However the "Hooking Up" or "Getting Connected" group just triggered an instant idea, as I think I already explained. That collection will be released on Sunday, November 22. Since the first one is now 'on the street,' I am sure the staff at Amber Quill will be busy with the next one and that means I should have a cover very soon and I promise to share it the minute it hits my in-box. I'll also share an excerpt or two and links where you can read the story behind the story essay like I almost always do for each new release. I guess I say that about all my tales, or nearly so, but this one truly was special to me and I really want to share it with all my fans and regular readers so please keep your eyes on this space!
In the prior post, I introduced Wade. Now you get to meet Darnell:
Darnell sat, head in his hands. Although suicide was a sin, probably even worse than the other issue that had sent his life into a long downward spiral, he’d begun to think it might be the best option he had left. What could a twenty-seven-year-old man without a job do? He had little chances of getting one due to the Bad Conduct Discharge from the US Army. That felt like a scarlet letter branding him. Faggot, pussy, pervert. The hateful words gnawed at his soul. The younger siblings he’d worked to help Mama raise after Papa went missing were all scattered and doing okay as far as he knew. He would not go crawling to any of them for help. Mama had passed away while he was doing that terrible stint in Uncle Sam’s service. Where else could he go?
He’d just spent his next-to-last dime on a cup of coffee, and it was nearly empty. He’d gone into the diner to ask about a job—the placard in the fly-specked window read “dishwasher wanted” —but they said they’d just filled it. Hell, he couldn’t even wash dishes! And he’d done that and more during those hard years of his teens while Mama was working two and three jobs at the end of the Depression and the start of the war to keep a roof over their heads and a little food for them. He’d worked some, too, but a lot of the time took care of Dylan, Dinah, David, and baby Doreen.
As he stood, stiff as an old man, to start for the door, a magazine caught his eye. He would have sworn it was not there when he sat down at the table with his coffee but it sure was now. As he went to pick it up, just out of curiosity, it fell open to a page near the back. “Partners and Pen Pals” read the bold letters at the top. He skimmed down the page until one letter seemed to leap out at him.
“Widowed rancher needs a helpmate. Two small children have lost their mother. Struggling rancher cannot care for them, keep house, and also run his ranch. Applicant must be able to cook simple, healthy meals, keep house, and care for a five-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy. Must be willing to live forty miles from a real town on a remote ranch. Some modern conveniences including new REA electricity and indoor plumbing. A fair wage or possibly marriage for the selected person.”
Hardly daring to hope, Darnell picked up the magazine. In his rented room, his for a few more days, he had paper, a pen, and maybe even a stamp or two. By the next morning, his response was in the mail. He found enough odd jobs to pay rent for another week while he waited for an answer.