Tag Archives: writing

Sometimes You Eat Concrete

Whenever things seem to be going amazingly well something happens to put your feet back on the ground. It never fails, and I believe it is the universe keeping everything in balance. Call it karma or the biblical “pride cometh before a fall”, but either way, life has its ups and downs. I’ve been on the roller coaster ride of life this summer. Good times and sad ones have been mixed with moments of triumph.

My third book is coming along, and I hope to reach a point where I can publish it this fall. It will the end of a trilogy. My first, but hopefully not the last one I will write. My goal to work out regularly has been interrupted at times but I’ve managed to still work out at least three times each week.

Then there was Tuesday. I got up, threw on my workout clothes, and headed out the door. I was going to put in some miles. Turned on my tunes and started walking down the sidewalk with my ponytail bouncing to the beat. Unfortunately, the music was fading in and out with each step. I reached for my iPhone and the universe decided to take my high spiritedness and level it out…

Sometimes you eat concrete.

Miss Lydia and the Magnolia County Bake-Off Debacle

Miss Lydia watched the woman running down her sidewalk from her kitchen window. If Miss Lydia remembered correctly Clarice was quite the track star in her days at Sinippi Cove High. In fact, Miss Lydia was certain the other woman had run all the way from the library where the fleet-of-foot Ms. Travers worked part-time. A frantic tapping increased in strength until it reached the level of a pounding knock before the octogenarian ambled to the back door. Miss Lydia could have arrived faster, but she liked to frustrate her younger neighbor.

As soon as she started to open her kitchen door, Clarice appeared body part by body part sliding in with the skill of a spelunker through the crevice in a cave. Her friend had a serious case of head-sweating as evidenced by her wet locks and the sodden collar of her dress. Miss Lydia handed her a dish towel which the librarian accepted with a nod mopping with unprecedented enthusiasm at her damp face and neck. It took her guest a few moments to slow her panting enough to speak.

“You will never guess what I just heard at the library,” Clarice crowed throwing the dish towel down on the counter for emphasis.

“No, I don’t suppose I will guess the news. Since I’m in my 80’s and my days are numbered why don’t you tell me, Clarice,” Miss Lydia stated with a wry tone. Unfortunately, her sarcasm was lost on her young friend.

“Well…” Clarice provided a long pause to build suspense (too bad it only built irritation), “You wouldn’t believe who walked into the library this morning.” Feeling another pause in the ready, Miss Lydia made a repetitive circular movement with her hand to get her friend to hurry up.

“Spit it out, Clarice,” Miss Lydia said, her words staccato and harsher than her usual clipped manner of speech.

“Enid Floss,” Clarice whispered the words. The whites of her eyes were clearly visible around her irises.

Miss Lydia opened her mouth slightly with shock for a fraction of a second before snapping it shut hard enough for her dentures to clack together. Miss Lydia never wanted to appear shocked in front of others.

“What did she want?” the older miss hissed like a snake as she uttered the pronoun representing her arch nemesis — the Jezebel of Sinippi Cove.

Trembling like a leaf in a hurricane, Clarice divulged the ultimate betrayal, “Enid Floss is entering the Magnolia County Bake-Off. And if that isn’t enough, she is planning on baking Snickerdoodles.”

Miss Lydia’s signature cookie. She gently tapped her closed lips with the index finger of her right hand as she ruminated on this debacle. Enid was her best friend until they reached the age of seventeen. Miss Lydia had met a nice, young man and had fallen in love. His name was Roy Floss. The rest of the story would have to wait. Let’s just say — although 69 years had passed — Miss Lydia never forgave Enid. Pushing Clarice out the door didn’t prove too difficult, she knew when it was time to leave Miss Lydia be.

It took all of three days and dozens upon dozens of batches of Snickerdoodles before Miss Lydia was satisfied she had the winning entry for the Magnolia County Bake-Off. The day of the big event Miss Lydia dressed in her best church clothes, submitted her entry, and walked past Enid Floss with a triumphant smile. Later, as Miss Lydia accepted the Blue Ribbon for her Caramel Chai Snickerdoodle cookies, she felt like a champion. (On a side note — Enid didn’t even receive an honorable mention for her Snickerdoodles.)


What Kate’s Reading…

Definitely check out the #OneMillionProject’s Blog by #OMP Blogger, Mark Huntley-James. In his blog, “Something to Talk About”, Huntley-James discusses his reasons for becoming a member of this organization of writers, artists, musicians and interested volunteers.

His story about how he discovered his mother’s support of one of the OMP’s charities — Cancer Research UK — shows how cancer touches so many lives around the world. Sometimes, we are intimately involved on the battlefield of this category of diseases, but this is not always the case.

Each person deals with their cancer diagnosis in their own way. Some reach out and let those close to them know what is going on during their day-in, day-out fight with it. Others prefer to keep their illness to themselves.

Our bloggers have brought wit, knowledge, compassion, and their own heartaches and battles to the One Million Project. Please take the time to read their blogs and join us in our efforts to support the work of Cancer Research UK and EMMAUS Homeless programs.  ~~ Kate

 

Words and Actions Have Power

Sometimes I forget how one human being can have a powerful influence on someone else. I go through my day trying to smile, to say “Thanks!”, and to avoid exhibiting road rage. (I had a brief flirtation with it earlier today. Please forgive me for being peeved.)

Each day, I write a blog, post something on social media or work on my latest book draft, I’m affecting someone’s mood for the good or maybe in a negative way. I’m sure you have all had the post you hid because it was upsetting ( I’m picturing the trauma of seeing a dog being tortured.) Or had somebody send you a very personal photo that you didn’t wish to have sent to you. Even the very way everything is divided in the US across political lines is disconcerting. I remember when we identified as Americans first and not by political parties. But that is another topic that is off limits because of the bad karma it brings.

I like to keep things light. Positive thoughts, happy photos IMG_8762and every meme or video I can find that makes me laugh, includes Jeeps or nurses or dogs or babies or books. Get the idea???

My books are not necessarily happy love stories. They are filled with many themes including love, misunderstandings, pain, hate, criminal activity, friendships, and suspense. But the main theme is how people affect each other for good or bad.

I want to stay on the “good” side. Thank you to all of my readers and social media friends. Writers tend to be a bit introverted myself included, so your comments, likes, and book reviews mean a great deal to me. They give me the motivation to sit down, again and again, to wrangle a multitude of words into pages that transport those who read them to another place and another time. I couldn’t do it without all of you.

 

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!

https://theonemillionprojectcom.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/on-the-borderlands-of-fantasy-by-raymond-st-elmo/

Home Improvements

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 IMG_8667transforming 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…

 

 

What Kate’s Reading…

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!

 

Girl Talk

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.

Never Show Your Hand Progress Update

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 IMG_8055thus 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