Golden struggled to stand up, dripping and coated in mud and sand.
A strange voice behind her boomed, “Ye are lucky that I came by this way. Why did ye come out to this desolate valley all by yourself, unarmed, and without food, drink, or a cloak? Are ye mad? Do ye have a death wish?
Reaching a safe distance several yards away from the quicksand, Golden collapsed on the ground, shaking uncontrollably and breathing heavily.
She looked in the direction of the voice. She saw a man—no, it was a boy, about eleven years of age, her age. The stranger was tall, broad-shouldered, muscular, and deeply tanned, most likely from working long hours in the sun. He looked bigger than most boys his age and more confident, too. His appearance was pleasant, with long, medium-brown hair tied back in a ponytail, green eyes with brown flecks in them, a small button nose, long, thin lips, and a round chin. He wore a beige tunic, with a brown woven belt, a long, black cloak, and a roughly made pair of leather sandals. On his right bicep, she could see a marking, like a tattoo, with an outline of the hills on it. Over his right shoulder, he carried a leather wineskin and a leather bag. On the right side of his belt was a sheath holding a small dagger. Golden guessed that meant he must be left-handed. Golden gaped at him.
Excerpt from Dagger of Urachadh: Attack from the Underworld, p. 34.
I will never forget my first day in school in a new town without any friends. It was August 29, 1971. At the end of the day, a blonde girl came up to me in the coat room. She said that she liked my red hair and she wanted to know if I would be her best friend. I thought that would be a great idea so I nodded my head. Bertha Moorman (nee Balman) has been my best friend ever since.
Bertha was her Dad’s right hand man. Clarence Balman was the town’s maintenance worker. He didn’t have a son until later in his life so Bertha stepped into help. She blew the typical stereotype - that girls are weaker than boys and they are just supposed to play with dolls and learn how to cook to get married some day - right out of the water. There wasn’t anything that she couldn’t do. She helped her Dad lift heavy cans of garbage, shoveled gravel and asphalt to fix the potholes and helped scrapped the ice at the hockey rink in between periods to name a few things. She was physically strong like a man, but she had all the essential qualities that made her a woman to be reckoned with and I was so proud of her. She never lost her confidence and strong work ethic. She has had a successful career in the insurance industry for the last 36 years and is still go strong in this position. The character Button is based on her life.
Bertha has been such a good friend to me over the years. She has been such a strong female role model in my life. I am so blessed to have her in my life and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is my best friend forever!
Karen E. Mosier