A Place to Call Their Own
A Place to Call Their Own is a completed, 56,000 word novel in the Historical Fiction/LGBT genre. The bulk of the novel takes place from 1866 – 1868 in the State of Kansas near the Osage Territory. It is the first book in a planned trilogy.
A Place to Call Their Own is framed as a 1910 recollection. Gregory Young and Frank Greerson are released from military duty in the summer of 1865. After returning to their childhood homes, Frank and Gregory set out for Kansas to find their claims. Once Frank and Gregory find their claim, they encounter common obstacles to life on the Kansas Prairie in 1866: Native Americans, tornadoes, wild animals, mild weather, and extreme weather. They help neighbors build cabins and barns and harvest crops. Frank and Gregory are successful in their first full year on the farm, but run into more obstacles during their second full year.
When a prairie fire destroys not only their crop but also takes their neighbor’s lives, Frank and Gregory are instructed to find their son’s (James Nordhuff) aunt. The aunt’s last known location was in Denver City in the Colorado Territory. Although they have no more cash savings due to putting it all into the farm that season, Frank and Gregory decide to take eight year old James to Denver City to fulfill his deceased parent’s wishes. They are saved when Mrs. Young, now Mrs. Harley, shows up the day after the fire to give Gregory his fair share of the sale of the family farm back in Carroll, Iowa. William and Viola Harley have sold the farm in Carroll, Iowa and are heading to Southern California where the warmer weather will be better for Viola’s condition. The main part of the novel ends with Frank, Gregory, and James following William and Viola Harley north to catch the Santa Fe Trail west to the Colorado Territory and Southern California, respectively. In the epilogue we learn that Frank passes away peacefully in the company of his son, son-in-law, and grandson.
First 150 Words:
“I’m going to Kansas and you can’t stop me,” Frank Atchison Greerson said to his father.
“Well, let me clear the dishes. You children come into the kitchen and help me this morning,” Frank’s mother, Emily Greerson said aloud to the grandchildren.
“Yes, let us help you,” Pauline Greerson, Frank’s sister-in-law volunteered. Pauline shot Frank’s sister, Esther, a look that prompted Esther to leave the table in silent, but obvious, protest.
Frank’s father, Paul Greerson, glared at his brother, Paul, Jr.
“Let’s go make sure the calves are doing all right this morning, boys,” he said to his sister’s husband and Gregory Young, both of whom were frozen in fear at the table. The other two men didn’t need a second invitation to leave the breakfast table. As Gregory Young stood up he glanced across the table at Frank. Frank nodded his head slightly to indicate to Gregory it was all right for him to leave the room with everybody.