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.

The Art of the Short Story (Friday’s free for All)

I was going through an old notebook earlier this week and came across notes from a presentation I made a few years ago.

You don’t realize how much time has slipped by until you come across little things like a card, or an old electric bill you forgot to pay or, in this case, some silly old notes.

I intended to publish them yesterday as a Throwback Thursday but the day was gone before I knew it and BOOM, it was Friday.

I’m posting them here in snapshots because if I typed these few pages out this post wouldn’t make it to you until August… of next year.

The Handout

The SurveysFlash Fiction Word Count & Classifications

AIW press also graciously lent me material to use in presentation. I don’t have a snapshot but here’s a link to the article.

Happy Friday Y’all and here’s to stories of all shapes and sizes. 🍻

Scarecrows Need Love Too (Friday’s Free-for-All)

Look! It’s Friday & it’s free.

A moment of passion and a shotgun wedding leads Sam Scarecrow and Sally Sumpkin to a not so blissful state of matrimony.

Sam & Sally Scarecrow (A Sign of the Times) is a humorous picture book for adults that dares to poke fun of the all too common theme of failed relationships

Tuesdays Tell-All (The Devil Did Not Make Me Do It)

Being devilish does not always come easy because I am by nature a peace loving individual. Seriously! I really am.

But avenging evil …

That sh*t is second nature.

I think the settling of scores is what made writing Savannah Dawn so much fun; that and the fact that Savannah Dawn is an odd ball who seems to have one foot grounded here on earth and the other in some unseen realm and I can relate to that. Either way I take full responsibility, the devil did not make me do it.

Here is a little snippet leading up to that dish best served cold. Have a read while I polish my horns.

.

We saw Mama’s fella, Mr. Cartwright at the Piggly Wiggly the other day and I stared right at him. Under usual circumstances, we ain’t allowed to look at him much less speak but I looked him straight in the eyes. I nearly peed my pants when I saw they were the same gold-flecked eyeballs that made me have nightmares after Papa died.  I called him an adulterating son of Satan and Mama grabbed me by the nape of my neck. Before he could put his jaw back in place she made a quick apology and dragged me to the car, saying the same sixteen words over and over, “I cannot believe you Savannah Dawn! I have never been so embarrassed in all my life!” 

That wasn’t true. Mama had been plenty embarrassed before. Maybe if the whole town knew the truth about Grandma, how she laid out on the bathroom floor in a stinking mess… maybe my remark wouldn’t have been so humiliating.

Maybe if she knew what Mr. Cartwright had done she would be madder at him than she was at me – so I told her.

By the way Kelly Mack does a great job narrating and the audio version is available at iTunes, Amazon & Audible.

Happy Valentine’s Day & Hats Off to Women’s Horror Month

Roses from Ishmael

Ishmael thought the flowers would be a nice touch. Roses were her favorite, red roses to be exact. These were slightly black around the edges and void of fragrance, but they were roses nonetheless.

“You’re not old enough to remember when roses had a smell are you?” he asked the cashier as he handed her a twenty dollar bill.

“No sir, I guess not.” She replied handing him a rumpled one along with thirteen cents in change.

“I bet you’re not even old enough to buy beer.” He said tucking the flowers under his arm. The young woman gave a weary smirk and he shoved the change into his coat pocket. “I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you’re old enough to sell it.” Ishmael yanked the eighteen pack of Bud Light from the counter and strolled to his truck.

Just outside of the city limits he reached across the seat and twisted the first cap off of a tepid bottle. The clanking of the glass was comforting and the warm beer eased the queasiness in his stomach. He downshifted and let the black Chevy pull itself along the narrow country lane as he sipped the Bud and drank in the scenery.

The summer heat had taken a toll on the coastal Bermuda that waved its browned tops as he drove past. Ishmael nodded and gestured back, feeling a kinship. But relief was on the way, the weatherman said as much when he interrupted the radio host to announce tornado warnings in effect until eight o’clock this evening.

As he pulled into the drive he sucked the last bit of suds from the third bottle, took a deep breath and sighed.

Her car was parked in the usual place. He felt hopeful, nervously adjusting the flowers and dusting the fallen petals to the floorboard before popping a wintergreen disc into his mouth.

The mint clung to his cheek like paste as he gagged; the stench of evergreen caused him to heave with panic. A mouth full of juniper berries was an unpleasant memory to say the least.

His tongue swept his mouth in search of spit. After several frantic jabs his lips gathered to form weak whistle and he forced the disk from his mouth. The candy landed with indifference and Ishmael kicked at the dusty drive covering it and his boot in a fine white powder.

“Honey I’m home.” He called from the kitchen. “Arianna? Sweetheart? Are you here?” he spoke gently as he made is way toward the guest bedroom.

The squishing of his boots on wet carpet went unnoticed, much like her silent cries.

“You’re in there aren’t you?” He asked pressing his hand to door. “Speak to me, please?” Ishmael ran his fingers across the buckled paint and continued, “Ari- I’m sorry. You have to believe I never meant to hurt you. You believe me don’t you?”

Ishmael’s statement was honest but how could she believe him? He knew how she loved her perfect house; how hard she had worked to make the quaint space a home. He knew too that it was him she loved, only him but jealousy blinded him to the fact.

“I was only trying to make a point… a stupid point I know but I never struck the match Arianna. It was an accident. Can you forgive me?”

A sharp snap came from the other side of the door and his heart dropped. He made his way back to the kitchen and tossed the roses into Tuesday’s dishwater.

How many Tuesdays had passed? Her silence set a new record. She had never shunned him so long and the guilt that urged him to buy the flowers – the same remorse he felt every time he lost his temper was quickly being replaced by irritation; an all too familiar annoyance building in the pit of his stomach. It would simmer there until it bubbled over and rumbled through his empty gut, lapping against raw nerves, reviving memories of every rejection and hurt feeling he had ever known.

Ishmael felt the heat rise in his face and throb in his ears as he gripped the counter to steady his frame. Trembling he strained to recall what the therapist had taught him. It was not working. The only happy thoughts he owned were of her and they had been supplanted by unbearable memoirs, images of unforgiving eyes. Her eyes once bright and smiling now flamed and pierced him with accusations. The same eyes that gave him comfort now cut him to the bone. She had a way of doing that – shaming a man without a word and shame was a thing he hated.

He had been ashamed for as long as he could remember. Even as a small boy, before he had ever heard the word or perceived its definition – he felt it. He ate shame for breakfast and bathed in it before going to bed each night. He knelt on it as he said his prayers and iced his beer in it and sometimes he hid it in a bundle of flowers. Yes shame was his unfaltering companion, the one sure thing he could count on.

Jutting his face toward the heavens he prayed and waited for an answer.

Oblivious to the first drops that landed Ishmael continued to pray. As the rain drenched his upturned face, mingling with his tears he steadied his breath and waited for an answer, an absolution that refused to come. Instead the wind swirled in the open roof above him showering his blistered face with twigs and scorched bits of fiberglass, a foul reminder of things that could not be undone.

“Am I beyond forgiveness?” He pleaded toward the thundering sky. “Will you always be angry with me?”

Ishmael tried to stoop amongst the debris, to kneel if for no other reason than sheer exhaustion but the charred drywall held his fists.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!” he croaked, his throat too dry to scream

“Damn you Arianna!” He cursed through cracked lips, unable to summon any moisture, unable to summon anything. Not so much as a heave could he muster from the memory of juniper on an elementary playground. He would now welcome the kicks of a bully in canvas sneakers, the scratching of coarse pungent needles against his face and the bitterness of their berries.

Ishmael heard the machines approaching; he could hear the men talking just prior to the wall landing. They used words like ‘total loss’, ‘unsalvageable’ and ‘condemned’. Words he had come to terms with, things no amount of roses in the world could fix.

He laid his head against the sooty timber that permanently fixed him and asked once again, “Arianna? Ari-honey… are you here?” and again she refused to answer.

Happy Valentines Day to you all and hats off to the women who dare to write horror.

Playing with Frames (Mad Monday)

How about that frame? Isn’t it cute?

Of course it is. Maybe a little lame… a lame frame ( 😀 I crack me up) but cute nonetheless. Facebook turned me on to the idea.SMOKE FREE

So what am I mad about now?

I’m mad in a good way about the sheer funness (yeah, funness is a word – look it up) in creating frames but I’m kind of pissed annoyed that Facebook would not let me use the actual book cover for Smoke Free because of the cigar. Yeah, it sends a bad message and encourages smoking. WTF?!

And I love this book cover…

The hubby designed it and that cigar was his special touch.

Smoke Free

Anyone that has read Smoke Free knows smoking is the least of Erwin Smutter’s problems. LOL. But hey, I ain’t judgin’ and I do not want to be the cause of someone picking up a stogie.

I would rather you pick up a copy of Smoke Free instead.  For 99¢ or less it might cure you. 😉

 

 

And Heeyy, don’t I look mad as a hatter and bat-shit cRaZy  in this frame? Well I am supposed to, it tis the season. HaPpY HaLloWeEn Y’all!

selfie smoke free

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