Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Where Did You Go to School?

I graduated from high school back in the day when girls weren't allowed to wear slacks or jeans to classes--1966. In fact, if our skirts did not covers our knees when we stood straight, we were sent to detention or home. Our high school was large; my graduating class had over 700 students and, being shy at the time, I knew only a fraction. I was afraid to go to college. My mother had drummed into my head I didn't have what it took to amount to anything, that I'd never fit in and couldn't succeed in college the way my older brother had.

So I married a month after graduation, had 3 children and got divorced.

On my 44th birthday, I gathered all my courage and applied to Penn State. Imagine my shock when I was accepted and, based on my freshman testing scores, was placed in Honors classes. And just like being offered brownies or chocolate cheesecake, I couldn't decide which major to take, so I took two--Business Management and English with a concentration in Technical Writing. By then, I had been working night work in a heavy metals industry for twenty years and wanted out of the oil and muck and heavy lifting. Surely a college degree would help. So, I continued working at my 40-hour a week job--after all I had 2 sons in college at the time--and went to college as a fulltime student. I slept on a part-time basis.

How different college was from high school. Classes were so darn interesting! What a joy it was to realize I could accomplish something. I was a grandma on the Dean's List. Whoot!

All those rules of high school had tainted my opinion of education. How wrong I was. Opening my mind to learning in college was an epiphany for me.

My heroine in A MAN FOR ANNALEE didn't fare so well in school either. Annalee had a "bit" of a temper problem. Growing up, she'd spent too much time in her father's general store in Chicago, and her language was peppered with language unfit for a lady at that time. Her mother insisted she go away to school, and Annalee hated every minute of the experience. Her temper landed her in trouble more often than not. In fact she'd been saddled with the moniker the Demerit Damsel. Still, she finally graduated from Miss Feather's Finishing School for Refined Ladies of Culture and Proper Decorum.


When men fight over the feisty new arrival in town, the battle for her hand begins...

Annalee Gallagher loses her parents, home, and business in the Great Fire of Chicago. When she travels to Cicero Creek in the Wyoming Territory to start a new life, more heartache awaits her, and so do the attentions of several men--for good and for evil. Why was her stagecoach attacked, and was the shot that zinged over her head one night a wild bullet or a bad aim?

Boone Hartwell, the marshal of Cicero Creek, suspects someone is out to kill the new spitfire in town. She amuses him and touches a lonely part of his soul, but keeping her safe is a fulltime occupation. More importantly, can a white man raised as Cheyenne rise above her other suitors to win her heart? One thing is for certain in his determined mind: He's the man for Annalee.

      Annalee didn’t know which was more disconcerting: the fact she’d fainted or that the marshal now held her like a baby. She shifted in his arms, nervous at being held this close. Her burns throbbed so badly, she could barely think. “I can walk, you know. I only fainted.”

       “You might have hit your head. Caused an injury.” He tilted his head to the side and stared at her, an unsettling warmth in his brown eyes. “No need to frown like that. You’re not heavy. As soon as the doc’s through with your shooting victim, I’ll carry you inside.”

       “I did not shoot the driver.” She pursed her lips and glared at him. Up close, the marshal had an interesting face. A bump on his nose indicated it had been broken, probably in a brawl or two. His square jaw proclaimed stubbornness—something she could relate to—and a scar from the corner of his lower lip to the cleft of his chin no doubt signaled a life of violence. Dark, wavy hair hung over his jacket collar and nearly brushed his shoulders.

       Boone cleared his throat, arching one dark eyebrow. “Are you through with your examination? I could take my boots off so you can count my toes.”

       Her hackles rose at his remark. “Put me down, you annoying man.” She shoved at his hard chest. His hold tightened, increasing her pain. She gritted her teeth to keep from crying out.

       The lawman tilted his head to the side again and his eyebrows furrowed in thought. “I wonder…”


       “Were you born cranky or have you been practicing on a daily basis? Frankly, I’ve never met a more peevish woman. Now Widow Morrison, she’s a mite cranky, but rumor has it she’s got trouble with her bowels…”

       Annalee gasped, her cheeks heating with the blush of embarrassment. “I’ll have you know there’s nothing amiss regarding my disposition. Why, I’m a graduate of Miss Feather’s Finishing School for Refined Ladies of Culture and Proper Decorum.” She gave an imperial sniff and hiked her chin a notch.

       He grinned, a sight that made her insides flutter, before he inclined his head and whispered, “You flunked that part, didn’t you?”     

       His warm breath against her ear caused her toes to curl in her black leather, high-button shoes and a shiver to race through her system, reactions she found troubling. She pierced him with an imposing glare. “I beg your pardon?”

       “The decorum part. You flunked that, didn’t you?” The corners of his mouth twitched as if he were fighting a smile. “Because every time you get riled, your mouth turns as nasty as a cowpoke with saddle sores.”


Liz Flaherty said...

Love this excerpt!

I graduated in '68, so some of my memories are the same. My mom wasn't much of an encourager, either, but my teachers were. Good for you for going on with your education!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks, Liz. I think it was a generational thing. We were more encouraging to our children and they even more to theirs. Thanks for stopping by.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am so proud of you, Vonnie, for go on for more education. You should be so proud of yourself for never giving up.

I graduated in 62 so am a few older than you - almost ancient. :)
I graduated from Santa Rosa High School in California and went to business college for six months. I started working for CPAs and that was mostly the job I held - secretary. I loved doing it even though math was not and never has been my strong point.

Loved the excerpt, my friend. You are awesome.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Aw, thanks Paisley. You're pretty awesome, too.

Mary Ricksen said...

I think that's incredible! My parent forced me to go to Nursing School, so I was stuck in medicine because of my education. I wish I had been able to go back to do what I wanted. Write!

Angela Adams said...

I didn't go to college straight out of high school, either. A few years after high school graduation, I started at a community college before transferring to a liberal arts college. I loved every minute at both colleges!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Mary, I couldn't have handled nursing school. Too much blood for this "fainty cat." I can write about bloody situations, but don't make me look at them. Thank goodness I was able to temporarily overcome it when the kids were growing up. I understand your not wanting to work in the medical field. I certainly didn't want to work in the factories, but one does what he/she has to do to pay the bills, especially when you're alone. Perhaps that's why I love my life so much now; I can write to my heart's content.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I loved every second of my college experience, too. Well, except for accounting and Japanese. Ack!

Calisa Rhose said...

LOL I love Annabel and Boone! I can empathize with your heroine. I was shy in school but that never seemed to matter when I was mad. My mouth just seems to fly open and words leave it. I think I had a nickname once, but I can't remember what it was now, which is probably a good thing. lol I can't wait to read this book. :)