Memories in the Corners of My Mind #MFRW


This is week 21 -A Childhood Memory

 

I don’t know if any of the others participating in this blog hop have this problem, but with every prompt comes a flood of questions. It takes me a good while to go through the questions and decide if they are valid or not. This is a process that started with me way back, . . . yeah back to my childhood days just shortly after the stone age.

How far back? What topic? I mean, a scary memory? fun memory? life lesson learned? funny memory? sentimental? How can I narrow it down? Should it tie in with last weeks post about movies?  Does it tie in with writing somehow? What does this have to do with writing? What if . . . . and then I have to tell my brain to SHUT UP! This pattern emerges somewhere before kindergarten.

I learned fairly quickly to keep them to myself as I often got in trouble for asking too many questions. That is a whole other post and that’s not the memory I decided to share. That will go under the category of my mother, learning to deal with ADD, and a creative mind. Maybe I should do that.

Anyway, the memory I decided on is one I will never forget.

I grew up in a small town south of the St. Louis metropolitan area. It’s a rural area just outside of a small town. In the midwest , e get hot summers, sudden thunderstorms and are always ALWAYS aware of the possibility of tornadoes.

The morning started out as any summer morning. It was my job to go out and pick strawberries. My parents had June bearers, which means they put on fruit for about three weeks heavily then are done for the season. School had just let out the week prior and it was my parent’s method to make sure I knew that I wasn’t going to be a slacker. Chores had to be done before my fun started. Most of the time, picking strawberries was an easy task as I love strawberries and I would wash about a pint for myself and eat them. Cost of labor, right? Plus it was a nutritious breakfast. Trust me, I wasn’t thinking about nutrition at that age, I was thinking strawerries – yummmm!

While picking the berries, about three forths of the way down the row – the row was about twenty feet long and three feet wide – I reached for a big juicy berry when movement caught my eye inches from the berry. A snake! Not some little five inch snake, NOOOOOOO! It was a full grown three to four footer. I know now that it was a king snake, not harmful but tell that to my ten-year-old self. OH heck no! He could have the rest of the berries. I grabbed my buckets that I had filled and ran to the house. I set the berries on the counter and realized there was one more bucket out there. Out there where the snake was. I had to go get it. It was going to rain and I needed to get them. Berries don’t keep well once they are picked.

Anyone watching would have thought that the entire garden was infested with cobras. It may as well have been. I knew from experience of where we lived, snakes could move fast. We had a few blue racers around the yard, we had the occasional copperhead show up, and black snakes were common. It could have been anywhere.

Two steps, then looking all around. A couple more steps, watching the vines and foliage around the beans, the cucumbers, the tomato plants. There weren’t any vegetables on them, but there was foliage where a clever snake could hide. I could see the bucket ahead about ten feet away. The closer I got, the slower I moved. My heart was in my throat, pounding out a tattoo of terror. I was bending, reaching for the bucket when I saw it less than three feet away, slithering from the strawberries towards the neighbor’s yard through the fence.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!

I grabbed that bucket and ran like my clothes were on fire.

Three gallon-sized buckets of berries sat on the counter. I wouldn’t eat any. Dad wouldn’t know that I didn’t finish. I would offer to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean the garage, anything that didn’t involve the garden area or snakes.

I finished my other chores then hopped on my biketo meett up with my neighborhood friends and do the all important stuff of summer vacation. (Which roughly translated to riding our bikes till exhaustion, stealing grapes from Mr. Winslade’s vines that poked through the fence, swiping apples from Mr. Eaves tree that hung over his fence, more bike riding, finding a shady place to stop and talk about what else we would do over the summer, more bike riding until our parents were home, and what we’d do the next day.)

I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was other than at noon Mike’s mom would call him for lunch. That was our cue that it was lunch time. I’d cycle back home, grab a tuna sandwich or peanut butter, drink a gallon of tea then vacuum mom’s big rug in the front room, wash the dishes then run back out the door. When Brooke’s dad pulled into the driveway it was time to head home. My dad would be pulling into the drive shortly after his. That meant it was time to clean up and start on dinner. I offered to cook dinner in order to get more allowance. I liked to cook and every kid needed money to get pop and candy at the local gas station.

Dad asked about the strawberries. I said yes, I had picked them. “Was that all of them?”

“Was that all of them?”

“Ummmmmm.”  I’m a terrible liar.

“Well,  I picked all the way down to the telephone pole.”

“Why didn’t you finish?” He showed no emotion, no anger, just a simple question.

“Dad! There was a snake. I could have been bitten. He was huge!” My heart began to race.

“Well, I’m sure he’s long gone so go out there and finish up.” As a parent, I can appreciate this now but at the time, I would have sworn my father was sending me to my death sentence.

“But, I started cooking dinner. Mom will be home at six.”

“You’ve got time. Just go finish up. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.”

I knew there was no reasoning with him. I knew he was right, I had seen the snake leaving. But what if he came back? What if he was waiting for me? What if he wantto curlurl around me and constrict me then eat me whole like Kaa?

I grabbed an empty bucket and walked, head down, towards the strawberry patch. My steps weren’t cautious like before, what did it matter if the snake shot out like an arrow and latched onto my leg. If I were going to die,  then it was going to get me one way or the other.  I knew exactly where I had left off.  The telephone poll was about a foot behind the place I stopped. Plus for anyone who has ever picked berries, it’s easy to see there are red berries here but not there.

I knelt down, picking the berries as quicly as I could. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, seeing a few green bottoms when I dropped them into the bucket. I knew dad would have something to say about that, reminding me that they needed to ripen. I stood, one foot on either side of the patch, so that I could move quicker down the row. There was only about four feet of row remaining and if I managed to get to the end of the row without being bit by a snake, or the imagined tangle of multiple of snakes that I knew were just waiting to strike. My heart pounded as I filled the bucket.

The end was in sight. There was only about ten inches of row left. I could do this. I might survive after all and not end up with the epitaph on my tombstone: Done in by strawberries and the snake that resideth therein.

A particularly large berry, at least four inches wide, red and luscious. My mouth watered remembering that I hadn’t eaten any that morning. Maybe dad would like some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I reached for it. Confident that I was about to cross the finish line unharmed and return to the house victorious.

Then the brown stick that was laying at the end of the row curled up and moved.  I had been bent over, knees slightly bent, one foot on either side of the row  as I worked my way towards the end. I shot up arrow straight, eyes wide, shaking like a leaf. This was not a king snake nor a black snake. It was a copperhead. Copperhead’s are poisonous.  I didn’t dare move. Any movement might make it strike.

I was frozen. Well, aside from the shaking bit. My jaw clenched tightly as I  stared at the snake. I couldn’t let it out of my sight. I couldn’t turn and run. I couldn’t move.

“Stay still, don’t move.” Dad’s voice behind me was both comforting and disconcerting as I detected a note of seriousness in his voice that wasn’t usually there. Slowly, he walked down the path between the strawberries and beans. One step at a time, stalking his prey. When he was just about even with me, he raised the hoe overhead and held it there for a minute before bringing it down with every bit of strength he had. In one move he had chopped it’s head off, picked up the tail end and tossed it behind the neighbor’s garage, then picked up the head with the hoe and flung it in the same direction.

“How about we have some ice cream with our shortcake tonight?” He nodded towards me as he used his hoe to cut a few weeds from the beans. ” Don’t forget that last berry, that’s a beaut!”

I let out a deep breath as I plucked that last berry, grabbed my bucket and walked as quickly as I could towards the house.

My father’s two joys were gardening and fishing. I am grateful that he  taught me about gardening even though I didn’t listen half as much as I should have. I’ve had to learn some of his wisdom through my own trial and error. I am glad that I was his “fishing buddy” for many years. He didn’t often talk, but occasionally. . . occasionally  he would offer pearls.

We had our differences at times, but my dad was always my hero. I miss him terribly.

That night after dinner we enjoyed our strawberry shortcake, and dad made sure I got the biggest berry. When I sat down on the sofa reading a book, I overheard him telling mom that he was proud of me.  That I finished the job even though he could tell I was scared. He had followed me out, going to his garage/ work shop. He watched me out the window for a few minutes and he knew the minute I saw that snake.

My wild imagination often got me in trouble as a kid. Asking a million questions also got me into trouble.  My father was far more patient than my mother. His method of dealing with my questions was to answer them to the best of his ability until he could find something else to distract me.

At some point in our lives, all we have left of our parents are our memories. We sift the bad and keep the good, choosing to hold onto the moments that shape our lives.

Father’s Day is coming up soon, if your father is still with you do something to honor him. Take time to visit him. Share a memory that means a lot to you with him.

Ironically, this wasn’t the memory that I was originally going to share, but it’s the one that came up. Perhaps another time I’ll have the opprtunity to share about the tornado.

Until then, go check out what the other’s are sharing on this blog hop!

 

Leave a comment below  then visit the other authors. Write on my friends, write on!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

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My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book #MFRW


Greetings everyone! It’s a been a while since my last post and even longer since I made an MFRW post.  Life has been – different. I’ll address all of that later, but for now . . . . on to the fun stuff!

The topic for this week –  week 20 – is My Favorite Movie Inspired by a Book.

I realize that many of my constituents (aka other bloggers participating in this blog hop not to be confused with political opponents vying for same geographic region) will probably reference some of the most recent book/movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades. Not me.

The subject is MY favorites.

There are many movies made from books, then made into screenplays. There are movies based on books.  Quite often I find that I greatly prefer the book to the movie. There are a few that have translated well to the big screen.

The Polar Express

It’s amazing what they can do with animation these days, isn’t it? Well, the book made me cry when I first read it to my kids, and that same emotion hit me when I watched it the first time. No, it’s not a sad movie. It’s a wonderful story. They were tears of joy, heartfelt compassion. Yeah, I’m a softie. I cry at commercials sometimes as well.

The Princess Bride

Inconceivable how anyone could not like this movie! This is one of the rare instances that I prefer the movie to the book. If you haven’t seen it, why not? GO – get it now. Download it on Netflix or Amazon and watch it. I’m serious!

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

Based on: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by Wang Dulu

Year published: Between 1938–1942

The novel is actually the fourth book in the Chinese author’s five-part Crane-Iron Series. This martial arts extravaganza is well-written, with a wonderful plot, great characters, action, drama plus it has Donnie Yen, Jet Li,  and Michelle Yeoh! Maybe you aren’t a martial arts fan, but this movie is worth your time. I never read the book for this one either but I saw an interview with Jet Li where he stated about reading the book and he was excited that it was going to be made into a movie. I’ll warn you though, most Asain movies don’t have a happily ever after. Often they are tragic. This book/movie – and the movie followed the book fairly closely – has a dynamic plot that engages the reader/viewer, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

It’s not just another cheap Martial arts movie – this one is worth your time!

Probably not what you would have expected, but there you go! I could list twenty others that I liked but these three are at the top of my list.

What’s your favorite book adapted to the big screen?

Leave a comment below and let me know. Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

My Social Media Hangouts #MFRWauthor


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Welcome to week 15 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“My Social Media Hangouts”

Yeah, I was real original on that title, wasn’t I?

 

I would have to say, I probably spend most o my social media time on Facebook. I’m terrible with twitter, I have my posts set up to tweet automatically. Sometimes when I get a notification I will remember to go check and comment or share,  but most of the time it’s out of sight out of mind.

I will go over to Tumblr about once a month maybe. Last month I completely forgot.

I have an Instagram account but I haven’t shared anything on there in many weeks. I  no longer have a Linkedin account.

If you want to catch me online your best bet is Facebook or Pinterest. But I don’t think you can message anyone on Pinterest, it’s just a bottomless pit of distraction. Like for instance, last weekend I was looking for ideas for my office, wondering what I could do with a small space and purple walls.  I kid you not –  the walls are purple. I’m not really a purple kind of gal. Plus, I don’t think a dark color in such a small space is a good idea.

It’s about 7 feet by 12 feet. You can’t tell from the pictures but the walls “sparkle” with glitter.  I have no idea what sort of business was in here before me. Something girly I’m betting.  My furniture will arrive next week. I’m going to buy some white/sheer striped curtains to replace the purple. I have a couple of silver frames to go on the wall in which I have to display my license and some other legal documentation. I’m also going to try to find some art for the walls as well.  It’s not much, but hey, I finally have an office!  This is not an online hangout though. There is no internet connection at the location yet.

You can find me online at the following:

Facebook  Ellie Mack author

Twitter- @Mack_Ellie

Pinterest- Ellie Mack

My blog- Quotidiandose but if you’re reading this – you’re already here!

You can find out where the other authors hang out as well by visiting them here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

When Inspiration Strikes #MFRWauthor


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Welcome to week 14 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“Story Inspiration”

Or as my title suggests, when Inspiration strikes.  This is definitely one that I will be reading all of the other blogger’s posts!  I find it fascinating what inspires writers to write and write the specific story they end up writing. I wonder if anyone else sometimes does like me — the initial story is not what ends up on the pages.

The myriad of things that inspire me are as diverse as the many things that our world offer! Stop laughing, I’m serious. I’ve been pondering how to best convey this and I’ve come up with a simple plan, to list some of the ideas and where they came from.

  1. An argument over the finances with my husband. Feeling a bit singed around the edges,  several hours after the argument, I was talking with my oldest daughter about something unrelated, probably something to do with a video game that she was playing. Suddenly it struck me! OH, I remember now it was a discussion of the movie The Hobbit. So, she’s going on about some of the scenes in the Hobbit, and describing the scene whenBilbo Baggins enters the dragon’s lair to find the stone amongst the hoard of gold. Dragons – gold – Eureka! I commented about the dragon complex, certain individuals who seem to be obsessed with the HAVING of money, not using the money to enjoy life. Not to name names or anything but being the spendthrift in this marriage I’m sure you can see which of us has the dragon complex. Hmmm, . . . dragon complex. . . gold . . .  shapeshifter dragons. . . attracted to gold. . . I’ll bet they can smell it! I got what my kids call my scary inspiration face and was off and running.  Just a short time later I shoved fourteen pages of handwritten story stat into my daughter’s clutches demanding – READ IT! From that start, Kiss of the Dragon was birthed. I used that story for my very first Nanowrimo story. It still sits in the file drawer because I will admit, it has so many rabbits popping up in it that it’s like a game of whack a rabbit! It needs a lot of rewrites. Don’t fret though, it isn’t forgotten.
  2. While reading the fourth book in a series by an author that I absolutely loved at the time, I didn’t like the way this particular book was playing out.  I kind of felt cheated, to be honest. I had paid good money preordering my first edition hardback copies of these books, and it seemed that it had become more about getting the books published to make money than caring about constructing a quality story. I didn’t like the turn this story was taking.  There was a lot of gratuitous sex in this book, to the point that I was frustrated with the author. To be honest, after finishing this series I’ve not bought another of their books. So the inspiration part: during this “Ugh, this is awful! Way to sell out just to get the books out there. If I were writing this story I would have character X do . . . And the relationship between X and B would end and the heroine would see that character D is the right one for her. As Gru says – Lightbulb! I guess this is the premise of why some people write fanfiction. Not me though,  I  was inspired by the world that this author built, but could see the cracks from the stage so much that it just seemed like stage props. I would take that stage prop, rebuild it, add a dash of humor here, a bit of danger there, oh yes, throw in some dark magic and terror. . . .whala – Faere Warrior and Faere Guardian were born. Yes, these are in my files as well becuase again   – over run with rabbits!
  3. Story prompts! I used to be the managing editor for a group blog, where each of the authors including myself had an assigned day of the week to write a short or serial. The idea was to generate traffic for the up and coming authors and gain them a following.  I’d like to take credit for it,  but I can’t. I  kind of took over for an amazing friend whose brainchild it was when she became overwhelmed with dealing with it. Cathy Brockman was the genius behind it and I owe her a debt of gratitude for helping me in so many ways. My initial debut story was inspired by an online friend that lies in the UK. I only knew them via Facebook. At that time,  the big thing was catfish stories. For those who don’t know what that is,  it was meeting someone online, talking to them, then finding out they weren’t who they said they were. There was a show on tv about it even! So my brain started working on the “What if?”. Love Notes came out of that. No that isn’t published because of some other issues. My first published book, Red Wine & Roses also came out of this group blog. It actually came from a photo prompt. Our family had taken a vacation to the Smoky mountains and we hiked up to Grotto Falls. The scenery inspired me to think while hiking. I was in free think mode, where the sky is the limit and laws of nature can be discarded while thinking in the whatif. I had learned a lot during my tenure at the group blog, one of the lessons being to focus on and finish a project. Thanks to an amazing lady – Vicki Locey – she is helping me to not only focus on one project at  a time but managing revisions of my previous stories.
  4. While driving my daughter to work a few years ago before she had her license, we passed a field that was flooded.  There were many places flooded and in fact, that was the last day we were able to travel that road for a week and a half due to flooding. This field had been planted with corn and the tender young plants were either completely under water or partially underwater. Once the road was reopened,  you could see the high water marks,  the pitiful looking plants that you knew were going to die, and a vast field of mud. It was obviously too muddy for the farmer to get out there yet and replant the field but the thought stuck me – If a person were to try to walk through that field, they would sink up to their hips. Hmm, . . . whala! Another story idea. I haven’t developed this one very far, but it’s on my todo list.

Inspiration is all around us. I have never had a shortage of ideas. If I ever do,  I always have a plethora of projects in my unfinished files. By the time I finish that, maybe I’ll have more ideas.

What inspires you? What prompts a story idea for you? do you ever wonder where an author gets an idea for the story?

How are you liking these posts? YOU may want to check out these other authors views as well:

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A Rose by Any Other Name . . . #MFRWauthor


Welcome to Week 8 of the MFRWauthors  blog challenge. This week’s prompt is: How  I Choose a Book Title. #MFRWauthor #amwriting #booktitles

 Good Titles may roll off of the tongues of some authors, but not mine. This is often why I refer to my projects as WIP – work in progress, and tell you right up front that it is tentatively titled XXX.

It is strange,  but when I am in my writing group, I can come up with good titles for someone else’s work easier than my own.

redwine-ebook

 

 

For Red Wine & Roses, that title came rather easily. It was the key scene that I wrote for a flash piece, then later developed into the full novel. Red wine and roses were touchpoints to Derek and Julia’s dates from the beginning so it seemed like a logical title. Derek has an old fashioned view about romance that in his mind, one expression of his love for Julia is by showering her with red roses. Towards the end of the story, after the darkest moment,  the reader will see the depth of his love expressed in this manner.

 

 

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For my second book Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass, I had lengthy debates over whether to use that for the title or not. I thought about just going with 30 days of Sass.  This book is a compilation of 30 short essays tinged with a lot of sass. A humorous view on life from the writer’s desk, while offering a little motivation to the reader, this nonfiction book is straight from the heart.

Titles are something that typically, I  ponder over and then tend to stress over. Consider the current WIP which I am targeting for completion by the end of April  2017. (Please help me stay accountable to this date!) My original story idea was titled Oral Dilemma. An erotic short where the Main character was always getting into trouble with her mouth via smart-alec quips, vocal talents behind the microphone at the bar, or oral talents in the erotic sense. It fit and I thought it was clever. However, while dusting this off from my files and giving it a thorough once over, I  realized  how bad my pantsing was. This was a serial that I shared on a former group blog I was managing editor for called Storytime Trysts. First of all, I cringed at rereading it, scratching my head at what I thought I was doing. Secondly, the pantsing gave me a lot of background scenes, but no real story. I really liked this character Roxanne Winters though, she had a story that needed to be told.

I basically have dissected this story, taken it apart and tossed out the majority. I had 57,000 words in this story. The bulk of that is gone and it currently sits at 21,354 with a revised outline, a real plot, and very real character goals. Oral Dilemma was no longer appropriate, nor did it really fit the story. I came up with the title Roxy Sings The Blues after debating several other options: The Blues Singer, Foxy Roxy, Little Girl Blue, Whiskey River (I couldn’t go with that one because I decided to cut out the lengthy section of her falling into an alcoholic abyss.) and finally landed on Roxy Sings the Blues. It fits, it’s concise and there aren’t twenty other titles out there with the same name.

Roxy Sings the Blues is another stand alone romance, but this one is romance suspense. The tentative blurb for it is:

Scars tell the story of a past. Roxy’s scars aren’t visible but they have carved her deeply and the pain they have caused pours out through soulful song. If facing a motherless future wasn’t enough, a failed relationship from her past resurfaces to torment her. Just when she was trying to build a new life for herself, trouble making Devon Miller drags her into his chaotic life. The stakes are high as Roxy sits in the spotlight of a dangerous investigation. 

Devon,  a homicide detective is hot for the case and stirring embers of a forbidden fire. Will Roxy hit the right note and help her old flame solve his big case or will she be left singing the blues?

An author’s book is like one of their children. We give them life. We watch them grow. We correct them when they go down the wrong path.  We scrub them clean to be presentable to company. We hope that when they go out into the big world, they are ready. We have to cut the chord and let them stand on their own. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Our book babies need titles that will grab a reader’s attention. This is an artform in and of itself. One that I feel that with some of my future projects – Valkyrie’s Curse (NO, I haven’t given up on that one.) Realm Wars (This is the series title for the books that will include Faere Warrior, Faere Guardian, Faere Mage, and two more that I haven’t decided on titles for.)I am pleased with my title names. But for others – The Hamilton Project, Vamps Couture, my dragon shifter series,  my nefleheim series, I’m either not happy with my working title or don’t have a title yet. It is as personal as naming our biological children. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series. Especially if that name is

Funny story about that – my oldest daughter’s name was selected when I was 6 months pregnant. She was going to be Rachel Lynne. Many of my shower gifts were addressed to baby Rachel. However, the moment that she made her debut into this world, I looked at her while the doctor was cleaning her up, suctioning the birth gunk, and she let out that first baby wail – she was not a Rachel. For the first twenty-four hours of her life, she was Baby girl. The nurses were counselling me that I could apply for her name with the state once we decided because I was to be released soon. You know how fast they kick you out after giving birth, right?

Well, after a gruelling delivery, I had a fever, extremely low iron, and was severely dehydrated. They kept me for another full day in which time my wonderful hubs brought the baby name books back to the hospital and we pored over them. I’m happy to say her name suits her, but it’s not Rachel. But our readers won’t take our babies into their homes if their names aren’t catchy enough to grab attention.  As a reader, I am very picky about titles. I find I do tend to pick up titles with nothing but Names especially if in a series.

That’s how we want our books to be –  well suited with a title. It can be a tricky thing.

How do I come up with a title?  Usually, it’s an element of the story like the roses, or the obvious sass. Sometimes it is the character’s name. I have to admit, I see the titles of other authors and wish that I were as clever. Ah well, maybe someday.

Let’s go take a look at how others come up with their titles!

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You can find other posts in this series here:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!
  5. #MFRW Best Friends
  6. Crafty Author #MFRWauthor
  7. Musical Mayhem #MFRWauthor

Write on my friends, write on!