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Ella’s Turning What? Birthday Blog Hop.

Ellas Turning What Blog Hop GraphicOkay, so I know I’m just a few hours late in posting this, but I am very excited to be participating in yet another blog hop. Since this one is a  birthday blog hope, I’m supposed to share something about a past birthday. Well, my last birthday I turned 23 years old. Actually, this was last month. Anyways, I told my husband that I didn’t want anything for my birthday. Instead of listening to me, he planned a party with some of our friends, and proceeded  to buy me a brand new Nook HD. To say I was ecstatic is putting it lightly! haha! (To see the other blogs participating in the hop just click on the above picture!)

For this blog hop, I’d like to share with you an excerpt out of my ‘Growing Roots’ series. In fact, I’m going to share with you a small excerpt from both volumes- volume one, Less Than Humble Beginnings, and volume two, Personal Growth. At the end of this there will be a rafflecopter link for you to enter to be one of three people to receive an ebook set of this series. Good luck!

Excerpt- ‘Less Than Humble Beginnings’
Growing Roots Series, Vol 1

3After supper, it was my turn to do the dishes. Babette and Dakota cleared the table and Jack kindly offered to dry while I washed. I was elbow deep in hot soapy water when the reason behind Jack’s offer became clear.

“Hey, Willie, is there anything going on between you and Spike?” He asked in an off handed manner, avoiding looking at me entirely. Obviously, he was uncomfortable talking about this.

I shook my head, continuing on my chore while I answered. “No. Why?”

“I was just wondering. Do you like him or something?”

“No. Why? Do you think he likes me?” I didn’t realize the way the question sounded before it came out of my mouth, but I held my tongue from any further comment.

Jack chuckled. “Eh, I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. It’s hard to tell with him. He’s a good guy, though. Strange, but good. You sure you don’t like him?”

I shook my head. “No, he’s not really my type. Not that I’ve really developed a type just yet, but you know what I mean.” I paused talking and washing for a moment, the sponge still in my hand. Then I added, “He is really nice though. It’s kind of strange, because he looks…” I stopped, unsure of how to say what I wanted to say.

“Like a badass? Punk? Thug? Gang banger?” Jack offered.

“I guess, yeah.” I laughed. Jack grinned at me. “His personality and his style kind of clash, but I think that’s what makes him… unique.”

“Yeah. He’s a softy at heart, but not many people know that about him. I don’t think that he really wants anyone to. Spike doesn’t really like to get close to anyone. He’s had a tough life, and a lot of people around here don’t associate with him because of his family.”

I nodded, believing that I understood. “He told me about his mother.”

Jack sighed. “Yeah, that’s the least of his life problems.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well…look, just don’t tell him I told you any of this. Alright?” I nodded my head, agreeing that I’d keep my mouth shut. “Spike’s father is an alcoholic. An abusive one. He’ll disappear for weeks at a time, but when he comes home, he likes to take everything out on Spike. His father blames him for his mother’s death, and for everything right down to his being born.”

“That’s awful!” I exclaimed.

“Shh! Keep your voice down.” Jack reprimanded.

“Sorry.”

“Anyway… Spike is the last one left. His oldest brother joined the army and got killed in Iraq. That’s another thing his father blames him for. Spike’s dad liked his older brother best for some reason. Anyway… His sister skipped town years ago with some guy she got knocked up by. Then there’s his younger brother… he ran away right after their mom died and no one has heard from him since. Spike’s stuck around because he’s determined to make something more of himself. Prove everyone wrong. He’ll be the first to graduate this year… first in his whole family, so far as I know.”

I frowned, trying to process all that I had just heard. “That’s such a sad story.”

“Yeah,” Jack agreed, “But Spike would never show how much it affects him. He wants his problems to make him a better person, not drag him down. Everyone around here just assumes that he’s like the rest of his family.” Jack paused, drying off one of the last dishes while I leaned against the sink counter. My own half of the chore was finished. “All of the guys have stories like that, though. That’s why we’ve always stuck so close.”

“You had problems, too?” I asked.

Jack smiled ironically, “My problems stopped when Mom married Dad. Before that, yeah, I had problems.”

“Like what?” I couldn’t help but inquire.

“You know, the usual. My real dad didn’t really like working, so he had a hard time keeping a job. If he didn’t get laid off, he quit. So Mom was always picking up side jobs. Neither of them were ever home, and if they were, Dad was drinking and Mom was crying. That sort of thing.”

“Did your real dad beat you?”

Jack shook his head. “No. He threw a lot of tantrums, broke a lot of things, but never hit any of us. He wasn’t a complete ass, just a complete deadbeat.”

“Oh… What about the others?”

Jack shrugged. “Buck’s mother is a single mother who got knocked up at fourteen. Rex and Hank’s mother is a well-known prostitute, and their father has a whole separate family with his mistress. Dakota’s parents were both killed when he was five, so now he lives with his grandparents. He loves his grandparents, but they’re old fashioned, backwards, and dirt poor. There were times when he’d have nothing to eat save for what he ate at school for a whole week, waiting on the next government check so they could have food in the house.”

“I guess I’m in the right place then.” I answered, not really realizing I had spoken it aloud.

Jack put the last dish into the cupboards and stepped very close. “Yeah, I think you are. Try to remember that everyone here has their demons, but we all work to put those demons to good use. Make ourselves better, stronger, wiser. I hope you do the same, Willie. I’m not sure about all the skeletons you have in your closet, even though I wish I did. But they can’t touch you, you now. Got it?”

I nodded my head sharply. “Got it, Cuz.”

Jack hugged me close, and said, “Good.”

I smiled, hugged him back, remembering when we were little and played together and how sad I was when I was told I could no longer see him or Lee. Jack released me from the hug, and said, “C’mon, let’s go.”

You can buy ‘Less Than Humble Beginnings’ on Kindle, Nook,and Kobo.

Excerpt- ‘Personal Growth’
Growing Roots Series, Vol 2

2 (2)I sat in my English class, but I wasn’t really paying any attention. We were covering something by Shakespeare, and I had read everything he wrote. There hadn’t been much to do during the late nights when I couldn’t sleep besides read. So, I doodled on my notebook, pretending that I was taking notes. I usually didn’t goof off, but I just couldn’t concentrate today. I hadn’t slept much the night before, and today was our last school day before Thanksgiving break.

Still ignoring the teacher, I flipped to a clean page and on a whim, I made out a list of things that I wanted to accomplish before graduating high school. I was surprised by just how many things I wanted to do. When I lived in Florida, I didn’t think about those types of things. I didn’t really have the time for most of them, I suppose. Some of them had been things I had never really had the option of accomplishing.

My list included all sorts of things, from getting my driver’s permit to buying a car, getting a part-time job to finding out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and especially it contained items about learning more about my heritage. Everyone around here took their heritage so seriously. I wanted to know why. What was so special that they could contain such a forceful drive?

Thinking about it, I decided that it wasn’t only the Native Americans I knew. I mean, yes, they took it very seriously. My family practiced a lot of Choctaw ways, and they seemed to know their history (and language) like the back of their hands. Spike was half Sioux, half Apache. He took his culture so seriously that he would fight over people who refused to admit what they believed was wrong. Buck was full blooded Navajo; Dakota was half Navajo, a quarter each Cherokee and Creek. They both took it very seriously. I just didn’t understand why though. I didn’t really understand what difference a person’s tribe really made either. I mean, we were all Native American, right? So what did a person’s tribe have to do with anything? I would have to ask someone. I did know that each tribe spoke a different native tongue. Was that it? Was that the only difference?

I was pulled out of my contemplation when the bell rang for second period. I trudged through the rest of my day with my thoughts still on heritage and culture, and why it was so important. Then, in sixth period, a thought suddenly occurred to me. I only knew half of my ancestry. What about my father? What did he donate into the big picture? More over, why didn’t he want to see me? Did he even know that I existed? Why didn’t he want to be a part of my life? Then I thought about something else…something I had yet to consider. Maybe Aunt Janie knew.

~~~

“Aunt Janie?” I asked, finding her at the kitchen table. She was looking over some papers, which I assumed by the calculator were finances. “Are you busy?”

Aunt Janie looked up. “No, no. I could use a break from this anyways. What is it, sweetie?”

“I was just thinking about a lot of things today.” I wasn’t really sure how to breech the subject of heritage or my father with her.

“Like what?”

“Well, for starters… if you’re three quarters Choctaw, was momma that much to?” Aunt Janie nodded her head to say that it did. “So what does that make me?”

“Three-eighths, I think, from our side.” Aunt Janie answered.

Nodding my head to show I understood, I said “Well… I was wondering something else.” I paused momentarily, pondering how best to ask this question. I finally decided the best way to do it was to just be out with it. “Do you know who my father was?”

Aunt Janie’s face took on a slightly pained expression as though my words caused her a small physical blow. “Your mom never told you who your father was?” I shook my head to answer no but remained silent. “Well, yes, I know who your father is.”

You can purchase ‘Personal Growth’ on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

Giveaway

Are you ready to enter for your chance to win the ‘Growing Roots’ series now? I sure hope so!

ENTER HERE

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kyla Patton
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 14:55:04

    Thanks for the great giveaway and Happy bday to you (late) and to Ella! kamclauc AT gmail DOT com

    Reply

  2. Tanya Conaway
    Aug 09, 2013 @ 09:59:37

    Happy birthday Ella
    virgilio324@gmail.com

    Reply

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