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Karen's blog is about life, love, and the pursuit of writing well
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2626. Flash From the Past - Not Another One

Gads, Another Birthday?!

(Yes, this is me. :D )

5 Comments on Flash From the Past - Not Another One, last added: 11/9/2007
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2627. Special Student

Oops.

I just found this entry I wrote nearly two years ago. I was going through my drafts folder (you should see the size of this thing, seriously) and I stumbled across this. I had completely forgotten I had written it.

Anyhoo, I thought I would post it now because I don’t really have time to write an in-depth entry today.

Man, time goes by too fast.

___________________________

The kids’ elementary school developed something called the VIP (Very Important Person) program. Whenever the child’s birthday rolls around, the birthday child makes a poster about himself/herself and their classmates all write letters to him/her.

MK’s birthday was during spring break so his VIP week was the week they went back to school. Only we forgot about making a poster so he didn’t take his poster to school until Wednesday of that week.

Here’s a picture of the poster we slapped together for him:

Special Boy Poster

Here’s the letter his best friend wrote him (sic):

Dear Sargent MK:

Sir! Your combat timeline poster is the best this here military accademy has ever seen! Mario said he really likes it too.

We have a lot in common. We both like animal crossing and we both have a game cube. We both have a good sense of humor.

You will always be my best friend, unless we get in some horribly wrong fight don’t talk to each other then run into each other years later then recognize each other yada yada yada, you get the point.

Your best friend,
A

And the one his teacher wrote him:

Dear MK:

What a fantastic poster! I can’t believe you created it so quickly. I love the colors and the stickers you selected. Your photos are great! I like the tricky photo of you and GD. You were a very cute baby. The photo of your family at the ocean is really nice. You did a great job.

We both like Narnia and mac & cheese. I try not to eat too much of it because of the calories. I can honestly say you’re the only 5th grader I’ve had that wants to be a blacksmith: I think you can do anything you set your mind too.

Thank you for sharing. It was a very enjoyable presentation. It is nice having you up front. You do an excellent job. You said that you’re special because you have a weird sense of humor. I agree, and I enjoy it. (You’re special for lots of other reasons). I think you have matured a lot this year. I’m glad you’re in my room.

Mrs. R.

Can you see why I love this woman? Both of my boys had her and I just think she’s great.

Here are a few more comments from his classmates (misspellings and all):

We have nothing in common really. I like going shoping with my friends. And I absolutely love to ride horses. But I HATE turantulas. But I love all other spiders.

You and I probably don’t have anything in common other than we are both computer geeks. I am a girl anyway so why would we have anything in common?

Well, I hope you have a good rest-of-the-week! Oh! Remember that time I chased you at resess? Oh yeah, that was yesterday!

Yeah, that’s MK - the ladies man. I can’t believe both kids are going to be in middle school next year. Do you think it’s possible to stop blinking? Because everytime I do the kids age like two years!

I just love my rugrats.

1 Comments on Special Student, last added: 11/8/2007
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2628. Coffee Break

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Taking a break to catch my breath.

breathe in

breathe out

breathe in

breathe out

breathe in

breathe out

and so on and on …

Okay. Break over. Back to work.

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

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2629. Thursday Thirteen - Write a Bad Novel, Part One

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You can find more Thursday Thirteen banners here.
Thirteen Tips on How to Write a Really Bad Novel - Part One

I happened to “stumble upon” this site and simply could not resist sharing these tips with you. Writers, are you paying attention? :D

1. Make sure you’ve got a lot of similar names too. Donald, Donna, Dina, Dana and Danny just feel right together.

2. Explain everything. When your character is angry, just say that she’s angry. There’s no point in trying to show that through her actions when you can just tell that to your reader.

3. Explain everything. When your character is angry, just say that she’s angry. There’s no point in trying to show that through her actions when you can just tell that to your reader.

4. Fill your book with coincidences, especially towards the end. Nothing beats having the exciting climax occur because the hero bumped into the villain in a small-town cafe when they both had a craving for peach-filled semi-sweet chocolate pie. Did you mention that both characters love the exact same pie? Now would be a good time.

5. Don’t let your character’s established traits get in the way of a good plot twist. Just because your hero is a priest who preaches non-violence (We’ll call him Father Angeltoe) doesn’t mean he can’t be an expert marksman with an itchy trigger finger.

6. Use lots of technical jargon. Don’t worry about whether your reader will understand it, or whether you understand it. Just stick it in. It will make your characters sound smarter.

7. If you are writing a historical novel, don’t sweat accuracy. The reader won’t care. Go ahead and have Napoleon invent the automatic rifle. Who could say he didn’t?

8. If you are writing fantasy literature, make sure your magical animals have never been thought of before. Try a talking armadillo. No, forget the talking armadillo. I want that one for myself.

9. Make sure to add …A Novel to the end of your title. You don’t want people to forget what they are reading.

10. Pile on the adjectives and adverbs. Why have a woman speak when you can have her whisper breathlessly in her lustful, wind-swept voice?

11. Don’t feel as if anything has to happen. Plots are optional. Two people sitting in a room staring at each other is great material, as long as it is handled with plenty of adjectives and adverbs (see tip ten).

12. Exclamation points! Exclamation points! Exclamation points!

13. Don’t sweat the order of the action. If the big football game needs to occur just after the prom, then that is when it should be.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

tags: thursday thirteen

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2630. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2007

Reading Along
Reading along …
(And NOT editing. Which is HARD).

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Here’s another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo 2007 project entitled: Broken Silence
I recorded this excerpt if you’re interested in listening. If not, or would like to read along, you can click the “more” button below.


(Click the arrow to play
Length: 9.36)

Charlene Kidder’s POV excerpt

To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.

(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).

_____________________________

Chapter One, Section Two - From Darrell Rowe’s POV
The Storm is Coming

He had moved on.

He had been forced to get on with his life.

Darrell sat down on a bar stool and focused his attention back on the television set in his living room.

“The National Weather Service has just issued a severe winter advisory for Nash County until eight a.m. tomorrow. Residents are advised to take precautions.”

He sighed and placed his mug down on the countertop with exaggerated care. Judging by the radar pictures, this was going to be one hell of a storm. He glanced at the clock – 5:45. If he hustled, he had just enough time to drag out his generator and bring in some wood before he had to be at the radio station at 7:00.

After washing out his mug and placing it face down on the drainer, he stuck his feet into some worn, scuffed galoshes, shrugged into a heavy squall jacket and headed outside.

His breath caught in his throat as the bitter cold winds rushed past his face. His eyes began to tear up and he blinked rapidly. The temperature had dropped twenty degrees since last night.

He zipped up his jacket, dug his dark brown leather gloves out of his pocket and began to walk to his shed. He noted a square of cheery, yellow light on his lawn and looked toward the Kidder house. He could see the woman standing at the sink cupping a mug of hot liquid between her hands and the top of the man’s head, presumably sitting at the table. He assumed they were married. He really didn’t know a lot about them. He really didn’t know a lot about any of his neighbors, and that suited him just fine. He had enough interaction with people at work. All he wanted to do when he got home was relax and veg out for a while.

He reached his shed and removed the padlock. He never locked the shed; he never saw a reason to. He lived on a cul-de-sac in a brand new suburb about seven miles from Ashberry. In fact, his cul-de-sac, Fox Court, was the only place in the entire area that had any houses. He thought it was a little odd that Fox Court had filled up first, but he just figured people wanted to stack their claim on a more private area of the development before others moved in.

As a result, the cul-de-sac felt isolated, cut off from the rest of the world and if something was taken from his shed, he figured he knew where he could find the thief, one of his neighbors. He shrugged as he opened the door. If you can’t trust your neighbors, then who could you trust?

Darrell pulled his riding mower over to one side of the shed and removed the tarp covering his generator. He scooted the contraption to the doorway and paused to catch his breath – the sucker was heavy.

The last time he had had to use it was two years ago. He had been living in a rental house on the west side of town, the poverty-stricken side of town, as locals had dubbed it, and they had lost their electricity, again. Every time a thunderstorm rolled through Ashberry, their side of town lost power. And they were usually the last ones to get their power back. He supposed city officials didn’t think the poorer folks needed their electricity as badly as the upper-class.

That had been the biggest reason he had moved into this house – he was tired of buying gas to run his generator. And considering he was the only one in the neighborhood who could afford a generator, his house was usually grand central station until their side of town had their power back. Not that he minded having his neighbors around, but he wasn’t all too thrilled having to worry that something would be stolen, or “borrowed” as a lot of folks called it.

He began pulling it free of the shed when he heard a voice.

“Hey there neighbor.”

He looked up and saw the Kidder woman standing just outside her back door, a bag of trash in one hand.

“Morning.” He dragged the generator to the side of his shed under the awning he had built to protect various equipment from the elements.

“I’m assuming you heard about the snow storm coming in?”

He finished positioning the generator under the eave before swiping his hands and turning to face her.

“I heard.”

“Do you think it’ll be bad?”

“I’m not sure. It sounds bad.”

She nodded and walked toward her trash can. He turned and went back into his shed as she dumped the bag.

She was attractive, he thought. Nice looking in an understated way. He was rather surprised at her neat appearance given it was six in the morning. He grabbed his gas can and exited the shed. He was surprised to see her still standing there.

She had her arms crossed over her chest. She looked more defensive than cold.

“Do you think we’ll need a generator?” She was biting her lip and Darrell watched, fascinated for long seconds. He jerked himself away from la-la land and shrugged.

“It never hurts to be prepared.”

“Glenn, my husband,” she said, almost as if apologizing, “doesn’t think it’s going to amount to anything.”

Again, he shrugged. “It might not be anything. Weather patterns are so unpredictable in this region.”

She nodded, hesitated and then moved toward him, her hand outstretched. “Charlene Kidder. I don’t think we’ve ever actually met.”

He switched the gas can to his left hand and wiped his right palm against the side of his sweatpants. He shook her hand. “Darrell Rowe. It’s nice to meet you.” Her hand was warm, firm and very soft.

“You too. It’s funny how you live next door to someone for a while and never take the time to introduce yourself.”

He smiled politely. “Everyone is so wrapped up in their lives. It’s hard not to take our neighbors for granted.”

“Yeah.” She nodded her agreement and then rubbed her upper arms in an effort to generate warmth. “Is it just me, or has it gotten colder?”

He looked around their backyards before answering. “It has definitely gotten colder. About twenty degrees, I think, from yesterday.”

“We have the strangest weather.” She chuckled softly and smiled.

Her face was much more attractive when she smiled. “Ah, but it never gets boring.”

“Well, that’s certainly true.”

“I take it you guys don’t have a generator?”

“No. We’ve never had a reason to buy one. I suppose if we lose electricity, we’ll just use candles and our fireplace.”

Darrell ran his gaze quickly over her backyard. “Do you … do you have firewood?”

She glanced behind her and then sighed. “Uh, no.” She then gave a self-depreciating laugh. “I guess we can’t use our fireplace if we don’t have firewood.”

“It helps.” He grinned at her and watched her blushed. He liked her.

“Well, maybe I can get Glenn to bring some firewood home today.”

Darrell pointed to the trees behind their houses. “If not, we could always chop a tree.”

Again, she laughed and nodded, her head momentarily lowering to cover her embarrassment. “There’s that.”

They continued to stand, for long moments, awkwardly trying to avoid looking at each other.

“Well, I better get going. I need to get to work and fill up this gas can.” He held up the can as if to prove he wasn’t making up an excuse to get away from her.

“Right. Same here.” She nodded once and offered a friendly smile. “Well Mr. Rowe …”

“Darrell, please.”

“Oh. Um, Darrell then.” Color suffused her cheeks. “It was very nice to meet you.”

“You too, Charlene.”

She tilted her head and gave him a quizzical look before offering an uncomfortable nod and turning to go back into his house.

He smiled at her back and can in hand, moved back toward the house. He moved through the kitchen, placed the gas can just right inside the door to the garage so he wouldn’t forget it on his way to work and moved to turn the TV off.

“Again, a winter advisory has been issued for Nash County.”

Darrell paused to look at the updated radar screen. The icy blue blob indicating snow and ice had grown to an alarming size.

_____________________________

(This excerpt is directly from my draft and has not been edited).

Chugging Right Along

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2631. Blog Roundup

Blog Roundup

Who wants to read some interesting new blogs?

Let’s see a show of hands … one, two, three, four …. ten, twenty … okay, I get the idea. :D

So, I’m surfing blogs, trying to unwind from my creative high (I’m doing NaNoWriMo - ’nuff said?) and I thought I would post another edition of the Blog Roundup. Thank you everyone for commenting, you’re encouraging me to continue the link love.

Well heck, I’d do it anyway because I ADORE looking/reading blogs.

So, I picked a blog from the last roundup and beginning with Sarah’s Real Life, I went down her blogroll. (Does that sound dirty? My apologizes - get your mind out of the gutter). As always, I explore a blogroll from the bottom up because I’m a bit sensitive about the poor “W” folks that get overlooked. *sniff*

Here’s an excerpt from one of Sarah’s blog entries:

This carnival is for you!! You may write on any topic dealing with being a mother (of girls) or a daughter. The parameters are very wide for the beginning. It can be humorous, serious, spiritual, down-to-earth. It’s up to you. I would simply be thrilled if you would participate!

Sarah is putting a Blog Carnival together for Mothers and Daughters.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Come on moms, submit those links and tell the world what makes having/being a daughter so special! What a great idea, Sarah, good luck!

Now for my blogroll picks:

Melody at Wrapped Emotions -
From her About WE page:

So I created this blog to hold myself accountable to spend more time expressing myself creatively…connecting with my heart…creating with emotion. I want to encourage you to do the same. There is no better way to do this than working with your hands, your mind…connecting them with your heart. This blog’s purpose is to encourage you and me to do just that and share it with others.

Elizabeth at The Whole Family
From her profile:

“The Whole Family” is a forum to talk about Breastfeeding, Baby-wearing, Co-sleeping, Attachment Parenting, Discipline, Nutrition, and many other topics relating to the whole family. It is my connection to the outside world most days. So, stick around and help me stay sane!

Kasie at The Art of Life
From her profile:

I’m a 27 year old Stay-at-Home Mommy to 2 precious girls, ages 5 and 2. I’ve been married to my best friend for 8 years. I’m an artist whose preferred medium is Prismacolor pencils. I hope that, through my art, I can remind everyone of the joys of everday life.

Morning Glory from Seeds From My Garden
From her profile:

The garden is my brain and the seeds are my thoughts. Sometimes the bugs take over….

Jane, Sharon and Audrey from Pinks and Blues Girls’ Blog
From their profile:

Jane, Sharon and Audrey, The Pinks & Blues Girls, are a mother and two daughters who have a blast together, each and every day, finding fabulous products to blog about on their site Pinks & Blues!
This blog is their place to share, laugh and connect with the rest of the blog world!

dcrmom from Musings of a Housewife
From her profile:

I’m your typical all-American girl mom next door. It is my heart’s desire to honor Jesus Christ in all that I say and do. Although I know I fall far short, I believe His grace is sufficient for my sanctification and ultimately my salvation.

I love denim, high heels, pizza, old hymns, a good cup of coffee, colorful handbags, laughing with my kids, date nights with my husband, pedicures, red wine, afternoon naps, and reality TV.

I hate dislike politics, self-righteous people, tea, YouTube, kids with dirty faces, poor grammar, pleated pants, and getting out of bed in the morning.

Morningsong
From her profile:

My Husband and I have been married for 10 years. He is a true man of integrity and the best Daddy ever! Our 4 year old daughter is an enthusiastic ray of sunshine and our 2.5 year old son is a thrill seeker and a true lover of sports! Welcome to our life, we hope you enjoy your time with us.

Hbomb at Molded
From her profile:

Don’t call my house between 9 and 10 on Monday nights unless you want to get the answering machine - 24 is on!My favorite TV shows - 24, CSI-LasVegas, Survivor, American Idol and anything on HGTV. Favorite Website - Craigslist

Childlife from In the Life of a Child
From her profile:

This blog is really about our kids, Jacqui and Kyle: Jacqui is a wonderfully energetic and opinionated five-year-old. She was born with a rare birth defect known as a lymphatic malformation (LM) and has been through a lot in her young life. She had a trach until she was a year old, had surgery in New York to remove her LM with world renowned surgeon, Dr. Milton Waner (at age three), and still has a G-tube. She is a bright sunny soul in spite of everything. Kyle is a thoughtful, and slightly reserved 1-year-old with a magical giggle and a wise-looking smile. He is clever and charming and a bundle of pure joy. Our goal as parents: To treasure every moment and to raise our children to be extraordinary individuals. Welcome to an inside view of our world!

Lynnae From Under the Clutter
From her profile:

First and foremost, I’m a Christian. Daughter of the King. Great, isn’t it? Beyond that, I’ve been married to my husband, Shannon, for 12 years. We have two children, Liz (9), and Sam (4). I’m a personal chef, family physician, financial manager, minivan chauffeur, teacher, housekeeper, gardener…..in other words, a stay-at-home mom. I started blogging to force myself to slow down and reflect on life. My life is often cluttered with things to do and places to go, and I found I wasn’t taking the time I needed to enjoy the little moments. So this is my creative outlet.

I’ve spent a very enjoyable hour (or two, possibly three!) reading over these blogs. I like to read several entries at once because it gives me a better understanding of who these wonderful people are. I wish I could relate to you all how much fun I have doing these Blog Roundups - I truly enjoy discovering new and interesting lives and voices.

I’ll be visiting the blogroll from one of the above blogs soon. In the meantime, when is the last time you explored someone’s blogroll? Get out of the blog rut - visit someone new. :)

And as promised, I’m adding all of these new blogs to my blogroll so all the blog search engines will pick them up and increase their stats (I hope!) Have you updated your blogroll lately?

5 Comments on Blog Roundup, last added: 11/9/2007
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2632. Wordless Wednesday - #47

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Want to play?

Poor Men - You Don't Stand a Chance

5 Comments on Wordless Wednesday - #47, last added: 11/7/2007
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2633. Choose Your Muffin?

What would you like for breakfast, Johnny?


LOL!

*wipes tear* Okay, so I thought this was a little too funny.

I need to get away from my keyboard.

1 Comments on Choose Your Muffin?, last added: 11/6/2007
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2634. Paper or Plastic?

This is an old post frommy Blogger account, waaaaay back in January, 2005.
__________________________________________________

Believe it or not, this is a from a REAL Paris fashion show.

Paper or Plastic?

How does a person eat with that thing on? What if you had to sneeze or blow your nose (though I suppose you could just casually pat your nose and the material from the bag would take care of the rest). What if you wanted to kiss someone? And let’s not forget that little insignificant thing called breathing. (Could a claustrophobic wear one?)

I suppose having a bag over your head would have some advantages; you could go without makeup and no one would be able to tell. You wouldn’t have to kiss anyone. And it would definitely take care of those bad hair days.

Would it be a fashion statement? More like a faux pas. Though it wouldn’t surprise me to see the “hipper” women on the east and west coast sporting these bags on their bleached blonde heads in the next few years. Crazier things have happened. Us good ole women in the Ozarks? Give us a pair of Levis and hiking boots and we’re set.

Women have always had to make sacrifices for fashion. Men want us to look sexy, which is fine, but why do all the sexy clothes have to be so gosh-darn uncomfortable? To be deemed sexy, it must be tight. Wearing tight clothing is NOT comfortable. Not just because it constricts breathing and cuts off circulation but because it shows every little bump and protrusion from our bodies. That, in turn, makes us self-conscious for the whole day and you might as well forget going to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

And why does “sexy” clothing have to be ‘dry-clean’ only? This doesn’t fly for a gal who’s idea of ironing is throwing the article of clothing in the dryer for ten minutes.

I vote we start making sweats pants and tunic tops sexy. What do ya say, girls?

Girls?

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2635. Too Many Character Voices!

Too Many Voices

I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. AARGH!

1 Comments on Too Many Character Voices!, last added: 11/7/2007
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2636. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2007

Typing Away
Hard at work.

I’m now up to 9050 words. Things are still progressing nicely and my characters are starting to feel real to me.

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Here’s another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo 2007 project entitled: Broken Silence

You can catch up and read the prologue here.

To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.

(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).

_____________________________

Chapter One
December 27, 2007 (Morning) – Fox Court

“OW! Cut it out!”

Charlene Kidder rubbed her backside and rolled over in bed to look at her husband. Glenn was lying on his back, his mouth slack, and his facial features completely relaxed; he was fast asleep.

A droplet of spittle slowly spilled over the side of his mouth and slid down his chin.

Charlene made a disgusted face and then sighed. “We have to seriously do something about your kicking, Glenn.”

She wrestled with the covers, assumed a more comfortable position and closed her eyes.

She had so much to do today. She needed to do laundry, go grocery shopping and then devote the rest of her day putting design ideas together for Ashberry’s Chamber of Commerce’s website.

The Chamber of Commerce was her latest client. She had actually bid on this job and was pleasantly surprised when they decided to hire her. This would be a much needed boost to her website design business.

She wasn’t sure how she could tastefully incorporate a bucktooth hillbilly into the city logo, though. Maybe if she used certain colors, or hired an artist to make her a more modern, less hickish character She didn’t want …

“OW! Son of a …” She twisted her torso around to glare at her husband. “Damn it, Glenn, cut it out!” She gently kicked him in the shin which only served to make Glenn jump, momentarily cease his incessant snoring and roll over.

Charlene sighed and threw back the covers. There was no way she was going to get any more sleep with kung fu beside her. She might as well get up and start working on that to-do list.

She stepped into her brown moccasin slippers, nabbed the robe off the foot of the bed and slipped her arms into the frozen cotton.

“Geez, it’s cold today,” she mumbled under her breath while making her way out into the hallway. She paused in front of the thermostat – 62 degrees. No wonder her blood was gelling, Glenn turned the dang thing down too low again.

She scowled and made a mental note to “remind” her husband, yet again, to stop messing with the temperature. Not everyone ran hot like he did.

Charlene padded down the hallway, past a bedroom, the master bath, through the family room and into the kitchen. She sniffed. No intoxicating coffee smell this morning.

She glanced at the clock: 5:12.

She stifled a yawn and hit the on button on the coffee maker. She didn’t like getting up before the coffee had brewed; it messed up her whole day. She frowned and popped a bagel into the toaster. She didn’t like her routine being messed up. She was used to waking up at 5:45, performing her morning hygiene routine, pouring herself a huge mug of steaming vanilla bean coffee, toasting her bagel and fetching the paper off the front porch.

Everything was all screwed up this morning and she felt a finger of irritation tickle the back of her throat.

She walked to the front door and yanked it open. She could tell the weather was turning colder because the front door stuck. It jerked open with small squeal of protest.

“Yeah well, tough.” She grumbled at the door. She hugged the robe closer to her body and peeked out of the storm door window.

No paper.

“Damn it.” She closed the door with a very decisive click and returned to the kitchen. It was going to be a terrible day, she just knew it.

Her mood lightened a bit as she walked back through the house and could smell the fresh aroma of brewing coffee. Her mood further improved when she noted the toaster had toasted her bagel to perfection.

She allowed herself a small smile as she opened the fridge.

The smile slowly dissipated as she noted they were out of margarine.

“Damn it, Glenn.”

The man used half a tub on his toast everyday. She hadn’t realized they were out or she would have made a special trip to the store yesterday in order to ensure they had some for today.

She continued to mumble unkind things about her husband as she fetched her favorite coffee mug, a large eggplant-colored ceramic cup, poured herself some coffee and reached for the sugar bottle.

She lifted the bottle and held it over the cup.

Nothing.

“Damn it, Glenn.”

She filled the bottle up to the within ½ inch from the top and poured exactly three seconds worth of sugar into her brew. She then refilled the bottle to the specified level and replaced it in the cupboard exactly two inches to the left of the coffee canister.

She hooked a finger around the handle of her mug and walked to their butcher block kitchen table. She sat down and took a tentative sip of her coffee. Hot, sweet and oh so satisfying.

She could feel her nerves relax somewhat as the caffeine raced through her body. She gazed out of the window to their large backyard and thought about Glenn.

“You would think, after 25 years of marriage, the man would know not to mess with my routines,” she grumbled.

After several long moments, she sighed. She missed her paper. To distract herself from her broken, and very important, routine, she leaned over and switched on the small television set sitting next to the phone.

_____________________________

(This excerpt is directly from my draft and has not been edited).

Full Speed Ahead

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2637. Weekend Snapshot - Appreciating Fall

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Share your weekend snapshot.

Fall Foliage

The hubs and I went out Saturday and shot some pictures of a school I may, or may not (we’re still negotiating), design a website for, and while there, we noticed this tree. I did not alter the colors at all - some of the limbs were a deep red, some were green, others were brownish/gold and the sky? Was indeed that blue.

I think, for the most part, Fall has been pretty blah for us this year. We had cold temperatures for so long that I think the trees are skipping the pretty colors and going straight to brown and then falling off. So, it was especially gratifying to see this tree with any color at all, let alone the various colors.

We headed out Sunday to take some family pictures. We went to the lake and positioned ourselves in front of some trees that actually had color and I think they turned out pretty good. Perhaps that will be my next Weekend Snapshot.

Have I mentioned I LOVE this time of year?

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2638. In 1965 …

I have no idea why 1965 appeals to me so much, but I thought this was interesting …


In 1965


Lyndon B. Johnson is president of the US

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara calls for a nationwide network of bomb shelters

Former leader of the Black Muslims, Malcolm X, is shot and killed in New York City

To protest voting rights discrimination, civil rights demonstrators begin a march for Selma to Montgomery with federal troop protection

The first commercial satellite, Early Bird, is launched into space by Nasa to transmit telephone and television signals

Voting Rights Act is signed into law

Riots by young blacks in the Watts area of Los Angeles begin, causing $200 million in damage

Hurricane Betsy claims 75 lives in southern Florida and Louisiana

United States President Lyndon Johnson proclaims his “Great Society” during his State of the Union address

Dr. Dre, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Downey Jr., Shania Twain, Moby, and Ben Stiller are born

Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series

Green Bay Packers win the NFL championship

Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup

The Sound of Music, starring Julie Andrews, is the top grossing film

Dune by Frank Herbert is published

The Beatles’ Rubber Soul is released

“Satisfaction” by Rolling Stones is a top hit

The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing songs from their new album Help!

Sony introduces the Betamax, a home video tape recorder

Nearly all of NBC’s programs are now broadcast in color

I Dream of Jeannie premieres

Okay, fine. I was born in 1965 and my birthday is Friday - no biggie. ;)

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2639. Win a 2008 Baby Blues Desk Calendar!

This is a sticky note, please scroll down for current entries. Thanks!

Baby Blues 2008

Need a 2008 calendar? What about a desk calendar that will bring a smile to your face day after day after day …

Then you’re in the right place.

All you have to do to win the 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar is leave a comment. And in the comment, tell me what makes you laugh. Leave one comment, leave twenty comments - it doesn’t matter how often you enter, just tell me something different that makes you laugh each and every time. The more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning.

Then, on November 9th, I’ll pick one lucky commentor and he/she will win a 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar!

So tell me, what tickles your funny bone?

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2640. WFK Udpate: We Lost Our Microwave

So, how is everyone?

I’ve been a bit incognito these past several days. If you’re just visiting, I’m participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge and I’m currently at 6,947 9,050 words. *points to widget at top of sidebar* You can find excerpts and thoughts about my progress here.

In the meantime, let’s skip the NaNo talk for a while (I hear the collective gasps of relief out there) and bring you up-to-date on what’s going on around the old homestead.

The hubs is working hard with his new band, Midnite Thunder. He’s been practicing once a week and says they are sounding pretty good. He’s already warned me that they will most likely be playing some upcoming weekends – including New Year’s Eve. *sigh* I’m not exactly thrilled about this, but what can I do? It makes the man happy. This is something he’s wanted to do for, well, forever actually. I can see that he’s having a good time and if this is as bad as mid-life gets? I’m happy. *grin*

GD has started Driver’s Education. I can tell he’s both nervous and curious about this experience. He’s been learning how to turn a car on, where the brake pedal and accelerator are, how to put a car in gear and some safety features. He’s also been asking me questions, which is strange on two levels: 1. he’s talking, and 2. he’s expressing an interest in something other than video games and computer. I think he’s becoming more and more curious about this little thing we call driving and I’ve been noticing he’s been watching how I drive – carefully. In fact, just the other day …

“Mom. You’re driving at 8 and 4.”

This was said, out of the blue and after it had been quiet in the car for some time. So, it took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about. Of course, it was the position of my hands on the steering wheel.

“Oh. Right.” I mean really, what else could I say?

“You’re supposed to be driving at 9 and 3.”

I believe they taught you 10 and 2 when I was that age.

“Oh. Right.” So, I re-positioned my hands and hid my smile. After all, if he sees that what he said pleased me, that will be the last vocal observation for the next year.

When he sits in the passenger seat, I notice he watches my every move like a hawk. And I’ve allowed him to put the car in gear so he can get a feel for what it feels like. He’s been asking questions about why I do this at that time, and why didn’t I do this at this time. I have to tell you, it’s nice to be able to talk to him again – he’s been so moody lately. (Of course, some of that probably has to do with the fact that his teeth have been hurting – he just went to the orthodontist to get his braces adjusted).

He won’t actually drive until after his birthday, which falls on the 18th this month. In the meantime, if we agree to allow him to go out with an instructor, we have to pay $160 for insurance. He didn’t want to do this at first, and I think he’s still pretty nervous about getting behind the wheel, but his objections are becoming a little less sincere. We’ll take him out and let him drive around a bit in a parking lot, just so he won’t completely freak out when it’s time for him to actually drive with his instructor.

I still can’t believe my oldest is on the verge of driving. *shudder*

MK’s jazz band practices are going really well. He has to be at school by 7:25 every Tues. and Thurs. to practice. I prefer they practice before school, leaving after school to do homework and relax. We’re not big soda people – in fact, it’s safe to say we rarely drink it. But I’ve been putting Mountain Dews in the kids’ lunches every Tues. and Thurs. to help them survive the days they are especially tired. I think this has helped MK get through his jazz band practice days, since those are pretty long for him. On Tues. he gets to school early, practices with jazz band, then has regular band practice second period, then has private lessons after school. By Wed., he’s pretty sick of the saxophone.

They’ve been learning “swinging.” Being the idiot that I am, I asked what that was. He demonstrated to me and I stupidly blurted out, “that sounds like strip music!”

I know. I’m such a dolt. Of course, the boy asked me what that meant, which I had to explain, with my face burning. But in my defense, it DOES sound like strip music. But he’s having fun and that’s all that matters.

We have been frantically working on our house. I think we’re pretty close to having everything we want done, done. The week of Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll be cleaning the house from top to bottom, in between writing for NaNo, doing my regular job and taking care of the family. But hey, I’m busy, which I like, so I can’t complain.

Our microwave stopped working yesterday. Swell. We’ve been busy shopping around for a decent deal all weekend. The hubs had to monkey-rig the microwave we have now to fit in the range section above our stove. My sister-in-law remodeled her kitchen and gave us their old microwave. But now, it’s pooped out on us and we have to come up with an alternative – fast. It’s amazing how much we rely on that thing – I hadn’t realized we nuked so much stuff until it conked out on us.

I need to end this. I have a ton of things to do, mainly, I haven’t written my quota for NaNo yet today and it’s still early which means I need to do it now before the guys get up and demand my attention.

Thanks for being patient with me this month.

Take care!

null

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2641. Song of the Week #14

I love music. I love unknown musicians. I post a song from an unknown musician every week. Support your local musicians, won’t you?

Album description:

Rock oboe anyone? SOE blends thoughtful lyrics, tasteful songs, male/female vox and deep emotion in a new yet reminscent San Francisco sound.

Song of the Week:


I also post a daily comic strip from Baby Blues. Life is tough - take a moment and laugh, won’t you? :D

null A new Blog Talkers question was posted today. If you’re looking for something to blog about this week, check it out! A new question posts every Sunday. (THANKS to everyone who has been playing!!)

_____________________________

Baby Blues 2311 Win a 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar - read this post for details.

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2642. It’s a Question of Scruples - #19


Care to elaborate? Why did you vote the way you did?

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2643. Saturday Photo Hunt - Classic

PSHunt
This week’s theme: Classic

Classic Teenage Angst.

Don’t worry. I made him peel it off after the picture. When questioned why he did it? “I was bored.” Geez, son. That’s pretty freaking bored.

Teenage Angst
Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.


_____________________________

Baby Blues 2311 Win a 2008 Baby Blues desk calendar - read this post for details.

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2644. Three Word Wednesday - Something’s Blowing In

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Bone, from If You Only Read One Blog This Year, has challenged us to write a story using these three words: Phone, Stumbled, Windy

This will be my last 3WW until December. I must concentrate on my BOOK. Yeehaw!!

Here’s what I came up with:

______________________________________

Something’s Blowing In

“So. What did you think about Kathy’s new hair color? Wasn’t it hideous?”

“Absolutely. What was she thinking? I swear, with the sun beating down on her head it looked green. Then again,” Ellen examined her lipstick in the hallway mirror, “it goes with her jealous streak.”

The voice on the end of the line cackled in glee. “God, I love your wicked sense of humor, Ellen.”

Ellen smiled at her reflection and moved into the formal dining room. “Tell me it’s not true.”

“Oh, it’s true all right. You can’t look at the woman before she starts spouting off some nonsense about how her husband is the head honcho for this project and did you hear about his big raise? Blahblahblah. I am so sick of that woman.”

“Yeah well. Hang in there. Soccer season will be over soon and then you won’t have to deal with her.”

“Speak for yourself. Basketball season is coming up and Lonnie is determined to make the team.”

“Ah. Basketball season. I’d forgotten about that.” Ellen walked around her expensive oak dining room table, her fingers trailing along the glossy surface. “You know if Lonnie makes the team and Kathy’s son, Stephen, doesn’t, we’ll never hear the end of it, right?”

The woman’s giggle brought a smile to Ellen’s face. “Is it mean to hope that happens?”

“A little.” Both women laughed.

“She deserves it,” the woman continued. “She’s so two-faced.”

“Tell me about it. She was over for coffee last week and gushed over how she absolutely loved what I had done with the kitchen. And then I heard, not two days later, how she was telling everyone it was the ugliest kitchen she had ever seen.”

“Bitch.”

Again, both women giggled like schoolgirls.

Ellen walked back into her kitchen and lifted the lid off the crockpot. She began stirring the contents within.

“What’s for dinner tonight?”

Ellen grinned into the phone. “Sometimes it scares me how well you know me, Abby.”

“Well, I do know you pretty well, but I heard you lift the lid.”

“Santa Fe chicken.”

“Sounds yum. Where did you get the recipe?”

Before Ellen could respond to her friend’s question, the phone beeped three times. “Oh, hang on Abby. Someone’s on the other line.”

“Maybe it’s Kathy wanting to get the name of that color you painted your kitchen walls with.”

“Oh, shut up, you.” Ellen chuckled and clicked over to the other line.

“Hello?”

“You’ve got mail.”

Ellen paused stirring dinner and looked up. “Excuse me?”

“You’ve got mail.” The voice sounded male, but she couldn’t be sure. It was low and husky but sounded mechanical in nature. A finger of dread crept up her brain stem.

“Who is this?”

“Someone you don’t want to piss off. Check your mailbox, now.”

Before Ellen could respond, the line went dead. She slowly removed the wooden spoon from the chicken concoction, laid it on the countertop and replaced the glass lid.

“What was that all about?” She was startled at the sound of her voice. The tone sounded foreign to her ear.

Replacing the receiver on the table, she moved toward the front door. She stumbled over a bump in the floor mat and cursed softly under her breath. Even though she was trying hard to pretend the mysterious phone call was nothing, she knew in her heart, it was definitely going to be something.

She placed her hand on the doorknob and swallowed her anxiety. She would deal with whatever was in that mailbox. She had to. She had worked too hard to make her life perfect for everything to crumble around her now.

She began turning the handle and stopped. Perhaps the stranger was still out there? She closed one eye and leaned toward the peephole to look out on her front porch.

Nothing.

Holding her breath, she opened the door.

And was nearly thrown against the far wall from a sudden gust of wind.

She regained her balance, smoothed her hair back behind her ears and began walking toward their mailbox located just on the outskirts of their property. She swore softly under her breath at the windy weather. She would have to spend precious time putting her hair back in order before meeting Matt for their weekly lunch date.

Ellen finally reached the mailbox. She put her hand on the metal clasp.

A horn beeped two times in rapid succession. It was Mr. Carter, her neighbor. She lifted a hand and forced a semi-friendly smile. The man waved back and zoomed past her.

The old coot. He always drove too fast on their road and Ellen was afraid he would end up hitting one of the neighborhood children one of these days.

She opened the mailbox and reached inside.

Her fingers grazed something hard and she drew back immediately. She looked up and down the street but didn’t see any of her other neighbors out and about. She bent forward and squinted inside.

It was one of those hard, cardboard envelopes that you mail photographs in. She dipped her hand inside and removed the envelope with some difficulty. It had been crammed inside the small box with some force.

She closed the lid and quickly walked back into her house. She shut the door behind her and leaned back against the wood. Her heart was racing and she was finding it hard to breathe.

Please God. Please don’t let this be what she thought it might be.

After long moments, when her heart rate slowed down and she was able to breathe normally again, she slit the envelope open and removed the contents.

There was one lone picture inside. An 8x10 color photograph of her and her long-time lover in a very compromising position.

A small slip of paper fluttered to the ground. She bent down to pick it up and read it as she straightened.

“I know what you’ve been doing.”

Ellen sputtered a cry and clamped a hand over her mouth in horror.

Her perfect world disintegrated before her eyes.

______________________________________

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2645. Thursday Thirteen - Stranger Than Fiction #17

Thirteen Stranger Than Fiction Truths
I have a thing for strange news stories. What can I say? They’re great material for stories. :D

You can find more TT banners here.

This makes my 92nd TT.

1. Teacher Accused in Garter Incident Quits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A high school teacher has resigned during the middle of an investigation in which he allegedly used his teeth to remove the garter of a student during the prom….

2. Teen Dials Wrong Number, Gets Arrested

GULFPORT, Fla. (AP) — Investigators arrested a 14-year-old boy who apparently dialed a really, really wrong number. Authorities said the boy offered to sell drugs to the person on the other end, who happened to be a police detective….

3. Man Fails High School Exams 39 Times

JAIPUR, India (AP) — A 73-year-old man who failed his 10th grade high school exams for the 39th time vowed Friday to try again next year in the hopes that an education will improve his job and marriage prospects….

4. Doctors Find 6 Sewing Needles in Baby

BEIJING (AP) — Doctors in southern China were planning to perform surgery on a 1-year-old boy whose parents took him to a hospital because he had been unusually fussy and learned he had six sewing needles in his body, newspapers reported Monday….

5. Petite Woman Downs 26 Franks in 12 Min.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Juliet Lee, a 107-pound salon manager from Maryland, demolished the competition in the 5th Annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest by downing 26 franks and buns in 12 minutes….

6. Denver ‘Panty Burglar’ Faces Charges

DENVER (AP) — A 34-year-old man was charged Monday with breaking into several homes in northwest Denver and stealing women’s undergarments and other personal items….

7. N.Z. Couple Can’t Name Their Son ‘4real’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand authorities have blocked a couple’s bid to officially name their new son “4real,” saying numerals are not allowed….

8. Turtle Causes Parkway Wreck, Then Dies

UPPER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Why did the turtle cross the road? We’ll never know, but it sure caused one heck of an accident. A woman who swerved to avoid hitting the reptile as it crawled across the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway Tuesday afternoon lost control of her car, crashed through a guardrail and tumbled down an embankment before the car flipped over onto its roof….

9. Ugly Fish Is Seen As Aphrodisiac

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The hagfish is a bottom feeder so repulsive it had a cameo on TV’s “Fear Factor.” It slimes its enemies, has rows of teeth on its tongue, and feeds on the innards of rotting fish by penetrating any orifice. But cooked and served on a plate, it is considered an aphrodisiac in South Korea….

10. Man Aims to Break World Treadmill Record

NEW YORK (AP) — Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes will attempt to break the world record by running more than 153.76 miles in 24 hours on a treadmill in Times Square….

11. Man Accused of Taking Skull for Ashtray

FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) — Police say a gravedigger stole body parts - including a skull and a thigh bone - from a broken casket at a church cemetery and took them home to make an ashtray….

12. Warehouse Fire Claims Ton of Marijuana

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — Firefighters who spent half an hour fighting a blaze in which 2,000 pounds of marijuana went up in smoke breathed so much of it that they would have failed a drug test, a fire chief said….

13. Feces Parking Ticket Proves Costly

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — A man has been ordered to pay nearly $3,000 to the woman who became seriously ill in April after opening a parking ticket envelope in which he had placed dog feces….

Which news story did you find the strangest or most disturbing?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

tags: thursday thirteen

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2646. Will Write For Peanuts

Will Write For Peanuts

Hey, as long as I can write, I’m okay with that. :D

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2647. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2007

Okay, my word count is now 1,843 words. I would have written more, but as you can see, I got sidetracked with character sketches.

Character Sketches

I’m excited. The prologue turned out better than I thought it would and I think it sets the tone for the rest of the story nicely. We’ll see how the next section goes.

Thanks for your encouraging words!

null

Here’s an excerpt of my NaNoWriMo 2007 project entitled: Broken Silence

Blurb:

How well do you know your neighbors?

When a major ice storm cripples, and traps, the residents of Fox Court, they are forced to leave the solace of their homes, forego creature comforts and interact with their strange, and dangerous, neighbors. Fear and doubt escalate when people die, children disappear and a strange presence materializes in the ravine. Soon, it becomes apparent that they must not only survive the inclement weather, they must also survive each other and live to tell the world what happened at Fox Court.

To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.

(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).

_____________________________

Prologue

“Are we dead?”

Charlene Kidder slowly opened her eyes and blinked in the darkness. Why was it so dark? She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

It hurt to breathe.

She opened her eyes once more and tried to blink in what was happening. Something heavy was lying on top of her and her head was pressed against something firm, but pliable. She took a few moments to test various extremities – first her toes and then her fingers.

She couldn’t wiggle the fingers on her left hand. In fact, she couldn’t even feel her left arm at all.

An injection of pure fear shot through her body and she tried to sit up, only she couldn’t because of the object on top of her. She fought back an overwhelming urge to scream and swallowed her claustrophobia. She forced herself to calm down and focus on exactly what was happening.

She turned her head, as much as the confinement allowed, and noted she was in a car – an SUV of some sort.

She also noted that she was looking up at the floorboard; her head was resting on the roof of the car.

Confused and more than a little frightened, she tried to move again.

Her body refused to cooperate.

“This is bad. This is very bad.”

A groan sounded above her and the timbre vibrated throughout her body.

She gasped. She suddenly remembered.

Everything.

“Oh my God, Darrell??”

She shifted under Darrell’s weight hoping that the movement would stir him to consciousness. “Can you hear me? Darrell?”

The man groaned again, only this time the sound was barely above a whisper.

“Are you hurt?”

She bit her lip and fought the urge to cry. Sobbing her eyes out wouldn’t get them out of this situation. She needed to think. She wiggled her toes again and took comfort in the fact that her legs appeared to be working. Now, if she could only get Darrell off of her.

“Darrell. I’m going to assume you can hear me. I need you to scoot over so I can slip out from underneath you. I’m,” she gave a little wiggle and winced at the spear of pain that snaked through her left arm, “quite stuck.”

She paused and waited for Darrell to move.

He did not move.

“Darrell?” her voice was squeaky and unsure. She cleared her throat and assumed a more authoritative voice. “Come on, Rowe. Move your ass. We need to get out of here.”

The silence was unbearably loud.

Darrell’s prone body was deathly still. Charlene’s lower lip began to quiver as she realized their situation was more serious than she thought.

She took a shaky breath and forced a steeliness in her voice she was far from feeling. “Now you listen to me, Darrell Rowe. We have come too far and been through too much for you to die on me now. We were close, we ARE close, to escaping that hellhole once and for all. Now we need to move, and fast, or The Shadow will find us and you know what that …”

A rustling outside the vehicle drew her attention and she abruptly stopped talking. Her heart skipped a beat and her bladder felt unbearably tight as she listened to someone approaching the car. The soft sound of crunching footsteps was very close to the window beside her.

She slowly turned her head toward the window … and screamed.

A pale face was staring back at her. She tried to blink the blurry features into focus but it was no use, it was like trying to make out a bad reception on an old television.

The face peered closer and she screamed again when she heard a soft tapping on the window – the window mere inches from her nose.

This was it. She was going to die. She was going to die and it was going to be painful and gruesome, just like all the others.
_____________________________

(By the way, this is straight from my draft and has not been edited)

Getting Started

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2648. Flash From the Past - Grandmas Are Awesome

Grandmas Are Smile Magnets

This is my mom and GD about … eleven years ago.

Their faces - is that pure happiness or what?

I dare you not to smile when you look at this picture. :)

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2649. Aloha Friday

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Fellow blogger and gal pal Kailani, from An Island Life, has started this fun Friday meme. Here’s a little bit about the meme and how it works:

Aloha Friday is a very popular term used in Hawaii. It’s basically a day where we take it easy and look forward to the upcoming weekend - kind of like T.G.I.F. I’ll be posting a simple question or topic of conversation and then opening up the comments to you. If you’d like to join me, just post something on your blog with your own question and then sign the Mr. Linky below. Then we can all go around and visit each other.

So, if you would like to play along, visit Kailani’s blog, answer her question, and then visit, and answer everyone else’s questions! If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does!

(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)

My question:

Aside from your health, job, and family, name one thing that you’re really, really thankful for.

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2650. NaNoWriMo Excerpt - 2007

I had actually recorded this, but it cut me off before I finished and I don’t have time to re-record it so I’m afraid you’ll just have to live with not seeing my ugly mug, lol.

I’m up to 4,110 words now. Not a bad start. I wrote a bit more than I had expected to today - hopefully, I can write a larger cushion this weekend. I’ll post another excerpt Monday.

null

Here’s another excerpt from my NaNoWriMo 2007 project entitled: Broken Silence

This is a continuation of the prologue posted yesterday.

To see a map of the setting and find out more about the characters, READ THIS PAGE.

(Comments will be turned off for each NaNoWriMo excerpt that appears this month, not because I don’t value your feedback, but because I can’t afford to get distracted with details at this point. Thank you for understanding).

_____________________________

She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing. She would remain calm. She wouldn’t give the son-of-a-bitch the satisfaction of seeing her fear.

“Darrell …” she gulped down her emotions and tried again. “Darrell. I just wanted to say, before we die, that …”

She allowed the rest of her sentence to trail off as a sound in the distance caught her attention.

It was a siren – several sirens, actually.

She laughed in relief, looked up at the floor of the car and said, “Thank you God. Thank you very much.”

A tapping sounded in her ear again and she looked over. She was no longer afraid. They were going to be rescued; they were going to live.

“Can you hear me?” A voice shouted from outside.

Charlene flashed a lopsided grin and shouted back, “Perfectly!”

“Great. Look. We’re going to have to pry this thing apart, and it will take a little while, but I want you to know that we will get you out of there, okay?”

“Okay!”

“What’s your name?”

“Charlene Kidder!”

“Is there anyone else in there with you?”

“Yes! My …” she paused. Her what? What exactly was Darrell to her, anyway? “My neighbor,” she finally yelled back.

“What’s your neighbor’s name?”

“Darrell Rowe!”

“Is he hurt?”

“I’m not sure. He’s not moving and he hasn’t said anything since I regained consciousness!”

“Are you hurt?”

“I can’t feel my left arm, but other than that, I think I’m still in one piece!”

“What’s your situation in there?”

“I’m trapped. Darrell is on top of me!”

“Right. Okay, the firemen are here with the Jaws of Life. Hang tight and we’ll get you out of there.”

“I’m not going anywhere!”

She could hear the man outside her window chuckle before moving away. She then heard several male voices after that and she relaxed. They were going to be all right.

Forty minutes later, she was lying in an ambulance.

“Does this hurt?”

“Yes. And if you do it again, I’m going to punch you in the face.”

The paramedic laughed and nodded. “Fair enough. From what I can tell, you’ve broken your arm. Everything else seems to be in fair working order.”

She gritted her teeth and concentrated on not fainting. “Fair? Are you trying to tell me I could be in better shape?”

The man laughed again and simply shook his head. “I’m going to give you a little morphine to help with the pain and stabilize your arm, but I can’t do much more until they x-ray you.”

Charlene nodded and shifted her eyes toward the back of the ambulance. “My … friend. Is he …?”

The paramedic shook his head. “I’m sorry …”

Charlene gasped and blinked back tears.

“ … I don’t know what sort of condition your friend is in.”

She expelled a sigh of relief. There was still a chance that Darrell was all right.

“Mrs. Kidder?”

“Yes?” She looked toward the police officer that had appeared in the doorway.

“Do you feel up to a few questions?”

“Now?”

“Do you have a more pressing engagement?”

She smirked and rolled her eyes. “Swell. I get stuck with the wannabe comedian.”

The police officer chuckled before heaving his big body into the back of the ambulance.

“How is Darrell?”

“Darrell?” the officer asked as he sat down on her left.

“Darrell Rowe, the man who was trapped with me in the car.”

“I …” the officer shifted his eyes away from her. “I don’t know.”

He was lying. She could tell. “Please tell me. Is he okay? Was he hurt? Is he alive?”

The officer chose to focus on the last question. “The last time I checked, he was alive. But he has sustained serious injuries.”

“How serious?”

“How is she?” the officer addressed the paramedic, ignoring her.

She allowed him to dodge her question … for now.

“In surprisingly good shape,” the paramedic answered.

“I better be. I spend enough time exercising,” Charlene mumbled under her breath.

“Well, that too,” the paramedic chuckled. “Her left arm is broken from the shoulder down and she might have a slight concussion judging by the size of her pupils, but considering she was trapped in a car in the shape of a slinky for several hours in this bitter cold, she’s doing surprisingly well.”

The officer nodded. “Thanks.” He turned his attention back to Charlene. “So, Mrs. Kidder, what happened?”

“That’s a good question.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, we’ve been trying to figure out what the hell happened for the past eight days now.”

“Eight days?” The officer tilted his head to one side in confusion. “You were in the car for eight days?”

“No. We were only in the car for about,” she shrugged. “I honestly don’t know how long we were in there. The past 24-hours are sort of a blur. It could have been under an hour, it could have been several hours, I honestly don’t know.”

“Wait, back up. You said eight days.”

“Right.”

“Eight days ago … what?”

“Exactly.”

The police officer sighed and looked toward the paramedic as if he could supply the coherent answers he needed.

“She’s doped up.”

“You gave her something?” the officer asked, annoyed.

“Well, yeah. She was in pain. She broke her arm.”

“And I asked him real nice,” Charlene slurred and grinned like a monkey hoping to charm the zoo keeper out of an extra banana or two. “I’m not feeling any pain now, though.”

“That’s apparent,” the officer said under his breath. “Okay, stay with me. What happened eight days ago.”

Charlene sputtered a laugh and gave the officer an incredulous look. “Have you been out of town?”

The officer, not finding her amusing in the least, continued to stare at her, stone faced.

She released a long-suffering sigh and said slowly, “The ice storm.”

“Right.”

“The ice storm from hell,” she mumbled.

“I know about the ice storm, Mrs. Kidder. I’ve been working double shifts ever since the fucker started.”

Charlene gave an overly exaggerated wince. “Such language!”

The officer expelled a sigh and tried a different tactic. “What caused the accident?”

“The Shadow.”

“A shadow caused the accident?”

“Not A shadow, THE shadow.”

“I’m not following.”

“Can you clarify what exactly THE shadow is for me, Mrs. Kidder?”

“I wish I could, officer. We’ve been trying to figure that out for the past eight days.”

“Back to the eight days thing again, eh?”

She gave a few enthusiastic nods and the officer ran a hand over his face.

“I’m not going to get any straight answers out of her, am I” the officer asked the paramedic.

“Probably not until the morphine wears off.”

“Fine.” The officer stood and crouched over Charlene. “We’ll talk more about this later.”

“Sounds good to me,” Charlene replied. “Oh hey, before we talk again, you need to make a trip to Fox Court.”

The officer hopped off the back of the vehicle and turned to look at Charlene. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“There are four dead bodies over there.”

The paramedic shrugged at the officer’s confusion and shut the ambulance doors.

_____________________________

(This excerpt is directly from my draft and has not been edited).

Getting Started

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