Ye Olde Tyme Dry Goods Market

View of the Hermit in a rocking chair, by Free...

View of the Hermit in a rocking chair, by Freeman, J. (Josiah) 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tim and Maria sit in the air-conditioned Lexus debating whether or not to enter the shabby old store.  Maria says, “I don’t know, it looks kind of creepy.  I mean you can’t even see in the windows.”

Tim sighs deeply, shaking his head, “You said you were hungry and thirsty.  We’re out here in the middle of nowhere.  This may be our best bet to find anything at all to eat or drink before we get to your Uncle’s cabin.”  Looking around at the deserted town, Tim says,  “I guess what I want to know is what kind of people live out here like this?  I’m surprised they even have electricity this far out.”

Maria rolls her eyes, “Don’t be an idiot. Of course they have electricity.  Gosh, you may be surprised to find they even have phone service!”

Tim opens his door, “Smart aleck!  You can stay out here if you want, but I’m going inside.  They probably don’t have any kind of specialty coffees, but surely they have Coke.  Right now, I’ll settle for just about anything.”

Maria looks around at the empty streets, dusk having taken hold, and no street lights to keep the darkness at bay.  “Hold on.  I’m coming with you.”

They climb the old wooden steps, making their way across the porch.  Tim stops next to a wooden rocking chair and taps it, causing it to rock back and forth.  “Look at these old things.  Looks like they were painted at one time.  Probably 50 years ago.”  They walk past the chair and Tim pulls open the screen door.  He glances over his shoulder at the chair and notices it’s still rocking.  He thinks that’s odd, shakes his head, but doesn’t say anything about it to Maria.

She follows him into the dark, musty smelling store.  They close the screen door and stand there letting their eyes adjust to the darkness.  Maria whispers, “This is weird.  I wonder if there’s anyone here.  Maybe this place isn’t really open.”

Tim takes a couple of steps forward on the creaky wooden floor when suddenly an elderly woman appears.  She has her grey hair pulled back into a bun, wearing a calico dress with an old-fashioned looking white apron protecting her clothes.  She silently walks behind the counter then glances at the young couple, “Hep ya?”

Tim and Maria look at each other.  Tim raises an eyebrow.  Marie nods in response to his silent question.  Tim meets the woman’s gaze with a smile, “Uh, yeah.  We’re traveling and saw your store.  Thought we’d stop in and pick up some snacks and Cokes to get us through the rest of our trip.”

The woman stares at them, then tilts her head to the side toward an old Coke machine.  “Co’ Cola’s right thar, get what ya want.  Got tater chips and candy here behind the counter.”

Tim and Maria walk hesitantly to the Coke machine.  It kind of looks like a small chest type freezer with a clear lid on top.  Tim lifts the lid and they each grab a small glass bottle of Coke.  Tim speaks softly to Maria, “I haven’t seen these since I was really young.  Grandma used to have these when we’d come to visit.”

They amble up and down the few aisles, looking at the groceries for sale.  Maria picks up a tin of corn meal.  “Look at this.  It’s metal…strange.” She puts the tin back on the shelf, takes a couple of steps, and stops to look at a large glass jar on the top shelf.  “What in the world is this?”  She stands staring at the jar.  “Oh my gosh, Tim…pickled pigs’ feet.  I didn’t even know there really was such a thing.”

Tim nods, turns a corner and stops suddenly as he almost runs into a man standing there.  When the man turns around, Tim is startled to see  blood stains on the front of the apron the man is wearing.  Tim quickly takes a step back.  Maria gasps as she steps around the corner and comes face to face with the old man.  When he sees Maria, he smiles at her, his teeth stained by tobacco, several of them missing.  “Well howdy there, young lady…young man.  What brings you here to our fine establishment?  It’s been a good little while since we’ve had folks as young as you all stop in.”  He looks over Maria’s shoulder, “Looky here, Mammy”

When Maria and Tim look behind them, they are both surprised to see the elderly woman standing in the aisle behind Maria.  It occurs to Tim that the elderly couple has kind of penned them in, blocking any exit.  How in the world did she sneak up behind them without making a sound?  Every step that Tim and Maria have taken has been accompanied by squeaks and groans as the floorboards shift beneath their feet.  Tim has a brief second to ponder that mystery…

Camp NaNo, day 21

nanowrimo, day 16 goal

nanowrimo, day 16 goal (Photo credit: paloetic)

I came home from work hot and tired.  Talked to the neighbor for a while (he was sitting outside with his dog when I pulled up…I know, it’s so miserably hot that I can’t even imagine sitting out there for any period of time).  I stepped inside and the kitten (I’ve got to come up with a name for her sometime) was sleeping on the couch.  I grabbed her to introduce her to the neighbor.  I was a little worried about how she would react to the dog, but this little kitten is unafraid of anything.  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not…could prove dangerous in some situations.  Anyhow, she seemed to enjoy seeing what was happening out there in the big, bad world.  She watched a low-flying jet go by, kind of seemed to find that interesting.   Then we came back into the blessed air conditioning…ahh…

After doing a few every day chores, I convinced myself to sit down at the computer, thinking I’d probably do well to  write 500 words today.  Wrote 200 words, got up to do something else, planning to sit down and write another 200 words.   I only write like that when I’m not feeling it, just doing it to get in the word count and then it ends up not being worth reading.  But the second time I sat down, it started to move and I ended up with a little over 1400 words for the day.  Still not sure how much of it was worth much, but some of the dialogue ended up being pretty decent. So maybe it was worth it after all.

I’m pretty excited!  My word count for the month has now exceeded  40,000!  How cool is that?


Writing for Camp NaNo

I didn’t get as much writing done last night on my novel as I’ve been doing.  It was my first day back at work from vacation.  Then I picked up the kitten after work last night and spent quite a bit of time with her and Spook…you know, got to make sure Spook understands she’s still my baby girl, poor thing.

So sat down fairly late to write and ended up only putting down a little over 1100 words…still has me at almost 38000 words for the month, but I don’t want to start slacking now after such a great start.  I still need to write 1200 words a day to reach my goal of 50000 by the end of the month.  Definitely doable, but not if I don’t keep at it.

I’ve got a few hours before I have to go to work, so I plan to sit down and do my writing before I go in today…hopefully get more than the minimum today.  I guess that kind of depends on how many things the kitten knocks over or how many times she tries to jump on Spook before I have to get ready!  I’d forgotten how much fun (and how much work) a kitten is…Spook is 6 years old after all, so much calmer than she used to be. But I think she was every bit as active as this little one is…so hopefully they’ll end up being buddies.  Aww…idea for a children’s book…kitties with human attributes, adoption, maybe a separation thing with a reunion at the end???  The ideas are there…now to make the time to take care of all of them.

Kitten playing with Spook’s toy

We have a new addition to our family

Spook’s kitten

Yep, I finally did it.  Finally got Spook a kitten…not that she’s all that fond of her yet.  But it’s so funny to watch this little fearless kitten run out at Spook and Spook hiss and arch her back…really Spook, that kitten is about a fourth your size, okay maybe a third…but still.  I intended to keep them separated for a few days, but the kitten had other ideas and escaped from the room where I was keeping her.

I haven’t come up with a name for her yet…they had named her DeeDee at the shelter, but I don’t like that so I’m just going to see what strikes my fancy as I get to know her personality.  She is extremely active (well, she is a kitten), but she also fell asleep in my lap…sweet.

I hope she’s able to get Spook to warm up to her soon…I really want to see them cuddling and keeping each other company while I’m at we’ll see how that works out!


English: Emergency Room NYC

English: Emergency Room NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ahh, yes…the ER..the place we all love to visit and then can’t seem to manage to escape in a reasonable amount of time!!  That’s where I spent the night last night.  Wait, wait…not for any emergency for myself, but for a friend.  I remember it as though it were just last night (that’s because it was)…

I had gone to bed early since my vacation was over and I had to be at work at 7 am.  The phone rang at 11:33 pm.  Don’t you hate it when the phone startles you from a sound sleep?  It’s never good news…no one is calling you to tell you that you’ve won a million dollars, or that your latest book just hit #1 on the New York Times best sellers list, or to ask if you want to accompany that hot,  sexy guy on a trip to the Bahamas.  Nope, a phone call in the middle of the night is never good news.  And last night was no different.

When I groggily answered the phone, I was greeted with, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”  Those words are pretty much guaranteed to wake you right up.  My wonderfully alert response was, “Paul, is that you?”  Hey, you can’t pull one over on me even in the middle of the night.

It was indeed Paul and he repeated that he thought he was having a heart attack.  Then he asked, “Do you think you could come over?”  Okay, I am so not a doctor, not a nurse, not a paramedic, I don’t even do medical transcription…so the thought did occur to me, what the heck does he think I can do?  I was pretty proud of myself that I didn’t scream that out though.  Instead, I very calmly asked, “Don’t you think you should maybe call an ambulance?  Like maybe 911?”

Well, no.  He didn’t want to call an ambulance (Paul, if you’re reading this, I love you…but this probably wasn’t your finest moment)…what if he wasn’t having a heart attack?  He didn’t want to be embarrassed.  This is when I threw my hands in the air and yelled, “But what if you are having a heart attack and we’re arguing about whether or not you should call 911?”

Then of course, I hear, “Please, please, couldn’t you just come over?”  Aww…jeez…are you kidding me?  You better really be sick, buddy or I’m going to have to hurt you!  Did I say that?  Of course not, not me.  I said, “Let me get dressed, I’ll be right there.”  Then I made him promise to call 911 if it got worse.  As I’m putting my contacts in (believe me, I probably would have caused an accident had I not done that), I’m wondering what I should wear…wait!  What?  Like there’s some kind of proper attire for a possible heart attack???  Alright, alright…throw whatever on, grab my purse and keys, and high tail it over there.

I walk in and he’s half sitting, half lying on the couch…not looking so good, kind of sweaty, chest hurting.  So I say, “Paul, you don’t look all that good.  How about we make a little trip to the emergency room?”

And then I have to listen to, “I don’t really want to go to the emergency room.  I’ll be there forever.”

Uh..dude, listen to me.  I don’t want to sit here and watch you die…the paperwork on that one would be unbelievable.  So, I finally convince him to let me drive him over there…insurance card?  ID?  Medical info?  Shoes?  Let’s go.

And then we walk in…do you have any idea how many people there are in the ER in the middle of the night?  Yeah, I didn’t either.  Just take my word for it, there are a lot of folks hanging out there.  When they find out he’s possibly having a heart attack, they jump him to the front of the line….in front of the chick with the cut finger (seriously, girl?  Slap a band-aid on that.  Don’t be wasting everyone’s time with that piddly thing.), in front of the guy with the cold (yeah…really), even in front of the elderly guy who seemed to not know who he was.  Of course, while he’s in there with doctors and nurses, I’m left out there with all of these sick people…fun times!!

Finally, after what seemed like about two days, but was really only a few hours, Paul comes back out from behind the curtain (I couldn’t resist that imagery…it was really a door, but a curtain just seemed so much more ER like), heart attack free.  I’m not sure whether to be relieved that he didn’t have a heart attack or mad that he got me out in the middle of the night on a false alarm.  Okay, okay…I’m relieved…really.

I take him home, we sit there for a while talking.  I pull a promise from him…he will call his doctor in the morning and get an appointment so they can find out exactly what did happen.  Yeah, it wasn’t a heart attack, but it was something, right?  I finally make it back home at about 4:45 am…think about how I have to be at work at 7 am and debate with myself whether or not to call in.  Finally, the exhausted, emotionally drained part of me wins out and I call my poor boss to let him know that I’m going to take a personal day.  Got a kind of funny response from him when I told him I’d spent the night in the ER…

Camp NaNo, day 17

Aparelho de ar condicionado

Aparelho de ar condicionado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy moly, it’s way too hot around here to be camping.  If I can’t have air conditioning, then I don’t want to go.  And who wants to cook hotdogs around a campfire when it’s in the 90s?  I’ll take that icy cold smoothie today, thank you very much. Thank goodness this is just a virtual camp!  I went out early this morning to buy groceries for the week (ugh…I have to go back to work tomorrow…darn, darn, darn!!) and my hair was just drenched by the time I finished carrying things into the house.  Then I went out back and fed the birds, watered plants (I have a tomato turning red!!) and filled the bird bath.  The humidity is horrid!! So I pretty much stayed in the rest of the day.  Read the newspaper, got a little housecleaning done, some filing completed, a little reading for pleasure, petting the cat (when she wasn’t asleep under the comforter on my bed, what’s up with that?  Spook, it’s hot!!  You’re going to suffocate.), and yes, some more writing for Camp NaNoWriMo…another 2137 words today~  I’ve got a total of 35,042 words written now.

I’m serious, over 35,000 words.  And today, the beginning of what I wrote was pretty good and the ending of what I wrote has some potential…funny how your best writing happens when you’re in the zone, isn’t it?  The beginning and the ending of today’s writing session just flowed while I really struggled with the middle…and that’s the part that isn’t particularly good.  Hmm…not sure what the lesson is in that, but I’m sure there’s a lesson somewhere.

I’m having kind of a problem with this writing my novel in 30 days thing though.  There’s no way I’m going to be able to tell the entire story in this first 30 days.  So, am I writing a series here?  Because if I am, then I have to figure out where to end the first book.  I sure don’t want to write a 1000 page first novel and I’m afraid that’s where this would be headed unless I go for a series.  What do you think?  Personally, I enjoy reading a series, so…hey, why not?

Book ideas

"Books are weapons in the war of ideas&qu...

“Books are weapons in the war of ideas” – NARA – 513575 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, as most of you know, I’m writing a book.  This book has  been running around in my head for years, so I feel like I haven’t had to do a lot of planning, outlining, character building, etc.  Seems like that has all been done over the years as I’ve thought about every aspect of this story.  So good…that makes it, well not exactly easier, but not quite as difficult as it might otherwise be.

But today, all of a sudden, an idea for a new book hit me.  I had to grab paper and a pen to start making notes.  Within just a few minutes, I had three pages filled with notes, questions, thoughts…all the who, why, where, what, when, and how things that make a story a story.  It was exciting to have a new story forming in front of me.  To think about these new characters and what made them who they are.  To plot out the path the tale will take. Locale, personalities, and, of course, the plot twist.

So, for all of you writers out there, is that how your new stories take shape?  Do they just smack you upside the head and say, “Write me!”?  Because that’s sure how this felt today.  Which is…um…well..pretty cool!