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That darn duck . . . er, goose!

A writer never knows when a character will pop onto the page and steal the scene.

One such character was Grayson Cayle in Keeping Secrets. One minute the world was Grayson free – the next he was there and an alternative love interest for Mary McKechnie.

Amon Cayle was not happy.

“Grayson,” John hailed. “’Tis nice to see thee has met our newest guest.”

“Yes, I have,” the deep voice drawled. “And I must say, she is lovelier than I remembered.”

Amon froze. Across the room Mary flushed red as a rose as his brawny deerskin clad frontiersman of a brother leaned over her hand and kissed it gently.


The man straightened his towering build upwards but did not relinquish her hand. Mary didn’t want to embarrass him by pulling it away, nor did she really want to let go. His hand felt warm and nice, and his attention was flattering. A neatly trimmed beard, offset by the unrestrained shoulder length black hair, provided the right combination of tame and wild to make him more than interesting.

Grayson is even the hero in an unfinished novel in my computer which hopefully, God willing, I will someday get to writing.

Another character to jump from the page was Blossom the Cow, also in Keeping Secrets. She had a personality all her own, especially with her determination to eat the sweet clover in Amon Cayle’s bog. Her death spirals the McKechnie family into turmoil, and Mary is forced to make choices she would not have otherwise.

However, none of my characters, thus far, have taken over stories in quite the same way with quite the same fanfare as Penelope the goose in Keeping Secrets.

Mary turned to see her mother, Huldah Langdon, step off the front porch and head towards her, Penelope close at her heels. The Pilgrim goose was more dog than bird, waddling and squawking at Amon and the children. Mary would have laughed at the fowl’s brave antics if she hadn’t been so upset over Amon’s visit.

Penelope was patterned after a Pilgrim goose, or perhaps one of its forerunners. Pilgrim geese usually weigh between 13 and 14 pounds. They are quiet, calm birds and quite personable. The idea for Penelope to be sort of a watchdog was taken from a story I read of a man who had such a goose in colonial times.

I had one reader tell me she wished that goose would go away because it drove her crazy. She swears she would have seen to its demise if it were hers.

Others have told me how much they love Penelope – and the girl does provide some comic relief.

More than one reader cried in Breaking Promises when Penelope died in the wake of her mistresses’ death.

I admit to crying over and over while writing the scene.

And Penelope is still insisting on the spotlight. She has her own picture on my Pinterest Board for Keeping Secrets, and almost every day I get another notification or two that she has been pinned to another board. The only other picture that gets this much attention on my Pinterest boards is the gate to Boonesborough on my David Crews, Ancestors & Descendants board, a picture I took myself over thirty years ago.

Apparently, people cannot get enough of that duck . . . er, goose!

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