Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Love Means.... The End

Last Friday was the release of Love Means... Endurance, the last story in the Farm series.  It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to characters I have loved so very much, but its time.  Geoff and Eli along with all their friends at Laughton Farms will live on in my heart, but its time to let them have their happy endings as one bug family.  I wrote the first story Love Means... No Shame in early 2009 and for all that time whenever I needed peace in my writing, I went back to the farm.  In a way I probably always will. 

I think Geoff and Eli each represent a part of myself that I hope will live on for a along time.  These two men, filled with compassion, love, and guts are what I hope is the best of who I am.  So I'm sure you'll see pieces of them in my writing, just like there is a piece of me in every story.  So spend a final time on the farm and find out what Love Means... 

Together for over ten years, Geoff and Eli built a fulfilling life. Their love and support helped raise their adopted son. Their hard work and dedication grew their farm from raising cattle and boarding horses to expanding into therapy riding sessions. Surrounded by a loving circle of friends, Geoff and Eli couldn’t ask for more. Until driven Eli loses his energy, and the doctor gives them the dire diagnosis of cancer.

Caught up in never-ending doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and treatments, their world turns upside down. With so many people dependent on them, they must pull together to put on a brave face, continue living as best they can, and care for their family. Geoff fears Eli, the love of his life, while a fighter, may not endure this battle, but neither is willing to consider succumbing as an option.


“Papa, I got Strawberry’s stall cleaned out,” Jakey called.
“I’ll look at it and help him with the rest of his chores. You do what you need to.” Geoff knew Robbie would take care of what he could in the office. The rest could wait. He kissed Eli quickly and walked to Strawberry’s stall. Jakey had done a good job of clearing away the soiled bedding. They had him do that stall because it was the smallest and didn’t take too long. “Okay. That looks good.” He turned to smile at his son, resting his hand lightly on his shoulder. “I’ll bring in the sawdust, and you can spread it for him. Then you and I can feed and water all the horses.”
They got busy. Geoff hauled, and Jakey spread. Then Geoff helped him carry water and fill all the troughs. He also explained to Jakey how much hay each horse got, and they cleaned out mangers and refilled them with fresh hay.
“What else do I have to do, Dad?”
“You need to sweep the center aisle of the barn, and do a good job. Then you can go inside to finish your homework at the kitchen table. Once that’s done, you can call your friends.” Geoff checked around the barn. “When they’re over, you remember the rules?”
Jakey nodded seriously. “No playing around the horses. Stay out of the paddocks, and no one is to go up in the hayloft.” He paused. “And don’t let them ride Grace—she is not a pony.”
“Very good.” The last time they had been up in the loft, he’d found opened bales and piles of hay that had been used to make forts. That wasn’t going to happen again. “They can come over after Papa is done with his therapy riding, so you’ll need to ask him what time he thinks is good. But you have to have your homework done first. So the sooner you sweep and get it done, the sooner you can call your friends.” Geoff was firm with Jakey, though he always made sure chores and homework were rewarded in the end.
“I will, Dad,” Jakey said, rushing to the tack room. He came out with the broom and walked to the far end of the barn, then started to sweep with a vengeance. Geoff grinned at his energy and figured it was best to help him get some of it out constructively.
“And watch out for the horses as Papa’s students arrive.”
“I will,” Jakey said without looking up. He was heads-down sweeping. Geoff knew that would last about ten minutes, so he checked all the stalls, spot-cleaned the worst spots, and hauled out the mulch. The great thing about spring was that the horses spent more time outside, so there was less cleaning to do. By the time he was done, students had started arriving, and Jakey was reaching the front door of the barn. Geoff checked on his work and helped Jakey pick up the sweepings. They never just swept it outside. It was best to pick it up in case anything got swept up that shouldn’t be there. They had found tacks, bits of plastic, and other debris that was best gone forever and not tracked back inside.
“You did very well. Go see Robbie after your homework and he’ll pay you.” Geoff believed in paying Jakey for his work, just like everyone else who worked for him. His father had done the same, and it had helped Geoff learn the value of work. It also meant that as he got older he didn’t feel like an indentured servant, the way some of his classmates in school had. His work had been valued, just like Jakey’s was.
Jakey hurried to put the broom away and then ran toward the barn door.
“Jakey,” Geoff said, and he slowed to a walk without stopping. Once he was outside, he took off toward the house and immediately disappeared from sight.
Eli’s students began to arrive, and the barn filled with their voices as they saddled their horses. Geoff checked that Eli didn’t need anything before going to his office. The one thing about a farm was that the work was never done, even office work. There were books to be done, herd records to be updated, invoices to pay, and money received and payments to follow up on as well as plans to be developed and updated.
Jakey was at the kitchen table with his math book open, working on his problems, when Geoff came in. He looked over Jakey’s shoulders as he worked. Since Eli had freed him of the burden of showing his work, Jakey was filling in the answers one after the other, and they were all correct. They definitely needed to speak to his teacher. It didn’t take Jakey long before he held up the page for Geoff to look over. It looked good to him. He nodded, and Jakey closed his book and put it in his school pack.
Geoff went to his office. It wasn’t necessary for him to listen as Jakey called Mark and Juan to ask them over.
Robbie was busy working at his desk, headphones over his ears. Geoff knew he was listening as a computer voice guided him. There was also an embosser attached to the computer so Robbie could print out what he needed in Braille. He and Robbie had worked together for years, and Robbie had a real knack for coordination and detail. Most people, when they arranged for lessons or classes, had no idea that Robbie couldn’t see. Geoff went to his desk and got to work. He sent Robbie a message to tell him that Jakey would be in to be paid and how much. It seemed dumb to text when they were in the same room, but it allowed Robbie to stay focused, and he’d listen to it when he got a chance.
On weekends he tried to be done in the early afternoons so he would have time with the family. He’d been working about an hour when Jakey rushed in, breathless.
“Robbie has your money,” Geoff said.
“Daddy,” Jakey gasped. “Papa fell in the barn. Uncle Joey said to get you.”
“Is he hurt?” Geoff asked as he stood and came around the desk. Robbie had taken off his headphones and was listening.
“He fell and isn’t getting up,” Jakey said, and Geoff heard the panic in his voice.


  1. Ohhhhh Andrew" sniffling" I'm going to miss the family Eli and Geoff created. I'll get the book next week. But that means no more from the farm. But please say we can still get a holiday snippet someday.

  2. I loved the book! I thought you let two stories a little bit open: the talk between Raine e Jonah (I`m so curious to see how they solved the situation) and the adoption planned by Brick and Cody. Do you think about maybe do a anthology with two novellas about these?

  3. Nooo, say it isn't so! I'm gonna miss the guys and the farm a lot! <3

  4. I am so going to miss these guys it sad to see them go. I really hope some day down the line another will come. A person can hope right. You have givin us everythings in this series love, understanding,hard times, forgivness, family the list can go on and on.i have all the books in ebook but now i will have to get the books to have them always. Thanks andrew.hugs

  5. Also i have been sick for years and these books have gotton me through doctor appointmenr surgerys and just feeling like crap. They help when i wanred to give up. Your superman

  6. OMG! That last bit of the excerpt made me breathless! I have the first 5 books. I really need to get caught up with the rest. I have loved reading the this serie and I'm sad to see the story finalized. :( You, sir, are one hell of a writer!

  7. I am sorry we will no longer visit the farm in new books, however I will go back time and time again and revisit them. <3