends" for the two years he lives on the Circle C ranch with his Uncle Sid, the ranch foreman. The two are inseparable. Click the "read more" to see pictures and to, well, read more.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Blog Friends List

Many of you sent me your blog addresses! I am delighted to share them. Let's support each others' blogs, all right? Check your link to make sure it works. If there is a problem, let me know about it in a comment.

Crazy about God!  www.crazygodgirls.blogspot.com   Cara & Stephanie
The Imaginary World of Emily McConnell   www.emilybmcconnell.blogspot.com  Emily
A Kansas Wind  akansaswind.blogspot.com  Jesseca Dawn
Whimsical Writings  jessaswhimsicalwritings.blogspot.com  Jesseca Dawn
Through the Wardrobe  www.disneyfans4ever2.blogspot.com   Lydia 
Constantly Abiding:  www.constantlyabiding.blogspot.com  Maria B. 
A Great God and Good Cocoa: www.bethanyr4Him.blogspot.com  Bethany R. 
Two God Crazy Girls: www.2Godcrazygirls.blogspot.com Bethany R. 
Freed Family: www.freedfamily4.blogspot.com Freed Family (Skylar) 
Melissa Troutman: www.melissajtroutman.com/blog/ Melissa 
The Exciting World of Courtney Mellani  www.courtneymellani4god.blogspot.com  Courtney
Why Do We Have to Have God as Our Lord? www.courtneymellani4godwithtips.blogspot.com Courtney

Chosen Vessels www.fireflysstoryspace.blogspot.com  Faith P.

Thinking About . . . www.thinkingaboutlotsofthings.blogspot.com Shai

God-Crazy Girls  www.godcrazygirls.blogspot.com Sarrah

Counting Your Blessings One by One www.countingyourblessingsonebyone.blogspot.com Blessing Counter