8/11/14 – started the chapter that will be about Braddock’s defeat at Battle of the Monongahela..not much yet but it’s a start:
Chapter – Braddock
General Braddock’s headquarters was a hive of activity as was the camp surrounding the headquarters and the temporary village of traders, taverns and whores. Everyone was preparing to pack up for the long march to the western frontier to confront the French at Fort Duquesne. Colonel Gordon Doherty brushed the dust from his uniform as he strode to Braddock’s command post. It was time for him to apprise the general of the state of readiness of his regular army troops. ‘Well Sgt. Mulhern, I hope the general is in a good mood though I suspect he won’t be after my report.’ Sargent Glyn Mulhern glanced up from the roster of the troop he had been going over, ‘Aye Major Sir, I mean Colonel. I’ll wager a large whiskey he won’t be liking it at all.’
Major Gordon Doherty had been assigned to Braddock’s command after a successful career with the Scottish Highlanders and promoted to Colonel and was given the task of training this newly formed army. Sargent Glyn Mulhern had been with the colonel for the last six years and was his right hand man in the effort.
7/30/14 – added two new characters for a chapter later in the story – the battle for Fort Ticonderoga..here’s an excerpt:
Liam, Daniel and Wahta gazed down upon a small homestead noting the smoke rising from the chimney. ‘Looks like we’re in luck,’ said Daniel, ‘From what I heard the Fords are more likely to be out rather than in.’ Oliver and Mary Ford managed a comfortable life out of a rugged environment. Oliver was known for his hunting ability and his all-around woodcraft, while Mary was not the typical stay at home and tend the crops type of woman. She accompanied Oliver most of the time, was an excellent shot and an expert trap setter. Together they always had furs and meat to trade with their Mohawk neighbors for corn, beans and medicinal herbs. They were also part of William Trent’s network of watchers and as such were keeping an eye on the comings and goings at Fort Ticonderoga. Liam and company had been sent by Colonel Washington to find out what the Fords had learned, if anything. As they walked down to the cabin, Oliver came out from around the corner where he had been butchering a deer. ‘Ahh, let me see,’ exclaimed Oliver as he greeted the trio, ‘you’ve come from Trent or Washington else I’m the King of England. I ‘spect you’re hungry as well. Fresh venison do ya?’ Patting them all on the back as they walked by, he chuckled and yelled, ‘Mary, darling! We’ve company for supper.’
After a refreshing meal of venison, boiled potatoes, bean stew and ale of the finest quality, Oliver pulled out a map of Fort Ticonderoga. Wiping his mouth with his hand after a satisfying drink Oliver remarked, ‘Yeah, that’s just about the last of it. I picked up this ale on a trip to Albany some time back. Bought it off a fella name of T. E. Winslow. Best brewer I ever met, though I heard tell he joined the militia and was sent down to join Braddock. I hope he survived that fiasco, waste of a good brewer if he didn’t.’ He took another swallow and exclaimed, ‘Mother’s milk, oh, excuse me for my crude remark gentlemen. Now I suppose you want to know about Fort Ticonderoga?’ ‘Yes sir,’ replied Daniel, ‘but first let me set your mind at ease about our acquaintance, the good brewer, Timothy Edward Winslow. He is indeed still alive, in fact he is part of Liam’s scout troop. He even saved Liam’s life during that battle. He shot and wounded a Shawnee brave named Huritt who had Liam in the sights of his musket. Ordinarily he would have been with us on this trip but Colonel Washington decided he needed Timothy’s skill as a brewer for the time being.’ While everyone else was smiling and chuckling with Daniel’s telling, Liam slunk back further into his chair with an angry scowl on his face. Oliver noticed the change in demeanor but decided to hold his tongue, for now. ‘Wonderful news and that’s a fact,’ continued Oliver, ‘this too is a fact. Fort Ticonderoga had been real quiet for a while, just the normal routines of drill and patrols, until a couple of weeks ago when a band of Shawnee came in and set up camp just outside the fort. At first there were only 10 or 12 braves but as the days went by more and more trickled in and then yesterday a band of 30 warriors led by the Shawnee, Huritt arrived.’
At the mention of Huritt Liam flinched and banged his knee on the table. Daniel reached over and grabbed Liam by the shoulders and eased him back into the chair. When Liam seemed to have calmed down Daniel let go. Liam immediately and before Daniel could react sprung to his feet and hastened toward the door. Turning around as he was about to cross the threshold he stammered, ‘Thank you for the meal ma’am,’ and then continued out into the night. Mary started to go after him but Wahta stopped her, placing his hand over hers as she arose from her seat. ‘Let my brother go. He has a rage burning inside and is best left alone while he seeks to control it. He will be back soon.’ Mary sat back down and asked, ‘What is this burning rage? Has it to do with Huritt?’ ‘It has everything to do with Huritt,’ responded Oliver stroking his beard as he thought, ‘or I miss my guess. I think I’ve pieced it together. A while back we heard of a massacre at Trent’s post near Fort Duquense and that a Mohawk woman was brutally murdered by a Shawnee named Chogan who if I’m not mistaken was killed later by Thomas Mallory who was in turn killed by Huritt, Chogan’s closest friend, some say they were brothers. Further, the woman was Liam’s wife, when you add all that up you can understand the bad blood between them.’
5/5/14 – A wilderness wedding:
Despite the mood of the territory things were going well at what was now being called The Mallory-Clarke Trading Emporium. Trapping and hunting was the best anyone had ever seen over the last year and a half and that was music to Phil’s ears as he now owned the transport end of the business and had two routes for his wagons, one going to Albany and the other to Philadelphia. Love was also reaching new heights when Liza turned eighteen and was dropping not so subtle hints to Handsome Henry that it was time to get married but Henry always came up with an excuse or just said they should wait until the time was right. It was the arrival of Stan McNeil, a trapper who was also a Methodist minister, that left no doubt in Liza’s mind that the time was right, so on a warm September afternoon, Handsome Henry and Liza were wed.
The wedding was as grand an affair one could make considering the remoteness of the post. Liza had ordered material from Jimmy Two Birds months in advance in order to make her dress and veil. Abigail gave Liza her grandmother’s ring to wear while Henry was given his father’s ring. Everyone pitched in to decorate the post and to dig three more fire pits for the roasting of venison, a couple of pigs, a few turkeys and a huge cauldron of rabbit and vegetable stew. Timothy outdid himself both in the baking department and in the quantity and quality of the ale he provided and Jimmy Two Birds arrived with three barrels of French wine to add to the festivities. Stan McNeil, known to his friends as Old White Collar because of the collar he kept in his saddle bag just in case his preaching duties were needed, and having sampled the ale and the wine beforehand preached on the story of the wedding in Cana claiming that even Jesus would have been hard pressed to outdo the beverages on hand. The happy couple having been pronounced man and wife were feted by an unruly but pleasant nonetheless group of trappers, hunters, woodsmen and a few Mohawk. Music filled the night sky as no less than three fiddles, two guitars, a harmonica or two and Joseph surprising all with a fine tenor voice contributed to the merriment. As the party gained momentum and hilarity so too did the party goers become less inhibited in their commentary and the good natured barbs about the wedding night could be heard from every corner of the grounds. Phil announced that he was letting the newlywed couple use his tent for the next few nights and that he would sleep in the bunkhouse and that set off a flurry of comments. ‘Why Phil my old friend,’ replied Stump Nose, ‘you’re going to give up that comfort and all and dwell with the unclean? How will you survive?’ Phil, staggering a bit as he made his way back to the campfire from an ale keg said, ‘My plan is a simple one. I’m going to hold my breath all night.’ At this point Phil let loose a tremendously loud and especially smelly fart. Rob Carter who was next to Phil and downwind as well almost fell off the log he was sitting on, ‘Damnation. If you add to the air anymore of that then we’re all gonna die in the bunkhouse tonight.’
5/1/14 – The beginning to chapter three:
The trading post was finally taking shape. When they arrived two months ago, the only building was the storefront. Since that time living space for Thomas and Abigail had been added to the store and a bunkhouse built large enough to accommodate 20 or so workers or traders spending a day or two in civilized company and comfort. The site was situated along the Kiskimientas River on a peninsula in the bend of the river. A canoe landing sat right outside the rear door of the store. The rest of the post consisted of a large vegetable and herb garden, a brew house for Timothy, stable and corral, out house and Phil’s tent. This was no ordinary tent as it more resembled Caesar’s campaign tent complete with ceiling to floor length curtains that portioned off the space into three distinct rooms. The front room was furnished with a large wooden desk and a couple of comfortable chairs. The bedroom contained a four poster bed and matching nightstand. The third room held the woodstove and a small kitchen area. Having never pitched this particular tent before Phil had little idea as to how to do so. With the help of Stump Nose and Rob Carter, the tent was eventually completed though it took five hours, many tankards of ale and a dictionary’s worth of profanity. Naturally Phil took quite a bit of ribbing for his comfy living arrangements and while taking it all in a well natured manner, he did explain that, ‘I don’t have them fancy things solely for my comfort although that is a factor, but no, the real reason I choose my tent over the bunkhouse is my health. The smells that issue forth from none too clean bodies of a dozen men are not meant to be inhaled.’
4/29/14 - I pulled the hammer back on my .44 Magnum and none to gently poked my slumbering muse. ‘Wake up my dear. Time to end your hibernation. Now, start inspiring me or I will blow your muse arse back to Pixie Hollow and start looking for inspiration from the comic strip Pearls Before Swine.’ Having made my point in a convincing manner, my muse did indeed wake up and I am adding words to the novel…whoohoo..#amwriting
4/6/14 – Wow…3 months later and I have not added anything to the novel. This can be attributed to a couple things…have read and reviewed eleven books since the end of 2013 plus I have encountered a slight problem with my book – nagging and persistent doubts as to whether the effort is worth it. My dream is that it actually make money, something I am in sore need of but the likelihood of that happening is rather remote in the least. While I have these doubts, my Muse remains silent.
12/30 – have not written anything in a few days…been busy doing a beta read of Marius Mules VI plus finishing The Gates of Troy…done with both now including their reviews so now is time to get back to the writing…so wake up Muse, or as Gob would say in Arrested Development, ‘Come on!’
12/19 – still plugging away. Finished chapter 4(subject to change, of course)…currently working on chapter 2 which is the move to the frontier. I thought I was doing okay and then I had an idea for another character to add into the mix…problem was that this character needs to be somewhere else when events in chapter 4 take place and I already have plans for everyone else at the trading post so cannot spare anyone to leave the post to escort the new guy back East…solution? – create a second new character – one thing I’m learning is that a novel until it is published is a pretty fluid thing…at 19,000 words now – still on track for 25,000 at year end.
12/4 – well my 2 weeks off of work end tonight…I had a goal of 10-15,000 words by now and I have reached 14,962…what does this mean in terms of percentage done, you ask? Going on the basis of 75-90,000 words as a good length novel, I am 16-20% done…my goal by the end of the year is 25,000 words – now to see if anyone is reading these updates…if you would like to read the first two chapters let me know…I have gotten some good feedback on them from a couple people so far and am encouraged by that. A small tease from chapter 5:
‘Colonel George Washington looked up from his camp desk as a tall, lean Negro entered his tent. He was dressed as a Mohawk warrior for that is what he was. Teeyeehogrow was the name he went by now that he was an adopted member of the Mohawk. Rufus had been his name as a slave on a tobacco plantation outside of Baltimore on Chesapeake Bay. In a voice that bespoke of much intelligence Teeyeehogrow said, ‘You wanted to see me Colonel, Sir?’
11/27 – Have reached 10,000 words…whoohoo!! The following is from Chapter 2: comments welcome and encouraged….
It was indeed a tempestuous winter weather-wise. Heavy snowfalls and bitterly cold temperatures made for hard work preparing for the move. The village was especially quiet as everyone sought to stay indoors as much as possible. Though even in these frigid conditions some still moved about; after all business and daily life doesn’t stop for the weather. Phil Burke was a moderately successful businessman from Philadelphia where he had a fleet of three ships and a lumber mill. Nearing 40 years old and starting to go a little portly from the sedentary nature of a business office, Phil was beginning to tire of this part of his life. So despite the frigid conditions he made a rare, for him, trip to Rivertown to purchase a load of lumber. Needing a place to stay he stopped in the village inn for a room, a meal and to get warm. Phil stood in the entrance letting his eyes adjust from the brightness of the day to the darker atmosphere of the inn not thinking that he was also letting in the frigid air. Thomas and Joseph were enjoying a pint of ale while they discussed how things were shaping up when they were hit with an arctic blast. ‘Aye! Sarding hell, would you be closing that door, stranger afore you turn us all into blue-skins?’ asked Thomas as he pulled his hat down further on his ears.’ Phil with a look of disbelief closed the door behind him and walked over to Thomas, ‘Sorry about that, I just wasn’t thinking. Cold air must have frozen my brain. Phil Burke is my name, from Philadelphia,’ he said extending his hand in greeting.
‘Thomas Mallory and Joseph Clarke at your service. Please join us won’t you?’ said Thomas as he caught the innkeeper’s attention and motioned for another tankard of ale. ‘What in the name of all the saints in Ireland are you doing wandering the streets of this frozen village when you could be basking in the warmth of a fine home in Philadelphia?’
Joseph reached across the table and shook Phil’s hand and said, ‘Phil Burke eh? Might you be the owner of the lumber mill? I have done business with you if you are he.’
‘I am and that’s partially the reason I am here. There’s a supply of lumber I need to pick up though I wish I had sent one of my drivers instead. I cannot remember when I have felt so cold. Excuse the vulgarity but I believe my arse is frozen shut and my gonads are stuck together frozen to my right thigh. Joseph Clarke you say? Now that my brain is working again I recall hearing from one of my teamsters that you are preparing to move to the frontier.’
11/21 - Have reached 5000 words – a brief snippet – comments most welcome:
Liam was tracking a wild turkey when he heard a rustling of leaves behind him. He dropped to the ground and crawled behind two large oak trees. As the Mohawk brave crested the small rise and came into view, Liam pulled an arrow from his quiver and drew back his bow and took aim. Donehogawa froze when he saw the movement up ahead and heard the unmistakable sound of a bowstring being drawn tight. The warrior held out his hand, palm facing forward in a gesture of peace and said in broken English, ’Put bow down little white man. Mohawk not hurt you.’ Liam stood his ground smiled and replied in perfect Mohawk, ‘Tell your braves to put theirs down and I will put down mine.’ Donehogawa was startled by this unexpected response but did as he was asked and soon there were six Mohawk braves advancing on Liam with weapons no longer at the ready. Liam, his fingers and arms began to tire from the strain and tension so he too lowered his bow but kept the arrow nocked.
11/13 – one more week til an extensive writing period is planned. Currently at 2800 words – added a new scene, first one with violence involved…pretty sure there will be more – goal is to have 10-15,000 words by end of next week…
11/1 – decided I need more info on the culture of the Native Americans involved so have purchased another research book to read : At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America (Regional Perspectives on Early America) …current plans have me diving into the actual writing in a couple weeks..I am taking the week before Thanksgiving off for this …
10/22 – Have finished reading Empires at War,an historical account of The French-Indian War…excellent book for my research. Thinking I may have to take a road trip to western PA to the site of Ft Necessity and Braddock’s defeat. Firming up locales…ideas for plot etc…hope to do some actual writing this week as well.
10/14 – not much done word count-wise but am plotting locations and figuring what characters I need and how to portray them..have historical figures in mind as well as fictional ones…for example George Washington plays a significant role…General Braddock…William Trent…lots to do..hope I can make time…
10/9 – wee hours of the morning. Have moved base of operations from uncomfortable writing situation on living room couch to one more suited to the task….the ManCorner – my bit of the house that is mine alone. I have done some work on the story this morning as I am not babysitting the grand daughter later today. That is one of things that is going to make this writing a novel take a bit of time. I only work three nights a week- 12 hour shifts – of the four days that I do not work Saturday is mainly a lost cause due to lack of sleep the three preceding days and I watch Kaedyn for a good portion of Sunday-Tuesday. That leaves Wednesday as my best shot at getting anything accomplished…have a working title now…The Mallory Saga – A Novel of The French-Indian War…at least I can call it something other than ‘the story’ :-)
Due to unprecedented support by my ever growing network of adoring fans, I have decided to take laptop in hand and finally write a full length novel. I am going to set this historical fiction story in the context of The French-Indian War, a war that has been called the first world war. The main characters(at this point of the early ruminating process) will center on two frontier families and their trials and tribulations during this time period. My idea is to use the Prologue as a means to explain the circumstances leading to the conflict on this continent and to introduce the Mallory and Butler families.
So far I have begun a list of characters and am doing research on the period while my Muse conjures up a plot line. This is a part of the writing process that will be different for me…up til now I’ve only written short stories etc and haven’t really done the whole plot outline/draft process. Instead I just let the words flow from my head to my fingertips and while I’m sure there will be some of that in this story now I have to look at the big picture and make sure everything fits….this will be challenging but necessary I think.
I’ve also got kicking around, perhaps way too prematurely, the idea of expanding this into a series of stories following the Mallory family through The Revolutionary War…the settling of the frontier…War of 1812…and The Civil War…heady stuff eh?
BTW I chose Mallory as my main family as it is my great grandfather’s name on my Dad’s side and the Mallory family did come from PA which is where a good portion of this story will take place.
I may call upon some of you to peruse a chapter or something to garner advice etc…thanks in advance.
Periodically I will update on what is hopefully some progress in this venture. As of now on 10/7 I have begun the Prologue and Chapter 1. An idea for the ending popped into my head a few minutes ago so now that I have a beginning and an end all that is needed is to fill in the middle….no worries… Hardest part is making myself sit down and do the work in the limited time I have…must persevere…must get it done. :-)