What’s New? (Tuesday’s Tell All)

What’s new?

Is nothing and a lot an appropriate answer?

Well it will have to suffice.

Let me first assure you I am not in a funk nor am I suffering from writer’s block.

On the contrary, potential stories abound!! I say potential because none have made it past my imagination.

In the garden, the grocery store, in front of the television or at a restaurant….

The list goes on forever.

So this morning as I was rocking and sipping my coffee (without spilling a drop), I asked myself,

Self, why haven’t you written a damn thing ??? No new books, not even a short story… Not so much as a blog post since April, and by the way you failed miserably at supporting NPM.

I pondered the question while I kept rocking and sipping, listening to the birds, watching the butterflies in the Mimosa tree and waiting for a response.

Finally self answered. Well, (in no chronological order) let’s see...

You got older and slower so multi-tasking got a little harder.

Not nearly enough candles.

You had a birthday and Mother’s Day that went on for weeks-because you have some awesome ass kids.

You had Covid twice…

Your oldest brother died and it is still a painful and fresh wound

You focused on family

Remember a large portion of last year was consumed when the home had to be gutted and restored due to the flood after the freeze. And the fishing shack had to have all of the pipes replaced due to the same freeze.

The economy has put a strain on your finances so you’ve had to seriously reconstruct your retirement- and even put the fishing shack up for sale.

You chose to spend a significant amount of time mentoring and advocating for others because you know how it can be…

You spend a lot of time “working” at the pond and in the yard and gardens. But honestly you “meander” as much as you work.

Your dog died and you got a new kitten….

After listening to self for a minute, I said Oookay, and I didn’t feel too bad.

But then the selfish self had to wonder… am I still relevant? Not that I base my self worth on my writing but… you know.

So I typed my name and search-engined myself.

Great. At least I still appear in the www sphere.

But I found a piece of me in a place I had not heard of.

Fnac. F what?

Est-ce que tu parles français

Lord no. But I have been known to fake it.

So, in a nutshell that is what’s up. Or down.

If you don’t hear much from me it is safe to assume I am probably wandering in the woods or on the beach or working on a story even if it is in my head.

Stay well. Be happy.

XoXo

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

Another Spring (Another #NPM )

Audio podcast available

Another Spring

You were hiding,

waiting there beneath the frost

so much more patient than I.

My soul beckoned from a wintry slumber

Fretful and anxious

Weary and depressed

fearful you had abandoned me and then

as promised,

you appeared.

Breathing life into the naked limbs; into the bare breasts of Mother Nature

until Summer’s heat met autumn’s leaves
and reminded us that change is inevitable.

Now…

too soon,

you will be nothing more than a bright spot

Getting Me Back is available at your favorite retailer.

Write on!

As If #NPM

As If

As if your shoulder brushing against my breast

in a crowded room meant anything to me…

As if your smile would thaw my frosty heart…

As if your constant assurance could overcome my cynicism…

As if the invisible boulevard would never rise up and beckon.

The street lamp glows in the bleached mist only three floors below us.

I blow streams of smoke into the black night and hum to the drone of the unseen road.

Be steel my bleating heart!

Be quiet! Be silent, hard steel.

As if wearing your tee-shirt made us lovers.

You can listen here.

From Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)

All Day Twos-day (Tuesday’s Tell All)

Hey, you know what would be great on this Tuesday – the second day of the second month in the year 2022?

Two dozen free tacos delivered to my door.

Or

Two million dollars deposited into my account.

I would eat the tacos and share the dollars.

But I have neither so…

I guess I’ll eat a double-decker dried out bologna sandwich that tastes like dusty cardboard and give you …. drum roll 🥁

Two (+2+2+2+2+) stories (that’s More) for the price of one.

And a few of my favorite twos.

Happy Tuesday/Twos-day Y’all.

A Glimpse at Savannah Dawn (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.

A few Clips from 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.

🎬

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.

🎬

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.

Happy Halloweenie Ghouls & Boils

Hold out your eyes and I’ll give you a little insight into 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.)

Smoke Free

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.

And a bite sized sample of the lunch break tale

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.

Happy Halloween!

Available wherever e-books are sold.

Smoke Free narrated by Troy McElfresh and is available at

Amazon

Apple

Audible

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.