Saturday, September 06, 2014

Sample Saturday - September 6, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample shows the interaction of the Owen family. These are the characters:

The Owen Family of Shenandoah County, Virginia
Roderick Owen, farmer, horse breeder
Julia Helm Owen, his wife, whom he calls Julie
Rulon – age 20, sometimes called Rule
Benjamin – age 19
Peter – age 17
Carl – age 16
James – age 14
Marie – age 13
Clayton – age 11
Albert – age 10
Julianna – age 8, also called Jule or Anna

Rulon had just passed the fried potatoes down to Ben when he leaned back from the table, looked around at the family, straightened his shoulders, and cleared his throat with emphasis.

“Got somethin’ to say, brother?” Ben asked, his eyes twinkling in the lamplight.

“I do,” Rulon declared. He fiddled with his fork, then laid it on the table and got to his feet. “I’m fixin’ to wed Miss Mary Hilbrands.”

“Scratchin’ your itch,” Ben muttered.

Peter was next down the table from Ben. “Maybe in a year or two,” he jeered.

Rulon sat down and picked up his fork. “No. We’ll do it as soon as Mr. Hilbrands gives me his consent.”

Pa spoke. “How long do you reckon before he has an answer for you?”

“He said he’ll talk to Missus Hilbrands and let me know their decision before church on Sunday.” Rulon wagged his head. “I hope Mary has occasion to converse with him and make her feelin’s known. He had a reluctant spirit about him.”

Ben chuckled. “Miss Mary don’t have enough age on her to have an opinion, brother. She ain’t but a year older than James, and he’s a veritable baby.”

“Am not,” James countered from across the table.

“Are too.” Peter dived into the fray, grinning widely.

“Always stirrin’ up trouble,” Rulon said, glaring at Ben, who gave him a triumphant look.

“Quiet,” Pa thundered, slapping the flat of his hand on the table top.

After a moment, once silence had been achieved, Ma spoke up. “Rulon, when did you ask Mr. Hilbrands?”

He looked down the table at his mother. “Today when I was in town. After I read the news, I figured I’d best not wait longer.”

“What news?” demanded his sister Marie.

“War news. Abe Lincoln asked for troops to put down the rebellion in the cotton states,” he said. “I’m going to enlist in a troop of cavalry, if they’ll have me.” He picked up his fork, held it for a moment, then stabbed it into his potatoes. “I want Mary to wed me before I go.”

“Oh Rulon,” said Ma. “You’re too young.”

“Ma.” The distress on her face disturbed him. “I hanker to marry her in any case. Better now than later.” Or never, he dared to think.

“To be a soldier,” she said, her voice low.

“I’m almost too old,” he huffed.

“Can I go, Ma?” Albert was only ten.


“They’ll need drummer boys. Or fife players.”

“You don’t play drum or fife, either one.” Carl reached out and attempted to deliver a blow to Albert’s ear, but Albert ducked as Pa pounded the table again.

“Food’s getting cold,” Pa declared. “Discussion’s over.”

Rulon raised his fork and shoved a mouthful of potatoes past his lips, wishing he hadn’t even begun to broach the subject. What an unruly bunch! The sooner he was off on his own, the better.


Thank you for visiting! Please stay tuned for information about the online launch party for GONE FOR A SOLDIER on September 18. Come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foremen, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Her last published book, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

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