2018 Short Stories

I don’t have a complete list yet of my 2018 short stories, but here’s a peek into what’s coming each Friday from January to May. 

My newest science fiction novel Newearth—Justine Awakens is slated for publication in early 2018. Many of the characters from my short stories really “come alive” in the Newearth books.

Enjoy!

January 5th

Winter Irony

January 12th

Now I See

January 19th

A Beggar’s Choice

January 26th

Intercept Course

February 2nd

Live Again

February 9th

Outlast the Ages

February 16th

Ol’ Diablo

February 23rd

Edge of Life

March 2nd

You Don’t Look Dead To Me

March 9th

Not Natural

March 16th

Don’t Miss a Day

March 23rd

The Great Wall

March 30th

My Love Is Strong

April 6th

Live

April 13th

So Blind

April 20th

Wait and See

April 27th

Alternate Universe

May 4th

Progress 

The Adventures of Tally-Ho

Tally Ho spread 1_smWhile my husband was alive, we came up with a great idea to write a story based on the wonder of raising our kids in the country.  It seemed so right, like an apostolate. We knew we had been blessed in a mighty way, and that God had guided us to our little home and helped us to learn the amazing skills needed to garden and manage a mini-farm.  John took to homesteading like a fish to water.  Other homeschool dads used to call him “Our Amish Paul Bunyan.” So, it felt natural to share our joy and success with others. I wrote stories based on what we did every day: meals, working our little garden, nurturing nature, loving kids…loving God. John was going to create the illustrations since he had a wonderful knack for drawing.  Except he couldn’t.  Leukemia intervened, and that success was put off…forever it seemed.

After he passed away, I felt tugged to see our project through to completion.  But how? God has ways. I’m not sure if John was whispering in anyone’s ear, but somehow or another I met up with a wonderful illustrator who knew exactly what we had imagined. She put her talents to work, and the story unfolded better than I had imagined. It’s been published under the title: The Adventures of Tally-Ho. Tally-Ho was what John called our fourth daughter because she loved to gallop around the house on her imaginary horse. How we used to laugh about that.  What a wonder imagination brings to life!

As I state in the dedication to the story, John’s love made the stories true.  His vision is what made our real-life family possible.  As I contemplate the finished product, I wonder what God will do with this little book.  Surely, He has a plan. I very much doubt that it has anything to do with making money.  I pray it has something to do with loving families.

So Tally-Ho, like a new kid on the block, is finding its way in the world. I pray that it will be a light and joy to souls.  Perhaps it will be a vision of what might be…a hope, a dream, a longing that yearns to be fulfilled. Real dreams don’t die…they grow.

I think John would agree.

Novels by A. K. Frailey

Science Fiction

Last of Her Kind  http://amzn.to/2y1HJvg

Historical Fiction

ARAM http://amzn.to/2lTHVXR

Ishtar’s Redemption http://amzn.to/2kHKLtN

Neb the Great http://amzn.to/2kS1Ylm

Georgios I—Hidden Heritage http://amzn.to/2lscPWg

Georgios II—A Chosen People http://amzn.to/2lTK0mu

Melchior—Vengeance Is Mine http://amzn.to/2taeW2r

Children’s Book

The Adventures of Tally-Ho http://amzn.to/2sLfcI5

Inspirational Non-Fiction

The Road Goes Ever On—A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Ringshttp://amzn.to/2lWBd00

The Adventures of Tally-Ho

Tally Ho spread 1_sm

The Adventures of Tally-Ho written by A.K. Frailey, author of The Road Goes Ever On – A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings, The Deliverance Trilogy and Georgios I & Geogios II, and Illustrated by Chris deShazo owner of Spectrum Graphics Studio, is due out this autumn.  The cover reveal is coming soon…

What little girls love: faith, family, fun, little critters, and adventure!

Wholesome family-farm adventures, big brothers, helpful sisters, kittens and a lively possum…A great read aloud for the whole family. Gorgeous illustrations!

Grandma & Grandpas will love this holiday gift – a book to enjoy the whole year through!

Mom’s and Dads looking for something to share with their little ones?  Here’s a wholesome family story including home-school adventures, delicious home-cooked meals, humorous treks through the woods, and family prayer time  – all reflecting a sincere love of nature… A great read-aloud!

Attention: Big brothers and sisters! A wonderful way to spend an afternoon with the family.

Celebrate the extraordinary-ordinary of faith-filled family fun!

Raising kids – God’s way – with nature’s wisdom. Stewardship & love for life: The Adventures of Tally-Ho.

The Adventures of Tally-Ho really began when my 4th daughter ran into the kitchen yelling “Tally-Ho!”  She was having a wonderful adventure on an imaginary horse, and my husband and I just smiled at each other in a reflection of her joy. As we discussed the kids’ wonderful imaginations growing up on our mini-farm in rural Illinois, we considered how different their lives have been from our own. We had both been raised in cities, far from the natural wonders our children encounter on a daily basis. As my daughter came through again, encouraging her horse onto more  adventures, it occurred to us that we could share a bit of what our kids experience through a story with illustrations to match. I was the writer of the family, so I set to work on a basic story line while my husband began to work on sketches.

But as sometimes happens even with the best of dreams, our plans were thwarted when my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia.  We endured a four year battle with cancer before he died.  For some time, I could not pick up the threads of our Tally-Ho project, but then I encountered a wonderful artist, Chris deSharzo of Spectrum Graphics Studios, who could grace the story with the same zest for life that John had known. I prayed about it and after sensing a rightness about moving on, I returned to the project.  And so, The Adventures of Tally-Ho has a second chance.

The grace of my husband’s life reflected a sincere love for all of humanity, especially in children and nature.  May that same love be offered to you through The Adventures of Tally-Ho.

Catholic Mother

March 2014 sunriseI once heard someone say: “My grandparents could trust society to support their morals – today we are undermined at every step.”

I know the feeling.  After teaching, volunteering, and getting to know the culture at large, my husband and I decided to homeschool, move out to the country, and try to give our kids a sane start in life. That being said, our kids must deal successfully with our society and culture at some point. Ignorance is not bliss. If they aren’t well formed in the intimacy of family, they won’t have much to add to the public forum.

Here a few salient points I have learned as a Catholic mother after 19+ years of raising kids.

1) Presence is more important than presents.  Time and attention will cover a multitude of ills. When little kids want things or act up, it is often an attempt to fill a vacant place inside. Being together, talking things out, reading stories together, and working, playing & praying side-by-side brings light to the deepest, darkest places of the soul.

2) Discipline is not supposed to mean losing control in a screaming fit. Discipline means good habits endorsed by routine.  It is easier to get kids to bed on time if you have a consistent pattern: Wash up, brush teeth, story time, prayer time, into bed.  It is easier to get kids to come when called, if you actually do what you say you are going to do and not keep them waiting. Set the example.

3) Food matters.  Lousy food choices help make cranky kids. Fun food is fun but it should be a reward, not an everyday experience. Kids like what is familiar. Though none of my kids love spinach, they do love other vegetables, fruits, stews, salads, and whole wheat bread (especially if they are a part of the process—working in a garden and helping in the kitchen.) Mealtime does not necessarily mean fancy food; simple, healthy food is sane food. 

4) Everyone has a part to play. I can’t imagine our home without each of the kids.  Not only would I miss their individual personalities, but they each contribute something special to the whole.  Emphasize the positive and make sure everyone contributes to the common good. 

5) Your kids will grow up and meet new people, read books you never read, listen to new music, learn new ideas, and become exposed to a culture at odds with itself.  Keep involved without demanding that they share everything with you. (For example: Ask what they think about the book they are reading rather than just asking what they are reading.) Young adults will ultimately make their own decisions, and their souls are between them and God. Let them know that you trust their good sense, but if you are disappointed in their behavior, be honest.  You can love your kids through anything, but respect is earned. 

6) Finally, pray often and rely on the goodness of God, the holy saints, the guardian angels and those holy souls in purgatory who really do care and will pray – if you ask them.  God will not force Himself on us or our children.  He likes to be invited into our lives, hearts, and souls.

7) When things look dark and terrible, never give up.  The cross is the gateway to Paradise.

The Angels of Abbey Creek

The Angels of Abbey CreekI like reading children’s books to my kids and we have recently enjoyed many a cozy afternoon reading through: The Little House stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Wind in the Willows by Kennneth Grahame, Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, Enemy Brothers by Constance Savery, The Borrowers series by Mary Norton, The Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite De Angeli, and Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray and several biographies of famous people including: Benjamin Franklin, Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth of Hungry, and Pope Pius the X.  Now, I get to include a charming children’s book by an author I just met, virtually anyway, over the internet.  As Sue lives in Australia and I live in the U.S., our meeting was one of those serendipitous joys of the modern world.  We both love to write books and read great stories.  Here is hers:

The Angels of Abbey Creek is a children’s story set in present-day Australia.  They are a large Catholic family doing all the things that families do together—celebrating the New Year, Mother’s day, camping, church, having fun and disasters together and making the best of each situation. I especially enjoyed reading how plans were made and how things rarely worked out as expected.  Parents can readily agree that Sue Elvis knows what adventure is in store for unwitting parents as they take kids out into the world with the highest of hopes only to find themselves struggling to maintain their sanity and dignity. Yet the Angel family, with their unconquerable love and unfailing desire to make the best of things, do what we all wish we could—keep trying till things get better.

Being set in Australia lent a flavor to the story which I really enjoyed.  I liked reading about their hikes into the bush and the unique foods and traditions that have developed in the “World Down Under.”  As a Catholic, I could readily relate to the religious traditions that make Catholicism uniquely wonderful, but a reader who had even a passing familiarity with faith and family would find plenty to relate to.  The characters are real and the events life-like.  Things don’t always go perfectly in real life or in story life either and there is something to be gained from a humble and loving approach to life’s up and downs.  The family members may not be celestial angels, but there is great hope that they may one day become saints. The Angels of Abbey Creek is a fun story to read aloud and share with children with lots of interesting discussion points.  Thanks, Sue!

Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1B6p2CZ

Home Management

Warning—If someday you happen to be walking along and you cross in front of one your otherwise innocent-looking appliances and just happen to notice a bit of something, (could be dirt, could be a crayon, could be one of last year’s pasta dinner experiments) sticking out from underneath and you hear a little voice saying: “Maybe I should just check….”  Stop!  Think!  This could lead you places you do not want to go.  Trust me.

I just spent the morning facing things that I really didn’t want to know existed. There are more dirt & goo under appliances than are dreamt of in Man’s philosophy, Horatio!

The worst part is that even if you do happen to come out of the whole experience victorious, and you stand up again, (dirtier but still a semblance of your former self) sure, but there you are—facing a house full of other appliances looking at you…and now you know what they are hiding.

Listen while there is still time—Home Management isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.  Ignore that dust ball, kick the crayon further back, go outside, play ball with your kids, refresh your spirit with something wholesome.  Dirt exists, it is a part of life…and frankly…appliances LIKE to collect things.  Let them have their little fun.

May the best housekeeper learn her limits.

Homeschooling

I teach a wide age range and enjoy the challenge.  The fun part is seeing how far each child can reach mentally and spiritually while maintaining connections to their siblings. Some people wonder why I go to all the painstaking work of homeschooling when I could more easily put my kids into a public or private school. Though the answer is involved, I can simply state that homeschooling binds us together as a family like nothing else could.  We learn together, we deal with problems together, we have fun together, we help each other, and we grow together. My older kids enjoy giving the younger kids humorous previews of what is coming next... while the younger ones have a uniquely adapted educational experience.  We have become self-starters and independent learners.  Everyone owns their own curriculum.  We go over books and material options together before I buy what we need, and as some zoom ahead in certain areas others choose to do more in-depth studies on a favorite subject.  I realized long ago that it is best to have the kids involved early on in some of the educational planning because then they take responsibility their education. Though they may not love a particular subject (spelling) they know they also have subjects (history) that they really do love.  When motivation is embedded in the very learning process itself – so much the better.

We can’t run away from problems.  My kids and I have to face discipline issues right away or disruptions will plague us all day.  It is funny how the older kids hold the younger kids accountable for their attitudes and say things like: “That pout won’t help you learn, and if you don’t get over it, you might get stuck like that.”  Then they go on and tell a long ridiculous story about the second cousin of someone who actually did grimace all day and ….you get the idea.

So as the school year gears up for another semester, I won’t have as much time for writing and gardening and long rambling walks with the kids but such is life.  I have the duty and joy to raise each of my kids to rise to their potential.  I want them to be great citizens of this world and the world to come.  May God will give me the strength and wisdom to do so.