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An Inside Look - Ten Dollars a Week - Room and Board

Title: Ten Dollars a Week – Room and Board

Author: Philip R Morehouse

ISBN: 13: 978-1548046019 – ISBN-10: 1548046019

Page count: 230

Genre: Fiction; Survival/Adventure

Book Price: $14.99

Kindle Price: $4.99 or Free with Kindle Unlimited membership

Author Bio:

I was born in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York where I started my life's training and adventures on the family-owned farm. Throughout my youth, I was mentored by my grandfather who taught me how to fish, trap and hunt. These skills were crucial to the family's survival.

After graduating from high school, I enlisted in the Navy, where I received special military survival training and was assigned to a ship that was deployed as a part of the Cuban Blockade Missile Crisis, and later to rescue Americans from Haiti, during the Dominion/Haiti Crisis. I continued to serve an extended hitch during the Viet Nam War. After returning home, I married, and joined the Army National Guard, serving in various aerial and ground support photography assignments.

Among the many diverse jobs, I have worked as a professional writer and photographer for over 60 years. With my family grown and on their own, I pursue what I love the most - writing true-to-life, survival, adventure-type stories.

Tell us about your book:

“Ten Dollars a Week – Room and Board” is a true story about a boy named Cal Morison growing from childhood into a man. It’s about surviving hard times and working from sun up to sun down on the family farm along with his little brother and two younger sisters and his mother who fought to keep the family together despite the welfare lady wanting to farm him out to a work farm. It’s also about learning not to give up and the importance of keeping your word. We might have been poor, but we had our honor and we all held our heads high in public, even though there were times when the cupboards were empty and we went to bed hungry. At 14, Cal hired out on a dairy farm – it was his first paying job. The farmer offered him “Ten Dollars a Week – Room and Board”, and he took it. His income would serve to help his family and pay for school clothes. Future jobs would come his way and from each, he learned new skills that would serve him well all his life.

How does this book relate to your real-life experiences?

This book relates to my life because this is my story from my earliest memories up to when I enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school. It serves as the bedrock for all my novels.

How long did it take to write the book?

It took 7 months from concept to rough draft, initial edits, and final edit to finally have it published in December 20, 2017.

What inspired you to write the book?

I wrote this book to inspire others that hard work results in achieving great things. My memories of the good old days are my best memories, something to be shared with all my readers so that they too, can feel the handles of a single-bit horse-drawn plow and savor the smell of freshly turn soil and the smell of fresh cut timothy waiting to be gathered and stored in the barn to feed the cows all winter and so many more memories.

Let’s talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

Yes, later having a computer and word processor at my disposal, I would write for a few hours every chance I got as I still had a full-time job and home maintenance to keep up with. To build my story, I wrote of my earliest memories and moved forward from season to season. My stories are multi-flavored, like a box of Neapolitan ice cream; part sweet, part mellow, and part not-so-sweet. Without the bad memories, one could never truly appreciate the good memories.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I would hope that my readers would come away with the understanding that it’s not who or how important you are, but who you helped along the way.

Where can we go to buy your book?

This book is readily available online through as a softcover or a Kindle download or at Barnes & Noble. If any of your bookstores should be out of stock be sure to give them the following number: ISBN: 13: 978-1548046019.

Excerpt from this novel:

“As he became more expert with unloading a wagon, they would have contests where they would bet how many fork loads it would take to get the hay into the barn. It was during one of these contests that he got the surprise of his life. He’d been setting the fork particularly deep to win the contest and he was well on his way to breaking the record. The last fork full was buried to the hilt, as he was hoping to get it all. He had signaled Parry and the horses, as usual, had lunged into their collars, when suddenly he was aware that the wagon was coming off the ground. In an instant, he and the wagon were airborne and rapidly going up the side of the barn. Suddenly the fork broke loose from the wagon frame and the wagon dropped to the ground below. As it parted from the fork with its load of hay, the fork traveled upward with a swish, locked into the carriage, and was off like a shot to the other side of the barn. Before the dust had settled, Parry was there to see what had happened. Dust was everywhere and he was white as a ghost. Parry told him that he thought something was wrong when he saw the horses suddenly going to their knees during the hard pull. From that point on, Cal was careful not to set the fork through the bottom of the wagon. That story circulated around the supper table for many a night..”

“On his way back, he had a strange feeling, a foreboding. Something was wrong – but what!? He went into super quiet mode just like his Grandfather had taught him when they were stalking a deer. He took his time working his way down the grade; all around him were red sumac and berry briers. His rifle ready – for some reason, his hair started to stand up along his forearms – something was wrong. As he broke out into the open, a movement caught his eye and suddenly the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. There, not more than forty or so feet away was a red fox, or what was left of one as it weaved back and forth, frothing at the mouth. Most of its fur was gone and its eyes were unseeing. He froze and watched breathlessly. He’d heard that, in this condition, they wouldn’t see you, unless you moved, then they would attack. Even though he had a 22, he didn’t want to risk missing it. There were no trees large enough nearby to climb, and he seriously doubted if he could outrun it. He felt himself shaking like a leaf; he’d heard terrible stories about people who had been bitten by rabid animals and the horrible death that awaited them. Back in the day, he’d been told that they chained people suspected of having hydrophobia to a tree, so they wouldn’t bite anyone. There they would stay until they died. Holding his breath, he waited for it to clear the field. As it headed for the road, stumbling and weaving back and forth, he waited. As soon as it crossed the road, he ran across the open field, across the road, and up the drive, only turning to see where it had gone. For a moment, he couldn’t see it and wondered which way it’d gone. Then, in the distance, he saw its staggering form in the edge of the meadow just down the road. Breathlessly, he ran into the house gasping for air. Quickly he told Parry that there was a rabid fox in the meadow, just down the road. In one fluid movement, he was up and reaching for his shotgun. In a matter of seconds, he was outside walking briskly up the side of the road and into the meadow. They all waited breathlessly as he stalked the animal. A moment later, there was a loud shot and they knew Parry had killed it. For many days, he didn’t venture over there fearful of running into another rabid fox. This, along with other events, slid behind him as new adventures continued to unfold.”

“Cal was driving the lead car, the Volker’s blue and white 57 Chevy. Behind him, Len was driving the fully loaded station wagon. It was on this day that his driving skills would mean the difference between life and death for a child. Marion was sitting in the front seat, her sister in the back with Kathie and Paula. The trunk was packed to the max. They had been making good time and were coming down a hill on South Salinas Street in Syracuse when suddenly Cal saw a movement to his right on the other side of a row of parked cars. The movement was ever so slight with a flash of color just above the parked car’s windows. Given that several small boys were playing kickball just beyond, he visualized the body of a small boy running parallel to the other side of the parked cars, whose trajectory would put him in front of the car in the next couple of seconds. Cal knew the child must be bent over as he chased the ball and, as he’d calculated, the ball appeared, bumping over the uneven pavement only a few yards ahead of him. He knew instinctively what was coming next and hit the brakes with all the pressure he could apply. All the women in the car screamed when they were suddenly thrown forward. They didn’t know what had just happened, until they saw the head of a small child appear right in front of the car, still after the ball. Cal was shaking all over while they were congratulating him on his fast reflexes. The rest of the trip went without mishap, but that incident was something he’d never forget. He was always watchful, for small children when driving, particularly when he knew they were playing in the area.”

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