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The Writing of Rae and the Ruby Scepter

I am so happy to be sharing this story with you. It’s the glimpse of how an ordinary travel softball player sees the world and how she carries over her experiences and coping mechanisms into the world she forgot existed.
The world of Ferane is much like our own, except their culture resembles that of Northern Europe 500 years ago. She needs to dress and act differently than a modern U.S. girl.
The most interesting aspect of writing is how everything seemingly comes together as if by accident. I stop and wonder how much my dreams play a part in my subconscious thinking and stream through to my writing. For example, I randomly picked the last name of the jewelry store owner, Mr. Mulder, but Rae saw his name as something else. You’ll see what I mean when she meets him. And honestly, I had no idea of the connection until she said it.
Speaking of names, they were mostly names I either really liked or thought had a regal ring to them. A draft or two into the story, I changed the names to Dutch/Danish origins. Some of them translated over to very similar one’s, others not so much.
Rae = Corynn Desirae De Graff.
Clea = Claire De Haer
Morgan = Mogens De Haer
Derek = Dirk Roosevelt
Simon = Stilles
Ethan = Espen Mulder
Adam = Noach Mulder
Another neat thing about writing this book was when Dirk made an appearance at the trellis my third or fourth write into the book. He wouldn’t leave, no matter how hard I tried. Apparently he wanted to talk to Rae and wasn’t taking no for an answer. This scene turned out to be one of the most unique writing experiences I ever had.
Rae also has her own Instagram account – Rae.DeGraff.0416 and Twitter account – @RaeDeGraff0416. You can follow her day to day life before the story begins.

The Concussion

Concussions

Concussions are funny things. They cause your brain to hurt just by thinking. It doesn’t make much sense until you understand the brain is bruised and requires time to heal.

Symptoms can appear right away or not for hours. The most common symptoms include a headache, dizziness, and spotty vision. For parents, signs to watch for are confusion, vomiting, and stumbling or falling. This brain injury can be mild or severe and lead to death. The following three incidents had three different outcomes.

Ohio Fastpitch Umpire, James Simpson, took an indirect, foul tip to head and passed away two days later on April 25, 2016. Jim was unaware the hit caused internal bleeding. Additional information is not known at this time. Jim’s family is our hearts and prayers. http://tinyurl.com/Umpire42516

A lacrosse player took a shot on goal to his helmet. He shook his head and remained motionless while the game went on around him for a few seconds. He had two black eyes from the incident, but no symptoms or complaints. The coach nor referees took him off the field. Concussion? Probably.

A softball player, who is a catcher, took a foul tipped ball to the helmet right between the eyes. She stood, shook her head, and chased after the ball. Everything seemed normal. Twelve hours later, she complained of a headache, and the street lights gave her spotty vision. She even became nauseated and dizzy.

The softball player had a mild concussion. The doctor wrote her off school for a day and advised her not to watch T.V. or use her phone and to get plenty of rest. She’d have to pass the Base-Line Concussion test to return to the game.

When she returned to school, looking at a smartboard and trying to concentrate caused the symptoms worsen to the point of having to leave and see a Sports Medicine Doctor, who specialized in treating concussions. The doctor wrote her off school for a full week and gave her specific instructions on what she could and could not do. These included: sleeping as much as possible, only watching TV an hour a day (no big action shows with lots of colors and/or explosions, etc.), no softball practices or games, not even to watch (too much action and thinking), only fifteen minutes on a computer, tablet or cell phone per day, and only walking five minutes at a time until symptoms lessened and went away. The return to play protocol is completed one on one with the school’s athletic trainer and includes light aerobic exercise, sport-specific exercises, no contact training drills, full contact practice, and finally return to play.

In my new young adult release, Rae and the Ruby Scepter, Rae takes a hit to the head when she collides with the runner she’s tagging out. Hours later, Rae fears she has a concussion when she finds herself in a strange place, the world of Ferane. She’s been enlisted to save the world instead of chasing her dream to earn a softball scholarship from a PAC-12 college. You’ll connect with her constant thoughts about the game and how she uses her experience as a player throughout the book. To read more about Rae and be part of her everyday life visit her on Instagram (Rae.degraff.0416) or Twitter (@RaeDeGraff0416).  Check out Amazon.com on May 3rd, 2016 for a print copy, or pre-order the e-book now http://tinyurl.com/RATRS.50316

RATRS Cover

 

Notable Blondes in History – Princess Diana

 

princess diana

Diana Frances Spencer born July 1, 1961, became Lady Diana after her father inherited the title Earl Spencer in 1975 when his father passed. Diana’s family had always been close to the royal family with both of her grandmothers serving as ladies in waiting to Queen Elizabeth. Diana wasn’t the brightest student, she failed her O-tests twice. She did excel in swimming, diving and enjoyed dance. Before meeting Charles, Prince of Wales, she worked as house keeper, school teacher, nanny, and even took cooking classes.

Charles became interested in Diana when she attended a polo match with her sister, Sarah, who had been dating him. Diana stole the heart of Charles, and became his first wife. Their 1981 wedding reached an overwhelming large television audience of 750 million people.

The couple had two children, William and Harry. Princess Diana wanted her boys to have as normal of life as she could. She allowed them to play video games, took them McDonalds and Disney World. She shared her work with the boys by taking them with her to the charity events. Diana supported health-related issues and was the patroness for charities and organizations for the homeless, youth, drug addicts, and AIDS.

I think what really made her special and stand out is the fact she wasn’t afraid to be in the middle of these things. She wasn’t afraid to hold an addict’s hand or stand in the middle of a homeless shelter. She truly wished to help those less fortunate and/or suffering from other circumstances. It is why I thought it was in very poor choice for Saturday Night Live to do a skit about her death – They didn’t of course. The breaking news announcing the accident and her death just happened to be while the show was on. Every life matters, but you know when a light goes out and shouldn’t have, not yet anyway.

Thank you for being an inspiration, Princess Diana.

Blondes in Sports

 

taryne mowatt racer

Meet another favorite softball player of Rae De Graff’s. She met Taryne Mowatt when while visiting in Arizona. Taryne pitched for the University of Arizona that day in Tempe. Rae was amazed. Why would a college girl take the time to talk with a seven-year-old?

Rae met Taryne again when she became a team and attended an Akron Racer National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) game. The best part always comes after the game when fans are permitted to line up along the first base fence line to met their favorite players, have softballs and t-shirts autographed, and even pose for pictures.

Taryne is an All-American, right-handed softball pitcher. She played for the Arizona Wildcats 2005-2008 where she took the team to their second national softball title, eighth overall. While playing as a Wildcat, she threw  several no-hitters and perfect games.

Taryne won many awards during her career including All Pac-10, Second Team All-American, and two ESPY Awards – Best Female Athlete and Best Female College Athlete. She ended her college career with 1,267 strikeouts, second best for the Wildcats, fifth in the PAC-12 and win the top twenty for NCAA Division 1.

What will others have to say about you at the end of your softball career?

Famous Blonde Athletes – Jennie Finch

Dang right! Blondes do have more fun! Ask Jennie Finch how much fun it was to be named First Team All-American National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and First Team All-PAC-10 her sophomore year of college. And that was just the beginning.

The right-handed pitcher played four years for the Arizona Wildcats and took them to the Softball World Series three years in a row. Winning her one and only National Championship, Finch finished the year with a perfect season. She was named First Team by the  NFCA again, received the Pitcher of the Year award, and the Honda Sports Award for Softball Player of the Year her junior year. Her senior year, she was named First Team by the NFCA and the PAC-10conference and was named Pitcher and Player of the Year.

She went on attend the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, winning the gold medal in 2004 and the silver in 2008. She pitched for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) softball league 2005-2010. She holds the league’s season ERA crown and was named All-NPF in 2010.

For more information about Jennie Finch, visit her official website, where everything is pink.

What does a softball, a scepter, and a tiara have in common?

To most people nothing.

To the readers of Rae and the Ruby Scepter, everything.

A Girl with a Past

Rae De Graff’s life had been planned for her since birth. But living in a new world, she makes her own choices. They include the love of her life, Dirk Rossevelt, and dreams of receiving a softball scholarship from a PAC-12 University. That is until she falls into the past through a portal where Mother Nature reveals her destiny and a Book of Spells enchants her.

The Ruby Scepter

Missing for over a decade, the Ruby Scepter is the most powerful talisman in the realm. Only the scepter can stop the earthquakes tearing both Ferane and Earth apart if found before the Blue Moon Eclipse. Rae isn’t the only one searching, Evil will stop at nothing to find it, and the desirable Prince Mogens De Haer stands in her way.

A Fated World

Earth’s fate, tied with Ferane’s, hangs in the balance. Rae alone stands between the salvation or destruction of both. But first, she must choose between her life on Earth and her destiny on Ferane which, whether she likes it or not, may very well include Prince Mogens.

Coming MAY 3RD, 2016.

Migraines

The past two weeks have been hell. Between the drastic, daily weather changes and the house being too hot or buildings being too cold (still running the air conditioner), I have felt most days as if my head will explode. The constant pressure around my eyes, the bright lights, and the world tilted on it’s side, has me taking each step with caution.

Today will be no better-the forecast is calling for 30-55 MPH winds. I sit here now as the pressure builds. My stomach tossing, trying to convince me to give up the breakfast I ate an hour ago. I look out the window. What leaves remain on the trees dance a warning for me to not go outside.

I haven’t done a very good job bribing the migraine demons with their normal fix of one white pill, and two blue ones chased down with a bottle of Coke. I wonder what other cocktail they want now. They try to seduce me back to bed. I know I won’t be able to deny them in the end…

Punderson State Park

photo (3)

For several years now I have been fortunate enough to belong to NEORWA. Each fall we plan a trip to this lovely destination. Walking the grounds each year is just one of the many things I enjoy-remember to bring our boots to walk the wooded trails. This year we enjoyed a short ghost tour with Frank who also gave a very colorful history lesson.

We enjoyed the company of two retreat first-timers, the wonderful homemade treats and of course the many bottles of wine.

The Adventures of Tucker and Tori

I’ve also added these stories to WattPad. Check them out! Vote if you like them.

The Mystery of the MissingSoldier

Tucker squatted and bounced on his toes. His green soldier, Gator, who carried the radio seemed to be missing. Sure green soldiers could disappear in tall grass, but he had a feeling his little sister had something to with it.

Could Tori have tossed Gator into the creek they played by? Could she have been angry with him for always winning? But Tori had won the battle yesterday, hadn’t she?

Even so, the much needed soldier still wasn’t in Tucker’s bag. He fanned his fingers out like he did when Mom didn’t believe he’d washed his hands for dinner. Dropping to his knees, he combed the grass looking for Gator.

He looked and looked. Gator was nowhere to be found. He tried to keep his temper at bay, but this was the last straw. His little sister would pay for loosing Gator.

“Tori!” he shouted, his feet stomping across the bridge with the same force. “Tori!”

“What is all the fuss about?” Mom called from an upstairs window.

“My best soldier is missing.” A burning feeling rushed through him heating his face on the already warm day.

“Well, you sound as though you are about to blow a gasket.” She shook her head.

“Yeah, it’s my best soldier, Mom!”

Tori stepped out onto the front porch. Her eyes cast down toward the wooden planks under her feet.

“What did you with my soldier, Tori?” Tucker asked the question without thinking twice about it.

“What soldier? A green one or a brown one?” she asked, still not looking up at him.

“You painted them all green.” His anger began to build each time he clenched his fists. “The soldier carrying the radio.”

“I didn’t take him,” she whispered. She looked toward the oak tree then back down. Her feet rubbing together as she stood, watching them.

“Do you know who did?” Curiosity calming his anger.

Tori shrugged her shoulders.

If he wanted answers he’d have to use his sweet voice. “Come on, Tori. You can tell me anything.”

She shot a quick glance toward the oak then to him for just a moment.

What could possibly be causing her stress? She had never not told him something when he asked. Tucker hunkered down in front of her and twisted slightly to look at the big oak. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except it did seem to glow a bright green around the edges. Shielding his eyes, he looked skyward for the sun. He spotted the orange globe to the left of the tree. How could the orange tree cast a green glow? An Army green glow?

“Tori, what’s going on?” he asked.

“Nope, nope, nope. She told me not to tell.”

“Who told you not to tell?”

“The girl with no name.” Tori looked at him with big blue eyes.

“Can you take me to her?” There’s more than one way to get an answer. Tucker stood, laced his fingers through his sister’s hand, and began to guide her toward the glowing, Army green tree.

“I don’t know if she will be happy,” Tori sighed.

“We can at least try.” He stepped on the bridge crossing the creek and pulled Tori along behind him. Once across, he let her lead the way. She went straight for the tree.

Sitting down on her knees, she tugged her pink dress down until the edges rest on the ground all around her. “Hello,” she said to the tree in a sing-song voice he had never heard before.

Nothing seemed to happen at first, but then he noticed a little bit of gold glitter falling around them.

“Tori,” he whispered, his voice sounding foreign to his own ears. He squeezed her hand. “What is happening?”

“You asked to see the girl with no name,” she said without looking his way.

The gold glitter intensified until it sprinkled across his skin and sent waves of happiness through him.

“You, the one they call Tucker. Rise.” The voice was as smooth to his ears as a Hershey bar was to his tongue. He stood without thinking about it.

“I offer a trade for Gator.”

He nodded ‘yes’. But what could a tree have to offer him in return?

“Get ready,” Tori said. “This is going to be good!”

Glitter fell from the sky like a spilled bag of sugar. There was so much of it. He hoped a pile of glitter wasn’t part of the trade. Then he saw something beginning to form in the glitter. What could it be?

An Army Jeep?

No.

A tank?

No. It looked too long to be a tank.

“Is that a helicopter?” Tori asked.

Tucker held his breath. It couldn’t possibly be a chinook! He looked at Tori and grinned. “Maybe!”

As the glitter began to fade away, Tucker realized Tori had been right about this being good and the prize being a chinook. Flying chinooks when he grew up was his lifetime dream. They both bent to their knees, but Tucker touched the smooth green metal.

“Trade?” the voice from the tree called.

Her voice so pretty he might have said yes even if he didn’t like what she offered as a trade for Gator. “Trade.”

“Thank you, Tucker. I will take good care of Gator.”

“Thank you, Miss.” He picked up the chinook and spun around in a circle.

“I bet we can carry lots of soldiers in that, Tucker.” Tori smiled at him.

“I think you’re right.” He set the helicopter on the ground and opened the doors. “Set one in.”

Tori pulled the bag from her shoulder and pulled out a handful of soldiers. “Me first? Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

She shuffled through a few of them until she found her soldier with the radio. Holding it up for him to see first. Then she tucked the soldier inside.

“Perfect,” Tucker said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of

 Tucker and Tori

 

 

The Mystery of the Missing Soldier

Tucker squatted and bounced on his toes. His green soldier, Gator, who carried the radio seemed to be missing. Sure green soldiers could disappear in tall grass, but he had a feeling his little sister had something to with it.

Could Tori have tossed Gator into the creek they played by? Could she have been angry with him for always winning? But Tori had won the battle yesterday, hadn’t she?

Even so, the much needed soldier still wasn’t in Tucker’s bag. He fanned his fingers out like he did when Mom didn’t believe he’d washed his hands for dinner. Dropping to his knees, he combed the grass looking for Gator.

He looked and looked. Gator was nowhere to be found. He tried to keep his temper at bay, but this was the last straw. His little sister would pay for loosing Gator.

“Tori!” he shouted, his feet stomping across the bridge with the same force. “Tori!”

“What is all the fuss about?” Mom called from an upstairs window.

“My best soldier is missing.” A burning feeling rushed through him heating his face on the already warm day.

“Well, you sound as though you are about to blow a gasket.” She shook her head.

“Yeah, it’s my best soldier, Mom!”

Tori stepped out onto the front porch. Her eyes cast down toward the wooden planks under her feet.

“What did you with my soldier, Tori?” Tucker asked the question without thinking twice about it.

“What soldier? A green one or a brown one?” she asked, still not looking up at him.

“You painted them all green.” His anger began to build each time he clenched his fists. “The soldier carrying the radio.”

“I didn’t take him,” she whispered. She looked toward the oak tree then back down. Her feet rubbing together as she stood, watching them.

“Do you know who did?” Curiosity calming his anger.

Tori shrugged her shoulders.

If he wanted answers he’d have to use his sweet voice. “Come on, Tori. You can tell me anything.”

She shot a quick glance toward the oak then to him for just a moment.

What could possibly be causing her stress? She had never not told him something when he asked. Tucker hunkered down in front of her and twisted slightly to look at the big oak. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, except it did seem to glow a bright green around the edges. Shielding his eyes, he looked skyward for the sun. He spotted the orange globe to the left of the tree. How could the orange tree cast a green glow? An Army green glow?

“Tori, what’s going on?” he asked.

“Nope, nope, nope. She told me not to tell.”

“Who told you not to tell?”

“The girl with no name.” Tori looked at him with big blue eyes.

“Can you take me to her?” There’s more than one way to get an answer. Tucker stood, laced his fingers through his sister’s hand, and began to guide her toward the glowing, Army green tree.

“I don’t know if she will be happy,” Tori sighed.

“We can at least try.” He stepped on the bridge crossing the creek and pulled Tori along behind him. Once across, he let her lead the way. She went straight for the tree.

Sitting down on her knees, she tugged her pink dress down until the edges rest on the ground all around her. “Hello,” she said to the tree in a sing-song voice he had never heard before.

Nothing seemed to happen at first, but then he noticed a little bit of gold glitter falling around them.

“Tori,” he whispered, his voice sounding foreign to his own ears. He squeezed her hand. “What is happening?”

“You asked to see the girl with no name,” she said without looking his way.

The gold glitter intensified until it sprinkled across his skin and sent waves of happiness through him.

“You, the one they call Tucker. Rise.” The voice was as smooth to his ears as a Hershey bar was to his tongue. He stood without thinking about it.

“I offer a trade for Gator.”

He nodded ‘yes’. But what could a tree have to offer him in return?

“Get ready,” Tori said. “This is going to be good!”

Glitter fell from the sky like a spilled bag of sugar. There was so much of it. He hoped a pile of glitter wasn’t part of the trade. Then he saw something beginning to form in the glitter. What could it be?

An Army Jeep?

No.

A tank?

No. It looked too long to be a tank.

“Is that a helicopter?” Tori asked.

Tucker held his breath. It couldn’t possibly be a chinook! He looked at Tori and grinned. “Maybe!”

As the glitter began to fade away, Tucker realized Tori had been right about this being good and the prize being a chinook. Flying chinooks when he grew up was his lifetime dream. They both bent to their knees, but Tucker touched the smooth green metal.

“Trade?” the voice from the tree called.

Her voice so pretty he might have said yes even if he didn’t like what she offered as a trade for Gator. “Trade.”

“Thank you, Tucker. I will take good care of Gator.”

“Thank you, Miss.” He picked up the chinook and spun around in a circle.

“I bet we can carry lots of soldiers in that, Tucker.” Tori smiled at him.

“I think you’re right.” He set the helicopter on the ground and opened the doors. “Set one in.”

Tori pulled the bag from her shoulder and pulled out a handful of soldiers. “Me first? Really?”

“Yeah, really.”

She shuffled through a few of them until she found her soldier with the radio. Holding it up for him to see first. Then she tucked the soldier inside.

“Perfect,” Tucker said.