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Three Threats: Can the Homeplace Survive? A Writer’s Working Title
The concept of the next novel was developed in notes over time
A Request to my Fellow Hub Authors:
I have developed a great deal of respect for the many writers and authors I have met here at HubPages this year. With this hub, I hope to tap into that pool of expertise, if you are willing, to get some comments on my next project. Most of you write in other genres than the family saga that I write, so let me get right to the first request:
Does the working title, above, catch your attention? Would it cause you to at least pause to look at the blurb? Whether you read on, or not, I hope you will leave a comment on this one issue. THANKS!
If you are willing to help further, please read on.
Do you have a board filled with notes?
The concept for my next novel
It is now time for me to get at the serious work of writing my next novel.
The concept of this novel has been under development for over a year, as I’ve been working on diversifying the writing platforms of “The Homeplace Saga” series of my family saga historical fiction stories, and finishing the last novel in that series, “Christmas at the Homeplace” (which I highly recommend, even if you haven’t read the others). I have also been finishing up work on the separate short story collection, “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876).” More on each of these, later.
The concept in the form of the Tentative Blurb:
In February 1999, social and economic times were booming for the Bevins family and their Homeplace. The Homeplace, located east of Oak Springs, in the southern Missouri Ozarks, was represented by The Bevins Agricultural Corporation and the McDonald Conservancy (created by the Bevins Trust) with additional farm lands purchased and additional lands donated to the Conservancy. The Conservancy had just received an $800,000 State of Missouri Conservation Grant to implement their major operating plan. Then it happened.
Bad things come in “threes":
- Bevins sister, Beverly, moves back to Oak Springs “permanently.” Remember the bad things that happened the last time she came back? And she wasn’t yet rich, last time?
- A mature man appears in Oak Springs claiming half of the Bevins-McDonald property at the time Mildred (McDonald) Bevins died in the fall of 1986 and the Bevins Trust was created. He says he is very serious, and his claim will be upheld in court.
- An F-3 Tornado strikes in the Oak Creek valley, east of Oak Springs, with devastating results.
Since I am sure most of you have not read the previous novels in the series, does this blurb do anything to attract your attention? Does it turn you off by the reference to the past? How would you change it? Any comments would be appreciated.
The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories
Read Dr. Bill's other hub series, as well... they include Homeplace characters in the Levi series...
- DrBill-WmL-Smith on HubPages
This is the Weston Wagons West series of hubs, listed by Episodes, by family...
A Special Thanks to Bill Holland (billybuc)
Bill is at the forefront of the writers I have come to know and appreciate here at HubPages. He has supported and encouraged the development of the two series of short story episodes (20 episodes each) that I have had the privilege to publish here (as “Homeplace Series” and as “DrBill-WmL-Smith”). The first is now available in ebook format, and the second will be shortly, as well.
Before I go any further here, I needed to pause to say “THANK YOU!”, again.
For the eBook of "The Kings of Oak Springs"
- Dr. Bill Smith's Books and Publications Spotlight
See "The Kings of Oak Springs" volume...
How do you organize your notes?
Let’s look at some background on the First of the Three Threats of this novel
Beverly, the second oldest of the four Bevins siblings, was very disruptive when she came “Back to the Homeplace” (in the first novel in the series) in response to their mothers’ distinctive will. Everyone in the family was relieved when she finally left again. They do not look forward to her return, anytime. This was especially true as members of the next generation of the family have settled in to their new leadership positions in the family and the community.
It is now twelve years later, and she has become very wealthy as the result of the death of her second husband. Has she changed? Changed in what ways? Will she still be disruptive? In what ways? What can they expect from her this time?
We pick up the story in late January of 1999 on Martin Luther King holiday weekend of 1999 when she shows up, saying she is going to stay. Of course, she committed to that, in 1987, as well. Why did she actually come back?
First side story, which Beverly encourages, is “Homeplace Estates,” a real estate residential community just below the Mill on the south side of the pond and along the creek in the NW corner of the original section of land of the McDonald and Truesdale families. In effect, it is also adjoining the Stables and Clinic on Bart and Diane’s home property. It adjoins the McDonald Conservancy land along both sides of Oak Creek.
Several second generation families are interested in building their family homes there. Matt and Susan, Christopher and Nicole, Jennifer and Brian, possibly Lori, possibly Beverly, with others of their acquaintance as well. A club house will celebrate the Homeplace heritage, as told in the Founding manuscript, recently discovered by members of the local Historical and Genealogical Society.
The second side story relates to the Historical and Genealogical Society coming up with the Founding manuscript, earlier, and how this feeds into current story lines. Later on, near the end, they also find the Journal of William McDonald (Mildred’s grandfather), that leads to the next novel in the series.
The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories
What is she thinking?
Background on the Second of the Three Threats of the novel
A man shows up in Oak Springs, from the east coast, claiming that half of all the land and assets of the Bevins Trust, including the McDonald Conservancy created by the Trust, is rightfully his. He claims to be the son of a sister of Mildred’s who “was driven away” from the family in 1929. He had recently discovered who his mother really was, and then saw the story of the $800,000 grant to this very successful family in southern Missouri in the news. He has returned to claim his rightful inheritance. And he now has the “proof” needed, he states, to make his claim stand up in court.
Her four children, Karen, Beverly, Bart and Peter, had no idea that their mother, Mildred, even had a sister. No one ever talked about it. If she existed, why did she leave? Were there people in the community that remembered? Surely there were, but why had they never “talked about it?” Would anyone speak out now, with the Homeplace family, and all they did, and had done, for the community, in jeopardy? Were there written records available that would clarify the situation that could be used in a court case, if it got that far? How could this have happened?
A tornado is the third threat
Background on the Third of the Three Threats of the novel
An F-3 (150-175 mile per hour wind peak) tornado (EF scale didn’t come in until 2007) strikes east of Oak Springs, and wipes out the farm home and building of Virginia Hollingsworth and the nearby Homeplace Heritage Inn - some strong wind damage elsewhere, include the stable buildings, but no other serious damage. Was anyone killed? Were Homeplace documents destroyed that will make defending the family against the east coast “cousin” more difficult or even impossible?
I live in Branson, MO, where such a tornado struck, a couple of years back. We are still living with the ramifications of that event... even though it was much “less” in terms of total devastation than the tragedy that also hit Joplin, a hundred or so miles to the west. Our fictional town of Oak Springs lies a hundred or so miles to the east of Branson. I’ve wanted to bring this traumatic event into my story line. This seems a great opportunity.
The original novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series
Thank you in advance for any comments you are willing to offer... either negative or positive comments are appreciated in this case. My writing is all based on family history research and life experiences. It isn’t always terribly exciting, although I hope this novel has more of those elements in it. I have enjoyed creating the extended families and community of my stories. I hope you will join in and enjoy them, as well.
At this point, I still encourage readers to begin with “Back to the Homeplace” - available in both print and kindle editions. It is a great story that has not reached nearly enough people yet.
If you’d prefer, I also accept comments directly at: williamlevernesmith at gmail.com.
Learn more about "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories
- "The Homeplace Saga" Blog
The home blog for "The Homeplace Saga" series of historical fiction family saga stories set in the southern Missouri Ozarks. All updates of the series are mentioned here, regardless of platform. Watch for the release of the forthcoming collection.