#This&That&TheOther Thing – #ThankYou and #BlogBreakThursday

THIS

Just wanted to thank everyone who responded to Denise’s wonderful #TenThings post yesterday. I was unable to do so individually due to the sad loss of the last tree standing in our once-canopied front yard. More on that another time. Suffice it to say that 93 degree weather was not a very good time to be working for hours cleaning up after what happened.

THAT

Even though I’ve reduced my blogging time a bit as I catch up with everything we are trying to accomplish right now, I just want to remind folks that I’m still able to schedule guests for both #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe and #GuestDayTuesday posts. Email me if you’re interested.

THE OTHER THING

It’s BLOG BREAK THURSDAY for me today, and for those of you who’ve asked about Rabbit (everyone’s favorite character), you’ll be happy to know that I really do have a spinoff novella trilogy in the works. I plan to use today to work non-stop on the first story. With any luck, Cole, Cole, & Dupree  will grow substantially by day’s end. In the meantime, here’s a first draft teaser for you:

Just Past Midnight in a Frosty Winter Pasture
Sunday, January 11, 2015
~~~

“THOUGHT YOU NEEDED to see this, boss. Called as soon as I found ’em.”

“You were right to call, Kip. Any idea what the hell happened here?”

“Not a one. Never seen anything like it.”

Alvy Ballard moved his flashlight in a slow arc across the scene in front of him, as he struggled to make sense of all the darkened forms humped along the ground. With a look of dread in his eyes, he turned back to his foreman. “Big Red?”

“Big Red, too, boss. He’s over by the east fence.”

“Show me.”

The two men walked around the fence line, stopping to check each bloody body along the way. Alvy gave a slow, stunned shake of his head. “All dead. Every single one of them dead. What could have done something like this, Kip?”

“I got no idea. Every throat torn out. All ten horses, gone. It ain’t natural.”

When they neared the middle of the east fence line, Kip stopped and laid his hand on Alvy’s arm. “You sure you want to look at him?”

Alvy nodded. “I need to see for myself.”

Kip watched as his boss continued along the fence to where the body of his prize stallion lay. For a moment the big man stood staring in shock, then he dropped to his knees. Draping himself across his horse, Alvy Ballard wept like a child, shoulders shaking with loud, heartbroken sobs.

Kip knew his boss well enough to understand his need for privacy, so he remained where he was until Alvy stood, wiped his eyes, and returned.

“I still don’t understand what happened to them,” Alvy said, his voice husky with emotion.

“Me, neither, boss. For sure, it wasn’t no animal I’ve ever seen. Animals don’t kill ‘less they’re hungry. All them horses are dead, all right, but not a single one’s been eaten on.”

~~~

And on that note,
Enjoy your day, everyone!
I’ll be back tomorrow!


 

#GuestDayTuesday – #Bold&BlatantSelfPromo – #Excerpt – #TheEmissary2: To Love Somebody

See, this is what happens when you guys don’t have any news or ideas you want to share: when #GuestDayTuesday rolls around, you just might get ME as the guest! Et voila! Here I am! 

Decided to share an excerpt from my second Emissary Trilogy novella. It’s a scene I hope you’ll find amusing, even without knowing all the particulars of the story at this point.  And for those who think they’d enjoy reading more, these three novellas should definitely be read in order.

But for now, Happy Reading!

 


EXERPT:

Sitting in a Booth Where Cracked Red Vinyl Had Run Amuck,
Ordering That Too-Late Breakfast or Too-Early Lunch,
While Studiously Avoiding Each Other’s Eyes. 

“WHY DO YOU supposed diners always have red plastic seats and red Formica tables? I mean, is it like a law, or somethin’? Part of the original blueprints? Or building code?”

Jake watched Dodger drumming nervous fingers on that very Formica tabletop and knew the boy wanted to talk. He wasn’t going to push him, however. As proven once again by this morning’s events, that never worked. When he was ready, he would talk. Until then, apparently diner décor was what interested him most.

“No idea. Maybe you can research that while we’re on the road so we’ll learn what’s what before we stop at another one.”

Dodger stared out the window. “You’re bein’ condescending, you know.”

“Sorry. Just trying to help you find something to talk about.”

“Well, don’t. I don’t really wanna talk about diners or Formica or anything else like that, and you know it.”

“Yeah, I guess I do. But to be fair, you did talk about it, so I was just playing along.” Jake took a sip of his iced tea, waited a beat, then tried again. “Dodger, you don’t need to explain anything to me. I’m in your corner, no matter what. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell me every detail from your life before we met.”

Finally, Dodger’s face swung back toward Jake. “But I do—at least I do, if it’s somethin’ I need you to understand. And this is.”

“Okay, then. As long as it’s what you want, I’ll always listen. And I’ll always help if I can.”

“I know that. I think I’ve known that since that day in the hospital parking lot, when you told me you wouldn’t take me back to the crap life I was livin’ before you rescued me. And I do trust you. It’s only that I’ve never talked about stuff like this to anyone. Ever. I don’t have any idea how to start.”

“Well, before you go any further, let me say that I didn’t mean to act like there was something wrong with you. Not at all. The honest truth is, as I look back on my own life and think about what was going on with young people around me, I suspect there were way too many of them having sex before they were emotionally mature enough to take that step. But the right time and circumstances are different for everyone, and I didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you.”

Dodger appeared to be inspecting the Formica all over again while his face turned just as red, but waiting was something Jake was good at. It was a skill the boy had helped him perfect.

A few minutes crept by, then Dodger plunged in. “Don’t know if I was ready for it or not, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Not at first, anyway. I was a shrimpy little kid, and way too young to interest the girls. A couple of years later, I’d put on some weight, and must have looked better. Next thing I knew, there was some coked-up, empty-eyed girl or another backin’ me into a corner every time I turned around.” He paused, then ground out, “I hated it!”

“Okay. Do you want to tell me why?”

It took three tries before Dodger was able to answer, and Jake wasn’t surprised at the pain in the boy’s voice.

“I had this dumbass idea when I left home that I’d find someone who cared about me. Someone I’d matter to.” He looked up, eyes glittering with unshed tears. “I guess I just wanted somebody, somewhere, to love me. No one ever had, Jake, and even as messed up as I was by then, one thing I knew for damn sure—none of those girls followin’ us runners around were gonna love me, either.” He paused, then stared out the window again.

“So, you waited?”

Nodding, Dodger went on. “Yeah. I waited. And kept waiting. Not like I was holdin’ out for something permanent or anything. I just wanted it to matter. I wanted me to matter. Stupid, huh?”

“No, Dodge. Not stupid at all. Love is the one thing in the world that truly does matter, above all else. Of course you wanted it. We all do. We’re born reaching for it, and the fact that you already knew the truth of that at the age of sixteen is one more example of how special you are. Azrael was right in telling me to save your life at all costs, and right again in bringing you back. You have so much to give this world, and you’re making a real difference in the lives of others every single day. And as for someone loving you, I know this isn’t the same, but I couldn’t love you more if you were my own son.”

“Thank you for that,” Dodger whispered. “I can’t even put into words how much that means to me.” The boy stared at the Formica again, his face still forlorn.

“But?”

“But I still wish I’d managed to get laid. At least once.”


You can download The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody HERE
(But don’t forget, these 3 novellas are meant to be read in order.)


BLURB:

They’re back!

Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.

They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. You know the ones—the kid thinking about stealing from a corner market or the man planning to lie about a coworker and destroy her career. Yeah, them. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.

Of course, there are rules by which the emissaries must play, and the archangel Azrael stands ready to enforce them. First and foremost, a person’s free will must never be compromised. Emissaries are allowed to use only the smallest of mental nudges. Thankfully, a whispered suggestion here or images of a better course of action there is usually all it takes. The potential mugger walks on by. The thief drops the wallet back into the unattended purse. But whether the results are obvious or not, Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own.

Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?

One thing’s for sure—Jake’s and Dodger’s strengths are growing daily, as they help more and more people make better choices. But is the price for so much power higher than they’re willing to pay?


#This&That&TheOtherThing – #GuestDayTuesday – #AmWriting – #HappyEaster

Just a quick catch-up this afternoon, since I don’t think I’ll be around much this weekend. All sorts of stuff going on around here, as usual, and also as usual, I’m way behind on ALL of it. Plugging away at things, though! Honest!


THIS

Putting another call out for #GuestDayTuesday posters. If you have a new release, a cover reveal, an excerpt you’d like to share (new or old), a promo you want to share, or some interesting tidbits about writing or marketing, #GuestDayTuesday is a perfect way to go. I’m very flexible about the topic of your posts and will include your author bio and photo, book covers, links to buy your books, and social media links.  Every other Tuesday is pretty much wide open from May 3 through the end of the year. Email me and we’ll set up a date that works for you!


THAT

I have some fun (I hope) ideas in mind for some random posts in the weeks ahead, to include “Question of the Day”  and “Forgotten Words,” for two possible examples. Stay tuned for more. 


THE OTHER THING

Meanwhile, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you Rabbit fans out there a new series of novellas featuring that very special little boy (and his equally special abilities), his doting father, MacKenzie Cole, and his unofficially adopted big brother, Austin Dupree. (The upside of being alone in the world at ten is that you have a chance to choose the perfect family for yourself.)

I know I’ve been unable to work on this novella for a few weeks, but I promise that one way or the other, that will change. Cole, Cole, & Dupree Investigative Services (Motto: We Can Help!) IS coming to a Kindle store near you just as soon as I can make it happen!


And that wraps up this edition of This & That & The Other Thing.
Happy Easter Weekend to All!



#QuestionOfTheDay – #AmReading – #AmWriting

A discussion on Monday’s #This&That&TheOtherThing post made me ask myself if rereading my own books now and then is a really weird thing to do. Honestly, I couldn’t decide, so I figured I’d toss the question out to all of you. Do you reread your own books now and then? Why? Or why not? 

I do, but not more often than once a year or so. And I do it for several reasons:

  1. To remember small details that I might want to mention going forward in the series.
  2. To see if I’ve been consistent throughout with certain plot points.
  3. To help me see what I did then that I’ve learned how do better now.
  4. To remind myself that I’m finally following my dream and have the proof of that right in front of my eyes. 

At my age, I’m not likely to spend a lot of time revising what’s already out there. I’ve chosen to use my remaining writing years telling new stories and hopefully improving my skills as I go.

But how about you? Do you move on without ever looking back? Or do you reread now and then, and if so, why? 

Inquiring Minds Wanna Know 

Let’s Chat!

 

#WhyWriteWrong? – #ReblogAlert – #StoryEmpire – #Misused Words #Confusing Homophones

 

Happy Fall, Y’all! I have decided to revive an old series, #WhyWriteWrong, because I find I’m still being pulled out of what I’m reading when words used incorrectly pop up. Sometimes I’m sure it’s a typo, other times, I’m pretty sure the author is mixed up about the meaning of the word. (Especially if they repeat the same error several times.) 

In addition to brand new posts on this topic, I’ll also be rerunning some older ones that I think could still be helpful reminders to us all. Some of those will be from earlier days here on The Write Stuff, and some, like today’s, will be from my time as a member of Story Empire.  You’ll be able to tell today’s post is from SE by the way a few things are worded, and I hope you’ll find the rerun useful.

It’s Marcia back again with another Why Write Wrong post. Quick & easy today: I have a pair of homophones I see being misused more often than you might think, and which, btw, can cause some totally unexpected—and undesirable–images to pop into the minds of your readers. And I also want to clarify the definition of a verb that is even more frequently misused. So, let’s get down to it!

 

First, the verb. Based on my own observation, this seems to be one many writers get wrong, but here’s the scoop. The rule for the past tense of the verb hang is really simple, with only ONE exception: Unless you are describing a person being suspended by a rope around the neck until dead, the only acceptable past tense of hang is hung. (And the operative word here is “person.” While people are hanged, inanimate objects are hung.)

 

Example for 99% of the time: Christmas doesn’t really arrive at our house until we’ve hung the lights on both of our big trees, and all three of our small ones. (Don’t ask. I’m somewhat of a fanatic about Christmas. 😀 )

 

 

Example 2, and again, this is the ONLY exception: Despite stories to the contrary, accused Salem witches were never burned at the stake, but were hanged instead.

 

 

 

Example 3, reinforcing the 99% rule: Despised for his cruel reign of terror, the king was hung in effigy in full view of the palace. (Again: Inanimate objects follow the normal rule, even if hung from a gallows.)

 

 

 

See? Easy. If you’re writing about the death of a person via a noose around the neck, used hanged. Otherwise, always, always use hung.

~~~

And now for the homophones. Take my word for it, you should be very, very careful with these, as one letter makes all the difference between them.

WRETCH
(Noun)
Definition:  
An unfortunate or unhappy person, OR a despicable, contemptible person.

 

  • Example 1: Can the poor wretch tell us who beat him up?
  • Example 2: Those miserable, ungrateful wretches deserve everything they get!

 

 

 RETCH
Definition:  (Noun) The sound or movement of vomiting or gagging.
Definition: (Verb) To make the sound and movement of vomiting. To gag.

 

  • Example: The vile odor coming from the tidepool was enough to cause even the strongest sailors to retch and vomit in the sand.

(See? I told you it was an image you might not want to put in your reader’s heads. Unless, of course, nauseated people are germane to your story.)

 

So, what do you think? Ever used hanged or hung incorrectly yourself, or seen it used wrong elsewhere? And  how about wretch vs retch? Are you pretty certain you’ll never, ever get those two mixed up? I sure hope so.  😀 Your turn now. Let us hear what you think in the comments section, because, as always, inquiring minds wanna know! 🙂

Meanwhile, let’s all go forth to write with happy hearts and nary a wretch or retch in sight, because–you guessed it–those are the hearts that produce the best results!

Thanks for reading today!

(The Original of this post can be found on Story Empire HERE)

#ReblogAlert – This Week on #StoryEmpire

I’m still in the process of getting back to all my regularly featured series, and today, I’m happy to say I’m picking up with sharing the week’s posts from one of my favorite blogs, Story Empire. And it’s been a good week, believe me. So for those of you who’ve never checked out this blog, or those of you who might have missed one of the posts this week, here are the links. 

MONDAY: How to Write Point of View, Part 5, Third Person Distant by Harmony Kent. Check out this very informative post HERE.

WEDNESDAY: Writing and  Fun! by D. L. Finn. This post is a great reminder that we really should enjoy the entire process of writing. You’ll definitely want to check it out HERE.

FRIDAY:  Three Act Structure: Act 1 by C. S. Boyack. As someone who’s never taken a writing class, I especially enjoyed Craig’s very informative and entertaining post on this topic.  Be sure to check it out HERE.

And there you have it! Another week of wonderful posts on Story Empire. I highly recommend stopping by to see for yourself just how informative and helpful these posts are. You’ll be glad you did! 

#SummerMagic by (ahem) Me! #Excerpt #Review

As summer winds down, I decided to share a poem of mine about a ten-year-old boy enjoying another day camping in the mountains with his dad. This is from my book Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love, and is one of my personal favorites. Hope you enjoy it.

The Rope Swing

Sailing up, up into
Blue summer sky,
Hot rope rough against his hands,
He shouts with joy, and lets go.
For a crystal moment,
He hangs suspended,
Frozen in time
Like a fly in amber.
All awkward angles–
Shoulder blades and
Elbows, and
Knobby knees,
Painted against the sky,
Heart filled with fierce joy.

Dropping, down, down
Into clear green water
Cold on his skin,
He sinks to the silty bottom,
And sits suspended
In an alien world,
Watching the silvered flashes
Of tiny fish darting to and fro,
Startled by his sudden appearance.
I am a fish, too, he thinks,
And holds his breath
As long as he can.

Finally, he rockets up,
Through a stream of
Tickling bubbles,
Breaking the
Surface of the water,
With a loud whoop of
Childish exuberance,
All thoughts of becoming a fish
Forgotten as he
Scrambles out,
Shakes the water from his hair,
And, grinning, hitches up his
Baggy shorts.

He’s ready
To do it all again.
Flying through the summer air,
Dropping into the cold water
To commune with fishes
Silvered in refracted light,
Then leaping to the surface,
A boy of ten once more,
Laughing through an endless summer
Made perfect by a cool green pond,
And an old rope swing.
                                                         by Marcia Meara 

~~~

REVIEW

D.L. Finn

Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2021