Monday, October 31, 2016

A Hallween Story

A Pumpkin's Wish
By: C.L. Collar

           Sadie stared at the round orange pumpkin in front of her. The Jack-o-Lantern contest deadline was at sunset and she still had no inkling of what she would carve. It would have to be original and amazing in order to win the $200.00 first place prize. She needed that money to help her grandmother pay for the medicine for her arthritis, and this Jack-o-Lantern was her only hope.
            Taking out a piece of chalk from her desk, she sketched a face on the orange canvas. Two enormous eyes stared back at her above a lopsided triangle nose and a jagged off centered mouth.
            "That looks like something a five year old would make," she said aloud to the empty room. A couple of swipes with a wet rag and the childish drawing
disappeared. It was times like these that she was jealous of her sister's artistic abilities. If only Shelia were here to help, then there would be no worries about winning the contest. But her talented sister was far away, living out her dream illustrating for the magical Land of Walt Disney.
            Sadie picked up the chalk and started again. This time a pair of cat-like eyes and a large mouth with sharp, jagged teeth appeared. "Better," she thought. "But not by much. What would Shelia do? What would Shelia transform this plain orange pumpkin into?"
            Sadie bolted out of her chair when the pumpkin's mouth moved and it's eyes blinked.
            "My, goodness," the pumpkin narrowed her cat eyes as she spoke. "Are you ever going to carve me? I've been sitting here for five days waiting to be born. You've put me off until the last minute and now you can't think of what to carve me into. Really girl. What is your problem?"
            Sadie looked around the room. Was someone playing a Halloween joke on her? "Whoever you are, this is very clever of you, but I'm not afraid. Come out so I can see you."
            Sadie waited, holding her breath and trying to look brave at the same time.
            "It's only me, your forgotten pumpkin, that is in this room with you. Now for the love of Peter, Peter the pumpkin eater, would you sit back down and carve me!" The exasperated plea came from the pumpkin's jagged mouth.
            Sadie sat back down. 'Well," she said. "If you want to be carved that badly then why don't you tell me what you want to become?" If this were a trick then maybe it would be to her advantage to play along. It might help her come up with a good idea for her project.
            "I get to choose? Oh goody, goody. Now let me think." The pumpkin sat there mumbling to itself and squinting her cat eyes. Finally her pointy mouth smiled. "I've got it! I want to be turned into a beautiful coach like the one in Cinderella. That would be so divine. I would really love that."
            Sadie frowned down at the orange ball. "I am not a fairy godmother, so how in the world do you think I can turn you into a beautiful coach?"
            The pumpkins mouth slumped and its cat eyes drooped. "You did ask and that is what I want to be. I know you can't really turn me into a carriage like Cinderella's, but you could carve a picture of one on me. Couldn't you?"
            "I could try, but I don't have the talent my sister has. It won't look anything like Cinderella's carriage. It will probably look more like an old hay wagon."
            "Would you at least try?"
            "I don't know. I only have until sunset and it's already four o'clock. That gives me only two hours."
            "Please," the cat eyes sat there begging much like the famous plea of Puss in Boots.
            "Okay," said Sadie. "I guess it would be original, but I don't think I can do it well enough to win."
            "I'll help you," said the pumpkin through a toothy grin. "Just wipe off this ridiculous face you gave me and pick up the carving knife. My spirit will help guide your hand."
            Sadie didn't really want to wipe off the face. She had enjoyed chatting with the unusual pumpkin. Once the mouth was gone, what would happen?
           "Are you sure you want me to wipe off your face? You won't be able to talk to me when I do."
            "Yes, said the pumpkin, "I will. I will guide you through your hands. Just wipe off the face and begin to carve. Trust me. I am going to find the artist that is hidden in you and bring her out to the surface. If you don't try, you will never know what you are capable of."
            "Good luck with that," said Sadie. "I hope you know what you are doing."
            "Trust me and believe in yourself," the pumpkin's voice faded into the air and sitting there in front of Sadie was the plain old pumpkin with the weird face that she had drawn earlier.
            "Well, here goes nothing," she said to the inanimate squash in front of her. She wiped off the chalk face, picked up the carving knife, and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and pictured the beautiful carriage that had whisked Cinderella to the ball. As the image formed in her head, her hand began to move slowly carving it into the face of the pumpkin. Swirls here, spirals there, a square for a seat and circles for the tires with swirls and flourishes everywhere. She could see it all in her mind, but what was it looking like on her pumpkin canvas?
            Sadie opened her eyes. She could not believe what she saw. She had carved the pumpkin's face into an exact replica of Cinderella's coach. Wow, how did I ever do that? I am not an artist like my sister. I am plain old Sadie. She looked at the pumpkin again and marveled at the sight.
            "Wherever you are, Miss. Pumpkin, thank you. I could never have done this without your help."
            "Oh yes you could." The voice came from inside the pumpkin. "I knew you could do it, I just had to convince you to try. Now look at me! I am beautiful and glorious, and I will be the belle of the Jack-o-Lantern contest. Come on, we must hurry or we'll be late."
            Sadie smiled and picked up her masterpiece. "No way are we going to miss this contest," she said. "It's your time to shine." She grabbed a candle off of the shelf and lit it pouring just enough wax into the pumpkin to make the candlestick and set up straight. Blowing out the candle she placed it securely inside, then she carefully picked up her pumpkin and headed out the door and to the park where the Jack-o-Lantern contest was to be held.
            Sadie's confidence weakened as she neared the park. She could see all of the glorious Jack-o-Lanterns glowing on the steps of the stage. There were pumpkins carved into pictures of werewolves and dragons and witches. There were also evil Jack-o-Lanterns, some even eating smaller Jack-o-Lanterns. But there was one thing that they all had in common. They were all themed around Halloween, the Jack-o-Lantern's holiday.
            As Sadie eyed her competition and slowly backed away a familiar voice hollered at her from the stage.
            "Hi, Sadie! Surprise. I was so happy when Grandma told me that you were entering this contest. I just had to fly home and see what you had done. I was afraid you weren't going to make it. I saved the best spot for your Jack. Come over here and place your Jack-o-Lantern on this pedestal."
            Sadie couldn't believe her eyes. There stood, Shelia, wearing a gorgeous Cinderella costume beckoning her to bring her Jack-o-Lantern creation forward. Great, she thought, where were you when I needed your help carving this silly thing? You could have come over to the house and carved it yourself and saved me a lot of worry. And then we would have won this stupid contest and had the money for Grandma's medicine.
            The pumpkin in her hand lit up unexpectedly. Sadie smiled as the candle came to life. "That's right," she said to her pumpkin, "it is your time to shine." She walked up to the stage and placed her Jack where her sister pointed then stepped back behind it.
            Another familiar voice's words floated to her ears. "It is your time to shine, too," it said. "If your sister had been here, then you would never have tried to carve me and never given either one of us a chance to see what we could be. Thank you."
            "Wow!" said Shelia. "You did a fantastic job. Where did you ever come up with such a unique idea?"
            Sadie hugged her sister and grinned bigger than any Jack-o-Lantern on the stage. "Oh, I had a little help from a friend," she said.
            Shelia smiled down at her little sister. "I always knew you had it in you." she said.
            "I'd better get off of here so they can begin the judging. I don't care who they pick, I think yours is the best Jack-o-Lantern I have ever seen. Good luck."
            Sadie looked down at her Jack and smiled. "So do I," she said to herself."
            The judging began. All three judges carefully studied each Jack-o-Lantern, whispering to each other the pros and cons of every piece. Finally, they finished and the head judge, Mr. Hensly, the school's art teacher, stepped to the podium to announce the winners.
            "First, The Chamber of Commerce would like to thank everyone who participated in the Jack-o-Lantern contest this year. We have an outstanding group of artist in this community. Now let's get to the winners. Third place and the prize of $50.00 goes to Mr. Buffle for his ferocious werewolf Jack-o-Lantern."
            Mr. Buffle bowed as he accepted his award.
            "Second place and the prize of $100.00 will go to the lovely, Lily Grant, for her wickedly carved witch Jack-o-Lantern.
            Lily giggled as she received her prize. "Careful, Mr. Hensly, she might put a spell on you for not giving her first place."
            Mr. Hensly chuckled. "You had better keep her in line then until that check is cashed, Miss Lily."
             "And now for the first place winner and the $200.00 prize. We had a hard time deciding who to give this award to this year. All of the entries were amazing. But after much deliberation we have decided the award will go to Mr. Weasley for his humorous incantation of the Zombie Jack-o-Lantern."
            Mr. Weasley stumbled onto the stage stunned that he had won the contest. "I
don't know what to say," he said. "Thank you, everyone."
            Sadie sighed and picked up her beautiful Jack. "Well, I guess we just weren't Halloweeny enough for them." she said. "But I still think you're the best Jack on this stage."
            Her Jack-o-Lantern glowed brighter, lighting up the dim stage.
            "Please keep your seats everyone, said Mr. Hensly. "We have a surprise award this year. This award of $300.00 goes to the person who we think had the most creative Jack-o-Lantern. This award is accompanied by a scholarship to the art school of the winner's choice. The scholarship award has been sponsored by the school's art department to encourage creativity in our community and this year the award will be given to Miss. Sadie Densley for her lovely, Cinderella coach Jack-o Lantern"
            Sadie looked at her Jack-o-Lantern in shock. "Did Mr. Hensly call her name? Had she just been awarded $300.00 and a scholarship to an art school?"
            "Yes he did and yes you have!" the pumpkin's excited little voice whispered in her ear. "We won!"
            Shelia stepped up and hugged her sister. "Boy, did you every shine tonight," she said.
           "Yes we did," said Sadie giving her precious Jack-o-Lantern a sly wink. "We did indeed."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 19

“You are something else,” said Jackson with a smile as he walked over to the counter.
“Speaking of ‘something else’, what’s the deal with you and Emberlyn James?” asked Tucker.
“No deal,” said Jackson, “we’re just friends.”
“Friends don’t kiss each other like that,” said Tucker. “I saw you two at the charity ball, practically making out like teenagers.”
The irony of the statement was not lost on Jackson and he couldn’t stop himself. “Speaking of making out like teenagers, what’s the deal with you and Genna? One minute I’m getting her a drink, the next she’s making out with you behind the fountain.”
Tucker’s cheeks turned a bright shade of red. “Ahh man, you saw that?”
“I did,” said Jackson.
“Look, I’m sorry, Jackson,” said Tucker, as he ran his hands through his hair. “I was drunk and being stupid.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Jackson, taking out the employee calendar from under the counter and flipping it open.
“Seriously, Jackson, I’m sorry,” said Tucker.
Jackson looked at his friend and could tell he was being sincere. “It’s really not a problem. Genna and I weren’t in a relationship. She’s welcome to kiss anyone she likes.”
“Yeah, but I knew you liked her,” said Tucker. “It was a jerk move on my part. She was pretty drunk too. I ended up driving her home and she puked in my car. I looked for you, but Igor told me Ms. James’s driver had taken you home early.”
“Igor?” Jackson raised an eyebrow. “You mean Alister? Yeah, Emberlyn had an issue in the garden and I helped out. It was no big thing, but I didn’t really feel like staying, so to return the favor she got me a ride home. If I’m being honest, seeing you with Genna made me do some real thinking about her and the truth is, she’s not really my type. So I’m moving on.”
The front door bell jingled as it opened and Genna bounced in. Jackson couldn’t help but notice Tucker’s smiled widen. Genna giggled and practically skipped up to them.
“Speak of the devil,” Jackson whispered, before smiling at Genna. “Hi, Genna.”
“Hi Jackson,” she said, barely giving Tucker a nod of hello, “anything I can do for you today?”
Jackson shook his head. “No, we’re good here, but thanks.”
Genna frowned. “You don’t have any customers.”
Jackson shrugged and pointed to the window behind the counter that showed the surf was up. “Usually don’t when the waves are as good as they are now. It’ll pick up in an hour or so.”
Genna pouted a little more and then brandished a smile like she had just had the most amazing thought. “I’ve got Daddy’s credit card. I’ll shop.”
“Okay,” Jackson said slowly.
Both Jackson and Tucker watched as Genna made her way over to the small beachwear section. Jackson didn’t stock much there, just some t-shirts, board shorts, flip flops, and a few bathing suits.
“Well, you might not be interested in Genna Murphy anymore, but she seems awfully interested in you,” said Tucker.
Jackson furrowed his brow. “I know, she’s been acting really odd since the charity ball. She practically met me at the door yesterday morning and then ran out and got Emberlyn and me coffee and muffins.”
“So you saw Emberlyn yesterday as well?” Tucker cocked his head. “That’s intriguing.”
“It’s really not,” said Jackson with a sigh, wishing Tucker would let it go. He enjoyed his time with Emberlyn and didn’t want Tucker to sour it with his childish remarks. “I offered to teach her how to surf and she took me up on it. Not a big deal.”
Jackson’s phone beep, indicating he had a text. He looked and it and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” asked Tucker.
“Oh, the new girl who was supposed to come in and work just quit via text,” said Jackson. “Who does that?”
“Kids, today,” said Tucker with a shake of his head. “No work ethic.”
“Says the guy who plays on a yacht and calls it work,” teased Jackson, as his stomach rumbled, “Guess I’ll be having muffins for lunch today.”  
“Oh, no, that won’t do,” said Genna, coming up and placing a large stack of various clothing on the counter. “Let me pay for these and then I’ll go get you a bacon cheeseburger from Van’s.”

“Not necessary,” said Jackson. He looked at the stack of clothes. “This isn’t necessary either. Don’t buy form my shop out of pity.”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Thank You!

A big Thank You to everyone who came to 

support us at Garden City this weekend.

 We made some new friends and had a

 wonderful time!

 Our next show will be Saturday at Follett,

 Texas. Be sure to stop in and say HI!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

***Holiday Book Tour & Jewelry Show*********

Come see us this weekend in Garden City, Kansas at the Peddler's Market.

We will have NEW BOOKS and NEW JEWELRY with a portion of our proceeds being donated to Anna's Legacy, St. Jude's Hospital, & Breast Cancer Research! 

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 18

Emberlyn pulled her own marshmallow from the fire. Jackson noticed it was a roasted to golden perfection. She gently grabbed the marshmallow and pulled it off the skewer quickly before placing the whole thing in her mouth.
Jackson laughed. “Okay, you even know how to roast and eat a marshmallow perfectly. Is there anything you can’t do?”
She gave him a wink as she finished her marshmallow. “I told you. I suck at love.”
She brushed her hands together to wipe off any lingering marshmallow. “So is there anything real about Genna you like?”
“So you noticed that too, huh?” Jackson looked to the sky and nodded. “I can’t think of anything that isn’t superficial. That makes me sound so awful.” He popped an unroasted marshmallow in his mouth.
“Makes you sound human,” said Emberlyn. “Superficial is what we notice first, because obviously we see what’s on the surface first and as we both know, sometimes that package is really beautiful, but all that’s inside is a pair of tighty-whities.”
Jackson had to choke back his laughter, so he wouldn’t spit out his marshmallow.
“Woman,” he said after a hard swallow, “are you trying to kill me? You can’t be that funny when I have a mouth full of marshmallow!”
Emberlyn leaned over and gave Jackson a kiss on the cheek. “I’ve got to go, but Jackson, life is too short for superficial girls. I might stink at love, but I know enough to never settle.”
Emberlyn stood and even though Jackson wanted to ask her to stay, he let her walk up the beach. He could see a car with its headlights lighting her way and for some reason knew it was Alister. He watched as her body slowly became a silhouette in the light.
Delicately he touched his cheek where she had kissed him every so gently. He fell back into the sand and locked his hands behind his head and he looked at the stars. Emberlyn might think she sucks at love, but Jackson knew from the way his stomach was doing the good kind of somersaults, that she was a pro.

Chapter 6

Jackson had just finished displaying a new shipment of surf boards when Tucker walked into The Shack. He thought he’d be angry when he saw Tucker, but his buzz from the night before had put Jackson in an unbelievably happy mood. He had spent a long time at the beach by the fire after Emberlyn left and realized he had no real attraction to Genna. Tucker had done him a huge favor. He had gone about it the wrong way, but now Jackson could move on from his Genna crush.
“Hey there,” said Tucker, “need a hand?”
Jackson tested the display to make sure it would fall and shook his head. “Just finished. Where you been, Tucker?”
“I had to do some work for my dad,” said Tucker.
“And by work you mean you had to take some CEO’s daughter out on the company yacht while her daddy and your daddy discussed business?” Jackson said with a wink.
Tucker held up his hands. “Hey, it’s my job to keep the ladies happy while Dad keeps the CEOs happy. Don’t hate because I have an awesome job and you’re here dusting surfboards.”
Jackson shook his head and laughed. “First, my surfboards sell too fast to get dusty and second, what do you do if the CEO is a woman?”
“If the CEO is a chick and has a husband or son tagging along we go play golf or fish, but it’s very rare for a CEO to be a chick.”
“You realize how sexist you sound right?” said Jackson, rolling his eyes at Tucker.
“You’re right,” said Tucker with a wink, “I’ll start taking the dudes out on the yacht too. It was wrong of me to believe guys wouldn’t enjoy a nice tan and Jacuzzi.”
“You are something else,” said Jackson with a smile as he walked over to the counter.

“Speaking of ‘something else’, what’s the deal with you and Emberlyn James?” asked Tucker.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 17

Jackson stoked the fire and looked up at the stars as he and Emberlyn sat on the beach. They had surfed almost all day, until Alister showed up with a picnic basket full of food. Jackson had never felt so much love for a man as he did when he saw Alister, standing barefoot in his khaki shorts and blue button up holding out the food.
“I thought you both might be hungry,” Alister had said, as Jackson and Emberlyn made their way up the beach.
“I could kiss you,” Jackson had said to Alister. “I’m starving.”
Alister had given Jackson a firm look of disapproval. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
After handing the basket over to Emberlyn, Alister had taken his leave, resisting invitations to stay by both Emberlyn and Jackson.
Now Jackson sat, alone with Emberlyn, under a star lit sky by the roaring camp fire. Jackson couldn’t help but relish in how beautiful it all was.
“It’s beautiful,” said Emberlyn, as if reading Jackson’s thoughts.
“It really is,” said Jackson looking at Emberlyn with a smile.
“Mr. Hunt, I do believe you’re flirting with me,” said Emberlyn.
Jackson shrugged and let out a chuckle. “I’ve been told I’m a natural flirt and you are pretty easy to flirt with.”
Even in the firelight, Jackson could see Emberlyn blushing. “You know how I feel about that.”
“Here’s what I know. I know that I was genuinely surprised to see you at the shop this morning and equally surprised that you surfed all day and then stayed to eat.”
Emberlyn shrugged. “I was hungry.”
Jackson let out a huge belly laugh. “So was I. My point is, for someone who doesn’t believe in romantic love, this sure feels like a date.”
“The truth is, you intrigue me, Jackson,” said Emberlyn and Jackson couldn’t help but get butterflies as his name rolled off her tongue. “Plus, since you know how I feel about love, you feel safe to me. I don’t have to fall in love to be around people I like and have fun with.”
“Valid point,” said Jackson. He grabbed the basket and pulled out a bag of marshmallows. “And I could use a little fun after Genna.”
“She seems like an okay girl,” said Emberly as she took the marshmallow Jackson offered and placed it on a long metal skewer. “But I can’t see how she was your type. What did you see in her?”
Jackson shrugged as he put his own marshmallow on a skewer and placed it over the fire. “Well, she’s pretty. She has these dark blue eyes that remind me of an angry ocean, which oddly enough I find beautiful. She’s always looks put together and friendly … well mostly friendly. I’ve heard her say stuff about people that don’t run in our circle.” He pulled his marshmallow out of the flames as it caught fire and quickly blew it out. “Come to think of it I guess she can be catty. She’s always going to these charity events though, so that has to be something.”
Jackson started to feel embarrassed when he couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t superficial that he liked about Genna. Again, his marshmallow caught fire and he hurried to blow out the flames. Shrugging he pulled the gooey ball off his skewer, leaving a long stream of marshmallow on his fingers, as he popped it in his mouth.
Emberlyn pulled her own marshmallow from the fire. Jackson noticed it was a roasted to golden perfection. She gently grabbed the marshmallow and pulled it off the skewer quickly before placing the whole thing in her mouth.
Jackson laughed. “Okay, you even know how to roast and eat a marshmallow perfectly. Is there anything you can’t do?”

She gave him a wink as she finished her marshmallow. “I told you. I suck at love.” 

Part 18

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 16

“You leave my flower out of this,” said Emberlyn playfully. “We came all this way. Could we go on out and you can show me some additional pointers other than what you’ve taught me on the beach. Worst case scenario, we go for a nice paddle in the ocean.”
Jackson smiled. “You keep talking like that I will fall in love with you.”
She gave him a playful push. “Shut up and teach me how to surf.”
They grabbed their boards and ran into the waves. As Jackson paddled his board out, while lying on his stomach, he kept Emberlyn in his peripheral vision. She was doing well to keep up with him. When he reached passed the break, he sat up on his board and soon she was sitting up next to him.
“I’m surprised,” said Jackson.
“Why?” asked Emberlyn as she looked out over the water.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but most people’s energy levels fade out really quickly during their first lesson. It’s not easy to paddle out this far without practice,” explained Jackson. “You don’t even seem winded.”
“Well you know, lifting all my stacks of money gives me tremendous upper body strength.” She gave him a wink. “That and I work with a trainer five days a week.”
Jackson laughed. “I love that you have such a great sense of humor. I feel like I can say just about anything to you and you’ll take it just the right way.”
Emberlyn shrugged. “My job is to read people and their intentions. It’s easy to see your intentions just to have a good time and not take life to seriously.”
“But I do take surfing seriously and, even with the amazing view, this is disappointing.”
“You never know when it’ll pick up,” said Emberlyn.
She gazed back over the ocean as she dipped her fingertips into the water. Jackson thought she was mumbling, but he couldn’t be sure.
“What?” he asked.
Emberlyn smiled at him. “I have a song stuck in my head. I was just singing a bit of it to myself. It’s one of my little quirks.”
“Nice to know you have some,” said Jackson, noting the paddle passed the break has done nothing to her beautiful gardenia. Her hair was wet, and her bun a bit askew, but the flower looked pristine.
“What’s that?” asked Emberlyn.
Jackson smiled. “That’s a very nice wave coming in.” He looked at her. “You ready?”
Emberlyn smiled back. “Always.”

Chapter 5

Jackson stoked the fire and looked up at the stars as he and Emberlyn sat on the beach. They had surfed almost all afternoon, until Alister showed up with a picnic basket full of food. Jackson had never felt so much love for a man as he did when he saw Alister, standing barefoot in his khaki shorts and blue button up holding out the food.
“I thought you both might be hungry,” Alister had said, as Jackson and Emberlyn made their way up the beach.
“I could kiss you,” Jackson had said to Alister. “I’m starving.”

Alister had given Jackson a firm look of disapproval. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

Part 17

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Dark Heart Celebrates

The Dark Heart will return on Friday. Today we pause to celebrate Jennifer McMurrain's newest release: Summer's End!!

If you like romance with a twist, you'll love this intriguing story of a girl who thought she'd lost the love of her life forever. But he found a way.

Happy Bookday, 
Available now!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It is October!

It Is October!
If you were born this month you are an Outstanding Opal!

Opal  " The Stone Of Karma "

I am light reflecting light. I absorb and reflect. I teach you to think positive thoughts because what you put out always returns.

See our lovely Opals @ Anna's Legacy Gift Shop