Sunday, May 11, 2014
Jericha Kingston's "Waiting for Lily Bloom"
James Bloom has prayed three years for rain and five years for a wife. His dreams are demolished on Palm Sunday, 1935, when a catastrophic dust storm hits Oklahoma, and his neighbor’s niece has to ride out the storm at his house—overnight. The next day, he’s forced to marry her, an East coast city girl who can’t speak. Could this be God’s plan?Married to a stranger in the dusty Oklahoma wasteland, Lily Driggers longs for her home. Yet somehow, her new husband is the only one who understands her silence.
As Easter approaches, Lily and James wonder if there is hope after the storm.
She looked to the front porch where James stood, his face leached of color.
“Walk toward me as fast as you can.” His voice cracked. “Now, Lily.”
What? The bully was at it again, this time issuing orders. She sighed and stepped off her rung on the fence. Mr. Bloom was about to learn she didn’t obey tyrants. She released the top plank and would’ve turned to go, but something in his voice startled her.
“Don’t look back, Lily. I’m begging you. Come to me.”
She glared at him.
His face crumpled, and he bounded off the porch and ran toward her.
The beast was chasing her! And he looked…crazed. No. Terrified. The only other time she’d seen such a look was when—
Everything turned red. She was enveloped in a cloud. Fine dust stung her eyes and throat, choking her. She gasped, inhaled dirt, and coughed. Her mouth snapped shut, sand grinding between her teeth. She closed her eyes and hid her face behind the flimsy sleeve of her dress, protecting her nose and mouth. But it was no use.
Shaking. The earth was shaking. Wind gusted, shrieked and moaned, almost as loud as her racing heart. Would it burst right through her chest? What’s happened? Is this a tornado?
Wind-driven sheets of dust blasted into her flesh like piercing needles. She tasted dirt, smelled dirt, cried dirt.
“Lily, grab the fence.” James coughed and sputtered. “The fence!”
She tripped over her own feet to reach the corral and latch on. She clung there, wind and dust swirling around her, lifting her braid up into the air. Please, God, help me!
You’ve hooked us, Jericha. Why did you write a story set in the Dust Bowl? There is so much to glean from this era. The effects of the Great Depression still lingered. Drought conditions mingled with poor farming techniques made farmlands barren, and covered the country in dust. Hunger and illiteracy was rampant. Hardship creates excellent tension for writers.
Tell us about your path to publication. My path to publication was paved with lots of rejection. I received over 50 rejections for my first novel, and over 50 rejections for my second novel. But my third story, Waiting for Lily Bloom, was accepted in its first submission. Persistence is crucial. If you give up, you’ll never be published. Equally important, rejection makes you investigate what you’re doing wrong. Don’t pass up an opportunity for growth.
Where can we find your story?
In the U.S.: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=556
Where can we find you online?
Thank you for visiting today. Thank you for hosting me!
Jericha Kingston--tomboy gone rogue--loves the visual, performing, and literary arts. She's the winner of the 2013 Touched by Love Award contest (Short Contemporary), the 2nd place winner in the 2013 Laurie contest (Inspirational), and a Finalist in the 2012 and 2013 ACFW First Impressions contest (Historical and Romance). Her novella, Waiting for Lily Bloom, released in April 2014 from Pelican Book Group.
A Georgia native, Jericha is comfortable in the solitude of the woods, or singing and acting before audiences. Her heart was stolen at age 16, and it's never been returned. She and her husband have been married for a quarter of a century, and they have two grown sons. Ousting her inner tomboy has been futile, so Jericha is often found fishing, camping, or hiking with her Australian Cattle Dog.
Jericha is giving away two electronic copies of Waiting for Lily Bloom to the first two people who leave a comment and tweet today’s blog.