Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anna's Christmas

December 24, 1755 - Ohio Wilderness

                Snow falls all around my tiny cabin nestled deep within the French fort. I lay bound to my bed, large with child. My only companions are the wife of the French captain and her children. Today is Christmas Eve.  I watch the snow fall outside through my window.  I wonder if we were in France, where might I be? I can only imagine the grand Christmas ball thrown at Versailles. The music floating in the air as beautiful couples twirl in rhythm. The joyfulness of the season emulating throughout the palace, the midnight mass in the cathedral, family dinner with the House of Orleans, and presents. Oh, how life at the French court is drastically different from what I have here.    

                I lean back and close my eyes. Just as the birth of Jesus brought hope to the world, this Christmas I have been given hope by my French husband. What a wonderful, most blessed gift! I found love where no love should be. I was a British lady. What British lady falls in love with French nobility when there is a war going on? Oh and the love we share is magical! I giggle like a child everything I think of it. I am so happy! Never in my life have I ever been so elated. All my life, I hadn’t been a person to my father but a tool he could use to further his own objectives. He beat, molested and raped me all my life. He forced my brother and I to have incest. But that wasn’t the worse of it all. Last winter, my father held a rifle to my brothers head and forced him to beat me to death. My poor brother. He didn’t want to do it. But I pleaded to him to kill me. For I knew if he wouldn’t father would kill us both. Alexander had complied. Thank heavens he stopped beating and stabbing me when he did. I was so close to death. Afterwards Alexander gave my torn body to François then disappeared.  Oh, what a gift François is to me. He healed me back to health, gave me a child and a new life!

                This Christmas I am grateful for the many blessings God had bestowed upon me.  I have a wonderful husband who adores me. I am large with child. Alexander and I have reunited. Our parents are dead and France protects me.  

                I hear the front door close and my husband’s voice in his office. François has returned! I rise from my bed and grab my robe. I have grown too large to wear any clothes other than my chemise. Alexander believes I carry more than one child. No meal can satisfy my ravishing appetite.   I place my robe around my large body, tied it in the front and open the door to my husband’s office.  Oh, what a sight he is to my eyes. He stirs my soul with just one glance. I stand at our door watching my husband converse with his younger brother.  The war had taken a break for Christmas Eve yet even now my husband and his brother plan their next attack. How strange it seems that the world can find peace on Christmas yet the very next day act as if nothing had transpired. I do not understand it. Have we learned nothing from Jesus’ birth? The hope of the world.

Anna Marie Turner is the mother of Calico and Rose from the book "Calico" by Allison Bruning.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My son! My only son!

I shall never forget the day the white man took my sons lives! I am Peace Chief Big Deer of the Shawnee. For over thirty years, I have led my village. I have sought peace among the white nation but this hasn't always been easy. In the days of my forefathers, the Shawnee have only depended upon Our Grandmother to supply for our needs. We made own weapons, cooking supplies, and other neccesities. That all changed when the French entered our lands. Generations later, we find ourselves dependent upon the trade goods the white man supplies. We are at the mercy of the white traders.
My hope for a better future lies within my sons. Yet even they, the white man stole from me. Before the war between the French and British, I adopted a French trader as my son. For many years, we traded with him then he introduced his wife, Anna, to our people. She gave birth in our village to Calico and Rose. I was a happy man. A few years later, I adopted Anna's brother, Alexander. Life was good. My three sons and daughters loved thier white siblings. My grandchildren quickly accepted Rose and Calico. In my thinking I thought if the white man saw I had adopted two of their men then they would leave us alone. Life would be for the better. We would trade within our family. But this didn't satisfy the white man. White men want what they can't have. Our lands.
War came to our lands soon after. The British and the French wanted to lay claim to our lands. My people sided with the French. In that war, my two youngest sons were killed and my youngest daughter, Creek lost her husband. They had only been married for a week. It broke her heart. Francios white brother, Pierre, almost died. I felt sorry for him. My father - in-law, the great shaman, Yellow Oak, healed his wounds. Pierre claimed Creek as his wife.
When the war ended, the white man's destruction did not cease. Just a few days ago, word came to me from Little Owl and Pierre our missing trading party had been found. They were all dead. Smallpox had taken the lives of my sons Brave Deer and Francios and many other sons of our elders. Alexander claims the blankets were infested with smallpox and the British traded them to all native populations with the intent to kill us! When will this all end? Do not they not understand I want peace? I signed a peace treaty!
Oh, I do not know how much longer I can take this. I remain strong for my people. My last remaining son, Alexander, lies before me in his bed. He is dying. Without a son, my people will be without a leader. The leadership of the tribe is handed from father to son. Only a war chief is not. Alexander is plaqued with demons of his past. The white man destroyed his spirit and his mind. He is a good man with a good heart. The white nation taught him to lie, steal, cheat and murder. None of that matters to me. To me he is my son. My only surviving son. The fate of my people lie in his hands. This fire red haired, pale skin, green eyed man is my people's only hope. Yet here he lies, demon possessed with a strong fever that our shaman says might kill him. Oh, what am I to do? My son. My only son.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Introducing: The Stepbrothers by Lisa Day

Childhood for Clint was wonderful until the day his mother remarried. His new stepbrother George was pure evil. The stepbrother's only goal was to make sure Clint's life was a living hell. It never occurred to him Clint would grow up. Clint Hawks never forgot the misery and pain he suffered at George's hands and his every thought focused on revenge. Then along came Samantha Culpepper a sweet, young, innocent, bride to be. Inexperienced Samantha becomes the pawn in Clint's game of revenge. When the score is finally settled she'll have enough experiences to last a life time.

People with cruel intentions never stop to think about future repercussions. Such a man was George. As a young man he set up his stepbrother. From fist fights to causing the death of Clint Hawks' mother and destroying the girl his stepbrother loved; for George nothing was off limits.

The time will come for Hawks to find a way to get back at his stepbrother and will be nothing off limits for him either. Cunning and planning put George's fiancee into his hands. Alone in a cabin, far away from anywhere, he will destroy George by ruining the woman.

The fates are not with Hawks as Samantha Culpepper does not destroy so easily. He may have compromised her innocence but he did not foresee his heart getting involved and that definitely is not in the plan.

Just when Hawks realizes his feeling but before he could figure out if it was a good thing or not his best friend shows up. He almost let go of his scheme to involve her in his plans. However, like any good friend, Mac who is handsome, likable, and interested in Samantha as soon as he laid eyes on her will complicate matters.

A stubborn Hawks hands Samantha over now compromised to his stepbrother. George. Unknown to him his stepbrother will decide to marry and then rid himself of her. According to him a perfect plan to get the vote as the 'to be a pitied widow' in the next election.

Riddled with guilt for the shabby treatment of Samantha Hawks goes on two day drunk. After the wedding, Mac realizes something is amiss. He along with Hawks will leave no trail untraveled to find and save her.

Lisa Day grow up in the New Jersey suburbs across from New York City. This made her believe she was sophisticated. Wrong. She was just a girl from Jersey. In junior high right before the English teacher destroyed her love of reading completely she discovered novels for teenage girls. Saved by a love story. As an adult she became a ferocious reader and easily read two, sometimes three books a day. And yes her housework suffered.

Many years later now retired and living with her husband. She renewed her love of novels and this time started to write a few of her own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the eyes of Blue Lark

I am the mysterious brother. The youngest son of four sons, I have always been compared to my older brothers and found lacking. I hate that. When I was born, the people celebrated with a large feast. You see, I am the son of War Chief Kicking Horse and his wife, Quiet Turkey. There are always higher expectations for me. My people, do not pass on the war chief's position to his son automatically like the peace chief does. Anyone in the Kishpoko division can fight for the position after my father's death. My father was a great man. For three generations, our people had been scattered throughout the lands in the south, east and west after the Iroquois defeated us in the Beaver Wars. Many Shawnee began to lose our conservative way of life. They adapted to whatever tribe they lived close to. Many of our elders grew concern Our Grandmother, the great creator, would punish us for our disrespect. Some of our elders decided to make the dangerous, long trip back to our lands in Ohio. Shawnee from all directions walked back into our homelands. The land sacred to use because Our Grandmother had given them to use after she created our people. My father was one of those elders. He was already a hero to our people close to the Cherokee's lands. He was a brave and wise leader. The people still speak of his acts of bravery and his wisdom.

I was born in the spring of 1747 within our village along the Ohio River. My mother told me I had been the easiest child she had ever carried. I was born into the Kishpoko division, the warriors, since my father is of that division. There were always expectations. When I was a child I ran free through the village. Little Owl is two years older than me, but we were never close. He was father's favorite son. Our eldest brother, Long Eagle, favored Little Owl as well. They even looked and acted alike. Although five years apart in age, you could never separate them. In 1764, when the white man killed Long Eagle with the smallpox infested blankets it tore my brother's heart. Upon my ninth spring, I began my endurance training. As war chief, my father was expected to train all boys in the ways of our forefathers. Everyone expected more from his boys than the rest. His father, grandfather and great grandfathers before him had all been war chiefs. He knew the people expected more from his sons. Father would have Little Owl and I race around the village ten times, bob in the frozen lake, and go without food some days. We did extra training than any of the other boys in the village. I hated every moment of it. My brothers taunted me relentlessly. As I grew older, my father expected more out of me. He taught me hand to hand combat, how to hunt, track, and other skills I would need to be a strong provider and protector. When I was thirteen, Little Owl went on his first battle during the French and Indian War. He came home with a head injury. Seeing my older brother close to death and suffering afterwards had scared me. I knew upon my fifteenth spring, father would hand me my first weapon and expect me to join him on the battlefield. I didn't look forward to that!

I had never been good in battle. As I grew older, it quickly became apparent I was better in the area of healing and long shooting. My father didn't appreciate those qualities in me. He said I was too weak to do any good to our people. Daily he urged me to become the strong warrior my older brothers had become. As if I could change how Our Grandmother had created me to be! Where I didn't find favor in my father's eyes, I found it in my mother's. Mother loved me unconditionally. She took pride in my gifts. My mother and I had always been close but she never revealed to me her secrets. Let me tell you. Listen well. Something is not right about my mother! She doesn't act like your typical Shawnee woman. Every winter when we travel to hunt in the Cherokee lands, she interprets for my father. There are Cherokee men who look similar to me. There are Cherokee women who look like my mother. I have often seen her have more than a cordial relationship with the Cherokee. She is their friend! What Shawnee woman is friends with a Cherokee woman? Aren't they supposed to be our enemies? My life is complex but one thing I know for certain. Despite my faults, I am and shall always be Shawnee.

Blue Lark is one of the characters in "Calico" Book 1 of the Children of the Shawnee series by Allison Bruning. It is available on amazon.