Once again American's Miss Marple, Gracie Evans is running down clues to a mystery - Locked Rock, Iowa's town drunk's disappearance. She has the help of her two coharts – Melinda Applegate and Madeline Patterford. Gracie doesn't sit and knit like Miss Marple. Instead, she rocks and dozes while she dwells on the mystery at hand. Join Gracie Evans in solving this latest mystery – book 11 – in the series Amazing Gracie Mystery – set in a small town in Iowa in the early 1900's. Amazon link for paperback and ebook https://www.amazon.com/s?k=The+Grieving+Widder+Woman&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss Barnes and Noble for paperback and ebook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/The+Grieving+Widder+Woman?_requestid=5629674 smashwords.com https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/927289 The Grieving Widder Woman was my entry in the National Novel Writing Contest in November 2018. Synopsis for the book According to the gossips, they haven't seen Florence Moffatt's husband, the town drunk, staggering home in the wee hours of the morning for days.. They ask Florence where Elmer is. Florence says he's away on business which makes Gracie Evans scoff that Elmer never worked a day in his life. One day Florence shows up at the Bible Study group in black widow weeds and announces Elmer passed away in Cedar Rapids. She's going to bring him home in a rented wagon. Women frown when Florence says her friend, Preston Terrell, is going on the trip with her. When asked what caused Elmer's death, she gives anyone who asks a different story. When she arrives back in Locked Rock in a week's time, an expensive, walnut casket trimmed in gold is in the back of the wagon. The town turns out to help Widder Moffatt mourn at a nice funeral for good for nothing Elmer Moffatt. From then on, Gracie and her friends see Florence spending her spare time by Elmer's grave, crying and praying. Gracie wonders what Florence's problem is and decides to find out. How could the Widder Moffatt be confused about how Elmer died? Florence should be so glad to be rid of him that she shouldn't have to play the part of The Grieving Widder Woman. Here is the first chapter of the book Chapter One Gracie Evans pushed a hastily placed hairpin securely into her braided ring crowning the top of her head as she slipped into her chair at the kitchen table for breakfast. She noted to herself it was way too quiet in the room. That made her worry something was wrong. She scanned the rest of the Moser Mansion residents at the table who had showed up ahead of her. Molly Moser Lang, owner of the mansion, seemed to be in a world of her own. Deep in thought, she had her elbow on the table and her fist under her chin as she ran a finger over the red and white checkerboard tablecloth. Molly had taken to wearing her honey shaded hair in a bun on the back of her neck instead of loose and shoulder length. A sign she was feeling more like a matron than a young woman. Molly was a pretty woman inside and out. Gracie knew that would never change with age. Orie Lang, Miss Molly's husband, had the Locked Rock Weekly Review stuck in front of his face. Gracie wondered if it wasn't time the man gave up and started using reading glasses. He was about Molly's age and good-looking, with a mop of black hair. Gracie figured it wouldn't do any good for her to say anything to him about his vision. If anyone brought up reading spectacles Gracie could just hear him say what did he need glasses for when he was a farmer. He would wind up getting them broke. A few years back, Agnes Barnes, the housekeeper, took Pearlbee Washington's place as the cook when the dear old soul passed away. She mumbled to herself as she plopped two skillets on the wood cook stove to cook sausage patties and eggs. Gracie could hear the pop and crackling of burning wood from clear across the room. By the time she broke eggs in one of the skillets, the lard was hot. Gracie heard the loud sizzle when the eggs hit the skillet bottom. A pop of flying lard landed on the back of Agnes's right hand. As she rubbed her hand with her apron, the middle-aged, dowdy woman snap to herself, “The nerve. I should say.” Gracie wondered why now of all mornings after fixing eggs and sausage cakes for years did the unexpected pop of hot lard seem so vexing to the woman. The work counter across from the stove was white with flour from Agnes's biscuit making. The pan of biscuits was in the oven. Gracie already knew that because she heard the oven door on the stove slam shut just before she entered the kitchen. She figured the wood cook stove's oven door had slipped from Agnes's hand. Now it crossed her mind she figured wrong. As Gracie studied the Moser Mansion's Rest Home For Women's housekeeper's face, she realized something was in the wind. Agnes was usually an easy-going gossip, but not this morning. She was wound up as tightly as the busted mainspring in Gracie's father's railroad pocket watch. Her silver streaked, brown hair was frizzled. Agnes looked like she had walked to work in a stiff wind and forgot to comb her hair before any of them came to breakfast. “Where is Malachi this morning?” Gracie asked Molly. “Agnes says he has already eaten breakfast and went outside to work in the garden and mow the yard,” Molly answered. “Reckon it's better for him to work in the cool morning air. Besides, as slow as he's getting, it takes longer for him to get anything done.” Shuffling feet behind her made Gracie twist in her chair. “Morning, Melinda,” she greeted cheerfully, hoping for at least one resident who would be cheerful right back. After all, Melinda Applegate was usually the glass half full type of person. Her greeting was followed by Miss Molly and Agnes greeting Melinda. Mr. Orie crumpled the newspaper onto his lap as he said good morning to both of them. Melinda said a meek, “Good morning, everyone” By that time, Gracie was focused on Orie. She frowned as the newspaper filled with creases and disappeared from view. It was no wonder the news was hard to read by the time she got a hold of Locked Rock, Iowa's weekly newspaper. Lately it had been full of creases, and now she knew exactly who was to blame. Not wanting to dwell on the crumbled newspaper for fear she might offend Orie out loud, Gracie focused on Melinda's serious face. “Your feet any better?” The curly, blue-white-haired woman shuffled over to her chair and eased into it. She smoothed the wrinkles out of her black skirt before she placed her red checkered napkin on her lap. Melinda gave a tug on the top end and stretched the napkin up over the lace ruffles on her white blouse as she talked. “No, Gracie, my feet are not better so that I can tell anyway. Though I don't believe they're as puffy as yesterday. Dr. Carter said it might take a few days. I'm suppose to stay off my feet to notice a difference.” Melinda frowned as she thought about the fuzzy blue house shoes she had been shuffling around in. “And I should wear sensible shoes which I don't have. Even my dressy shoes are too tight.” Molly smiled weakly, knowing how much Melinda valued her neatly dressed appearance. “If Dr. Carter's recommendations are going to help you soon, then you best do what he says until your feet aren't swollen anymore.” “Oh, I will, but if I see anyone coming besides all of you, I'm going to my room and hide until the company leaves. I don't want them to see me in these sloppy house shoes,” Melinda declared. Behind them, Madeline Patterford entered the room. “Oh brother, Melinda, just wear longer skirts if you have them so you can tuck your feet out of sight and be comfortable in those house shoes. Bad feet are no fun. Besides, you can't go for our exercise walk with your feet swollen and hurting.” Melinda looked very thoughtful. “Tucking my feet in under my skirt might work. As for walking, as much as I enjoy our walks, you and Gracie will have to go without me until my feet get better.” Orie slid his cup over to the edge of the table. “Agnes, when you have time bring me another round of coffee? My cup went dry.” “Sure thing, Mr. Orie. Right away.” Agnes picked up a couple of potholders from a stack on the corner of the work counter. She reached over the sizzling sausage cakes to the back of the stove and grabbed the large blue and white granite coffee pot by the handle. It was time to fill all the cups. Agnes scurried to the table. Her hand shook badly as she tipped the pot down over Gracie's cup so she put her left hand over her right one to ease the shaking. Gracie wondered if she should scoot her chair back from the table in case Agnes spilled. By the time Agnes moved on to Orie's cup, Gracie caught Molly's eye and nodded at Agnes's shaking hands. Molly, alerted that something was wrong, frowned as she watched Agnes move on around to fill her cup, then Madeline and Melinda's cups. “Agnes, dear, are you feeling all right this morning?” Molly tried to sound casual. Agnes shrugged. “Just rushing a little more than usual this morning I reckon. For some reason I feel like I'm behind.” “Take your time, Agnes. We aren't in any hurry,” Molly assured her. The cook beelined it back to the cook stove to dish up breakfast, mumbling huffily, “There ain't anything wrong with me, I should say.” Gracie's eyebrows raised at Molly as Agnes made three trips to set the filled, trembling plates in front of each of them. The younger woman shrugged her shoulders and dismissed Agnes's cranky disposition. She didn't want to pry too much into the woman's business. “Well, what have you ladies got planned for your day?” “Reckon this morning I'll get some fresh air on the porch like usual,” Gracie said. “Me, too,” agreed Melinda followed by Madeline nodding her agreement. Molly said, “ Miss Melinda, I'll have Orie bring a footstool out to the porch for you to put your feet on. I suggest you use it for a few days to keep your feet up like the doctor wanted and see if that helps the swelling. If not we better go to Jackson's Dress shop and find you a pair of shoes that feel right on your feet.” “All right,” Melinda agreed quietly. “This afternoon is the Bible Study Group's meeting at the church,” Gracie announced. “Are you going, Miss Molly?” Molly's hand went to her cheek. “Oh my, yes. Thank you so much for mentioning the meeting. I had completely forgotten today is Wednesday. Fine thing, the most important meeting for me not to forget about when I'm the chairwoman this year.” “Are you ready for the meeting, dear?” Melinda asked. “Yes, I do have my agenda ready. The discussion is when to have the cemetery clean up day before Decoration Day and we need to organize the picnic on the holiday. Guess I better be at this meeting since I want clean up day to be well-organized and the Decoration Day picnic as well. Last year, I felt the organizing has something left to be desired. The Bible verse I picked and Bible reading pertains to our working to spruce up the Locked Rock cemetery.” “Good. Since we're all going, we can walk to the church together after lunch,” Madeline offered. “Reckon we could,” Gracie agreed. Looking gloomy, Melinda gave a loud sigh. “I think with the way my feet feel I better stay home, Miss Molly.” “Oh, my, no need for that. You shouldn't be walking to the church so I'll have Malachi hitch up the horse to the buggy and bring it around. We can all ride to the church,” Molly offered. Gracie scooted her chair back. The legs screeched loudly on the black and white checker board floor. “For now, I'm headed to the front porch if you ladies want to join me. Mr. Orie, are you done with the newspaper?” “Sure, I am. Here you be, Miss Gracie.” Orie handed the crumpled newspaper across the table to her. As the three elderly women walked out of the kitchen, Gracie heard Molly's instructions to Agnes about what to fix the twins and Shana for breakfast. Next, Molly headed to the stairs with the intention of getting the Lang's adopted, teenage daughter, Shana up. She could help the five-year-old twins, Jenny Nora and Jessie Ned, get dressed to keep them from dawdling while Molly made the beds. If left on their own, the twins would wake up with nothing but playing on their minds. The women had settled in their rockers too late to see Marshal Bullock come out of his house across the street and head for his office downtown. His wife, Sara, was bent over the flower bed in front of the house, pulling weeds out of her marigolds. When she heard the mansion porch door bang shut she straightened up, turned around and waved at the women. With her hand shading her eyes, she looked up at the climbing sun and decided it was time to go to work at the switchboard in her house. Gracie watching the neighborhood and read the newspaper. From the back yard came some screaming. A boy's yell, “It's my ball. You can't play with it.” A girl's high pitched, angry scream, “Mama!” Melinda said, “What is going on in back?” Gracie looked over the gold rimmed reading glasses on her nose. “The twins are awake. Need I say more?” Melinda just shook her head. Later that morning, Agnes emerged from the mansion's front door on her way home to cook her husband an early lunch before she came back to serve the mansion residents an oven-baked beef roast, potato and carrot lunch. “See you later, ladies,” Agnes said hurriedly, not looking either direction as she crossed the porch to the steps. “Not so fast. Agnes. Stop right there, and tell us what is your problem this morning?” Gracie barked, folding the newspaper and laying it on her lap. Agnes froze to the spot and gripped her hands together to keep them from shaking. She said over her shoulder, “Nothing worth bothering your head about Gracie Evans.” “So there is something wrong.” Melinda used a hushed tone. “I - I said it wasn't anything to worry about, didn't I?” Agnes sputtered as she turned to face them with tears in her eyes. “Oh, brother! We're all your friends, after all. Please tell us what is wrong. Maybe we can help you,” Madeline said kindly. “There is nothing anyone can do as far as I can see,” Agnes began. “Unless one of you have a remedy for getting this town shut of Elmer Moffatt.” Gracie leaned forward in her rocker. “What has that old drunkard, Elmer Moffatt, done this time?” “More times than not in the wee hours of the morning the awful man walks home before daylight,” Agnes shared. “So? The man spends his whole night at the Silver Slipper Saloon downtown, drinking and gambling. He's done that way as long as I've known him,” Gracie said dismissively. “I know he has, but that always made him his wife's worry or whoever else he disturbed while at the saloon. Not mine,” Agnes spit at her. “How is Elmer suddenly your problem?” Madeline inquired. “Lately Elmer is headed home as I'm headed to work instead of going home earlier. He weaves from side to side so I can't figure out which way to go out around him. I think he does it on purpose. He cackles like he's being funny and belches loudly.” Agnes shuttered. “For sure a crude man he is. I don't know how his wife, Florence, stands him.” “Last time I sat by him in church, Elmer smelled like he hadn't had a bath in ages,” Melinda offered. “I had to breathe through my handkerchief during the whole sermon. It was that awful.” “I don't remember Elmer coming to church.” Gracie twisted in her chair to level a look at Melinda. “I think that was probably the last time I remember him at church on Sunday. I think the congregation gave him a hard time so he gave up coming,” Melinda told her. Agnes wrung her hands together. “I'm telling you, ladies, I don't know how much longer I'm going to come to work before daylight with that man on the streets. I'll just have to move your meals down an hour to try to avoid him.” “That might work,” Melinda agreed. “Mr. Moffatt wouldn't be expecting the change in your routine.” Gracie slapped the arm of her rocker. “Well, it won't work for me. I've always eaten my breakfast early. Don't figure on stopping now.” Agnes ran her shaky fingers through her flighty hair as she pleaded, “Then help me figure out a way to keep Elmer Moffatt away from me. Sometimes he gets a weird look in his eyes and winks at me. Why, it's like the old drunk is flirting with me, of all people.” “That is hard to believe,” Gracie said dryly. Melinda gave her a hard look and turned her focus back to Agnes. “Dear, I don't blame you for being so very upset. Can't you take a different path to work?” Madeline clapped. “Good idea, Melinda.” Agnes grunted. “I thought it would be except I tried that, and I swear Elmer waited to see which block I took to come here so he made sure to meet me.” Melinda put her hand to her chest. “Oh dear, this is awful.” Madeline sat up straight in her rocker. “I have an idea. Tell Mr. Orie about this. Ask him to come get you and bring you to the mansion in the buggy for a few days until Elmer Moffatt gets tired of playing his little games.” Agnes's eyes rolled from side to side as she gave the idea some thought. “That might work. Well, I better hurry home. If I'm much later, I won't have my husband's lunch on the table and back here by the noon meal.” The women watched Agnes hustled down the walk and through the yard gate. Melinda gave a sigh as she removed her slippered feet from the tapestry covered footstool. “What's the sigh for?” Gracie asked. “I have a problem, too,” Melinda lamented as she held her legs up and stared at her puffy feet in the fuzzy blue slippers. “I can't go to the Bible Study meeting in these awful house shoes. I'll just have to stay home.” “Surely we can think of something to help you out,” Madeline said. “Think, Gracie. What can we do?” “Why ask me? I don't have any fashion sense. I'd mostly likely wear the house shoes and be hanged with what the others think of it as long as my feet felt better,” Gracie declared. “No surprise there. We guessed that about your fashion sense a long time ago when all you ever wear is tan blouses and brown cotton skirts,” Madeline snipped. Her face suddenly brightened. “I know what to do. My feet are a little bigger than yours, Melinda. How about you borrow a pair of my shoes to wear until you get a pair of your own?” Melinda frowned. “I hate to put you out that way.” “It's not putting me out. I have plenty of shoes. When we go in to eat lunch, I'll go to my bedroom and get a pair for you to wear,” insisted Madeline. When Agnes talked to Molly and Orie at lunchtime about her dilemma, they were all for helping her. They didn't want their breakfast routine messed up any more than Gracie did. The next morning at dawn, Orie drove Agnes passed the Moffatt house. Agnes kept a watchful eye on the fading darkness around the buggy. She grabbed Orie's hand and pointed at the staggering man. Just now at the end of the block, Elmer weaved his way home. He stopped and leaned on Alvina Wisecup's picket fence while he watched his intended victim ride by him. First surprise twisted his drunken face, then he belched and laughed a sinister cackle as if the joke was on him. Once the buggy past him, Agnes couldn't resist a glance back. Elmer staggered on toward his yard gate, and it rankled Agnes even more that he was still cackling to himself. “Mr. Orie, that awful man acts like this is all a joke to him. Do you think bringing me to work is going to keep Elmer Moffatt away from me?” “I sure hope so. We'll give this a week and see what happens. If Elmer doesn't change his ways, I'll have a talk with him, and if that fails, I'll have Marshal Bullock talk to him. I doubt that Elmer would like to go to jail.” Agnes settled back on the buggy seat. “I should say. I feel better with you on my side.” I hope readers enjoy my latest cozy mystery. Here are the links to find the book and ebook.
The Overly Friendly Holiday Mouse T'was a cold winter's night close to Christmas when we Risners nestled down in our recliners. Harold watching television, and me stitching on my Grandmother's Fan quilt spread in hills and valleys on my lap and cascading over my feet to the floor. Mid evening the quiet was broken when Harold spotted a mouse flash from the dining room into the living room. The furry speed demon ducked under the couch but not for long. For half an hour, Harold insisted on giving me a play by play of the mouse's marathon as he crisscrossed the room, looking for a suitable nest for the long winter night. On the mouse's next sprint, Harold announced the four legged racer dashed under the couch. After that nothing but silence which meant Harold didn't see the mouse anymore or was interested in television or he dozed off. I concentrated on my stitches. It was the dark movement on the quilt above my knee that made me glanced up. The MOUSE peeked over the bunched quilt at me. His beady, glittering, tiny eyes stared into my startled, wide eyes. My thought was now was when Harold should have given me a mouse alert. Remember me. I'm the one that didn't make a sound as the rat, AKA Sweet Potato Thief, propelled himself toward the live trap door, busted the door and catapulted to the basement floor. Mice have the opposite affect on me, especially one in my lap. I screamed at the top of my lungs. The mouse took my not too subtle hint and in the wink of an eye scampered over my feet and down the quilt. Now I had Harold's attention. His recliner came up with a clatter. “Are you having a heart attack?” I shot out of my recliner and frantically shook the quilt while I watched around my feet. “I don't know. I might be. Let me take my pulse, and I'll get back to you on that. The mouse was in my lap, walking all over my quilt with his dirty feet and staring at me.” “I didn't see him,” Harold said as if this was no big deal. “Of course not. You had to be awake to see him. Next time I will shoo him your direction so he can sit in your lap,” I offered. The rest of the evening as I kept a watchful eye, I made sure my quilt was piled high in my lap instead of dragging on the floor. As I quilted my problem solving skills began forming in my mind. Obviously, I didn't have enough sticky traps statically placed. I'd buy more. For a few minutes, I contemplated placing the traps all around my recliner for protection from lap mice. Maybe I could make a small sign with an arrow on it, pointing to Harold's recliner, signifying that way to the mouse's next race track. Nah, extra sticky traps were a bad idea! No way would that work. I'd be the one to get stuck in the sticky traps. Besides, I was hoping that mouse wasn't dumb enough to try scaling Mount Quilt again after the reception I gave him. So I did what I thought was the logical thing by surrounding the couch with sticky traps and hoped we didn't have company. UPDATE: I'm happy to announce in this house not a creature is stirring except the two large ones in their recliners wishing all of you Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, Varmint Free 2019.
I received this email this morning from someone trying to blackmail me. Since I am not the type of person to do the things this person mentions and threatens to use against me I've decided to alert anyone who reads my blogs so if this happens to them. The password in the email address was mine from eight years ago. She has probably tried it and found it doesn't work in my accounts. Am I going to send money to such scum as this. NO!!!! Why should I? Anyone that knows me or knows my writing style knows that I am not the type of person to watch videos described in this blackmail scheme. Still better yet the person who sent the email must not have seen the way I reacted to the Facebook hackers awhile back. I have nothing to hide and am not going to give in to blackmail. fayrisner - blue08pen
From Marlee ArtusoAdd contact
To firstname.lastname@example.orgAdd contact
Date Today 2:36 pm
Lets get directly to the purpose. No person has compensated me to check you. You may not know me and you are probably thinking why you are getting this email?
In fact, I placed a software on the X video clips (pornography) site and you know what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were viewing video clips, your browser started working as a Remote control Desktop having a key logger which provided me access to your screen as well as web cam. Immediately after that, my software program collected all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook, as well as emailaccount. Next I created a video. 1st part shows the video you were watching (you've got a fine taste haha), and second part shows the recording of your web camera, and its u.
You get not one but two choices. We are going to read up on these types of solutions in details:
Very first option is to neglect this email message. In this instance, I will send out your video clip to all of your contacts and just think about the embarrassment you will see. Moreover if you are in a relationship, just how it will eventually affect?
Other solution would be to compensate me $1000. Let us name it as a donation. As a consequence, I most certainly will immediately eliminate your video. You could go forward daily life like this never took place and you surely will never hear back again from me.
You will make the payment through Bitcoin (if you don't know this, search for "how to buy bitcoin" in Google search engine).
BTC Address to send to: 1EJRxdwGTUtu32d6GqxttFCD5xuyK71Sek
[CASE-sensitive so copy & paste it]
In case you are planning on going to the police, very well, this mail cannot be traced back to me. I have taken care of my moves. I am just not looking to charge a fee very much, I wish to be paid for. You have one day in order to make the payment. I have a specific pixel in this email message, and at this moment I know that you have read this email message. If I do not receive the BitCoins, I will, no doubt send your video recording to all of your contacts including relatives, co-workers, and many others. Nevertheless, if I receive the payment, I will erase the recording immediately. If you want evidence, reply Yeah then I definitely will send out your video recording to your 13 friends. It's a non:negotiable offer that being said don't waste my personal time & yours by responding to this message.
The quilts I've been making will be wedding presents for my great nieces and nephews. The story in each is a way for them to remember me. I haven't a clue which relative will get which quilt at this moment. I intend to let them choose which quilt they would like until the quilts are gone.
Now that I've started this project it occurs to me that this might be a book I can publish when I have all the quilts made. Another project to look forward to.
As you read this during the month of July my ebooks and books are on a half price sale at smashwords.com so check that site out for my books and many other authors if you have time.
Hope you enjoy my posts
Author Fay Risner
Replica of Grandma's Crazy Quilt Quilt put together and quilted in the Spring of 2018 Webster's defines a crazy quilt as a patchwork quilt with no regular design, and as I like to repeat every quilt has its own story. Crazy Quilting and it’s “Recycled” History The centuries old history of the crazy quilt intrigues me as well. They were started by those less fortunate, by patching blankets, clothing, etc with scraps of fabrics and other clothing. Later, quilts and garments were made using elegant fabrics such as velvets and silks and embellishments of lace, beads, ribbons were added. Crazy quilts can be anything you want them to be. Have you ever thought about the colors of Amish quilts - blue, purple and black blocks? Now many quilts in those colors are made out of new material to sell to tourists. Back in the Amish Communities beginning, their quilts were made from the less faded and worn pieces of their discarded clothing for their own use just like the homesteaders or women living in cities. To this day, I imagine that is still an Amish custom to use pieces of discarded clothing for quilts for home use that the tourists never see, but now with relaxed color schemes, the Amish quilts may be in yellow, greens, purples and blues. I once saw my great great grandmother, Alvina Bright's crazy quilt from 1899. In each twelve inch square backing, she had used a piece she embroidered the simple outline of an animal. Around that she laid the scraps she'd save. Some of the silk pieces had disintegrated after a hundred years, but the quilt still held many memories of an experienced quilter who made the whole quilt by hand. The quilt had to be one of the last quilts Alvina made before she went blind, and made that particular quilt precious to her and her family. I was inspired to try my hand at a quilt like hers, embroidering free hand stitched animals in the blocks to duplicate my great great grandmother's quilt. I still use that quilt today in winter to keep us warm. To make a crazy quilt really special, add pieces of memorabilia such as lace from your grandmother’s doilies, or pieces of vintage linens that may have a stain that makes them unusable by cutting the stain off. Crazy quilts from the Victorian era are adorned with beads, fine threads, trims, lace, velvets, pearl or gold coated buttons. These quilts were found in homes of the wealthy and maybe used more often for a bedspread because of its ornate design. The quilt I gift to you is only a replica of crazy quilts from our great grandmother's day. I embroidered over the yellow-orange roses and leaves to give the quilt an aged flair. The laces was left over from years ago when I sewed Barbie doll clothes to sell at craft shows. The butterfly blocks were added simply because I love butterflies, which to me, compliments the yellow-orange roses on the quilt. There's another reason this crazy quilt is special. I decided I'd like to enter it in the Benton County Fair's Open Class division in Vinton, Iowa the last of June 2018. I believe we should try something new to us once in awhile, but having thought that, it took me a year and a half to get up my courage. This crazy quilt is the one I decided to take out of three that I had made that winter. Three days later I went back to get my quilt and found I had been given a third place ribbon. Also, the manager of that portion of the Open Division said I should keep the quilt show in mind for next year. What a thrill the whole experience was. So now this quilt is yours, because to me, you are a winner!
Here it is – Book 11 of the Nurse Hal Among The Amish series. Available in a couple days on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.com. For the month of July this book and ebook as well as all of by other books and ebooks will be on sale at Smashwords.com for half price. Give my selections a look through and see if any of them interest you while the price is right. Bender Creek Bridge's Troubled Waters synopsis The longest year of Joy Petermeyer's life is just about over. Nurse Hal's stepson, Daniel Lapp, is due back from Tennessee in August, and they planned to get married. Only according to his Aunt Ida's letters, Daniel is having a good time in Tennessee working with his Uncle Marvin's horses and dating an Amish girl named Arlene. Joy worries that Daniel isn't coming home, and decides she has to move on. Her only friend is Melinda Esch. One night, they go on a camping trip which ends up tragically. Joy is determined to never have anything to do with Melinda after that night. Just when she considered her life was in bad shape, Daniel's friend, Jimmie Miller invites Joy to step out with him to the teen singings. Joy is welcomed back by the Amish teens after months of avoiding the singings. That date with Jimmie leads to a picnic and horseback riding dates. Summer is fun again, and Joy realizes she has developed deep feelings for Jimmie. To Joy's surprise, not even her romance with Jimmie goes well. Samuel Nisely, Jimmie's stepfather, tells Joy to stay away from Jimmie as long as she is promised to Daniel Lapp. Even if Daniel doesn't come back to Iowa, Joy might not be able to see Jimmie ever again as long as Samuel Nisely says Jimmie can't date her. This series of events turned summer into the worst one of her life again, and it all started with Bender Creek Bridge's Troubled Water. Chapter 1 “I am going to have a bobbeli.” After a time of silence while Joy Petermeyer and Melinda Esch practiced their fancy work, Melinda burst out with that startling statement. Her hands shook slightly after making the revelation. She bit her quivering lower lip as she laid the dish towel, snugged in a metal embroidery hoop, in her lap. The pillowcase in Joy's embroidery hoop slipped from her fingers to her lap as her mouth flew open. For once she was speechless as she leaned back against one of two large limestone boulders wedged together. A gentle breeze blew a sprig of her bright red hair down over Joy's eyes. She moved the hair until it stayed behind her ear while she collected her thoughts. On the bank of Buggy Creek, Joy's special place consisted of those two rocks shaded by a stand of plum trees. Joy used them as backrests. This was the spot in her uncle and aunt's pasture where she chose to go when she wanted to be alone. As well, it was the spot she shared with her friends. “Please run that statement by me one more time?” Joy had been hypnotized by the ripples slapping against the creek bank. She worried about how high the creek was going to rise, knowing water could soon flood the pasture. With that worry on her mind, she hoped maybe she hadn't heard Melinda correctly. Melinda focused her attention across the creek at the timber to avoid looking at Joy. Her voice flattened to just above a whisper. “I am going to have a bobbeli.” Joy gave a disbelieving gasp. “A baby! No way!” Melinda slowly nodded a yes. She nervously pushed her gold-rimmed glasses back to the bridge of her nose as she leaned against the other boulder. Joy studied the dark-haired girl's fine features to see if she was serious. When her eyes lit on Melinda's swelling middle, Joy noted the dress fit way too snugly. A new life was taking form in her friend. What popped into Joy's head was that at seventeen Melinda was way too young to have and care for a baby. As for herself, in a couple of weeks, Joy would be sixteen. Her thought about her age was she was still too young to be responsible for a baby and so was Melinda. “You have knocked the wind out of my sails. I must admit I noticed you were putting on weight, but I never dreamed the cause was pregnancy. How long have you known about your situation?” Melinda wrapped her denim jacket around the front of herself to stop Joy from staring at her stomach. “A few months now.” “Like how many?” Joy demanded as she looked straight at Melinda. Her friend shrugged. “Maybe close to four months.” Joy huffed, “Is this Ben Beiler's doing?” “Jah, but I share the blame,” Melinda took a deep breath through her open mouth, showing her crooked teeth. “We spent too many nights alone in Bender Creek timber.” “When are you and Ben getting married? Time is ticking away toward your due date,” Joy pointed out. “I am not getting married, and I am kronk about it.” Melinda's trembling mouth fine lined as she tried not to cry. “You have the right to feel sick. Why forever not aren't you getting married?” Joy pushed, looking astonished. “That's what happens next when an Amish girl is expecting, isn't it? An English girl too for that matter.” Melinda's shoulders sagged. “When I told Ben about the baby, he said this was my problem. He has no intention of marrying me. I have not seen him since I told him, so I reckon his mind has not changed.” Joy slapped her leg. “Daniel was right about that guy. Before he left, he warned me Ben Beiler was bad news.” “When Ben started taking me out my mutter told me Ben is full of the deibel and I should stay away from him,” Melinda muttered. “I hate to judge a person I don't know, but I believe Daniel was right when he said Ben was no good, and your mother is right to say he is a devil. So what are you going to do?” Joy quizzed. “I do not know yet.” Melinda's dark brown eyes filled with the tears she had tried so hard to prevent. Joy scooted closer and put her arm around Melinda's shoulders. “Do your folks know about your --- uh --condition?” Melinda laid a hand on her belly. “That I am pregnant? You might as well say it. I have gotten used to the idea. I had to. My mutter does know because I told her. I had no other choice because I have no idea what I should do. I needed her help. Mamm says we are not going to tell my father unless we have to. She does not know how he will take the idea of me being second-hand goods. She fears he might be harder on me than either one of us would like. He is a very strict man.” “It seems to me, he's going to be able to see for himself before much longer. Don't you think?” Joy pointed out. “Jah, but Mamm says ferleicht she will come up with a plan before he figures it out. I will leave the solution up to Mamm. She usually knows what is best.” Melinda picked up her embroidery hoop and circled the rim with a finger. Sadness crept across her face. Joy grimaced. “Doesn't sound like your mother is too sure what she can do to help you if perhaps is her best answer. I'm so sorry you're going through this difficult time. Is there anything I can do to help you?” Melinda shook her head. “Nah, not right now anyway. Just do not tell your family or anyone about my secret. I would rather no one else knew. It's just that I have been so upset I had to share my trouble with you, my friend.” “If that is what you want, I won't say a word. Cross my heart and hope to die.” Joy went through the motion on her chest. Melinda's problem wasn't hers to talk about. Sure, she'd keep the girl's revelation to herself, but Joy worried about what was going to happen to her friend. The girl wouldn't be looked on in a favorable light from now on when her secret was revealed. Behind Melinda's back, the Amish community would always call her second-hand goods. That term still popped up when Plain people spoke about Bobby Keim's wife Priscilla. Bobby married her, knowing her baby was the result of rape by a no-good Englisher. Even though the incident wasn't her fault Plain people looked down on her. Now she had been married to Bobby Keim for some time and was expecting his baby soon. You would think that would make a difference in their opinions, but some people didn't seem to want to forget Priscilla's past. A week later in early May, Melinda went to the phone shed at the intersection near the Esch farm and called Joy. She invited Joy to go horseback riding with her on that warm afternoon. Joy agreed and offered to meet her at Bender Creek Road turnoff on the Lapp-Bontrager Road. Joy let her shiny, black horse, Raven, trot, enjoying the slight breeze that bounced her bright red braid back and forth. Ever since Daniel Lapp left, she had let her hair grow. Just before Daniel went away, she told him when he came home this August, after a year in Tennessee, she'd be ready to marry him. Hal Lapp had given her lessons in Pennsylvania Dutch and instructions on how to pass the catechism classes. When the time came, she'd pass the classes expected of her by Bishop Bontrager so she could join the church and become Amish. After that, Daniel Lapp and she would wed. First neighbors next to her uncle's farm were Eli and Mary Mast, a young couple about Emma and Adam Keim's age. Their two small girls were hoeing in the garden. The fair-haired little beauties, with beaming smiles, glanced up and waved at Joy. Joy noted the saying dangling from the Mast's black mailbox was Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they are there. On the fence post next to the driveway was a sign painted with block letters that stated For Sale Eggs Fresh Vegetables Fruit No Sunday Sales The last line was added for the benefit of Englishers who didn't know that the Amish didn't do business on Sundays. Mary Mast had a large flock of hens, so she probably had plenty of eggs for sale right now. The vegetables would be ready soon, and the fruit afterward throughout the summer. Behind the garden was an orchard with apples, plums, cherries and peaches. The trees were beautiful to behold as each variety of fruit took turns blooming. As she rode past the Nisely farm, Daniel's friend, Jimmie Miller, raised his hand in a wave and continued on to the henhouse with a five-gallon bucket of water. The breeze caused the sign under the Nisely mailbox to flutter. It read, Great peace they have that love the Lord. At the intersection was Chicken Plucker Jonah Stolfus's dairy farm. Jonah was hooking his six golden draft horses up to a disk in front of his new dairy barn. Across the road from the barn, Davie Stolfus was coming out of the house. He waved and walked away, dragging his left leg along. Daniel told Joy he broke his leg in a riding accident, and his leg didn't heal right. First place on the Lapp–Bontrager Road was Bishop Bontrager's farm. Jane Bontrager stopped hoeing in her garden and straightened up to rub her back. Joy waved at her, and Jane waved back. The sign under their mailbox said God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. Reading all the mailbox signs made Joy want to paint one for their mailbox. She'd have to talk to Aunt Nora and find out if she had a favorite saying. As Joy rode past John and Hallie Lapp's farm, she right away noticed the yard was quiet. Their three smaller children, Redbird, Beth, and Johnnie must be taking a nap. Their dog, Biscuit, must be napping under the porch swing. Maybe he was getting hard of hearing. Otherwise, he would be barking at her. Suddenly, memories of how badly she missed Daniel came rushing in on her, creating a ladened weight in her chest. Joy pushed the thought away. Daniel wasn't here. As much as she missed him, she just couldn't dwell on him right now. If she didn't put him out of her mind, the sad feelings would ruin her whole afternoon. Joy reached the Bender Creek Road turnoff before Melinda did. She dismounted and stretched her legs. In a few minutes, Melinda came trotting down the road on her red horse, Sam, waving a greeting. They rode along Bender Creek Road with their horses at a walk so they could talk. Melinda said, “I have been thinking. We should have a change from camping out by Buggy Creek this summer. Try a new place, ain't so?” Listening to the horses' hooves clip-clop on the hard dirt road, Joy shrugged. “I am perfectly willing to camp in a new spot. Have you got a place in mind on your farm?” “How about we camp out here in Bender Creek timber?” Melinda suggested, rubbing her fingers up and down her reins. “That is a perfectly horrible idea,” Joy declared. “Those beer keg parties the teens attend get pretty rough. They never know when the sheriff is going to send his deputies out to raid a party. I don't want to get mixed up in one of those raids and get arrested. That would send Uncle Jim and Aunt Nora ballistic for sure.” “You are right about that. My folks would not be happy with me either.” Melinda rode quietly for a time like she was giving what Joy said proper thought. “Doesn't look like a good idea to go wading in the swimming hole right now,” Joy joked as she pointed toward the tumbling water. Melinda frowned. “Jah, we would drown for sure if we tried.” “I've watched the water rise in Buggy Creek the last few days. If the creek goes over its banks, I may have to move my sheep, the horses and cow up by the barn,” Joy shared. When they reached the red covered bridge across Bender Creek, Melinda arched her back and rubbed it. “After we walk the horses across the bridge, I need to stretch my legs before we ride on. For some reason, I have been getting cramps in my right leg calf.” “Fine with me,” Joy agreed. The wooden floor of the bridge made the horses' clip-clops thud twice as loud. The girls felt safer, leading their horses through the bridge. When the noises made the horses nervous, Joy and Melinda rubbed their faces and talked soothingly to them. That was enough to keep the horses calm. About midway through the bridge, the horses became used to the noise. They figured out nothing was going to harm them. Once they were off the noisy, wooden floor, the girls led their horses over to the side of the road where they could graze grass and calm down. Joy became enthusiastic as she took in the timber scene around them. “I love spring so much. That's when Mother Nature creates new births; leaves on the trees, wild flowers in the timber and ditches, and baby animals are born for us to watch.” When Melinda didn't reply, Joy glanced toward her friend. Melinda was rubbing her stomach, and her face puckered up like she might cry. “I'm sorry, Melinda. That was an unconscious slip of the tongue on my part. I will try to remember to be more considerate of your feelings from now on.” Melinda drew in a deep breath. “It is all recht. I have to be strong and not think everything said is aimed at my problem.” Joy focused on the dirty water as it rushed under the bridge, making an angry sound. Snow-melt and spring rains had filled Bender Creek as full as Buggy Creek was at home. Near them was a narrow trail into the timber. Joy studied it for a moment. “Looks like someone has been using that trail on a regular basis. The grass has been tromped down. Must be hunters using the path, but I don't think there are any animals or birds in season to hunt right now. It can't be fishermen. River's too full to catch fish.” Melinda nodded and faced her friend. “Joy, I was down that trail recently. I have something I want to show you. Sort of a surprise. Follow me and lead your horse down the path.” She clucked her tongue and pulled on her horse's reins. “Come on, Sam.” Joy looked worried. “Are you sure we can make it with the horses? The underbrush is bound to be extremely dense to get horses very far down the path.” Melinda nodded. “We can make it fine I promise. I have been down this path a few times recently, leading Sam.” She led the way. Joy noted the path did look like it had recently been beaten down for a long ways. The flattened plants in the path had wilted to a dark green color. Joy talked soothingly to Raven when his ears laid back. Her horse was leery of these strange surroundings as bushes tickled him on one side or the other. As they passed under a hickory tree, a squirrel, flattened on top a high limb, barked an angry warning. Raven's head bobbed up. He was on the alert. Joy rubbed his nose. “Easy, Raven. Mr. Squirrel isn't going to bother us. He just wants to warn us to be nice while we walk by his home.” Joy didn't like upsetting Raven. “Melinda, are you sure we can make it through this timber with the horses? I hate to work to hold onto Raven when he's upset. This underbrush and the noises are making him nervous. How much farther are we going?” Melinda glanced back over her shoulder as she kept walking. “Jah, we can make it fine. Like I told you, I have led Sam down this path before. We do not have much farther to go. I promise.” Melinda stopped about five hundred feet into the timber. “We can tie the horses loosely here so they can graze.” She tied Sam to one of the large limbs on a dead log. Joy walked Raven a few feet away from Sam and tied him to another limb. The horses relaxed. Their minds were on snipping the tops out of tender ragweeds, mayapples and pink lady's-slipper orchids around their feet. Joy frowned as she watched the patch of flowers eaten and trampled. If there had been anywhere else to tie the horses, she'd have suggested it. Melinda turned when Joy didn't follow her. “What I want to show you is just on the other side of these multiflora rose bushes.” Melinda parted the branches and disappeared behind the bushes. Joy followed. They stepped into a small clearing. Melinda pointed to a large log. “Sit down for a moment so we can rest.” She eased down and ran her finger up and down the tight seam on the side of her purple dress. “I will be taking the seams in my dresses out again soon if my belly keeps growing.” “You surely will have to enlarge your dresses since I'm sure you will keep growing. I wonder if there is enough seam left to make that dress as big as you will need it.” When Melinda gave her a quizzical look, Joy added, “But I'm no expert about having a baby.” “Nah, and I know I am not,” Melinda said softly. Joy surveyed the open grassy area. “You said you had been here before. Had hunters been using this clearing for a camp? From the way it looks, it has been kept cleared.” Melinda licked her dry lips and fingered one of the ties on her prayer cap. “Nah, the hunters do not know about this clearing, I am pretty sure. That's what I wanted to talk to you about. Remember I said we needed a new place to camp just for a change. This clearing is the place I was thinking about. Lately, I have taken the time to clear away the underbrush and redd up the camping area. I made the path large enough to bring our horses in here with us.” “You have been busy. That was a lot of work for you to do in your condition.” Joy contemplated the area, still doubtful. “Ach, it did not take me long to get rid of a few months' growth. Ben and I had the place looking like this last summer. Ben did most of the work that time,” Melinda admitted. Joy stared at her. “You camped out here with Ben Beiler?” “Nah, we did not camp. We just came here to spend time alone. Mamm and Daed would not have let me stay here all night with Ben,” Melinda said. “I should think you would have such bad memories about this place now that you wouldn't want to come near it,” Joy retorted. “I do not have bad memories about this campsite,” Melinda retorted. “I have always liked coming here.” Joy looked around. “I'm not sure this clearing is perfectly safe for two girls to camp in alone. Not like in my uncle's pasture or near the pond on your farm.” “I know you sounded before like you had doubts when I mentioned camping in Bender Creek timber. That is why I wanted you to see this spot before you made up your mind. This is a big timber, and we are the only ones who know about this clearing. We are far away from the picnic clearing where the keg parties happen. No one would even know we are here. Recht?” Melinda asked, looking hopefully at Joy for her approval. “Well, maybe,” Joy relented. “I wanted a special place like you have. Joy, I chose this for my special place.” Melinda waved her hand in a circle. “Does this meet your approval? Please say jah.” “I truly think everyone needs a special place to call their own. It's just the Bender Creek area is usually so public in the summer. People come just to see the covered bridge and cross it,” Joy reminded Melinda. “People come to see the covered bridge during the day. They would not come after dark. This area is quiet at night when we would be camping here. Take it from me. I have been here enough in the evenings to know what I am talking about. Please say jah.” Joy's stand softened as she saw Melinda's hopeful gaze. “It is your right to pick your special place. I guess if you are happy with this clearing I should be, too. Right now we have to watch the water level. Soon this area may be under water.” “Gute, I will call you from the phone shack when I have a free time to go camping and set it up with you. It is so much fun to camp out when we do it together, my friend. I am looking forward to camping in this new spot in the timber.” Melinda stood up. She was satisfied now that she had persuaded Joy to go camping there. “I have rested long enough. We can go back to riding before the afternoon is gone. My mutter will worry if I am late getting home to do my chores.” Once they were on Lapp–Bontrager Road again, Joy said, “You want to stop by my cousin Hallie's farm with me. We won't stay long. It's just that I haven't visited with Hallie and her children for two weeks.” Melinda eyed Joy with a gleam in her dark eyes. “You sure we are dropping by to visit with Nurse Hal, or is that just an excuse to see if she has had a letter from Daniel Lapp lately.” Joy narrowed her eyes, not liking to be teased about Daniel. Melinda grinned and winked at her. “Maybe a little of both.” Joy admitted sheepishly. If the first chapter sounds interesting, get the rest of the story at the above mentioned places and don't forget to leave a review so others know you read my book. Enjoy Author Fay Risner
Two hens in waiting in the barn. They should hatch June 18th. Both are fenced in to keep the little goats from tromping on them. I'll put the one in the box behind the gate in the loft chicken room, because I can carry that box up the steps. As soon as the one in the hay feeder hatches I'll give her chicks to the hen in the chicken room. Setting hens don't get along when they are put together. They are territorial so they fight, but they don't mind adopting another hen's chicks. I feel lucky to have made it almost three weeks without a raccoon or opossum raiding the barn and stealing these hens. Usually, they would show up about now so I have my fingers crossed (not really) hoping for a safe delivery for both hens.
I love watching the animals and chickens at my place. My observations turn into moments in my books which add realism to the characters' stories. One morning last week I pulled foxtail out of the daylilies and bluebells. I knew about the tunnel through the bluebells, because I saw a hen using it. I'd glanced in the plants as I walked by but didn't see any eggs so I figured the hen was looking for bugs. While I was weeding I found the nest behind the bluebells. The hen is in for a surprise when she comes back to lay again. I made sure the eggs were gone. That was not a good place for a hen to start a family with wild animals roaming across the yard in the night. That afternoon about four PM, as usual, my husband and I were sitting on the front porch, me drinking ice tea and he drinking coffee. A blonde feathered hen with a bright red neck and head eased over to the bluebells and ducked into the tunnel. In a few seconds, she came back out, looking confused, as if she was wondering where she had put her nest. She walked along the bluebells to the clumps of daylilies and entered again to take another look. This time she came out of the bluebell tunnel "mad as a wet hen" and expelled some x-rated caws as she announced whoever took her eggs better bring them back. Then she stalked away. The next afternoon, the hen came back and made a trip into the bluebells to see if her demand had produced the eggs. She came back out right away and quietly left with a subdued sense that this is a hen's fate in life, laying eggs that always mysteriously disappear.
Mi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Entre el Amish Standard Fay RMi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Among The Amish – el segundo libro ya está disponible en Smashwords como libro electrónico y libro en rústica. Fay Risner, en el Libro dos de su serie de Enfermeras Hal Amish, vincula el mundo moderno con el modo de vida atemporal de los Amish cuando la enfermera Hallie Lindstrom se enamora del viudo Amís John Lapp. Esta es una mirada fascinante a dos culturas diferentes en un intrincado y rico tapiz de un ambiente Amish tradicional en el sur de Iowa. La forma de vida sencilla de Amish, basada en la fe, las convicciones y la honestidad, se entrelazan en esta historia de amor entre una mujer inglesa y un hombre Amish. Hallie Lindstrom, Enfermera de Salud en el Hogar, tiene el pelo rojo cobre, afición por los pantalones vaqueros y posee un sedán de cobre que inhibe la aceptación de la comunidad Amish de ella. Luchando con su decisión de convertirse a Amish, Hallie se da cuenta de que si le permiten casarse con John Lapp, las posesiones mundanas que ella valora tienen que ir. Viudo amish, la paciencia de John Lapp con Hallie se agota cuando ella se molesta por haber ayudado a una bonita viuda de los Amish, Roseanna Miller, en su granja. John señala que el total rechazo de Hal de las costumbres inglesas y la total obediencia hacia él es la única forma en que se casará con ella. Teme que su amor por ella no sea suficiente para mantenerla en la fe Amish si ella no puede seguir su camino. Stella Strutt, obstinada Old Order Amish, está decidida a deshacerse de Hallie convirtiendo a la comunidad en su contra. Hallie tiene que decidir si es lo suficientemente fuerte como para renunciar a su estilo de vida para ser Amish por siempre, hacer una vida en la comunidad administrando una clínica médica en la granja de Lapp y soportar a Stella Strutt hablando mal de ella y la clínica por la eternidad . Mi versión en español de El final del arco iris – Enfermera Hal Among The Amish – el segundo libro ya está disponible en Smashwords como libro electrónico y libro en rústica. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/796790
Every quilt has a story. Most quilts made by homemakers is made from scraps of material. In my case, I’ve been using material inherited from my mother as well as my own pieces. The quilts I’m putting together now will be wedding gifts for great nieces and nephews. Some times I think I should have started sooner. They have grown up way too fast. This quilt's story is packaged with the quilt as part of the gift. On the back of the quilt is the Made With Loving Care from Fay Risner label and the date embroidered beside it. It was my thought that this quilt and the others might serve as heirlooms for the recipients. This queen size Iowa Wild Rose quilt pattern was designed by Fay Risner. The wild roses and leaves were hand embroidered by Fay Risner and blocks constructed to match the size of the diamond blocks. This was done in February and March of 2016 while Fay was confined to her recliner due to a foot injury. The wild rose is Iowa's state flower. Years ago, wild roses bloomed alongside the roads and in the ditches. Over time, the roses have disappeared after the ditches were sprayed with weed kill. So if you come across a wild rose bush, stop and take a good look at it. That plant will be gone the next time you pass that way. Or, you can do what I did. Dig that plant up and transplant it into your yard where you can enjoy what is now a rare flower. A forgotten embroidering stitch called twilling is now making a comeback and was used as a frame around the rose blocks. Fay saw the twilling stitch for the first time while at the Rose Festival Quilt show in State Center, Iowa with Kathy Wisecarver in 2017. She googled the stitch on the computer, and practiced it so she could use it to frame the roses. The diamond blocks were made from vintage, fifties and sixties material and passed on to Fay Risner by her 97 year old aunt in Centerville, Iowa who had been given the blocks by a friend. They were constructed in to a twelve inch block by that friend which sped up the sewing on the quilt top. It took Fay Risner three weeks to cut the rose block pieces and sew the quilt top in her spare time in 2016. Working in the evenings while watching television, Fay hand quilted the quilt in two months time - November and December 2017. It took her another week in January 2018 to buttonhole stitch with embroidery thread the butterflies in the diamond blocks. It's Fay's belief, since she loves butterflies, that every flower patterned quilt should have a few butterflies in the design. May this quilt keep you warm and give you fond memories of Fay Risner
I am Fay Risner, an independent author. Over the years, I’ve built up a fan base for my books. The positive comments from readers please me and bolster my ego. I have email contact with many of the people who buy my books. Sometimes, we chat about what is going on in our lives. We have become cyberspace friends. Some of them send me Christmas cards. It makes me smile when the card says Merry Christmas followed by when will your next book be ready to buy. Don’t forget to put me on your mailing list. The feedback from people after they read my books let me know they enjoy my writing. That spurs me on to self-publish another book. Years ago, I came across a list of one hundred and fifty agents that I could email three chapters of a manuscript. I did it. I had many replies from agencies that didn’t handle Amish romance fiction. Five agents replied they liked my story but had as many authors as they could handle at the moment. They had to turn me down. That was my first and last try to find an agent. I have remained independent with my bookstore online and my books for sale in the usual places. I became a legit publisher and published two books for relatives. In each of my books is written Booksbyfay Publisher with my email address. Not too hard to do a little searching, and anyone who is interested can find my phone number. In May of last year, I found a message on my answering machine from a man who said he was a marketing agent for a publishing company. The company’s name was muffled, but the man’s name and his phone number weren’t. He said his book scout pointed out one of my books in a foreign language had potential. The agent stumbled over pronouncing the title of the book and apologized for that. For one second, I thought the man wanted to talk to me about being my agent. Before I called him back, I decided to google the man’s name and research him. His name would be connected to the publisher he worked for so I would have that information, too. You would think the head marketing agent for a publisher would be easy to find. He wasn’t so I ignored the call. Now fast forward to August of last year. Another marketing agent called and left a message. I clearly heard the publishing company, his name and phone number. This agent wanted to discuss the same book the previous agent was interested in. His book scout told him the book had potential. Much of what the man said sounded as if he used the same script the other agent used. More google searches and I came up empty handed so I ignored the call. That is until I answered the phone one day and found I was talking to the agent. He said foreign books were in demand. He wanted me to fly to Miami, Florida to a book fair and talk to people about my book. I listened politely, and my answer was no. He didn’t estimate what this promotional trip was going to cost me or what I would owe his company and him. As we talked, he brought up my books on Amazon. Maybe if I wasn’t interested in the trip, I might hire his company to publish my books and make my book covers. I declined. So far, I am out very little upfront by publishing at Create Space and designing my own covers. The agent wasn’t ready to give up on me yet. He said he might call back. I said I’d be glad to talk to him, but my answer would still be no. He hasn’t called. Recently, a woman agent from California called. Her book scout pointed out one of my western books had potential. She asked if I knew Amazon was giving my book a favorable ranking. I said no, but I didn’t bother to point out to her that book hasn’t sold a copy in years. The rank on Amazon would match my book’s no sales. She wanted me to go to a book fair in New York. I could meet someone who wanted to turn the book into a movie? I shouldn’t pass up the chance to promote the book. I’d only be paying a share of the expenses. She didn’t say what the dollar amount might be. I told her I wasn’t interested several times. Finally, she asked if she could send me her proposal by email so I could look at it since she went through the information fairly fast. I said sure. I’d like a chance to look at what she emailed me. That proposal didn’t come. This was a friendly, persuasive young woman I was talking with, but I politely said no thank you. Did I believe her sales pitch about my western with the great ranking getting published or made into a western? My thought was she needed her book scout to have suggested one of my other books if the agent wanted to sound creditable. Anyone can look up the ranks for their books on Amazon and find out she wasn’t telling the truth. Besides, western movies are rare these days. A script writer would have to work hard to turn my G-rated western book into a manuscript a movie producer would approve for today’s western movies. So my final words were thank you for calling, but I’m not interested. Right away I googled the agent and her publisher. This time I found the company has a site, and the agents are noted for their scams so stay away from them. If you, the writer, didn’t contact an agent about a manuscript, beware of agents that calls you and seems eager to help you sell your book. You will hear repeated phrases like great rating on Amazon, book scout, book fair, no limit to the book’s potential even a movie. If you are interested, ask the agent questions. Hang up and research the agent and publisher. You can always call them back if you decide they are legit. My last words to the agent from California was though I had to turn her down, I’d be sure to tell others that an agent called me. That’s what I’m doing. Although, I’m afraid I mislead the agent to think my conversations about her call were only going to be with family and friends.
A woman that has worn many hats in my life time. Join me here and find out about those hats.