Historical Romance

Historical Romance with an Inspirational Touch

Friday, October 29, 2010

Midnight Veil

I came across this short story I wrote a long time ago and though I would post if for Halloween. I know, I know, it is a pagan holiday and the customs of today are taken from the celebrations that predate Christianity in the UK. Still, if we keep it in the right spirit, it can be fun.

Midnight Veil

Where did they come from? James looked over the mess of jack-o-lanterns and cornstalk scarecrows crowded in his back yard. In a moment he knew who the culprits were, and they would also be the ones to clean up - his eighth grade history class.

In the week leading up to Halloween he had taught them the origins of the holiday. They were spellbound to learn the pagan beliefs as they related to All Hallows Eve or Samhain, as it is known in Ireland. They were surprised to learn that Trick or Treating came about because the Druids feared the dead playing tricks on them, so they gave treats, usually small cakes, fruit and sometimes coins, to anyone who knocked on their door. That the carved gourds on the front stoop were to frighten spirits away. Costumes were worn by people who walked out of the town, hoping the spirits would follow them. The thing that had frightened his students the most was the belief that at midnight, the veil between the living world and the dead was thin enough for spirits to pass through. He warned them all to be home, safe, before that time.

These decorations in his back yard had come about because of the bonus question on the test. “How do you suppose I decorate for Samhain?” None of the students answered correctly and were stunned to learn he did not decorate at all. He never felt the need, or desire for that matter. There were enough decorations and treats in his classroom on Halloween that he didn’t need anything at home.

“Mr. Allen, you need to at least have a pumpkin,” Morgan had insisted.

“Or a scarecrow,” Shane suggested.

James had just laughed it off and sent them on their way. He should have known they would conspire with one another. However, they could have used their imaginations a little more. Why not a ghost, witch or tombstone? No, he had 17 pumpkins and 13 scarecrows.

He glanced at his watch, eleven fifty-eight. He needed to get to bed so he was alert for his most troubling class first thing tomorrow. The sixth graders.

James reached to switch off the kitchen light when his doorbell rang. Who would trick or treat this late at night. They needed a parent to instill some discipline.

James turned and strode for the door, yanked it open to give the kid a piece of his mind when he was brought up short. Before him stood the most beautiful woman he had seen in a very long time. Black hair fell to her waist, large brown eyes focused on him, high cheekbones and full, red lips. She wore a black, slinky dress as if going out to dinner.

“May I help you?”

“Hi, I am Sylvia. I am here for the party.” The woman held up an invitation.

James took it from her and read. It was an invitation to a party, at his house, in his backyard, beginning at midnight.

“Where did you get this?”

“A young woman insisted I attend.” A blush grew on her cheeks. “I see now she was playing a trick on me.”

“I am sorry, but I am not having a party.”

His grandfather clock struck midnight.

She glanced past his shoulder. “Your yard seems rather well lit if you did not plan on entertaining.”

James glanced over his shoulder into the kitchen. Even from this vantage point he could see the pumpkins were bright, and people appeared to be moving around.

“This is very odd,” he muttered to himself. He turned away from her and walked toward the backyard. Her heels clicked on the hardwood floor behind him. James stopped at the back door and looked out.

“Are those scarecrows dancing?” she asked in a hushed tone.

“It appears so,” James responded, not sure if he could believe his eyes. The scarecrows were now partnered, dancing.

He opened the door and stepped out onto his deck, Sylvia followed. “I was unaware it was a costume party.”

James turned to look at her, bewildered. A waltz could be heard. Where the music came from, he had no idea.

“Shall we dance?” She smiled up at him.

Unable to stop himself, he pulled her close and began twirling her in three quarter time. He hadn’t waltzed since college.

They continued to dance, never tiring, laughing, talking, as if this were a normal party, with normal people.

A gust of wind blew.

The clock struck one.

James turned Sylvia and escorted her to the door to get her out of the wind. As she stepped through, he glanced back. The jack-o-lanterns were dark. The scarecrows were no longer animated. The wind was still.

A chill ran up his spine and he entered his home. Sylvia was not where he left her. He called, searched the house, but she had vanished.

Standing in the middle of his living room James came to the conclusion that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead did indeed disappear at midnight on All Hollows Eve. Next year he would be waiting for Sylvia’s return.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Simpler Time

I am blogging at LadyScribes today. Stop by if you get a chance - www.ladyscribes.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to the Theater

It is been a few months since I designed hair and makeup for a show, but I am back at it again. In fact, I have two shows in a row that I am working on. The first, Sweeney Todd. Sunday was the first day we ran with all the lights, sounds, bells and whistles in place. Okay, there really weren't any bells and whistles, but we did have lights and sound and I was able to see my other form of creativity come together under the lights. Though there are few faces that need tweeking, it looked awsome, if not a bit on the creepy side. But then again, this is Sweeny Todd. Isn't it supposed to be a bit creepy? At least from the director's perspective it is. I hope to post pictures on a later post because I am really proud of what my crew and I have created.

The next show is for the children's theater. As soon as Sweeney is done I need to get cracking on Fiddler on the Roof. My main thing at the moment is finding enough beards. The oldest can only be 18 and there are a few of the papas that are going need help with the proper beard. I am looking forward to working on this show as much as I looked forward to, and what has developed from Sweeney.

Between the two shows I will not be free to write again until Mid-November. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make. In fact, I find it very helpful. Sometimes I get stuck with the writing, or not happy with what I am producing and need a break. Or better yet, need to step back. It could also simply be that my muse doesn't feel like working and he is out enjoying the fall weather and colors thinking I will wait here patiently for him. Well, that isn't happening.

Working in the theater gives me that opportunity to channel my creativity in a differnt driection. While I focus on something else the WIP is still churning in the back of my mind and I am fresh and ready to return to writing when the last show closes. Actually, the longer I am away from writing the more my muse bothers me with characters, scenes, plots, etc. I think he is a spoiled child in that as soon as my atteniton is off of him, or at least my writing, he does everything in his power to get my focus back the storyline he thinks he is creating for me.

But, when I do come back to writing after a show, I write better and quicker and this usually keeps up until the next show opens, if they are not too far apart. After Fiddler I won't be back in the makeup department until February when I take on the Wizard of Oz. Now here is a show I can make no mistakes. No matter how the director may change things up, nothing really changes. You expect the witch to be green, the tin man to be silver, and so on.

After that, I don't have another show until summer. I am not sure I have gone so long between shows before. However, there is a slight possibility that I will be directing this spring for a youth production. So, we shall see.

I know an author is supposed to write every day, no matter what. And, in part, I agree with this. However, for me, I do much better switching up the creative. As I said before, while I am working on faces and hair, the story is still brewing in the background. When I come back to my computer I am able to write in a way I was not writing before I took my break for the theater. It is as if I am refreshed. Then again, I have no specific deadlines at the moment so maybe I would feel differently if one was hanging over my head.

How about you? If you are a writer does it help to take a break and do something else or does taking a break mess with your muse? If you do take a break, what to you do? If it isn't writing, what do you find yourself taking a break from? What do you do and does it make a difference when you come back to the original thing you were doing?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Storm Chasers

The other evening after dinner I found myself alone in the house. The hubby had to work later, daughter was a rehearsal and son was outside on his bike. There was a lot I could have done, such as clean and/or straighten the house, throw in a load of laundry, write my next chapter, continue editing Pure is the Heart, read blogs or even right one. I did none of those things.

Have you ever just wanted to do nothing? I sat down and turned on the television. I started flipping channels and stopped at the Discovery Channel. I had not really seen Storm Chasers before, but I love a good storm. I always have. Maybe it is the energy. And, I am fascinated by tornadoes. Not that I would ever chase one. That is just too scary. One of my earliest memories is a tornado hitting my neighborhood. Not only did it do damage to the house, but the school down the road as well. Had it hit fifteen minutes earlier, kids would have been getting out of school and walking home. Though I was very young at the time, I remember standing at the end of the hall, my mother and grandmother were pushing on the door trying to keep it closed and my brother and sister were in the living room. Mom was screaming at them (not in a mean way but to be heard over the noise) to get away from the window and into the hall. It is a vivid memory and probably the only one I have from that age. Despite the time the storm hit and the number of houses, including the school where the teachers had gotten a number of the students into the basement, nobody was killed and there were few injuries. With that storm and tornado, timing was everything.

So, even though tornadoes fascinate me and I love a good storm, I also have a healthy dose of respect and the danger they can bring. This past summer we had a strong storm come through with one of many tornadoes this year. I watched the news and listened to the sirens. When a county is under a tornado watch or warning I don’t rush to safety (though I know I should) because our county is rather big, as most are. By knowing where exactly the storm was sighted, I’ll know how dangerous it is to me. Ten miles south of me is usually not a concern. However, one particular storm this year was different. One of the tornados sighted was headed directly for my neighborhood. When your subdivision is actually mentioned on the news as being in the path you take cover. So, I turned the television up loud so I could hear it from safety and grabbed my cellphone, frantically calling the kids. One was in the park with her boyfriend, but they heard the sirens and were headed somewhere safe to determine exactly where the danger is. Another was at a party, no television or radio, had their own music, and not a clue as to what was happening. The husband was at work. So, my son and I hunkered down and waited.

The tornado did not hit us and there was not much damage from the storm. However, the same thing cannot be said of a small town just west of us. They were hit by two tornadoes that night just minutes apart. How often does that happen? Again, thankfully nobody was killed and I am pretty sure there weren’t serious injuries. And, this is not the first time this town has been struck by a tornado. One hit the year before, if I remember correctly. And, there have been others before that. I wonder if they are on some secret tornado path none of know about.

It was not soon before I was drawn in and watching back to back episodes of Storm Chasers. A lot of it is the thrill, but it is also about the science, mainly. Two are wanting to get the best readings so they can better understand a tornado and maybe provide better warnings. The third is gathering footage for a movie. They studied the size, speed and direction and determined where they could intercept it and drove in that direction. But, a few times the tornado turned on them, and one started heading toward them. They had been so sure of what it was going to do but it did something totally different and they had to make sudden decision on what they were going to do.

But, that is life, isn’t it? How often do we know exactly what is going to happen, a path we are going to take and all of a sudden we are headed in a totally different direction and doing things we never even considered. How often do you think the path we see is the path we plan on but the path we end up on is the path God intended? Has your life ever done an about-face that left you scrambling, just like securely watching a tornado move away until it turns back on you and you are suddenly unsure of what to do or wonder how you got there?

As this is Powerful Prayful Sunday, I would like you to continue to keep my mother in your prayers along with my sister-in-law’s mother, who is not doing well. This week I would like to include my husband who will be having some tests and my sister who is ill.

How about you? How can I pray for you this week?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Posting Elsewhere Today

Blogging at http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com. Stop by if you get a chance.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the new Sunday School year and the comment I received when I told them were were going to begin with Genesis 1. A student wanted to know if they were gonig to learn about that again. As this entire quarter is completely from Genesis I had a feeling it was going to be a tough quarter and drew on plays as teaching tools.

However, such may not be the case. Today was about being called by God, when He called us and how He rescues us. So, I quoted from the lesson plan to move into the story: "That is what He does for Abram in our Bible study today."

Immediately a child spoke up, "Don't you mean Abraham?"

"No, I mean Abram."

"Who is Abram?"

At that point I put the lesson plan down and asked "You don't remember Abram?" A few of them knew they had heard the name before but couldn't recall the details. Of course, it wasn't long before I confirmed that Abraham was once known as Abram. And, they wanted to know why.

Ah ha, something they forgot. I told them they would learn the when and the why in about three lessons. They don't want to wait. I told them we needed to learn about Abram first. There were a few grumbles and groans so I gave them another option, they could read ahead in their Bible.

I am not thrilled that the students forgot a past lesson but I am glad that I will be sharing something that may actually be new to some of them. Knowing how these lessons cycle, chances are they last learned the lesson back in third grade so I can understand how it was fogotten, or buried with other lessons learned.

I also know the students are not alone in forgetting something that may have been taught before. I've read the Bible and have been in Bible studies, and I am still learning. There are several times I read a passage, story or lesson I know I must have read before but all of a sudden it has meaning when it did not before. The Bible is probably the only book that no matter how old, or how often read, it continues to teach.

Are you still discovering new things in the Bible?

As for prayer, I would like you to continue praying for my family members suffering illness and difficulties. One of my students also asked me to pray for her grandmother today, which I am also passing on to you.

How can I pray for you?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Next Holiday is HALLOWEEN

There is a reason I feel the need to remind everyone of this. Today, while reading through blogs I read two, yes two, that were about Christmas.

Hold up, the trees are just beginning to change in my neck of the woods. I would like to enjoy Halloween, as I do every year, and fatten myself further on Thanksgiving, before I start addressing Christmas and all that is involved.

The first post was by Jerrica, http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com/2010/10/its-octoberdo-you-know-what-that-means.html, her main excitement had to do with the fact that it is now October and her husband is allowing her to listen to Christmas music. No doubt she is singing along with every single one of them given she was a singer/actress before she became an author. There is only one person, I think, that thought this was acceptable, and that was another critique partner's (Samantha Grace) daughter - who I believe is 9.

The second blog was more reasonable - http://onthewritepath.blogspot.com/2010/10/its-beginning-to-look-lot-like.html - because Erica signed a contract to write a Christma novella. If I had done that, perhaps I would be talking about Christmas too.

But, since I have not, and it is OCTOBER 4TH, I think we should talk about Halloween if we are going to discuss any upcoming holiday. In fact, I may just do a number of Haloween posts this month just to combate these Christmas blogs.

So, tell me. Do you have a favorite Halloween tradition, song, costume or movie?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Behind as Usual

How come one day we can be organized and get everything done and a week later we have no clue how we accomplished so much. That is where I am right now. It is Sunday afternoon and the week, and weekend, have just flown by and I didn't accomplish half of the things I had hoped to. Oh well, there is always next weekend I supposed.

In the meantime, I need to prepare for the makeup class of the kids youth theater. I hope the parents are ready for some strange looking children when we are done.

As for prayers, I would still like you to keep my mother, my sister-in-laws mother and sister, and my niece in your prayers.

How can I pray for you this week?