Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story about The Goose and Black Coffee

When Memorial Day arrives, I think of my dad and his stories of WWII. He didn't tell me many until the last days of his life, but I have a collection of them in my head and remembering them is a way for me to remember him and celebrate him along with the others who've fought for our freedom.

The Goose and Black Coffee is one of my favorites, so I'm sharing it here today for my dad and all those others. Most of what I'm sharing is correct, but this is a story from an old memory, passed on to me some years ago and from sketchy notes in his photo album. The essence of the story is the best I can do.

France May, 1944

It was a gray day and the four dogfaces were tired and cold, in need of a place to sleep out of the weather. Their stomachs growled for something to eat. As they drove down a country road, they spotted a spiral of smoke. There was nothing unusual in seeing smoke, but even from a distance it didn't look like a house was on fire. And it wasn't a field. As they came nearer, they saw that it was a fireplace. That meant they might find something to eat and a place to take shelter before joining up with their unit. They were recon, so they often were ahead of the others and more frequently across enemy lines than behind them.

At the farmhouse gate, they pulled their Jeep to a stop. This place had escaped the bombs. The barn was still standing, and one lonely goose wandered out, then flapped its way around the side of the house, which was also untouched by the war. They might have driven off, my dad said, but they couldn't resist the aroma of freshly brewed coffee coming from that house.

When they entered the kitchen, it was clear that the family had been there moments before my dad and the others got out of the Jeep. They poured themselves some coffee, and as my dad recalled, he'd never tasted anything quite a wonderful. 

Now their stomachs really cried out for something to eat and that goose was out there and this might be the last real meal any of the men would have for weeks. The goose gave its life for the U.S. Army that day, and my dad, who was always handy in the kitchen, seasoned it and put it into the oven. Now all they had to do was wait. They were dry. They were warm for the first time in weeks. They'd soon have enough goose to last until D-Day, they joked.

They kicked back and savored the scent of sizzling goose and were debating about a quick nap when the bombs started raining down on them. Like my dad said, "We were not leaving that goose or that coffee behind." 

They grabbed the partially cooked goose from the oven, the coffee from the stove and jumped into the Jeep. With the goose and coffee secured between two of them in the back, they drove off, barely escaping the bombs. 

It took them three days to find another house with a workable stove and oven, but when they did, they also found several unbroken bottles of wine. They stuffed that goose back into the oven, reheated the coffee and uncorked a little wine--maybe a lot of wine. 

Above this picture my dad wrote, "Photo below brings back memories. Had a goose in oven of home with all veggies and big post of coffee going. 10 minutes after photo we were under heavy fire. Carried that goose for 3 days with that coffee before we could do it justice."

Dad's looking kind of serious second from the left. Not the best shot of him.

Here's the "Recon Fox" that Disney presented to the 93rd Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized that my dad was part of. I love looking through his collection of photos and notes. I find something I didn't know about each time.

Quote of the Week: "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers and woods, it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle." George William Curtis 

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Short Post of the Month, But There is a Tomato Report

Cathrina Constantine has been my May Featured Follower. I hope you'll buy her book, read it and review it. The sixties! Ah, the sixties!

One of my good friends, S.A. Larson has a new book coming out. Take a look!

I read the excerpt on the author's blog and now have this book on my list. You can buy it here.

The Tomato Report

Then there's the on-going tomato saga.  No tomatoes, but one heck of a lot of shrubberies. Anyone who doesn't live in the mountains can't understand the struggle to get tomatoes before September, and that's exactly what I've set out to do. I'm challenging Mother Nature. Man is she tough!

You might notice the brevity of this post. Let me explain. I'm writing. I'm in the cave, and I am not doing as well as I'd like; however, a little setback like not "getting" the characters, or not "getting" the plot and tension, or not "getting" the whole #!$$! story together is not bothering me. Just wanted you to know.

Quote of the Week:

Keep in mind, Brevity is the souls of wit. . .or sometimes you're just short of time. Well, aren't we all?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & My UnTomato Report

My mother-in-law spent her early years in a small town called New Pine Creek. It straddles the border between Oregon and California, and it can see some heavy winters. She often told the story about the winter Goose Lake froze so quickly that it trapped geese--froze their feet to the surface before they could escape.

Every time she told that story, people laughed.
"Not possible."

I have to admit I was skeptical, but she was an honest person, so I accepted her story as the truth. Well, and she was my husband's mother. 

When I found this video about geese who were frozen in a pond and held it up as evidence, that still wasn't enough for some naysayers. 

"Ponds are shallow and it's possible for them to freeze quickly. Lakes are deep, and that couldn't happen on one of them."

Ah ah, research to the rescue! I discovered that Goose Lake has a very shallow edge, so my mother-in-law's story from her childhood, was quite possibly true.

Want a little heart-warming video about a very cold goose? Here you go!

The UnTomato Report

Tomatoes in May? Not Quite, but my roses aren't too shabby this year. One reason is that we mended the fence and the deer haven't feasted on them. 1 for the gardener. 0 for the deer.

Are you a member of The Insecure Writers Group Book Club? No? I'm shocked. 200 of us are. Join up and get in on the discussion of our first book this month,

Chapter After Chapter: Discover the Dedication & Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams

Quote of the Week: "The Earth laughs in flowers." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 8, 2017

Newsy, Reedsy, and IWSG

This is going to be a newsy post. There's so much happening that's exciting. Did you see this? #IWriteBecause is a Reedsy idea. Authors are invited to submit a 30 second video, telling why they write. Reedsy will donate $10 for each video to the Room to Read Organization. Take a look at what Mark Dawson says about why he writes. There are a lot of other videos posted and they're fun to watch. 

Help Reedsy's #IWriteBecause to trend today on Twitter. Here are a couple of tweets you can post with a quick copy, past, Tweet.

Why do you write? Tell us & Room to Read gets $10. #IWriteBecause @ReedsyHQ @RoomtoRead

Do you write? Why? In a 30 sec. video, share your reasons & @ReedsyHQ donates $10 to @Roomto Read.

Oh, and Reedsy loves #IWSG. You will, too, because if you're a #IWSG member, you get 25% off all kinds of amazing help with editors, designers and marketers that authors need to publish their books. Why are you still here? Go to REEDSY and get your deal. . .just kidding. Read the rest, then go.

You are a #IWSG member, aren't you? No? It's not too late to sign up HERE.

Of course, I know you want my Tomato Report. Can't leave before that. So here 'tis.

My Tomato Report: They are stable and about half an inch taller than last week. I'll have to pinch back the first cluster of blossoms, and that's the hard part for me, but Tomato Bob says I must. Tomato Bob knows all. Just look at his harvest!

Quote of the Week: 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Please Pass the Repellent!

Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh

Remember, the question is optional! 

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

The awesome co-hosts for the May 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan,Liesbet @ Roaming About, Michelle Wallace, and Feather Stone!


This WIP stinks.
I'll never be a perfect writer.
Everybody writes better than I do.
Why did I ever think I could write a good story?
Nobody likes what I write.
Nobody will ever read this, but me.

Please pass the repellent.  It's really called Buzz Off!

Everybody's WIP stinks at some point.

There are no perfect writers, just people practicing.

Everybody writes differently. Appreciate your uniqueness.

If you thought you could write a good story once, then you probably can, unless you stop trying.

Not everybody will like what you write, but a lot of people will.

Somebody will read it if you put it out there. Otherwise, you are 100% right.

The answer to the question of the month is I can't answer it. If our democracy fails and a totalitarian regime takes over and monitors our searches, I'll be arrested based on my research history. They'd pegged me as an arsonist, a gun runner, a juvenile delinquent dodging the police, a failed suicide and a potential rapist. Then there are the drugs and the illegal smuggling operations and the armed robberies that I'm probably planning. I should start writing picture books. They won't arrest writers for looking up bunnies, will they?

Can a lost hero find redemption?
If you've missed the news, HERO LOST, the IWSG anthology is officially launched and available in Print and Ebooks in all formats. Get your copy now!

So there you have it. Another first Wednesday and another #IWSG post to kick off a new month. Enjoy May. Buy Hero Lost and if I'm arrested for suspicious online searches and need character references, I hope I can count on you.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Featured Follower, Cathrina Constantine & Are U Ready For IWSG Wednesday?

I took April off from a lot of my usual activities to let my wretched hand/shoulder heal. It's now much better, and I'm back to typing with all of my fingers! One day I'll have a Story To Tell about this.

But today I'm featuring another author. Here's Cathrina Constantine 

Featured Follower for the month of May.

Her newest book has one of those covers that makes you stop, look and want to open it. Here's my Amazon Review.

Some Stellar Reviews. 

"The gritty realism of the many struggles she deals with makes this book so compelling. Plus, just when you think you might be reading a romance, the author takes a completely surprising turn. This book is more of a coming-of-age story that keeps you guessing until the end!" ~ Stephanie Faris, Best Selling Author.

"From its psychedelic beginning to its sweet, poignant ending I loved this story." ~ Nana Prah, Best Selling Author.

If you hurry, you can enter to win a copy on her 

Speed Interview with Cathrina: Her FAVORITES

  • Song ~ Just about every song gets my heart pumping and my feet tapping, it's almost impossible to pick just one. For this moment in time, I'll say, Rolling in the Deep by Adele.
  • Movie ~ Soooo many, so many. I'm a movie fanatic. I think I've watched Harry Potter a zillion times.
  • Author ~ I have an ardent desire for dozens of authors. They all helped to light the flame of my imagination and my writing. I'm sorry, I can't pick just one...
  • Time of Day ~ That's an easy one, the early morning when the birds are just starting to sing.
  • Book ~ The Bible.
  • Place to think~ Taking a walk in the woods behind my house.
And there are some little tidbits about this author. Want to ask her more about herself? Leave that in your comments.

Thanks Alex

It's just about time for another #IWSG Wednesday. Are you ready? Clock's ticking and the first Wednesday of May almost upon us. Here's your optional question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you've ever had to research for a story? Or you can just go ON and ON about your current insecurity. :-)

A lot of you have heard that Joylene Butler has a new book out, but that just before launch day she took a tumble and broke some bones. Surgery during a book launch? I don't think so. Here's her book. It looks like a super read.

Nook. Kindle

Quotes of the Week: I had to post two today, variety being the spice of life!

"Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants. Dorothy Parker

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. Audra Foveo

Monday, April 24, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & #AtoZChallenge 2017 & Tomatoes On The Way!

Let me Tell You A Story about my movie cast for Double Negative. This is my last post about this movie cast, so here's one more character from the story, and I loved casting him.

Mathew McConaughey

Jimmy, Hutch's dad, isn't a bad guy, he's just disillusioned by the cards he's been dealt. When he realizes he can actually do something to help his son, he does. 

Meet Jimmy!

So what’re we gonna do about this school thing, Hutch?” Dad’s “thing” still comes out “thang” even after twenty years living away from Texas.
When I answer him, I’ve already picked up that sound and Texas is in my voice, too. “I guess I’ll have to stop ditching?”
"You get to Kranski’s office and talk over the problem. If he wants a conversation, you best give him one, son.” 

Double Negative

I'm really enjoying stopping in at different blogs and seeing what they're posting for this year's A to Z. Here's one that caught my attention, 55 Word Crime Stories. It's very clever. Take a look. And if you like movies as well as the alphabet, by all means, visit BB Creations.

Tomato Report: It's happening. Just look at all that potential. There's a metaphor circling my cerebral cortex and I'm oh so tempted to break into metaphor right now. But I'll spare you that. . .for today.

Quote of the Week: “Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” – Alice May Brock (I confess I know her not at all.)

In Double Negative some people get a second chance. Do you believe in giving second chances? Are you stopping by some A to Z bloggers and saying hi? Do I have you primed for a tomato feast? And who is Alice May Brock? 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & #AtoZChallenge 2017 & Those Tomatoes!

Let me Tell You A Story about. . .my movie cast for Double Negative. For a few weeks I'll be sharing my cast and a bit about them.

Amy Schumer

Casting Nyla and Maggie was challenging. I imagined them as strong, unique females characters.  

Here's a Nyla line after one of the "mean girls" tries to embarrass her in class: 

“I would take the time to tell you exactly how inane, how deplorably bad your taste and sense of propriety are, but since you do not have the capacity for processing more than a single syllable or a single idea at a time, I won’t waste my breath.”

 Yay for Nyla!

Maggie was a joy to create. Smart, feisty, 70, and now facing a final challenge in her life. While writing this story I wondered who was saving whom. Was Maggie saving Hutch or Hutch saving Maggie? Here's Maggie as I imagined her, and one short scene where she's describing her appointment with a psychiatrist. 

“Oh, he meant well, but that last question made me snap. ‘Who’s the president?’” 
“Uh oh.” The priest leans back in his chair, his hands behind his head. “And you told him, right?”
“You bet. A tax and spend liberal who shouldn’t be licensed to drive a car let alone run a country. That’s who.” 
Heather’s rubbing her eyes.
“Of course, then I backed up because I realized this kid had voted for him.” She turns to her daughter. “I gave him the answer, Heather.”

One Reviewer Says: "I really loved Nyla and Maggie. They're very different, but both brilliant and—in Maggie’s case—hysterical, and I am literally sitting here at my computer grinning just thinking about them."

Double Negative

Here are a couple more #AtoZ Challengers that I'm enjoying from the sidelines this year. Give them a visit, and you won't be disappointed. The theme here is Materials in Mythology and Speculative Fiction, so if you're a sci-fi reader, this one's for you! And if you want some Speculative Fiction with a Telepathic twist, visit J. Lennie Dorner on his daily post from A to Z.

Tomato Report: They've been moved to the sunnier greenhouse and soaking up the rays of this April.

Quote of the Week: This meme says it all!

Do you like to read about feisty female characters regardless of their age? Are you visiting some interesting A to Z blogs this year? Are you at all passionate about garden-fresh tomatoes?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story & #AtoZChallenge 2017 & Tomatoes?

Let me Tell You A Story about. . .after the fun of seeing Double Negative in print, I decided to have some more fun and create a movie cast for my characters. For a few weeks I'll be sharing my cast and bit about them. 

Brant Daugherty

The MC was easy. Brant Daugherty's the perfect Hutchison McQueen. He's a bright kid who's virtually illiterate and living in home where he's either abused or ignored. 

Here's the first time you meet Hutch.

 Kranski’s office might as well be home. I spend more time with him than I do with Dee Dee, and for good reason: the principal’s friendlier than my mom. 

Double Negative


I have Winners to Announce: 
Rachel, Cassey, Laurel, Katy, Katie, Theresa
Their books are on the way!

While I didn't take the challenge this year, I have been visiting some bloggers who did. Here's someone I just discovered and enjoyed a lot. You might want to give Chris Votey a visit. His theme is great fun. Don't miss Hilary's posts. As always they're the best and D will have you in stitches. Ducks do that!

And about those tomatoes! I'm going to start my Monday Tomato Report. I never plot my books, but each year I plot how I'm going to have the juciest, the freshest, the most amazing tomatoes on the planet. And this year, I'm going to share that progress with you.

SEEDS from Tomato Bob! 

Yes, there is a Tomato Bob, and each year I order my hybrid seeds from him. He sends me a cheery note and these delicate little packets of potential. Then in February I plant all of that potential in loamy soil and set them in the greenhouse.

Here are my little greenhouse darlings in March!

Quote of the Week: "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad." Brian O'Driscoll, Irish Athlete

Does Hutch get to you with this beginning? Are you doing or following others on the A to Z Challenge? Do you wait all year for the perfect tomato? 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#IWSG Peeps. . .Why Tackle the Alphabet in April?

#YASH is still on until 4/9 NOON. Check out the hundreds of books to win!

Sign Up!
Thank you Alex J. Cavanaugh

The question is optional! 

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG will be Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

Sign Up!

I can't even remember how or why I started doing the A to Z Challenge. What attracted me to it was all of the fascinating themes people chose. I learned so much that I had to repeat the experience for several years in a row. Not only did I learn from others, but I learned a lot about the theme I chose. I'm missing it this year, but I hope to be back in 2018. 

As to the second part of this question, I'd say the results were that I connected with a lot people who in turn connected me with others. 

Learning new things and connecting with others are two reasons I keep coming back for a month of alphabetizing.

How's everyone doing on the Insecure front these days? Are you doing the A to Z Challenge 2017? Why? Why not?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's #YASH Time Again!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes!  But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours! 

April 4, Noon-April 9, Noon

There are FIVE contests going on: 1. BLUE Team 2. RED team 3. GOLD team 4. PINK team 5. PURPLE team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

You can enter one or all! As you can tell, I'm a part of the BLUE TEAM.

To enter, you need to know what my favorite number is. Being number 2 has never appealed to me, so I try to win all the time. Now add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the BLUE TEAM and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize! 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 9, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Today I'm so lucky to be featuring Printip Dunn. She's giving us a very special treat by letting us read the beginning of her new novel, Girl on the Verge. And her sample is great! So here's Pintip Dunn.

I am so excited to share the never-before-seen beginning of my new novel, GIRL ON THE VERGE, which releases on June 27! Hope you enjoy! Printip Dunn

A fish swims beneath the open staircase in my Khun Yai’s house. A real live fish, with its translucent fins fluttering in the water, its belly gold-scaled and bloated from regular feedings. 

If I part my knees, I can catch long glimpses of its lazy swimming through the gap in the stairs. 

Of course, I’m not supposed to part my knees. It’s not ladylike for a twelve-year-old girl, not here, not in Thailand. The land where my parents grew up; the place that’s supposed to be my home, too. That’s what the banner said when my relatives came to pick us up at the airport. “Welcome home, Kanchana.”

Never mind that I only come to Thailand every couple years. 

Never mind that I don’t look like anyone else here, with my American build and my frizzy, out-of-control hair. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone in my hometown, either, since I’m the only Asian girl in school. Never mind that the only reason we’re here now is because my father’s dead and my mom can’t keep it together. 

For a moment, pain lances through me, so sharp and severe that it might as well slice my heart in half, like in one of those video games my friends like to play. I squeeze my eyes shut, but that doesn’t keep the tears from spilling out. Neither do the glasses sliding down my nose. And so the tears drip down, down, down, past my unladylike knees, through the gap in the stairs, into the fish basin below.

The drops scare the fish, who swims away with its tail swishing in the water, no longer languid, no longer lazy. So, even this creature wants to get away from me—from my grief, from my strangeness—as quickly as possible. 

“There you are, luk lak,” Khun Yai says in Thai, coming down the stairs. She is my mother’s mother, and since we arrived, she’s used the endearment—child that I love—more often than my name. 

“You’re up early.” She pats her forehead with a handkerchief. It’s only seven a.m., and already sweat drenches my skin like I’ve taken a dip in the basin. No wonder they take two or three showers a day here.

“Couldn’t sleep. Jet lag.” 

“I’ve been up for a couple hours myself.” She eases onto the step next to me, her knees pressed together, her legs folded demurely to one side.

Immediately, I try to rearrange my body to look like hers and then give up. My legs just don’t go that way. 

“What do you want to do today?” Khun Yai asks. “More shopping?” 

“Um, no thanks.” I make a face. “Didn’t you hear those salesgirls at Siam Square yesterday? They rushed up as soon as we entered and said they didn’t have anything in my size.” My cheeks still burn when I think about their haughty expressions. 
She sighs. “The clothes there are just ridiculously small. We’ll go to the mall today. They should have something that will fit you.”

I stare at her diminutive frame and her chopstick legs. “One of the salesgirls asked how much I weighed. Another grabbed my arm and said I felt like a side pillow.”

“They didn’t mean any harm. It is just the Thai way to be blunt.” She catches my chin and tilts up my face. “You are so beautiful. I wish you could see that.”

I could say so many things. I could tell her that I’m ugly not only in Thailand but also in the United States. Even though I’m not big by American standards—far from it—I could confess how the boys call me Squinty. How those Thai salesgirls snickered at my poodle-fuzz hair. I could explain how I’m from two worlds but fit in neither.

But I don’t. Because my words will only make her sad, and there have been enough tears in our family.

Connect with this author!

NOW, because it's spring and because this is a special week on The Write Game, I'm offering up three eBooks of Double Negative and three eBooks of Sudden Secrets.

And if you haven't already joined me on my website, you can get an instant gift by signing up HERE

CONTINUE THE HUNT. . .To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author! Tobie Easton. And please let me know in your comments what you think of this hunt. Is it something you'd participate in if you wrote YA?