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Bellingwood news, short stories and exclusive content for you!
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The other night, I had to shift things around and in doing so, I ended up digging out my blankets. My favorite, snuggle-up-in-the-recliner blankets. It's still too warm to use them, but the time for snuggling is nearly here and I'm giddy with anticipation. Blankets are my favorite thing. Quilts, knit or crocheted blankets, fuzzy blankets, wool blankets. I'm an 'aholic' for them. I have many more than I'll ever need and once I discovered that I could design and create my own quilts, all sense left the building. If you end up in my space, you'll never be cold. I promise.

While I'm excited about autumn and all that it brings, Bellingwood is still in the midst of late summer, when the weather has no idea what it's going to do. School has begun and Polly's life has spun up one more time. Thank goodness for that, right? Without her crazy life, these stories would get boring.

I've started writing a fantasy series - Mage's Odyssey. I'm in love with the story, the main characters, and the amazing cover created by Rebecca Bauman. Now, here's where I figure to run into trouble with you all. Some of you will worry that I'm giving up on Bellingwood. Nope, never fear. That schedule remains the same. Others will push me on timing for Book 2 in Mage's Odyssey. Bellingwood still takes precedence, but I'm only just beginning to ramp up my writing. There are so many stories to tell and I'm not taking my foot off the gas any time soon. Patience in all things, though. 

Bellingwood Book 28 is in its formulative stages. That means I know how the first chapter starts, I know where the trouble will land, and I know when it all happens. The guts of the story are told as the chapters flesh out under my fingers. That's when it gets fun for me.

As for Book 27 - HERE's your link!

I love you all,
Diane

Book 27
The Sounds of Home

Polly is back! And things have changed. Sycamore House isn't the same place she left when her family moved to the Bell House. Now that she has an office in the building again, Jeff Lyndsay is ready to make changes to accommodate the growth they've had. It won't be easy telling Henry that he needs to tear out walls he so painstakingly built for her. 

Changes in Bellingwood always bring new challenges. Jeff wants to buy a building downtown. Imagine his surprise when he takes Polly to see it and she finds ... you guessed it ... a body. He thought he was safe from her shenanigans. That's not all they find in that building either, deepening the mystery surrounding the murdered man.

While the sheriff's department helps Polly with that, Henry is talking to Chief Ken Wallers and Bert Bradford of the Bellingwood police department about break-ins that are happening in his employees' garages. The guys are good about locking up their trucks and tools, so who is stealing from them?

Bellingwood Bed and Breakfast is finally complete and ready for occupancy. The grand piano that Len Specek and crew have been restoring for Polly is finished and ready to be delivered. She has just enough time to schedule a quick recital. How this woman keeps up with everything that happens in her life is beyond me, but she never stops. It's much more fun this way.

Welcome back for another visit. Listen for the sounds of family, friends and even the animals who call Bellingwood home.

Click here to be taken to Amazon.
Mage Reborn
Coming October 25, 2019

Hester, a 600-year-old mage from Elbantha, should have died in the Battle of the Mages, but finds herself alive and far from home. She lived a quiet life, caring for her village, until the King made it impossible for good people to live in peace.

Surrounded by those who believe she has the power to change the world, fresh magic that threatens to take her over, and a world that only existed in books until now, Hester discovers she must learn to trust her new friends. The journey is only beginning.
New Bellingwood Items
Available

Have you seen the latest additions to the Bellingwood section in The Fashionable Mouse store on Etsy? New mugs, sweatshirts, t-shirts. And the leggings! Do you see those wonderful leggings? You'll have to check out the leggings section, but there are books and Nammynools cats and plaids ... and other incredibly clever patterns. There are sizes for everyone.

Click here for FUN!
Ch Ch Ch Changes
A Short
Bellingwood Vignette

"Your mother wants to talk to you."

Henry looked up from the blueprints he'd laid out on a workbench. He and his father were going over the cabinetry for a kitchen remodel. "About what?"

"Something we've been discussing," Bill Sturtz said.

Henry glared at him. "What have you been discussing?"

"Your mother should tell you." Bill chuckled. "If you make me talk about it, I will, but then you'll ask questions and wonder if Marie is on board and on and on. It's easier just to let her tell you."

"How long do I have to wait for this conversation?" Henry shook his head. His dad loved to yank his chain whenever he got the opportunity. 

"Now would be a good time." Bill pointed at the front door where Dick Mercer was walking in.

"Bill, you old coot," Dick said. "You tell your boy what we're thinking about?"

"Thought I'd leave that to his mother. Henry, here, will accuse us of coming up with another one of those dumb ideas we get."

"We have great ideas. All we have to do is wait for the little ladies to pay attention long enough to make them all their own. Then, things get done."

"Little ladies. Old coots. Do you two really talk like this when you're alone?" Henry asked. "Mom and Aunt Betty would never put up with it."

Dick took Bill's hand and clapped him on the back. "Raised him poorly, ya did. The child can't e'en talk like a good ole boy anymore."

"It's that little lady of his own that got him all citified," Bill said. 

"Citified, dandified, and gentrified," Dick retorted, grinning at Henry. "Tall shame we had to lose him to all that edumacation."

"Tall shame, indeed," Bill said.

Henry picked his tablet up from where it had been holding the edge of the blueprint flat. He shook his head as he rolled the print up. "You two are a riot." With the rolled paper, he tapped his father's chest. "We aren't going to get anything more done on this, are we?"

"Leave it with me," Bill said. "I know what you're looking for. Been doing this a long time. I can read the print and build the layout. I'll have the cost for you before the end of the day."

"But I wanted to talk about the cabinets on either side of the dining room doorway. She wants something different there."

"We'll talk. I'll figure it out. I always do. Don't you trust me, boy?"

Henry scowled. "Boy?"

"You'll always be my boy," Bill said. "Ain't that right, Dick?"

"If you don't want him, Betty and I'll adopt him. He's a good 'un."

Bill had been moving the three of them toward the front door of the shop. "Everyone will be back from lunch in a few minutes. Best we get out of here or we won't be able to hear ourselves think. Marie made a rhubarb pie last night. If she and Betty haven't eaten the whole thing, we'll have a treat with our coffee."

Henry followed his father and uncle from the shop to the house. He couldn't imagine what his parents needed to talk about with him. If his aunt and uncle were here, it might have something to do with the land where they planned to build the new shop. 

Right now, Sturtz Construction was spread out across the county. The shop itself was here, but Henry was storing equipment in any building he could find to rent. They'd finally agreed to buy a piece of land from Dick and Betty to build storage facilities and a new shop. Whatever their reason for bringing him to a meeting today had him a little nervous, though.

"Molly's upstairs taking a nap," Marie said in a hushed tone when she greeted the men at the back door. "You boys have to use your inside voices. Understand me?"

Bill and Dick looked at each other and shrugged, then both men turned on Henry. "She means you, boy," Bill said. "You're the troublemaker here."

"I know, Dad. If I promise Mom that I'll be good will you let me in the house?"

"Wipe your feet," Marie scolded, pointing at Dick's boots. "And leave my good boy alone." She took Henry's arm. "How did Cassidy do yesterday? Any better?"

"It was a good day for her," Henry said. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Polly says she always takes a nap after school, but that makes sense, right?"

"Absolutely. Those little bodies have to build up stamina to get through a whole day. I'm glad she's doing okay. Come on in. Coffee?"

"Thanks, Mom. What's going on?"

"We four want to talk to you about some ideas we've been tossing around. It's all good. Nothing bad. Before we make any decisions, you need to know what we're thinking."

"The four of you together? That's never good." He leaned against the refrigerator. "Unless you and Betty are in charge."

"Trust me. We are. The boys are only along for the ride." She handed him a cup of coffee. "There's pie on the dining room table. Would you like a bowl of ice cream with that? Bill and Dick are already set up."

"I can get it," he said. "You go on in and sit down. I'll be right there."

Marie waved him back from the refrigerator, opened the freezer and took out a bowl already filled with ice cream. "You think I'm helpless?"

"No, ma'am," Henry replied. "Far from it."

"I'm still your mother and I can take care of you when I'm in my own kitchen. Now, scoot. We have things to discuss."

When Henry walked into the dining room, Betty Mercer, Bill's sister, jumped up from her seat. "There's my favorite boy. How are things at your house?"

He gave her a hug. "Good. The kids are back in school, Polly's busy, I'm busy."

"How's Cassidy doing?"

"She's better every day. We like her teacher." He smiled. "I don't know if Cassidy realizes that this is how her life is going to be from now on, but she's pretty good about doing what's expected of her. That Agnes Hill, though, she's been a godsend. She comes over after school a few times a week and gives Cassidy her undivided attention. I don't know what they talk about, but it helps us out a lot." 

"Good for Polly for not feeling like she has to be everything to her kids," Betty said. "That's one smart cookie you married."

He nodded. "I like her."

"Sit down, boy," Bill said. "You've got your mother hovering with a cold bowl of ice cream."

"I'm sorry." Henry dropped into the seat beside Betty. 

Marie shook her head and put the bowl on a place mat in front of him. "Don't listen to him. One slice of pie or two?"

"One," Henry said. "Thanks."

"See, boys. I told you there would be an extra piece for you to split." Marie handed the pie plate to Bill, who, in turn, handed it to Dick. 

"Be right back," he said. "Need more ice cream."

Marie put her hand out to stop him. "No, you don't. Sit back down. If you want that piece of pie, fine. But no more ice cream."

"But it's better with ice cream," Bill said, a whine in his voice.

"Sit," Betty said. "Don't argue. You know better."

"Getting old's for the birds," he muttered as he turned and went back to his seat. 

"So tell me," Henry said, "What's this meeting about?" He put a bite of pie and ice cream into his mouth and tried not to sigh at how wonderful it tasted. His mother could bake. He gave her a smile.

"Your mother and I want to move," Bill blurted out. "She doesn't want to live here any longer."

"Bill," Marie scolded. "Talk about making it sound bad. That isn't it at all."

"Yes, it is," he retorted. "We want out of this house. If you're moving the shop away, there's no reason for us to live here any longer."

Henry looked at Marie. "Mom?"

"It isn't what it sounds like."

Betty spoke up, "It is kind of what it sounds like."

"Are you moving back to Arizona?" Henry asked, suddenly concerned.

"No, no, no," Marie said. "Nothing like that. Now, you know I've been saving."

"Sure," he replied.

"Once we paid this house off, I decided it made sense to keep putting that amount away every month. We're talking about building a little ranch house on the land where you're putting the shop. Bill and I are going to get real tired of all the steps in this big place and we don't need it for family. You and Polly live in town. It isn't like you've ever spent a night here."

"What about Lonnie?"

"Well, we'll design the house so the basement will be a nice place for her and her family to stay. Your kids can stay down there if they spend a night with us. And we're right next door to Betty and Dick. They still have rooms available."

"You'd move out to the country?"

"What's wrong with the country, boy?" Dick asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "You city kids don't know what you're missing."

"I know there will be some changes to how I do things," Marie said, ignoring her brother-in-law, "but it really makes sense. You know I like being able to keep an eye on your father ..."

"Because he's such a trouble maker," Betty said.

"And it would be nice for him to be close to the shop. Jessie will be working out there and I'd like to be available to Molly during the day, even though she'll be starting school soon. We're right down the road from Elva and her family. That means Eliseo is close. And Judy and Reuben Greene are just up the way from there at the bed and breakfast."

"And we like the idea of them being close to us," Betty said. "It was either they move out by us or we find a place in town. I don't much like the idea of moving into town."

"What will you do with this house?" Henry asked.

Bill reached around and took a manila envelope off the buffet. He slid it across to Henry. "When we moved to Arizona, we transferred ownership of the house to you. It's your house. We probably owe you rent."

Henry huffed a laugh. "I don't think so. What about Lonnie? This doesn't seem fair."

"Don't you worry about your sister," Marie said. "We're taking care of her, too. It's fair. What do you think about this?"

"It's what you want?" he asked.

She smiled. "I was ready to quit taking care of this house five years ago. I'm more than ready now. A little house in the country, next to my family and next to where Bill grew up. It's perfect. You'll be there all the time anyway since you're putting your office out there."

"Probably more than I'm here," he agreed.

"We'll have a big open space for your kids to come visit. The animals at Elva's place are right next door."

"What about Dad's model railroad?"

"We're adding a room on the shop for that," Bill said. "You just haven't seen the plans yet. A bunch of my buddies think it would be a hoot to have a place next to a shop where we can work on scenery. You okay with this? I know you're buying the land from Dick and Betty, but we just need a little chunk of it. And you'll build the house, okay?"

"Of course it's okay," Henry said. He looked around the room. "It's hard to imagine this house without you. I didn't like it when you moved to Arizona. I didn't change anything."

Marie put her hand on his forearm. "You have a lot of family that will soon need their own places to live. Cat and Hayden can't live with you forever."

"Polly thinks they can," he said with a smile. 

"Or maybe Heath and his family will move in one day," she continued. "And if you want to sell the place, that's fine with us, too. It belongs to you."

"When do you want to move?" Henry asked.

"We were thinking maybe we could build the house next spring when you're putting the rest of the buildings up," Bill said. "We aren't in a hurry."

Henry pushed his empty bowl back. He didn't even remember finishing the pie. "Polly isn't going to believe this."

"What?" Betty asked.

"That you're moving. That we own another property in town. You choose. But I'll do whatever you want. Have you found a house plan?"

Marie smiled. "Who do you think you're talking to? I want you to look at it, then we'll get started. I'm going to borrow your boys this winter to help me clear out the attic and basement."

"And closets," Bill said. "We don't want to take anything with us that isn't useful. It's time to purge."

"Good thing we aren't going anywhere, right, dear?" Dick asked.

"You're the one who collects the junk, dear," Betty said. "Marie and Bill will store their things in our barn as they pack them up. We'll make room."

Henry sat back in his chair. "How long have you guys been planning this?"

"Most of the summer," Marie said. "We didn't want to say anything until you made the deal to buy land from Dick. I wasn't going to be the reason you chose that property."

"It's the right property," he said, nodding. "Man, all I can think is ... ch ch ch changes. Bellingwood used to be a sleepy little town where nothing ever changed. I can barely keep up with it now."

His mother rubbed his arm. "We're not going that far."

"You're right. This makes a lot of sense. Let's see the house plans you've found."
Don't forget to dig through the menus and tabs on my website. There is so much more information there about Bellingwood.

For a full list of Bellingwood books in order, please go to this page on my website, nammynools.com.

Be sure to join us on the Bellingwood Facebook page. When I'm writing, I need distractions and I enjoy spending time with you.
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