Earlier in my notes here, I failed to mention a further resource for my story prompts. It is my file of story ideas that I have compiled over time that now includes some 125+ entries. The single entry for the Pine Barrens has been a touchstone for me in the development of various stories over the past thirteen years. There have been various ideas that have popped into my head that have found their way into a series of stories that come under the general theme of the Pine Barrens.
In my story life in the Chronicles, I first met my main character, Margaret Elizabeth Gamble (aka, Meg), in a tale about becoming lost during a trek along the Washington Turnpike looking for the pineland’s town of Adamstown. This feisty old woman greeted me at the front of her house with a 16-gauge shotgun pointed menacingly at my head. From that first meeting, there have been a series of stories that have come to me. Some of them have been about Meg, and others were told to me by Meg. These stories were about various members of the Gamble family from the time Heinrich Gamble first washed ashore in 1765, and traces various other family members over the years to the present day.
To date, the collection has not been published. However, the story of Ruth Gamble, as told in the the tale of Stolen Innocence, I’m hopeful will be included in the 2014 Tall Tales & Short Stories from South Jersey, Volume 2. Stolen Innocence takes us back to 1814 when Ruth Gamble was sixteen years of age. The story traces her trials and tribulations as she leaves the ancestral home located in Adamstown in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and finds work at Preston Hall, an estate, located to the west of the City of Philadelphia.
Some additional titles from the collection, The Gamble Chronicles, include:
Lost in the Pines
The New World
The Great Fire of 1874
My Life in the Pines
The Witch of Cottage Lane
Return to the Pines