Category Archives: Fiction

OPTIMISTIC BUT LAZY/MAYBE

OptimisticDSC_0289

I have not been doing the Daily Post but for the last few weeks I have tired the Weekly Post.  Why?  I’ve been busy working in my yard and vegetable garden.  But having a life is no excuse for not writing.  Everyone has a life, right?  I have two manuscripts that I have also been working on sometimes… once in a while… almost never.

     You can’t get published if you don’t finish the manuscript!  I tell myself this all the time but most of the time myself doesn’t listen.  If I ever go out in the yard and walk around I am usually hooked and will be out there for hours.  There is always some work needed in my yard and/or garden.  I love that work but I also tell myself that I love to write but I am lazy.  But I don think lazy is the right word; maybe procrastinator works better because I have good intentions about writing.  But you know what they say about good intentions, right?

I am optimistic that I am going to do better and finish those two novels because I have a lot more stories in my head.  I just need to stay in the house and work… work… work.  I can work in the garden during certain days and save the evenings for writing.  I say certain days because housework (I hate it) must also be done.

Thanks for stopping by and please come back soon.  Hopefully I will do another post tomorrow.  God bless.

Advertisements

CHRISTMAS ON THE CREEK

post shot

The first Christmas on the Creek I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t a baby and I knew there was no money for pretty gifts or even the fancy red apples and oranges so juicy the juice ran down your hands when you divided it into sections.  Those luxuries were things of the past.

Our fireplace was black as pitch inside and large enough I could almost stand in it with the tips of my fingers barely touching the sides when I tried to stretch the width.  We only had a small stack of split logs on the back porch so Momma kept only one piece nestled in red hot coals in the fireplace.  It was just enough to keep the chill off the living room if you stood almost or on the hearth. The rest of the house was like a freezer. We wore heavy sweaters and slept together to try and keep warm.  Momma piled the bed high with her beautiful hand-made quilts; so many it was hard to turn over. It was like sleeping under a thin mattress.  Wind whipped around the corners of the house and howled low and mournful. Frigid air whistled through the cracks in the floor. When we woke in the mornings we could see our breath when we exhaled. I was glad to go to school where at least it was warm then I felt guilty because Momma was home in the cold. She stood for hours ironing for the ladies who arrived in shiny new cars and left the baskets, filled to overflowing with clothes. They spoke just enough to give Momma orders about how they wanted their laundry done. When they picked them up and handed over the meager pay they didn’t even say “thank you.” Momma said she did not mind because it helped keep food on the table.

Christmas Eve we went to bed early, as usual, to save our firewood. I lay there with a big ache in my stomach and wondered if Daddy was warm in Heaven. Did he know me and Momma were almost out of food? I thought not because Heaven is a happy place and Daddy wouldn’t be happy if he knew our situation. Then I felt hot anger boil through my body like melted lava. How could he leave us like this? I balled my hands in to fists under the cover and clenched my jaws. I wanted to hit something… anything. Then my face burned with shame. Of course Daddy would not leave us if he had a choice. If I wanted to blame anyone I should get mad at myself for running my big mouth about sharing our food when we had plenty. I took a deep breath and silently asked God to please forgive me for being so selfish and now having mean thoughts. I sure didn’t want more bad times to come our way. What if Momma died too because of my mean spirit? Her back was toward me so I rolled over and snaked my arm around her middle. She smelled like Ivory soap.

“I love you, Momma” I whispered because I thought she was asleep. “Don’t worry ‘bout no presents, long as I have you that’s all I need.”

She patted my hand and her voice sounded choked when she said “Oh sweet girl, you are a blessing.”

She wouldn’t think I was a blessing if she knew my evil thoughts so I never told her about them.

Later, I guess she thought I was asleep, I felt her shoulders quiver and she stifled a sob. Momma was crying. Momma never cried except when Daddy died.

The next morning the smell of coffee perking tickled my nose and woke me. I smelled something else too but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Coffee was good enough! We hadn’t had coffee in over a week. I eased from the warm bed and the room didn’t feel as cold as usual as I stuffed my feet into my old black Converse tennis shoes with holes in the toes.

I found Momma in the kitchen frying eggs. A pan of biscuits was on the cooling rack and soft Christmas music oozed from the old radio on the windowsill. It set there because that was the only place it would get reception.

She turned and smiled “Merry Christmas! ‘Bout time you got up I thought you had decided to skip today.”

I headed to the coffee pot. “Where did we get coffee?” I reached in the cabinet for a mug “and biscuits?”

“I saved the coffee as a treat for today and you know we always have flour.”

“But what about the lard and buttermilk?”

“We got lard and I reckon water is gonna have to do instead of milk.”

She flipped two eggs on both of our plate then started making gravy.

The lid of her big canning pot, setting on the back burner of the stove, clattered softly as the steam hissed out forcing it up then down. The smell escaping with each bounce made my mouth water. “What’s in the pot?” I sneaked a pinch of a biscuit.

“Old Red.” She poured the gravy in a bowl and carried it to the table. I noticed she had covered it with her best white tablecloth.

“You killed our rooster?” I cried not believing what I had just heard.

“Yep, but he ain’t lonely in that pot ‘cause Pearl’s in there with’im.” She motioned for me to bring our plates to the table as she carried the platter of biscuits.

“You killed our hen too! Now what are we gonna do for eggs?” I could not believe she would do something I considered plain dumb.

“Sit down Caroline and let’s thank the Good Lord for this here breakfast we ‘bout to receive.”

I knew better than to disobey her even if I did think she had somehow lost her mind. I sank onto the chair and bowed my head. I kept thinking about those two chickens in the pot as she said a humble prayer.

When she said “Amen” she took two biscuits and put them on my plate beside the eggs and smothered them with brown gravy then she did the same with her own. “Eat ‘fore yore food gets cold.”

“Momma…”

“Caroline, you worry too much. The Good Lord always takes care of us. Ain’t you got food to eat this morning?”

“But what about tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow has got enough worry of its own so don’t borrow it for today. It’s Christmas, relax and enjoy what we got. Them two old chickens cost more to feed than buying eggs, now eat.”

We had just finished our breakfast when a man knocked on the door and asked Momma for our chairs. When she carried two and had me drag the other two to the door I knew for sure she had lost her mind. Maybe the cold done froze her brain.

I helped her make the chicken and dumplings without asking any more questions. She had already killed the hen and rooster and gave away our chairs so I might as well enjoy what we had left.

I heard people laughing and talking outside and Momma looked at me. She nodded, “It’s time” she said as she lifted the big pot from the stove and carried it to the door.

Once outside I saw that the men had made long tables by balancing them on sawhorses with chairs crowded around both and the women had covered the tables with sheets. Every family on the Creek had brought something to share for our Christmas dinner. The huge bowls of collards had steam wafting from them. We had black-eyed peas from one garden, lima beans from another, squash, fried okra and any vegetable or whatever someone had to share. There were huge platters of fried chicken, biscuits and cornbread. Someone had even brought two chocolate cakes and pecan pies. I held my breath unable to believe my eyes. The men had dragged logs and huge limbs from the woods behind our homes and had a huge bonfire snapping and crackling not far from the tables. It was against the fire department rules to have a bonfire inside the city limits but no one bothered to check on the Creek.

We all ate our fill and afterwards, the adults relaxed and drank coffee as they visited; telling stories of past years and swearing this was the best party yet. The children played Keep-Away with a bright red ball that someone probably got from Santa. We played chase and hide-and-seek; everyone was laughing and happy.

The sun was sliding behind the trees and the sky was light gray streaked with rose and yellow when Pastor Jones took out his guitar and began to strum the strings. Hot tears filled my eyes and I quickly turned my back and stepped into the shadows so no one could see me cry. Momma seemed to always know what I was thinking and how I was feeling she came up behind be quietly and patted my back. “Don’t be sad Caroline, he’s here. He’s right here with us in spirit.”

The men played their instruments and we sang Christmas carols and hymns late into the night as the fire hissed and popped and slowed burned itself out.

That was the best Christmas I can remember. Even though there were no fancy gifts wrapped in pretty paper we all had the best gift of all, the gift God gave us, the gift of love. This was the true meaning of Christmas; it should be sharing what you have and laughing and enjoying being with family and friends.

 

Thank you for stopping by, I hope your Christmas is filled with love and happiness and we all remember the real reason we are celebrating. God gave us His Son so we can be part of His family and share His love with all.

Please stop back soon. God bless.

Gathering

Christmas on the Creek

WELCOME TO THE CREEK

DSC_0063

Life on the creek was not too bad; at least I survived.  Or did I?

I was in elementary school when they sold the farm and we moved to the outskirts of town. There would be no more freshly plowed fields to walk through crunching clods of dirt just to feel them crumble under our bare feet; no more deep well to draw cool water; no more faded gray barn that always smelled of dust and hay.  But worst of all no more Hay-Burner to live in that barn. Momma was allowed to bring along a few chickens and the others were left to the people who bought our house.  Momma and I cried because we didn’t want to leave our home but Daddy kept a stiff upper-lip.  It was  years later that I realized his heart was also breaking.  Farming was his life and now the doctor said he could not do it anymore.  So he gave up his dream, moved us to a house that wasn’t too bad at the start and he went to work as a night security guard at a sawmill.

Everything went well for a few years.  We were the first family on the street to get a television.  All the kids from several blocks gathered in our living-room every afternoon Monday through Friday to watch Circle-Six Ranch.  They were sprawled on every place to sit and some lay  with their elbows on the floor and heads resting in their hands almost hypnotized by the phony cowboy on the small black and white screen.  They waited patiently for the cartoons. Momma gladly welcomed them and often served Vanilla Wafer cookies and Kool-Aid.  She would hustle them out the door before dark and dinner time.  If it was cold she would have a smile on her face as she bundled the little ones in sweaters, coats and some had hats, as she instructed the older kids to make sure everyone got home safely.

Then our lives changed completely.  It was his birthday and when Daddy got home from work just as the sky was turning light gray with streaks of yellow from the sun that was trying to peep over the tree line behind our house we sang Happy Birthday.  Momma had made his favorite Coconut Cake.  I was promised a big slice when I got home.  Then with a quick hug, kiss and “I love you” I was hustled off to school.

Those were the last words my Daddy and I said to each other.  He had a heart attack and died later that morning.

All the neighbors gathered to console us and they brought food; which I later learned was The Creek Folks way to show they cared.  I had never seen so many cakes, pies and fried chicken.  But the huge lumps in my throat and stomach would not let me eat a bite.  Momma couldn’t eat either.  She stayed busy making and serving coffee and sweet iced tea and thanking everyone.

Yes, our life on the Creek changed and maybe some would view it as worse and some as better; the truth is up to the individual.  We were soon to learn what the Creek life was really like.

Thank you for stopping by and of course there will be more Creek tales in the future.

 

 

 

 

I HAVE A NOVEL IN MY MIND

    

     I recently read an article that talked about writing being work and I have to agree one-hundred percent.  If you think writing a novel is easy then I would think you haven’t written a novel then had to rewrite it and then rewrite it again.  Writing is not a hobby or play.  It is a job just like any other career.  If you want to be successful you must take it seriously.  I must confess that I have not taken it as sincerely as I should.  I have been just plain lazy and I have no excuses that are acceptable.

     So you say “I have this great novel in my mind if I could just find time to put it on paper.”  Well, so do I and probably over a thousand others.  I know one thing for certain; as long as it stays in your mind it will never become a bestseller.  We will never “just find time” we must make time.  Remember we all get the same amount of hours in a day the difference is what we do with those hours.  How do we manage our time and why can’t we find time to write.  I can’t speak for you that is something you will have to do some soul-searching and answer for yourself.

     First, I believe that God should always come first in our life.  He should have the first and best part of our day.  Then we schedule other activities.

     I can find all kinds of endeavors to do instead of writing.  I say I love to write but now I must search myself and see if that is true.  If it is true then why don’t I make more time for it? 

  • One reason could be fear of being rejected.  If I don’t finish the novel it won’t be turned down.
  • Fear of being ridiculed; if this has ever happened to you about something you wrote whether as a child or adult then that fear is real.  You never want to subject yourself to it again.
  • Fear of not being the best.  Not everyone can be perfect and there are a lot of novels out there that lack perfection.
  • Fear of failure.  You tried writing before and your manuscripts were not accepted by a publisher.  Well you finished it didn’t you?  So you aren’t failing maybe you just need to try a different hook.
  • Pure honest to goodness laziness.  I really don’t believe this applies to many or any of us.  There is always an underlying reason for our lack of production.

            If we really and truly want to write we simply must sit down and put words on paper and forget all the other bunk.  So what if others laugh?  They ridiculed Noah and look what he did (we’re still talking about it today.)  If you must have perfection then keep writing until you achieve it.  If your fear is failure well so long as you are putting words on paper you are not failing. There are as many reasons for not writing as there are people who want to write.  Each of us must decide which apply to us and do our best to overcome whatever it is.  No one can or will do this for us it is up to us to write or not to write.  The road to being an author is not an easy one.  We hit some huge bumps along the way but we must persevere and overcome those obstacles.

     Thanks for stopping by, until next time keep writing and before you know it that novel you had in your mind will be a completed manuscript on paper.

 God bless.

 

I RECOMMEND

   

 Recently our son gave us a book “A Land Remembered” by Patrick Smith.  I know he has excellent taste in books so I was eager to read it.  Well let me tell you he was right on the money again with this novel.

     In “A Land Remembered” Patrick Smith makes the history of Florida come alive.  He shows the story so well that you are there experiencing the cattle drives and the hard times and good with the MacIvey family.  It grabs you in the first couple of pages and keeps its grip to the end.  Wow, what a story-teller.  Once you read this novel you will look at Florida with a different perspective as you drive through the state.  While I think it is well written and a great novel I believe that every Floridian should read it.  I hear that some schools in the state have included a revised edition in their required reading list.

     I usually don’t read anything historical or any where close to it but I tell you when you read “A Land Remembered” you don’t feel like you are reading history.

     Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, get the book even if you check it out of your local library.  I know you won’t be sorry.  If you have any novels you fell in love with and would like to recommend I read please feel free to tell me in a comment.

God Bless.

FAITH IN YOUR TALENT AS A WRITER

     A career in writing can be a very lonely job.  However, it can be equally exciting; we get to see our characters grow and develop their personalities.  We get to travel places that we might only get to go in our imagination.  Being an author can also bring along fear and doubt.  We get rejections on top of rejections while we see others who don’t write as well or are at least equal with us.  We wonder “What am I doing wrong?”  The truth might be that the problem is not in your writing at all. 

     We can’t doubt and have faith all at the same time.  It is impossible!  We either have faith that God gave us our talent and we will be successful in His time or we doubt that He will do what He said He will do.  If we doubt, in essence we are calling God a liar.  He either keeps His promises or He doesn’t.  And I for one know He doesn’t lie.

     We just need to have patience and wait for His time.  Sometimes it might take days, weeks or even years but when the time is right we will see God working to answer our prayers.  This has happened to me so many times.  I once prayed for a house in a certain area.  Well we moved into an apartment and it was nice so I quit praying for the house.  A couple of years later we bought a house in the area I had prayed about.  I didn’t think about my prayer until one day I was backing out of our drive and thanking God for our home when His Spirit spoke to mine and said, “You asked for a home in this area.”  Let me tell you it floored me!!  I stopped right there and said, “Yes Lord I did, please forgive me for not thanking you sooner.”  The house was what I had prayed about a couple of years before!!  God is so good all the time.

     So talk to God and if He has given you the talent to be a writer don’t doubt your success.  It will come in God’s time.  It will be the success He has planned especially for you and you will be happy.  So now instead of worry have peace in your soul and know that God is in charge.  He is working behind the scenes when we don’t see His hand in what we are doing.  Go on and in your mind see your book on the best sellers list, see yourself doing huge book signings and start now thanking God for your success.  Is this mind over matter?  I don’t think so. Remember Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  That is a promise from God!  So we don’t need to look around at other authors and see them getting published and wonder why we aren’t.  We don’t need to worry if an agent will accept us or not. 2 Timothy 7 tells us; (For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.)  All we need to do is keep writing and trusting God.  It sounds so easy but let me tell you that you will have times of doubt.  Satan will try to whisper in your ear that you are a fool and shouldn’t believe that God is in charge but don’t you believe him.  You just keep praying and asking God what He wants you to do next and trust Him for a successful outcome.

     Thanks for stopping by and until next time keep writing and keep trusting God and believe that you are a success because God doesn’t lie.

BUILD YOUR WORD REPERTOIRE

     Recently my 67-year-old sister-in-law shocked her oldest daughter by telling her that she liked RAP music (for lack of a better word though it hardly qualifies as music.)  We all got a good laugh out of that because we’re almost sure she doesn’t even know what RAP is. Or she might really shock us by knowing what it is.  But it is highly doubtful.  This is a woman who does not use swear words nor does she want them said around her.  She is a true Southern Lady.

     I thought about it and I decided I might like some RAP if they didn’t cuss so much.  As I was growing up, and trust me that was many moons ago, we were taught that a person uses cuss words because they have a limited vocabulary.  So the author of RAP just like any other writer should strive to develop a repertoire of words even though they might never use them in any of their work.  We know that as writers we should tell the story (or song) in the most precise terms.  A reader or listener does not want to struggle through fifty dollar words when ten-cent words will get the point across.

     There are a number of ways to build our collection of words; Scrabble, learning a new word every day, reading and so on and on.  I prefer the reading method.  I like having the knowledge when and if I ever need it but like every one else I attempt to make my manuscripts an easy, enjoyable read.  Our readers want to be entertained not impressed by our large vocabularies but on the other hand I feel they don’t want every other word to be a cuss word.

     Will I listen to RAP?  I have in the past when my sons and I were sharing a car.  I didn’t really like it then but I did enjoy sharing the moment with which ever son was driving me to and from work that particular day.  They were also kind enough to listen to my Country Music on rare, very rare, occasions.  Today if you get in my car and turn on the CD player you will probably hear something like “The Wheels on The Bus Go Round and Round.”  Why?  Because that is the kind of music my two-year old grandson enjoys and we are sharing moments and building happy memories.

     I like most music but not all of any genre. Music is part of life and wouldn’t the world be colorless without it?

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time settle back in a comfort chair and listen to RAP… or not.   God bless.

DOUBTING MY WRITING SKILLS

    

Do you ever doubt your writing skills?  You know you are a writer maybe you’ve even have published books to prove it.  But you sit down at the computer and you think, “I can’t do this.  I can’t get my thoughts to come out the way I want them to.”  And a small internal voice whispers, “Of course you can’t.  Who are you trying to fool?  You can’t write and even if you put words on the paper no one will want to read them.”  Then you hear.  “Writing is a hard world to break into.  You have to know somebody who knows somebody to even get your big toe in the door.  You might as well give it up.”  And you think “Who do I know?”  And you come up with “On one.”

     But you are wrong!  If you are a Christian you know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and they are bigger than anything, even the publishing business.  If God has given you the talent to write He will open the doors that He wants open for you.  We don’t need to worry about which doors will get open and how they get open.  That is not our job!  Our job is to write and keep writing.  We know God gave us the talent so we have to trust Him to guide us where we should be. 

     In James 1; 1 – 8 James tells us to trust God and not be double minded.  If we know God gave us our writing talent then we can trust Him to show us how to succeed.

     We must practice our faith in our every day lives.  When a problem arises we should think of God immediately.  Once we have talked to Him we know He has worked the situation out for our benefit. (Romans 8: 28)  When we ask we must have faith that it is done.  Jesus was the perfect example to this.  He would get alone to talk to God and we read where He knew what to do and say.  Jesus didn’t doubt God because He knew God was and is bigger and more powerful than anything this world can throw at us.  We too must know this.  We are God’s children and He works all things for our good.  So when we go to our Father we should go knowing whatever we ask will be done.

     Satan wants us to be full of doubts and fail.  He wants to destroy us.  If we are destroyed and fail what glory does that bring God?  But on the other hand God wants us to succeed and be prosperous.  I fully believe He would not have given us the desire to write if He didn’t want us to be authors.

     A good practice is when you sit down to write, first bow your head and ask God to guide you; ask Him to write the story through you.  Then start writing and leave the consequences to Him.  You will have more confidence in yourself and the work you produce.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time keep writing but more important keep believing and praying and remember God is greater.  God bless.

DOES GOD CARE ABOUT OUR WRITING CAREER

     I’m feeling better but still a little weak.  I tell you that was one bad virus.  Once it grabs you it just doesn’t want to let go.  But God is stronger and I will heal one place or the other. Being sick I just haven’t felt like putting any effort in my writing.  I know I need to sit myself down and work on finishing the Southern Drama and Suspense novels that I’ve been working on forever.  Then there is the Southern Drama that I need to rewrite and a new one that is playing around in my head with faint sketches on paper.  So I certainly don’t have Writer’s Block what I have is lazy block.  And the only cure for that is to get over it period; which I absolutely plan to do.

    Some of my blogs will be about writing and some about my life and some about God and His wonderful love for us. 

     Today I would like to talk about Hebrews chapter 11.  The people in Hebrews 11 show a strong faith.  This is the kind of faith we Christians should experience.  Like a weak muscle we must exercise our faith so it becomes strong.  When we have faith and see God do the little things we ask we began to ask for bigger things.  This is how we build strong trust in God.  We know He can and will but we must teach ourselves not only is He will or able but He HAS done what we seek.  That is the kind of faith we need to practice. When we come asking our Father for something we need to go away knowing it has been done.  It is a done deal so we thank Him for it.  God is so good and He wants us to build a strong fellowship with Him.

     I know God answers prayers today.  Is it wrong to pray about our writing careers?  I don’t think so.  God gave us this desire and talent to write.  I fully believe He wants us to talk to Him about what we write.  We need to make sure we are writing what He wants us to write and the only way to do that is to talk to Him and give Him a chance to talk back to us.  I also like to say a prayer before each writing session and ask God and the Holy Spirit to write the story through me.  At the end of the session I like to thank God for showing me how and what to write.  Does God care about our writing career?  My answer to that is ABSOLUTELY!  God cares about everything in our lives.

     Thanks for stopping by.  Try talking to God about your writing and see what He says.  No… you won’t hear a booming voice because God speaks softly to our hearts and spirits. God bless and keep you.

INTO THE FREE (novel review)

    

I’ve recently read “Into the Free” a novel by Julie Cantrell.  I highly recommend this book.  It is a great read.  Cantrell holds your interest from the first page up to the last word.  It is a Southern Drama about a young girl’s struggles with life.

     Thanks for stopping by.  This is just my thoughts this morning. We expecting  thunder storms here in Florida today so I might not get back on the computer until they pass.  I usually never go on my computer in bad weather.  I will try to get a regular post up when the weather is better.  Have a great day and God bless.