Tuesday, February 28, 2017

March Novel Essential Information

Novel Title: Disrupted
Time Setting: 1870
Genre: Historical Fiction
Minimum Word Goal: 90,000
Timespan: March–June
Locations: White Pine, Montana Territory; Pontiac, Michigan
Main Characters: Ezra MacAskill, Gwendolen Devereux
Background Information:
Ezra was born the ninth child and sixth son of thirteen children to a cooper and his wife who emigrated to Pennsylvania from Scotland in 1831. He was the first of the children his parents had in the US who lived beyond his first year, which led to him being rather doted on by his mother, something that annoyed his father and led to his father giving him a rougher treatment.
When he was twelve his mother died in a wagon accident; her passing took a toll on Ezra and his father, who put Ezra and his four younger siblings in the care of their oldest sister and her husband.
Subsequently, when he was sixteen, his father died, mostly from depression at the loss of his wife. At that time Ezra decided to strike out on his own. Within a year he met a fetching young woman in Ohio. He worked for her father for three years while waiting for her to be of marriageable age.
Once they were married the young couple set out west, but the rigours of travel were hard on his wife and their efforts to start a family. As a result, she convinced Ezra to stop in Illinois for a time, in which they were able to have a son.
Ezra, not wanting to sit still, then moved his family again and got them as far as Missouri before she got him to stop again and they had another son. At Ezra's insistence they moved on again rather shortly, although she had conceived again, and got as far as Independence, Missouri before she miscarried and developed an infection which claimed her life.
After taking her body back to Ohio to be buried in the family plot per her request, Ezra returned to Independence to join a wagon train bound for Oregon.
In Nebraska, however, his younger son fell ill, forcing him to leave the train. His son was saved through medical intervention and Ezra found that he himself had developed an unexpected affection toward the doctor's daughter.
They were married shortly and after that set out westward again, joining a different Oregon-bound train. While they were travelling his new wife conceived and successfully carried the child despite their continued travel.
As her delivery date and winter neared they stopped off in Butte, Montana Territory, so that she could have a safe delivery. They both found Montana to be liable, however, and planned to seek a homestead there in the spring.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck again as Ezra's wife lost too much blood while bringing their daughter into the world, leaving Ezra twice widowed with two boisterous young sons and an infant daughter.
After his daughter gained enough strength, Ezra set out from Butte and found a suitable homestead near the town of White Pine; there he buried his second wife — per her request — and got work at a nearby ranch.
He hasn't sought a wife since, but has instead raised his children on his own, save the help of a fellow hand's wife.

Gwendolen was born the youngest daughter and second youngest child of six children to a wool milling and carriage manufacturing magnate and his wife who are among some of the elite millionaires in Pontiac.
As such, she has received a good education and has been bred to be a proper young woman who spends her days in social engagements, obeys her parents implicitly, and hardly has to lift a finger.
Recently her parents have arranged to have her married to a handsome widower who owns a profitable grist-milling business and has been sought after by many women since his wife's unfortunate demise.
Even though he's twice her age and she doesn't really harbour that terribly much affection for him, like a good daughter, Gwendolen intends to do as her parents wish and marry him, taking solace in the fact that he is not in the least boring, like her sister's husbands are.

Pronunciation:
Devereux: dehvehruh

Novel begins on March 1.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 15

Word Total: 90,019

Year to Date: 210,041

Summary of Events:
Brandt tried once more to get a reason out of his dad, but got nothing, which left him angry. Lark sat up late thinking through what her dad told her before finally getting into bed and crying herself to sleep. Brandt went over to see Lark and apologise to her for his dad's behaviour; Lark then told him what her dad had told her the day before and Brandt got more than a little mad when he heard that his dad had taken a quarter of land from her and her sisters, and so went home to confront his father . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Brandt's long stride quickly carried him to be face to face with his father, a fistful of Carhartt brown cotton in his hand.
"Of all the low-down wretches in the world," Brandt growled. "I have to call you my father."
"Brandt, what is this?" his dad asked.
"You thief!" Brandt shouted, then swore.
"What are you talking about?" his dad asked.
"I'm talking about the Szekelys," Brandt spat. "And how you stole their rightful inheritance from them!"
"We bought that field together," his dad growled.
Brandt swore. "If you really bought that field then show me the deed!"
"You don't need to see it," his dad said firmly.
"Then you're lying," Brandt said. "If you can't even show your own son the deeds to all the land you've purchased then you're hiding something."
"I am not lying!" his dad shouted, giving him a shove.
"Then show me the deed," Brandt warned.
"No," his dad replied.
"Show it to me!" Brandt shouted, firing his fist into his dad's right eye.
His dad bellowed and hit him with a fist in the jaw.
Brandt slugged a vicious volley of lefts at his dad's face and started to press his dad backwards.
His dad got a right fist into Brandt's left eye. Brandt slammed his fist into his dad's nose several times in return before getting a couple of hard rights to his jaw, and then another one to his forehead.
Brandt tried to get his dad backed up against the leg of the granary they were close to, but his dad held his ground and threw some rights into Brandt's ribcage. Brandt slammed his fist into his dad's shoulder repeatedly before hitting him with a shot in the throat.
The blow prompted his dad to bellow again and swing around, slamming Brandt into the granary leg. He felt a sharp pain in his forehead and felt rather dazed as he let go of his dad and they both fell down.
Warm fluid, likely blood, started running down Brandt's face, but he pulled himself up quickly and jumped onto his dad, driving a knee deep into his dad's abdomen before flinging more lefts at his dad's head.
His dad, roaring and growling at the pain, groped the ground before coming up with a jagged, fist-sized rock that he grabbed. Brandt went to block him, but still ended up getting grazed on the cheek due to the rough texture.
Dropping the rock, his dad flung several wild rights at Brandt's body before one struck Brandt rather low, and hard.
Brandt released his dad and curled up in a momentary grimace before unfolding and surging to his feet, where he threw two hard knees into the same low spot his dad had struck with his fist.
His dad dropped to the ground, groaning in agony. Brandt's sides heaved as he stood over his dad, ignoring the pain throughout his body. He saw a familiar vehicle out the corner of his eye and looked up to see Lark's Jeep, with her inside, staring at him in horror."

Next post will be February 28.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 14

Word Count: 84,035

Summary of Events:
After watching the riotously funny Christmas Eve play Brandt invited Lark over for Christmas Day and ended up having an unfriendly encounter with Lark's maternal grandfather. Lark went over to the Remingtons' and spent a few rather tortured minutes in Brandt's messy bedroom — due to its condition — while Brandt freshened up before being ordered to leave by Mr. Remington when Brandt went to introduce her to the family. Brandt tried to goad an answer out of his dad, but was frustrated in all of his efforts and gave up when part of his Christmas gift was threatened. Lark's dad came home from working in the wood shop at his parents' place and told her what had caused the Szekely–Remington rift: Mr. Remington and Lark's mother had engaged in an affair . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""We lived that way for a year, Manley making no move to marry her, despite their cohabitation," he said, regaining his voice somewhat. "Then, in her usual hurry, being as she wasn't very good at being on time, usually because she didn't leave soon enough, she pulled out to pass someone without checking and was absolutely obliterated by a semi."
A thought struck Lark, but she didn't voice it. The few times she'd visited her mother's grave she'd noticed that it said Harriette Kemsley. She'd never really thought of it as a clue to what had happened, but it'd been sitting in front of her all this time.
"After her death I was called to her lawyer's office," he continued, his composure regained. "Her lawyer asked me if Manley had contacted me, as she'd left a piece of land to you girls. A quarter. I said I hadn't been contacted, but I would contact Manley."
Lark shifted her jaw.
"I went to Manley and told him that she'd left a piece of land to you girls," he went on, his voice shaking again. "He told me they'd bought it together, but refused to show me the deed for the piece in particular — which I had the legal land description of. I told him her daughters needed something and tried to get him to show me the deed, but he refused to and nothing I could do would convince him."
Thinking of Mr. Remington's imposing figure, Lark could see how he wouldn't easily be moved.
"Finally he said he would liquidate her assets that he had — which had any monetary value — and in the end I got about a thousand dollars, being as her car had been totalled and thus was unable to be sold," he said. "The piece of land was worth over a quarter of a million dollars. I put the thousand dollars into a savings account, to which I added a percentage of my own pay and that's where the money from Phoebe's wedding came from, and you and Wren will both be allowed to get as much as she did for your weddings, the remainder will be divvied among you three either when I retire, or when everything else gets divided up when I die."
Lark didn't want to think about her dad being dead, and she didn't have to long, as other thoughts quickly overwhelmed it.
First there was the rather reviling thought that she'd met the man who'd destroyed her parents' marriage, and the somewhat heartbreaking thought that she was friends — to say the least — with his son, and the even more heartbreaking thought that her mother would've abandoned her father, much less her and her sisters, for another man.
Being a person who wanted to think the best of everyone, and had always thought her mother had been a good and nice person who'd died in an unfortunate accident, Lark felt shattered that her mother would've been so selfish."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 13

Word Count: 78,035

Summary of Events:
Lark got surrounded by Haylee and Anne at the church Christmas potluck and grilled about Brandt and the possibility of engagement. Brandt watched the chaos which was present opening at his Mom's house and made some disturbing discoveries about his sister before leaving early. Lark welcomed Brandt inside and had lunch with him at Christmas Eve before they opened presents; Brandt's gift overwhelmed Lark to the point of tears, prompting her dad to take her to her room to have a quiet talk . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Lark, what's the matter sweetheart?" her dad asked.
"He spent so much money on me," Lark sobbed. "This coat's two hundred dollars, and the shirt's sixty five, and the scarf and the necklace couldn't have been cheap either."
Her dad pulled her gently against his chest and rocked her there in an embrace. Lark sobbed into his shirt, somewhat relaxed by the familiar scents that made up her father.
"He loves you Lark," her dad whispered. "Surely you know that."
Lark nodded against his chest. "He told me in November."
"Part of love is giving gifts, you know that, I saw you reading that book," her dad said.
Lark pulled away and looked at her dad. "Within reason though."
"Brandt has the money for this to be nothing to him," her dad said, looking at her seriously. "He doesn't need to worry about saving things up or anything like that because there's more money to be had. This is, for him, within reason. Besides, it's not worth fussing over, you should appreciate it. I'm impressed he was able to get your size right, and with how tastefully he made his selections."
"But am I that special Daddy?" Lark asked.
"Yes," her dad replied. "Especially to him."
Lark sighed somewhat shakily. She was grateful to have received these things, but she felt like it was too much all at once.
Her dad opened his mouth to speak, but a knock on the door silenced him. Lark let him go answer the door.
Brandt came in, looking terribly tortured.
"She's overwhelmed is all," her dad said as Brandt looked at her. "She's not used to receiving this much, much less this much with this kind of value."
"And I didn't even buy you the shirt," Lark said, sobs convulsing her again.
Arms came around her and held her close, a desperation in the hold she knew could only be Brandt.
"It doesn't matter," Brandt whispered. "It doesn't matter. I got a kid's toy, a shirt fit for rags, a can cooler more appropriate for someone at least twenty years my senior, and some party lights from my mom. You actually listened to what I wanted and got me things that I like. It doesn't matter how much you spent compared to me. You'd spend more on me than my mom any day."
Lark's jaw trembled as she looked at him when he pulled away. He stroked the tears off her cheeks with his thumbs.
"The fact that what you gave me had some thought and care in it means more than anything," he whispered.
Lark stroked at her eyes.
Brandt clasped her shoulders and looked her in the eye. "I'm happy Lark, stop fussing."
He pulled her back into an embrace and held her close. Lark still felt rather overwhelmed, but she was also glad that Brandt appreciated her gift."

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 12

Word Count: 72,004

Summary of Events:
While baking Lark explored potential gift ideas for Brandt, but wasn't sure if she could justify spending as much as $30 more on him than she had everyone else. Brandt woke up in the middle of the night after having gone out with a different girl and felt rather distressed. While Lark was getting ready for church Brandt came to the door to apologise about what he'd done, which took a rather long time. Brandt came to the church the week after and was invited by Lark to come to their Christmas Eve gathering before he took her home to get lunch ready; when her dad got home Brandt took him aside to ask some questions . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"So she hasn't realised she's in love with me yet?" Brandt asked.
"That's what I'd say," Mr. Szekely replied. "And with what I've heard about you I can see why she'd be in love with you. She's a sensitive individual who sometimes feels badly about stepping outside because of all of the snowflakes she's going to destroy without being able to appreciate their individual beauty, and above all she feels it's her personal duty to make everyone happy to the best of her abilities. You have lived a somewhat unhappy existence, therefore she's taking it upon herself to do everything she can to make you happy."
"And so that's why she'll kind of cry quickly and unpredictably?" Brandt asked.
"Yes," Mr. Szekely replied.
"Although, I mean, the time with Old Winterholt I wasn't exactly surprised." Brandt said.
"With whom?" Mr. Szekely asked.
"Mrs. Winterholt," Brandt replied. "She makes biannual visits to the staging area to complain about the noise. When we went out snowmobiling in November she came out and actually brought the cops with her, and they did a licensing and registration sting, but let us be otherwise. Anyways, the cops had asked for Lark's license even though she didn't have a vehicle and she took off her helmet to help them identify her face and Mrs. Winterholt recognised her and made a comment, I don't remember what it was, and then I think Lark was the one who said her mom had died when she was young and then Mrs. Winterholt said good riddance."
"About Harriette?" Mr. Szekely asked.
"Yeah," Brandt replied. "There's no love lost toward the Kemsleys with Mrs. Winterholt. She wants to ride them all out of town apparently. So then Lark started crying, but I wasn't surprised, I was about ready to give Mrs. Winterholt my fist, but she's an old lady, and we were in front of the cops, so I didn't, I just gave her my best evil eye."
Mr. Szekely sighed, a sad expression coming over his face.
Brandt waited for Mr. Szekely to make further comment, but he didn't. Reverend Joseph and his wife showed up shortly thereafter anyways, effectively ending the conversation as Mr. Szekely moved off to take his parent's coats.
As much as his questions about Lark had been answered, Brandt still felt no closer to getting answers about what had happened between his dad and Lark's mom, but Brandt wasn't sure it was the traffic accident that Lark thought it was. But then again, Mrs. Winterholt could've just been biased against Lark's mom because she'd been born a Kemsley and Mrs. Winterholt seemed to have issues with them as a family.
Regardless of what it was, there was also Mr. Szekely's own comments the week before about how his dad's selfishness had broken up his marriage, and would've broken it up no matter who was involved that also left Brandt wondering."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 11

Word Count: 66,007

Summary of Events:
Lark was wrapping the Christmas presents she'd bought or finished making already when Brandt came over and they discussed what they wouldn't mind for Christmas from each other. Brandt then took Lark out snowmobiling where Nick caused some trouble that led to Brandt giving him another thrashing, they then headed home early after police showed up at the behest of the lady who usually complained about their snowmobiling and quading, even though they weren't in the wrong . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""If he can get back, of course," Brandon said.
"Why?" the officer asked.
"He was in a wreck," Brandt replied. "His snowmobile might not be able to drive."
"Has no one gone and helped him?" the officer asked.
"Yeah, they've helped him," Brandt lied. "Other than getting his snowmobile out, they'll possibly do that later, if they're not too drunk."
"There's drinking involved?" the female officer asked, finally speaking.
"There always is," Brandt replied. "Once all the riding's done. We have a whole site set up, kind of like a day-use area, except we use it at night."
"Oh?" the male officer said.
"Would you like me to take you to it?" Brandon asked.
"If you please," the male officer replied.
Brandon got onto his snowmobile and two officers got on behind him. Brandt watched silently as they sped off, he then looked toward Mrs. Winterholt.
"I can't believe you," Mrs. Winterholt said. "Just as snakelike as your father."
Brandt glared at her viciously, still holding Lark.
"You ought to just leave well enough alone, just like your father couldn't," Mrs. Winterholt said. "Going after–"
"I don't want to hear it," Brandt interrupted, releasing Lark to seize the front of Mrs. Winterholt's jacket and pull her up to his face. "I get hated on enough for being myself, I don't need to be hated on for being related to my father."
Releasing Mrs. Winterholt, Brandt gave Lark her license back and escorted her to his truck.
"We're going home," he said.
While she got inside Brandt climbed onto his snowmobile and loaded it into his truck before climbing into the driver's seat and heading for the field exit.
"Why did you lie to the police?" Lark asked.
"Because Nick deserved what he got," Brandt replied. "You aren't a prize to be had by just anyone."
"Like you," Lark said.
"I'm sorry Lark," Brandt said. "I . . ."
He closed his mouth. Lark said nothing either.
"I'm trying," Brandt whispered. "I know you don't want to. I'm trying."
"Why?" Lark asked.
Brandt pulled over into a field driveway and looked at Lark. He took her hand and looked her in the eyes.
"Because I love you Lark," he replied. "I'm sure of it. I want to make you happy. But it's hard. I've never done it before."
He saw tears in Lark's eyes, and a bit of a smile on her face.
"I'm sorry Brandt," she whispered. "I just felt like I was being used, almost like a means to an end."
"I've always wanted to Lark," Brandt said. "And I don't know, maybe I'll be able to convince myself marriage is something we could do, but I'm not there yet. If you'll be able to be okay with me with all this struggling."
Lark nodded.
"I don't want to lose you to someone else Lark," Brandt whispered.
Lark pulled her hand free of Brandt's hold and put her gloved fingers against Brandt's lips.
"Just take me home," she whispered."

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 10

Word Count: 60,010

Summary of Events:
Brandt had lunch with Lark and was invited to Thanksgiving, which he accepted before helping Lark change her tire because it'd been punctured by a screwdriver. Lark saw Brandt arrive at church and brought him to where the family was sitting and introduced him to her oldest sister, who'd come for Thanksgiving. After the service they went to Lark's grandparents' house for Thanksgiving dinner, which all Larks aunts, uncles, and cousins were in attendance at; being as Brandt was the guest he got to eat first and then watched as one of Lark's aunts sat down . . . 

Excerpt of the Day:
""My name is Hannah Lancaster," she said, looking at Brandt pointedly. "This is my husband Stephen."
Mr. Lancaster looked at Brandt and nodded. Brandt nodded in return.
"You're Manley's son?" Mrs. Lancaster asked.
"Yeah," Brandt replied.
"I thought Manley only had girls," Mrs. Lancaster said.
"Just about," Brandt replied. "But Orr and I got in there to break up the monotony,"
"Orr," Mrs. Lancaster said, looking down as she separated her turkey. "Is he named after Bobby Orr?"
"No," Brandt replied. "It's short for Orrell, and I don't know what kind of name that is other than one Dad found somewhere."
"Are you Glenna's son?" Mrs. Lancaster asked.
"Yeah," Brandt replied. "There's Cass, Candi, me, then Mom and Dad broke up and Dad had Orr with some other girl, but they didn't even get married, and then Dad married Ron and they've had five girls. Ku Klux Klan Keeps Killing."
"What!?" Lark exclaimed, turning to look at Brandt with appall.
"That's my acronym for them being as they all start with K," Brandt replied.
"That's terrible," Lark said.
"My friends joked that they were the KKK when there was just three of them, so that's kind of where I pulled it from," Brandt said.
"I should hope Brandon wasn't one of them," Lark said.
"I've told you he's my conscience, haven't I?" Brandt asked. "Of course he wasn't."
"What are their actual names?" Mrs. Lancaster asked.
"Karlie, Kelsie, Kennedie, Kimberlie, and Kourtnie," Brandt replied. "Oldest is ten, youngest is one."
"So my guess is your father and . . . Ron are still married?" Mrs. Lancaster asked.
"Yeah," Brandt replied. "Unfortunately."
"Marriage is important," Mrs. Lancaster said.
"Ron is terrible," Brandt said. "I would've preferred Dad remarry Mom or marry Orr's mom, or marry someone else entirely than marry Ron, but he went and married Ron."
"Oh?" Mrs. Lancaster said.
"She wants him to look like a hipster, eat like a vegan, and spend all his free time with his family," Lark replied.
"Oh my," Mrs. Lancaster said.
"Anyone but Ron," Brandt said, shaking his head.
"Is her name Ronalda or something?" Mr. Lancaster asked.
"No," Brandt replied. "Think Archie Comics."
Mr. Lancaster shifted his jaw.
"Main character, female, rich," Brandt said.
"Veronica," Mr. Lancaster said.
"Yep," Brandt replied.
"Has your mother had any children aside from those she had with your father?" Mrs. Lancaster asked.
"Two girls and a boy with a guy who I think works at an auction yard or something in Strathmore," Brandt replied. "She's married him now too."
Mrs. Lancaster nodded. "Do your sisters have children?"
"Cass has three, two girls and a boy, oldest is seven," Brandt replied. "She's married."
Mrs. Lancaster nodded again.
"Candi has four, three boys, one girl, all with different fathers, and she's never been married," Brandt replied. "Dropped out of high school to have the first one."
"That's a shame," Mrs. Lancaster said.
"Kinda, yeah," Brandt said. "She was in grade twelve.""

Friday, February 10, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 9

Word Count: 54,017

Summary of Events:
Lark and her grandparents worked on pulling, trimming, cleaning, and sorting carrots in preparation for pickling and freezing before having a lengthy discussion about Brandt over lunch. Brandt found that his stepmom had provided the lunch, so he gave his aunt a crash-course in combine driving so he could take her SUV and go have lunch with Lark. Lark — as a result of comments made when Brandt came for lunch — brought Brandt lunch and got thinking about Brandt kissing her . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Unless it was just the kisses themselves, in the sense of the whole fact that he was even kissing her was what she didn't like.
But yet she liked it when people — especially her grandpa and her dad — hugged her, including Brandt.
Hugging, though, was something everyone did, it was something that was done between friends, and sometimes even strangers, for congratulations, a showing of solidarity, comfort, or even love.
Kissing, on the other hand, was much deeper, and it was a much more romantic thing that happened. Lark shifted her jaw.
She had felt odd at the lake when Brandt had called her his girlfriend — as well as his conscience — and she didn't actually like the idea of thinking of herself as his girlfriend, they were just friends.
But were they? Well, technically, no. She had no other guy friends in her life that Brandt was just one of a number of, and he'd pretty much given up on all the other girls he knew and had associated with — to say the least — previously.
She had other female friends, and he had other male friends, but they were the only friends that they each had of the opposite gender. Therefore, in the due process of logic, they were boyfriend and girlfriend.
Lark gathered her lips as she thought about it. She didn't know that she liked that idea, and yet, for at least two years that was exactly what she'd been wanting. She wanted to be married, she wanted to have a husband, she wanted to have a man she loved.
Now she had a man who had to love her, being as he was kissing her. With kissing being an affectionate activity, and Brandt doing it daily — now that she was bringing him lunch — that had to mean he was in love with her.
But, even though she had that man, she almost didn't want him. Lark felt terribly confused. This was what she'd wanted, but now she didn't want it. Why? It wasn't like Brandt wasn't ideal: he was a gentleman, he was respectful, he was friendly, he was likeable, and he was willing to make changes on his end to improve.
No, he wasn't a Christian, but her grandparents were more than convinced that it wouldn't take more than five years for that to change. They even seemed — without saying it outright — to be suggesting that he might well be a Christian within the year, or, if not that, a year of them meeting.
With that being the case, it didn't really matter, then, that he wasn't now, as he was open and willing to change and head in that sort of direction and possibly be one sooner versus later.
So then what was her sticking point? Why didn't she like it?"

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 8

Word Count: 48,020

Summary of Events:
Brandt, to his disappointment, was confined to a combine instead of driving truck as he usually did during harvest, and he was pretty sure it was so his dad could keep an eye on him due to his latest act against his stepmom. Lark was baking and Brandt came over because it was raining out; they talked awhile before Lark's sister came home and the two of them started arguing so Lark called her grandparents. Brandt and Lark's sister's staredown was interrupted by the arrival of the grandparents . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Despite the intimidating presence of her grandfather, Brandt was surprised how long it took before Wren finally responded to him begrudgingly, looking at him with a lesser glare than she'd been directing Brandt's way the entire time as they left the room.
Reverend Joseph's wife followed them a ways, then turned around and beckoned to Brandt.
Quietly Brandt got up, followed her into the living room, and sat down beside her on the couch.
"I'm not trying to be mean or anything," Brandt said quietly. "I mean, when I ran into Lark and her friends at the mall I got a little mean with them, sort of, and Lark took me to task on that, and I kinda put some effort into trying to be nice today because of that — I've been chained to a combine for twenty hours a day otherwise so I haven't really had an opportunity elsewhere."
"That's good to hear," she said.
"I was just trying to make Lark feel better because she was just kinda feeling off," Brandt said. "And Wren came in and started pointing fingers."
She sighed. "Her mother was much the same, very reactionary, and it kills a gentle creature like Lark on a regular basis."
Brandt nodded.
"But the whole situation doesn't help," she said.
"What situation?" Brandt asked.
"Your being a Remington," she replied.
"I feel like that carries a lot more meaning than I realise," Brandt said.
"It does," she said.
"Why?" Brandt asked.
"I don't feel it's my place to tell you," she replied. "Your father should tell you."
"Oh," Brandt said quietly.
"Still, though," she said. "Wren has professed a faith since she was five years old, she's a Christian, she should know better than to be so unkind to you. You shouldn't, really, be the nicer one in this situation when you're not the Christian."
Brandt nodded.
"Wren has been a vexation for some time, though," she said. "The seeds of legalism seem to have taken some root in her, unfortunately."
"I'm sorry for causing trouble," Brandt said.
"No, no, you're not causing trouble," she said.
"I feel like I am," Brandt said. "No matter where I turn I'm causing trouble."
"You aren't causing trouble here," she said. "There's nothing wrong with your trying to be friendly or anything like that. I must admit, actually, I've been incredibly impressed with your behaviour, considering who your father is, I thought you would've been . . . more aggressive, in a way. I never would've dreamed you would've kindled anything like you have with Lark, I thought she would've run from you like a, well, a startled songbird, considering the fact that your father doesn't exactly have a sparkling record of marital faithfulness, not to mention, from knowing Brandon I know you do live a partying life. I wouldn't have expected you to be as gentlemanly as you are.""

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 7

Word Count: 42,024

Summary of Events:
On the way home from her grandparents' Lark and her sister got into an argument over Brandt that resulted in their dad making Lark's sister walk the rest of the way home. Brandt was sent to Medicine Hat to run errands, one of which involved him going to the mall, where he ran into Lark, Haylee, and another friend, Anne, and had lunch with them. Later on Lark was texted by Brandt and invited to have dinner with him before she went home, and she notified Haylee and Anne of as much . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""So long as we're not invited," Haylee said. "I don't know that I want to hang out with him."
"Then why'd you press me to get involved with him?" Lark asked.
"I didn't realise that he was that vicious," Haylee said.
"He's not a Christian," Lark said. "Did you expect him to be anything remotely resembling angelic?"
"Well no, but, he did come to church, and he's not antichurch," Haylee said.
"That means nothing," Lark said.
"He came to church?" Anne asked incredulously.
"Yeah, on Sunday," Haylee replied.
"Really?" Anne asked.
"The Remingtons all used to be members," Lark replied. "In fact, Brandt's grandparents transferred their membership from our church to one in Brooks when they moved there. I don't know when their kids each left church, other than his dad left about the time their marriage fell apart. All of them still have inactive memberships with us, though."
Anne shook her head. "I never would've guessed that."
"I can't say I would've either," Lark said.
"So, to say the least, that family kind of fell apart," Anne said.
"Yeah," Haylee said.
"Unfortunately," Lark said.
Anne and Haylee looked at her with furrowed brows.
"What?" Lark asked.
"You feel badly for them?" Haylee asked.
"Of course I do," Lark replied. "What kind of Christians are you guys that you think we shouldn't feel badly? Surely Brandt's grandparents wanted to see their kids stay in the church. They didn't want to see their name become the scourge of the community."
Anne shifted her jaw and looked guilty. Haylee looked downright convicted.
"You're the two who even went to Bible School!" Lark said. "Honestly!"
"I don't know," Haylee said. "It's kind of hard, you know?"
"Not without explanation," Lark replied.
"We can look at other people, in other places, and be, like, 'you should really forgive them' or 'you should really get over it already' but then we go to where we are and we're like 'there's no way I could possibly forgive them' or 'I'm never going to get over this,'" Haylee said. "I mean, you're right, we shouldn't be mean to them, we should feel badly for his grandparents, and we shouldn't feel like we don't want to see them in church and stuff. But, it's hard."
Lark nodded. "It is."
Anne nodded too. "But do you really think it's likely the rest of them are going to come back to church?"
"No," Lark replied. "But that doesn't mean that we should treat them unkindly or anything like that. Or be unwelcome to them if they should return. In fact, really, we should pray for them that they would come back."
Neither Haylee or Anne said anything, and Lark noticed with relative astonishment that they completely walked past the last store they'd been planning on going to and continued on to the entrance they'd come into and out to Haylee's Pontiac."

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 6

Word Count: 36,025

Summary of Events:
Lark fell asleep using Brandt's stomach as her pillow until Brandt heard Nick sneaking up and fended him off; Brandon then talked with him before he took Lark home and was watched like a hawk by Lark's sister. Lark was woken up by her dad the next morning and asked about Brandt, whom she felt terrible for neglecting to tell him about. Brandt decided to go to church to spend more time with Lark and sat through a rather uncomfortable service before being invited to lunch at her grandparents' where they ended up arriving before everyone else, so Lark went to the swings and Brandt pushed her . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Once she'd come to a full stop she slowly got to her feet and shook off his kerchief before giving it to him. Brandt took it with one hand while sliding the other around her back and bringing her close to him.
Her hands almost reflexively came up against his chest and she looked uncomfortable.
Brandt put his other hand on her shoulders and bent down to touch her nose with his. Lark still looked rather uncomfortable.
"I don't want you to kiss me," she said.
"Why not?" Brandt asked, pulling back, feeling immensely hurt.
"Not on the lips," Lark said. "I'm not ready for that yet."
"But I could kiss you on the forehead or something?" Brandt asked.
"Yes," Lark replied, nodding quickly.
Brandt bent down and touched his nose to hers again, trying to decide where he wanted to kiss her. Finally he decided and slid his nose off hers and across her cheek, closing his eyes and sliding his cheek along hers before laying his lips softly on the corner of her jaw.
First he gave her a brief kiss, then snatched at her jaw and took a light, but longer, hold again while moving his hands until they both were softly wrapped around her neck.
At the sound of tires on gravel Brandt startled violently and let go of her to look self-consciously over his shoulder at a vehicle pulling into the garage. He looked back at Lark, whose cheeks were bright red.
She gazed at him, then looked over her shoulder and put her hand up to where he'd kissed quickly before slowly stroking her fingers over it.
Brandt wanted to say something, but he didn't know what; he could hardly hear anything other than his heart pounding in his hears. His body was excited and wanted to go find some place to hide and kiss her for hours, but he knew she already felt uncomfortable with what had transpired in the last five minutes.
He looked over his shoulder and saw Reverend Joseph looking at them.
"We should go inside," Brandt said.
Lark merely nodded.
Brandt went over and took up her shoes from by the swings before going back and guiding her toward the house with a gentle hand against her back. She walked slowly, as if she weren't really there, but were somewhere else, in a daze.
As they got to the driveway she pulled away from him and picked her way daintily across the stones, looking something like a fairy without wings, or some sort of otherworldly creature.
He opened the screen door for her and set her shoes down toward the closet beside the door while she daintily stepped up the short flight of stairs into the kitchen filled with the delectable smell of roast chicken."

Monday, February 06, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 5

Word Count: 30,012

Summary of Events:
Brandt went to visit the old farm dog, who died in his arms; he and his uncle went to bury him in his favourite spot to watch traffic, which upset his stepmom, who hadn't liked the dog. Lark talked to Haylee about Brandt before Brandt started texting her and told her about his dog, a conversation she had to end because church was starting. Brandt picked up Lark to take her to the beach where all his friends were hanging out; at the beach Lark was guarded by Brandon while Brandt went to change before he and Lark talked a little about how fit he was — which had surprised Lark — before their conversation was interrupted . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Well hello, hello," Lark startled and turned to see the man Brandt had fought with, his nose still looking worse for wear, standing too close to her for comfort; she felt Brandt's hand slide across her back to hook around her side and pull her so her hip was touching his leg.
"Hello," Brandt said flatly.
"I don't believe I've been properly introduced to this little pixie you have with you BR," the man said, looking at Brandt with arched eyebrows and an expectant gaze.
Brandt took a deep breath. "Nick, this is Lark, Lark, this, is, Nick."
"Ah, a pretty little skylark," Nick said, looking at Lark with a gaze that made her feel like she actually was a bird, being eyed by a haggard, battered alley cat looking for an easy snack.
He reached out for her.
"Ah, rule number one," Lark said.
"Oh," Nick pulled his hand back and looked at her with arched eyebrows. "There are rules?"
"Yes," Lark replied. "And rule number one is you do not touch me."
"Oh is it?" Nick asked, looking like he was wont to try her on it.
"And rule number two is that you call me by my name," Lark said.
"Of course, of course little meadowlark," Nick replied.
"Excuse me?" Lark asked.
"Little Lark," Nick replied, looking smug in his defiance.
"Now go away," Lark said.
"But why?" Nick asked. "Surely you'd like to get to know me."
"Get out of here," Brandt ordered.
Nick slid a vicious glare over at Brandt, who had his right fist brandished already.
"I will get my prize BR," Nick spat before wheeling around and stalking off.
"Son of a–" Brandt cut himself off.
"Motherless goat," Lark finished.
"What!?" Brandt exclaimed, loosening his hold on her.
"It's a Christian swear word I learned from a comedian," Lark replied.
"Motherless goat?" Brandt asked, looking at her like he wanted to bust a gut, yet wasn't sure it was a good idea.
"Son of a motherless goat," Lark replied, nodding. "I didn't think it would be accurate to use son of a baptist preacher, and I couldn't remember if there were any other son of a's."
"Wow," Brandt said, shaking his head, a smile splitting it wider than Lark had ever seen before.
"But what was he talking about with a prize?" Lark asked. "Does he mean me?"
Brandt's face fell and he looked at her. "Yes."
"Why?" Lark asked.
"Because I've gone and stolen his girlfriends before," Brandt replied. "I've never had a girlfriend for him to steal before — which was kind of deliberate."
"I don't like him," Lark said. "He's like a tom cat that nobody wants around."
"And wouldn't I love to shoot him," Brandt muttered.
"That's not nice," Lark said.
"I'm not going to," Brandt said.
"Still, you shouldn't even think it," Lark scolded.
Brandt looked down at her, then sighed and turned his head aside.
"You should be careful what you think about," Lark said. "Thoughts are powerful.""

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 4

Word Count: 24,021

Summary of Events:
Brandt actually got up early on a Saturday, thanks to not being hung over, but didn't want what his stepmom was serving for breakfast, so he ended up asking Brandon if he could come over for breakfast. After lunch on Sunday Lark talked with her grandma about Brandt and her experience at the quading event. Brandt received word that the bonfire his friends had been planning was cancelled due to the rain, so he decided to go out with Lark to the Duchess Restaurant. Lark was picked up by Brandt and at the restaurant they got talking, the subject soon turning to Brandt's stepmom . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""And I don't live on beer and bacon or anything," Brandt said. "Or fast food. You'd call me healthy, wouldn't you?"
"Yeah," Lark replied.
"I mean, there's nothing wrong with me," Brandt said. "I mean, unless you want to count the speeding tickets, but I haven't gotten once since I graduated high school, which was four years ago, so I should be okay. But yet there's always something wrong with me as far as Ron's concerned."
"Such as your diet," Lark said.
"Yeah," Brandt replied. "I just want to eat normal food, because you can be healthy on normal food, besides, we're too far from a fast food joint to justify going to McRaunchy's on a daily basis."
"The more homegrown your food the better," Lark said. "That's why we have a garden."
"And what do you grow in it?" Brandt asked.
"Peas, carrots, potatoes, beets occasionally, cucumbers, some radishes for Dad, onions, dill when we're planning on pickling, tomatoes, spaghetti squash," Lark replied. "We tried corn and pumpkins once each, but they didn't turn out so well. Grandma wants to give pumpkins another try being as we've gotten other squash to work, and we have started experimenting with different varieties. We tried purple tomatoes, so now we have some purple salsa. Oh yeah, and we usually do zucchini, but because we plant so few we think the seeds got too old on us, because they didn't come up this year, but it's not like we're hurting for zucchini or anything, we usually let them get over a foot long."
"Normal food, no eggplant, no spinach, no lettuce," Brandt said. "No sweet potatoes either."
"Never gotten into sweet potatoes," Lark said.
"Ron has a bit of a garden, but it's mostly weird stuff," Brandt said.
"Purple potatoes?" Lark asked.
"What?" Brandt asked.
"We grow purple potatoes," Lark replied. "We have for years. A church potluck's not complete without our purple potatoes."
"No, she doesn't grow stuff like that," Brandt said. "She doesn't do normal stuff with them either. She makes veggie burgers for her and the girls, and ground turkey burgers for me and Dad because red meat's not good for you."
"It's a source of iron," Lark said. "Which is particularly essential, and our body can get at the iron in red meat easier and better than the iron in things like spinach and broccoli."
"Besides, beef's good," Brandt said.
"It's just some of the additives that a lot of the fast food joints are now advertising that they remove or don't allow that are bad for us," Lark said. "It's all the chemicals in food for the sake of preserving it and carrying it to faraway places out of season that is harmful, the food itself is fine, although the convenience of the grocery store has made gardening — and even more home preservation — a lost art, although they're both making resurgences.""

Friday, February 03, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 3

Word Count: 18,018

Summary of Events:
Brandt got Lark's address from Brandon and went to her door to apologise to her because she wouldn't answer his texts; he also invited her to go quading with him on Friday. Lark decided to accept the invitation and went along. Once everyone was done quading they gathered for a bonfire and Brandt had an altercation with a longtime adversary that caused him to be concerned for Lark's safety. Lark and Brandt enjoyed some snacking around the fire before Lark noticed that Brandt seemed to be getting a little unsettled . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"She watched as he seemed to be eyeing someone who was approaching; he strode away from her and stood somewhat chested up to a young man that looked somewhat familiar, but even more strongly dislikable.
The way Brandt squared his shoulders and straightened out to his full height — which was quite the height — made Lark feel uncomfortable. Was he going to go getting into a fight with someone?
Quite a bit of the dancing stopped in the immediate vicinity of the two. Lark flinched as the other man flashed the finger at Brandt, who right away gave him a one-handed shove, being as he was still holding his smokie. He even took a vicious bite from it as he stood there.
His opponent shouted a profanity-laden sentence at Brandt, whose response she couldn't hear very well. The two of them continued to argue for quite a bit, with the other man giving Brandt a hard shove.
Brandt had about two bites left of his smokie when the man he was chested up with threw the alcoholic contents of his cup into Brandt's face. Brandt took one of the bites and shoved the remainder of his smokie into the hand of a nearby person before seizing his opponent and starting to fire a series of left hands.
Lark quickly set her bowl aside and surged to her feet. She wanted to stop Brandt, but she hadn't the faintest idea how. Everyone else was watching the fight, with some chanting and cheering, encouraging the altercation.
A crowd was quickly forming around them. Lark hurried forward, noticing that the person Brandt had given the remainder of his smokie to had just shoved it in his mouth, while Brandt's opponent rallied and was swinging some vicious blows at Brandt in return.
"Stop!" Lark cried.
"No!" someone beside her protested. "It's fun! Nothing like a good party without a brawl!"
Lark saw blood on Brandt's fist as it came around, with Brandt having missed his target. She felt horror as she watched the two. The man Brandt was fighting with's face was stained with blood.
She started forward quickly and grabbed Brandt's arm.
"Stop Brandt, please," she said.
Brandt shrugged free of her hold.
"Then give me the keys to your truck," Lark said firmly.
Brandt threw a left, then looked at her, his lips bloodied, and back at his opponent, whose bloodied head was lolling. He dropped his opponent with all the care of a coat and turned toward her.
"He wanted to make a pass at you," Brandt said.
Lark looked over at the downed, moaning man, and then back up at Brandt.
"I want to go home," she said.
"Okay," Brandt said, nodding."

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 2

Word Count: 12,019

Summary of Events:
Lark and her friend Haylee discussed Brandt and how Lark wasn't interested in him. Brandt and Brandon went into the selection for the baseball game and Brandon got picked, but Brandt didn't so he went to the candy booth and ended up talking with Haylee a bit — as well as getting Lark's number from her. Lark was making popsicles the next day and received a text from him, which she ignored, before getting texted by Haylee, with their discussion escalating into a phone conversation . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""How are you supposed to care for anyone if you don't know them?" Haylee asked. "I know you're a deferential person, but I know you can dig your heels in and take charge too."
"So I'm supposed to just walk all over the poor guy?" Lark argued. "Do you realise how ├╝ber feministic that sounds?"
"No," Haylee said. "Good grief Lark, if it's not one extreme it's the next with you!"
"Well then what do you mean?" Lark asked, feeling tears of frustration battering at the doors of her tear ducts.
"I mean that no, you shouldn't go forcing him to change for you like a dictator, but, also, you shouldn't exactly let him get away with it either," Haylee replied. "You can be such a good, caring person with kids, you have a perfect motherly personality — which is funny, being as you're the youngest in your family — use that. Care for him, and be nice to him, but don't let him get away with things that upset you. If he really likes you he'll respond."
"What if I don't really like him, though?" Lark asked, a little more quiet.
"Well, do you?" Haylee asked.
"No, I don't really like him," Lark replied.
"Why not?" Haylee asked. "He's cute."
"Don't judge a book by its cover," Lark replied.
"But that's how books are sold," Haylee said.
"Look, Haylee, I just feel like I should be more careful," Lark said. "I mean, he's a Remington."
"They're rich, so what?" Haylee asked. "He's down-to-earth."
"But still, not that many people really like the Remingtons around here, being as they always have the biggest and the best and they overload their trucks and go flying at mach one and all that stuff," Lark said. "Do I really want to be associated with those sorts of people? Goodness knows he's probably just as obsessed with money as his dad is."
"Aren't his grandparents listed as people who donated to something to do with the church?" Haylee asked. "And aren't there some Remingtons in the cemetery?"
"I think so, on both counts," Lark replied. "But the thing is, regardless of how good and Godly his family members might've been, his dad's already fallen from that example, and he probably has too."
"I'll admit he doesn't go to church, but he told me that he's not antichurch," Haylee said. "If he can be convinced church is worth going to he'll go. That's pretty much exactly what he told me."
"Then why don't you work with him?" Lark asked. "It's not like you have a boyfriend, and yet you're trying to marry me off."
"I'm still keeping up with Chandler," Haylee said. "In fact, he's planning on coming out for a visit on the August Long Weekend, because he's working at camp right now.""

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Planted Seedling: Day 1

Word Count: 6,030

Summary of Events:
After finishing chores Brandt was invited to a community Canada Day picnic by his best friend, Brandon, who even gave him a ride to it, and while he was waiting in line for lunch saw a particularly beautiful girl who seemed to have disappeared into thin air . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Brandt followed Brandon without a word and joined the line. He was somewhat surprised at how disappointed he was that he couldn't find her, and he was wishing he would've run up to her and asked her name or something so that finding her would've been easier.
The line to the candy booth was thankfully rather short and Brandt was soon at the counter. He looked up and froze. He'd found her.
Seeing her from the front, she was even more beautiful, with clear blue eyes, and she looked prettier without the hat on too. She looked more shapely from the front even, and had a small, shy, but kind smile on her face.
It faded into a bit of a frown. Her mouth moved but Brandt heard nothing.
"Earth to Remy," Brandon said.
Brandt snapped his fist out and hit Brandon in the upper arm, prompting a shout of pain.
"May I help you?" she asked, looking at him earnestly.
Brandt nodded.
"So what would you like?" she asked.
"Your cell phone number," Brandt replied.
"It's not for sale," she said flatly, a somewhat dead expression coming over her face.
Brandt felt a twist in his stomach and broke his gaze with her. He had a feeling he'd messed up, and rather royally too. He looked around at the boxes of candy filling the shelves, and then over at the whiteboard that advertised pop and ice cream.
"I guess I'll have a Revel then," he said quietly.
She turned to the small chest freezer under the whiteboard and removed the white paper-wrapped treat, accepting his twoonie for it and then turning her attention to a group of preteen girls who were eagerly looking at the selection.
"Good night Brandt," Brandon muttered, still holding his arm, a can of Root Beer in the same hand. "You've got a heck of a slug."
"That's what you get for calling me Remy," Brant muttered.
"What does it take to keep you happy?" Brandon asked.
Brandt shrugged.
"That was her, though, wasn't it?" Brandon asked.
"Yeah," Brandt replied.
"She must've said no," Brandon said.
"Not verbally, but physically," Brandt replied.
"I know who she is, though," Brandon said. "And, not that it's going to help the glum mood any, but I've got some bad news."
"She's taken," Brandt said.
"No, actually," Brandon replied.
"So then what could the bad news be?" Brandt asked.
"She's got standards that I know for a fact you won't meet," Brandon replied.
Brandt lowered himself down at the base of a weeping birch and sighed, taking a bite of his Revel.
Brandon sat down beside him and licked his Drumstick quietly.
"So what's her name?" Brandt asked.
"Lark Szekely," Brandon replied.
"So she's related to that pastor then," Brandt said.
"Granddaughter," Brandon replied.
"So she wants a church guy then," Brandt said.
"Yep," Brandon replied. "And knowing you, I have my doubts that'll ever happen."
Brandt sighed and took another bite."

Pronunciation:
Twoonie: tooknee