Monday, May 4, 2015

Elijah Marshall Comes to Call

* I know I'm supposed to be working on my WIP, which is why that stands for "work-in-progress," but I have had a hard week, and was just relaxing when the doorbell rings.

I open the door to find a rangy young man standing there, scruffy hat in hand, running his fingers through unruly black hair.

Me: Hello. How can I help you?

Him: Are you Mom?

Me: (squinting at him) Do I know you?

Him: (a slight look of disappointment crosses his face) Um, I, I guess we haven't met in the flesh, ma'am. (He sticks out his hand, then realizes there's a barrier between us, as I haven't opened the screen door yet. He pulls his hand back, then awkwardly lets it fall to his side.) My name is Elijah Marshall.

Me: Elijah? You're Lije Marshall?

Lije: The same, ma'am. My cousin Julia says her boys call you "Mom."

Me: (feeling more than a little flustered at my inability to recognize my character, and wondering a bit under what circumstances they chat) I'm sorry, Lije. I should have known you right off. (I open the screen door and wave him inside) Please come in. May I offer you a refreshment?

Lije: I could do with a drop of water, ma'am, er Mom.

Me: Sit down, please. I'll get it directly.

(Lije sits and looks for a place to set his hat. He ends up putting it on one knee as I leave the room to pump, er, retrieve a glass of water from the fridge)

Me: (entering the room) Here you are. You sure you won't take a bowl of ice cream?

Lije: No ma'am. Mom. (He downs the water and hands back the glass) Thank you. I'm in a bit of a hurry. Hans Stiles is looking for me.

Me: (answering reflectively). Hans Stiles. I renamed him, then?

Lije: Yes. That didn't improve his nature, though. He's still a bully.

Me: I'm sure that's causing you trouble.

Lije: Ah, yes ma'am. Mom. (hotly) He beat up my father! Now he aims to do the same thing to me.

Me: Are you afraid of him?

Lije: Cautious, Mom. Cautious. He has plenty of friends. We don't, now.

Me: You've lost friends?

Lije: You know we have. Folks hereabouts don't like Mormons. You'd think they hadn't known my folks for all those years.

Me: Indeed. In my time, there's a great threat to Christianity itself. Folks of faith need to put their past suspicions to rest and band together for the survival of us all. (waving my hand) Never mind that. Do you have a purpose in visiting me, Lije?

Lije: I do. (He looks around the room. I can tell he's hesitating) I understand you have picked a young lady for me to, ah, hmm, court.

Me: (trying to hide my smile at his nervousness) That's right. Do you have concerns?

Lije: Not about the young lady, Mom. I believe you've chosen wisely in the past, so I'll trust your judgement. My, um, concern is that you're not writing down the words fast enough to bring her nigh.

Me: (sighing) That's so. I was called for jury duty. (Lije has a puzzled look on his face. I remember that only men served on juries in his time) Never mind that. Another matter took time to resolve.

Lije: But you are anxious to continue? Writing down the account of my life, I mean.

Me: Yes, my dear, I am. I expect that by the time I tell my readers of your visit, I will have written a fair amount.

Lije: Your readers? You communicate with them? (His eyes grow huge)

Me: Yes, Lije. The wonders of my world far exceed your understanding. I won't try to explain a "blog" to you. (I stand) I think I'd better get to work on those words right now. Thank you for the visit.

Lije: (rising to his feet) Thank you. I appreciate your work, Mom. We all do.

Me: (thinking how sweet he is) Thank you for the reminder.

Lije goes out the door and down the ramp. As he turns the corner into the road, a mist covers him, and he is lost to view.

Copyright © 2015 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, Gone for a Soldier, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit or Westward Books.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snippet from a New WIP

It's way past time for me to post here. I've had a long run of health adventures the last four months or so, and I'm still trying--unsuccessfully--to limit the usage of my left arm so it will heal from an injury. Good luck to me on that!

The short excerpt below is from a novel I began in the eighties and never finished. It's on my list of goals to be published in 2015, so I've been using my new Dragon NaturallySpeaking software to enter the typescript into my writing software. I've come to the end of the previously typed out work, so I have to start creating new stuff. However, I thought you might like a look at this scene fragment from The Zion Trail, for which I revealed the cover on this post. Warning: the tidbit includes mild swearing.

By the way, the narrator is Elijah Marshall, the younger brother of Sarah; and the name of the character called Henry will be changed before the novel is published. I only need to decide what I want to call him!

I was slopping our sow and her brood when I first became aware of the voices. The pigpen was built up next to the hen house, and Sarah must've come out to check for any late-laid eggs. But somebody had joined her in there, and from the words that wiggled through the cracks, that somebody's hands weren't gathering eggs.

Curious, I found a knot hole in the side of the coop, and took a sight around the interior.

Henry Stiles, the brawny blonde farmer from down the road a piece, had his arms around my sister, and she wasn't struggling any. In fact, from the look on her face, I figured she was mighty content.

"Then they started in telling Pa about their religion," she told Henry. "He's still sitting there, listening to every word they say."

"But they are not from around here?"

"They come from Illinois. Some place called Nauvoo."

"Ah hell!" Henry dropped his hands from Sarah's shoulders. "It's those damned Mormons!"


Yes, my friends of other faiths, this book is going to explore Elijah Marshall's trials and tribulations in getting to his Zion, that is, Deseret--more commonly known today as Utah--to join the other Saints. I hope I can count on you to be along for the journey.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gone for a Soldier - Cover Reveal

All good things come to those who wait...patiently!

I'm counting a lot of blessings lately, even as I remain frazzled over various issues in my life, like, um, taxes. Which I must get down to doing very soon.

Be that as it may, this post is a reward for those who have waited for a long, long time. Those who have stuck by me through thick and thin. My loyal readers, book buyers, and Street Team. My loyal family members who have encouraged me and helped me carry on, even as I continue to live life alone. Alone, but never lonely.

Remember the name of this blog? I know these characters like my own family. That's why I knew them the instant I set eyes upon this art work.

Yes, the couple is Rulon Owen and Mary Hilbrands, exactly as I've seen them in my mind's eye.

The incomparable Linda Boulanger of Tell~Tale Cover Designs has done it again! 

Gone for a Soldier will be out later this summer, but I couldn't wait any longer to reveal the cover.

If you want to help me show it off, please contact me for additional blog materials at In the meantime, feel free to Tweet, Share, Pin, etc., and help me get the word out that Rulon Owen and his brothers are going to war ... and they won't take any prisoners.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fabulous Friends and Fans...and Stumblers upon the Scene

Because I have been negligent to a group of people who I have designated as my Fabulous Friends & Fans─and some of them are very much Super Fans─I am extending the olive branch below, an advance reveal of the cover of a forthcoming novel. It's not the next novel, but the cover is complete and exceedingly awesome, and I don't know how I have kept it hidden all the time that I have.

For those of you who happened to stumble upon this site, this is your lucky day.

The designer is the fabulous Linda Boulanger of Tell~Tale Cover Designs. This is the book I am going to a retreat in June to finish, so it won't be out really soon. Maybe by the end of the year--maybe early in 2015. We'll see how it goes. I get all tickled inside when I realize how perfectly the cover reflects a scene from the novel. I am so blessed!

Okay, what do you think?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Aaaaaaa! He's back!

James Owen, I mean. Here I haven't even finished the current novel, or the novella, or the short story, or the novel-not-from-this-series, and he's jumping in with both feet!

"¿No me amas?"

James Owen sat bolt upright and looked over at his sleeping wife, Jessie. She didn't, to his knowledge, speak in her sleep. Besides, the voice wasn't like hers. Not at all. He shivered in the July night air, heavy with heat.

Jessie's Spanish wasn't as fluid as that of the voice that had awakened him. He pondered a moment, rubbing the scar tissue in his side that sometimes pained him into wakefulness. Nothing hurt tonight. He looked at Jessie again, curled in a ball around her ripe belly.

A chill went down his spine. Six little beans! Amparo!

He slowly lay back, careful not to touch Jessie. "Not fair," he whispered, then repeated the thought in Spanish for his dead wife's benefit. "My livin' wife needs me now," he added.

"I live," she told him. "Solamente you cannot see me."

He let out a stuttering breath that seemed to come from his toes. "Te amo siempre." Afraid to wake Jessie, he moved the conversation back into his thoughts. I'll love you forever. You know that.

Here I am not your wife. I am soltera. Alone. Did you not make a promise to yourself? To me? To your God?

That's all I've got. Now leave me alone for a while, James. I have to sleep!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mary Owen Comes to Call

* I knew I should be writing, but I had borne up through a hard week and found myself nodding over my computer keyboard.

That changed when the doorbell rang.

I went to answer it, and saw a young girl standing outside my screen door, wringing her hands. I saw immediately that she was not from my time. She wore a long skirted outfit, complete with a frilly scarf draped down the front of her bodice to below her waist.

Me: Hello?

Her: Are you "Mom?"

Me: Several people call me that.

Her: Rulon says that's what you agreed would be acceptable.

Me: Rulon said so? Are you Mary? (I certainly should have recognized her right away, but sometimes there things are tricky.)

Mary: Yes, I am Mary . . Owen.

Me: Come in, dear. You look a mite agitated.

Mary: Yes. (Her voice is so soft I have to strain to hear it.)

I opened the door and let her in, went through the amenities, and admired her scarf. She blushed.

Mary: It is to confuse to eye, you know. So folks won't . . .

Me: Won't?

Mary: Won't condemn me for being, you know, for increasing.

Me: Who would be so impolite as to cast aspersions on you? You're married, yes?

Mary: Some folks believe I'm too young for that.

Me: Isn't that between you and Rulon?

Mary, brightening: Rulon. Yes. (She rests a hand on her abdomen, smiling shyly.) But he is gone, you know.

Me: Off fighting. I do know.

Mary (hastily): But you won't make him die?

Me (shaking my head emphatically): No.

Mary, sighing: Thank you.

Me (not knowing what else to say): Are you well?

Mary: Yes. Very. Thank you. Except that . . .

Me: Yes?

Mary: I have lost something. (She is hanging her head now.)

Me: Rulon's letter?

Mary: Yes. I cannot find it anywhere. Please let me find it.

Me: Mary. Look at me. (She glances up.) You will come upon that letter in a while. Not tomorrow, but after a while.

Mary: But I will be able to read it?

Me: Of course. It will please you to do so.

Mary (rising) I don't know how to reward your generosity, ma'am.

Me: There's no need, dear. Just go play out your role and have a happy life. (I give her a hug)

Mary: Thank you, ma'am. Mom.

I watch as she moves cautiously away, down the ramp and onto the road, and then out of sight.

Copyright © 2014 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at or Westward Books.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ella Ruth is Contrite *

After working in a hot office all afternoon, I sat with my front door open and a fan circulating the cooler outside air as I caught up on recorded reruns of The Closer. When my security light went on, I looked over to see if a deer was crossing my lot, but nothing was apparent, so I went back to the episode.

A few moments later, a movement caught my eye, and I glanced over to see the figure of a young woman standing in the light. She was dressed in an outfit with a long, bell-shaped skirt, so I knew immediately that one of my characters had come to visit.

Turning off the TV, I approach the door. The blonde girl with the anguished features appears to be Ella Ruth Allen, whom I had chased away previously after her outrageous behavior toward me. I'm not sure I want her in my house again, so I hesitate before greeting her. After a long moment, I succumb to Christian principles and speak.

Me: Yes? (I know. A bit short, but at least I sound half-way civil.)

Ella Ruth (in a shaky voice): Ma'am. I know I behaved badly on our previous acquaintance, and I am sorry for my ill-mannered comportment. May I come in? I am so worried.

Me (unlocking and opening the screen door): Worried? With a rich, influential pappa?

I perform the usual ceremonies of getting her seated and asking if she requires anything to eat as she dithers, making polite replies and little gasping noises. I understand the mental electrical storm that creates a condition of dithering, and become more kindly disposed toward her.

Me: What brings you to my door, Miss Ella Ruth?

Ella Ruth: Benjamin. (She begins to cry, and I bring out the box of tissue and hand it over. She wipes her eyes and begins to rush through a blubbering account.) He gave me an ultimatum and I rejected him. I did not think he was seriously planning to talk to my pappa so plainly and dash my dreams so rudely. I said some unkind words and turned on my heel and left him. Then he left me!

Her wail of distress seems genuine enough. I dredge through my memory, and recall that when Ben came to visit me, I had not finished writing the scene that occurred behind the mill. I did so later. The scene had indeed progressed as she outlined.

Me: Well. That is unfortunate. What does he write to you?

Ella Ruth: Ma'am, he does not write. Not a word. I do not know if he has been in a battle, or injured, or fallen prey to illness, like I hear other men have. He went in my own cousin's infantry company, but I hear nothing from George, either. Please ma'am, what am I to do?

Me (somewhat flummoxed): What are you to do? What do you want from him?

Ella Ruth: Oh ma'am, I want to know that he is well and sound. I bear him such a great deal of affection. My heart is sunk low to know that we parted on unfriendly terms.

Me: It sounds like you need to re-establish a connection with him. Have you asked his mother for news?

Ella Ruth (uncertainly): Mrs. Owen? Mrs. Julia Owen?

Me: The very one. If anyone has heard from Ben, it will be her.

Ella Ruth: Oh ma'am, she will not bear kindness toward me. I am sure of it.

Me: Then you have already approached her?

Ella Ruth (in a tiny voice): No. Ma'am. I am frightened of her.

Me: You're frightened by the kindest woman in the Valley?

Ella Ruth: She is formidable, ma'am.

Me: No she isn't. I've written her as a kind, giving soul. She is really very pleasant, very easy to know.

Ella Ruth: She will heed Ben's plight before my own, ma'am.

Me (feeling the disbelieving expression on my face): You really should talk to her, Miss Allen. Straight out.

Ella Ruth: May I not approach the new Missus Owen? The new bride at Hilbrands' store?

Me: Mistress Mary? What does she have to do with this?

Ella Ruth: Perhaps she will be amenable to asking Mrs. Owen for news of Benjamin.

Me (sighing): That way is quite roundabout, Miss Allen. I see that is your plan, however. Suit yourself. Ask Mary for help. You can only hope her happiness will color her response to you.

Ella Ruth: Her response?

Me: New brides often wish to share their happiness and help others achieve some for themselves, as well. You might find yourself fortunate. It just seems like such an involved and convoluted way of gaining news about Ben.

Ella Ruth: Miss, um, Mistress Mary is closer in age to me. I believe I can talk to her, persuade her to help me.

Me (rising and spreading my hands in acceptance): Like I said, suit yourself. Good evening, Miss Allen.

She leaves, and a bolt of lightning sears the sky. I wait for the thunder, but it rumbles in the distance, and I go back to my television watching, a tense feeling squeezing my abdomen. What will come of Ella Ruth's plan?

Copyright © 2013 Marsha Ward

*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at or Westward Books.