Check out the #OneMillionProject blog post by Raymond St. Elmo entitled On the Borderlands of Fantasy. It’s a great read by a writer whose humor and storytelling I truly enjoy!
My father wasn’t a big home improvement guy. He could hammer nails and demolish whatever you wanted to be torn down, but that was the limit of his expertise. I always wanted to be better at home repairs than my father, and I have accumulated my own tools over the years. I’ve read how-to books on different projects I’ve wanted to tackle and had mixed results upon their completion.
There is an empowerment in working with your hands transforming a bunch of metal and screws into a shelving unit or painting a bedroom a new color. But, there are also the frustrations of a project that has gone terribly wrong.
The other day I set out to replace the roman blinds in one of our guest bedrooms with plantation wood blinds. I removed the old hardware. filled the holes in the window frame left by the old hardware and began to install a new set of blinds.
Well, remember the old adage of “measure twice, cut once”? I had measured the windows several times before I purchased the blinds. but I concentrated on the width of the windows, not so much the length. You guessed it! The blinds were too short!
I’m lucky I can use the blinds somewhere else, but I had to purchase new blinds and will continue my project tomorrow. Then my major frustration will be manipulating the drill at odd angles to screw in the hardware.
Wish me luck! I’ll need it…
This week’s One Million Project Blog post is written by John Nedwill and is entitled The Problems with History.
John Nedwill is a fabulous short story writer, and I have enjoyed reading his stories for the past two years. In this week’s blog he discusses the problems with writing historical fiction. I’m looking forward to reading his new story dealing with gunrunning in Ireland in 1914.
Check it out!
I suppose entitling this blog “Girl Talk” is a bit of a misnomer because I think guys like getting together without their feminine cohorts and hashing things over with the rest of the testosterone set as much as the ladies do. I lived (as the only female) in a male-dominated household for over twenty years, and at times, I craved hanging out with the gals over margaritas — or any alcohol-based beverage, really — laughing and chatting about topics I’m sure the men in my life would do anything possible to avoid.
Today my sister and I went out for lunch over pomegranate margaritas and chimichangas, we giggled, groused and reminisced as only two women who’ve known each other for 54 years can do. So what if we talked nonsense about manicures, wrinkles, and old boyfriends, we also caught up on each other’s families, our dreams and our concerns about our mom.
In honor of my bit of girl time, I decided to publish my short story “Girl Talk”. Hope you enjoy it!
Girl Talk ~~~ by Kate McGinn
The outdoor cafe was a favorite spot for the young and successful to gather on a Friday afternoon. Vanessa Wallace sipped on her cup of black coffee nodding at the appropriate times to the buzz of conversation at her table. She had been meeting the same group of friends on Friday afternoons for the past 8 years. Their conversation points were essentially the same — work, men, fashion, men, bitchy women and men. Vanessa’s mind was occupied with something else entirely.
She’d worked her way up the corporate ladder to become a successful financial analyst. Vanessa loved her job, money wasn’t a problem, and she didn’t fret about bitchy women, because she was one. It was the age-old problem in the city — more eligible women than eligible men. And just because they were eligible didn’t mean they met her standards. Vanessa had very high standards.
Her boss had invited everyone and their significant others to his latest dinner party. No way in hell was she going alone. Vanessa had one day to find the right date. Tonight, she was scoping out the possibilities.
“Nessa, are you listening?” Hailey asked. “I don’t know why you even came tonight if you aren’t going to participate.”
“Sorry, Hailey. I have a bit of a work problem.” The group commiserated with her by nodding their heads and making sympathetic comments before heading onto the next topic. Men.
“Well, you just won’t believe who’s back in town.” Anita smoothed her skirt, performed a hair flip which she followed up by biting her bottom lip. Vanessa thought Anita had the simpering female act down pat. The girls leaned in with their heads hovering over the table to hear the latest gossip. Vanessa leaned in along with the others, mentally chastising herself for doing so.
“Matt Summers.” A chorus of “No!”, “You are kidding!” and “What an ass!” followed Anita’s news.
Vanessa leaned back in her chair with a slight smile flitting across her lips. Matt Summers was a pretentious ass. A handsome one. He’d asked Vanessa out multiple times in the past, but she always said no. He had a reputation, and she was focused on her career. Maybe he had some potential as a dinner date. Matt was wealthy and business savvy, so he would be a perfect fit for her work crowd. She turned her attention back to the girls.
“I heard he might be here tonight,” Anita informed. Vanessa chuckled as her friends tried, unsuccessfully, to scope out the cafe for the man of the moment. It didn’t mean Vanessa wasn’t on the watch with her friends. Vanessa ordered a glass of red wine hoping it would relax the knot in her stomach.
Halfway through her glass, her companions exhibited visible signs of shock. Their eyes locked on a point behind Vanessa. She wanted to turn around but forced herself to stay relaxed and face forward. She felt a touch on her left shoulder as a familiar voice spoke softly in her right ear.
“I was hoping I would run into you again, Vanessa. Can I sit down?”
“Matt Summers — I didn’t know you were back in town.” Vanessa had found a dinner date to rival her colleagues’ trophy wives.
Writing a book can be crazy, but writing a series can be nightmarish at times. Even though I have notes from each book about characters and plot development, invariably there is some item I’ve forgotten to document. I started writing Exodus in 2015 and now three years later, I’m scratching my head over a little detail knowing I’m going to have to go back and look it up. Aaaarrrgghhh!!
On the next book, I will try harder to provide a bit more detail in my chapter summaries and notes.
Oh well, here’s the update on the status of NSYH — 39,000 words thus far and working on Chapter Twenty-Seven at present. The action is starting to fire up and the story threads will begin to emerge to show the big picture. This book will unveil the truth behind the other books and the sometimes incomprehensible actions of the main characters. It will also lay the stage for some potential future stories about some new characters, but only time will tell where the writing muse takes me.
In my future projects file are three stories — the compilation and expansion of my “Natalie Parker” short stories; a novel about a widow who discovers love again in Empty Chairs, Empty Promises; and another short story I’m planning on expanding about the most unlikely assassin.
So hang in there, friends, the next Clare Thibodeaux book will be nearing completion sometime in the near future.
Keep reading! ~ Kate
Over the past few years, my family and friends have been traveling to a 4 day-long Country Music Festival called “TreeTown” in Iowa. It’s great fun with the best in Country music (new and classic artists) as well as a night of Classic Rock.
Listening to music outdoors under the summer sun and the starry skies with good food, drink and company is a wonderful experience. I take my trusty laptop with me in the hopes of getting some writing done each year. This year wasn’t an exception.
Wifi was spotty even with my dedicated hotspot and I found it difficult to work as quickly as usual on projects that required data to download. It didn’t stop me from attempting to get some work done. In between the music and socializing, that is.
Back to the party…
Every morning is another chance to make someone smile, to give a friend a hug, to comfort someone who is having a terrible day, and to present the world with your best self.
I’m of an age now. An age which brings with it the loss of youth in not only the mirror but in my world-view of myself. Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and not only am I a mother, but I still have my mother in my life. I’m very fortunate in many ways.
The past month has been very difficult for me. I’ve had a front-row seat watching my mom’s physical and mental decline, losing a bit more of herself day by day. Over the past few years, her mobility decreased rapidly, but her spirit remained high. Even during her fight against breast cancer, she swore to anyone who would listen that she would fight it. Sure enough, when she awoke after surgery, she stuck out her tongue at us. She’d found a way to make the solemn and frightening event emotionally lighter. In the last month, her memory has been failing, and simple tasks require step-by-step instructions.
My mom was born in the middle of the Great Depression on a July day so hot, my grandfather had to buy two fans for the hospital room to keep his wife and new baby girl comfortable. Mom grew up on a 560-acre farm in a house without running water, electric lights, heat or an indoor bathroom. The family used an outhouse. Kerosene lamps were used for light. They had an icebox, not a refrigerator like we have now, and every few days a new block of ice needed to be purchased to cool their perishable food.
From kindergarten until the fourth grade, Mom attended a one-room schoolhouse. She wrote about her feelings concerning school in a short autobiography published for her family, “I hated school so my mom would take me inside the building, and the teacher would hold me until she knew my mom had gone. I would then go outside and cry. I did the crying for quite awhile.”
As a teenager, Mom detassled corn working in fields with
mile-long rows of corn under the hot summer sun in order to earn money. She was an awesome basketball player, was voted the “Carnival Queen” in high school, and graduated third in her class. She would laugh when she told others of her prestigious class ranking, informing her listeners that she’d graduated in a class of three students!
She never left the state of Iowa until she married my father, a native New Yorker. After their wedding, they moved to New York City. What an adventure for her! She’d never eaten pizza, flown in a plane or seen so many people from so many different cultures. But being my mom, she made friends quickly and my dad’s Irish immigrant family welcomed her.
There are many, many stories about this wonderful lady and her life, but I offer you a sliver, a snapshot to avoid this becoming a novella. I share these small glimpses into Mom’s life with supreme gratitude for her patience and loving care of me over the years. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without my parents.
So, on this Mother’s Day, I return back home again to honor my mother, care for her needs and grab every moment I can to laugh with her and show my love for her just as she always did for me.
Thanks for reading…Kate
This past month has been trying, to say the least. I can’t divulge the personal matters I’ve been concerned over, but I do wish to apologize for not being around for my fellow writers and my readers.
My writing has been sporadic due to these circumstances, but happy to say another first draft chapter is completed. All I can promise is I will be working on this book whenever I am able to write, edit, re-write, etc.
I miss reading my fellow indie writers works in progress (WIP), and I’m hoping I will have more consistent time to pay homage to the great authors I think of as friends. If you are religious or spiritual keep everyone I hold dear in your thoughts and prayers. If not, try to send some good vibes their way.
So, keep smiling! Keep reading and know I appreciate all of you! ~ Kate
I just love Mark Huntley-James’ style and his take on being a “Pantser” when he writes. Being a “seat of my pants” writer as well I couldn’t keep from chuckling — via Blog Posts