Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Borders is no more. But the Border Babes will go on forever!

New Book available NOW!

Patsy is having a bad week!  She finished Machine quilting her latest quilt only to turn it over and see a long crease sewn into the backing.  This puts her over the edge.  She goes into the bathroom and swallows all the sleeping pills she can find.

She wakes up two days later in the hospital on suicide watch and surrounded by her friends, a quilting group that meets in the local Borders Bookstore cafe, who call themselves the Border Babes.  One by one these women tell her their stories and help her find the strength to share her own reality, a past that would have killed a lesser person, which is now intruding on her present life.  The Border Babes remind her about what's important in life, Love, Friendship, Helping, Caring, Artistic Expression, and feeling all the emotions in life, both good and bad.  Quilters know the meaning of Life, and they aren't afraid to share it with whoever asks.

The Real Border Babes!

This book is a tribute to the Real Border Babes, those women who through the years have met at Borders ever week, and continue to meet in that spot even though the store is now called something totally different.  I started this group around 2003 or 2004 because I had a whole lot of Applique and handwork to accomplish and I wanted two hours per week dedicated to getting it done.  I sat in the store for a month, every Thursday from 10 am to Noon hoping that someone would come sit with me.  Finally after a month, two women came in and sat with me.  For a long time it was just the three of us.  Then a few other people started getting the word and they came.  Within a year our group had grown to a dozen people.  Always there was a core group of about 6 to 9 people who came every time and had regular seats at the table, and then others would show up at intervals.  Most of us were from the quilting group known as Rumpled Quilts Kin which was a guild that met in Interlochen once a month.  But others from the community who were not RQK members started coming by as well.  We welcomed everyone.

Some of the characters in the book are based on the core group of women who first came to Borders.  Alana, Barbie, Audrey, and Zoe, undoubtedly will recognize themselves in the book.  Linda Sue is an amalgam of several characters in the original Babes but her story is made up in my fevered brain.  I wanted to depict a mother and daughter who were both into quilting so I made Linda Sue Audrey's daughter.  The real Audrey has only artistically inclined sons.  And as an aside, I have Linda Sue married to our famous Quilting Doctor from Traverse City whose work has been in many of our Quilt shows over the years.

As for Patsy, I named her for the next door neighbor that Audrey had who did indeed commit suicide.  So she is a tribute to this poor soul whom I personally have never met.  The character of Patsy is about 75% autobiographical.  I never had an abusive father and my mother, although she caused me much embarrassment over the years, never abandoned me.  I have made peace with my brother in our mellowing of old age even though in the book I depict him as unchanged from his youth.  He's really a good guy now, and sibling rivalry when it's not dealt with in a positive way in childhood can be far reaching into adulthood which I think was the case with us.  Most of the abusive situations in the book are exaggerated for dramatic effect.

Upcoming Events:

I will be in Dixboro at the General Store on October 28, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM to sign books.  I will have both "The Ghost of Dixboro" and "Border Babes" for sale at the event along with a few copies of my other titles as well.  Even if your not a reader and would like to say hi to me come on in.  I'd love to say hi to old friends!

Then also on November 5th I will be back in Bellaire at the high school for the annual Bellaire Gift show.  That event is from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  I look forward to seeing my Elk Rapids friends there.  You know who you are!!!

Also I will be getting my act together this winter and maybe doing some Library talks and more Bookstore signings.  So stay tuned!

Thank you to Susan Bouwsma, Terese Gavar, and my son Jacob Krol for coming with me to various shows over this past summer to help me out.  I'm grateful for the support I've gotten from friends and the community.  And of course, I want to put a big shout out to my husband Jeff Krol for supporting me in every way he knows how.  Without his support I could not have done any of this.  Thank you Honey!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buzz on the Latest Book

The Ghost of Dixboro is now up and ready to be downloaded onto everyone's Kindle.  Or if you prefer actual print books you can purchase a copy through Amazon.

This book represents a departure for me, since it is the first book that is a fictionalization of actual events.

Check out this post to get the scoop on where the story comes from.

I am grateful for the support I've been getting from the Dixboro Facebook page.  I think it was my cousin Kris Koch-Jones who first posted about the book.  And since then many people have commented.  Keep the buzz going guys, I love it!  And hopefully the Dixboro General Store will be carrying it soon, if they aren't already.

Events coming up

I will be at the Bellaire Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 24 signing and selling books.

Then on October 1st, I will be in Grayling at the Arts and Crafts show.

On October 29, I will be in Dixboro at a quilting retreat and hopefully I will be doing a signing there as well, at the Dixboro General Store.

Then on November 5, I will be back in Bellaire at their Holiday Gift Fair.  Books make the greatest gifts!

This winter I will be stepping up my schedule and branching out to do library events.  I can certainly talk for 45 minutes about writing in general and mine in particular.  I will have to limit my comments, because once I get going I don't stop.  

If you have any suggestions as to libraries where I could come and speak, please contact me through this site.  I will get back with you at once.

What's been on my mind?

This summer has been busier than a bee in a clover field.  I had some good events in Elk Rapids, Frankfort and up at the Straits in Mackinac City.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself except for one rainy day in Mackinac City.  But there is nothing that will spoil an outdoor Art Fair faster than rain.  

But all in all, I love getting out to these things because I truly enjoy speaking with people who appreciate the written word.  I am getting so that I can tell if someone is a reader or not, because their eyes go right toward printed material as if they are hungry for it.  Once I recognize my kindred spirits I can easily get them to walk in under my tent and talk with me about my work.  In Mackinac City, I actually had a line of people waiting for me to sign books.  It was great!  I had two women who bought four of my six books the first day of the show and then came back the second day to buy the other two.  It was fun!

That's why I came straight home and signed up for three more events before the end of the year.

My biggest problem is that my employee (who doubles as my personal chef (and my son)) has another job now working at Qdoba up the road from us.  So now I may have to do some of these events on my own.  It's OK, Qdoba is paying him more than I could.

New Projects:

I've already decided which book will be next.  "Border Babes" is being Beta Read right now by two people and as soon as I get their feedback I will be publishing it.  So be on the lookout.

Nanowrimo is coming up soon and I will be writing a book about two people who meet a bus station.  The working title of it surprisingly enough is "The Guy at the Bus Station."

Zach is a hard working medical student who is studying in Chicago but who hails from Marquette Michigan.  Amber is an angry young woman who had to take a few years out of her life to nurse her dying mother but who now is on her way to college in Marquette.  They meet at the bus station in Gladstone and spend the next weekend together.  Zach goes back to school and things are going well for him.  But Amber finds things falling apart around her. After having her life put on hold for four years she finds it's not just falling into place now either, but rather than live through another holding pattern, she gets angry and finds another solution to waiting.  She embarks on an adventure, flitting from one job to another, a dealer in Vegas and then awaitress on a cruise ship.  However, Zach, totally smitten with this lovely girl, comes home to find  her gone.  He goes a little insane and starts stalking her.  His obsession turns into a self-destructive spiral until he finally finds her.  She has been having the time of her life.  And barely recognizes the young man who has chased her around the world at the cost of his own dreams.

New Poll:

OK, here are the books that I still need to Edit.  I will set up a poll as to which books you would most like to see me come out with next.

1.  Blackburn--An Historical novel that takes place on Mackinac Island before, during and after the war of 1812.  Blackburn, thwarted in love has turned into a surly youth who hates everything and everyone.  Life doesn't matter to him any more so he joins the Pennsylvania Regulars who are stationed on the frontier between the new United States and Canada.  There is about to be a major disagreement between not just the U.S. and Canada, but also the tribes of Native Americans who have been promised their own nation consisting of what is now all of Michigan's two peninsulas.  The problem is that the promise was made by the Canadians but was never agreed to by the United States who had already begun to enforce their manifest destiny over all the lands owned by the indigenous peoples.  Samuel Blackburn is thrust into this and must fight for what will one day be his. 

2.  Roaming Tide Creator--Cathryn's family is dying.  Her mother has been dying since she was in grade school, but it looks like the Breast Cancer that she's been fighting is going to metastasize in Cathryn's senior year.  But Cathryn is self-sufficient, and she has a couple of very good friends who love her and want to help her.  So her mother prepares her for the worst while still fostering her hope for the future.
Lance on the other hand, thinks HIS life sucks.  His father is an Astronaut.  He has two older brothers who have made it their life mission to make sure he has no self-confidence at all.  And the one thing he wanted above all other things in the world is a dog that is so big that no one can handle it.  Then the worst thing possible happens to him, His father retires from NASA and they come back to Michigan where Lance had to get used to a whole new school and make all new friends.  But with no self-confidence how is he ever going to introduce himself to the cute girl on the track team?
Lance thinks his life sucks, but Cathryn's life really does suck.

3.  The Artesian Quilt Shop--Casey, Ar, and Daisy have been best friends for a long time, but now that their husband's are all retired it's time for them to pursue their dream of owning a quilt shop.  They buy a huge building in the Upper Peninsula and renovate it so that the main floor is the quilt shop complete with long arm room class room and office space and the upper story is their combined living quarters and individual apartments.  They sink all of their retirement money into this endeavor and get some of their family members involved in it too.  When it's all accomplished and they have moved in they discover the building is haunted.  

4.  The Life and Times of the Notorious Jedrick Jaxon--"My name is Molly Jaxon.  I was a nineteen year old sophomore in college when the 20-minute war happened."  This is the first line of a post-apocalyptic book.  Molly rises to see all the problems with the world and works to solve these problems.  The book is filled with common sense solutions to a world gone haywire.  Molly is a heroine for the new era.  This incredibly complex book may have to come out in more than one volume.  It is probably longer than the Wolves that watch.  I have to rewrite it before I begin the edits. But it is looking like it could be my masterpiece.  More on this later.

So which should I work on next?  

Take the Poll to the right.

Monday, January 04, 2016

In Focus

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions this year I decided that I was going to try something new.  I’m going to focus on four things.  When I think of the word focus, it has a general meaning, but it also has a specific meaning in photography.  You focus on your subject.  You can have a wide variety of focus points, depending on where you are looking at your focus.  We’ve all seen the movies where the cameraman focuses his lens on one thing in the foreground and then the focus shifts to another thing in the background, it’s a way of getting our attention on different elements in the frame.  We might see a girl in the foreground minding her own business and then focus changes to a man in the background looking at the girl.  Depending on many different visual clues this could mean anything from the man is in love with the girl, or obsessed with the girl, or he means the girl harm, or he is the girl’s father or husband, or anything!  We only know that the man is looking at the girl because the cameraman has given us the visual clue.  What we make of it depends on how the scene is acted, the context of the scene the roles, what has come before and what comes after.

So here are my 4 things that are coming into focus for me this year:

   1.  My Career--I’m an Author.  I want to promote the books that I have out now, and keep building my titles.  I ran across a good piece of advice a while back.  Even if the first book isn’t selling, keep writing and adding to your titles on your author’s page because if someone does like what you write, they will want more.

   2.  Reading--As  an author, I want to continually become a better author for myself and for my readers.  One way to do that is to keep up with reading other writers and learning from them.  I might find that I want to be the kind of writer that Pat Conroy is rather than the kind of writer that John Steinbeck was which is who I thought I want to be.

   3.  Happiness/Contentedness--I am old enough now to know what makes me happy and what does not, and I want to be contented in my old age.  I don’t want to live with doubts and regrets.  So I want to focus on removing the things that make me crazy and focus on things that make me happy and contented such as the things that are pictured below.  Knitting socks, reading, learning new things, watching good movies and TV shows on Netflix with no commercial interruptions, and playing words with friends on my Kindle.  I no doubt will write another Blog on this topic in the very near future.

  4.  Simplicity--In years past I have made lists, calculations, step-by-step procedures, strict schedules, and in depth goals that I then just ignored.  This year I want to adopt a new form of simplicity.  So what I'm going to do is just keep my spaces clear and if there is something that needs to be done, I will simply lay it on the table.  Then as soon as I have time, I will do the thing.

So there you have it.  And again, I plan to do some more Blogs on these four focuses as I go through the year.  So stay tuned.  Follow my Blog, follow me on Facebook.  Check out my Pinterest Boards, Follow me on Twitter.  Check out my Author pages on Amazon and Goodreads.  And stay in touch!  I would love to hear from you.

Cindy Koch-Krol, 1/4/16.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Artesian Quilt Shop Novel is well under way

My latest Nanowrimo effort is a story about a group of quilters and their husbands who had a dream for their retirement. They wanted to retire in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and open a quilt shop. When they found the old Artesian Well Water Company Building, a classic old brick building that started it's life as a school house but has lain empty for nearly 40 years, they thought they'd found their dream.
But even before they moved in things began to happen. One of the painters painting the trim just under the 40 foot high roof mysteriously fell from the scaffolding and injured his back. Then more things started to happen, freak accidents, shelves full of bolts of fabric turned over as if they had been in an earthquake. Books flinging themselves across the room. Apparitions appearing in the alcove, in the long-arm room, and in the basement.
Not willing to give up on their dream, the six people decide to ignore the problem and even to make concessions to keep the more violent things from happening. They form a theory that whoever is haunting the quilt shop doesn't like it when they say prayers out loud.
So instead, they go out into the field behind the house, through the forest to the north and do their praying and meditating, in nature, the way God intended. In doing they wake some spirits who reside there.
It seems that a major spiritual upheaval is in the making, one that has many layers of descent. These three couples have unknowingly opened up a wound that has been festering for more than a hundred years. An injury wrought by people like them who had good intentions but who operated under the assumption that their way was the only way, and could not see that the people they were trying to help didn't need or want their help.
The theme of this book is tolerance for others religions. We have freedom of religion in this country. It is a right protected by our government. We also have the separation of Church and State, which means that our government cannot be run by or have any association with one particular religion. This is why everyone is free to worship in their own way, the two things that guarantee that right. My answer to all "Christians" who think it's a travesty that their children can't pray in school is this: if you really want your children to express their religion in school then don't send them to a state run school. Send them to a school run by your religion. If you want a free education, then you just have to abide by the rules of our government.
Religious intolerance has always been a raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth. I've always seen evangelism as a true evil in our society. But I console myself with the phrase, "A person convinced against their will, is of their same opinion still."
Be sure to check out the Links on the right to my Amazon Author's page and to my other newly published books. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Tribute to Jean Marie

My long delay from blogging is due to the passing of my dear mother, Jean Marie Koch who went to her eternal reward on April 19, 2015.

As you know, I spent a lot of time with her over the past few years despite living in two different cities separated by a 6 hour drive. I don't regret a moment of it. I moved up there last summer to help her after a fall. When someone asked me how long I was going to be in Marquette, my mother answered for me saying, "Till death us do part." That was my mother! She had a dry, ironic sense of humor. She had no problem professing untrue statements about anyone, including herself. She had a bad habit of telling people that I "took" things that she had given me. She gave me her gas grill saying that no one would ever use it up there again since she was on oxygen. So My husband and I wrestled it into the truck and got it home. Next time my brother came up and wanted to cook some burgers on the grill she said. "I haven't got a grill, Cindy took it." All of my relatives thought I was a thief. It would have been more precise to say, "I gave it to Cindy to take home since I hadn't used in more than 2 years."

These are the type of things that I now look back on as being laughingly typical of my relationship with my mother. The photo above is the last picture I ever took of her, and it's also the last time she was ever outside of her apartment. We put her in the wheel chair and wheeled her out onto the porch one warm day in April. Less than a week later she died in her own bed. She didn't want to die in a hospital, she wanted to be home with family in the next room.

In fact, she was insistent on doing things her way. She planned her own memorial service, chose the music and the food. She told me she wanted to be cremated and her ashes buried in Ann Arbor next to her husband, my dad.

I once came across a book on how to write screenplays that said if you write the words, "The Desert, Dawn" on the top of your screen play be aware that sometime in the next 5 years you will wake up in a trailer 25 miles outside of Flagstaff Arizona at 3 A.M.

I thought of this statement many times over the next three months as I planned my mother's interment. This is what her grave ultimately looked like the day we finally put her in the ground, about 3 months after her death.

Note the prevalent color theme?

I officiated this non-secular event. We had already had the memorial service in Marquette, and a priest presided over that, so it didn't really matter. Jeff and I decided to just leave it loose. I came up with a poem to read about strong women, and Aunt Norene wanted to play a piece of music that she and my mother both loved. Before the ceremony, my cousin Kim asked me how Mom and Dad met, since Mom was from Marquette and Dad was from Dixboro. So I told the story about how mom came to Ann Arbor to get a job at a beauty salon. She had a roommate by the name of Dory Burdick. Dory was dating this guy named Nellie Rose who had a buddy that had just gotten out of the military. This guy was a local boy who had served in Korea and Japan during the Korean War.(See his scrap book here). Nellie suggested Dory bring her roommate along on a double date thinking they might hit it off. That's how my parents met.

Mom spent half of her life in Marquette, beginning and ending, and half her life in Ann Arbor, the middle. So My brother and I decided that it felt right to leave half of her in Marquette. This is where we left her.

The Pavilion on Presque Isle in Marquette was one of her favorite places on Earth. Don worked there when they were first together, a kind of easy retirement job. It was right up his alley, he could putter around and dead-head the flowers in the garden and sweep the building, and in between talk with the people who wandered in. The man dearly loved to talk and had that easy manner that could talk with anyone. Mom would take him his meals up there. They spent many happy hours there. But we didn't actually leave her ashes in or around the pavilion. We put them out on the beach in front of the pavilion at the edge of Lake Superior, and poured a bottle of Grand McNish Scotch over them as well according to my brother's wishes. So here is her view.

Mama, we miss you! We miss the parties you loved to throw. We miss your bright face, and your weird sense of humor, and your ability to keep us young. After all, you could reduce us down in age to the single digits. And you needed to do that because that way you could keep telling people you were only 39 yourself! I love you, Mama!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More from the U.P.

I am no longer living the U.P. Now the U.P. is living in me!
Yes, it's true. The more I travel in the U.P. the more I know it's where I wish to end up in my life. Lately I've been having fantasies about this building in McMillan, Michigan. It started it's life as a school. Then it became a bottling plant for an artesian water company. Now it's a huge empty building on 27 acres of land.
But I realize this is a pipe dream, so instead I'm turning it into a story idea. In the story, (the ME character) a woman and her two best friends, all quilters, decide to move to the U.P. Their husbands all worked for the same Engineering firm and thus they are all rich. They have all just retired and their plan is to move up to the U.P. and live in this huge building and make it into a quilt shop and Hobby shop. Each of the men have a different hobby. One is a model train builder, one is a guitarist, and the other is a computer builder. The three women all are interested in different styles of quilting so the main story of the building is a quilt shop. On top of that, they are involved in making this little community into a summertime destination. They are planning to show movies on a giant blow up screen in the backyard, host baseball games between communities, and build a dormitory style sleeping quarters so they can host retreats. In addition one of their sons is a chef and in with this deal they open up a local eatery from one that had been shut down years before.
I'm thinking this will become a ghost story! Just thinking out loud!
My mother sees angels everywhere. She insisted I take a picture of this one.
I took this picture from my cousin's front door. The Albino Deer pictured here is a regular resident in the neighborhood. I never thought I'd see an albino deer let alone get 20 pictures of one. It stayed in his neighbors yard for a good fifteen minutes so I could photograph it. Rather accommodating of her wasn't it?
Here is a picture of a pair of socks that I designed. The pattern for them will be available later this week through Ravelry and on the Quiltlynx Designs Blog (see link to the right of this post.) It will also be available in my Etsy store once I get that up and running. I plan to get my store going by the end of January. On Etsy, I will sell, baskets, beaded necklaces, patterns, other finished craft projects, oh and my books. Everything that I plan to have in my booth at the farmer's market and craft shows this summer. Let's face it. If I actually get all this done, I will be organized for the very first time in my long drawn out life! Wish me luck! Haunting the U.P. like never before, Cindy K-K

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Haunting Marquette

For those of you who don't know, my mother is getting on in years and I have moved to Marquette to take care of her. One of the things I have taken up to keep us both involved is a daily drive out to Presque Isle. We look for deer, ore ships, and whatever else we can see.

There is a man who goes out there nearly every weekday and sets up a hammock between two trees and reads a book out next to the lake. We have seen him many times. When he is NOT there we speculate on why. "Maybe he's found a job," Mom said one day. The next day she quipped that maybe his wife found out where he was going and put a stop to it. Silly Mom!

The Michipicoten has often been seen lately anchored in the Marquette harbor right at the end of Wright Street. (See my Blog on the Ore ships: link at right.) I've developed a major interest in the topic of Ore Ships since I've come here.

Oh, and I've made some friends, one of whom, Carolyn Scott, has given me some yarn she no longer wanted. So I made this afghan. When I took the colors out of the garbage bag I saw that they all went together. They reminded me of citrusy sherbert colors so I call this the sherbert afghan. Just as I was getting to know Carolyn she had a change in plans and is now moving out of town about 30 miles. I probably won't get to see her as often now. With her living right upstairs all I had to do is shout out and she would come down and spend time with me. But after she moves we will have to schedule appointments to get together. That's OK, we will, we have become very good friends. We respect each other's privacy but we still enjoying doing things together. I've never had a problem making friends. I haven't even tried the local quilt guild yet. Those are friends waiting to be made!

All in all, this move has been good for me. Taking care of my mother is difficult because she needs to have noise in the house at all times. If she isn't watching TV in the kitchen, she has the radio on and listening to music. I can't concentrate hard enough to READ a book, let alone WRITE one. So I have been walking in the mornings, usually with Carolyn, but also by myself, and then going to the local library where I can find a quiet cubical in the mornings to write for a while. When I need time to think I have been going for long morning drives out to the Island and sitting there to watch the ships. I come back with the pictures to prove it, but I always take a little time for myself.

I also have been known to go "shopping" mostly at thrift stores. And yes again I come home with certain little things that I have purchased at these stores but mostly I go there and walk around or sit in my car and listen to an audio book, or walk in the park with my camera. Anything at all to get away and let my own thoughts filter through the nonsense!

Carolyn is good at doing this for me as well. She sometimes suggests we go somewhere and get out and walk around, be at one with nature. I discovered one place on the Island that I had never seen simply because I've never gotten out of the car on this particular stretch. The entire back of the Island is cliffs overlooking Lake Superior and at certain vantage points you can see them from the land.

The day I took these photos was a clear day in late May, notice that there are still icebergs on the lake! It's such a beautiful place, Presque Isle.

School kids must have made this into a tradition, to put their locks on this overlook fence.

Flamingos I suppose aren't the only birds who save one leg. Mom and I saw this gull Picnic Rocks. A day or two later we saw what we thought was the same bird at the Island. I can only presume that it's a trait they all share.

I don't really blame them for saving their feet, this is how they use them. How many of us would survive barefooted on the icebergs!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Critical Mass

We have all heard this term before. How if many people all over the world begin to feel one way, they will create a critical mass and shift the goings on of the planet to their way of thinking. What "they" don't tell you is that it takes decades to accomplish. I think there is another form of critical mass thinking and that is more personal. For a while now I have been thinking about a better way of doing things. My Critical Mass thinking is about my own life. I know what needs to be done and if I think about it enough I will eventually do something about it. I will end up seeing my way clear to doing these things that I know have to happen.

This is what I've been up to lately. I need to do three major things:

First and foremost, I need to expand my life expectancy by starting a walking regimen. This has to be followed by a second day and a third and then eventually enough days strung together to make it into a habit. This is one of the hardest things for me to do. I've done it before with some success, but I've always gotten out of the habit at some point. This time I cannot get out of the habit. It needs to continue if I am to continue.

Second, I need to rid myself of all nonsense in my life. By nonsense I mean things that take up my time that serve no purpose, like advertising, television, crafting, buying the new latest gadget, especially when the old one works perfectly well yet. To this I will add getting rid of everything that doesn't work, like the electric company and the phone company, and the everything that doesn't fit into our lifestyle. Getting rid of bills for things that happened years ago.

Third, I need to read more, I need to write more, and I need to create more. These are going to be the things that will sustain me and all of us in the years to come. When the monetary system of our country collapses under it's own unbalanced weight, the people who will be ready to take on the challenges of the future will be those who have information and those who have learned to live without. Story of my life!

So I begin again! Today!

Cindy Koch-Krol

Haunting inside my own mind!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ghost of Dixboro

For my new Nanowrimo book, I have chosen the novelization of the screenplay that I wrote a few years ago for Script Frenzy called "The Ghost of Dixboro." This story is based on a sworn deposition given in front of William Perry Esq. Justice of the Peace in Washtenaw County Michigan on December 8, 1845. So yes, it's a true story.

Here is the text of the deposition:

"On Saturday night, the 27th of September, between seven and eight o'clock I was standing in front of the window of said house; my wife had stepped into Mrs. Hammond's about two rods distant, my two little boys were in the back yard, for I had passed through the house (to the front yard) and was combing my hair, when I saw a light through the window.
"I put my hand on the window sill and looked in; (I) saw a woman with a candlestick in her hand in which was a candle burning. She held it in her left hand. She was a middling sized woman, wore a loose gown, had a white cloth around her head, her right hand clasped in her clothes near the waist. She was s little bent forward, her eyes large and much sunken, very pale indeed; her lips projected and her teeth showed some.
"She moved slowly across the the floor until she entered the bedroom and the door closed. I then went up and opened the bedroom door, and all was dark. I stepped forward and lighted a candle with a match, looked forward but saw no one, not heard any noise, except just before I opened the bedroom door I thought I heard one of the bureau drawers open and shut.
"I spoke of what I had seen several days after, and then learned for the first time that the house in which I then lived had been previously occupied by a Willow Mulholland, and that she died there.
"The second time I saw her was in October about one o'clock in the morning. I got up, started to go our of the back door. As I opened the bedroom door it was light in the outer room. I saw no candle, but I saw the same woman that I had seen before. I was about five feel from her. She said, 'Don't touch me--touch me not.'
"I stepped back a little and asked her what she wanted. She said, 'He has got it. He robbed me little by little, until they kilt me! They kilt me! Now he has got it all!' I then asked her who had it all. She said, 'James, James, yes James had got it at last, but it won't do him long. Joseph! Oh, Joseph! I wish Joseph would come away.' Then all was dark and still.
October--"The third time I saw her, I awoke int he night, know not what hour, the bedroom was entirely light. I saw no candle, but saw the same woman. She said, 'James can't hurt me any more. No! he can't. I am out of his reach. Why don't they get Joseph away? Oh, my boy! Why not come away?' And all was dark and still.
October--"The fourth time I saw her about eleven o'clock P.M. I was sitting with my feet on the stove hearth. My family had retired and I was eating a lunch, when all at once the front door stood open, and I saw the same woman i the door supported in the arms of a man whom I knew. She said nothing, but the man said, 'She is dying. She will die.' And all disappeared and the door closed without noise.
October--"The fifth time I saw her was a little after sunrise. I came out of the house to go to my work, and I saw the same woman in the front yard. She said, 'I wanted Joseph to keep my papers, but they are _____,' Here something seemed to stop her utterance. Then she said, 'Joseph! Joseph! I fear something will befall my boy.' And all was gone.
October--"The sixth time I saw her was near midnight. It was the same woman standing in the bedroom. The room was again light as before, no candle was visible. I looked at my wife, fearing she might awake. She then raised her hand and said, 'She will not awake." She seemed to be in great pain; she leaned over and grasped her bowels in one hand and in the other held a phial containing a liquid. I asked her what it was. 'The doctor said it was Balm of Gilead,' she replied, and all disappeared.
October--"The seventh time I saw her, I was working at a little bench, which was standing in the room, and which I worked on evenings. I saw the same woman. 'I wanted to tell James something, but I could not, I could not.' I asked her what she wanted to tell. 'Oh! He gave me a great deal of trouble in my mind,' she replied. (A note on the affidavit explained that Martha referred to the man to whom she was engaged while she was a widow, but broke the engagement in accordance with her friends' wishes.) 'O they kilt me! They kilt me! she repeated several times. I walked forward and tried to reach her but she kept the same distance from me. I asked her if she had taken anything that had killed her. She answered, 'Oh, I don't _____ Oh, I don't ______' The froth in her mouth seemed to stop her utterance. Then she said, 'Oh, they kilt me.' I asked her, 'Who killed you?' 'I will show you,' she said. Then she went out of the back door near the fence, and I followed her. There I saw two men whom I knew, standing. They looked cast down and dejected. I saw them begin at the feet and melt down like lead melting until they were entirely melted; then a blue blaze two inches thick burned over the surface of the melted mass. Then all began bubbling up like lime slacking. I turned to see where the woman was, but she was gone. I looked back again and all was gone and dark. "The next time I saw the woman was in the backyard, about five o'clock P.M. She said, 'I want you to tell James to repent. Oh! if he would repent. But he won't, he can't. John was a bad man,' and muttered something I could not understand. She then said, 'Do you know where Frain's Lake is?' Then she asked another question of much importance, and said 'Don't tell of that.' (Van Woert later revealed that this latter question pertained to a well at the corner of Main and Mill Streets, near Martha Mulholland's house.)
"I asked her if I should inform the public on the two men that she said had killed her. She replied, 'There will be a time. The time is coming. The time will come. But oh, their end! Their end! Their wicked end! She muttered something about Joseph, and all was dark.
"The last time I saw her was on the sixth of November, about midnight, in the bedroom. She was dressed in white; her hands hung down by her side; she stood very straight and looked very pale. She said, 'I don't want anybody here, I don't want anybody here," and muttered over something I did not understand, except now and then the word Joseph. She then said, 'I wanted to tell a secret, and I thought I had.' And all was gone and dark." (The Van Woerts moved out of the house the next day.
"In all her conversations, she used the Irish accent; intermixed in all her conversations was the expression very often repeated, "They have Kilt me, oh, they have kilt me! and also the name Joseph."
The above was duly sworn to before William Perry Esq. at Ann Arbor, December 8, 1845.

The following two paragraphs were added at the end of one of the old copies of Van Woert's affidavit:

"As may be expected, the excitement which these strange events have given rise to, has started many reports, doubtless, entirely unfounded, and exaggerated things which may have some foundation in truth. Consequently they have been the basis of several prosecutions for slanders, none of them however, are leveled at Van Woert. Several trials it is understood are to take place in March and at that time some further developments most probably, some will confirm or dissipate suspicion.
"One fact will suffice to show the tendency of the human mind to the varvelious particularly when thusly excited. Mr. Sillson the famous magnetist from Detroit has been on the ground reaping a harvest of success from the soil of credulity and excitement thus prepared."

And now you know the rest of the story!!!

And you wondered why I call this blog "Haunts!"

Cindy K.-K.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sand Hill Cranes and other Inspirations

Do you know how beautiful these birds are? Jeff and I have been seeing them on our trips through the U.P. They stand in the fields of wheat and in the ditches and behind the tree lines. They are always a pleasant surprise. There are flocks of them in the farm lands around Sault Ste. Marie and along M-28. On our last trip we saw two of them crossing the road ahead of us. When our truck got too close they lifted their six foot wings and glided, long legs down to the edge of the road and out of our way. I will never forget that sight. I reached for the camera but was too late.

Have you ever thought that you should live your life through the eye of the lens so you won't miss any opportunities to capture a beautiful moment like that? I prefer to capture things on the page. That's why I'm a writer and not a photographer.

Take this farm for example. This is taken on U.S. 31 just north of Acme. Gorgeous? Yeah, how would I describe this scene in print?

I have taken the summer off from writing, or so I've been telling people. I've gotten a lot of sewing done during this time. I finished the Josh Groban Quilt wanna see it?

This is the whole finished quilt and below is a detail of it after he signed it!! Yeah, he did!

I'm going to do more of these! I love face quilts.

During our last trip to the U.P. during that season in Michigan called "Road Construction," I saw something that I had never thought about before. We have all seen those road side crosses put out by grieving loved ones to mark the place where someone has perished in an accident. The construction crew had to dig one of them up and had it leaning against a tree on the other side of a ditch. I had never thought about how big these crosses are, most of which buried in the ground. It was four feet long and was chopped into a sharp point so it could more easily be driven into the ground. I looked at the thing and thought at once about what a great tool it would make for killing a vampire. I told this to Jeff and Soon we were brain storming about the story line. I had to begin writing it at once!

The only writing tools I had in the truck at the time was a spiral notebook which I was using as a journal and a pen. I rarely write fiction with anything but my lap top these days. But I was compelled.

I have to say that I enjoyed the process and when I got home I typed the story into my shorts file. I don't think I changed a word of it. Those of you who have read me know that I am fairly wordy. But this didn't seem to have too many unnecessary words at all. Writing long hand tends to make one choose the language a bit more carefully. I need to explore this idea more thoroughly.

Now, as soon as I can, I need to research where to send this story. Who out there is publishing Vampire fiction? I dare say, I'll find someone! I hope it's original enough. Vampire fiction seems to be everywhere, which is why I hesitated to write any. I've been burned by this before. I wrote a World War II novel once and then found out it was unpublishable because there were too many non-fiction WWII books coming out and they were better and more unbelievable than the fiction.

Meanwhile I'm gearing up a story for Nanowrimo this year. More on that later. I still have two or three more sewing projects to finish up before the fall season kicks in and writing starts again in earnest.

Haunting from my handwritten Journal,

Cindy K.-K.