Before I begin, I would sincerely like to thank Marta for the opportunity to share a little about myself and my writing journey.
My life began in several obscure situations, being the fifteenth of sixteen children, and born on Leap year to a loving mother and not-so-loving father. With so many children in one household, needless to say, none of us knew about birthday celebrations until we became adults. So it really didn't matter whether I had a birthday once every four years, or once a year.
Growing up on a dairy farm simply meant work and school lessons, with little in the way of play in between. The boys in the family received the brunt of the backbreaking work, while my job was to assist my mother with endless laundry, housekeeping, cooking, and work in our vegetable garden. That's all I remember about childhood, still, I gained experience and love of siblings most never have.
Having absorbed so much of life in my busy brain, I began to desire to write. Although I attempted to keep notes or at times, a journal, unfortunately, I never did. Instead I built a vault inside my head and stored everything, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, painful, happy, etc., in the vault.
It wasn't until I left home at age fifteen, that I realized there is more to life than work, work, work. I married very young. As one might guess, marrying so young I ran back into a similar situation that parralled my mother's life experience with an alcoholic, abusive, neglectful husband and before I knew it, I had four children to raise. I experienced such harshness and still I was only twenty two years old.
That is where I found my talent for writing poetry however, and by that, I decided someday, I would write a novel, which is exactly what I have done.
Although I fictionalized my story, "Before The Rooster Crows," in order to protect myself and family from scrutiny, the story is one of passion, abuse, poverty, human endurance, faith, and love of a mother during the Great Depression and beyond. Her determination and struggle to raise her children, mostly alone and give them at least love, if nothing else.
The story begins in the Southern U.S., set in a post Antebellum era at the turn of the century 1900, and continues through World War l and The Great Depression 1930's, under extraordinary circumstances. Although the story has taken at least eleven years to write, re-write, edit, and find the courage to let go of it, Before The Rooster Crows is finally reached it's end and is ready to be published.
Below is an excerpt of chapter one- Enjoy.
BEFORE THE ROOSTER CROWS
“Good Lord woman you sound like a caldron stirring witch! I’m a Christian man; I won’t sanction your ridiculous demonic superstition.” Liam Shane expressed to the Voo-Doo practicing midwife and root doctor who delivered his baby girl.
To say Meagan Shane was born under unusual circumstances is to admit her birth is the start of a life prophesied to be unusual, moreover challenging; It begins with her father, Liam Shane’s frightful awakening from a peaceful sleep in the darkness of a rural North Carolina night.Frightened to his core by disturbing screams traveling from the opposite end of his southern mansion, Liam slings the bedcovers off his body and leaps from the comfort of his warm bed. Half asleep, he fumbles to light a bedside lantern. Close to dropping it, he reasons, I’m dreaming, I must be dreaming. He sets the lamp down on a table and shakes his body with a brisk shiver, confirming he is awake. His beloved wife Abigail sleeps alone in the master bedroom at the end of the long hallway during her final month of pregnancy. It is her heightened piercing screams echoing through the hall. With desperate resolve, Liam grabs the lantern and dashes through the long dark corridor towards the opulent master bedroom, shouting.
“I’m coming Abigail! Hold on, I’m coming!”
Just as he turns the corner of the hallway Abigail’s excitable house-servant Ruth, bumps into Liam and all but knocks him down the winding staircase. An expression of absolute horror appears on her frightened, telling face, as she fumbles to pull him up and comes close to dropping him to the floor again.
“Jesus Christ Ruth, get out of the way! Liam exclaims and continues sprinting toward the disconcerting screams.
“I’s sorry Mista Liam I thinks Miss Abigail be havin her baby, you got’s ta hurry Suh!” Ruth shouts, trembling from added anxiety.
Another horrifying scream lurches outward. In a quick step, Liam jolts inside with Abigail. An unbearable searing labor pain rushes through her spine as the infant she carries in her womb, their first and only child, pushes into the world with force ahead of schedule.
“Liam ... pleeease ... help me!” Abigail cries in frightful agony and muffles her screams with a pillow she presses over her mouth biting into it as her body writhes in horrific pain.
“Dear God, What do you want me to do Sweetheart, how can I help?” Her inexperienced husband shouts in uncontrolled hysteria.
“Send for the doc...tor…, pleeeease? The baby is…. coming!” Abigail screams.
“Hold on Abigail!” Liam shouts once more as he races to the hallway.
His minor servants gather at the bottom of the stairs awaiting instructions. At once, Liam bellows an order. “Hurry upstairs everyone! Miss Abby is in labor she is having the baby!
One in front of the other, they dash upstairs with eagerness while frantic pleas from Liam resonate throughout the house calling for his faithful manservant Moses...