Freebie Friday

Another excerpt from my new project: Grayden’s Tale (which is just my working title) – it’s the same one I’ve been posting excerpts from for a while now…


The first rays of sunlight crept over the horizon, illuminating the thin layer of frost that covered the ground. Each blade of grass glistened in the nacreous light of dawn. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the warmth of its rays gradually melted the frost into crystal beads of water.

    The village was draped in garlands of late-summer flowers. Unlit lanterns lined the walkways of the town. Multi-colored ribbons fluttered from various doorways and were wrapped around fence posts, swaying gently in the morning breeze. The town was a veritable wash of color and cheer.

    “Grayden! Wake up! Wake up! Today is Harvest Festival.”

    Grayden groaned and threw an arm above his head, squeezing his eyes shut and pulling his blanket over his face. He did not know what time it was, but he was certain it was earlier than he wanted it to be. A small, but powerful force landed on his stomach.

    “Oof,” he grunted.

    The covers were pulled back and he squinted blearily into a pair of bright green eyes. He sighed, he would never get back to sleep now.

    “What time is it, Seren?”

    “I don’t know, but the sun is up. Today is the big celebration.”

    “I know, Seren. Do you know what happens today?”

    “We celebrate the harvest, and we throw a party for you and Wynn.”

    “And we also generally rest, Seren. That means we get to sleep in.”

    “I slept in… well, a little. Mother said I couldn’t wake you until the sun was all the way up, I waited a whole hour.”

    Grayden grinned, “Well, for that incredible feat of patience, I suppose I should thank you.”

    Seren nodded, her blond curls bouncing around her small face, “You’re welcome.”

    “Know what else happens on Harvest Festival?”


    “Big brothers are allowed to tickle their annoying little sisters who wake them up early.”

    “No…” Seren hesitated.

    Grayden grinned and formed his hands into claws, growling. Seren shrieked and threw the covers over his head, diving towards the edge of the bed. Grayden caught her leg and started tickling the bottom of her foot. Seren squirmed and giggled, kicking at him with her free foot, shrieking and laughing.

    The door to Grayden’s bedroom swung open and Grayden looked up at the cheerful face of his mother. He let go of Seren who half clambered, half fell out of the bed. Their mother put her hands on her hips.

    “Grayden was demonstrating one of the Festival traditions, I see.”

    “Mother! You mean it’s true?” Seren said, eyes wide.

    “I’m afraid so… but only once during the day,” she winked at her son and Grayden grinned. “Come on, Seren, I need your help stirring the biscuit batter, and Grayden needs to get up and get dressed for his big day.”

    Seren stood up and bounced out of the room. Dara smiled after the little girl and then met her son’s gaze. Grayden saw all her emotions jumbled together in her forest green eyes. They mirrored his own emotions: pride, fear, joy, sorrow, happiness, and a little bit of wistfulness.

    “Your father’s out milking the cow. He thought you should get to sleep in this day, but he said there was a pile of wood that needs chopping after you have breakfast.”

    “Yes, Mother.”

~ jenelle

Production Studio

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. And I thought I would go ahead and blog about it, for those of you who are interested in following my journey through publishing.

I am sick of writing query letters. I haven’t written a ton, not as many as most authors, by far. But it just isn’t anything I enjoy doing. I don’t mind the rejection letters, those are pretty easy to take. It is my understanding that you receive YEARS of rejection letters before you finally break through into traditional publishing. That’s fine. But it’s really not how I want to spend my time.

I want to spend my time creating new stories. Not trying to get an agent or publisher to look at my stories. I want to retain the rights to my written works, not split it with some unknown agent who may or may not really have my best interests at heart. If I’m going to split my work with someone, I want it to be someone I really trust, with my life and my words.

That is why I am abandoning the quest for a traditional publisher. There is so much involved in that world that I really don’t want to have any part of. I don’t want to sell the rights to a Hollywood production studio, just to have them mess it up the way so many books have been messed up by the movie production world. I want someone I trust to make the movies (if they ever get made… that’s the LARGE-SCALE dream). :)

Instead, I am throwing my efforts and my books into the Production Studio (we’re in the very early stages, it doesn’t even have a name yet) that my family is creating. This production company is the brain-child of several members of my family, my brothers, my dad, my husband mostly, and they are beginning to work very hard at getting it up and running. The main purpose of this company at first will be to promote, market, and distribute: my books, my sister’s CDs, and my sister-in-law’s artwork. It will also be focused very much on targeting the audience we want, the audience that many traditional publishers, record labels, etc do not believe exists, but that we know exists in abundance: Families.

We are hoping, in the next few months, to have a website up and running, that has regular Friday web-casts featuring my books being read out-loud (like they used to do on the radio years ago with books and other stories) in installments each week, songs by Brittany Jean, and artwork by Angelina… along with interviews with the artists themselves. This would be step 1 of the marketing process. We might even migrate all our blogs over there… we’ll see what the capabilities are.

Eventually, we hope to open this company to other authors, singers, artists, film-makers outside of our family. We hope to have our own film-studio (which is great, because Evan’s about the only person I’d trust to make my books into good movies anyway)!

So that is our exciting on-the-horizon-news… and the reason you won’t be seeing me make any more updates about query letters and rejection slips from now on. If you would be willing to join us in prayer about this endeavor (and that we would come up with a name that we all love and has the meaning we want to convey) that would be muchly appreciated!

~ jenelle

Poetry Corner: Dazzling Darkness

Dazzling Darkness 1-11-01

There is a darkness in my soul
Where brightness used to flicker
Left is just an empty hole
That now grows dark and darker.

The foaming, empty sea is full
Of what confuses me
Both deep and dark yet light and shallow
Perhaps it holds the key.

Emotions wash over my heart
Love and hate, joy and sorrow;
Light and dark, leaving battle scars
Fighting to win over my soul.

Near comes a diamond glow
Piercing the heart of me
Bursting into my soul
Leaving me empty of me.

The darkness terrifies my heart
Yet I run to its embrace
With light peeking into my eyes
I stare at the dark, ugly face.

Enthralled and in horror I realize
The face is none but my own
Under the witness of stormy skies
I battle myself alone.

Darkness so bright it blinds me
I dash down the grim, haunted road
The world seems ghastly and empty
I shiver alone in the cold.

Long lonely shadows are all I hold
As I peer at the path ahead
Horror creeps into my soul
As I realize, I am dead.

Then, out of the sky, a scarrèd hand
Reaches down to comfort me;
Lifting me up, helping me stand
Leaving me pure and clean.
~Jenelle Schmidt

~ jenelle

Midnight Misadventure Part 2

So, at midnight on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving morning, my cousins and I slipped away from the house and crept down the road. We knew that our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles had all come to expect this thing to happen, it was a very well known tradition, but it was more fun to sneak out than to ask for permission. It was chilly outside, frost had appeared on the ground every morning for the past few weeks, covering the stiff grass with a layer of crystals that melted in the late morning sunlight and faded away without a trace in the warmer afternoons. We were all praying for a white Christmas, as we prayed every year, with childlike anticipation of mounds of white fluff, perfect for building snow forts and snowmen.
My cousins and I crept down the street; the walk seemed endless, though it was only a few blocks. Finally, finally we reached the church, and there sat the bell in all its glory, the sharp image of black metal stood out starkly against the surrounding darkness. We stood and stared at it, fascinated, our breath puffing out in clouds, illuminated by the soft ethereal light of the moon.
    We exchanged conspiratorial grins as we stared at our goal. Then with excited whispers we scrambled up and stood next to the bell. We paused for a heartbeat, reveling in the mounting excitement and danger of the moment, and then we grasped the wheel and began to turn the bell.
    We had become experts at this over the years, and we knew that someone had to make sure that the clapper did not hit the side of the bell as we turned it upside down. Kim was in charge of this and Gayle and Wendy and I were in charge of turning the enormous wheel. Slowly, ever so slowly we strained to turn the bell upside down. Finally, it was in position; we paused, listening to the silence, as the night seemed to hold its breath in anticipation. Then we let go and dashed towards the grove of pine trees that stood on the corner of the church property. We huddled there, shaking with suppressed laughter as the bell swung back and forth, clanging over and over again, its deep, clear tones ringing out and disturbing the quiet Morenci night.
    “Let’s go home,” Gayle said quietly, when the bell had finished ringing and silence had once again enfolded us in her arms.
    “No!” I whispered in agitation, “This is our last childhood adventure, we will never have this time again. If we leave now, we will regret it for the rest of our boring adult lives!” I can be very persuasive when I want to be, and although all three of my cousins were older, wiser, and more mature than I, I knew that they were still children at heart as I was. I also knew that they could not argue with my statement, illogical as it might have been.
    Gayle’s argument weakened as Kim joined my ranks, “Come on Gayle,” she said teasingly, “Where’s your sense of adventure?” Wendy nodded, but did not vocalize her agreement.
    Gayle finally grinned, “What can it hurt?” She asked.
    I stopped myself from letting out a cheer. Together, the four of us crept back up to the bell and repeated the process. If anything, we were all a little more on edge. We turned the bell upside down and then scattered, only this time, we ran around towards the back of the church, intending to loop around and run home. However, before we had gotten more than five steps from the bell, we heard an ominous noise.
    SLAM! The door of the pastor’s house swung open with a violent crash, and then we heard a dog begin to bark ferociously. Then, panic ensued. We all dashed away in different directions, terrified. In the darkness I lost my cousins, but I kept running as fast as I could, without knowing exactly where I was going.
    As I fled, I wondered what had happened to Kim, Gayle, and Wendy. I did not know what had happened to them, but all I could think of was that a dog the size of the Beast in the movie Sandlot was chasing us. I had visions of my cousins being devoured in one enormous bite by the vicious, drooling monster who by now must be coming after me, I could hear its heavy footsteps coming closer and I could feel hot breath on the back of my neck. I ran and ran, my feet pounding the ground, keeping time with the frenzied thumping of my heart. Suddenly, I saw the grove of pine trees and leapt for it in desperation. I made it to safety, and found myself surrounded by all three of my cousins. I was relieved to see that they were all alive and well.
Before we had a chance to calm down, the beam of a flashlight blazed into our eyes and a gruff voice said, “I guess you think you’re pretty cool, don’t you?”
    Wendy, the oldest by ten minutes, stepped forward and spoke in a quavering voice, “I’m sorry sir, but we’re Roger Porter’s grand-daughters and ringing the bell is kind of a tradition.”
    The pastor suddenly seemed embarrassed, and he lowered his voice and said grudgingly, “Well, you really scared my wife.”
    “We’re really very sorry,” we all chorused, our hearts beginning to calm.
    Then the ferocious barking began again and we all recoiled in terror as the pastor’s huge beast jumped out at us.
    “Oh, don’t worry,” the Pastor said kindly, “Pixie won’t bite.”
    We stared at him, and then we stared in shock and embarrassment at the growling beast, that was actually a tiny miniature poodle with bows on her ears. The Pastor turned and went back inside, and the four of us dashed back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house as though we had a raging forest fire chasing us. When we got back, we related the story to our parents, who laughed at us; it was somewhat upsetting that they found our terror so amusing, but within a few moments we were laughing with them. We had gotten our “last” adventure, and what an adventure it was!

~ jenelle