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

Crazy Conversations (Just Another Dull Day with the Family)

I haven’t posted a Crazy Conversations in a long time so here is a short video to make up for it.

Cotton, peas, your friends, your seat, your nose… There are a lot of things you can pick. Family isn’t one of them.
Disclaimer: Life is crazy, people are crazier and my family… well they get the crazy award if there is one. I

Dear, Sweet Tallulah (Friday’s free for All)

Lay your grammar obsessions aside, let your jaw relax, loosen your ears, take a long deep breath as you let your mind drift to the deep south and listen in to the privy conversation between Maggie and her dear, sweet Tallulah.

Happy #Friday y’all!! 🍻 #SouthernProud

Chapter Eleven

From Book 1 of the Clan Destiny Series

“Are you gonna sleep all day Mizrez Lafont? Best try to git up a bit.”
It was the voice of Tallulah attempting to rouse the exhausted Maggie. She tapped the rail of a lump beneath the bedding and continued,
“Ima open these shades now missy, better make yo eyes ready cuz it’s a mighty fine mornin’.” Tallulah warned. Her bedraggled vernacular seemed to come from every direction at once.

Maggie pulled the Egyptian cotton over her face and murmured,
“Thank you Tallulah but for the umpteenth time would you please call me Maggie, okay?”
“Okay Miss Maggie.” The drapes flew back and light filled the room. Maggie lifted the cover from her face and squinted at the morning sun.

Tallulah studied the woman’s face which was no more than a shade darker than the snowy sheets. She planted her hands on her hips and stared into the hollow eyes of her mistress.

“Mr. Ray is comin’ home today. He’s gonna be here in time for supper, you gonna tell him?”
“Yes Tallulah, I am going to tell him.”
“Is you feelin’ sick this mornin’? I can fetch you some dry toast and warm tea. That was always a help to me and to Mr. Ray’s mama too.”


“Yes please.” Maggie strained to sit up and suppressed a gag as she spoke. “That would be nice.”

When Maggie heard the door shut she scrambled to the restroom, turned the cold water on and splashed her face. The wave of nausea subsided and she raised her head to inspect the figure before her. She hardly recognized the drawn, insipid person in the mirror.
Maggie had been ill since the last night of her honeymoon when Ray carried her from the beach. She barely recalled the long flight home and blamed it on the rum but there was something wrong and she knew it.
The illness quashed her plans to redecorate the beautiful old plantation house. It had been in the Lafont family for close to two hundred years. There wasn’t much Maggie wanted to change about the historical mansion, just a few personal touches to make it her own, their own. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lafont – Ray didn’t care one way or the other.
Mrs. Turner had kept her word and came to visit at least once a week, usually staying for several days, though Maggie hardly noticed with most of her days spent between the bed and the bathroom of the apartment sized boudoir.
Maggie wasn’t surprised when she noticed her collar bones protruding like bowed timber at the base of her bony neck; after all should could not recall the last meal she had been able to keep in her stomach. Lifting her gown she could see the distinct outline of every rib – then letting her eyes drop she observed the only thing that wasn’t recessed was her belly. Her abdomen looked like a basketball had been shoved beneath her flesh. “Ohhh god,” she moaned as her emaciated frame convulsed and heaved. Green bile splashed against the marble sink.

“Awe honey child!” Tallulah cried, rushing to Maggie’s side. “Let’s get you back to bed.”
“I’m sorry Tallulah,” Maggie swept a trembling hand across her mouth; “I’ve made another mess.”


“Don’t you worry ‘bout that none. That’s what I’m here for.”
Tallulah helped Maggie back to bed and softly washed her face then held the cup steady while Maggie sipped the chamomile tea.
Tallulah was a thick framed black woman who reminded Maggie very much of Aunt Jemima, though she never said it out loud for fear of offending the angelic lady.


“You have gots to tell Mr. Ray Miss Maggie! You shoulda done told him a month ago. You done let this go too long, way too long.” She fretted, dabbing a damp cloth at Maggie’s face.

“There is nothing to tell Ray that he doesn’t already know. You know how he feels Tallulah – how we both feel about this. Now please…”
Without warning tea colored liquid spewed across the fine linens.

“He don’t know the doctor said you need to be shed of this or it’s gonna kill ya. It caint be he knows and let you lay up here wastin’ away.” The old nurse insisted, talking while she put a fresh damp cloth to Maggie’s neck and replaced the soiled sheet, “Mr. Ray is gone all the time, he don’t see what I see and when he calls you makes like ever little thang is fine.”

“Nature will take its course.” Maggie argued.

“That it will.” Tallulah agreed, “And maybe yo life in the doin’. Y’all can make another baby ma’am.” Tallulah paused to weigh her words and put her hands on Maggie’s gaunt, ashen face, “They is somethin’ bad wrong with this one precious. I seen thangs like this here before. If ‘n it lives and you die…”

“I want to sleep now.” Maggie spoke abruptly to put an end to the conversation and disappeared beneath the cotton sheets.

You better take care of yourself and make sure this baby gets born healthy, do you hear me young lady? The words of her mother ran through Maggie’s mind. It wasn’t as if Maggie had any control over it. If she did, if she could will her misery out of existence, the life sucking parasite would have been expelled weeks ago.

Maggie had just dozed off when the rumbling in her gut stirred her. It was not the usual churning she was familiar with and there was no nausea accompanying it. She lay still waiting for it. She placed her hand on her belly and felt it again, a flutter followed by a tiny thump.
It’s kicking! Maggie stretched out on the bed and exposed her naked stomach. When the flutter started again she could see a slight rise in the protrusion on her withered frame.
“Hello in there.” She said quietly. It seemed to respond to her voice so she spoke again. “I’m gonna be your mother little man.” The communication went on for about ten minutes and when Maggie felt the thumps diminish she whispered, “You go back to sleep now, it’s going to be okay, your mama loves you.” A single tear of relief tickled the corner of her nose and she rang for Tallulah to bring her a full Sunday breakfast.

Tallulah entered a half-hour later with a smile and a tray loaded with soft scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast, grits and juice.
“I never seen you look so good Miss Maggie.” She laughed as the starving mother-to-be inhaled the platter of food and kept it down. “May be you gonna be alright after all. You and the young-un, yes indeed, may hap.” Tallulah practically danced out of the room with the empty tray and soiled linens in tow.

The fact that she had consumed every morsel without regurgitating bolstered her confidence as well as her energy. Maggie stood beneath the shower-head, stroking and lathering her stomach as she sang nursery rhymes to her unborn child. After showering she realized her endurance was not yet up to par and returned to bed for the best sleep she had had in months.
Two hours later Maggie awoke feeling exuberant and summoned Tallulah.

“Would you like to take a walk with me Tallulah?” she inquired.
“Not looking like you look.” The lady laughed, “`S’pose I comb them rats outta yo hair first.” Tallulah guided Maggie to the balcony. “You sit right here while I get a brush and lay out somethun nice for you to wear. You done got so po ain’t likely nuthin’l fitcha but we’ll make do.” Tallulah chose a light yellow poly blend dress from the wardrobe, laid it on the settee and shoved a brush inside her apron pocket. Before stepping back out onto the terrace she made the bed and turned down the covers.

“Here we go Miss Maggie.” turning Maggie so her back was to her, “Lawd child yo head is nappy!”
Maggie didn’t bother remarking on the comment. She knew she looked a fright in her current condition.
“How long have you known the Lafont family?” Maggie asked, as Tallulah stood behind her on the sun drenched veranda brushing out a mat of blond tangles.
“All my life.” Tallulah answered, “My Mama was maid to Mr. Ray’s Mama.”
“Really?” Maggie asked in surprise.
“Sho nuff and her Mama was employed here fo her. See my peoples was once owned by the Lafont’s.” Tallulah stated matter of factly with what sounded like pride to Maggie.

“Why on earth would you stay after the abolition – I mean why would your family stay on? Didn’t they know they could leave? Did anyone ever say?” Maggie asked, thoroughly intrigued by the information.
“Yessum, my mother told me what was told her — that they was no cause to leave. Said the Lafont’s made sure they had money, land and educated um too. Said they always gave um Sunday off and Saturday if need be. Wuddint no beatin’ and rapin’ goin’ on here like in tha other parts I heard tell of. I b’lieve her too cause they paid all three of my sons through college – called it my bonus. I couldn’t a got that nowhere else.”

“No ma’am I don’t believe you could have. So you’re fond of the family?” Maggie asked.
“Love um like they’s my own. I got one son is a doctor thanks to Mr. Ray’s daddy.” Tallulah beamed with pride and added, “The other two boys is teachers. Good teachers too.”
“I bet they are. You must be so proud of them Tallulah– all three of them.”
“I am Miss Maggie, I really am.”
“So tell me about Ray when he was a little boy.” Maggie urged.
“What’s be you wanna know?” Tallulah asked admiring and grooming the now smooth golden tresses of hair.
“Everything.”

The first memory that came to Tallulah’s mind of the young Lafont conjured cruel pictures. Images of the puppy Ray had found in an old grain silo. Tallulah could not bring herself to tell the ailing lady of how her husband had broken the legs of the tiny cur at every joint and tied its muzzle so it couldn’t cry out. She diligently searched her memories for something more pleasant.

The imposition was cut short when Maggie abruptly slouched forward grabbing her waist.
“What’ a matter Miss Maggie?”
“I’m not sure.” Maggie replied, straining to speak through the enervating cramp, “Can we go in now?”
“Yessum. But you gots to tell ole Tallulah what’s wrong? Is you hurtin?”
Maggie nodded her head and tried to stand but found her legs would not support her.
“Let me help you.” She said, lifting Maggie to her feet.
“Oh lawdy lawd child, better let me carry you.” She swept Maggie up and carried her like a child back into the bedroom, laying her gently on the bed. “Ima get some towels – just you lay real still now.”
Maggie pulled her knees toward her chest, a natural maneuver to relieve the unrelenting spasm.
“Oh no.” She whimpered, “No, no, no little baby.” She cried when she noticed the bright red stain on her gown.

“Up here Mrs. Turner.” Tallulah yelled. Maggie lay motionless staring up at nothing as the nursemaid removed the bloody towels from between her legs. “Looks like that’s all of it ma’am.” Tallulah told her.

“Good lord have mercy! Look at all the blood. Tallulah were you able to stop it?” Mrs. Turner spoke frantically as she stood at the doorway and stared at the sharp contrast of crimson against the white bed sheets.
“Tha bleedin’ is slowed to nearly nuthin but she ain’t with child no mo ma’am.”

“Are you sure. Maybe we’d better call an ambulance and get her to the hospital.”

“For the girl may be, but look here.” Tallulah said, opening a towel for the grandmother to be, “Woulda been a boy by tha looks of it.”

“Dear god, that thing is hideous! Throw it away!” Mrs. Turner screamed as the salty rivers ran from her daughter’s silent face.

Get a copy from your favorite retailer here. Google has the series lined up for you here

Merry Christmas World (Happy Holidays)

Ah, Christmas is not over and already I am basking in the afterglow.

I am so grateful (that warm, fuzzy, misty-eyed kind of grateful) for family and friends, the kindness of strangers, God’s mercy and the gift of Christ.

Our gathering was not as large as we would have liked; a few came down sick at the last minute, more than a few are heeding the “Rona law” and a couple or so are recovering (without complications) from Covid. Heck, half of us have had the dreaded Covid and (thankfully) recovered.

I do have a very dear cousin in hospital with a respiratory issue; he’s confident he will recover (from whatever it is) but if y’all have a few seconds, send up a good vibe or a prayer for David. We would appreciate it.

These are peculiar and trying times indeed, how about we all pray for one another. 🙏🏼

Ok – back to the basking…

I would like to share a little of my Christmas glow with all of you.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

And a card I made for you. 🤗

And alas I leave you with a poem.

One version of The Christmas Robe taken from Getting Me Back.

Round Here

You can’t quite tell it (unless you can smell it) `round here but Autumn has officially arrived.

It’s a balmy 95 degrees today. I have the shades drawn, the AC turned down to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and some sort of orange-cinnamon-pumpkin-fake-cake concoction baking into thin air.

Lord why don’t they make a more comforting smell to compliment fall? Why?! I can hear the atoms colliding in the space around me! Why is this room spinning faster than the earth?

Whew! I don’t know why I’m in such a state. Maybe it’s the fake cake that’s baking. Maybe my hands cramp too much for typing. Maybe I need another nap?

Maybe? The truth is I am rather erratic today and maybe I lied. I suspect I’m in such a state because…

Well… You see…

Deep breath and confess.

I’m nursing a hangover. A post bachelorette weekend party hangover but I can explain.

You see we went to this place and had some drinks…

And then some more places and some more drinks…

I couldn’t stop `em, the girls and the drinks just kept coming…

And then…

Hmm. I don’t remember much after that but I hear we had fun. 😉

I know! What the heck?! I must be insane, mad as a hatter to party like that at my age but you know what? I do not regret it. Not even if an unknown photo surfaces. Not even with a hangover. And you know why?

It was a great way to end the summer but most importantly …

sniff, sniff. I wish I felt well enough to write 1000 words.

Because the bachelorette just happens to be my baby girl and I will never [never ever never] be too old nor will I grow too weary to make memories with that beautiful soul.

Guess What? (Friday’s Free-for-All)

Well the kittens I mentioned last month have all found new homes [and new names I suppose] so it is a little quieter around here. I like the quiet but I think I may have a touch of empty nest syndrome.

It’s not anything like the empty nest I experienced when the last child left home, it’s more like uh…

Shucks, I don’t know…

Like losing your blanket? Kind of…

Like adjusting to the new furniture arrangement? No…

Like a new haircut? No…

Like finding a $20 bill? No…

Well by the time I find the words I will be over the empty nest thing but speaking of the last child to leave home, guess what?

Sniffles and snorts.

Baby boy had a baby boy this month! Remember when I was trying to find him a wife?

Okay, he didn’t have the baby – his lovely wife did but he helped as much as a man can.

Listen, I have to tell y’all I was a little concerned about how much help he would be. Most of us know how raunchy it can get in the final stage of labor. A natural labor. In a birthing center. Yeah!

Well I am proud to say he did just fine and his wife? Daaang, what a trooper! And to look gorgeous through it all?  Just wow.

When I rehashed the story for the umpteenth time someone asked, “Were you in the delivery room?”

My are you serious look.

Oh yeah, I was all up in there. Honestly when they asked for privacy I knew they wanted me near them.

Chuckle to self.

When that same someone exclaimed their disbelief in my audacity I just sighed, shook my head and said, “I thought you new me.”

Now some of you will see where a bit of Mary’s character in The Clan Destiny Series  comes from.

Here’s a snippet from chapter 10:

“Ma’am you cannot come back here. Not yet.” A strange nurse spoke, stepping in front of the charging mother.

“Oh yes I can!” Mary replied as she darted around the woman and into the room where Linda laid clutching Steve’s hand.

“Hey Mama.” The laboring woman grunted, “They let you in? That is great. Whoa…. Here comes another one. ” Mary ran to her daughter’s side and took her hand.

“She has got a hellacious grip, doesn’t she?” Steve asked, noting Mary’s fingers had turned a deep indigo color under the squeeze.

“She sure does.” Mary answered, leaning down to kiss her child, “My baby girl is strong and little Turner will be strong like his mother.”

“I’m pretty strong too.” The father-to-be replied with a sheepish grin.

 “I’m sure you are.” Mary said without looking at him in a tone reserved for children, then with a mature pitch directed to Linda, “Where is your sister?”

“She went to see Larry – said she might knock off a quickie in the doc’s lounge while they were prepping me.”

“She was joking, right? I hope she was just kidding. I will go and -”

“Not now mother! For crying out loud… dear lord baby Jesus! This is really starting to get on my nerves.” Linda writhed in the bed, twisting and squeezing the hands she held for support. “Tell the nurse to check me again and tell `em I have changed my mind – I want that epidural and I want it right now!”

“You remember she said you were dilated too far for the epidural. We are going to get through this baby. Come on let’s do some breathing, follow my lead.” Steve coaxed, inhaling deeply and exhaling through pursed lips then panting with an odd hiss.

“Shut up!” Linda growled. Bearing down she pulled Steve’s hand to her mouth.

“No, no. Don’t bite me Linda… let me go.” He pleaded, attempting to pull his hand away until Mary’s free hand made stinging contact with his head.

“You let her bite you if she wants to! Don’t you dare pull that hand away or I swear to God I’ll bite you myself.”

HaPpY Friday y’All !!

A Year in Pictures

A Look Back at 2018

I wasn’t very productive as far as writing [or marketing] goes but I made a few memories and I ain’t mad about that. 😀

Some of the books got a new cover, you can see them here if you’re so inclined, or you can look at a few of my pictures from 2018.

Man that flew by. Oh well…

Hasta la vista 2018, I’ll be back & here’s wishing all of YOU a HaPpY 2019!!

Tuesday’s Tell All (Clothes are So Overrated)

 

I do not love shopping but my awesome daughter is taking me [us] on a cruise this fall so… I shopped. I do love bargains so the experience was almost enjoyable.

I don’t like trying on clothes either so I grabbed a few things off the rack and hurried home. The husband thought it would be wise to make sure the clothes fit before we set sail. He’s practical like that.

So the amateur model show began…

Yay! It fits well enough and isn’t this a cute little hat?

 

 

 

 

 

Double yay! Another excellent guess on size err-um.

 

 

 

 

 

By the third change the excitement was waning and so was my patience.

“Have you considered some makeup and  accessories?” the husband smirked.

“Have you considered kissing my backside?” I replied through a stress-clenched jaw.

“How about something with a little more color? Maybe some shoes and a pedicure for those garden toes?” he laughed.

Strange, this man can’t recall a conversation from last night but anything over two years ago is clear as a bell.

 

“Lord have mercy sweet baby Jesus!” I grumbled.

“What’s wrong ?”

“I look like a red waffle cone topped with peach ice-cream and you’ve got my feet at war with one another! ”

 

 

 

 

 

“Calm down old woman you look good to me.” (That is his favorite go-to line.)

After I changed back into my ‘don’t give a poo’ daily wear and relaxed I asked the husband if he had been shopping – if he had planned his wardrobe.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” He says, “It’s a cruise — cruises are for relaxing.”

“You’re right dear.” Sigh. “Clothes are so overrated. I’ll pack a swim suit and pajamas.”