Our Ancestor’s Blood

the canaryEver wonder if you inherited more than eye color from your ancestors? Growing up I was constantly compared to both dead and alive relatives in looks and temperament. You’re just like your grandmother, was often said to me, the words dripping with disgust. It just so happened that I really liked that grandmother and we had a similar relationship as Zoe and her grandmother Ellie have in my book The Canary.

Here is an excerpt from that book which will be released soon:

The Canary

I feel her presence. It’s as though her mind and mine are connected. I smell the dust of the road as the horse’s trotting hooves stir it into the air that I breath. The maleness of the driver of the wagon wafts over me. His love envelops me. This is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

His dark hair, blue eyes and slight Irish brogue mesmerize me. I know nothing about breeding horses for it is his love and dream not mine, but I know about how to acquire the means for him to fulfill his dream. And that I will do so that our grandchildren and their grandchildren’s children and so on for generations to come will enjoy the land and the legacy that I have helped to make their heritage.

With our blood running through their veins, they will build their own dreams on the foundation of what we have begun.


She found her oldest granddaughter, Zoe, in the study of the huge log home that she had lived in, on and off for most of her life. Zoe sat in the large leather chair facing the stone fireplace. Her eyes were focused on a painting of her great, great, great grandmother, Annabelle. So strong was her concentration that she hadn’t even heard her grandmother, Eleanor speak when she called her name.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were talking to her, the way you’re smiling.”

“I believe her spirit was talking to me,” Zoe whispered.

“Grandma, when are you going to tell me the story about her? I want the real story, not what you can read on the Internet. You said that you would tell me someday. I think that day is today. It’s just you and me all week. Mother and father won’t be here and neither will my sister.”

Eleanor smiled at her.

“You have the same smile she had, grandma. Do I have that smile?”

“Yes you do and you have her same gorgeous looks and natural music abilities as well.”

“Mother and father said I should not mention her while their snooty friends are around, but I want to know where I came from. I want to know how she became one of the richest and most influential women in California in the 1800s. I want to know the real story.”

“And you have a right to know it. Where shall I begin?” Eleanor said as she sat in the other leather chair facing Annabelle’s painting.

Ellie smiled at her seventeen year old granddaughter and then began speaking as though she was being given the words from the lady in the painting herself. “She was about your age when she was sent by her mother to the city to visit with her aunt Dottie. Her name was Annabelle and she was my great great grandmother. Her story is sad but she would say to the contrary. She lived with her parents Chester and Sara Ford in a small village of log cabins, which were common for families of lumberjacks in the northwest.


“This is the horse that won The National for me. The one that had his way with Tilly’s mother. So it’s not surprising that she beat all of Ryan’s horses in a race. It’s in her blood but she’s not papered.”

“She’s kind of like I am,” Zoe said. “She comes from what society calls a whore, but has the talent, intelligence and drive of royalty.”