Updates on What I’m Doing

The Convenient Mail Order Bride is due out on the 13

The Convenient Mail Order Bride3

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I have to leave town this weekend, so I might not get the email out to those of you on my email list (via MailChimp) until late Sunday.  The email will contain a deleted scene and an epilogue for this book.  I will do everything I can to get the email out on Saturday.  It all depends if I can get online.

In the meantime, if you pre-ordered the book, it should show up on your device automatically.  I’ve been testing these pre-orders out on my iPhone and my Kindle, and they show up like clockwork as soon as the release day comes.  Let’s hope that continues.  (The mother in me always worries something will somehow go wrong, and I don’t know how I can turn that “mother” part of me off.)

I do have it on pre-order at Amazon now.  It’s already been on iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords.  You can click on the cover above or here for the links.

This will still be coming out next month

20160111_Bonus_Material_from_the_Nebraska_Series_ebook-2

Click here to reserve your copy today!

There’s not much to add to this one.  I’ll be getting it up on Amazon for pre-order soon.  I will aim for a mid-March release, which puts me a couple weeks earlier than planned.

I’m at Chapter 15 now in this one

Her Devilish Marquess ebook

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The surprising thing about this book is how the subplot that I started in His Wicked Lady is playing through this one.  I didn’t expect that. I also didn’t expect Lord Steinbeck (Malcolm’s friend, Warren, in His Wicked Lady) would be so difficult.  I think he’s one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever done, and he’s supposed to be the hero in Book 3 (The Earl’s Wallflower Bride) of this series.

 I have my work cut out for me with Warren.  But, on the plus side, when the heroine (Lady Iris, whom I introduced in His Wicked Lady) is matched up with him, it’ll make perfect sense why she is going to really hate him.  At least I won’t have to come up with a suitable conflict.  :)

The Mistaken Mail Order Bride

The Mistaken Mail Order Bride

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I’m really enjoying this one.  I found myself tearing up when I was writing a couple of these scenes.  The heroine (Caroline) in this one fascinates me because her background is so rich in depth, and I sense she’s had to grow up fast in a short amount of time.  She’s just come out of the Civil War, and she lost her parents and the plantation she grew up on.  So there’s a lot to work with and explore.

When you read The Convenient Mail Order Bride, you’ll be introduced to the hero in this book.  The hero is Eric, and he’s the sheriff who has a small part in bringing Phoebe and Abe (heroine and hero in The Convenient Mail Order Bride) together.  He comes in later in a more prominent way in that book, but it’d ruin the story to explain how.

What I will say is that Eric’s character is pretty easy to figure out.  What isn’t set is Caroline’s, and the more complex the character, the more fun I have.

***

I’ll end this post here.

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The Emotionally Engaging Character: More on Point of View (Homework Time)

But this is fun homework. :D

To get another aspect of how point of view works, I am going to send you to a You Tube video.  This is exaggerated, but it helps to illustrate the magic of “point of view”.  Sometimes seeing this in action can help understand the concept of point of view much better.

This scene from the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond called “The Can Opener” is about six minutes long.  The quality isn’t that great, but you can get the gist of what’s going on.  (To see the show in its entirety, you can go to Netflix.  I think it’s in season 4, but I’m not sure.)

If you’re an X-Files fan, the “point of view” angle was tackled in episode “Bad Blood” (Season 5, I think).  It is on Netflix.  I couldn’t find the entire episode on You Tube.

 

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Lorna Faith Interviewed Me (An Interview That Will Hopefully Inspire New Writers)

Lorna Faith did a lot of work in putting this together, so all the credit goes to her. :D

Below is the You Tube video.  You can also listen to it on iTunes or listen to it directly off of her blog.  She did a great job of summing up what we said, too, if you want to read it.

The goal of the interview was to inspire new writers. Topics include the following:

  • pursuing your passion in the face of opposition
  • an idea for creating a writing/publishing schedule
  • what to do when you get stuck while writing
  • the steps of writing a book
  • benefits of self-publishing
  • creating the emotionally engaging character by digging deep into point of view
  • advice on writing historical fiction
  • marketing advice for introverts: building relationships instead of trying to sell books and stick to 2-3 things you love, email list, Bookbub author profile, Book Launch pages, pre-orders
  • how to get over the urge to give up when things get rough
  • putting feedback in perspective

By the way, my experiment with the pre-orders is over, and I found the book that was on pre-order at Amazon sold the same as the one that wasn’t.  I’ll do a more detailed post at http://www.selfpubauthors.com in a couple weeks.

Lorna’s blog and the blog post she made about the interview

Link to the podcast on iTunes

 

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The Emotionally Engaging Character: Post 3 (A Deeper Look at Point of View)

To get a better look at how complex point of view is, let’s consider two fundamental things: every character is RIGHT when we are in their point of view & point of view all boils down to how a character REACTS to events.

Point of view shows differences between characters, and each character is right in their own point of view.

There’s an expression I heard long ago that’s stuck with me through the years, and it goes like this: There are three sides to every story.  What he said, what she said, and what really happened.

Truth Vs Lies Puzzle Piece Words Compete Honest Facts Whole Stor

ID 56379036 © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

Nothing is more true than in writing in a character’s point of view.  This is where writing in different characters’ points of view can be magical.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Let’s say you have two characters (Carl and Abe) who hate each other.  They are half-brothers, and there’s a dispute over the same piece of property.  Carl feels that the land is rightly his because it was left to him in their father’s will.  But Abe feels the land is his because his uncle originally owned it.  (The uncle had sold the land to the father.)

Who’s right in being angry at his half-brother?  The answer is both are right to be angry.  The whole thing boils down to the third (aka “objective”) side.  The author is the only one who knows all the facts.  The characters don’t have access to this information.  The characters have to find out all the information they can from conversations with other characters or through their own experiences.

So in this example, what does the author know that Abe and Carl don’t?  The author knows that the father was a very selfish and greedy man who married one woman to get her money.  He had a child with her, and this child is Carl.  Carl was never loved.  In fact, he was often despised because the father had nothing but contempt for Carl’s mother.  Meanwhile, the father loved his mistress and often gave her brother supplies in return for being able to see the mistress at his convenience.  The father loved Abe since that was child from the woman he loved.  Abe, however, never felt loved because he was stuck with the stigma from the townsfolk for being the child of the mistress.

The reality is neither Abe nor Carl loved the father, and they have a lot more in common than either side is aware.  Carl isn’t holding onto the land out of spite.  He’s holding onto the land in hopes of getting enough gold to get him out of town so he can be free from his past.  Once he is, he plans to give the land to Abe, something Abe doesn’t know.  If both sides understood the other’s point of view, there wouldn’t be so much hate and animosity between them.

That example aside, I want you to consider that point of view is all about a character’s perception of events. 

In real life when people tell their side of things, they are giving a biased version of events, even if they aren’t trying to.  The reason for this is because no one has all the facts.  We only know what we can see and hear.  This brings together our perception of what is going on.  Because we perceive things a certain way, this is how the world is according to our point of view.  Likewise, a character will only have some of the facts.  Their point of view will be slanted to the way they perceive the world.

Point of view is about how your character REACTS to things. 

You start with a reaction and then the character acts, setting off the domino effect that will enhance the conflict (aka plot) in your story.

character react

ID 56379036 © Iqoncept | Dreamstime.com

This is where a character’s perception of what is happening leads to their reaction to the event.  The event can be anything that is outside the character.  It can be something another character says or does.  It can be an impending storm.  It can be an animal that comes into the camp.  It can be a sweet fragrance.  As long as it’s the thing our point of view character sees, hears, smells, tastes, or touches, this qualifies as an event.  The event in itself is a neutral thing.

What matters is how the character reacts to the event.  The character is the one who brings meaning to the event.  Did you ever wonder how some people could be celebrating after an election while other people are crying “doom and gloom”?  Or how one person can say, “I love it when there’s a thunderstorm” and another looks upon the same storm with dread?

Let’s use this storm as our example.  I used to live in Nebraska, and in the town I was at, thunderstorms often meant a loss of power.  More than that, we’d have tornadoes in the area.  I got lucky.  The tornado never hit my town, but I did hear about them hitting neighboring towns, and a couple of deaths often resulted from them.  So for me, a thunderstorm was a scary thing, and I hated them.  I have a friend who had the opposite reaction to thunderstorms.  She loved them.  It was a good excuse for her to sit on the couch with a warm blanket and read a good book, meanwhile listening to the soothing pitter-patter of rain on the roof while thunder boomed in the background.

The beauty of point of view is that you can have the same event happen and two of your characters can react to it differently.  That would be a possible point of conflict if the two characters don’t like each other or get into a fight over the way they react to the event.

Also, when you’re writing, don’t worry about whether you would react to the event in the same way the character is reacting to it. This is the character’s point of view.  You’re telling the character’s story through their eyes.  I’ve heard one of my author friends say they were having trouble with the story because the character wasn’t reacting to an event the same way she would.  Well, that’s because she’s not the character.  This is the character’s story, not hers.

Let your character be their own person.  Let them react the way that is natural for them.  Their reaction to the events in the story will go a long way to advancing the plot and bringing the reader along for the ride.

 

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The Emotionally Engaging Character: Post 2 (Point of View)

The key to creating the emotionally engaging character is point of view.  Point of view is something I have found difficult to wrap my mind around for years while I was writing.  I understood you pretty much stuck with that character in a scene, but I didn’t understand there were subtle elements that go into it.  I’ll be discussing these today.

good vs bad for emotional character post

ID 37421510 © Orlando Florin Rosu | Dreamstime.com

Point of view is biased.

We all have our opinions when it comes to things.  We are born into families with certain way of looking at the world, and this will have some impact on how we continue to view the world as we become adults.  Other influencers on our viewpoints stem from friends, our experiences, level of education, and other factors.  The point is, we all have our biases, whether we want to admit them or not.

The easiest example I can give on varying viewpoints is the one that sparks the greatest fights, esp. on places like Facebook.  Ever look at a political or religious rant on Facebook?  Typically, there are a ton of comments beneath the post, and you’ll notice people have very strong opinions on these topics.  Pay attention to the tone they are using.  What emotions are prominent?  How are these people justifying their views?  Some will manage to keep a cool head.  Some resort to name calling.  You might even know some of these people are super sweet in real life and get surprised they are leaving the kind of comments they are.  (I know I’ve been surprised.)

Now, let’s use another example that often evokes a lot of comments.  When someone is in need of “thoughts and prayers” from family and friends because of death, illness, or a natural disaster, what do you notice in those comments?  How do these comments differ from the political/religious ones?  One I can tell you off the top of my head is that people (regardless of political/religious affiliations) will often rally around the person in need.  So the person who might seem like  a “jerk” in the political/religious comments, can be the most caring and sympathetic of all the comments in a totally different situation.   Again, study the choice in words and what emotions are behind them.

Bottom line: the character isn’t “bad”, but the character does have a viewpoint that will contain some prejudice.  No one is 100% apathetic to everything.  There will be things the character loves and hates.  Embrace these things when you’re writing in the character’s point of view.

Point of view can change over the course of the story.

The redeemed character is one of the most complex but also most powerful type.  Case in point, Ebenezer Scrooge in the classic book, A Christmas Carol.  He was stingy with his money in the beginning, but by the end, he became generous.  Another (more contemporary example) is Lightning McQueen in the movie Cars.  The hero starts out being selfish, but at the very end, he gives up the Piston Cup (his goal throughout the movie) in order to help out another car.  In other words, he does a total reversal from being selfish to being selfless.

A good exercise is to watch movies or TV shows where the bad guy becomes good.  Write down the things you notice as the story progresses.  What were their thoughts/logic behind the choices they made?  What behaviors follow these actions?  How about after they change?  What thoughts are behind the choices they make then?  What behaviors result from these news choices?

Point of view allows for imperfections in the hero.

No one is perfect.  None of us are born 100% happy 100% of the time.  We have bad days. We aren’t always at our best.  Your character is going to have these, too.  Even if the character manages to bite their tongue and not slip in something rude, there’s going to be a wicked thought or temptation to blurt out something inappropriate.  This makes the character more real.

Now, let’s look at what can happen if the character’s thoughts lead them to make the wrong decision.  The truth is, even in real life, good people screw up and make bad decisions.  Your character may say the wrong thing or may behave in a way that makes the reader go, “What the heck?” Point of view should clue the reader into why that character did what they did.  Now, the important thing is that your hero doesn’t get stuck in this bad decision.  The character may have to deal with the consequences of it, but the character should make up for their bad decision(s) by the end of the story.

When would the hero make the wrong decision?  In a moment of weakness.

This could be stemmed from fear.  Let’s say the character is afraid he’ll get shot.   I can’t remember the name of the movie because I saw it when I was a kid, but there was a situation where a man ran into a family’s house because he was being pursued by a gang, who wanted to kill him.  By entering their house, he put them (the innocent people) at risk.  At the end, he went back outside, willing to die but knowing he had saved the lives of the innocent people.  So the hero made a bad decision out of fear but redeemed that by doing the right thing, which in this case was tragic but heroic.

Another moment of weakness could stem from love.  If the hero is afraid someone he loves will be hurt if he doesn’t act, he might make a bad decision.  An example off the top of my head is Denzel Washington’s movie, John Q, where he holds some patients and staff at a hospital hostage (a bad thing) because he can’t get a life-saving surgery done for his son.  His motive was love.  One could also argue his motive was frustration because his insurance wouldn’t cover the operation, and no one was willing to work with him on the issue.

Not all bad decisions a character makes stems from evil motives.  But the key is, what is the reasoning (aka point of view) the character uses to arrive the decision to act in the way they do.  This also goes for good decisions, too.

*****

I’ll go more into point of view in another post.  I want to go into the magic of multiple points of view and how this technique can really make for awesome conflict in a story.

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Updates on What I’m Doing

The Convenient Mail Order Bride’s release date has been bumped up to February 13!

(This is Book 1 in the brand new Chance at Love Series)

The Convenient Mail Order Bride3

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Everything came in earlier than I expected, so I was able to move this release date up a week earlier.  I’m excited to see if this “bumping up the date” will work smoothly.  It’s showing up with the new date on iBooks, Kobo, B&N, and Smashwords.  I haven’t put it on Amazon yet.  I haven’t been able to get that far.  I’ll have to work on getting that going soon.

On a side note, I was surprised by how many people hated the villain in this book.  While writing it, I came upon a scene that made me realize he’s one of those redeemable characters, like Neil Craftsman was in Eye of the Beholder.  I started out not liking Neil at all until the scene where Mary won the cooking contest, and Mary was gracious about having to talk to Neil and Cassie afterwards.  There was a spark of something in Neil at that scene that connected me to him, and I no longer saw him as a complete bad guy.  I knew I’d be writing His Redeeming Bride.

The same happened while writing The Convenient Mail order Bride.  While Abe (the hero) and Carl (the villain) were fighting in the barn, it occurred to me Carl is a character who can–and will–be redeemed.  That’s why I came up with The Bargain Mail Order Bride (book 4 in the series).  So while you might loathe Carl in this book, just remember what I said about Neil Craftsman.

This is still set for April 3, but I’ll probably have it out next month.

20160111_Bonus_Material_from_the_Nebraska_Series_ebook-2

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This is the one that’s the collection of blog posts where I brought in the Larsons to interview during 2011-2012.  It’s purely just a fun thing, and for anyone who’s followed this blog for some time, you’re familiar with what I do in character interviews and such.

A note to everyone on my email list, don’t buy this book.  You will be getting a Smashwords coupon for this one.  If you pre-ordered this, go ahead and cancel it.

Following this blog and receiving these posts in your inbox is not my email list.  (I had a couple people ask me about this, so I wanted to clarify what my email list is.)

My email list comes from MailChimp, and I only send out an email when the new book is out.  Along with this email, I usually give an extra scene that never made it into the book, or I’ll put a deleted scene.  I rarely ever offer a Smashwords coupon to get the book for free.  That is something I only do for books like the Bonus Material From the Nebraska Series because this is an “extra” book.  It’s not an actual story. It’s just a series of fun posts from the past.

If you want to be on my email list, all you have to do is fill out your email on this form: https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com/sign-up-for-email-list/.  (Or click this link.) The name is not required.  Sometimes people want to give it, so I allow them to fill it in if they want.

Please note, some emails will block emails from MailChimp, or these emails might go into the spam folder.  I don’t know how to get around this issue.  I’m not an expert on email lists.

Her Devilish Marquess (Marriage by Agreement: Book 2)

Her Devilish Marquess ebook

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I’m almost halfway into this one, which puts me ahead of schedule.

I’m hoping to have this one out in April.  *fingers crossed*  It really depends on whether or not I can keep up the pace I’ve been writing at.  I want to be done with the first draft by the end of February.  Then it will be about a month to get it through the editing team.

In this book, I have been able to bring Mr. Christopher Robinson (hero in His Reluctant Lady) and Lord Edon (aka Ethan, hero in A Most Unsuitable Earl) back for a prominent secondary role.  This is a lot of fun for me because the reason I enjoy writing as much as I do is the characters that come from the stories.  They become real to me, and when I can find a way to bring them back, it’s like connecting with old friends.

I’m also using a subplot that I started in His Wicked Lady, which is Lord Steinbeck’s power play to take over the atmosphere of White’s.  (Lord Steinbeck will be the hero in The Earl’s Wallflower Bride, which is next in this series.)  I am purposely painting Lord Steinbeck in a bad light, esp. with this book.  But it’s necessary in order to accomplish his change in his book.  You can’t have a bad boy turn good unless he’s been bad.

And I think this is the book where Mr. Malcolm Jasper (hero in His Wicked Lady) will publicly stand up against Lord Steinbeck.  I don’t expect that to ease the conflict between him and his brother-in-law Lord Toplyn (aka Logan, hero in Ruined by the Earl), but this will be a big move in Malcolm learning to stand up for what he believes in without worrying so much about others’ opinions about it.  (In other words, he might mature.)

The Mistaken Mail Order Bride (Chance at Love: Book 2)

The Mistaken Mail Order Bride

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I’m 10,000 words into this one, and I can tell you right now that some of the secondary characters are funny, which is good since this book will touch on some serious topics.  It’s nice to have some comic relief so the whole thing doesn’t get too tense.

This one starts right before The Convenient Mail Order Bride (book 1) ends, so there’s a slight overlap in the timelines between these two books.  It has to work that though because the climax in book 1 that requires the hero in this book to be delayed.  The only way that could happen was for his mail-order bride to show up earlier in the day.  I might have to make a note at the beginning of this book.  We’ll see how smoothly things play out.

This is one of the series that has really intrigued me.  I get to experiment with some deeper issues of the historical western time period, and I enjoy delving into the harder topics.  Now, this isn’t as hard as Wagon Trail Bride.  Wagon Trail Bride was the hardest book I ever wrote.  But this book reminds me a lot of Brave Beginnings in exploring the attitude of the time in regards to dealing with people who were different in their culture and in their skin color.

The heroine brings an abandoned seven-year-old African American boy with her.  This boy is very closed off and refuses to talk to anyone.  The hero in book 1 is half-Native American and half-white.  I have a feeling it will take the hero in book 1 to get the boy to open up because he’ll be the only one who can relate to him.  The hero in book 3 could as well, but he’s such a recluse, I don’t know if I can get him to make an appearance.  We’ll have to see how things play out.  But I do know I can easily bring in the main characters from book 1 into this story.  I’m looking forward to seeing how things will play out between everyone.

The Marriage Agreement (Pioneer Series: Book 2)

The Marriage Agreement ebook cover

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This one was a bugger to start.  The first scene was easy.  Getting the hero to agree to marrying the heroine was the hard part, and it took me weeks of rewrites and walking away from it to finally pin the motivation down.  That’s why I haven’t made as much progress in this book as I wanted to.  I’m only at 6,000 words (or chapter 2).

The good news is I’m ahead of schedule, so the snafu I had to deal with didn’t put me behind.  (This is why I work on three books at a time.  If I had waited for this book to fall into place, I wouldn’t be nearing the halfway point of Her Devilish Marquess, and I wouldn’t have made it to chapter 3 in The Mistaken Mail Order Bride.  I know not everyone can write in more than one book at a time, but I need to because stuff like this happens on regular basis.  It just doesn’t happen in chapter 1.  This was the first time that’s ever happened.)

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Questions for the Larsons: Part 1

To celebrate the fact that Richard Larson finally got his own book, I asked if anyone had anything they’d like to ask any of the characters from Wagon Trail Bride (or the Nebraska Series).  Thanks to everyone who responded. :)  You guys are awesome!

The answers ran longer than I expected, so I had to break the questions into two parts.

Without further ado, here’s part 1…

Miriam says: “I loved Richard, and he’s a very closed second, but Dave is still my fav :). I would like to ask Dave, who is his favorite brother and why?”

Dave Larson book launch page2

Dave Larson

Dave says:  First, I want to thank you for having such great taste in heroes, especially when it comes to liking me best. ;)  Hmm…  my favorite brother.  I guess it would be Richard.  Tom and Joel argue all the time. It was a pain listening to them try to outwit each other.  You’d think once they grew up, they would stop, but they didn’t.  In fact, it’s only gotten worse.  I know.  It’s hard to believe two grown men can act like children, but it’s how they are.

***

Amanda says: These two (Richard and Dave) have hearts of gold. Both attributed from their parents. Oh I would love to hear about their upbringings.

Ma and Pa Larson

Ma and Pa Larson (I have a feeling I named Pa Larson in one of my books, but I can’t remember what it was)

Ma Larson says: When you have six children, you have to manage your home efficiently.  The oldest are naturally given the most work because they can handle the work load more than the younger ones.

Pa Larson says: She’s right. She ran a tight ship, especially when we were living in the apartment while in New York.  We were all cramped into a small space, and the only time we got a reprieve was when the ones old enough to play outside were throwing ball or playing tag out in the street.

Ma Larson: Don’t think we weren’t responsible parents.  We were.  Back then there weren’t cars zooming up and down roads.  You just had to worry about horses, and those weren’t often passing by.  Most of the time, people walked when they had to go somewhere.  It was a safer time.  You could let your children run around outside all day and not worry someone would kidnap them.

Pa Larson: You could also leave your door unlocked.  Sure, there were some bad people.  Every generation has them, but it’s not like it is in the 21st century.  In my opinion, this was a great place to raise kids in.  They got to run around all day when they weren’t in school, and then they were so tired, they fell asleep right away.  Richard was the only one old enough to work after school in the factory to help make ends meet.  Back then the average wage was $16 a week, so by the time we were done buying food and other necessities, we barely had enough for rent.  Having eight people in one household isn’t cheap.

Ma Larson: But it was worth it.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But to be fair, it was harder on him than it was on me.  At least, I had Sally’s help with her younger brothers and sisters during the days they were home.  He worked twelve hour days in the meat factory, six days a week.      Women back then stayed home and raised the family while the men worked.  It was rare to hear of a woman working.  So the children didn’t see their father a lot until we made the move to Omaha.

Pa Larson: After we moved there, they had to help out with the farm.  Honestly, I was just as busy as I was in New York, but I loved being outdoors.  Richard was already grown up by then so he didn’t to experience the farm life like the others did. Tom and Dave loved it. They were quick in learning how to plant and reap crops and tend to the animals. Joel, however, was harder to get motivated.  I found him on several occasions tricking Tom into doing his chores for him.  Dave was always too smart to fall for Joel’s tactics.  Sally and Jenny also helped out, but most of the time, they helped their mother in the house.  Believe me, cooking for four hungry men isn’t an easy task.

***

Catherine says:  I’d like Dave to talk about his memories from the wagon train and also how he feels about each of his children leaving the nest and his and Mary’s role as grandparents.

dave with dog

Dave Larson with Jasper

Dave discusses his thoughts about the wagon trail: The days on the trail were mostly a blur.  We got up right at dawn.  I’d take turns with Tom and my father in feeding the animals.  Joel was supposed to help out, but he was often nowhere to be found when there was work to be done.  Sometimes he’d “help” our mother with the cooking or say he had an upset stomach.  At other times, he hid in the wagon so no one could find him.  But every time–and I mean every single time–he’d pop out and eat everything on his plate with surprising gusto, even when he claimed the stomach ache.  I think the reason our mother put up with it was because he was the baby of the family.  I swear, the youngest can get away with anything.

Anyway, once we were finished with breakfast, we’d hitch up the oxen and head on out for the day.  We averaged anywhere from 10 to 15 miles a day, depending on the weather and how well we were all doing.  If someone got so sick they couldn’t keep going, we all had to stop.  No one was to be left behind.  There is safety in numbers, so we stayed together, even when some wanted to leave others behind.  Joe Otto was determined everyone arrive safe and sound to Omaha.

During the day, we’d take breaks to let the animals rest, get some water, and eat a snack.  But we didn’t eat a whole meal again until evening when after we set up our things for the night.  Believe me, when it came time to sleep, we did so–fast.  Even Joel, who did the least amount of work possible, fell asleep right away.  There was one time I put a snake in Joel’s bedroll, just because I had enough of him getting out of doing so much work.  *chuckles* To this day, he thinks Tom was the one who did it.

Dave discusses being a grandparent: Grandchildren are great, but I don’t remember getting old enough to have them.  I feel like I’m still in my 20’s, and I can remember the day I met Mary as if it were yesterday.  The older you get, the faster the time seems to pass you by.  It was strange to hold my first grandchild for the first time.  I couldn’t help but remember the day Isaac’s was born.  It’s funny how something like seeing your grandchild for the first time can take you back to when you first held your child, but that’s how it is for me every time a new one is born.

Mary does the hard work with them.  She’s always done the hard work with all the children we had, and she does it with the grandchildren, too.  I’ve been on my own, and I remember how much work it was to maintain a home, cook, and do laundry.  It’s a lot harder than it looks.  I take the grandchildren out in the barn and teach them to milk cows and ride horses.  Sometimes I take them planting, just in case they want to farm some day.  So really, my part in the whole thing is to simply enjoy them.

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I’m going to end the questions here because I’m at 1300 words for this post.  I’ll work on answering the others in the next week or two. :D

 

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