What Are The Barnesville Chronicles?

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.


Sherlock Holmes To The Rescue!

When we first started talking on Skype I never really thought he had much of an accent. So, how come now that we’ve been living together in the North for almost eight months, I’m starting to hear it?

As some of you know my boyfriend is from Texas. His father was in the Air Force for many years and the family moved around a lot. He’s lived in Germany, France, Colorado, New Mexico and several other Southern states but Texas was always home to them and it was to Texas they all returned and lived once Dad’s military days were over. Living in so many places as a kid certainly tempered the Southern sound of his voice compared to his parents. His mother, for instance, seems to think ‘Jim’ is a two-syllable name, Jee-im. Sherlock Holmes would have a field day in our house what with my mom insisting that the part of your mouth your teeth are embedded in are called GOOMS and that you can carry your lunch in a paper BAGE. WTH, Mom? Where’d you learn to talk? Oh, wait. Not even twenty miles from where I did. Go figure!

Shortly after he moved up here, he noticed how much I use the phrase, ‘what-not’. Apparently of all the BIG things they have in Texas, the phrase ‘what-not’ is not one of them.  It quickly became a joke and we started adding ‘what-not’ onto the end of as many sentences as possible. In exchange for him adding ‘what-not’ to his vocabulary it was decided I should start saying ‘fixin’ more often. As in, “We’re fixin’ to go down to the store.”  It has provided us with much more amusement than it probably should but we tend to be easily amused (and what-not).

The other night we were playing ‘Second Life’ and he started talking about a mutual friend of ours, Al – as in short for Albert. We met Al at a place called Crack Den. Fun to RP with but as we haven’t been there in nearly two months now, haven’t  seen him.  “Jee-im” says we’re going to have to get Al a motorcycle for the new area he’s been exploring lately. It’s a lot like Crack Den. I’ve not been there myself as of yet. Anyway… SL motorcycles don’t come cheap and I’m thinking, “Why would he buy Al a motorcycle when we haven’t even seen or heard from him in two months?”   I ask, “Is Al even there?” He shakes his head a bit and says he doesn’t know. And I’m like, “So, why would you want to buy him a motorcycle?” He replies, “As the new Sergeant At Arms in the MC he should have a bike.”  And then it hit me. He wasn’t saying AL at all. He was saying OWL.  I start laughing.  I know very well who Owl is and suddenly the whole conversation made sense. “OH! You mean Owl not Al, as in Albert.”

 He chuckles, “Sorry, I was speakin’ Texan.”  

 One of these days he’s going to say ‘awl’ or ‘oil’ that way and I’m going to end up lost… again.

In the meantime, I’m fixin’ to head over yonder to get some coffee an’ what-not.  I need someplace ‘quite’ to sit an’ think about how I’m going to get him to use the words ‘wubble’ and ‘squee-haw’.