Read an eBook Week #Tbt

Ah I vaguely recall my start as an independent writer; it almost seems like a lifetime ago.

I can’t even remember how I found [the oddly named] Smashwords, but I am glad we connected. Mark Coker’s publishing platform really simplified my life.

And then Draft2Digital with Books2Read came along with their pretty little layouts and boom I had a new crush. And a new distributor.

But I never left Smashwords.

By the way, it is true Smashwords and Draft2Digital are merging and I think that’s a good thing.

I’m not sure if Smashword’s support of the annual Read an eBook will continue in the years to come, but it is going on right now through March 12th. I, of course, am participating. Several of my books are available free or at a drastically reduced price. Just scroll through and check it out.

I believe The Perpetual Series was the first, or one of the first books I published with Smashwords; that was in 2013. Can you believe that?

I recall making the cover from a photograph I had taken of a flower blooming in the yard. Sadly, that flower never returned.

… that flower and so many other things.

Sigh

Happy Thursday Y’all. XoXo

Saint Patrick’s Day (Throw Back Thursday)

Here’s a little something from 2015.

And ya know what? I think I understand now what that old man was talking about.

About those Snakes…

An old man once told me, “Saint Patrick ran the snakes out of Ireland and now they rule the world.”

I am not 100% certain as to what that means but I do reflect on it every year.

In the mean time…

Saint Patty's Day Card

A Little More Time

Hi y’all 🙋🏼‍♀️

My apologies for not blogging more but I have seriously been busy. I’m talking BiZZy!

We are just getting the house back to normal after February’s winter storm, Uri. I’m not sure why it’s (unofficially) referred to as Uri? 🧐

I did a web search and unless I overlooked a reasonable definition-I found nothing that applied to the ice storm. Feel free to educate me.

Anywho we are getting back to normal. Haller-lu-ya!!

[doing the happy dance]

So before I get busy this morning getting the yard and pond back in shape I will leave you with a #TBT.

A Little More Time was written in 1980 something, originally published in Pose Prose & Poems in 1998 and republished in the 2017 poetic memoir called Getting Me Back

A Little More Time

There’s an eagle out there soaring And my best friend is out whoring

Turning tricks of any kind

Doing anything to make a dime God forgive her for the crime

All she needs is a little more time.

On the roof three stories high

A junky cries and begs to die

Ain’t had a fix in several days Swears he can’t go on this way

Across the street a church bell chimes

Grant us please a little more time.

An old man sick and dying

Alone with no one crying

He grieves for all the pain he’s caused

For all the people that he’s lost

Outside the window painted mimes All rushing for a little more time

A woman labors down the hall

Her anguish echoes through the wall

But soon a laughter takes its place When she looks upon the baby’s face

For a moment all is sublime

As we are given a little more time

Never out of Season (Throw Back Thursday)

Dissing or Discussing Poetry

First published Feb 1, 2018 JANNA HILL

We are still months away from NPM and poetry discussions are abuzz. I love it!

I’m not even upset that one “genre” is dissing the other – I am just happy poetry is being discussed.

I clicked on a link/interview that was shared with a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and then BOOM I was knee deep in reading, searching and lurking a dozen other sites.

I [honestly] never considered a genre when writing poetry and probably couldn’t categorize if my life depended on it. But [speaking of dissing] I’ll share Thoughts on Writing from Getting Me Back.

Except from Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)

Thoughts on Writing  (The Requirements of an Author)

Desire: A congenital need to tell the story.

Determination: It is not enough to walk a couple of blocks or run five miles on a treadmill, come prepared to hike the Himalayas and explore the abyss.

An exoskeleton: A thick skin will not suffice — no indeed. Colleagues and critics are apt in the sadistic art of shaving and burning the thickest of flesh; their tireless wheel of pumice leaving the toughest callouses raw and bleeding. They will thin your skin; get beneath it and prove your vulnerabilities. Like a flesh eating bacteria they will consume you — kill you if you let them.

A poker face: Never let them see you sweat.

Gratitude: Because no one owes you anything!

Grace: For the rise and the inevitable fall.

Pills and booze and smoke: Because it is a hard and hateful world and you are not a god-damned ant.

How I met Maggie & Almost Killed Clara #TBT

I was wading in the surf on Matagorda beach one warm, sunny day while exchanging dialogue with Clara.

I had known Clara for about ten years and I have to admit, conversing with her was like pulling teeth. I don’t want to say she was dull, but she was too quiet and a tad introverted.

Don’t get me wrong, Clara is a lovely girl. She is smart and pretty and sweet and kind, but she was just too darn nice for the most part. Too calm, too reasonable, too… dull! There, I said it!

Anyway, as I was wading in the surf, dragging my feet (literally to scatter the sting rays) I was thinking how I might kill her.

I know that must sound horrible, we had been comrades for so long, but she wearied me.

Her unspoiled, hoity-toity, prim and proper, everything by the book personality made me want to send her sailing face down with the outgoing tide. I think she knew it (she has that sixth sense thing, you know).

I didn’t expect Clara to fight me; it wasn’t in her nature. She had been so silent and distant; it seemed she had given up on life and maybe she wanted to die?

I had mulled it over and over in my mind for weeks and finally I had come to terms with my decision. Clara no longer served an identifiable purpose and she must be done away with.

Suddenly the voice of a perky little blonde caught my attention; she was running down the beach waving and shouting,

“Hey y’all, wait for me.”

Oh my lord, I thought, while trying to ignore the thin, tanned Mississippian’s approach.

splash back.JPG I have to do it now – get it over with.

I hurriedly pushed Clara toward the incoming wave but she didn’t budge; her feet were planted too firmly.

“Don’t make this difficult!” I coaxed her, “just relax and go with the sea. It will be over and we – I can move on.”

I filled my lungs with sweet, salty air and dug my feet into the sand.

I was thinking, I’ll push her out far enough for the current to carry her away. I knew where the current was rushing dangerously below the surface, just past the sand bar.

I grabbed her shoulders and pushed, harder this time. And again, she did not move! Worse than that and to my surprise the quiet, zest-less little mouse pushed back!

“Hey! Hey!” The Mississippian yelled, “What the hell are you doing? Leave her alone!”

I’m not sure why I obliged this person whom I had never met, but I stepped back.

I studied Clara, standing there quiet and unshaken. Her eyes fixed on mine and oddly, I no longer saw her as the timid, boring little thing I wanted to kill. I recognized the quiet strength she had held all along.

“Do you know her?” I asked, referring to the woman approaching us.

Clara shook her head slowly and smiled, “No but you do. You met her on a trip to Biloxi once.”

I was speechless.

“Hey, I’m Maggie,” the lady smiled as she looked past me and held out her hand, “you must be Clara.”

I suppose it’s true that opposites attract. I watched Maggie come alive and in doing so she saved Clara.

*This is a story about a story. Clara and Maggie are safe and sound (for the most part) inside a fictional series.

Read about their meeting in Book 1

Thankfully there is no law against writers killing their characters and no penalty for attempted murder. 😉

This series will be on sale again March 2022.

Thoughts on Writing (Throwback Thursday)

The following snippet was taken from Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)

Whew. I was somewhat…

Errr-umm…

Bitter? Maybe?

Giggles to self.

My opinion remains unchanged and I make no apologies. Nope, none.

However I do Thank God that my feathers are re-oiled and I can laugh at myself [and the entire human race] again. Because laughing is sometimes all we have at our disposal. 🎭

Thoughts on Writing (The Requirements of an Author)

DESIRE: A CONGENITAL need to tell the story.

Determination: It is not enough to walk a couple of blocks or run five miles on a treadmill, come prepared to hike the Himalayas and explore the abyss.

An exoskeleton: A thick skin will not suffice – no indeed. Colleagues and critics are apt in the sadistic art of shaving and burning the thickest of flesh; their tireless wheel of pumice leaving the toughest callouses raw and bleeding. They will thin your skin; get beneath it and prove your vulnerabilities. Like a flesh eating bacteria they will consume you – kill you if you let them.

A poker face: Never let them see you sweat.

Gratitude: Because no one owes you anything! 

Grace: For the rise and the inevitable fall. 

Pills and booze and smoke: Because it is a hard and hateful world and you are not a god-damned ant.

And [YaY] with Uri out of the way I’m welcoming the sunshine and trying on swimsuits.

Happy Thursday World. 🥂

Dear December #TBT

Dear December

I found you –

a thin shawl upon nature’s shoulders

resting on the final page of my Gregorian calendar.

Celebrations in red,

Christmas and Kwanza

and the tail end of Hanukah.

Reminding me in stark black letters

of bombings and declarations of war.

Hitler and Mussolini and Japan…

*Dear December was first published in the short story A Hard Candy Christmas. The audiobook is narrated by Julie Gayden Nelson who does a beautiful recital.

#TBT (Take the Damn Pill)

Pose, Prose & Poems (My Thoughts Exactly) was published a year or so before The Matrix was released in theaters. 🤔 1998 and 1999 respectively.

Fast forward two decades and…

Pose,Prose & Poems was absorbed into Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) and I am in a debate with myself. A choice has to be made. I have only two options.

What if I choose to not choose? I ask.

That is not an option. The voice replies.

What if I make the wrong choice? I ask.

… Silence💭

Can I change my mind?

…More silence… 💭

How many —

The voice has grown impatient. I/we do not like indecisiveness.

Just take the damn pill!

So I took the pill – again. You see, I took the pill a long time ago; before it was a pill.

Ignorance Was Bliss


I slump to the floor, scratching at my eyes.
Please don’t make me see.
Fists to my ears still the sound seeps in, forcing me to hear.

No! No, I do not want to know.
I search for the comfort of simple things…
a sunny day, cool green grass,
a soft fuzzy dog with his cool nose to my face,
a child singing softly – his own song.
Let me sing my own song.
Knowledge is a burden to those with a conscience, a sense of right and wrong.

©️1998 Pose Prose & Poems

©️ 2017 Getting Me Back

Continue reading

Happy Halloweenie Ghouls and Boils ( #TBT )

Hold out your eyes for a Halloween treat.

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Hold out your eyes and I’ll give you a little insight plus the beginning and the ending of Smoke Free.

Smoke Free is a weird little story conceived in the smoke of a brush pile. The photos below show the cover; the first photograph and the finished cover.

Smoke Free is probably the only book cover we have not changed at least a dozen times. The truth is I have never wanted to change it. I love this cover and the image of that little pumpkin smoking a cigar never fails to amuse me. (I have the husband to thank for that.)

I had never heard of Irwin Smutter before that day and he (like the cigar smoking pumpkin) still amuses me with his absolute weirdness; him and the bizarre world he resides in.

Okay, here you go.

In the beginning…

Irwin marched down the stark white hallway with the impudence of a man on a mission. At the end of corridor, a glass door awaited with the words FREE YOUR SELF painted in large gold letters. He raised a curled fist to knock but decided against it. Easing the door open he called out, “Yoo-hoo. Is anyone home?” when no one responded he grudgingly entered the room and scanned its contents.

The room appeared empty other than an oversized sofa. Irwin reposed himself against the frigid vinyl, crossed his feet and sighed. A lively timbered scene covered the wall opposite the door, designed in such a way it almost looked like a window. Beyond the dull sheen of the pretend window was a forest where rays of sunshine cut through a smoky haze. The remaining walls were un-textured, pale and bare. The room smelled of sandalwood and acetone, a bizarre sweetness that sickened and comforted him at the same time. Irwin shifted nervously on the stiff upholstery in search of a warm spot. There was none.

The faux leather, the lifeless walls, the fake window – it was all too unsettling. Nothing is real, he thought, stretching his arms until his hands met above his head. Fads! The world has been reduced to kooks, phonies, and fads. Reassured by his own summation, Irwin interlaced his fingers and stretched further. When the joints in his entwined hands refused to pop, he rested them at the base of his neck.

Smoking cessation. Yeah, right. It was not Irwin’s idea. Irwin enjoyed smoking. The pungent smell of a fresh-lit cigarette made bitter coffee sweet. Smoking was one of the few things he looked forward to each day.  A good smoke, a little booze, a lot of caffeine and Evie.

His wife, Evie was a non-smoker and she did not mind, she had never complained, but again, Evie never complained about anything. Evie was a saint.

So what am I doing here? Peer pressure. That was the only logical explanation. All of his friends had stopped smoking months ago. There is nothing more annoying than an ex-smoker. Irwin’s mind zigzagged trying to connect the dots, the trail of crumbs that had lead him here to this place where he was expected to free himself.

Evenings at the local tavern were not the same, instead of cheers and jokes the gang sat around bellyaching about a handful of smokers in the far corner. It wasn’t fun anymore. Irwin thought as he strained to recall the last time he had hung out with any of them, the last time he had stopped by the saloon on the way home. He could not remember. A few of his buddies had dropped by the house for a beer once or twice a week but then…

It occurred to Irwin he had been isolated for some time; cut off from society. Who needs them? Not me, I don’t have time for chewing the fat. He dug his heels into the armrest, tensed his abdominal muscles and forced a few halfhearted sit-ups. I’m healthy, a hell of a lot healthier than those slobs. Heck, Frank can’t see his ding-a-ling without a mirror. Irwin laughed aloud at the image of his friend groping for his penis. Poor bastard, he groaned, starring up at the flat alabaster ceiling, Frank’s a good guy. The kindest, most nonjudgmental man I have ever met… hey! Irwin bolted upright, Frank is my best friend.

When the sparkle abated from the realization, Irwin flopped back into a prone position and began a set of leg-lifts. Good ole Frank. Poor bastard. Dean and Will, now there is a couple of bonafide jerks!  Irwin scoffed to himself, holding his un-embellished feet at heart level, Health fanatics! You can smell Dean a mile away— wreaking of curry and cumin. And Will, with his dead man farts –methane poison. Both of them—with their stained yellow skin.

Irwin snickered at the memory of Frank again, the last memory of the saloon he could clearly recall. Dean and Will who were frequently referred to as Mutt and Jeff, and the sight of their jaundiced eyes–unwavering.  Long, lanky Dean slumped over his mug of warm Bud, squatty Will knocking back shots of cheap Vodka and the rank cloud of gas that always followed them.

“Dang! What are you two eating?” Frank had asked. When neither answered he pressed on, “It smells like you’re on the verge of shittin’ a dead man. What are you little tree huggers eatin’? Are y’all eatin’ people?” Irwin recalled Frank’s hearty laugh at his joke and smiled, until he remembered the response. Dean– shivering but never looking up.  Will with that cocky glare, wriggling his thin eyebrows and slamming his glass down on the table for effect, grinning through pink jagged teeth. “No one under the age of eighteen.”

“Screw it.” Irwin said aloud as he swung himself into a sitting position. He grabbed the package of Camels from his shirt pocket. Despite the shaking, he managed to free a cigarette without breaking it. He tapped the filter against his palm a few times and gently set it between his lips. His right hand habitually swept the pocket of his 501 jeans to retrieve the Zippo. Irwin studied the chrome lighter, rubbing his thumb across the engraving. “I loved your heart too Evie.” He whispered. Within the sound of two clicks, a beautiful orange flame emerged. Irwin closed his eyes and pulled the smoke deep into his lungs. The hissing crackle of dried tobacco had always eased his trembling. The feel of his Zippo, a gift from Evie, had always soothed his mind. I LOVE YOUR HEART was barely visible after years of stroking. He exhaled and imagined the writings of e.e. cummings. i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart). He fantasized about Evie, her soft white breasts against his back as she convinced him to be more accepting of lowercase letters and lower class people. Perfect breasts that now–

Just before The End…

Irwin and Evie spent their days and nights exploring endless trails. Time meant nothing to them now. Irwin was not sure how long he had been in this place, but it had been long enough to learn a few things. One: the sun never goes down. Two: there is no need for sleep and three: sometimes the boils come on slowly. He consoles himself with knowing Evie never minded his smoking.

Happy Halloween!

Available wherever e-books are sold.

Smoke Free narrated by Troy McElfresh