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Fifth Grade Follies

It was in the fifth grade that I began writing stories. I don’t recall exactly what I wrote but I shared my work with friends, and at one time, my teacher. Any feedback they might have given me is not in my memory banks, so maybe it wasn’t that good? I don’t know. I do know that I began to consider myself a writer at that age.

That is when I discovered the book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I must have checked it out of the school library a dozen times. I identified with little Harriet, although I didn’t consider myself a spy. She spied on people, even sneaked into their homes, to gather information to write about, until one of her schoolmates stole her notebook. It was devastating to have her innermost thoughts and feelings revealed to the world. I was very careful about what I wrote in my own notebook, and the only spying I did was on my family. But the book got me writing.

Fifth grade was still a part of J.E. Rhodes Elementary but our classes were separated from the younger grades. I changed classes for math and reading, probably, I don’t recall. My granddaughter attends J.E. Rhodes Elementary now, although not in the same building. The original building was destroyed by a tornado several years ago, so she goes to school in my old high school building. Of course, it’s all been renovated so it is unrecognizable as the old high school. I just attended her kindergarten graduation in the auditorium that I graduated in 45 years ago! How can that be? At least it’s air-conditioned now!

One memory I have that stands out is one time when we were in class sitting in desks that had been pushed together to make a large group. It was after lunch and I had been bitten by the witty bug and couldn’t keep my mouth closed in my efforts to entertain my classmates. Mrs. Pittman jumped all over me, telling me in front of the class how disappointed she was in my behavior. I’m telling you that stopped it once and for all. I was so ashamed of myself I wished I could disappear. I wish it was that easy to make kids behave today.

Fifth grade. The cusp of preteen-hood. Not quite a baby, not quite a teen, still a kid, but a big one. Next time: a visit to Neiman Marcus for an embarrassing visit with Santa.

My fifth grade school picture.
The pixie haircut grew out!

Do you have any standout memories of fifth grade? Do tell!

XOXO

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writing

Writing Gives Me Wings

I’m sitting here at my desk trying to think of something to write about.  I could just skip the blog post this week and go to bed.  Or work on my novel-in-progress.  But that would be a cop-out.  The best remedy for writer’s block (I’d rather call it a lack of ideas) is to keep writing.  Or so I’ve heard.  And read.  

Just start typing and the words will come, they say.  Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair, they say.  Be a professional, they say.  Write something, anything, they say.  The words will come, they say.

Of course I want to be a professional.  Isn’t that the opposite of amateur?  Or wannabe?  I’m a writer, dang it.  So here I sit.  Maybe I’ll come up with something and maybe someone will read it.  Maybe someone will like it even.

Stella the Boston terrier
 

I have a sidekick who stays here in my office with me while I write.  It’s late right now and she has given up whining at me to go to bed, so she’s curled up on her gray and pink plaid dog bed (thanks, Muttnation by Miranda Lambert!).  She hardly ever leaves my side, and when I’m watching my grandkids with my mother next door, she stands at the fence and stares at me until she is forced to go inside because of the heat. 

 

Stella at the window


This photo was taken this morning as I wrote in my prayer journal.  Notice she has her favorite ball on the windowsill as she looks for squirrels, birds, and rabbits.  It’s her favorite perch.  

See?  I’ve written a whole blog post without really having an idea.  It’s possible to write even without a good idea.  Now to see if anyone will read it.  If you’re a writer, happy writing.  If you’re a reader, thank you!

Have a blessed week.
XOXO


Categories
writing

A Writer’s Dilemma

 

You have your idea. You have your conflict. You have your characters and you have your story. You start typing and it flows. Until you get about halfway. Now what?

Writers have been facing this dilemma since writing began. That’s why some writers outline their entire novel or work before they even start. It helps them to know where they are going with the story.  Writing an outline has never worked for me. 

I’m what they call in writing circles a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. I agree with long-time prolific writer Caleb Pirtle III, author of the Ambrose Lincoln series and the Boomtown Saga.  I like to see where the characters take me. But sometimes they get stuck. Or I become blind or deaf. I can’t tell where they are going and they don’t seem to want to share with me. I’m just the author, after all.

What do I do about this problem? Some people call it writer’s block. I don’t like that term because it suggests that the river of my thoughts and imagination has been dammed up. I still have the river, I just can’t tell where it wants to go.

Take my work in progress, for example. I’ve titled it Keeper III: The Blackout. My characters Emmalee and Elliott have a good thing going. They are attracted to each other, have started dating, and the relationship is beginning to grow.  Emmalee’s old boyfriend Jace has resumed stalking her.  Emmalee’s coworker Gilbert constantly gets on her nerves. The power keeps going off at the zoo and in town.  Now what?  Where do I take the story?

How serious do Emmalee and Elliott become?  Will Jace become violent towards Emmalee?  What will she do about Gilbert?  What is causing the frequent blackouts?

See what I mean?  These are questions I want my reader to ask, but first I have to answer them.  I best get to work.  The solutions seem to flow straight from the seat in the chair to the brain in the head to the fingers on the keyboard.  

Stay tuned. . .

XOXO

Categories
writing

From Keeper II: The Storm

     Molly yelled at the lion, waving her arms frantically as she ran toward her car. The lion’s head had pushed through the broken windshield into the car. She could hear its growling and worried what she might find when she reached the car. She pushed herself harder, unconcerned with what might happen to her. Is that Toni screaming?

     Toni had come to and was pushing as hard as her ebbing strength would allow, trying to keep the crazed lion from reaching Connor in the floorboard. The lion seemed unaware of her and focused on the wailing baby. She was losing the battle, though. The lion had almost made it completely inside the car. She hadn’t realized she was screaming until now. 

Want to see what happens?  Click here!

XOXO

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Categories
writing

Keeper II Debut!

It’s finally here!  The sequel to The Keeper is here! Keeper II: The Storm is now available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. If you like romantic suspense with a Christian slant, if you like animals, if you enjoy zoos, you will love this story of Jolie and her night keeper friends.  

What is happening to animals at the zoo?

That’s the question zookeeper Jolie Sowell seeks to answer as she works the night shift at the Timber City Zoo. The world-class zoo in this small East Texas town never fails to excite and entertain, in part because the night shift provides heavy-duty cleaning, caring for sick and injured animals, and providing security after hours. It’s a dream job until some animals start acting weird and threatening keepers.

As if that isn’t enough, it’s also springtime and tornado season in Texas and Jolie is afraid of storms. How will she manage to keep herself calm and daughter Ellie safe during severe weather?

As Jolie’s relationship with Lucas grows more intense, zoo officials grow more tense as animal incidents occur more frequently.

What is causing these animals to go mad? Who will be the next person attacked? Will Jolie or Lucas be next? How will they protect each other during severe weather? Will the zoo be able to recover?



Check it out here!
And if you read it, be sure to leave a review for me. It’s my bread and butter as an author!  Hope you enjoy!
XOXO

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