Hey, y’all. Thought it might be time for a progress update on the next collection of Little Red Bear stories, to bring everyone up to date on what’s going on behind the scenes as we are into the new year now. With the the holiday season concluded, we are back at work writing the next collection of Little Red Bear adventures for you — “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!”
Bobo and Lily have returned from their Christmas visit with black bear relatives in the Smoky Mountains now, and Red has rounded up Cinnamon Charlie, Albuquerque, Swinestein, “Howdy!”, Stillwater, Bayou Bill and the others back from their holiday vacation trips, as well. Indian John and Aunt Ivy have been dropping by daily, anxious to get back to work on the stories. Even Farmer Turner is here, this being his slower time of year during the winter months until spring planting season arrives.
And naturally, everyone’s favorite little red squirrel, Rusty the Fairydiddle, is back after his co-starring role in the “Pine Holler Christmas” story adventure, with Little Red Bear and Cinnamon Charlie.
The old prospector Packsaddle Pete is back too, with another adventure in mind. That may be a hard sell to the rest of the group since some of us remain a little nervous hearing things at night, and still looking back over our shoulders following that “Broken Hill Mine” episode in the first story collection. But he keeps going on about treasure maps and clues to Jesse James’ lost treasure buried around the area. I don’t know. We’ll have to see about that one.
Interviews for prospective new story characters are nearly concluded, with only a gopher, a skink, a second interview with a hedgehog, and a rather persnickety peacock remaining. And, that really is meant to be ‘skink’ there, for those of you who thought that might be a typo. We have an opening for a Five-lined Skink (also called a Blue-tailed Skink here in Missouri) in a coming story. All of the available skunk character positions have already been filled.
Neither Little Red Bear nor I can figure out why peacocks seem so intent on being included in rollicking adventure stories set in the backwoods of the Ozarks Mountain Country. We had peacocks lined up and applying for roles in the first collection, as well.
This new fellow has even gone so far as to declare that he could perfectly play the role of either a hummingbird or a woodpecker, but my leg only stretches so far. Sometimes it appears peacocks are merely showing off. See for yourself from the job application headshot photo he submitted to see what you think. Do you really see him hovering in place over a flower like a hummingbird, or grasping the bark while drilling a hole in the trunk of a sugarberry tree?
More suited for the red carpet in Hollywood than a backwoods action/adventure story perhaps, but we’ll interview him anyway. Maybe some other role might pop up for him. Who knows, it might turn into one of those cases where he simply plays himself.
And then we still have that troubling interview with a persistent mountain lion to deal with. Admittedly, Red and I kept rescheduling that meeting over and over again the past few months hoping the mountain lion would cancel all together and just go away, but he seems determined to get into the stories. I suppose we are going to have to finally sit down with him to do the interview or risk incurring the wrath of the ‘Silly Story Characters Guild’.
No one is really excited about the prospect of an unpredictable mountain lion roaming around the woods. But our attorney, Bob the Badger, is already occupied trying to extend the beaver twins contracts, Flap and Slap. The beavers are represented by a new agent, Reggie the Wood Rat, trying to make his mark and attract new clients. And the bees are angry and buzzing about something again, so Badger Bob is busy attending to that matter for us, too. Seems like that stuff never ends sometimes.
So, we will interview the mountain lion, not to cause Bob the Badger anymore unnecessary work. Might call Bobo to come sit in on that one with us. Just in case. I already asked Stillwater, but as you may remember from “The Wildwood Jamboree” story, he doesn’t generally like to interfere or draw attention to himself so preferred to remain undetected on the sidelines.
The last interview we had been planning is with a human character who keeps calling on the phone saying he is lost and unable to find the place. After the fifth “I’m lost” call and reschedule, Little Red Bear finally decided to go out to search for the guy himself and lead him in for the interview. Bobo suggested we just sit and wait to follow the circling buzzards. He can be that way sometimes. The fellow’s name is ‘Woods’ something or other, if memory serves me correctly. Hoping he will show up eventually.
So, except for the last few remaining interviews, all the character slots have been filled, with several new colorful story characters assembled and eager to get to work. Some of them you may have already met. Early arrivals already introduced in the “Pine Holler Christmas” story include Littleberry Bedford (the new farmer recently moved into the abandoned Longenecker homestead over by Buffalo Crossing) and his family, old Cooter (the leader of the Hoppers Holler Raccoon Platoon), Floyd the House Mouse, Aunt Alma Mason, Myra Cookson and her ‘Pie Pantry & Goodies Shoppe’ over in Butterfield, Doc Adams, and — Goat.
Others new to the stories include an honest-to-goodness old mountain man given to telling tall tales, a far-from-home moose, a worn out old hound dog, a Native American couple searching for a new home, more problematic pigs, dashing ducks, a bothersome buzzard, a pair of owl brothers setting up to compete with the ‘Squirrelly World’ local newspaper, a performing circus bear (as opposed to Lily and Bobo, who are both retired, as you may recall), a frolicking and unconventional family of woodland bunnies, a Little Red Bear “mini-mini-me wannabe”, and others.
There is also an aged possum who has taken up residence in a pear tree behind Red’s cabin on Honey Hill. He spends all day hanging upside down by his tail, despite Little Red Bear reminding him that possums “really ain’t supposed to do that”. But he persists. With good reason, he says. Although he hasn’t told us what that reason is yet.
If you recall, there was that expansion work going on over at Bobo and Lily’s cabin in the first stories. Just a brief mention, but I always wondered myself what that was all about. Did you? Bobo and Lily never said.
No collection of Little Red Bear adventures would be complete without some old steam locomotives and trains huffing, chuffing and puffing along. Another circus train, perhaps? There were those circus trains so talked about in the “Crossing the Two Forks” story in the first collection. Could there be another? As we learned, traveling circuses are very popular in the small towns, so suppose it could be possible another might be passing thru sometime.
There may be some old steamboats and paddlewheels coming into view around the bend, too. Or is that just the wind whistling thru the pines? Little Red Bear is adamant that he hears steamboat whistles coming from the big river, but when he looks nothing is there. So, what could that be about? These stories do take place in the land of Mark Twain, after all.
And of course, Little Red Bear and Cinnamon Charlie are always on the lookout for honey. And as we know from the very first “The Rescue of Little Red Bear” story, that in and of itself can be precarious at times.
Little Red Bear and Cinnamon Charlie have both been working hard to learn ‘Pig’ ever since Swinestein came on the scene in “The Storm” story. But every language has its own varied dialects, so with more new pigs maybe on the way, I’m hoping that is not another issue for them. Only time will tell on that, I suppose.
Speaking of Cinnamon Charlie, he’s going to be going into his third year now when young’uns start to venture out on their own a bit more, approaching those “teen” years for a bear, and you never know what that may lead to.
And, not to worry you but suppose you should know, there is a rumour going around the backwoods that there is a giant, hulking and brawny brown bear on his way with an old score to settle with Little Red Bear. Red is not the smallest, but certainly not the largest of bears either.
That is a little worrisome, given that Red is the main character and they are his stories, after all. Can’t have anything untoward happen to the main character. But as merely the writer, I honestly don’t have control over everything, dealing with wildlife with a mind of their own in the stories, so that is a concern. Must see how that confrontation plays out if it comes to pass. I’m hoping it’s just a baseless rumour. Probably started in ‘Squirrelly World’. But, one never knows I suppose, so best to be on the lookout for potential trouble. We’ll have the medics standing by, just to be safe.
Also, potentially troublesome, word is going around that the weasels have been busy recruiting a “hired gun” of sorts to come in and deal with Albuquerque, the red fox Sheriff. According to gossip chatter, it’s a notorious and nasty coyote from out west in Colorado. That would certainly be a mismatch and could be messy. Sounds like the weasels aren’t going away any time soon and the little sheriff may have his paws full going forward.
There are a few other things happening too, that I probably shouldn’t mention yet, not to keep you awake at night worrying. Just remember the lessons we learned in the “Sir Snapsalot” story and to never venture into Witches Holler, especially after midnight.
And it would probably be best to ignore the ‘Squirrelly World’ newspaper reviews and steer clear of the buzzards’ new roadside café, and you’ll most likely be fine. Their ‘Raw Bar’ truly is what it says, although the freshness has recently been called into question.
As you can see, a lot of work to do now to keep new characters occupied and sort out these rumours and such.
If you have not yet read the first set of stories, “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler!”, there is still time to catch up because we are going to be very busy here for a while getting the next collection ready for you – “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The Second Holler Over!”
As the stories and characters do kind of build one after the other, we always recommend starting at the very beginning for the most fun and entertainment. “The First Holler!” is available in both Print and eReader versions on Amazon to get you started, and is always Free on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks as always for stopping by for a visit. We’ll keep you updated as work progresses and things develop over the coming weeks.
If you’re looking for us, we’ll all be over yonder under the chestnut tree working on the stories. If you don’t know where ‘over yonder’ is, just ask the possum hanging from the pear tree. He’ll point you the way. — Jim (and Red!)
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