Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In the Spotlight: Beth Schuck ~ Author of "The Orchard"

Over the coming weeks, the IWSG Anthology blog will be featuring posts
from each of the authors in Voyager: The Third Ghost.
Our author today is Beth Schuck.

Beth Schuck on her short story "The Orchard" ...

My interests in camping and genealogy may seem like an odd pair for inspiring a short story. Both influenced development of "The Orchard." Using a historical setting creates challenges for the characters, which in turn allows their personalities to shine. I have researched my Scandinavian heritage and discovered prior relatives who had forest-related occupations. Norwegian immigrants often immigrated to the American West and found work in orchards or lumber camps. This was the spark for Nels, the young protagonist, with magical powers that connect her to nature. Camping allows me to appreciate gorgeous, rustic places. When visiting, I imagine what life was like in pioneer settlements. I wonder how women made their way in difficult circumstances with few life choices. That was my motivation for creating Della, the narrator. Staying in Capitol Reef National Park inspired me to learn more about the history of the Junction area, now Fruita, Utah. The orchards were planted by the pioneers and are still thriving today. The uncertain conditions of rural existence in the early 1900’s fascinate me. How did families exist, isolated and with limited resources? They had to learn to rely on each other to survive. That challenge, two capable female protagonists, and my belief that nature can connect us in magical ways launched "The Orchard."

Fruita Schoolhouse Capitol Reef National Park, Wayne County, Utah, United States. Photo by Beth Schuck


Can Nels, with her magical connections to nature, and Della help each other survive in a remote area of Utah over a century ago?

Excerpt from "The Orchard" ... 

She readied herself, balancing her body weight back on her heels. Nels swung the ax and whack rang out in the orchard. The wind whistled in my ears and the pine trees amplified the sound. It seemed almost musical. I swayed awkwardly with the wind.
After a few swings of the ax, Nels stopped to rest. She cocked her head and wiped her brow with her sleeve, pushing her short bangs straight up in the process.
That girl needs a bath, I thought. Just then Nels startled and almost fell over backward.
I heard a moaning sound: noooooooo… It seemed to be the wind again and I glanced at the darkening sky. Storms were definitely coming. 
Nels picked up the ax and began another swing, when boom! Lightning flashed and thunder clapped loud and close. I flinched and bumped my head on a tree branch. Ow, that was close.
“Nels, let’s go,” I yelled. I picked up the hem of my long skirt to make running possible. Turning to tear toward the barn, the nearest shelter, I glanced back at the girl. She seemed frozen. Had she been struck by lightning? Sheets of rain fell as dark clouds moved over the sun and surrounded the trees.
Nels put her face up to the sky to face the torrent. She howled, sounding more like a coyote than a human.
Owwooo, don’t tell me what to do!”
She slung the burlap sack over her shoulder and picked up the axes, one in each hand.

Beth Anderson Schuck is a retired
librarian who believes reading can
take you anywhere. 

She writes historical fiction featuring willful female characters. 

Being in nature whether hiking,
birdwatching or gardening makes her whole.

Coming on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 . . .

Next up is L. T. Ward who shares her backstory for "Return to Cahokia," a tale featuring Tonalli, a young Warm Weather God, who embarks on a spring journey with her mother and siblings back to Cahokia.

* * * * * * * * * *

Upcoming Blog Interviews and Virtual Tours:

1. March 16 - Yvonne Ventresca

2. May 4 - June McCrary Jacobs

3. May 6 - C. Lee McKenzie, Author

4. May 6 - Literary Rambles – Natalie Aguirre

5. May 11 - Juneta Key

* * * * * * * * * *

The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press

Amazon - Print

Barnes & Noble -

ITunes -

Kobo -


  1. It was a challenging time for many and especially women.
    That's great the orchard is still there.

    1. Yes, it is a large pick your own orchard. We were there during apple season, but they have cherries, peaches, almonds, apricots. It is quite amazing.

  2. Nels was such a unique character, yet I can see someone like her living during that time.

    1. I agree. Many of her qualities might be helpful as we go through the pandemic.

  3. Congratulations, Beth! I can't wait to read your story!

  4. Nels sounds like a character! Now I want to know what other crazy things she does! Congratulations being accepted into the anthology! Looking forward to reading your story!

    1. Indeed she's quite an interesting girl with some hidden talents you will see in the story!

  5. Scandinavia, Nature, and Utah - a neighbouring state - tempts me. Toll on May 5th. Posted a link at

  6. Replies
    1. Oh, thanks. If you saw the orchard, I think you would also wonder about the pioneers that settled there.

    2. I'm pretty sure I would. I love history, the more of it the better (if someone had told me as a kid that I would one day, I'd have called him crazy).

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  8. I know so little about the Scandinavians immigrants to this country and had no idea they settled in Utah! Looking forward to reading your story.

  9. I love it! We were just through Capital Reef in October, and stopped to take pictures at the schoolhouse.


Delighted to hear from you!