Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT #2 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna

December 11, 2017

CHAPTER 1—continued
BOXCAR CHRISTMAS
Exclusive excerpt 2
12.11.17

Jesse opened the door, feeling guilty about trespassing. It creaked as she pushed it open. Stepping inside, she shut the door and turned, peering around the gloomy interior of the caboose because the sun still hadn’t risen above the carpet of evergreens on the slope above where it sat. She spotted a propane gas stove, a table with two simple, carved wooden chairs nearby, and a bed at the other end of it. In the middle of the car was a kitchen sink and opposite the sink was a long leather couch. To her delight, there was also a rocking chair and an overstuffed leather chair that probably housed a lot of field mice, the stuffing looking like popcorn along the thin, separating seams of leather. The couch was long enough to sleep on and was a possibility because the mattress on that bed looked very old and needed to be replaced. But she considered it a far better upgrade to her tent.

It was dusty and dirty, mouse pellets scattered here and there along the dulled oak floor. Some parts of the oriental carpet had been eaten into, probably by mice who took those fibers to make a warm nest somewhere else in the car. Walking to the other end of the caboose, she saw that the bedroom was roomy with a full-sized bed in it. A few blankets that were probably once folded at the bottom were now open and spread haphazardly across bed. Some of the drawers were partially opened, and appeared to be empty and in dire need of some deep cleaning.

This caboose could become a good place to protect her from the coming winter, and she could buy a tank of propane to keep the boxcar warm instead of freezing to death from hypothermia in her tent. Not wanting to think about her downfall during the last year she had been in the Army when all her hopes and dreams were smashed and shattered, Jesse walked toward the center of the caboose and studied the ivory colored Formica counter that surrounded the double aluminum sink. This was a place that could be cared for once again. Brought back to life. Seeing herself in the same condition as this boxcar made her want to stay here and use it as a place to begin to heal from her recent past. The last year of her enlistment in the Army had turned into a nightmare, because she’d been out of control, unable to fit in and be ‘normal’ in order to perform her duties.

She mentally calculated her weekly salary and compared it to what a tank of propane gas would cost, plus having to buy food, and needing a source of water in order to survive. The numbers churned in her head. Maybe some blankets and a pillow would be a nice addition as well. She’d seen a Goodwill store in Hamilton that would be the perfect place to pick up used bedding. Her parents had wanted to give her money to survive on until she could get a good job and manage her life once more, but she’d refused it. They had worked hard for their savings and Jesse didn’t want to steal from their nest egg meant for retirement. Maybe she could call them in a couple of weeks if she could keep this new job and ask for a loan. And then she would pay it back or else. Jesse had never taken a handout in her life. She’d always worked hard for everything she’d earned, just like her parents had.

The morning light filtered in through the windows of the caboose, illuminating the interior. She could see the electric lights along both walls, sconces that still had a hurricane lamp in each of them–dirty but still looking usable. There were no electric lines out here and she looked around for a generator outside somewhere, but saw nothing. At another time, there must have been one because the sconces would only work if there had been a generator present. Besides, even if there had been one, she couldn’t afford to pay for the gasoline needed to run it. And she didn’t have any wheels. She had to walk everywhere, no matter what the weather did around her. Still, she felt a trickle of hope because the oak tongue-and-groove ceiling looked solid–there were no leaks along it to indicate water had gotten inside, and that was good news.

Stepping carefully to the meadow-facing side of the car, she grazed one of the windows with her fingertips. They were in dire need of a good cleaning and the insulation around the frames needed to be replaced so heat wouldn’t leak out and make the car drafty. The tatty old red and yellow Oriental rug beneath her boots was smudged with dirt and hadn’t been swept for a long, long time. She looked around and spotted a long, vertical door near the kitchen table. Going over to it, she opened one side panel of the door. To her delight, there was not only an ancient looking broom, but dust clothes hanging off hooks, a mop, two small aluminum buckets and several usable sponges. Everything she’d need to clean up this place.

She treaded lightly, her Army boots heavy and clunky, the floor creaking here and there. Jesse closed the closet door, turned and simply absorbed this small, comfy looking place. It could truly become a temporary home for her. Her eyes adjusted to the low dawn light, and she realized this was more than a fishing and hunting cabin. The small kitchen table against the wall was still covered with a dusty red and white checkered tablecloth. A pair of cut glass salt and pepper shakers stood in the middle of it. On a shelf above the kitchen sink, she saw dust-laden, brightly colored Fiesta dishes. To her right, were more shelves that held a set of bowls, a couple of aluminum pans and some cookbooks. Jesse liked the feeling in this caboose. It truly had been someone’s home once. The person probably lived here full time, her intuition told her. Maybe years earlier it had been a warm, cozy house, but now, it had been abandoned for some unknown reason, no longer loved and cared for. She wondered who had made this caboose his or her home. She liked the small bathroom next to the bedroom. There was a shower stall in there as well as a Formica counter with an aluminum bowl in it.

The caboose was forty feet long and ten feet wide: four-hundred square feet of living space. It felt like a warm nest to Jesse and she couldn’t explain why this beaten down train car suddenly meant so much to her. She managed a strangled laugh because symbolically and physically, she was beaten down, too. The inside of her looked like the inside of this car. But even in disrepair, the caboose showed the potential of what it could become if a little care and love was bestowed upon it. Was the same true of her? Could that be her outcome as well?

The right thing to do was to walk back into Hamilton, locate the county Recorder’s office and find out who owned the caboose on this property. She needed to know because she wasn’t going to just move in without permission. Even though this train car was in disrepair, it was owned by someone. Maybe, if she could find the owner, she could ask them to allow her to live in it, hoping that the rent wouldn’t be very much and that she could afford it. Jesse adamantly refused to become a squatter. In her world of morals and values, one didn’t just take over a house of any kind without permission and without paying some sort of rent. She already felt guilty enough that she’d entered the place without permission. The door wasn’t locked, but that wasn’t an excuse to trespass. That wasn’t like her, but she was invisibly driven to explore the inside of it.

She turned and she left the caboose, shut the door and carefully made her way down to the concrete slab where it sat. She picked up her heavy pack and unstrapped her tent—there was a lot to do today. This was her off day from work and it would take thirty minutes to walk through the woods to the south end of Hamilton. Hope threaded through her, feeling grateful that she’d miraculously stumbled upon this place. She placed her rolled up tent on the metal and wood platform of the caboose. If she couldn’t find the owner, she would pitch her tent just inside the evergreen tree line for protection from the elements and stay in it, instead. Jesse took out her phone, a gift from her parents, she located the GPS for the caboose. That information would be instrumental in locating the owner. Hitching the heavy knapsack that carried everything she owned in it, Jesse gave the red caboose a wistful farewell look and then turned away, heading into the woods to walk back into Hamilton. Glancing at her watch, she realized that she would have to locate the county seat office and wait until they opened up at nine a.m. END OF INSTALLMENT #2!

Stay tuned for next Monday’s installment #3 BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on 12.18.17!!

Have you missed the 1st Exclusive Excerpt?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpt

If you missed Lindsay’s Blog on the “Story behind the story” of BOXCAR CHRISTMAS?
Go here: https://wp.me/pBmdA-Dpp

Happy Holidays!

http://www.lindsaymckenna.com

PRE-ORDER: BOXCAR CHRISTMAS on all platforms except for Google
paperback and ebook and audio!

Advertisements

BOXCAR CHRISTMAS by Lindsay McKenna! The “story behind the story”

November 30, 2017

Hi READERS!
First off, Happy Holidays!!!
Many of my readers always ask me: “Where did you get that idea?” Well, most of my “ideas” come from real life….read on!

I’m working on BOXCAR CHRISTMAS, my next Delos Holiday story. Last year I tried SNOWFLAKE’S GIFT and it was a huge seller. Everyone loved it and so I thought I’d try it again.


I realize the title is odd, but as you know me by now, there IS a story behind it. 😉

THE STORY:
One train car. Two lost souls. Five adorable puppies.
Travis Ramsey is back in Hamilton, Montana, after 10 years serving as a Delta Force operator in Afghanistan. Now responsible for his dad’s fishing guide business, Travis has to deal with his increasingly distant and difficult father, and guilt over his brother’s death. His life takes a turn for the better when he meets Army vet Jesse Myers. Jesse is taken with his grandparent’s quirky boxcar cabin and wants to rent it. Taken by her beauty—and the familiar haunted look in her eyes—he makes her a deal. He will rent the boxcar to her for free in return for her help in making renovations.

Working on the train car, Travis and Jesse grow closer. But when Jesse rescues a desperate Border Collie and her five adorable puppies, something unexpected happens. A Christmas miracle neither saw coming.

THE “REST” OF THE STORY!!!
Most of you know I moved 22 times in the first 18 years of my life in 7 different Western USA states. My father moved us about every 9 months and he was 1/4 Eastern Cherokee. Maybe he got the ‘seasons change gene’ and that’s why. Anyway, one of the places we moved to was Blackfoot, Idaho. We were very poor and there was a red caboose train car (it’s carriage had been taken off and it set on a concrete slab) was for rent. Can you imagine 6 people living in there? The caboose was probably about 400 sq.ft. and so, it was a “tiny house” long before the word was coined.

We lived there for 9 months. I loved it. We all learned to move like water around rocks (the parents) in the caboose and it worked well. It was a 10 foot by 40 foot caboose–and you might say it was a “tiny house” long before this word was coined! I loved going out at dusk because we’d get Nighthawks in huge swarms of 15 or 20 in each. The caboose was near red raspberry patch, so we got to eat our fill and get pies made by Mom, when they came into season.

For years I’ve wanted to write about a red caboose, a boxcar on the trains that was at the tail end of the line. Nowadays, there is NO caboose any more. But I wanted to wax nostalgic over that wonderfully happy time in my life. In a caboose I felt safe, like a pair of arms were around all of us. I truly liked the boxcar life.

Now that you know what’s “behind” this story, I hope it will enhance a wonderful story with a heart warming ending. And if you like dogs and puppies? You’ll be in 7th heaven 😉

Go here for more info…
http://delos.lindsaymckenna.com/book/boxcar-christmas/

EBOOK and PAPERBACK and Audio!
It is now on pre-order and it will be available by ebook on all platforms, except Google. And a few days after it publishes (1.1.2018), the paperback will become available for those of you who like a “real” book in their hands ;-). Tantor Media will be putting out an audio version of this wonderful Christmas story. Go to Amazon.com to check for it in January 2018!)
Has any of you “out there” in FB land ever lived in a boxcar?
I LOVE riding on trains, and I’m sure it came from my experience with our red caboose in Blackfoot, Idaho!