Sorry if a few chapters have fallen a bit short of the 1000+ word mark. I try to reach the 1000 word threshold, but sometimes a chapter ends itself.  Other times, a chapter tends to want to take on a life all its own and wants to become a story in and of itself. Either way, it is often hard to hit exactly 1000 words.

This story, in particular, is proving to be very hard to keep the word count even…especially as the story begins to wind down.  As I head into the home stretch, the story keeps telling me that it wants finality and the chapters continually wind up being a touch shorter than I want them to be.

I will attempt to make the chapters a bit longer, but cannot promise anything…yet.


Intermission…sort of.

For those who have been following the story, you already know how I am trying to  remain historically accurate. In this first chapter, I have brought a new reality to the forefront of the story. Well, just a little anyway.

For those too young to remember, the 50’s were before the civil rights movement and the passing of the laws that phased out segregation. Racism was a given. In fact, I heard a story when I was a teen how there used to be a sign outside the town I currently live in that read : “If you are black, Don’t let the sun go down on you here.”

The north, it seemed, was just as prejudiced as the south. Sounds a bit like today’s political environment, doesn’t it? Sad to think that we have made leaps and bounds in technology, and yet, there has been no advance in social issues. We are still the same hateful little creatures that our predecessors were….but we want people to believe that we aren’t.

No, the sign is not on the city limits anymore, nor are the people so segregated. In fact, many who would have been bigots have no choice but to accept the mixed ethnicity of their grand children. This has caused them to open the town to African Americans where, at first, they would only open the town up to Mexicans.

I found it odd that the town accepted one minority but not the other. There is no real difference, as Michael points out to Natalia, between any of us. Yet, we perceive so many imaginary differences through our little biased microscope and refuse to remove the blinders (those faulty teachings and false information given to us by those we trusted to tell the truth)and see the world as it really is. We refuse to see others as our equals simply based on color, belief, or sexuality and this is not what life is all about.

We call ourselves the United States, and yet we are nowhere near being as united as we imagine ourselves as being. the only thing that unifies us is our fears, And yet, those self-same fears also separate us. Those seeking power, the 1%, and others who have money and power-and who also seem to live in their own little universe where they are gods and not men- also love to use our fears to keep us separated whether it be our fear of losing our right to bear arms or the fear that homosexuals will destroy “Christian family values” (a fallacy used for the most religious to stir them into desiring the purge of those they see as unbelievers and  undeserving of God’s love, though if they just took time to do their research, they would find that they are the ones who believe the least in what they hold as their guidance.), those who want to maintain control seek to keep us divided so that we can be controlled a lot easier. A unified populace is hard for them to control. A unified populace is impossible to set at odds against itself.

In the end, we choose to remain divided-whether by politics or by our perceived differences-and make their job easier. We choose to believe their misdirection and their lies, and so, become blind to the truth. In the end, we choose to allow this country to be divided through our own inability to rise above and unite.

Strangely enough, things have not really changed all that much from what it was in the 1950’s. The only thing is who the hate is directed toward. It isn’t the communists, it is the Muslims. We tend to fear those we do not understand. Instead of actually learning about and finding a common ground, we are prone to just accepting false information that sounds true. We do not check the facts. In other words, we are lazy.

We forget that what affects one person in this country really does affect us all. Maybe not directly. But it still affects us indirectly. If one of our own is attacked because of his or her belief or sexual orientation, then we are also attacked at the most basic level. Everything impacts each and every one of us.


Toffer’s New Dilemma

We have seen things go south for Toffer French. In the beginning of the story, Toffer was one of the most powerful people in Des Moines. He had influence politically as well as in the secular world. He had his own company…and a family.

We also learned that he was a very evil man. He had gotten where he was through hook and crook, taking over a company by force that he would have inherited. He married a woman he’d assaulted in order to keep her from testifying against him in court. He had either killed or run others out of town in attempts to keep them from doing the same.

By the end of the first book, He was already under investigation. Now, he has been stripped of his power, his company, and his wife (who left him before the end of book one). His son is still on a collision course with self-destruction, following the same path Toffer had followed as a lad. Evil, it seems, does pass from generation to generation.

But now, in book two, I have begun introducing new players. First, there is a new sheriff in town, Wyland having retired due to health, and a new mayor (although I never mentioned the mayor in the first book). I have begun bringing in actual historical figures. The mayor of Des Moines, The actual legislators at both state and federal level, the actual players in the government (DOJ, IRS, Iowa Tax Commission, etc) as well as new (though implied and mentioned briefly in book one) villains.

For Toffer, the ride will end in a few books to come. For Toby, it will end in book 10. Two other characters will be only temporary (McCarthy and McCarran, the new villains…as well as the Congressmen I have introduced…and the government officials.). J. Edgar Hoover will continue until a book in the 70’s series since he did not die until mid to late 70’s. After the tenth book, there will be less focus on government, though certain movements will begin to take shape and be at the center of the series.

I do, however, introduce Natalia’s fatal flaw in this book. As well as her greatest ambition. It will also take center stage at some point in the saga, but right now it is simply at the core of her actions.

Many of the events that are going on in the background of the story were real events (only the story of the French/Morrow family feud is fictional) and remained hidden to mainstream Americans even while they were taking place. The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were the three most prosperous decades in America. The gross National income was at an all time high, taxes were affordable, and most could survive on a single earner income and still have enough to spend on entertainment. The middle class still existed and included the majority of Americans at that time. Sure there were poor, as there will always be until we learn to rely less on financial standing and money and begin to rely on character (a willingness to share with others our own good fortune, thereby raising others up as we go along) and empathy (the ability to feel for others and share in their pain, joy, sorrow, and even success) for others.

Behind the scenes, though, there was a war going on. Everyone was suspect when it came to being a communist, even when they were not. It was not so much different than today’s political environment, though communism has been replaced by other non-issues. Hate, which we are surprised by, has always been just below the surface, waiting to emerge. The separatist faction has always existed and has always used some non-issue as a means to divide and   conquer the masses.

Between 1945 and 1965, it was communism and nuclear war between the US and the USSR. In the 1970’s, it was the rise of “terrorist” organizations and the fear continued throughout the 1980′ and 90’s. Civil rights in the 1960’s was what split the country and caused a new rise to the hate that lay hidden just below the surface.

For a country that should be so far beyond this hate, we have been unable to erase it from our midst. We call ourselves a Christian country, and yet we preach hate messages aimed towards everything from communists to homosexuals, Muslims to Jews, African Americans to Hispanics. We even hate those who came before us, the Native Americans. Our hate has shown, time and again, that we have become anti-Christian in view (For Christ, if you believe in him, preached love–not hate–for all including one’s enemies) while claiming to follow an entity we really do not follow.

yes, this has been evident throughout the country’s history, especially during the 1950’s and 60’s. Our struggle for civil rights has proven that from its very inception. We are still nowhere near where MLK and others hoped for. We are nowhere near being the “united” country other countries see us as. We are just as divided as ever with no end in sight. Why? because we see in terms of politics, religion, sexual preference, and skin color. We cannot see ourselves as simply Americans. That, in a nutshell, is what this saga is all about: our inability to see ourselves as Americans and nothing else.

In The Wings…

So I have chapter one done for each of the remaining first books in each series. I had time today while waiting for my first rider to get the beginning of the last four series started. I am hoping to start putting them up this afternoon, one by one.

I know I am stretching myself a little thin, but I want to get the ball rolling. I still have to find a few covers, so don’t get too eager. I think I can keep the story interesting from all angles. The 80s, 90s and early 2000s should be fairly easy for me to write, since I grew up, graduated, had my first, and had my second marriage through those years. I still have to do a lot of research for the 50s,60s, and 70s (even though the first four/five years of my life stretch the length of the latter half of that decade), so those years will be rather slow in taking shape.

I need to warn you, though, that I am only covering a single month or so in each book. They are the most important and deal with the events that lead up to and form how each character turns out. In the first series, I cover the upheaval in the lives of 9 year-old Natalia and Shasta Morrow. I cover the turbulence of the 50s that spawned the “Free love” social change and experimentation of the late 60s and the total decadence of the 70s. Everything has a purpose in the storyline, so be patient.

Something Interesting….

Ok. So you know that I have an interest in writing the back story to Long Cold Winter and expanding the glimpses I have given you into Matt’s past. The problem that is presenting itself is this: If I do year by year, it makes for a long series. If I do it skipping through time, It doesn’t quite come out right.

This means that I am almost certainly going to end up with a really long series, whether I want to or not. The main reason is because I want to start out with the story of mama. Natalia Morrow.

I think that if I give her story, it will shed light on why she turned out the way she did. I can also expand upon certain events in the country that led to the hippies and the love-ins. As well as the Kent State massacre.

Once I start expanding the memories I have shown, it will give more explanation to the slow down-spiral that Matt takes into his own form of hell. I can properly introduce each groupie, each young female vocalist, each model, and actress who shined a brief light in Matt’s life. It will be a way to set the stage for Winter.

What do you think? Are you game? If so, I want to warn you. It will only be available on wattpad.

One Chapter To Go…

So I have decided. Chapter Fifty-two is the last chapter of Long cold Winter since Matt has emerged from winter into a second spring in life and is headed for a lifelong summer. The last chapter will begin the odyssey of building the gallery as well as the women’s serious discussions on everything pertaining to the wedding.

Wisely, Matt will be leaving that up to Amanda and the women of the family. He knows he is outnumbered because Sam is also taking the women’s side. Sandra and Amanda will still be helping Matt wade through the hopes and dreams of hundreds of wannabe musicians, deciding who gets the prize, who gets Matt’s guidance, and who gets a form letter. With Solomon coming home to work for the company, Sandra just may get a big break working with little brother.

Many surprises lay in wait in the next book, the next chapter, of Matt and Amanda’s story. As their family grows, so will their love. Such is life. But even the best life is not without hardship and pain. Look for more twists and turns in the next story (I promise you, they are together for life. nothing so bad as what I put you through with Matt and Juanita. Just the usual things that mark a life fully lived.) that will begin in the months prior to the wedding, and just after the final chapter of this first book, to some point after the wedding.

I really would like to continue with the seasons motif. Winter started us off. Anyone have a great title with spring in it? I have a name for the third book and the final book.

#2 (title to be decided)

#3 Summertime (thank you, Janis Joplin for singing such a wonderful cover, and Dave Edmonds for making it deeper and bluesier.)

#4 either Blue Autumn or Autumn Of My Life.

#5 Seasons In the Sun

If desired, I could write a back story as well. But…