Banner Mountain Girl—Post # 8
From my journal . . .
5 October 1978–Today, it came – my first acceptance by a publication—a letter from “Home Life” says they are accepting my manuscript entitled, “We’re home!” With tears, I bowed my head and thanked God for making all things possible. None of my family knows that I’ve had this manuscript sent off, and I want to wait until we are all together this week-end to tell them. The story I wrote began thirteen years ago, in Michigan. I re-worked it recently. It seems to me, although I’m not sure and can’t remember for certain, that it was rejected by “Home Life” a few years ago. My creative writing classes have helped me immensely. It has been a long time and I have been discouraged many times but I hope with all my heart that I can open my heart and share, through my writing the way I feel about life, the precious gift from God to all of us.
30 October 1978—I received a check in the amount of $33.00 for my story, “We’re Home.” It will be in the August/79 issue of Home Life.
(Note: The editor changed the title to a more appropriate one, “A Family Bivouac.” It can be read on my blog by searching for “A Family Bivouac” in the Search window.  Or click on this link–
Until next time . . .
Thanks for reading,
Freeda Baker Nichols

Big Two-Headed Horse


An idea for a story, perhaps? What’s your take on that idea? It might be awesome if this animal crossed the river Hemingway wrote about. Remember, “Big Two-Hearted River?”

Not saying I’m planning to use this photo to launch a new story, but you never know. I might. Imagination is a great story starter. Do you think so?

All the Elephants

Elephant Mama and Baby

Elephant Mama and Baby









All the elephants are not in the zoo.
This Mama elephant and Baby, too,
have come to live here on a farm
where they know they are safe from harm.
This farm has a gaggle of geese
that roam about just as they please.
They hold their heads way up high
and honk and honk as they go by.
The geese pay the elephants no mind–
a happier place they never could find.
This little story is really true–
all the elephants are not in the zoo.

c Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols

A Gaggle of Geese

A Gaggle of Geese

I Should Have Been a June Bride

I should have been a June bride, but circumstances beyond my control caused my wedding date to be changed from June to October — my favorite month of the year.  I chose a Saturday for the wedding, the 24th day of the month — one month following my 19th birthday.  Back in those days, couples in love got married.

Marriage seemed the right thing at the time and in the years since then, I’ve discovered that it was  not only a good decision, it has proved to be a happy experience–one with no space for dull moments.

On the eve of our most recent anniversary, the second of our four children–all of whom are grown-up now–telephoned to wish her father and me a happy anniversary.  “I’m proud of you for being married so long,” she commended.  “Not everyone can say that to their parents.”

Her attitude interested me.  How could I tell her that I owe the secret of my marital success to her father’s helpful, willing ways?  For example, during disagreements, when I have threatened to move out, he has always agreed to help me pack my belongings.

Not only that, when I relayed her message to him, he smiled and said that actually he deserved hazardous duty pay.

He’s retired from the Air Force; he served in the Viet Nam War from a relatively safe distance — the Philippine Islands.  And I have never hurled anything at him heavier than a few words, but –some of them were possibly dagger sharp.

Most of my words receive little attention from my husband, like those in poems and stories which I hope will be published.

I tried once to get him to read one of my poems.  I chose the wrong time; he was on his way out the door to repair one of our two vehicles, which if one doesn’t need repair, the other does.

“Would you like to read my poem?” I stammered, in my eagerness to share with him, then quickly added, “It’s about love!”

He gave me a disinterested look.

“You know how I’m always falling in love with you — again and again?” I asked.

He  grunted an acknowledgement.

“Well, I’ve written a poem about that. Would you like to read it?”

He took a deep breath.  “How long is it?” he asked, his tone of voice  sounding  like  a busy editor swamped with a packet of poems.

“Never mind,” I said, and placed the poem in my files.

Whether or not that poem gets published is anybody’s guess.  But I decided then to send my precious poems to editors first and let others read them published.

I can only wonder if my marriage might have been more exciting had I been a June bride.  But I doubt it!

c Copyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols


Call of the Cadron

Now released! 

Copies of my first novel have arrived! And I am pleased to actually hold the book in my hands.

 I’m grateful to my sister, Yvonne Baker Hall, of California, who illustrated the lovely dust jacket. She is an accomplished artist whose paintings have received many awards. She is listed in “American Artist of Renown” and her work is published in “Art of the American West.”  

Yvonne’s artistic talent highlights the setting and characters in my book in an amazingly beautiful way.  Her colorful painting portrays a major scene in my story.

My novel is set in 1983 at Old Piney Town, a fictional location in Arkansas, U.S.A.  The main characters live in a community along a peaceful creek, called Cadron.  Although there is a Cadron Creek in Arkansas, in the book the name is used as fiction.

The story begins when  tragedy strikes the Maxey family, whose livelihood is cattle farming. A car accident has left Ned Maxey paralyzed and  his wife, Sarah, in an extremely nervous condition. Their daughter, Jordan Diane,  just out of college and eager to begin her first job as a school teacher, postpones her career to manage the farm.

 Complications arise that challenge Jordan. Not only is she responsible for running the farm, she also must care for her three younger sisters, Tanya and Katie, ages nine and seven,  and Shelley, a rebellious teenager. 

A sub-plot involves the stubborn Shelley. She falls in love with a man of questionable morals. Jordan risks losing her sister’s devotion when she attempts to guide Shelley away from her seemingly destructive path.

The story is intertwined with another element of romance when two handsome men both set their hearts on winning Jordan’s hand in marriage. With her own traditional values, she,  like her sister, must make a choice.  Will she choose Garrett or Michael?

Segments of the book include  adventure and mystery.  How did the runaway cow disappear? What caused the death of the prized Limousin bull?

The villains use guns and deceit in attempts to achieve their goals.  The heroine has her own favorite rifle and knows how to use it.

Even in modern times, country folk still cling to their guns.  My characters  use their rifles to protect their property and to defend themselves against rattlesnakes, bear, and anything else that might threaten their freedom to live peaceably in their own environment.

As the characters ride horses to round-up stray cattle, the story takes on an atmosphere of a Western. That’s how my 13-year-old grandson describes my book, which he read with interest.  Aimed at a general audience, I classify my novel as mainstream.

I hope every person who reads my novel will find the reading time worthwhile. That’s “my true sentence.”  

Ernest Hemingway made writing sound easy when he said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.”  In addition to that, it certainly takes a lot of other sentences to put a book together.  But each step of the way, from the beginning to the end of this book, has been an adventure.

Be happy turning  the 200 pages as you read the 51, 800 words.  Writing the book was a pleasure and sharing it is a joy.

Happy reading, CALL of the CADRON!

Published by:         Nic Baker Books.
                                    PO Box 1073
                                    Clinton, Arkansas 72031-1073

6 X 9 inch, Paperback or Hardback

For information on ordering, contact:
Freeda Nichols at
or write to the above address .

It’s a Writer’s Life–Page Five–Notes from my Files


When I write, I should use tools of the trade such as including the five senses within the story.  Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

I want to start a descriptive work. About spring.  When I think of a day in spring, I think of cool weather, green grass, a blue sky. I think of new flowers, colorful and sweet-smelling. The rough or smooth bark on a tree. The feel of a breeze. The call of a robin. A cup of spiced tea.

 How many days of spring? How many days of summer? How many days of fall? How many days of winter?  How many days in between?

Writing is hard work.  But it is fun.  Work can be fine and fun, too, if you enjoy your job.

How to write a story:  Start a story with a day that’s different.  Put your character in a situation that is unusual for him.  Get the reader curious. Make lots of conflict for your character.  Help him to solve each problem, but in solving each one, a new and worse one appears until he has to make a sacrifice. The sacrifice would seem to destroy him but at the end it turns out to be  a choice whereby he finds  happiness and a solution to his problem.

(This is how I began my novel.  I started with the main character, Jordan Diane Maxey.)
(The books have been ordered and within three weeks, hopefully, they will be on the market.)

 Also from this 1984 journal entry:

 A smile goes a long, long way but stops when it is not returned.

cCopyright, 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols