#weekendcoffeeshare – 11/3/2018

Good morning, everyone! Thank you for joining me for our #weekendcoffeeshare this week! It’s cold outside today. I hope you can make your way through all the fallen leaves on the ground. You can see a picture of our fall color above. Those trees are in my backyard! We measure leaves in the fall here by the foot! Please come in and fix yourself the hot beverage of your choice. I have several kinds of coffee and tea, so pick your pleasure!

I haven’t had a #weekendcoffeeshare for a couple of weeks and I apologize. It’s been a very busy time at my house. I try to find four or five hours to write every day, which is sometimes difficult, and then the rest of the day is taken up by a million little (and sometimes big) things. The most important thing is always my writing, but sometimes, the most pressing thing is Tucker, my eight month old Cardigan Welsh Corgi.

Oh, Tucker! That boy not only requires, but demands a great deal of time. He looks like a grown dog, but he’s still a baby with a puppy brain. When I look at how big he is and how much he looks like an adult male, it’s hard to remember. Tucker is now 35 pounds which is very close to the size he should be at maturity. Cardigans don’t mature until they are two or even three years old so I shudder to think of his size at maturity! 🙂 He’s very sweet, but he requires a lot of training. You can see a picture of Tucker, my yard long dog, above!

Now, down to business! I am still working on characterizations and settings for my novella that may actually become a novel. I have no way to know at this point. Novellas are usually around 40,000 words. Above about 60,000 words and you are approaching the word count of a novel. Since the public’s attention span seems to be getting shorter all the time, the word count of novels is getting lower. So I don’t know what I’ll have when I’m finished!

One interesting setting I’m developing is New York City, circa 1943. I need to develop two settings, one in Brooklyn where I’ve never been and one in the middle of Manhattan, where I have been but obviously not in 1943! Manhattan is surely proving to be the easier of the two. I’m having to do a deep dive into research to find much about Brooklyn in the middle of World War II. This is a novella (novel?) full of different settings so I’ll gradually mention a lot of them! Both my protagonist and antagonist are traveling around a lot.

Traveling is another issue I’m having to deal with. Travel in 1943 and today are completely different. My antagonist has travel provided. My protagonist does not. I’ll talk more about this next week.

Feel free to stay and finish your beverage. Thanks for stopping by. I’ll hope to see you next week!

 

Thanks to eclecticali

 

 

 

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Haunted

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“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That old quote popped into her head at 4 a.m. It wouldn’t be daylight soon this morning since the Earth was spinning toward the shortest day of the year. She was still awake at this ungodly hour, as she often was, yearning for the light.

She couldn’t sleep until it was daylight. The old dreams, the terrible dreams of her childhood, haunted her, and she knew she couldn’t sleep until dawn when they would subside. She remembered them when she awoke, screaming, but only for a few seconds. Only the light chased them away.

 

Thanks to Charli and the CarrotRanch!

One-Way Glass

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Doors to her were only a symbol. They had always kept her out, excluded her. From the time she was a child, she’d felt like she was on the outside looking in. She wondered if that clear blue pane would allow her to see inside. No doubt it was one-way glass. Doors were always one-way.

Since she’d become an adult and developed courage, she’d insisted on being allowed into the doors she thought were important to her. A difficult door had been to her career. It was not a career particularly open to women in those days. She had to push her way, kicking and screaming through that closed and locked door. It disillusioned her. During her career, she had to knock down one door after another.

Now she found herself fighting against the most difficult door of all. Time and age. This time, she wanted to stay on this side of that door, but she was being pulled toward it by an irresistible force. She didn’t want to go.

170 words

 

Thanks to Priceless Joy and Jade M. Wong for the photo prompt.

#weekendcoffeeshare -10/13/2018

Good morning, everyone! The picture posted above of the ocean is in memory of the Hurricane Michael victims.

So glad you could join me here at my home and have coffee with me this morning! I have set up a coffee and tea bar in my kitchen for your drinking pleasure. I wish we could have coffee on my deck, but fall has come to #Kentucky and it’s too cold. So grab whatever beverage you want and let’s go to my writing studio!

Kentucky was still hot and in the midst of full on summer until about four days ago. That’s pretty unusual for this time in October. Then, four days ago, the season suddenly changed, cool weather arrived, and fall is here. I’m glad! It was the most humid summer in Kentucky that I can ever remember. The cool weather is so refreshing!

If we were having coffee, I would ask each of you how your writing is coming along? I also hope just the general course of your life is going wonderfully. The world, at least in the U.S., seems to be an increasingly difficult place in which to live. I hope it’s being kind to you.

A few weeks ago, I promised one of you who was reading my #weekendcoffeeshare, that I would talk a little about my use of Scrivener in writing my novella, so I’d like to fulfill that promise.

For those of you who don’t know, Scrivener is a very powerful writer’s software program. It is very detailed and complex, but you don’t have to use all the functions. You can, of course, write your entire manuscript on Scrivener which I will try in the future. Since I’m not familiar with it or wasn’t until this past week, I’m going to write my manuscript for my novella on Word, but use some of the functions of Scrivener for specific things.

I mentioned last week that I’m developing the setting for my novella. Scrivener has a cool way for developing your setting. You can develop multiple settings and insert them into your manuscript when they are needed. I’m using the setting function because my novella does indeed have multiple settings. Since I’m writing historical fiction, I have to research each setting and Scrivener is a good way to summarize each setting and save all my notes. Then, as I write the manuscript using Word, I can refer to those notes in Scrivener.l

When I get bored with developing the various settings, I switch over to developing my characters. Scrivener also has a very nice interface for character development. You can develop characters with deep attributes and have your notes at your fingertips. In historical fiction, I have to find out the way each character would have spoken, the clothes they would have worn, how they would have reacted to current world events of the time, and much more. I can keep those notes on Scrivener and refer to them as needed as I’m developing my characters. I can develop each character on Scrivener, with prompts, and accomplish, I think, more complete character development.

In checking out the Scrivener software program, I found that if you type your manuscript in Scrivener, there is a function that converts it to Word. I also found that Scrivener will put your manuscript in the format necessary to self-publish on Kindle publishing. I will report more on Scrivener as I use it more. I’d love to hear what each of you think of this program?

On a personal note, I’m home on top of my mountain this fall. The leaves have not really started to turn yet so it is a very late fall. It will be beautiful here when they do. My plans for the fall and winter is to write and finish this novella. It will be a race to get it done, but this is my goal. I try to write 4-6 hours per day. My puppy, Tucker, usually has something to say about that, but he’s starting to get better. He’s 7.5 months old now. I just realized that I don’t have a current picture of him, but I’ll post one the next time I write a #weekendcoffeeshare. I’m going to try to write the occasional blog post just to change things up for me.

I’d love to hear your stories. How is everything with you and what are you doing this fall?

Thanks to Eclecticali

Overtaken

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Ruth knew there was a burn ban. The ban was until 6 p.m. and it was almost dark. She thought she could burn the trash. The fire had gotten away from her. She and Sam were using blankets to try to beat down the flames.

The small volunteer fire department was on its way. Sam had called them before he ran out to help her. The fire was heading toward the forest behind their house. There were homes back there. Families, children, wildlife.

“Sam, I don’t hear any sirens yet,” Ruth screamed.

”You know they’re all ten or more miles away. We have to keep it at bay until they can get here,” Sam replied over the increasing roar of the fire.

Ruth and Sam were both members of the fire department. They couldn’t leave the blaze long enough to get their fire-fighting equipment. Ruth knew they could stop the fire on the ground with their equipment, but she had just seen it jump to the top of a tree.

The volunteers started pulling in the driveway, putting on their gear as they jumped out of their cars. Someone got the pair’s gear out of the house.

The fire was roaring through the underbrush, advancing fast.

“We have to build a berm to try to stop this,” Sam said.

”It’s too hot. You can’t get in there,” someone screamed at him.

Sam grabbed a shovel and went in. Just as he did, the fire took on new life and overtook him.

 

Posted to IndiesUnlimited. If you like this story, please go to this site and vote for it after 5 p.m. Tuesday. Thank you!

Photo attributed to K. S. Brooks

 

#SoCS – 9/1/2018

 

I’m always ranting about property development around where I live here in the Daniel Boone National Forest. I think it should be much more limited than it is. I tire of hearing heavy equipment instead of the birds singing. Increasing numbers of houses and people drive away the birds and wildlife.

I wrote a post a few months ago in which I mentioned that I had not seen two of my favorite specimens of wildlife this year and I was afraid they were gone forever from my little corner of the world. One was the fawn. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve seen single fawns with their mothers or sets of twin fawns every summer. The other was really a favorite – the pileated woodpecker. It is an increasing rare and rather large woodpecker. You don’t see them everywhere, We were lucky enough to have a few here.

I’m happy to report that I finally saw a fawn. Not until late in August, which is very late for fawns to be around, but at least I saw one. The same day, I saw a large pileated woodpecker. Again, I saw just one, but at least I know they are still around, even if they are smaller in number. PIctures of both are at the top of the page.

Years ago, I had my property designated as a wildlife sanctuary through the National Wildlife Federation. Here are some of the beautiful animals that I have seen since then. Enjoy!

 

 

*Thanks to Linda G. Hill for providing the #SoCS writing prompt!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 8/2/2018

Hello everyone! Thank you for joining my #weekendcoffeeshare. I asked you to join me at the coffee shop this weekend instead of at my home because I have multiple projects going on at home and it is a cluttered mess! Maybe we can go back to my study next weekend. I’ve asked the manager to set up the coffee bar for you, so please help yourself to coffee or tea there. There should be a wide assortment for you.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your week was? Did you have a good week? Did you accomplish your goals? Here we are, suddenly, in early September! Where did the summer go? I’ve not enjoyed summer as much as I usually do largely because of the weather patterns here in the Ohio Valley. Instead of the beautiful, blue days we usually have in the summer, we’ve had beautiful blue days with extremely high humidity. This part of the Ohio Valley is always humid in the summer, but this year it has been exceptionally so. We’ve seldom had a day’s break from it. I’ve been reminded of the humidity in New Orleans, where, when you step outdoors, it feels like a heavy, hot, blanket has been dropped over you! I’ve felt trapped inside my house this summer!

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve been experiencing winter and I hope it hasn’t been too difficult. I find myself looking forward to fall and winter this year.

Oh, I have to tell you about a book I’m reading that I’ve fallen in love with and I don’t give book recommendations easily. I am writing a novella in the historical fiction genre; specifically set in World War II. The novel that I’m reading, called “Letters to the Lost” by Iona Grey is set in World War II in England. The author is masterful, She has wonderful characterization throughout the book and changes voice throughout. It’s a great novel to study those techniques, not to mention a wonderful read.

We’re still in puppy training mode at my house. I have a feeling we will be doing this for a long time to come! Tucker will be six months old on Wednesday! He is now a big gangly puppy, half again the size of the two Cardigan Welsh Corgis that I’ve had earlier in my life. He’s strong as an ox, sweet as a peach, and the most stubborn animal on the face of Planet Earth. 🙂 In some ways, his behavior is improving. We’re using all sorts of training methods to help him (and us!). I’m hoping that the slight improvements I see are the start of something good. He is still bouncing off the walls! He goes to puppy day care at our wonderful local kennel twice a week for purposes of socialization and he loves it. He plays with other puppies all day. At home, his best friend is a big frog who only comes out at night. They sit on our deck together. I’m desperately training to get a photo, but no luck yet.

I mentioned, in another #weekendcoffeeshare, that I was going to try #Schrivner when writing one of my books. Someone commented that she would like for me to post my comments about it, so I will. If you are a free writer – in other words, if you just sit down and start writing without much planning – Scrivener is probably not for you. It is writing software for the planner. If you are a planner of what you are going to write, then it doesn’t get much better than Scrivener, It gives you the structure in which to plan. I hope this helps.

Enough from here! How has your week been?

 

Thank you to Eclecticali Alli for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

#SoCS – 8/18/2018

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A few days ago, I got in my attic and started sorting through my mother’s things. She’s been gone eighteen years, so I thought it time, and past time, to dispose of her belongings. I should tell you that it was, perhaps, the worst decision I’ve ever made! If you’re wondering why, let me tell you my story.

It’s always emotional, I’m sure, to have to dispose of your parents’ things when they are gone. My mother clearly kept every piece of paper, card, picture, and letter that she had ever had. All the way back to before World War II. What I found was actually a treasure trove for a writer. Letters between she and my dad when he was fighting in WWII. A scrapbook she kept with newspaper clippings about the war. Letters from all my family, both sides, during wartime. The newspaper from the day the war was over. I’m currently writing a little historical fiction and now I have at least some of my primary research, but it was tough to read about that young, wartime couple who later became my mom and dad.

Then there were the pictures. Thousands of pictures. My mother had seven siblings, so on my maternal side, I have a lot of cousins. Most of the pictures that were not of me were of her brothers and sisters and my cousins, up to about the age of ten. It was a huge job, and an emotional one, to go through all those pictures and separate them cousin by cousin. I’m not yet finished. I’m determined to return those pictures to my cousins so they can share them with their own children, even though I’m not in touch with most of them any more.

Next was the really hard stuff. I think my mother had saved every drawing I’d ever made as a child, every report card, every single thing relevant to me as I”d gone through school. It broke my heart and made me cry.

I still have two large boxes to go through. No idea yet what’s in them and I’m almost afraid to open them. I hope to finish this task this week. I feel like I’ve just viewed my mother’s entire life, a little like a Peeping Tom, and have seen her most private possessions.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

*The picture above is of my grandparents house and farm in Appalachia. I found it in my mother’s pictures.

**Thanks to Linda Hill for the Stream of Consciousness prompt!

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#weekendcoffeeshare -7/18/2018

 

Good morning! Welcome to my #weekendcoffeeshare! Grab a cup of coffee or tea off the kitchen island. I believe there is also decaf of both there and some green tea. Help yourself to whatever your pleasure is and join me in my study.

I hope all of you are well and happy and getting along well with your writing projects. I’m proceeding with my novella and have had time to do some writing this week. I am working on the characters right now, fleshing them out, making them interesting. Do you use Scrivener? I am using it for my character studies as it seems really convenient for that, but I use Microsoft Word for my actual manuscript. This is the first time I’ve used Scrivener, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Do any of you have experience with that program?

I’ve also spent the week following the story about the environmental devastation in Florida. If you’re in the U.S., I’m sure you’ve heard about it. If you’re not, you may not. In short, the Gulf Coast of the Florida peninsula is being devastated by chemical runoff from the sugar cane operation around Lake Okachoobee. There was already a red tide on the Gulf Coast. Now, the runoff has caused a blue-green algae bloom that has caused a massive fish kill. Hundreds of sea turtles have been killed, which breaks my heart. Thousands of fish. This will impact the people of the Gulf Coast and their jobs for years to come.

We have a small place in Florida right in the middle of this runoff. We don’t think we can even go back except to get our belongings. Even then, it will be dangerous to our health. Tourism will be dead in Florida this coming winter which will destroy their economy. It’s very sad and unnecessary. I’m a bit of a political activist, so I’ve been involved in this during the week. A picture of the blue-green algae slime that is so toxic is below this post.

I’m also involved in trying to tame my wild puppy, Tucker! He’s so sweet, but completely out of hand at 5.5 months old. I’ve had five corgis in my life, but never a corgi with his temperament. I told my husband that his needs are above my pay grade! Together with his breeder, we’re trying to find a professional trainer for him. Not only will that be good for me, it will be good for Tucker. I have to be trained as well. I have to learn the secrets to controlling him and he has to learn to control himself. Herding dogs, like Tucker, are alphas by nature. After he’s trained, I want to involve him in something fun for him. I’m going to enter him in herding trials and let him do what comes naturally to him.

Environmental issues and character studies for my novella have been at the top of my list this week, along with dog training, of course. What have you been doing this week?

*Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

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Track – #writephoto

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As she walked down the long, dark track in the Appalachian forest, she thought of the wild things that used to be so populous here and how few of them remained. The deer had once walked up on her porch and ate from the troughs surrounding her house. There were hundreds of species of birds. It was quiet, peaceful. Over the last few years, humans had stolen their habitat.

She thought of the author, Wendell Berry’s, poem, “The Peace of the Wild Things,” and wanted to lie by a tree and know their peace. She knew she never would. She hadn’t seen a fawn or a pileated woodpecker this year. This was the first year they were gone. All she had heard was the screech of chain saws and the clang of heavy equipment as they tried to turn the forest into a park or a crowded subdivision. Why did they move here and claim they wanted quiet and solitude and then make it like everywhere else? Was this progress? She didn’t think so.

The track wasn’t as deep in the forest and the wild things were gone. It had only taken twenty years in this small corner of the Daniel Boone National Forest. She had once loved it here. Now, she supposed she would have to leave in search of solitude once again. She had been young when she had come here. She wasn’t young anymore and this had become home.

She considered following this track where the wild things walked all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where her roots were. She felt she was too old now. Life wasn’t easy there. She couldn’t deal with feet, not inches, of snow in the winter. How could she live without seeing her beloved wildlife daily? She’d kept her blinds closed this summer so she could pretend they were still there.

Suddenly, she remembered that very old movie called “Elephant Walk,” starring Elizabeth Taylor. She thought it was shot in the 1940s. The characters built a home in the jungle and took the elephants habitat. The elephants returned the favor by walking right through the home.

Would the wild things take back their home here someday? Part of her hoped so.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for this writing prompt and photo!