Looking for the spark…

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It’s February and the ground is brown. Leaves left in piles for critters seeking refuge are dry (isn’t the whole state dry?) and they whisper as roaming breezes search for somewhere to hide. It’s February and the air is hard and cold. A few creeping myrtle leaves in a rock garden, liverish green and curled into commas, hint at new life. Nobody’s buying it.

My imagination, some call her Fancy, is perched on a headstone just inside the cemetery, throwing pebbles at a crooked row of  markers. She hasn’t hit any yet. Her knees poke through her jeans, and her mud-brown jacket is threadbare. “I wish you’d come up with a decent idea,” she mutters when she runs out of ammo. Her chin jerks toward the pathetic line of crosses. “One you can’t bury in ten minutes.”

She throws rocks at everything I come up with. “The sun’s going down,” I announce. “We ought to go.”

She shoots me such a look. “It’s one-thirty-two, you dork.” Her arm lifts to point above us at the shrouded sun. “We’ve been out here for less than an hour. You can’t hole up all day and let Nostalgia get in your head. She’s deadly!”

I hunch my shoulders and turn away. “I need to get the tax prep done.”

“There’s a creative idea.”

Fancy brushes past me and I smell cloves, her signature scent. Maybe I should dab clove oil behind my ears. It might jump-start some brain cells.

“Come on, then,” she calls back to me from the gate. “While you work on taxes, I’ll watch old movies. It’ll give me something–anything–to think about.” Her tone is grim.

“Bitch,” I whisper as I follow her. She always grabs at fun while I get stuck with the humdrum. And image floats into my mind. A man humming as he cleans a gun. He has blood on his hands.

“Hmmm.”

 

 

 

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Has it been so long?

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Yeah, I guess so. Thanks to the world’s longest-running respiratory crap, the death of our beloved dachshund, Riley, and a generally bad attitude, I’ve left you all unburdened by my jaundiced point of view for far too many months.

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“Self,” I said to the blurry shape in the mirror this morning, “it’s time to climb back onto the horse.”

“Trite,” whispered Self.

“Self-righteous, critical bitch,” I muttered.

“I’m more of a pedant.” Self wrinkled her nose at me as I switched off the bathroom light.

Here’s the problem: My imagination has been lying in a bone-dry arroyo at the edge of a desert for a while now. Not even vultures fly over the spot anymore. But, I keep having these bizarre dreams and my long-suffering husband has described some of the things I’ve been saying while I sleep. The least embarrassing was my rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at about three in the morning. (I got all the words right.) You can take the creativity out of the writer but you can’t take the patriotism–oh, never mind.

The upshot of this situation is, I have to write whatever comes to mind, as sparse as that might be, until I stop these serenades. It’s too unsettling to think of some of the things I might say while under the influence of sleep. Hmmm, there’s the germ of a plot idea in that. Okay, I might give that some thought.

I hope all of you–the eight regulars who breathlessly await my ponderous insights–have launched upon a shiny new year. Really, I do. I’ve been in a funk long enough not to expect that for myself, but I genuinely hope you are finding life fruitful and absorbing. I hope the writers among you are producing vast quantities of clever words and compelling ideas. I hope kindness and reason fill the spaces among our thoughts so we might foster creative ideas.

My sentiments may be overdue, but they are, nonetheless, heartfelt: Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

October Redux and the wandering mind…

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I meant to give a heads up to y’all regarding last year’s post, 31 Days of Spooky Stuff leading into Halloween. (Recycling is a good thing.) Somehow the idea slipped out of my grasp. I just found it under a pile of bones in the long, dark stairway to the basement.

I have been struggling with the fourth Wisdom Court novel since summer, easily my least productive writing time of the year. Something about the plants growing in the garden, as well as insects exploring tiny jungles among trees and bushes call my attention elsewhere. And then there are birds. I’m distracted by the life happening all around me, from critters to children, and the plot points swimming around in my head spill out of my ears onto the encrusted floor.

Then comes the change. The solstice begins to build shadows in the corners, and the sun sidles south, peeking coyly over the horizon come morning, forgetting its bursting greetings in July. Leaves turn into gold coins.photodune-5768835-horse-park-ranch-in-the-fall-s

The nights turn chilly and darkness competes with light, often winning the contest. Ideas edged in fear and dread scurry for cracks in the wall, hiding themselves during the lengthening nights. The landscape shrinks and shapes become distorted.

Muddy beach and dead forest

Soon will come the mix of costumes and greed, of the somber and of fear. We will acknowledge the thin membrane between the living and the dead and we’ll gobble  candy to seal the deal.

Happy Halloween…

 

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Free books and a cozy corner…

…and maybe a slice of pumpkin pie? All sound good to me. Come be a part of our Amateur sleuths Group Giveaway.  Click the link and find 8 Free Amateur Sleuth Mysteries to read. Download any or all.  The deal ends October 2. Happy Autumn!

http://mailchi.mp/ebookdiscovery/8-free-amateur-sleuth-mysteries-ends-oct-2

 

When less seems like more…

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I didn’t want to drive to Wyoming with 200,000 other hearty souls, so we stayed at home for the eclipse. Here in Denver our image would be about 92.5 percent of a total eclipse and I decided that would be good enough for me.

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As the shadow of the moon began to consume the sun, the day dimmed, little by little. We were using a pinhole camera made from a box. Yes, there was the tiny circle with the tiny partial shadow. And then we looked at the sidewalks.

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The closely-spaced tree leaves overhead created small holes, and astronomer bugs had gnawed holes in some of those leaves. The sidewalks were teeming, burgeoning, bubbling with images of the sun made smaller by growing shadows of the moon. We were surrounded by an infinite number of eclipses, and the resulting landscape–moonscape–sunscape showed a new universe at out feet.

It was amazing. It was science. It was magic.

 

The Scent of Lavender…

Life (or is it Death?) continues at Wisdom Court. I hope you enjoy the first short story…

The Scent of Lavender

Eve turned her head from light pooled on the pillow, setting her blonde strands aglow. In her dream a bird on a pine branch called to another.
Chirp-chirp. Chirp-chirp.
A chill touched her face and she frowned.
Chirp-chirp.
She moved under the cotton blanket, pulled the blue folds over her shoulder.
Chirp-chirp.
A faint scent drifted past her nose and she saw fields of flowers behind her eyes. Her lips parted in a breath.
Chirp-chirp.
Would it never stop? Annoyance roused Eve into opening her eyes. As she blinked at the shadowy dark of the room, fragrance filled her nostrils.
She sneezed. Lavender? She brushed at her nose. Where could it be coming from?

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I’m materializing again…

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No, I haven’t died. I’ve been in a funk–what Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds. It happens sometimes: the fountain of insane notions in my head dries up and I stumble around thinking about such killer ideas as grocery lists and Things I Must Do. Also Things I Haven’t Done. Guilt stew with sad on the side.

Boring.

This time, however, I’ve sweetened the frustration pot by working on short stories–surely you saw my post about writing some set at Wisdom Court. You know, to flesh out characters, see who’s haunting whom? It’s harder than I thought (apologies to all writers of short stories) and I’ve been tripping over my pouty lower lip in the meantime. I’m almost to the point of posting one, so there’s that to force a shred of cheer into my brain.

Just moments ago I found more reasons to fight off a sense of doom: Wisdom Court Book One, Edge of the Shadow, is on sale at Amazon for 99 cents. Cheap thrills, folks, served up hot and haunting. Here’s your chance to see how the hoopla began; an opportunity to get in on the ground floor for not much money; a way to understand the ongoing cheers and applause…<crickets>   http://amzn.to/2s0hdA5

Nook Books at Barnes & Noble is upping the ante on Amazon, offering Edge of the Shadow for 99 cents, and Book Two, A Signal Shown, is selling for $1.99. http://bit.ly/2t4uXJO 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Three, All in Bad Time., is selling for $2.99.   http://bit.ly/2tDEJQy

 

Here’s your chance to revel in my three spooky novels.

 

 

I feel better now. I’m going to go polish that short story. And then I’ll write another.

Cheers!

Walking into another story…

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I’m back at my computer, mind reasonably clear, determined to walk through a door of my imagination into another story. Sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to let the dust settle from a completed project.

All in Bad Time, Book Three of the Wisdom Court series, came out mid-December. The customary post-partum respiratory bug took hold, and it’s taken a while to run its course.

I had a plan (see previous blog post, Happy New Year, Readers). I’ve begun three different short pieces about further events at Wisdom Court, but haven’t finished any. Yet.

Today is the day I find the words and shape the scenes. Today my characters will take life again and find the next pieces of the story.

Today.