How I met Maggie & Almost Killed Clara #TBT

I was wading in the surf on Matagorda beach one warm, sunny day 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, I thought she had given up on life and maybe she wanted to die?

I had mulled it over and over in my mind and finally come to terms with my decision. Clara no longer served a 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.JPGGet it over with. I quickly shoved Clara toward the incoming wave but she didn’t budge; her feet were planted too firmly.

“Don’t make this difficult, just relax and go with the sea.” I filled my lungs with sweet, salty air and and shoved, harder this time. Again, she did not move and to my surprise she pushed back!

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

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 timid, dull and passive. 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. 😉

Life & Death (Tuesday’s Tell All)

The gruesome photograph that inspired the title [and the book cover] for Once Upon a Dead Gull.  That was roughly eight years ago and [amazingly] this cover hasn’t changed much.

A peculiar short story anthology, I admit, but it was written for the horror genre.
Even more peculiar is that none of these stories are about a dead gull.
The poor seagull’s parting gift to mankind…  to me, was simply to give life to a book title and cover I had been struggling with.

Fast forward eight [very short] years and one [bitter] historical freeze and…

No, I don’t have a new book release to announce but I do have a dead bird.

I couldn’t save the beautiful little bird but I did (in a poetic way) paint him back to life.

My skill level does not do him justice.

A Glimpse at Savannah Dawn’s Unconsecrated Visions (Friday’s Free-For-all)

Every young girl has dreams. Some dream of being a supermodel or a nurse, a doctor or a fireman, a teacher, a writer or a rock star. Savannah Dawn has dreams too. But she mostly dreams of a life without nightmares.

Chapter 1

My name is Savannah Dawn and I was named for the place of my conception, whatever that means. I’ll be eleven years old come next March. I love to swim and I hate school. I guess that’s all I know to say about myself except sometimes I see things… like in a dream. Not the stuff most folks talk about. I’ve never dreamed of falling off a cliff or being naked in public and besides those things aren’t scary. As a matter of fact I think dreams like that are silly. There aren’t any cliffs around here and the only time I take my clothes off is to bathe and then I put them right back on.

The dreams used to bother me but they don’t anymore. When I was younger I would wake up crying in the middle of the night.

Mama would bring me a glass of milk and sit beside me in the dark. I’d tell her what I saw and she’d say, “they’re just nightmares honey; nothing but unconsecrated visions.”

As I got older I felt like Mama didn’t want to hear about the things that troubled my slumber. A few times it seemed to rile her so I learned to stay quiet and get my own milk. When she mentioned it to the doctor I told him I didn’t see things anymore. But I did.

Most times what I dream comes to pass but every so often it doesn’t and that’s a good thing. It gets tiresome seeing all the sorrow in peoples past and the tragedy some are headed for. Too bad I never saw what lay in store for Papa; it would have saved us all a heap of sorrow.

Preacher Zeb calls them revelations and says I shouldn’t tell a soul about what I see except him. Zeb is an ex-Marine and a retired pastor. He was also my papa’s best friend. Last summer he baptized me in the Neches River with only God as our witness. We made a pinky swear to keep it secret. A pinky swear ain’t like a promise to God – it’s a promise not to tell Mama. She would have had a fit knowing I washed my sins in dirty water not to mention I nearly drowned while waiting on the Holy Spirit.

My sister got the spirit once at The First Assembly of God in downtown Trinity. She was sitting on the front pew making goo-goo eyes at Brother Tim when all of a sudden she went limp as a dish rag. The brother hollered ‘hallelujah’ and flew down from the pulpit. He smacked her on the forehead then Jodi jumped up and started shaking all over and everybody went crazy.

It took me a minute to realize what was going on; it took Mama about a minute and a half.

Jodi said she felt like a movie star when the whole congregation wanted to touch her. She done it so folks would think she was special, that’s what she said. I always thought she was special so I didn’t care one way or the other but it sure was funny watching her dance around with her hands in the air shouting, alley baba – naba -naba daba- daba doo. She was doing a different dance after we got home and Mama whipped her for blaspheming the Holy Ghost.

I don’t like referring to the Lord’s essence as a ghost. Mama says they’re the same thing but I know she’s never seen either one or she wouldn’t say that. I also know spirits don’t always live in a body; some of them live in drinks of alcohol….

This twisted little gem is only 99¢ at your favorite retailer.

The audio (amusingly narrated by Kelley Mack) is available at Audible, Amazon & iTunes. HaPpY FriDaY Y’all.

Flash Fiction (Saturday Shenanigans)

In line with yesterday’s post, The Art of the Short Story, I’m sure this 40 second video would be considered #FlashFiction. And no, I did not do a word count. This is just a little ridiculousness. 😉

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#TBT (A Poem & A Picture)

Getting Me Back (the original poem)

Tissue thin transparent bits and pieces

by the millions I gave to you…

To be received, to be tended or

to be rendered useless as you deemed fit

old inhabitants of terra firma.

Slivers of my soul….

What did you do with these pieces of me?

Where are the misplaced microscopic stars of

my spirit, where are they laid?

Did they dissolve beneath a soft autumn rain?

Or burn in the heat of a cruel summer day?

Were they consumed by the dust mites of fate?

Giving me away was easy….

Getting me back seems nearly impossible.

I saw a fleck of glitter this morning,

caught in an abandoned web of time.

I retrieved it ever so carefully, pulling away

the tiny choking strands; polishing it in the palm of my

hand till it shone bright like a

minuscule star… exploding… and

I recognized it as the twinkle I once saw

in a smiling photo of me.

If you recognize the above poem and picture it may be because you saw it two years ago. Or… maybe you read the book.

In the Storm (April is National Poetry Month)

In the Storm (#NPM )

Firstly, my condolences to all those affected by Saturday’s hellish tornadoes. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Many of my fondest early memories [as well as imaginative ideas] were born in Houston county among the pine trees and red dirt, particularly a tiny community called Weches.

Some of you may know a few of my characters have roots in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi – that is not happenstance. Those just happen to be a few of my favorite states.

Again, my heart goes out to those suffering loss and I hope you’ll forgive me for choosing this poem for today.

Confession: My afflictions are bitter-sweet.

In the Storm

I reach for you…

With every crack of thunder

I hear you laugh…

Your smile is every bolt of lightning.

The drops of rain, you touching me,

with unsalted tears…

No more pain; no more regret.

I raise my arms,

as a child beckoning to be held

and it pours.

My grief is washed away by

stinging pellets of a spring rain

Leaving behind a clean slate

with only memories of the most mundane,

most cherished moments of my life.

Credits: I created the heading image (Inside the Storm) from a compilation of images I found at Pixabay. (Thank you Pixabay contributors).

The poem, In the Storm was taken from this twisted book of poems. And… guess what?

For a limited time my partnering experiment with Smashwords lets the reader decide what they will pay. Yep! You decide.

Check it out.

Sam & Sally Scarecrow (Friday’s Free-for-All)

Hey y’all, HaPpY Friday!

This Friday’s free-for-all brings you an Oktoberfest treat.

A quick aside about this short story picture book…

I received news from Amazon about the launch of Kindle Create encouraging me to give it a try, it’s a software program that is supposed to make a writer’s life a little easier. Some of you may know that I have been rejecting neglecting KDP for a while now but hey, I’m not one to hold a grudge. 😉 Anywho… I decided to give it a go.

So there I was uploading photos and tinkering with the fonts and themes and BOOM! Sam & Sally Scarecrow came to life.

Ahhh, I can’t wait for you all to meet these wacky characters who may or may not have been inspired by my crazy family. 😜

At any rate, I have to admit it was nothing but pure pleasure putting this little short together. So grab your free copy today (Friday’s free-for-all) and don’t forget to tell your friends to grab a copy too.

Cover Sam & Sally