Sunday, September 27, 2015

Writing update + question

Hi everyone! I hope you're having an absolutely amazing weekend!
We've been super busy starting the school year and I haven't really had time to post on here much other then a story on Friday. :) So this is an update, and then I have a question I'd love y'all's opinion on as well!
I'm working an a few different projects for writing right now. No Greater Love, the blog story I've been posting is coming along quite well! I've also been working on a WWII story/book that I'm having a lot of fun with. It's coming along nicely and it's been fascinating to research! Plus, even though I'm only about 5 chapters in, I've already fallen quite in love with the characters. ;)
My third project is. . .The Silent Blade! I've been working on editing it, re-writing some scenes, taking some out, etc.
And this is where my question comes in. The Silent Blade is written generally in two different points of view. Eira's and Kevin's, although there are sometimes where the POV switches to Casimir.  As I've been working on it, I've considered switching everything over to Eira's POV because I know that's how books are usually written. My question is, do you enjoy reading books with more then one POV?
Here's a sample chapter from The Silent Blade. If you need a quick reminder as to who the characters are, I posted the first chapter here.

        Chapter 4
“No, Kevin. It's what he wants. Can’t you see that?” Aeden, the leader of the three mysterious men pulled Kevin around to face him. “Once Merek knows he has your siblings, he’ll not go looking for you anymore because you’ll come to him. He knows how you feel about your family. The most natural thing would be for you to try and get them back.
Kevin stared at him for a long moment, his eyes flashing, “They are my siblings. Whether you come or not is up to you, but I’m going. We all know where they’re headed, am I right?” he glanced around the circle of men. One by one they all nodded.
“Of course, Kevin. We all know where they’d go and Merek knows that we would know. It’s what he’s counting on,” Aaron said in exasperation. “Don’t you see? It’s a trap, Kevin. And you're just going to walk straight into it?”
It was Kevin’s turn to be exasperated, “What do you take me for? What have we been trying to do for the last four years? Get Merek of course! Now he’s given me a perfect excuse to do it. We’ll get Willem and Eira back and at the same time, we’ll get Merek.”
“How? We don’t have enough men and you know it. Merek has a band of followers that are there to carry out his every wish.”
“We’re three more then we were before,” Kevin stubbornly replied.
Aaron shook his head in defeat. When an O’Brien made up his mind, there was no stopping him. It was either go along for the ride or else. He chose to go along for the ride.
“One more thing, I need you to go into Dublin and bring Casimir Lannon back here,” Kevin announced.
This was met with silence as the men glanced at one another uncertainty. Kevin had always been very quiet about their group, telling no one. Why did he want this Casimir anyway?
Aaron finally asked the question everyone was thinking, “Kevin, who is Casimir and why do you want him?”
“Casimir is a close friend of Willem. . .and Eira. I think he will be an advantage.”
“Well, to start with he’s better with a sword then any of you and second, Merek would not be expecting him.”
“What can one person do against Merek’s band? He’s got at least thirty-five men and they all hate you with a passion.”
“One person can do quite a lot.”
Aaron sighed, Kevin was sidestepping the question. 
“I’ll send a note with you. Desmond, Casimir’s father, is on our side. Merek did more to him then he did to any of us. He’ll let Casimir come," Kevin continued. 
“Alright, Kevin. If you think it's best, I’ll go for him.” Aaron gave his friend a slap on the shoulder, then slipped his sword into its sheath, “I’ll be back before dark.” Without another word, he disappeared from sight.

Casimir could sense that something was wrong. He glanced around uneasily. 
Without warning, a man stepped forward.
“You are Casimir?”
He nodded, “I am.”
“My name is Aaron. I was asked by Kevin O’Brien to come and fetch you. I went by your house and delivered a note to your father. He said I would find you here.”
Casimir released his hold on the hilt of his sword, which he had been clenching ever since Aaron had stepped forward.
“Kevin. If father said it was alright, I’ll come. I know he trusts Kevin.” Casimir stood and followed him as they took, what seemed to be, an invisible path through the trees. After a while, Casimir gave up trying to figure out where they were going and simply concentrated on not losing sight of Aaron, who moved swiftly through the woods.  After about twenty minutes of walking, Aaron suddenly turned to the side and stepped into a small clearing. Following him, Casimir looked around at the small group of twenty-three men, some standing, some siting on rocks scattered throughout the clearing. 
His eyes easily spotted Kevin, who was sitting at the far side of the clearing. “Casimir, it’s good to see you, my friend,” Kevin stood as he welcomed him. “Did Aaron say why I wanted you?’
Casimir shook his head.
“It’s Eira and Willem. They were captured by Merek’s men.”
At the mention of Merek’s name, Casimir stiffened and his eyes became stormy. “Do you mean to tell me Eira is in the hands of Merek?”
Kevin nodded, “So is Willem.”
“If they’ve touched Eira I’ll--”
“You’ll what?” Despite the seriousness of their undertaking, Kevin’s eyes began to twinkle, “I had no idea there was anything between you two other than friendship.”
“There isn’t.”
“Really? Well, you didn’t seem to be in as much of a hurry to rescue Willem.”
Casimir’s glanced down, not meeting Kevin's gaze.
Kevin laughed, “It's all right, Casimir. I’m sorry I teased you. I know you care for Eira, and, yes, we are sure it was Merek who has them. Why we don’t know, but it seems that the same men who needed a doctor this afternoon are the ones who took her.
Casimir looked up as though realizing something for the first time. “It was him. The man with the dark hair was Merek.” He slammed his fist into the bark of a tree, “Why, oh why didn’t I see it sooner!”
“Probably because he looked nothing like he did when you saw him last," a new voice spoke up.
Casimir turned toward the man who had spoken. “I’m Aeden. I saw both Willem and Eira on his ship last night.”
“And you did nothing?”
“We came here, to Kevin. We knew Eira and Willem were his siblings. We knew he had been looking for Merek for quite a while.”
Casimir turned back to Kevin, “Do you know this man?”
Kevin nodded, “I do now, although he had me worried earlier. Caismir, meet Aeden, Cian and Diarmuid. Michael’s brothers.”
     “Michel? As in Anna’s husband?”
     Kevin nodded. “We can talk more about it later, but right now we don't have time. We need to go after them and we need a plan.”

Eira was exhausted from the long ride and it wasn’t over yet. She had resisted the urge to lean her head on Rowen’s back this long, but she knew she couldn't keep it up much longer. Her eyes grew heavy and the plodding of the horse made her want to do nothing more than fall sleep. Then, without even realizing it, she drifted off to sleep.
A sudden jerk startled her awake. She nearly fell into Henry's arms as he roughly pulled her off the horse. She winced as a sharp pain shot through her ankle at the same moment her feet hit the ground.
“Henry, I said to be careful!” Rowen dismounted and helped her to her feet, casting a withering glance at Henry when he realized she couldn't put any weight on her right ankle.
Henry only grinned at her, the ice in his eyes as cold as ever. Eira knew it hadn’t been an accident, and she also knew Henry would try his best to make these small “accidents” as frequent as possible. Better try and make sure I always stay close to Willem, Stace or Rowen. . .even Merek. Anyone’s got to be better than Henry!
Rowen helped her as she limped over to a tree stump and sat down. “Now you just stay here and I’ll send your brother over to take a look at your ankle.”
He walked away leaving Eira alone. She looked out across the clearing. It looked as though the men had been here for several months. Crude shelters had been constructed that looked more permanent than the tents that were usually set up when people traveled.
Which means they’re planning on staying here for a little while, Eira thought.
She was startled by Merek’s voice as he walked over to her, “You, girl, go and make us some soup. My men have fish and I want to have a warm, home cooked meal for once in my life.”
Eira looked at him blankly, “Uh, sir. I can’t walk. My ankle. . .” her voice trailed off and Merek’s gaze traveled down to her ankle which had already swollen to twice its normal size.
Merek swore under his breath and Eira looked at him, startled. “Haven’t you been taught not to say such things?” the words were out before she could stop them.
Merek simply stared at her and she squirmed under his gaze. She liked the yelling Merek better, when he was quiet it seemed to signal that he was extremely angry with you. . .and his eyes further confirmed the fact.
“I--don’t like--to be questioned,” his words were carefully measured and controlled. “Is that clear?”
Eira nodded.
“Now, I will help you over to the fire, and I want that soup. Have I made myself clear?” 
Once again Eira nodded, not bringing her eyes up to meet his. She felt his arm go around her as he helped her over to the fire. The fish had been cleaned, and when she glanced around to see who had done it, she caught Willem’s grin from across the fire. Of course; Willem! I certainly hope he can help me with the soup. The last time I made anything, mother proclaimed it not fit to be eaten!
As Merek left her alone, she tried to catch Willem’s eye without making it obvious. When softly calling his name didn’t make a difference, she picked up a pebble from the ground and tossed it at him. She missed and was just about to try again when a soft chuckle made her look up. Stace stood behind her, eying her in amusement.
“Would you like me to get your brother for you?” his eyes twinkled merrily down at her.
Eira’s face flushed red, “You saw all that?”
He laughed, “I did!”
“Yes, I would greatly appreciate it if you could get Willems attention for me!” she said as Willem walked into one of the huts.
He winked at her, “Wait here, I’d be happy to.” He walked over and entered the hut, reappearing a moment later with Willem.
“Do you need something, Eira?” Willem asked as he hurried over to her, Stace leaned against the side of the hut and watched them with--Eira noticed--the same twinkle in his eye. She tried to block him out as she turned to Willem. “I’m supposed to make soup and--”
“You'd rather not have Merek’s fish become ‘unfit to eat’?”
Eira nodded.
Willem grinned, “All right, I’ll help you and then I’ll take a look at your ankle. Rowen told me you needed help.”

“Hold still, Eira.” Willem had unlaced the leather shoe and was trying to gently pull it off  the swollen foot. Supper was over and Willem had finally found time to look at her ankle. The soup had turned out quite tasty, as Eira knew it would. Thankfully, neither Rowen nor Merek saw him helping and Stace hadn't said a thing.
“It hurts!” she exclaimed suddenly as she pulled her foot back.
He sat back and looked at her, “It'll hurt a lot worse if you don’t let me look at it.”
“And what exactly are you going to do? It’s not like there’s some special salve that will help a sprained ankle.”
Willem gave her the ‘you’d-better-do-what-I-say-and-don’t-ask-any-questions’ look. Eira groaned, but sat still as Willem continued to gently ease the shoe off. Even though Willem was usually easy going, there were times you simply didn’t cross him. Eira had learned to sense when her older brother was set on having his way--and this was one of those times.
She clenched her jaw as he took a roll of cloth and began to tightly wrap her ankle.
“How in the world did you manage to fall hard enough to cause this?” he shook his head. “Usually dismounting a horse isn’t so dangerous.”
“It wasn’t! Well, it wouldn’t have been if Henry hadn’t yanked me off. I guess I had drifted off to sleep and when we stopped he pulled me off. I landed on my foot--obviously.”
Willem paused and glanced up at her, “He pulled you off the horse? That’s not what Rowen said.”
“Well, you go right ahead and believe him if you want!” Eira snapped.  She instantly regretted it,  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
Willem, who had finished wrapping the ankle, laid back on the grass and gazed up at the stars. Neither of them spoke for a long moment.
“It’s okay. I knew you didn’t mean it,” Willem finally spoke breaking the silence.
“They’re so beautiful. So peaceful," Eira said. "When I look up at the stars at night, it makes me wonder how someone can not believe in God." 
Willem nodded. The sky seemed to be alive with twinkling lights. The moon shone bright as well, bathing the clearing in pale, warm light.
Merek and Rowen along with Henry, Stace and two other men Eira didn’t recognize sat around the fire which still blazed cheerily. The other men had retired soon after supper was over.
“I wonder--” Eira started, but was shushed by Willem.
Eira strained her ears, but she could only hear snatches of the conversation.
“Kevin will come. . .he knows what we want. . .his fault. . . turned against us. . . knows where we are. . .”
Kevin again. What does he have to do with these men? Eira wondered.
Then she heard two clear sentences.  Two sentences that sent a shiver through her.
“We have his sibling now and they are the bait. Kevin will come and walk right into a trap.”
Eira turned horrified eyes toward Willem, but before she could speak Willem put a finger across her lips. “Not now,” he whispered.
Eira kept silent, but one thought kept pounding through her brain. It’s our fault. Kevin is going to get hurt and we can’t do anything to help him!

This is an average chapter in The Silent Blade. So what do you think? Would it be better to change it all to one POV? I asked a friend who has read it, and her thoughts were that if I did change it to one POV, it would be a lot of Kevin and Casimir telling Eira what happened and not the readers experiencing the action. 
So. . .what are your thoughts? Do you generally like one POV better? I'm open to any suggestions!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

No Greater Love--Part 4

Rachel smiled as she  brought two plates of fish and rice out of the kitchen and set the down in front of her parents.
Dad smiled and rubbed his hands together, “My, my does this look good.”
Mom nodded in agreement, “Yes, it certainly does, Rachel.”
Richard glanced at their plates, “Aww, come on Rach. Don’t make me wait. I’m starved for some real food.”
Rachel laughed, “you be patient. I’ll bring your plate next.”
She disappeared into the kitchen and returned a moment later with two more plates. One she set down in front of her chair, the second one she set in front of Richard.
He looked down at his plate. . .and promptly froze.
“Uhh, Rachel, what is this?”
She grinned mischievously, “It’s your fish, my dear brother.”
“Rachel, it’s burnt.”
She glanced at his plate as though seeing it for the first time, “Oh, really? Well, that’s a pity, but I guess it’s what happens when you tease me about my cooking.”
A smile spread over Richard’s face, “Ahh, so this is what it’s all about.”
Dad laughed as he watched the exchange between the two, “Don’t ever tease the cook, Richard. While this cook may not poison you, she’ll make sure you learn your lesson.”
Richard smiled, “Yeah, and I do believe I’ve learned my lesson. I’m curious,” he turned to Rachel, “do I have to eat this?”
“Why don’t you go in the kitchen and see what else you can find.”
He raised his eyebrows, “Seriously?”
Rachel laughed, “yes, seriously. Now go!”
Richard sighed as he pushed his chair back from the table and made his way into the kitchen.
“Ahh, now we’re talking. Chocolate cake, all for me!” Richard’s voice drifted into the dining room.
Rachel rolled her eyes as she hurriedly stood and dashed into the kitchen, snatching the cake from Richard’s hands, “you oughta be ashamed of yourself Richard Smith!”
Richard raised his hands in mock surrender, “alright, take your cake. I’ll just go and eat my burnt fish since there doesn’t seem to be anything else in here.”
“Richard. Turn around and look on the counter next to the sink,” Rachel commanded as she carefully set the chocolate cake on top of the fridge.
Richard turned, then a smile spread over his face as he saw the plate piled high with fish, rice and even a small slice of the chocolate cake he had been holding, “thanks, Rach. You’re the best!” He picked up the plate and headed back towards the dining room. Setting his plate down, he pulled Rachel’s chair out for her, then waited until she sat before taking his own seat.
Dad looked at them with a twinkle in his eyes, “Well, if you two are done, can we pray now before our food gets cold?”
Richard grinned, “yes, dad.”
The family joined hands, then dad’s strong, quiet voice filled the room.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this food you’ve given to us, and for the home you’ve blessed us with. I also thank you for the blessing of family.
Lord, as Richard leaves tomorrow, I pray that you’d be with him as well as all the other men who are being sent to Vietnam. Thank you for this time together that you have given us. In your name I pray, Amen.”
As he ended the prayer, Rachel quickly withdrew her hand from Richard’s and wiped away the tear that had slipped from her eye during the prayer. Please, God. Please, keep him safe! she silently prayed. She caught Richard’s eye and he gave her a small smile before attacking his chocolate cake.
Despite the gravity of the moment, Rachel couldn’t help but chuckle. Why do guys always seem to eat their dessert first? she wondered. With a small shrug of her shoulders, she turned back to her own plate.
“I’ll do the dishes. You two go and have your walk.”
“Are you sure, Mom?” Rachel hesitated. “It wouldn't take to long for me to do them.”
Mom laughed, “the faster you take your walk the faster you’ll get back and the faster you get back the more time we’ll have with Richard. So go!”
Richard winked a her, “better obey orders, sis. That’s one thing I’ve learned; when orders are given, you never question them. Well, unless they go against God’s word. But,” he grinned, “This one doesn’t.”
Rachel smiled and took the light jacket Richard held out to her, “alright. We’ll be back soon.”
Richard led the way outside, holding the door open for her. 
Once outside, Rachel paused and took a deep breath, “there’s nothing quite as refreshing as the Texas air in December,” she said with a smile as she placed her hand in the crook of Richard’s elbow and they started down the drive.
Richard nodded in agreement, “Yes, it’s one thing I’ll miss. Well, other than you guys of course.”
Rachel playfully shoved her brother, “so we’re just an afterthought? Thanks a lot!”
Richard chuckled, “Well, that’s not exactly what I meant and you know it.”
“I know. Oh, Richard, I wish you didn’t have to go tomorrow. Once you leave, we have no idea when we may see you again.”
“Even if I stayed here, there’s no guarantee you’ll see me tomorrow. That’s why we need to be so grateful for each day the Lord has given us. Each one of them is a gift, and there’s no promise you’ll ever get another.”
There was silence for a moment as neither sibling spoke.
As they neared the barn, Richard chuckled, “Well, I can see nothing’s changed here. This thing looks just about the same. It’s been empty for as long as I can remember.”
“Thank you, Richard,” Rachel spoke at last.
“For what?” Richard asked in apparent confusion. “For talking about the barn?”
Rachel laughed, “No, you goose. For the lecture you gave me about every day being a gift. I do tend to take them for granted.”
“It wasn’t a lecture, Rach. Just a reminder. I need them myself every so often.”
“I know, and that’s what I’ll miss when you’re overseas. These talks we have together. All the problems you help me with.”
“Rachel,” Richard turned around to face her, “You know that you can always take your problems to Jesus and He will help you.”
Rachel nodded as a tear spilled down her cheek, “I know, but you help me understand myself,” she gave a small laugh, “and that can be hard sometimes.”
“Well, mom and dad are always ready to listen to you and help you. Plus, you can still ask me any questions; I’m only a letter away.” He reached out and wiped the tear off her cheek. “I love you, Rach. You’re my favorite sister. . .even if you are my only one.”
Rachel laughed, “And you’re my favorite brother.”
The two siblings paused for a moment, both leaning on the old rail fence and gazing at the stars.
After a moment, Richard turned. “Well, we’d better get back inside before mom decides to send someone out after us.”
Rachel smiled, “Yeah, I can see her doing that. Only we’d have to be gone for a few hours, not minutes.”
Richard laughed, “Same difference. Besides, I need to get home to that cake.”

Friday, September 18, 2015

No Greater Love--Part 3

It took Richard almost no time to collect his things; he hadn’t even had a chance to unpack. Picking up his bag he carried it out and set it on the dining room table. Inwardly he hated himself for leaving his sister without even a word of comfort. Why Vietnam? he wondered. Sure there had been talk about the trouble in Vietnam and there had even been rumors of American troops being sent overseas, but that was all it had been. Rumours. He sighed and walked into the kitchen where Rachel stood busily cooking the fish, her back turned toward him. He went and stood behind her, putting a hand on her shoulder, “I’ll be okay, Rachel. No matter where I am, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. And we still have tonight, right? We can do what you and mom planned.”
she turned to him, her eyes filled with tears, “Oh, Richard!” she threw her arms around his neck.
“Hey, it’s okay.” He did his best to comfort her.
She stepped back and looked up at him through her tears, “Promise me I’ll see you again.”
Richard smiled an easy smile, “Of course, Rachel. That’s the wonderful thing about knowing Jesus as Savior; you have the assurance of meeting again. If not here on this earth, then in heaven.”
Rachel smiled and took a step back, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I know you’re right, Richard.” she paused and wiped her eyes.
Richard looked up, sniffed, then glanced at the stove.
“The fish!” Rachel wailed as she hurried across the kitchen and took the cast iron skillet off the stove.
“It’s burned.” She spoke the obvious as a thick curl of smoke wafted its way up from the pan.
“Well, look on the bright side,” Richard offered, “at least you had only added one of the fish to the skillet. Besides, you don’t mind eating burnt fish, right?”
Rachel turned to him with a sweet smile, “Do you want to cook the rest of the fish?”
Richard chuckled and slowly backed out of the kitchen, “Uhh, no. I do believe the last time I tried cooking, we went out to eat.”
Rachel playfully pointed her wooden spoon at him as she turned and picked up the iron skillet, “then don’t tease me about my cooking.”
“Point taken. I’ll just go, uhh, take a look around outside and see if anything’s changed.”
“No, don’t go yet. I wanted to go with you after supper. Please?” Rachel implored, turning to face him after placing the second fish in the pan. “I want to take one last walk with you before you leave.”
Richard nodded, “All right. I guess I’ll go wander around the house and see what’s changed.” He turned to leave, then took a step back into the kitchen, “Hey, Rach, do you know--”
“If John is home?” Rachel smiled, “He’s your best friend and he’s been dying to see you, but he thought he’s wait till tomorrow so we could have the first day with you. But, yes, he’s home.”
Richard flashed a smile, “Thanks. you don’t mind--”
“If you go over and see him? Of course not, but don’t be gone too long or you’ll have to deal with me when you get back.”
Richard groaned in mock despair, “please, spare me!” He turned serious, “I promise I’ll be back in no more than an hour. When are Mother and Papa going to be back?”
“Soon. They said they’d be home around 5:30. It’s what,” she glanced at the clock, “5 o’clock now. And you know they want to see you when you get back.”
“I get the message, Rach.” He grinned, “I’ll be back soon. By the way,” he sniffed and winked at her, “I do believe you burned the second fish. So much for looking on the bright side.” he turned and dashed out the front door.
Rachel ran after him, “Richard, you get back here right now. Richard!”
Richard glanced over his shoulder and gave Rachel a sparkling grin before continuing on down their lane.
“Augh! Brothers,” Rachel exclaimed hurrying back into the kitchen. taking one glance at fish that was now black in the hot pan. She sighed, then an idea hit her and a small smile covered her lips, “Well, we’ll see how Richard likes his supper tonight.”

Friday, September 11, 2015

No Greater Love--Part 2

December 1961
“Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. How many times have I told you that you have to actually touch the fish before you can clean them?” Richard shook his head in despair. Why in the world is she scared of the fish? They’re dead!
“I can’t do it, Richard! This was your idea not mine!” Rachel wailed.
“Fine, fine. I’ll do it.” he took the fish and sliced it open.
“I’m sorry, Richard. I did want to make your favorite supper tonight. I mean, your first night home and all.”
Richard smiled, “It’s alright, Rachel. You can still make the meal only I’ll clean the fish for you. I mean, I wouldn't want to ruin the supper you had planned,” he winked at her.
“Oh, Richard. I’m so glad your home. I missed you so much!” she laid her head on his shoulder as he continued gutting the fish.
He bent down and kissed the top of her head, “I missed you too. But I’m home now and we can have a full three weeks of fun!”
“Richard, you won’t be called back or anything, will you?”
Richard shook his head, “I don’t think so.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about what’s going on in Vietnam. Do you think the U.S will join in the war?”
Richard set down the last of the fish skinned and cleaned, “Well, I’m not sure. I know there has been talk of U.S. troops being sent to Vietnam. But I don’t think it’ll be anytime soon.” He gave her a reassuring smile.
“Good, I don’t want you off at war somewhere where I’ll never know where you are or if you’re safe or not.”
He laughed, “Don’t worry. Even if I did get sent over there I wouldn’t dare die without your permission.”
“Richard! It’s not funny! Do you know how many people have been killed when they’re sent overseas?”
“Settle down, sis. I was only teasing.”
Rachel’s eyes filled with tears, “I worry about you, Richard.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Rachel,” he wrapped his arms around her, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Rachel shook her head,”It’s okay. I knew you were only teasing, it’s just I worry about you so much.”
“Hey, it’s alright. By the way, Is that a new dress you’re wearing? When you picked me up at the airport I noticed it wasn’t one I had seen before.”
Rachel smiled, “Yes, it is. But I have to say I almost didn’t recognize you in your uniform.” she reached up and brushed his brown hair out of his eyes, “You’re so handsome.”
“Awww, no more of that, Rachel. There’s only so many compliments a brother can take. Oh, where are mom and dad?”
“They asked me to pick you up because they wanted to go to the store and pick up your favorite dessert.”
“Chocolate cake?”
“You guessed it! Mom wanted you’re homecoming to be perfect.”
Before Richard could answer, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Rachel squirmed out of her brother’s arms and hurried toward the front door.
“I’ve got a telegram here for Richard Smith.” the carried handed her the small envelope.
“Thank you. I’m his sister and I’ll be sure and give it to him.” she reached into her pocket and gave him the required sum. He thanked her and left, Rachel closed the door behind him.
“Richard. Telegram for you.”
Richard sauntered into the living room, “Well, let’s see who’d think me important enough to send me a telegram.” he grinned as he took the envelope from her and opened it. As his eyes scanned the few sentences written on the paper, his face became grim.
“Richard? What is it?”
Richard looked up and his eyes met hers. How can I tell her? She was so excited about my coming back. . . he shook his head to clear his thoughts and silently handed her the paper.
Her eyes scanned the two, scant sentences and she let the paper slowly fall to the ground as she covered her mouth with her hand.
The telegram read You’ve been ordered to report back to base stop Troops being sent to Vietnam at the order of the president stop.
“I’ll need to leave in the morning,” he announced before abruptly turning and walking to his room. He couldn't bear the look on Rachel’s face. Why, God? Why did it have to be me?

Friday, September 4, 2015

No Greater Love--Introduction + first part

Hey everyone! So since I finished up Gathering Clouds last week, I had to dig through my google docs mess and try to find another story I had written. . .not an easy task!
I finally found on that I can start posting. ;)
No Greater Love is a story set in the Vietnam war time period of 1961. I was inspired to begin writing this after I went and saw an amazing christian film called Faith Of our Fathers that was set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war. It was then that I realized I had never read/seen a christian young adult book about the Vietnam war.
It was a horrific war killing around 52,000 american troops. Those who did live through it would never quite recover from the shock of what they had seen on the battlefield. I have a grandpa who served in the Vietnam war and he refuses to talk about it. In fact, most of the men I have met who served in that war will not talk about it. It was also very hard on the veterans returning from the war because most Americans were not supportive of the war to begin with and there was no welcome for the returning veterans.
The majority of our soldiers who returned from the Vietnam war also needed medical help. During the Vietnam war, many soldiers came in contact with agent orange, a herbicide concocted by the U.S and Britain. which was sprayed over much of the Vietnamese agricultural land. The effects of this herbicide were very dangerous and many of the men returning home had to deal with the long term affects on their own. Over 39,00 disability claims were submitted to the VA because of the effects of Agent orange, but only 487 of the victims were actually compensated.
So now that I've given a little background on the Vietnam war,  here's the first part of the story. Because my grandpa served in the war, I thought it'd be interesting to have the story told be a grandfather to his grandchildren. Here's the first part. . .I hope you enjoy it!

No Greater Love

Eva and Nate propped their bikes up against the side of the garage before opening the screen door and charging into the old house.
“Grandpa, are you home?” Eva called out.
Nate sniffed, “It smells like grandma’s been baking.again.”
Eve rolled her eyes, “Is food all you ever think about?”
He grinned, “Not always. I think about you a lot too, seeing as how you’re always dragging me into one project or another.”
“Nate! This is a school project; you have to help!”
Nate sighed, “The one disadvantage to being homeschooled; your only partner for projects is your sister.”
Eve glared at him, and he put up his hands, “Alright, alright. We’ll interview Grandpa. Who ever heard about doing a report on the Vietnam war anyway? Most kids in school just learn about it and take a test. It wasn’t an important war or anything. Not like WWII. Now that was interesting to research!”
Eve laughed, “That’s only because Mom let you to your whole report on the Battle of Britain. I’ll bet the Vietnam war used airplanes as well.”
Nate shook his head, “Not like WWII did.”
“Well are my grandchildren coming inside to see me or have they decided to stand in the entry and talk all day?”
Both children turned to the older woman who was standing in the doorway, her silver hair hung down to her shoulders in soft waves and her blue eyes were shining, a wooden spoon was in her right hand, proof that she had been cooking.
“Grandma!” Eve ran and gave her a hug, Nate following suit.
“Hey, Grandma, what have you been making? It smells delicious!” Nate asked.
Grandma laughed, “You’re just like your grandfather. Eat, eat, eat!”
“It’s because their boys,” Eva said, “you’d think they’d get tired of eating, but they never do.”
“Well, I have been making some cookies, but I’m sure that's not why you two came all the way out here on a school day.”
Eve brushed back a strand of hair that had come loose from her ponytail, “Mom assigned a  school paper on the Vietnam war. She told us the best place to start our research would be to ask grandpa about it. He fought in the Vietnam war, right?”
Grandma sighed, “Yes, he did, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. It can’t hurt to ask him, I suppose. You two sit at the table and I’ll get you a glass of milk and some cookies, then I’ll call your grandpa in." She smiled, “He’s been working out in the garden all morning and he needs a break.”
Eva and Nate didn’t need a second invitation, they hurried into the dining room and sat at the table. Grandma poured the milk and set a plate of cookies on the table before opening the back door, “Richard, the kids are here.”
Richard, “grandpa”, looked up and wiped his forehead, “I’ll be right in.” He stood up and walked towards the house, stopping outside the door to wash his hands in the silver bucket that was full of cool water.
Opening the door he glanced at the two children who sat at the table. Nate, at fifteen, was the older of the two, his unruly brown hair lay plastered on his forehead and his bright blue eyes sparkled with mischief. Eva was thirteen and her brown hair and dark blue eyes matched her brother’s often causing them to be mistaken as twins.
“Well, how are you two doing today?” he pulled out a chair opposite them and sat down at the table, “Isn’t it a school day? I thought your mom would have you both inside working hard on algebra or English grammar.” There was a twinkle in his eye as he spoke.
“We’re actually here on a school project, Grandpa,” Eva explained as she took a drink of milk. “Mom assigned us a paper on the Vietnam war and she said we should talk to you first since you fought in the war.”
Grandpa set down the glass of milk he had been holding and for a moment no one said anything. Finally, Grandpa spoke, “I don’t really like to talk about what happened over there. It was a horrible war. So many men were lost. In fact, I don’t think there was one man in that war that didn’t know at least one person who died or was killed. But, I suppose it’s a part of history, a story that needs to be told,” he sighed, “It still hurts just to think about it.”
“If you’d rather not talk about it, Grandpa, we can find someone else to interview,” Nate quickly added.
“No, no. I’d rather you hear it from my perspective than someone else’s. It started in December, 1961. Well, it actually started long before then, and some may even say it started later, but that was when it started for me. He got a faraway look in his eyes. “I had been in the U.S military for about a year and I had gotten permission with my commanding officer to go home for Christmas. I lived in Texas at the time and my twin sister had picked me up from the airport. We had just returned from fishing. . .”