Monday, August 28, 2017

Meet Bouhaki, and then Let Me Tell You A Story

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I had this short piece on my computer, and decided to publish it. The weather (hot), the wine (chilled). the day (long) all contributed to my decision.  

Also I was just edged out of first place in the August WEP by this cat person named Hatt (rhymes with cat), so I thought I'd better ramp up my cat game a bit. Congrats to him and to Hilary as well. Applause to you both.

Thanks to Denise and Yolanda for the fun and the great themes.









Some of you know that I once lived in Vientiane, Laos. The stories I have tucked away from that experience fill a file drawer, and I don't expect to ever be able to set all of them down. But here's one that I thought might be fun.

Our kitchen and wash room were separate from the main house. Very sensible because of the heat. Alongside these rooms was an extra sleeping room, and I had a girl who lived there with her family. She worked for me, and over time, we became good friends. She taught me some Lao and I taught her some English. With only a few words, we created some interesting pidgin sentences, so we understood each other. I have lots of stories about when we didn't!

Late one night--her husband gone, my husband gone--a terrible sound came from the washroom. I grabbed the kitchen broom and was outside in a shot. I was sure we were in grave danger. Nong met me, carrying a garden rake. You can see why we got along. We both liked to be armed and ready. 

Holding our weapons out, we advanced on the wash room, but it was empty, except for the washing machine and some boxes. We waited, listening, but there was only silence. We no sooner backed out than that same sound froze us to the spot. Imagine a dinosaur trapped inside an 8 by 8 cement room and you've imagined what we heard coming from those dark recesses. Once we'd girded our loins, we advance shoulder to shoulder and banged on the side of the washing machine. 

That's when the dinosaur sprang. Two feet long. Very prehistoric. Quite cranky because of all of our whacking. The iguana came at us. Drop weapons. Run for life. Wedge selves in doorway. Scream. Un-wedge and head for the house.

I think the iguana decided he didn't care much for the chase and took off into the jungle where he could get a good night's sleep. It took a week before Nong or I had the courage to go into the washroom, and that happened only after one of our husbands checked behind the washing machine. 



Quote of the Week: “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta, World Traveler

Monday, August 21, 2017

Books. Books. Books. AND Insecurity Pride Day!

This month I featured Yolanda Renee. She has been a great guest, and I hope the feature helped make her books more visible out in this wildly competitive world of books. Be sure to take a look at all of her work, including Parallels: Felix Was Here, an anthology The Insecure Writers Group made possible.


The SnowmanIt takes a true artist to pursue his victims in the art of seduction, and Stowy Jenkins is no exception, especially with blood as his medium.
Buy your copy now and be terrified. A #Freebook on August 23 and 30!




Tara Tyler has a new book out, too!

Deja was a happy, trouble-making troll, until she was exiled from her home under the mountains for her perilous pranks. Now she must serve a frilly human, Princess Calleah who's locked in a tall tower. The Two Princesses from opposite sides of the Valley become unlikely friends in their seclusion, but when the time comes for Calleah to leave the tower, their bond is put to the test by propriety, princes, and parents. Deja doesn't take any gruff and will give it right back to protect Calleah, no matter the cost.




This week I was interviewed by Jody Mott. He has a great website that features podcasts with authors. The theme is their favorite children's book. Jody asked some great questions and we got into the RIDDLE in ALICE IN WONDERLAND which has an interesting literary history. I had a chance to talk more about my story in Beware the Little White Rabbit. Here's the link if you'd like to hear. Start 4 minutes in for the actual INTERVIEW, otherwise you have to hear Timothy Lear's poetry.




Join Us!
Are you proud to be an insecure writer? 

Then show us! 

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) 

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved: 

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh. 

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell. 

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers. 

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.

You have almost two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity!



Quote of the Week: "No two persons ever read the same book." Edmund Wilson

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Write, Edit, Publish. REUNIONS!

I love joining in the WEP. It's a fun and creative hop. I couldn't do it last month, so I was delighted when I could spin a short yarn this month. The theme is Reunions. I hope you enjoy my contribution, and I hope you'll visit the others who have shared their stories today. The link to find others is at the bottom.




Liza’s Quilt

The walls of our cabin danced with shadows from the wood fire, but no matter how much I stoked and encouraged the flames to warm the room, the air remained chilled. When I touched Gran’s gnarled hand, the iciness of it made me weep. She emitted a cold that no fire would warm again, so I lay with her, wrapped in Liza's quilt and listened to the fading sounds of her words. 

“Sweet Mara, you are. . .” Even close to my ear, her raspy voice was barely audible. She took short, shallow sips of air, and for a moment I thought she wouldn't say more, but then she did. “You are the only one now who will hear the Voices. Listen to them. I followed their instructions and pieced the quilt as they wanted it done.” She paused again, and I stilled my breath, listening for hers. Her hand grasped mine. Tightly. “But I have no time left to understand the mystery of this quilt, or how they intended it would help us find your sister.”

“I’ll do what you ask, Gran,” I whispered, and I burrowed closer to her as I had since childhood. The autumn leaves of her heartbeat fluttered against my chest. I willed my heart to beat stronger for the both of us, but my will was not enough to return her strength. My magick rose up in me the way I commanded it to, but it wasn’t enough either. During the night, the Voices dropped to murmurs in the darkness. By first light, Gran had been called from our world, and the Voices had fallen silent. I lay there feeling the weight of being the last of our family in the meadow, wondering how I could live without Gran and if I could learn the mystery of Liza’s quilt.

In the days that followed, the emptiness of what was once home to five, gnawed at me, and the yearning to find Liza and bring her back increased with each sunset. She was taken from the meadow when she was ten and I only eleven, five years ago. Astride their horned beasts, the Shriekers had pounded down the warren of twisted mountain trails, their dark hair whipping in the wind. In a thunder of hooves, they trampled our gardens and their piercing cries shattered our world. We’d hidden, but one rider found Liza. He scooped her up and rode off. Once again they’d taken their spoils. Two years before, they’d mortally wounded my mother. My father gave them chase, but never returned. Killed or perhaps lost in the maze leading to their lair. 

The Shriekers always descended on the first full moon at the cold season’s end. Every year we hid. Every year we ached for our losses. Now the cold season was at an end again, and that night the moon would rise full-faced. At dawn the Shriekers would come. This time I was alone.

After the sun settled behind the mountain, I opened the quilt and smoothed it across the bed. Gran called her stitchery a crazy quilt. Her embroidery meandered throughout the pieced fabrics and along the edges like a meadow path, looping and inviting my fingers to follow her fine hand work. Liza loved sunflower yellow, and Gran’s nimble figures used to sew garments in those golden hues for my sister. Many of the patch-worked pieces were those remnants of Liza’s childhood dresses long ago washed into threads. These bits trailed throughout the quilt, a bright reminder of her laughter and sweet nature. Liza was born fair and full of joy. I’d come to the world with raven hair and heavy with our family legacy, magick. My magick had saved me that day from the Shriekers, but it hadn’t been enough to save Liza. I so missed my sister, and I needed her. I needed the Voices to return, but I was beginning to think they were Gran’s magick, and not mine. They might never return. 

“Speak to me,” I commanded. But the cabin remained silent. With the quilt covering my shoulders, I walked outside to watch the moon glow spread over the meadow.  

As I stood looking up, a tingling like butterfly wings started across my back. I ignored it at first, but it was insistent, so I pulled off the quilt and held it before me to find what the cause of that sensation could be. There was nothing, and yet, the palms of my hands now felt that same tingling. I spread the quilt gently on the earth, and I’d no sooner released it from my grasp than the yellow remnants from Liza’s childhood clothing grew bright. When I looked into the distance, a trail of sunflower gold spread from the quilt, away from the cabin and toward the mountain pass. It continued as far as I could see. 

I gazed into the distance, the Voices singing inside my heart. “Follow the golden way.”

They’d guided Gran’s nimble fingers to create the way to my sister, and now that I had that path to follow I didn’t hesitate. Even with the full moon, the night held danger, but I felt my magick grow steadily stronger with each step I took, and my fear fell behind, a detached shadow.

At the most tangled crossroads, the first sun rays spiked into the sky. Sensing movement ahead, I stopped, straining to hear. My breath stilled. From beyond the curve I heard the sound of hurried footfalls, and before I crested the rise, Liza came running toward me, her smile more glorious than when she was a child, her arms open and quick to embrace me. 

“How––” I gasped.

She didn’t let me finish. “I felt your magick, and the golden light guided me through the Shriekers’ labyrinth. At last I could escape and find you. We clung to each other, my sister and I together again. 

And then a thunder of hooves shook the earth.

A quilt as a map has always fascinated me.
Thanks Yolanda and Denise for giving me a chance to explore that idea.

VISIT WEP

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heads Up! WEP Ahead


The August Write It! Edit It! Publish It! is almost here. On August 16 those who signed up on the Linky will be posting their stories about this month's theme, REUNIONS.






Amazon

Is marketing sucking the joy out of your writing life? Then read what
The Insecure Writers' Support Group Book Club is reading. Our new book selection is based on survey results that showed this area was the biggest challenge for writers.










I'm always reading about other authors' goals and admiring them for setting down what they plan to accomplish. I've been so scattered this year that I've started making categories of lists. One will not do. Here's some of my August GOALS. Take this as the entertainment today.

WRITING:
1. Finish last draft of YA: Not Guilty.
2. Send off last book in Pete Riley trilogy and cross fingers.
3. Write, Edit, Publish Reunions short story.

BUSINESS OF WRITING:
1. Record podcast with Jody Mott re: Alice in Wonderland.
2. Set up Featured Follower for August.
3. Put up new cover for Sliding on the Edge and promote as FREE.
4. Do #IWSG Guest Posts and own posts through Sept.

OTHER LIFE: (What is that?)
1. Set up garden for fall.
2. Pack for France.
3. Buy tickets for Texas.
4. Do all publicity for Library through September.



Quote of the Week

Monday, August 7, 2017

August Featured Follower, Yolanda Renee


This month welcome Yolanda Renee!  

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.


World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 



A killer plays cat and mouse with a young widow against the snowy backdrop of an Alaskan winter. 



She's author of five novels and has stories in several anthologies. Her Detective Quaid Series now has a prequel, which I've read and reviewed. 
See what I have to say about Snowman

Visit her author page all of her work on AMAZON.
Yolanda blogs HERE.

Want one of her books? One lucky person will win a book of his/her choice. Tell us which one in your comment, and you're automatically entered. You get points if you're among my Email Connect or Free Book List friends. 

AND
THE SNOWMAN IS A #FREEBOOK TODAY!!!

August 7th





Each month the Write Game features an author or authors. So what does that mean? 





  • I buy read and review your book (Amazon and Goodreads) and mark it as “Am Reading/Read” on Goodreads. 
  • I feature you on my blog, The Write Game, two times. 
  • I post one your covers on my Pinterest under Covers That Catch My Eye.
  • I feature you/your book on my Email Connect that goes out on the 1st and 15th of each month. If you want to do a giveaway during the month, I mention that on my Free Book List that goes out on the 1st of each month
  •  Facebook is networked with my blog, so my blog posts will appear on my Timeline. 
  •  Each Wednesday I tweet about your book three times throughout the day.
If you haven't joined one of my lists, I hope you'll do that and help me spread the word. The longer my lists, the wider my reach. It's fairly painless, and I don't bug people more than twice a month. 


Quote of the Week: "If you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you have also to believe that no one was ever improved by a book." Irving Kristol, American Columnist and Journalist.




Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG Special October Fun

Mark it on your calendar! OCTOBER 4 is a special IWSG Wednesday. There are prizes to win. There's fun to be had. So get ready and jump in for some fall excitement.


Not an IWSG Member?
Sign Up Now

The optional August 2 question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

Are you proud to be an insecure writer? 



Then show us! 

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.) 

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved: 

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh. 

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBooks of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell. 

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers. 

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site.You have two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity! 


So are you in? Hope so.