By some freakish twist of fate, my workplace declared a snow day on Friday. ((Only the second time a closing has taken place there ahead of a storm in the past forty years as verified \ remembered by my father)) This allowed me some unexpected extra time to work on writing.
Over the past couple weeks, the next book in The Barnesville Chronicles has been giving me some fits. I thought I was done with the first draft. Turns out, I was only half done. While working on the mess I created, it occurred to me maybe there was some clarification that needed to take place about these Chronicles.
What are the Barnesville Chronicles? Simply put, they are stories (mostly novels – there’s one short story that meets the requirements) that share the common setting of a small town in central New York State called Barnesville. In the broader sense, any location set in fictional Oneekah County is and will be a part of the Chronicles. Owen, the capital of Oneekah County in which Barnesville is located, boasts a population of less than 20,000. That should tell you a lot about the other towns and villages it presides over.
These are small town tales surrounded by acres upon acres of farmlands and forests. It’s rural and quiet. Families are tight. Nothing much is going on and life can get pretty monotonous. Everyone knows their neighbors, or do they? You think you know the man who owns the local feed store? Think again. You can trust the funeral director who’s tended to your families death needs for decades, right? Maybe not so much. What about the town librarian? Certainly she’s a good egg with nothing to hide. Not so fast.
Despite having a population of less than 2000, the influences of Barnesville and its secret witches’ coven stretch far and wide from as far back as the late 1700s to present day. The current members pride themselves on their good intentions, but this has not always been the case. Over the centuries, some have gone astray and used their powers and knowledge for more selfish and evil purposes. Therein lies the start of the layering of secrets from one town to the next.
There are ideas percolating, very few of which have been written down. Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon, a murder-mystery, begins the series in so far as filling in readers on the founding of Barnesville and its coven back in 1790. However, it also takes place in present day. The Witch’s Backbone Part 1: The Curse is set in 1980. Another tale will take place in the mid-1990s. Some weird happenings went down around 1900. The Prohibition Era may well show up for another storyline.
Currently the Barnesville Chronicles include three titles, Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon, That’s What Shadows Are Made Of, and the two-part series, The Witch’s Backbone. Ultimately, I hope to expand on that with each new title set in a different town within the county, bringing the grand total to twelve. Whether that actually happens or not is anyone’s guess, but I’m going to give it a shot.
Finally, each story in the Chronicles will be written as independent, stand-alone tales. You don’t have to read any title in order to understand the events of another. It might be more interesting, but it will be completely unnecessary with the exception of a title that bares more than one part (ie. The Witch’s Backbone). I’ve no intention of writing them in chronological order so there’s not reason for them to be read that way beyond a reader wanting to do so. Of course, knowing that order will only be fully disclosed when the final book is released years and years from now.
Now you know about The Barnesville Chronicles and I really should get back to that bone I have to pick with a certain witch in Part 2 of The Witch’s Backbone – The Murder.