Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Update before New Year

Haven't done any writing lately. Have been slightly bummed at not winning any of the many awards in the writing contest. Keep reminding myself that it's all about telling the story. Have resolved to get back to writing.

Am debating about reading more on writing - plots, etc. - and going back to my finished novel Crazy Daisy and doing major editing on it. I have learned a lot since writing that. But at least it is finished, just needs major tweaking.

Once the holidays are over I will decide what to do. Will consult with my editor to get her advice.

The major issue is getting an agent. And query letters. They're both hard.

Til 2011, Happy New Year to anyone who stops by.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gail Warning

“Will you lay down a card, you old cow?”

“Shut up, you sow,” Mabel replied as she extracted a three of clubs and placed it on the pile. She then stuck out her tongue at her partner and childhood friend, Gail.

“Nan? Nan, dear it’s your turn,” Mabel gave Nan a gentle nudge on the arm.

A soft snort issued from Nan as she lifted her chin from her chest and her eyes blinked open. Those pale gray eyes darted to Mabel, then Gail, before coming to rest on her partner, Edna. Edna gave her an annoyed look as her eyes darted from the cards in Nan’s hands to the cards on the table. Nan’s eyes followed. She snatched up the three of clubs and discarded a seven of clubs. This set Edna off.

“Damn it, Nan, please stop napping when you’re suppose to be playing Canasta. I have sevens laying in front of me.”

“I don’t know why you girls have to play cards at one o’clock when you know I like to take my nap at that time,” Nan replied in a croaky voice.

“Nan, we have played Canasta at one o’clock for years; ever since the four of us became widows. In the beginning, you didn’t need a nap at one o’clock,” Edna offered with a hint of irritation.

Nan grunted as Gail chose a card from the deck.

“You know, I’ve been watching that handsome fellow who lives two houses down from me,” Mabel commented.

“You old cougar. You wouldn’t know what to do with him if you caught him,” Gail huffed.

Edna snorted.

“Well, if I was a wee bit younger, I’d make a move on him, but that’s not what I mean,” Mabel said.

“Well, what do you mean?” Gail asked as she tossed a four of spades onto the discard pile.

Edna snatched it up and with a giggle placed four fours on the table in front of her.

Mabel grumbled and said, “I’m seeing some funny things going on at that house.”

Gail’s attention focused on her Canasta partner. “What funny things?”

“Lots of coming and going. A strange man showed up yesterday.”

“What’s so unusual about that?” Edna asked.

“Well, he’s the third strange man I’ve seen going in that house in the last week.”

“It’s your play, you old witch,” Gail said.

Mabel looked at the cards in her hand, then at the discard pile. She picked up the ten that Edna had discarded and laid out three tens on the table. She tossed a four onto the pile.

Edna moaned and shot a look at Nan, who was once again napping. “If that hussy keeps falling asleep, I’m going to put a hex on her.”

“Now, now, Edna, you know you are not allowed to use magic on your friends,” Mabel replied.

Nan snorted softly in her sleep as if she’d acknowledged Mabel’s wisdom.

Gail peered over her reading glasses at her childhood friend. She thought that Mabel dyed her hair too much. The brassy red only washed out her already pale skin. And, she was forever forgetting to touch up the gray roots.

“Why do you think there’s something going on just because you’ve seen three strange men coming and going?” Gail asked. “Besides, your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so maybe they only looked different.”

“My eyesight isn’t all that bad, you old goat. Stop referring to my age, too. Just because I recently turned seventy-eight doesn’t make me too old to know the difference if I see different men going into that house,” Mabel finished with a huff.

Nan snorted again and lifted her chin from her chest. “What?” she asked.

Her three friends stared at her for a second and then howled with laughter.


Well, I finally finished editing, for like the fourth time, the one story I started back in 2008. I have told myself that is the very last edit I am doing on it. After all, I'll have to pay a professional editor to give it an edit before I can submit it to a Lit Agency - when I find one to take my stories.

Now, I can get back to creating more. As soon as I was finished with the editing, I came up with another story. I will post a snippet here after this post.

Good news, I've entered a writing contest. It's a short story - I have a hard time writing short stories LOL - 5,000 words or less. I did manage to get one idea (A Christmas Story) I had started to just under 5,000. I've submitted it but the winners won't be picked until December. Ugh! What a long time to wait. They will award 3 winners and 7 honorable mentions. I pray I am at least one among the many. If so, I'll have a chance of getting picked up by an agent. That will make that part much easier.

That's it for now. Back to writing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nothing new

It's been a while since I've had time to post anything. Have been spending much of my time doing things around the house. Most of my writing time is spent on editing finished manuscripts.

I have about seven finished stories that need major editing before I can even submit them to a Literary Agent. This seems to be one of the longest processes.

I am concentrating on two different stories, trying to get them spruced up enough to submit. This will give me three stories to work with. I'm hoping one of the three will be good enough to be accepted by an agent.

Once that process begins, I hope to return to the three or four stories that have been put on the back burner. I'm anxious to get back to writing them.

Not sure if anyone has found this blog or cares, but, for now, this is it for now. I hope to get back more often.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Trees Have Eyes

Somewhere in the misty forest, the monster lurked. To the young girl stumbling in the dark it seemed as if it was hot on her heels. A quick glance over her shoulder assured her this was not so. In her panic, she tripped and fell. She stifled a moan as something sharp poked her palm. The sweet, musky scent of the forest rose to tease her nose as she inhaled a calming breath. She lifted the hand to inspect the injury. She squinted her eyes, straining to see the hand in front of her face. The darkness made it almost impossible to see much of anything.

She pushed to her hands and knees, winching at the pain, thankful the ground was soft with moss damp from the mist. She cocked her head, listening for any unusual sounds that would tell her where the monster was. When the only sound in the night was the soft croaking of frogs somewhere in the distance, she let out a soundless sigh.

“Simoan?” The voice, faint, floated out of the darkness.

Her head popped up, searching the darkness. A flicker in the distance catches her attention. She exhaled slowly, concentrating on silencing the pounding in her ears.

Shortly, the flicker wavered and she realized it was a light. Then, another light flickered behind the first. The voice, stronger this time, came again, “Simoan?”

She knows that voice. Cautiously, she rose to her feet and called out, “I’m here.” Relief flooded over her and a soft, satisfied moan escaped. She was grateful they had found her.

A young man came into view and she launched herself into his arms. She smothered her face into the softness of his tunic.

“Simoan, what are you doing out here?” Rigger whispered, his arms going around her.

She pushed away and looked up into the handsome face of her brother. She might as well be looking into a mirror the resemblance was acute. He was a few inches taller than she, and, of course, more muscular. In his outstretched hand was a torch.

“I’m sorry, Rigger,” she began, “I was chasing a rabbit for dinner and got turned around. I couldn’t find the path once the sun set.”

“You know better than to be alone in the forest after dark,” he scolded. “Jabber and I set out as soon as we realized you hadn’t returned. Rooter didn’t want to be left behind,” he said with a wink.

Only then did she force her attention to the two men standing behind Rigger. Jabber, his best friend, held the other light she had seen, and Rooter, another friend, standing slightly behind Jabber. Both were busy surveying the surroundings. She knew that even though they couldn’t see well in the darkness, they were ever on alert, straining to hear what they couldn’t see.

Rigger peered closely. “Are you hurt?” he asked.

“No. I jabbed my hand when I fell but other than that, I’m well,” she reassured him.

"Then, we’d best be going. Stay close,” he said. He took her other hand.

Ahead, Jabber and Rooter walked side-by-side. Jabber was holding the torch high so that it illuminated the ground, making it easy to find the path. Simoan berated herself for her panic when she realized she’d missed the path by mere feet.

With the aid of the torches, they made haste along the path and soon reached home.
~ ~ ~

Leaving Jabber and Rooter to make their way to their own homes, Rigger and Simoan ascend the spiral ladder that snaked its way up the gigantic tree they call home.

Simoan, Rigger, Jabber, and Rooter are Tree Dwellers. They are a short people, but taller than dwarves, and willow thin. Although, they are not all related, the majority have short, ebony hair and violet eyes – large and round. Those eyes are equipped to see long distances, but only in the daytime. At night, they are nearly useless. Their ears are sizable, and though they can hear extremely well, it is not an exceptional gift. And, as their name suggests, they live in the trees on the edge of the forest.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alien Forces

Nora Reynolds was having one of the worst days of her life when she met Snow White.

Hell, whom was she kidding? It has been the worst six months of my life, she thought as she walked slowly toward the front porch of her house.

Six months ago she had lost her beloved older sister, Ruth, also affectionately called PeeWee due to her short five-foot-two frame. They had been extremely close and Nora was still in shock at the loss. It didn’t seem to matter that they had had six month’s notice that the dreaded cancer would take her away. It was still hard for Nora to get up every day and go through the motions. Hard not be disappointed when she didn’t get that expected call just before going to work or to bed. Or, not being able to look forward to their shopping trips, or dinner out, or movies and popcorn in the living room of Nora’s house, which happened to be the same house they had grown up in. It was hard for Nora to feel anything mattered anymore and that attitude was affecting her life and her work. She had not been able to sleep but for a few hours each night even when she got home late and exhausted from a long day at work. She’d lost some weight, which she really couldn’t afford on her lanky frame. She had felt herself moving away, emotionally, from the few friends she had. The crew at work had been giving her a wide berth, waiting patiently for the grief to diminish some. Just thinking about it, on top of all the things that had gone wrong today, had Nora running a hand over her face and up into her short, mahogany-colored hair. She was exhausted, physically and emotionally.

It was in this state that she first laid eyes on Snow White. That’s actually the first thing that popped into her mind when she saw the stark white figure hiding in the shadows of her front porch. As she slowly approached the old, two-story white house, she decided that she was so exhausted she had to be hallucinating. When the stranger shifted slightly at her approach, Nora stopped and pulled the Glock from the holster at her waist. Jamming the gun out in front – in a two-handed, death-grip – she advanced with slow, but steady steps and stopped at the bottom step.

“Okay, move slowly and step out where I can see you.”

When the figure moved from the shadows into the faint porch light, Nora was positive that she had toppled completely over the edge into insanity. For Snow White was a six-foot alien; the ET kind of alien; complete with big, black eyes, white, almost translucent skin, long tapered fingers and long thin legs.

For a moment Nora felt her world shift so dramatically that she was sure she was going to collapse. With her right hand strangling the gun, she moved her left hand to rub her eyes. Hoping the action would wipe the tiredness from them and then her world would magically return to normal. If normal was what you’d call her life. Yet, when Nora peered toward the big front porch, Snow White was still standing there.

Nora’s left hand returned to the death grip on her gun. She jabbed it forward as the figure moved closer to the top step. “Stop right there.”

“Please. I-will-not-hurt-you,” Snow White said, haltingly, as the long-fingered, white hands rose in a pleading motion.

Snow White’s screeching voice hurt Nora’s ears. Wishing her hands were free to cover her ears, Nora grimaced and asked, “You speak English?”

“Yes. Please-give-me-moment-to-explain.” The white hands rose higher in supplication.

With the gun still trained on Snow White, Nora said, “Go ahead, but don’t move.”

“Please. I-do-something-but-do-not-be-afraid. It-will-be-easy-to-explain.”

“Go ahead,” Nora replied, after a moment’s pause.

And, then right before her tired eyes, Snow White shimmered and transformed into a woman – a human-looking woman. Astonished, Nora’s arms dropped to her side, the gun held limply in her hand. Grappling with reality, Nora took the woman’s measure. She was taller than most women that she knew. Taller than her own five-foot-seven, close to five-nine, Nora guessed. With long, brownish hair, dark brown eyes (though still with an elongated appearance), and now dressed in light, blue button-down blouse, navy slacks that hugged her slim figure and flat, casual, shoes. Pretty in an ordinary sort of way, Nora supposed. The kind you might notice on the street but would have a hard time remembering later on.

Nora had seen some pretty strange things in her seven years as a DEA agent in the big city of Washington, DC, but she’d never seen anything like this. As a matter of fact, she wasn’t quite sure she was seeing what was right before her eyes. She shook her head like a dog shakes off the water, and rubbed her tired eyes, again, hoping against hope that the scene before her would return to normal.

“Please, Nora, let me explain,” pleaded Snow White in a perfectly, normal human voice that was soft and raspy. Nora’s tired, befuddled mind never registered the fact that this alien stranger knew her name. Instead, it only noticed there was no halting speech this time. Apparently, it changed with her appearance, Nora thought.

“I know this is a shock for you, but I had to come in my true form so that you would not waste time doubting all that I will tell you.” She reached out one perfectly normal human hand, right down to the red fingernails. “Come. It is safe. Let me explain.”

Later, after Nora had had sufficient sleep, it dawned on her that she really must have been insane to enter into her own house with someone she did not know, much less an ET. Her years on the job had taught her better than that. And, yet, that is exactly what she did.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Weird

“HELP ME! Oh God. Somebody help me.”

The pain-filled shriek stopped me in my tracks. I scanned the sidewalk in front of me. Then, turned to gaze behind me. Nothing in sight. I continued walking, faster this time, my head bopping left and right, searching. Then, it came again. Quieter this time, as if the victim was losing hope.
“Oh, God, won’t someone please help?”

I picked up my pace heading in the direction of that pitiful plea. The stupid heels I wore didn’t make it easy. I don’t know why I hadn’t changed into my sneakers before leaving work. Still I walked as fast as I could. As I came abreast of an alley, I spotted a woman held against the side of the dirty brick building by a huge man in a dark leather jacket. The guy had one hand against her throat and the other tugging the purse she held in a death grip.

I debated for a fraction of a second about running to her rescue but even in the waning daylight I could tell the guy was much too big for me to deal with. Instead, I pulled out my phone to call 911. Before I could punch the three little numbers, something unusual happened.

A noise drew my attention to the attacker. As if out of thin air, another man, as large as the assailant, appeared behind the attacker. As I watched, stupefied, the new guy grabbed the attacker by the jacket collar and flung him back against the opposite building. I heard the thud as the leather-jacket dude hit the brick wall and fell to the ground. So quick that I wasn’t sure it was really happening, the rescuer knelt next to the fallen guy and in a flurry of motion had the attacker’s hands tied behind his back.

I must have made a sound because the rescuer's head swiveled around and he stared at me a moment. Quickly he tied the guy’s feet together, then rose and beat a hasty retreat to the opposite end of the alley. I blinked and then he was gone. Just like that. I mean, gone, poof. I was totally flummoxed.

The soft sobbing brought my attention back to the victim. I stepped next to her and asked, “Are you all right?”

The young woman with wild eyes made soft sniffling sounds as she hugged her purse to her breast. She looked at me but her eyes were full of terror instead of my face. I put a hand to her shoulder causing her to flinch but seemed to snap her out of it. Still squeezing the purse as if it was her lifeline to sanity, her eyes focused and she nodded.

“What’s your name, miss?” I asked.

“Constance,” She replied, followed by a hiccup.

“Ok, Constance,” I said soothingly, “I'm Tracy. I’m going to call the cops. Can you hold on until they get here?”

Again, she nodded. As I opened the phone to dial 911, she hiccuped again and asked, “did you see that guy?”

I dropped my gaze to the guy on the ground but heard her grunt. “Not him. The other one.”

“Yes,” I replied. “Have you seen him before?”

“No.” Hiccup. Sniff.

“Did you see where he came from?”

“No. I was going to ask you the same thing,” Constance whispered.

“I don’t know. I was getting my phone out to call the cops and when I looked up he was just there.”

Constance nodded in agreement. Her soft blue eyes were still open wide, but no longer shouting terror. Her body vibrated with the after shock of the attack.
As if by silent agreement, we let the troubling thought take a back burner while I dialed the phone. I kept a close watch on Constance as I relayed the information to the dispatcher. Even in the shadowy alleyway, I could see she still had the shakes. Although, she still hugged her purse, she had loosened the death grip and was beginning to breath slower. I stopped her with a wave of my hand when she started to straighten her rumpled suit jacket and brush a hand over her mussed soft, blond hair.

“They’ll be here in a minute,” I assured Constance as I closed my phone and dropped it back into my blue hobo bag. "Sorry, if my hand-waving seemed rude, but I didn't want you to alter your appearance before the police came and took your picture and statement."

The animal grunt scared the bejesus out of me and I found my back against the wall next to Constance. We stared as the attacker moaned and writhed on the ground.

“I sure hope the cops get here soon,“ I whispered, my eyes locked on the guy.

“Yeah.” Constance whispered back.

We’re quiet and scared, listening to the grunting and scraping as he fought the restraints. I strained my ears, listening, hoping, praying for the sirens that will tell us we’ll be safe soon. I was so absorbed in listening for the sound that would free us from the brick wall that I didn’t hear Constance speak at first.

“Huh? What did you say?” I forced my attention to the woman beside me.

“I said, do you think anyone’ll believe us?”

My brows creased. “Sure, why wouldn’t they? I mean the guy’s lying right there.” I finished with a tip of my head in his direction.

Constance took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “I don’t mean him. I mean about the other guy.”

“Oh,” I replied, vaguely, my eyes going to the other end of the alley. “Oh, I see. Hum. Probably not. Think we should skip the part on how he kind of disappeared?” I shot a quick look in her direction in time to see her nod. “OK. So. We’ll just say that after he tied the guy up he ran down the alley and disappeared. We don’t have to be specific about the disappearing part, right?”

Again, she nodded.

An eon later, we heard the sirens.