Wednesday, February 15, 2023

WEP - Gone With The Wind


Yeah, its been about 2 years. Had a lot going on in my personal life. And, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy 10 tablet to pack with me on my trips, and I've discovered it doesn't like to do anything but play games. And pay bills. And I'm posting this -  late of course -from a motel room that doesn't like to have plug outlets next to the desk. So I hope I can get this post going.

Yeah, yeah. Excuses . . .

I've decided to post a segment for WEP (Write, Edit, Publish) bi-monthly blogfest. This first post of 2023 is titled GONE WITH THE WIND. Since its February, Valentines, I'm assuming it should be a romance. But, I'm just not there in my mind. So I've taken a different interpretation, and focused on the "Gone" concept. After all, the overall theme of the book/movie is about Loss. Loss of culture, loss of life, loss of dreams. Loss of family.

Anyway, here goes. Full critique acceptable. This is a one-and-done, not part of a larger work.



“I want to talk to Dad.”

“Why, you got something broken at the house?” My daughter never talks to her step dad without something broken at the house and needing fixed. And, Dad. Real trouble.

“Something like that.” And her voice sounded quaverly, hurt.

“What’s up Lori? What’s wrong, really.”

Desperation. “Just let me talk to Don.”

Usually he’d already be out on the tractor or sanding that dead jeep in the garage. But he was moving slow this morning so he was still in the house. He looked frustrated when I tried to hand him my phone.

“Why didn’t she call my phone?”

“You never carry it on you. She sounds stressed, just talk to her an tell me whats up.”

“Yeah.” Then silence. “Uhm, yeah.” More silence, with sidelong glances at me. Then he turned his back on me. “Ok.” Then he hung up and handed me back the phone.

“Ok. So what’s up.”

“Not sure yet. She’ll call again later.” Then he sat next to me on the couch, reached across and tenderly held my hand.

He’s a loving man, but not in an affectionate way. He won’t look at me. I squeeze his hand and stare at him until he looks at me. I’m not affectionate either. I can tell its bad. Really bad was nine months earlier when my middle son shot himself. Nothing else can be that bad. Can it?


“Not sure yet.”

The phone rings and I let his hand go. Its Robert’s best friend. I didn’t even know he had my phone number, but I’m not really surprised. That psychic mommy-vibe has been pinging all morning. Kinda woke me up early for a Sunday.

“Whats wrong Zack?”

“Hey Mom.” All my kids’ friends call me Mom. At least the ones that have been hanging out since grade school. Zack is new to the group, only been around five or six years, but he hangs with Roberts long term friends so just fell into the habit with the rest of them.

“Fu—ing whats up Zack.”

“Ha, probably nothing. Hey, I can’t find Robert. He’s not answering his phone. Jenna is freaking out because she lost contact during a phone chat this morning.”

Of course he was texting and driving. Its barely after 9a. “So, how early were they talking.”

“Well, not talking exactly. She was sleeping, but he sent her a bunch of songs. Love songs, haha. She didn’t get the messenger pings until about an hour ago and the last message cut off mid sentence. He’s not answering, so she called me.”

I don’t hear well on the phone, so I have it on speaker. Oddly, my husband isn’t staring at me with a look that says “get a hearing aid so I don’t have to listen.”

“Do you know where he is.” Stupid question, I know, but I’ve already hit the home button and clicked on Life 360 to see where my son is.

“Well, that’s why I called you. Lori doesn’t know either – sorry I woke her up. And the baby.”

“He’s somewhere in Yuba City. Weird. Not really sure where he is. Been there since about 5:32 am. Who lives in Yuba City?”

Silence. My hubby is looking at me now. Hope in his expression.

“Uhm. Nobody. I don’t think.” 

Zack would know everyone Robert knows. But, since his brother’s suicide, Robert has been drinking himself into a grave, and not all his friends have been willing to follow him down that self destructive hole. Zack is a recovering addict and won’t go everywhere with his best friend in an effort to keep visitation with his seven year old daughter. Zack hasn’t abandoned Robert, but some of his choices have left Zack behind.

“When was the last time you saw Robert?” I asked, trying to be delicate.

“Yesterday. Well, I talked to him on the phone after he left for Sac. He was going to a Rave with some buddies of ours. I couldn’t go, had plans with my daughter.”

“Sure,” I say, proud of Zack despite my growing concern for my son.

“Anyway, people are looking for him on Facebook, and I’m getting worried.”

“I haven’t heard anything,” I said, catching my husbands eyes. He didn’t look away. “I’ll call Lori and see if she knows anything.”

“I called her before I called you. Said her phone was blowing up.”

“Yes, I know.” I’m trying not to sound angry. Anger is better than fear. Isn’t it?

“Look, Mom –“

“I’ll call you when I find him Zack. You do the same, Ok?”

I hung up and pulled up my Facebook account. I’m not friends with many of Roberts clan, but I might see something. “What did Lori want to talk to you about?”

“Well,” My hubby said. Thinking a minute. “She thinks Robert may have been in an accident. His phone hasn’t moved since about 5:32 this morning, and people are calling her because they are worried.”

Just then I clicked on a Newsbreak link Jenna posted with question marks after Robert’s name and asking for info. There was lots of comments telling how he left the Rave. I couldn’t read all the comments because I’m not friends with all his friends. But everything I saw had links to the Newsbreak with updates on the vehicle accident that took a 32 year old Oroville man’s life at 5:32am in Yuba City.

A car pulled up to the gate just as my youngest son crashed through the front door. He lives in a travel trailer on the property. He didn’t even have his shoes on. “Lori called?”

“Yes, and Zack,” my hubby said.

“Zack’s here. We’re going to Robert’s last Life 360 GPS.” He ran out the door, kicking the dog and his ball out of his way.

Four hours later a Sheriffs patrol car pulled through the open gate. It was open because I already knew. Face book told me my son was gone.

word count: 1000

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

IWSG: Reasons to Quit


Hello Bloggers!

Nice to see you again. I've been absent from the blogging world for several months and have dropped off EVERYONE's lists. I think I should be more devastated by this than I am. Afterall, I've been blogging since 2009. Like, a lifetime almost, lol.

This month's Insecure Writers Support Group question - What would make you quit writing? - is apropos to my current hiatus.

I've been working. Day job stuff. And playing online games. Merge Dragons is my online gaming addiction. I get to a motel between 8-9pm and don't feel like doing anything except veging out. I just want to chill and not think. Not very writerly of me. Writing is not easy when you have day stuff on your mind.

I'm good at beginnings though. I have a ton of story starts. I get like 500 or 2000 words in, and . . life.

But, I guess the real beginning of the end for me was losing those three women's fiction novels that I spent about 7 years working on. I don't have the time and dedication to recreate them like I did when I started writing. Starting over is just way too daunting. Especially in today's volatile political and cultural environment.

I don't know how to be a writer anymore. I 'm worried that I won't be politically correct. I'm worried that I will offend someone and get sued because I just write people in my head as they appear, and the characters don't always follow "diversity" rules. How do I WRITE 100% politically correct as an American Caucasian hetero woman?

Well, I know I will be back at it again someday. Soon, hopefully, as we begin recovery from Covid 19 restrictions and people return to work. Fantasy is my first love, and perhaps I'll figure out how to write a fantasy novel. At least I can write it well enough for my own enjoyment.

Thanks for stopping by. Please be sure to visit the IWSG host Alex J Cavanaugh, and July's helpers: Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees and Louise - Fundy Blue.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

IWSG: Why do you write?

 Happy NaNoWriMo to all those participating. And good luck to you in your creative endeavors.

I'm not a disciplined or dedicated enough author to participate in this 50K word in one month event, but maybe someday. Not while I'm still working a 40 hour a week job for income though.

I am attempting to find more writing time, and this IWSG post is being written a week before the publishing deadline. Progress!!

Since I'm not writing on any of my projects, I have no insecurities or accomplishments to report. I'm just going to post the question, succinctly answer it, and hop around reading everyone else's contributions this month. No, I don't have writers block: I have lots of viable ideas, and sometimes I write those down and save to a word document. Who knows, someday I may have time to expand those story ideas.

November 4 question - Albert Camus once said, “The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.” Flannery O’Conner said, “I write to discover what I know.” Authors across time and distance have had many reasons to write. Why do you write what you write?

Well, I write mostly because I want to explore What If questions. I write to entertain, or to question, or to inform. I write the stories I write because I enjoy the process, and I hope others enjoy reading my thoughts.

I read for all the same reasons: to be entertained, to explore alternative realities, to expand my world view, to connect with like minded people who are also asking What If questions.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Hope y'all are having a productive End Of Year wrap up.

Today's post was brought to you by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and his brave co-hosts Jemi Frasier, Kim Lajevardi, LG Keltner, Tyrean Martinson, and Rachna Chhabria.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

WEP: Grave Mistake

As usual, I'm a day late for this posting. I missed the deadline to add my entry to the WEP/IWSG flash fiction linky. Oh well; at least I finally finished a story. Wasn't sure I had it in me any more. The last Windows 10 update practically wiped my computer, and I've had a rough time getting my Word program re-installed. I almost had to purchase it again. Long story I don't have time to relate just now.

Lets get to the fun stuff.

I wrote a flash fiction! Yay! I started this a week ago, but had computer problems, and work, and family issues. Wow, who knew writing 1,000 words could take so long? But here it is. I don't have a creative title so you're stuck with the blogfest title. And I'm too tired to give proper introduction to this month's WEP Flash Fiction event: Grave Mistake.

Feel free to browse the WEP website for full posting criteria, as well as visit other participants.


943 words

Full critique acceptable

Hump’s feet ran faster than his thoughts. Not unusual; at 28 he still retained his long, gangly limbs and the slim runners body that made him Coach’s pride all the way through high school. Too bad his brain was a bit slower than his distance runners feet or he may have attained a scholarship.

A cacophony of sirens and shouts followed behind him. Ahead, the general populace hadn’t yet caught on that the clammer of the next block was approaching. Quickly, relentlessly, noisily.

God! Why can’t they just give up? Its been 10 blocks already.

The satchel of money cleared the confused market crowd before him. His eyes darted everywhere, not registering anything he saw until –

A darkly clad shape bending into the rear seat of a car. A kid screaming a protest from within.

Escape! Finally. If he could just get in before the cops caught up.

He pounded to the parked car, shoved the being aside, slid into the back seat, and placed the .45 against the screaming kid’s chest. The grounded figure screeched curses and seemed to levitate to its feet. Her feet, he realized, as long nailed fingers clawed at his shoulder in an attempt to pull him out.

Hump ignored her ranting and yelled, “get in the car and drive. I swear, I’ll shoot you both and boost the car if you don’t hurry.”

“Mommy?” the said in a quiet rasp

Mom stared at him for a half a second, and he felt his head filling with a rush of blood and dizziness. Suddenly he felt caught, exposed. Like a deer waiting for the car to swerve into him. Then she slammed the car door on his foot. He groaned, blinked in pain and surprise, pulled his foot all the way into the car, and forcefully latched the door. They were moving almost before he’d realized Mom was in the drivers seat.

Traffic was starting to back up the intersection as the sirens grew more intense. Still, they were three blocks away from the hijacking point before he thought to ask where she was taking him.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Uhm,” he said, trying to think past the sudden headache. Adrenaline, he thought. The crash after the runners high. It happened frequently after after a long, grueling competition. The race is over, he thought. Just need to eat and get settled somewhere.

“Home,” he said, the wondered why he would want to go there. “Your home. Where do you live?”

“OK,” Mom said, not taking her eyes off the traffic.

The kid seemed to nod agreement. Hump looked at the child closely, a girl. Like the mom, she wore a dark hoodie pulled over her head, patched jeans shorts, and nothing but dirt on her tiny feet. Dark eyes drooped in a pale, nearly luminescent face. 

He looked up to see that same creepy looking face gazing at him in the rear-view mirror.

“Hey, eyes on the road,” he yelled, and lifted his hands to massage his temples.

Headaches after competition had kept him out of classes too often, but he had never experienced one this intense, or this sudden. Migraines his doctor had called them. He sat back in the seat to rest his throbbing eyes.

The gun! Was his first thought when the sound of the car door woke him. And then “Where are we?

“Home,” Mom said. She turned her back on him and followed the kid to the front door of a run=down mobile home.

Hump blinked to clear his eyes and head. He was dreaming about his family, his home. The memories were so vivid he was disoriented for a moment. Then he remembered. He looked frantically for the gun, found it on the floor, then scrambled out of the car to catch up with his hostages as they entered the dark home.

He wondered how it got so late; it was late morning when he’d robbed the Loomis van, surely they could not have driven through the afternoon, into evening. He checked his cell phone for the time but it was dead.

Loomis van! He turned suddenly to the car, a wave of dizziness nearly knocking him off his feet. But there it was, the money satchel, in the front seat. He grabbed it, held the gun out in front of himself and raced for the house.

Glowing orbs of movement made his eyes and head throb. “Got any food? Juice?”

“We were out food shopping when you interrupted us,” one of the glows said. It sounded like Mom.

Hump shielded his eyes with his gun hand. “Turn on the lights.”

“No power,” Mom replied.

The smaller glow glided to a back door and opened it. There was still enough daylight to dampen her glow, and Hump realized one of his hostages was making a break for it.

“Hey, get back here,” he called, pointing the gun at her back.

“Grandpa needs fed too,” the girl replied.

She kept moving, so Hump followed. IF there was another person on the property he needed to know.

“Yes,” Mom said, gesturing for Hump to follow them out the door.

They hadn’t gone far into the woods, Hump struggling to keep up, before they entered a mausoleum like cave. The two glows nearly merged, blinding him with their brilliance.

An explosive pain knocked him to his knees. Hump felt himself passing out. Another light appeared behind him as he was passing out.

“Thanks,” nearly echoed through his skull.

“Can we go home now Grandpa?”

“Not for a while Little One. We need more power.”

“He has people, family, nearby,” Mom said.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG: Working Writer


Yay for October - Fall is my favorite season. Love the cooling days and warm soil. I just wish I had grass (meaning a lawn) in the back yard. One day . . .

So many things going on in the world its hard to know what one day to the next will bring. Being the ultimate pessimist, I'm not seeing an end to this pandemic. I don't know exactly where the large numbers are coming from, at least not in my area, but it sure is fueling controversy and fear. Should make it easier to write a horror store this month at W E P. 

Is anyone out there forced to work from home? I'd like to work from  home. Would certainly help me do some actual writing - I think. Which brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group optional question:

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

I'm sorry I missed last's months IWSG post, I really wanted to answer that question, something about the author to meet or emulate. But that also ties into the concept of "what a working writer looks like." Stephen King is the author I choose to be like. I know he put in his time as an aspiring author, and worked a day job while waiting to be discovered. He wrote short stories, published in all kinds of magazines and contests, and eventually was able to quit everything except writing. Awesome.

I consider him brilliantly talented, even though he has written what I consider some epic fail stories and novels. But I like how he just shrugs it off and keeps going. Proving that just because you make it to "working writer" doesn't mean you'll never see a rejection, or bad review. I'm also a character driven writer, and I think I learned that love of ordinary characters in extra-ordinary situations from reading Stephen King novels. There are plenty of other authors who are my idols, but King is the ultimate fan crush.

Personally, I'm a hobby writer. I don't have the s kill or dedication to put in the time and effort of "working writer." But I enjoy writing stories, and its been gratifying to see some of my stories published. Its a hobby though, much like people who joint pool teams, bowling, display quilts at fair's,  You don't have to earn a living at something to enjoy doing it.

Although I'm not blogging much, or writing for publication at this time, I still sit once in a while and work on some of the ideas in my head. I've even finished a few short items, but no editing. Just having fun. One day maybe people will not be allowed outside their homes for travel or shopping. Then my employment will end, and I might take a stab at "aspiring" to be a "working writer" again.

I hope everyone is staying safe and taking care of themselves and their families.

Be sure to thank (by visiting) our IWSG host Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe-McClure, and Gwen Gardner. Check out the IWSG linky for posts, and to sign up if you haven't already.

Oh, P.S: I didn't have any trouble creating a blog post since the Google changes, but I do have issues posting on Word Press blogs. Sorry, still trying to get my Disquis and Word Press ID's to work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG: Unplanned Writing Genre

Hello all;

August is here - oh my oh my! And boy, its hot in my area. Made even hotter and more uncomfortable while working with the face covering requirements. Uck. But, we are all suffering - unless you are working from your home, in which case I have no sympathy for you. Envy abounds though.

This post might be a bit of a mess cuz I'm writing from my Samsung tablet and not used to the small screen and one finger tapping. How do people live without full screen, a mouse and external keyboard. 

Since I'm not working from home, I'm picking up slack from all the in-store workers who are at home due to Corona-virus lay-offs, and not getting any writing time. So, I have no writing insecurities - except perhaps that I'm still struggling with considering myself a "writer" since I haven't written much even before the pandemic. I'll try to answer this months question. Its quite unusual, that's for sure.
August 5 question - Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I think most of my writing sort of "found me." I don't think I knew much about genres and story classification before writing my first real novel. A short story that begged to be longer and became a book. I thought I was writing something in fiction that Nobody ever wrote outside of nonfiction/biography. 

It wasn't poetry, mystery, romance, horror, historical, sci-fi, or fantasy. Definitely not porn, children's or Christian.  So it had to be new, never seen before. I was a creative genius! The next Great American Novelist. After submitting to several publishers and getting my first vanity agent, I figured out my genre was Women's Fiction,  still haven't entirely settled into a subgenre, and the field is overflowing with aspiring authors just like me.

On the plus side I discovered a new realm of books to read and authors to envy, emulate, and treasure.

With the discovery of blogging (recommended through an offline writing group) I was introduced to even more writing forms and genres.  I credit blogging, and several writers groups both on and offline,  with the majority of my knowledge and experience.

"Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be." This quote truly summarizes my writing experiences since I started blogging (2007?2009?). I get story ideas, usually a specific character thumps on my forehead with a specific scene, setting, or issue, and I just write it. The characters choose which form or genre the storyline follows, and I don't worry about pigeonholing such minor details until the second rewrite/editing pass.

Gotta know what genre to adher to for submission, even if you are self publishing.

And for a blog post on the busiest Wednesday of the month this is getting rather long. Time to thank our host Alex J Cavanaugh, the IWSG team, and this month's co-hosts: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, Chrys Fey.

Have a good one y'all; see ya 'round the blogverse.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG - Industry Changes

Hey Everyone!

Well, its Wednesday July 1, 2020. Time for the monthly first Wednesday of the month IWSG post. I missed last month's post. And I'm late this month. Not doing well at keeping a schedule, lol. This month's co-hosts: Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, Sandra Cox.

 The July 1 question is very interesting, but I could not really answer it. There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I guess I'm too stressed over the state of the world right now to hope for much good change. And I'm thinking my of MY WORLD - meaning in America, California, my employment and family. I have been working through all the "shelter at home" orders, traveling state to state, always in the public. Now everyone is allowed out, but has to wear a face covering (unless you fall into a ton of exceptions). And yes, I'm protesting because breathing my own toxic respiration is NOT keeping me healthy.

Then there is all the rioting, protests against police and demands to de-fund and discontinue police departments, the destruction of monuments and statutes, and people taking over public facilities so they live off handouts from the system they vilifying.

Yep, lots to write about. But that "industry changes" question still haunts me. What types of story will  be acceptable in the near future? Historical and Classic books are already being destroyed or rewritten to reflect today's politically correct society, not the era they were written in. Soon, I can see the criteria for publication being a bean count of diversity, not the description of the story.

Every time I read this post, I'm sure its offensive to someone, or everyone. That is certainly not my intention. I delete and rewrite and rethink what I want to say.  Nothing is making any sense. So I'll stop here before I work myself into an unintended, politically incorrect rant.

Be safe out there everyone. The world has gone insane.