Midsummer Thunderstorms

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

Midsummer and the thunderstorms pile up….thick, beautiful whiteness, greyness, and stagnant air gets thick with moisture…. silence reigns as things too quiet to hear, suddenly are as loud as a cricket in your ear…. slips of blue blue blue fill up pockets of where the white and grey have spread just a little to reveal the serenity above the pounding drums and flashes of quicksilver violin spats…. swirling, whirling way up high, twisting around the needle branches of the pines, swallows spin and dance in the warm air, spinning up up up, to plummet down again….. and every hue of every summer flower is as vibrant as the paint in an artists paintbox, swirled out in extravagant splashes of orange, purple, red, pink, magenta, blue, yellow….. Greeness and yellowness, the grasses waving on the hills and meadows, the spires of seed heads bobbing in the waving winds that have been stirred up by the unsettled air, cut grasses, hay, laying in rows, billowing green rippling like the sea in shades of mint, olive, asparagus green, oh every shade known to man, rippling onward, stopping only by the stalwart blockades of the hills, filled with the resinous perfumes of pine, juniper, cedar, sweet maple of the sugarpines,….. the cicadas have stopped their humming and murmuring, now the raspy grasshoppers take the tune, and the buzz and hum, a perpetual hum of a white noise as bees move throughout collecting nectar….. only a splatter of rain may fall, the drops splatting in the dry dry dirt, kicking up little powderpuffs of dust then filling the air with wet dust dampness dirt….. before the asphalt gets its spicy sweet wet smell, and the grasses and hay are dampened… oh summer thunderstorms are the magic of the year….more magic than the first snowfall, this unstable sweltering explosion of fire and water and wind and earth… all the elements have come out to play……

Photo by John Westrock on Unsplash

So, I’m in bed, but I was out watching some of the thunderstorms pile up. Can you tell I love summer thunderstorms?  I’ve been writing about them in various stages for the past ten plus years. Always different, never capturing what I want to say. I love living where they happen. When I lived in Colorado, they happened almost every day, but they lacked the heat buildup that we get here in northern CA. They didn’t have the sweet hot smell of a burnt out summer and dried grasses.

Last year I had created a character a la B.H. Fairchild’s way of a heteronym, (see Wikipedia’s description) a Wilson Tennu, who comes to CA after a breakup of a love affair and experiences the summer thunderstorms as these giant wars between the gods of mythology. This Wilson guy ‘wrote’ some of my massive and narrative poems that went into the rejected manuscript, and he has become my inspiration for looking at things differently. I am also quite attached to his poetry. He’s rather remarkable in my opinion.

Anyways, viewing thunderstorms from someone that lives in New Orleans (which is where he lives, in an apartment above Bourbon Street) would be an interesting take on how they come about here in NorCal. They seem to just explode out of nowhere. Maybe all thunderstorms are the same way. I want to be on the prairie sometime and watch them form. Far enough away from a tornado, but still see them form. Let’s just say I respect and admire and adore summer thunderstorms.

So enjoy my little rambling description. If you live here, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well I hope you can picture the magic.

Kate

And The Meal Was. . .

Fancy Toast by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

She was served a lovely open faced sandwich of the nicest white bread, toasted lightly with thinly sliced green bell pepper and tomato topped with an over-easy fried egg. The floral plate was sprinkled with cilantro leaves and pinks. Another plate held a slice of the same white bread spread with only the best butter, whipped smooth and fresh strawberry jelly. A delicate teacup held a fragrant brew scented with rose and a fine oolong tea.  -Katie Lyn (just me describing the above photo if I were to write it in a book)

Have you ever paid attention to a meal when it is written about in a book?  Surprisingly, even though my eating habits lie along the lines of “have to” at this point in my life, I still appreciate good food and how it’s written. I think my first example of paying attention to food was a child’s books where bread, butter, and jam sandwiches were served. I can’t recall what book per se, but I have always paid attention to food. I aught to as my sister is forever keeping her journal which is basically recording down the day’s food. She reads  The Food Lover’s Companion like the Bible, and we collect cookbooks to read.

Emilie Loring books revel in good meals. The delight of delicately prepared vegetables, with Hollandaise sauce! Fragrant cups of coffee after dinner. Delightfully delicate sandwiches. Emilie must have enjoyed food. (let me check… Yep, read the second half of this blog post by Patti Bender. Emilie Loring: Good Company ) Food is what makes us all exist and what is the point of living without good food? (My current predicament is odd as I’ve always enjoyed food it’s just become a bit mundane at times for me. Go figure.)

I just started reading  What She Ate by Laura Shapiro and one chapter talks about the British author, Barbara Pym, who delighted in describing meals. She noted them in journals and never left out a simple meal. Apparently. I’m off on a quest to find one of her books as they sound marvelous. The thing that caught me the most was how Ms. Pym (don’t you just love that name?)  kept those notebooks where she wrote everything down. When she would go out people watching, every little detail was written down, especially the food. Describing a simple salad, or a boiled chicken. (They are very decidedly British after all) But food is described.

I’m in love. I mean, what better thing to focus on to slip into various bits of storytelling? We eat. I mean, I find it rather interesting that we never describe our daily ablutions in books, unless a woman is dressing and putting on her face. Granted, we don’t know all the daily doings of our characters, though I find it rather interesting. Personally. But back to food, most people enjoy eating. And we all want to eat well. What I think is eating well  might not appeal to others as I like fairly plain food, but I have never known someone to not enjoy a meal at our home. Simple is nothing to scoff at.

Why, the other night, I came home late from work where I was sending off fancy dishes, and my kept meal was pan-fried pork chop, sauted kale with garlic, farfalle with Parmesan and butter, and a simple salad (head lettuce and tomato, if I recall). Simple, basic, but pleasant after smelling so many exotic scents exiting my Chef’s kitchen.

If there is anything I can learn and glean from this essay on Barbara Pym, it’s to keep track of food better (not to mention people watch better)  and write it down. Even if watching a cooking show. Oh, I imaging Ms. Pym would have loved Barefoot Contessa!

Do you pay attention to food in books? Do you collect cookbooks and recipes? I certainly do, even if I never plan to cook them. My Library has plenty of lovelies. I carried on an online correspondence with a British man who said in England Delia Smith is a Goddess. I’ve never forgotten that and I’ve paid attention to food due to little things like this. Ratatouille is the best foodie film ever, in my opinion. And Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books have Monsieur Wolfe a true epicurean, albeit a bit extravagant in my opinion.

So, again, foodies and writers alike, comment please. I’d love to know your thoughts. Any good meal descriptions you’d like to share? Please do!

Eating/Writing On

Kate

 

 

A Snowed In Christmas Present – Short Story

Back in March my local libraries hosted their annual story contest. It’s a chance for the people in the valley to get their creative hats going, especially the schools, to write a three-page story.  Or if you are the 1st and 2nd graders, well, whatever you can write.

Over the years I have entered at various points. This year I won first place and it was kind of nice, having one 2nd and 3rd as well over the years. Below is my entry. My Hallmark of a three page story. I entered this year to challenge myself to writing  a story in three pages. I guess I made it work. Enjoy. Oh and it was inspired by this picture from Bing from a few years ago.

A Snowed In Christmas Present

Christmas Eve

Jess tramped through the deep snow, her snowshoes keeping her above the deep whiteness. Her shepherd, Max, bounded along at her side. The destination was a cabin tucked into a copse of pines near the old ski trails at the back of the new ski resort. In dry weather it was a half hour hike, but with all the snow, it took Jess over an hour to reach the primitive cabin. Built in the 40s by her grandfather, when he had owned all the surrounding land, the cabin was a sturdy log structure with a small lean-to built out back where the dry wood was stored. There was a small loft with a bed over the main room of the cabin, and that was where Jess slept most of the time, though sometimes she’d crash on the ancient sofa some relative had somehow carted to the cabin. It had always been a mystery as to how it had gotten to the cabin from so far.

It was late afternoon when Jess and Max arrived. It took Jess another twenty minutes shoveling the snow away from the front door with the snow shovel tucked under the eaves before she could get into the cabin. She quickly started a fire in the pot belly stove then started another one in the small wood cook stove. She got pans of snow on the stove to melt while Max checked out all of the corners of that cabin for mice that might have set up house in the early part of the winter. Satisfied there had been no intruders, he flopped in front of the stove with a groan. Jess laughed at him as she lit kerosene lanterns. She brought in more snow and added it to the pans on the stove before she started dinner. She had brought fresh supplies to add to the many stored items in the pantry. A stew was in order for a cold, snowy night like tonight.

She cut up carrots and potatoes to add to the tinned beef. As the stew bubbled and simmered on the stove, she mixed up biscuits from the flour and dry ingredients in the mouse-proof canisters. Soon, she and Max were eating a hot meal on this last Christmas Eve Jess would be spending in this cabin.

It was while Jess was buttering a second biscuit that she was startled by a loud knock on the front door. Max growled low and deep as she went to the window and peeked out. There stood a man with skies and poles. She quickly opened the door and saw that the man had a gash on his cheek and one of the skies was broken.

“Oh come in,” she urged and shushed Max who barked.

“Thank you,” the man said, nearly stumbling into the room. “I didn’t think I would make it; then I saw your light.”

Jess grabbed the skies and poles from him and helped him to the weary couch and noticed he was limping on his left foot. He collapsed with a groan and Jess quickly leaned the skies against the wall and grabbed the small box of medical supplies off a shelf.

“What happened?” she asked as she dampened a rag and cleaned the bloody wound on the man’s cheek.

“I was cross-country skiing up one of the old trails and ended up too close to a tree. Sank deep into the snow, hit some branches, broke a ski, and sprained my ankle.

“Oh dear. Sorry,” she muttered as she dabbed at the gash with iodine and the man winced.

“S’okay. What is someone doing out in this cabin on Christmas Eve?” he asked as if to distract himself.

“Says the man out skiing on a night when it’s supposed to snow the same night.” Jess smiled as the man gave a rueful laugh. “Max and I are spending our last Christmas here. My grandparents have owned this cabin for years, but due to some bad business deals by my uncles, they finally had to sell it to some developer. I guess he wants to make a resort here to back up the ski resort on the other side of the mountain. My grandfather used to own that land as well, but sold it years ago. So, since the developer wants to get started as soon as the spring thaw, and it’s tradition, here I am.” Jess tacked steri-strips across the gash.  “I don’t think this is going to need stitches.”

“Thank you. I’m Tom, by the way.” The man reached up and touched his cheek gingerly.

“I’m Jess Simmons. Now let’s get your ankle looked at. I don’t think you are going to be able to get out tonight on that ankle. You are at least an hour from the highway in this snow.

“I can’t impose on you,” Tom protested half-heartedly. Jess made a face at his protest as she brought a pan of snow that was mounded and set it on the ottoman.

“Right. You can barely walk and the snow is already coming down. I don’t think you are going to be able to leave. Face it, mister, you are my captive. Now take off your sock and rest your foot on this snow. It should take down some of the swelling.”

Tom did as she bade, winced at the cold, but then relaxed into the couch as Jess brought him a bowl of stew and a biscuit. He ate quietly while Jess made coffee and pulled some canned peaches from the pantry. They feasted on peaches and cream for dessert.

Then they talked after that, Jess telling Tom of the history of the land around the cabin and the cabin itself.  Outside the snow came down faster and faster.  Tom talked about his love of skiing and the mountains and getting away from his life in the city. Jess ranted about the investor who probably planned to tear up the land and make a gaudy resort. Tom told her he was an investor as well, but hated gaudy. He preferred classic mountain lodges. They talked late into the night sharing their life in the unusual circumstances of their meeting.  

In the morning, it was clear that they weren’t going to be able to get out of the cabin except to reach the outhouse behind the lean-to and the lean-to itself. They were snowed in. Which was what Jess had planned on, but Tom had not. He was worried his assistant would be going crazy since he’d never made it back to his hotel room at the ski resort, but there wasn’t much that could be done about it. So Jess and Tom spent an unusual Christmas together, playing cards, eating the simple but tasty meal Jess fixed and talking more and more.  Max claimed Tom as his own, using him as a pillow and not wanting to leave his side. Jess had never seen Max be so taken with someone other than her.

They spent two days together in the cabin before the snow blew away enough from the door that they could make their escape. Not that Jess was complaining. She liked Tom and was sad that their interlude was at an end, as strange as the situation was. It hadn’t hurt that he was a rather charming companion and quite good looking as well.

The hike to the highway was slow going, as Tom still had a limp and the one ski was broken, but they made it after a few hours. From there, Jess was able to drive Tom to the ski resort. In the whirlwind shuffle of getting him into the hotel and the staff making a fuss, she and Tom got separated. Jess thought of staying and calling his room after he got settled, but decided that she would come back tomorrow. She and Max went home, which was only an hour down the road in the small mountain community. Much to her dismay though, when she called resort, the staff told her that Tom had checked out and not left any forwarding address. Nor was the hotel going to give out his phone number.

Jess spent the rest of her holiday in a slump of disappointment, wishing she could speak with Tom and knowing the sale of the land was at the first of the year.

“Well, Max,” she said on New Year’s Eve, “it was fun while it lasted.”  Max sighed against her. He’d been moping since she’d let Tom off at the hotel. It was a very unsatisfactory way to end the year……..

Christmas Eve one year later.

Jess hiked through the few inches of snow towards the cabin. Max, as usual, bounded along beside her. There was a lot less snow than last year and the sky was clear and crisp. It was going to be a gorgeous Christmas Eve, made even more perfect by the fact that Jess now held the deed to the land around her cabin. The sale had gone through for the cabin back in January, but not long after the papers had transferred to the new owner, a thick packet had arrived in the mail. Much to Jess’s surprise, the new owner had learned of her love of the land and had gifted it to her with the deed to the land and cabin. Her grandparent’s bills were paid and she had the cabin now in her name. 

Jess had sent a thank you note through the brokerage firm that handled the sale, but she hadn’t heard anything else. Even now, months later, she was still semi stunned that she owned the cabin and could come here whenever she wanted.

The cabin was waiting there in the trees, cheery as when she had closed it up a few months ago for winter. She was looking forward to being able to celebrate again.

The lanterns were lit and a thick steak was sizzling on the stove when a knock came at the door. It was with a sense of déjà vu that Jess looked out the window to see a man standing at the door with skies in hand.  She opened the door.

“Tom!” she gasped. “What are you doing here?” She stepped aside to let the tall man in. “How did you know I was going to be here? Were you out skiing again? You aren’t hurt are you?”

Tom laughed. “You ask a lot of questions.” He leaned his skies against the wall and scratched Max who had come up to lean against the man.  “I’m here to see you. I was only skiing in from the road; no I’m not hurt. And as to why I’m here….” He paused.  “I wanted to see if my investment was getting good use. Since you are here, then I would say it is.”

“What do you mean your investment?”  Jess flipped the steak and peeled a couple extra carrots since she knew Tom was going to stay.

“Well, you did receive the deed to this cabin, yes?” Tom leaned against the counter near where she worked.

“Yes. How did you know about that?”

“Because, I’m Tom Winterthorne. I was the person that had been investing in the land around here.”

“What?! You’re Winterthorne Investments?” Jess stopped peeling.

“Yes. It was your stories of this cabin and spending time here charmed me so much I couldn’t let it leave your hands. So, I bought the land and had it righted back to you. There will always be land to invest in, but well, it’s not too often you find a woman you like who has such passion for the history of land.”

“I can’t believe you did this. I can’t believe you are the investor. I wasn’t very nice in describing you last year.” Jess ducked her head, embarrassed.

“You were unhappy. I couldn’t take it personally since I have done a few things that are like what you said.”

“I called the hotel after I let you off last year. You had checked out.  I thought I wouldn’t see you again.”  Jess dumped the cut up carrots into a pan with butter.

“Did you want to?”  Tom tipped his head to the side in question.

“I did. Very much so. I liked you. I liked our time we spent together, as strange as it was.” She ran her fingers through her hair.

“So did I. That’s partly why I came here tonight. I was hoping you would honor your traditions and come back. I was hoping to find you here.” He reached out and grabbed her hand and tugged her close. “I was hoping you wouldn’t hate me too much for me being me. I was hoping I could spend this Christmas with you as a friend again.” He leaned down and kissed her gently. “And maybe as the promise of something more.”

“I don’t think we are going to get snowed in this year,” Jess replied, “but I can’t think of a nicer present then to spend it with you.”

And if you had been standing outside of the cabin at that moment, you would have seen Jess lean up and kiss Tom as high in the sky the stars twinkled on this clear Christmas Eve.

 

Copywrite 2017 by Katie Lyn Branson

Writing In A Book and The Story It Created – Flash Fiction-y

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford the other day, and within a few moments I read a couple of lines that had me needing a pencil as I had an idea that I had to write down.  At the time, I was indisposed without my notebook or pen. I started panicking because I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget it. Fortunately, I found blank pages at the back of the paperback and I was able to have my sister get me a pencil tout de suite.

So there I was scribbling in a book. Something that I rarely do. In fact, I posted my interesting dilemma on Facebook and Susan Wooldridge’s responses were wonderful.

read-ex-libris

 

 

ann-fadiman

I found out as an interesting factoid today in my writing group that those pages at the back of the book are for taking notes. I love it! I am forever needing to make notes, but I am not always one to go crazy and write in my books. I make notes in the margins; word definitions and such. But It’s almost hard to go crazy with my markings in a book. I’m learning if I am going ot keep the book and it’s one I need to make notes in, I do. Cookbooks especially.

Well, writing in this particular book created this bit of flash fiction that  I have no idea if it is going anywhere, but I like it.

 

Despite their close proximity to their neighbors, the dead keep to themselves in their solitary graves; they don’t talk back. At least to each other. It makes cemeteries rather quiet, unless you’re like me. You see, I can talk to the dead. Sometimes at night, when the dead seem to be more restless, I go and perch on headstones and have a chat. I’ve met lots of nice dead people. The fresh ones being more chatty than ones who have been dead for quite some time. But they never talk to each other.

Why I can talk to them but they can’t talk to each other is a mystery. I’ve talked to my psychic friend, Paul, but even he can’t get a proper hello out of any dead. They ignore him. In fact, they ignore me if he’s around. Trust me, I’ve tried to prove that they talk to me, but whenever I bring Paul around, it’s like nobody is home. Dead silence. Ha ha, even I have to laugh at that joke.

So, when I can’t sleep at night, I head up to Piedmont Hill and visit. I have my favorites; the ones who talk about their kids and life, or the ones who have been buried a while and want to know what’s new in the world. Sometimes I try to talk with someone who has been buried for a hundred years or so and saw the old days, but like I said, they are content in their solitary confinement, rarely answering. Though there is one grave for a Captain John Werthers who was originally from Liverpool, England. he always tells me to go bugger off. Even though it’s really rude for him to say that, it always makes me chuckle. Sometimes I go to say hello just to be annoying. Supposedly he was a loving father and devoted husband, but I wonder since he’s so crotchety.

My favorite graves are the Deveraux Sisters; Elise and Della. Both dies of scarlet fever in the 30s. They are so sweet and hilarious, though again, they only talk to me, never to each other and they don’t want to hear about the other sister. Inf fact, they don’t ever believe me when I mention they are buried next to each other. I’ve tried seeing if anyone ever wants me to carry a message to someone else buried, but there’s this weird sort of structure where no one ever believes that they are buried next to a loved one. Like everyone is in stasis and the loved ones must be living.

Which is funny and annoying when they ask about how a loved one is doing and I tell them they are buried next to each other, or two rows down. They start shouting at me to which I shout at them and look like a crazy person yelling in a cemetery. At night. Which I am. Maybe I am crazy….

 

So there it is. I sish I could find an image I saved years ago that I feel fit with this story, but I have too many image files. If I ever find it I’ll add it….

Kate

Writer’s Don’t Take Sick Days

czhuxiqjilg-alejandro-escamillaOkay, we do, but it’s different. While we might be tucked under the covers, a thermometer in our mouth, an ice bag on our heads, we are still writing in the midst of being sick. For me, it was random snippets of poetry that I actually forgot to write down so needless to say, promptly forgot. I have used being sick to be a whole plot point for one of my novels. This time around, my flu was so nasty I wasn’t up for much in regards to writing, having to actually cancel my writing group. I did sit down today and work on a piece of short fiction for my local library’s writing contest. It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme

It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme is “Snowed In” and I have actually dabbled in a story about being snowed in. Downside, it’s close to ten thousand words which exceed the 3-page limit with this contest. Not to mention it’s more romantic and adult to send off for just the heck of it. So I started working on a new story, that after reading the premise to my writing group two weeks ago, they said (or completed for me) was a Hallmark story. I had the image of this snowed in cabin and from there I got a three-page story.

Now, seriously, I find it hard to write a beginning, middle, and end three-page story. Just over 2 thousand words, I’m a little impressed this worked and I do actually have all three parts. It might be a bit choppy, but you can’t add much detail into a three-page story. (have I stated this is a three-page story? Just checking) I’ve kept it to just some dialogue, a bit of a back story, and even an epilogue of sorts. I’ll let it settle in and ‘bake’ for a bit before the submission date at the end of the month. I might make it better, I might see some areas that need correcting.  I wouldn’t mind making it longer and add in detail, but you know, sometimes the best stories are short and sweet.

But like I was getting at, at the beginning. Even while being sick, and being uninspired most of the time (it’s hard to be inspired while coughing, running a fever and not feeling like eating) I still find myself writing. Now if only I could remember the poetry I didn’t write down.

Kate

Let Me Occupy Your Mind As You Do Mine – Flash Fiction

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

Rafe Simon sat at the small table that separated Bookends from The French Press coffee shop. It was both the most unpopular table, from eight in the morning till two in the afternoon, or the most sought after table, from two-thirty to five.  It became a very popular table mid afternoon when high school girls would fight over the coveted table just to have the chance to watch Jeff, Mia’s Elvis Costello wannabe assistant, working in the bookstore. Personally, while Rafe enjoyed chatting with Jeff, he couldn’t quite understand the girls’ fascination. Especially the floppy hair, skinny jeans, and thick, black, plastic-framed glasses.

Currently, though, Rafe’s view of the shop was quite improved as he observed Mia unloading a shipment of books at the front desk. The Devil’s Food cake slice added to the sweetness of his view, the cake moist, and for once, more chocolatey than most. The lyrics to the song playing in the shop didn’t hurt either. Gotye was eerily singing “Let me occupy your mind, as you do mine….”

Mia glanced up and at Rafe just at that moment, a frown between her brows before it lifted and she smiled. Rafe jerked his head in a hello and he watched her duck her head still grinning. Mission accomplished. Now he was in her mind.

About bloody time, he thought to himself. The woman hadn’t left his thoughts since meeting her two weeks ago. She had taken up residence and while he was loath to kick her out, she did make life rather distracting when it was as if she was twirling her finger in the hair near his ear while he went about his days on holiday. Bloody woman had to be his mate’s girl as well.

Rafe sipped his coffee and watched as Jeff came to take the stacks of paperback books Mia was setting out on the counter. She stopped and grabbed on, flipping it open excitedly.

“O Lord! He will hang upon him like a disease!” she exclaimed, dramatically leaning against Jeff, her forearm pressed to hear forehead.

Rafe chuckled, both at her and at Jeff who had rolled his eyes heavenward and shook his head in mock surrender. “Bravo, Beatrice,” he called, clapping his hands.

Mia blushed and stood upright. “The books for the high school’s play have come in,” she explained. “I love Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Classic play,” Rafe agreed.

“Best play I’ve seen in Ashland,” Mia sighed. She scooped up another stack of books and swirled off, leaving her to occupy Rafe’s mind even more as he pictured taking in a play with her.

the-bookends-love-triangleI started ‘Bookends’ (working title at this point) over ten years ago and I have only recently started thinking of working with it. It’s a love triangle romance with my characters inspired by Colin O’Donoghue, Martin Freeman, and a lovely model from the Garnet Hill catalog.  Like my earlier post about Regina and Luke, this is another Hallmark style story. Granted, in all my original drafts, unlike a Hallmark film, sex is involved. Love scenes are so much fun to write. But as I continue on, I find that sometimes you probably don’t need that. You can add it if it fits the storyline, but it’s not necessary. Unless one is writing a Harlequin Blaze….. I have contemplated that as well.

But at this point, all my stories are a Hallmark style story, and like the film, Love Actually, everyone in every story is connected at some point. Be it best friends each have their love story, or other stories are just connected somehow. One day, ONE DAY, I might have them all written. Sigh. Right now, I play out my characters in my head more than writing them.

Purple Mountain’s Majesty – Flash Fiction

Here is a piece I wrote just this weekend during my local writing circle. I have been making up my own writing prompts using scrapbook paper  and a prompt, a color, and a number on the little slip of paper. For those wondering about great colors… Try Crayola colors on Wikipedia. I love the titles, always have, Midnight Blue being an absolute favorite, along with Mint Green and Chartreuse.   Or try paint chips. A wealth of color names and ideas come from paint chips. Well, the writing prompts went over great, and one of the ones I chose had Crayola’s purple crayon, Purple Mountain’s Majesty, on it. So here’s the inspired piece of flash fiction.

Via Robby Hare blog

She sat at her morning spot, the nook on the east side of the house. Not really a nook so much as a seat under the window with a wide enough ledge to set her coffee cup. It was her time of  uninterrupted moments. Her time without a husband calling for something to be ironed or where were his cuff links. It was before the mountain sunrise. It was almost before the stars had set. The time between time.

She sat reading Amar Singh’s Diary about Imperial India. She had picked the book up on a whim at a library book sale. Maybe the color had intrigued her. Or maybe it was because it was about India. She always wanted to go to India but had never really put the idea into motion. So she read about it.

While she read, she idly flipped one of her son’s crayons over and over in her left hand. Somehow, her nook had been confiscated recently to be an art studio. There were crayons in cups on the window sill and abstract drawings taped to the wall. Jeremy was a mini Picasso. Or just a very ordinary five-year-old boy.

She glanced at the crayon in her hand. Purple Mountain’s Majesty was the color. How fitting to be holding a color that matched what she could see and what was her favorite view. A shadowed purple, not as clear as Lavender or lilac, but so pleasing. The color was waxy and warm in her hands. She set the crayon down just as the first diamond ray of the sun peaked over the jagged mountains.

Yes, the view was most definitely Purple Mountain’s Majesty.

 

Enjoy.

Kate

Reality of Dreams – Flash Fiction

So there I was, sitting in my writing circle. I can say ‘my’ because I’ve gone twice, I know the lovely ladies, and I have plans to make it a ‘must’ every week.  So I was sitting there with my circle this morning (Saturday) with express plans to write some flash fiction.  I grabbed the piece of paper with the number 85 on it and went around the room pulling books off the shelf and turning to page 85 for a prompt. I found two that worked for me and this is the piece of flash fiction that came from it.  Incidentally, I was envisioning Andrew Lee Potts from SyFy’s Alice that was a few years ago.  I adored him as Hatter, a scatterbrained and kind of cute/sexy ‘mad’ Hatter.  He made the part so wonderful that he is what I picture when I think of the Mad Hatter.

So Hatter is who I picture in this piece.  Enjoy.

 

Timothy sat in one of the two Louis the Fifteenth chairs that were in the center of a winter garden. The early morning light was blue and frosted fog. He looked down at himself, startled and yet complacent to see he was wearing a mourning suit, complete with tails and a grey top-hat. All around a fine snow fell, not on him or the chairs, but around the circle of stone housing this hidden garden. The sun was a weak diamond in a milk ice sky.

“Oh boy,” he though on a sigh, “Now where am I?”

These dreams, or transportations, were happening more frequently these days. What was the dream? Reality or the dream itself. Did he really belong here or was there something dreamlike to be said for sitting in a garden on very expensive chairs?

Would he wake up back in his normal life with a stale cup of coffee in his hands and a deadline to beat? Maybe that was the dream. Or more accurately, a nightmare. At least here, all he had to do was think about something and it appeared.

He glanced down just as a snifter of brandy appeared in his hand. Yes, this was definitely a much better place to be. He wondered how long he would stay this time. But he wasn’t going to waste a good brandy on thinking about what ifs.

He took  a healthy sip, closed his eyes, and settled into his seat as the burning liquid warmed him in the cold winter morning.

 

So, there it is. Honestly, my first start was very different, but I am so happy with this and now it makes me want to continue and write about Timothy. What is he? Where is he going? What does he do? Who else might be in this dreamlike land? And is he dreaming?  So many questions!

Kate

 

Daffodils And Almond Cookies – Writing 101 Day 4 – Flash Fiction

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He knocked on the door, the bouquet of daffodils bright and cheery in his fist while the day was dreary and wet with low slung clouds. He smiled brightly as she opened the door.

“Henry! Those are beautiful. Are they for me?” Narcissus asked and held open the door for Henry to enter.

Henry nodded and  slipped in the door, slipping off his rubber boots before he tracked in water onto her pristine floor.  He thrust out the bouquet and was relieved when Narcissus took the flowers from him and motioned for him to follow her.

“Would you like some cookies? I just baked some almond drop cookies.  And I can put on the kettle for some tea.”

Henry nodded again and trailed after her. He loved her house. It always smelled good, like her. Warm, sweet, and a little bit like vanilla.  She always had pretty flowers everywhere, but daffodils and narcissus were her favorites since they were her name.

“You’re quiet today, Henry.  What kind of tea would you like?” She asked as she reached up on a shelf in the kitchen for a square vase that was bright turquoise.

“Do you have the Woolong tea?” He asked and sat down in his favorite chair at her kitchen table. It faced the stove and he could watch her fix the tea.

The Oolong?” She clarified, and he nodded. “I do have that tea.  I just had a new tin arrive, so I’m dying to try it.  Why don’t you get the poppy teapot down.”

Henry grabbed the step stool and got the cream and red poppy teapot down from the top shelf and filled it with hot water from the kettle. He waited for the porcelain to heat then poured out the water. Narcissus scooped four teaspoons into the pot and Henry filled it again with almost boiling water. They worked together quietly and perfectly as they had been making tea together for a long time. As long as Henry could remember.

While the pot was steeping, she pulled out an eggplant colored bowl filled with crisp cookies that were covered in sliced almonds. They made Henry’s mouth water. She pulled out mix-matched plates and set them on the table next to the vase of daffodils.

Henry filled the creamer with milk and found the little spoons she liked to stir the tea, then she was pouring the tea into white cups. Henry leaned in and sniffed the steam, fogging his black glasses.  Narcissus laughed and he smiled.

She fixed her tea and he fixed his with just a little milk and a lump of sugar she dropped into his cup with the little tongs. She passed him the bowl of cookies and he took two.

“Now, Henry. Tell me how your days was.  Tell me what you learned in third grade today?”

“Okay, Aunt Narcissus,” Henry answered and took a bite of cookie before he started to tell her about the horrible fractions he was learning in school.

 

So the assignment for Day 4: a story in a single image.  This is actually an easy assignment for me to do because one of my favorite things to do is to take a picture and write about it. Any picture, though I didn’t really like any of the ones suggested with the assignment.  Fortunately they directed me to Unsplash where the pictures are completely free and high resolution. I urge you to take a look because license free images are not easy to find.

I do hope you enjoy this piece of flash fiction. I could have gone so many different ways with this, but as I wrote, I started picturing Timmy in The Sea is Blue where he goes to visit an older friend.  It’s one of my favorite books.  Sometimes I think I might make a good aunt.

Kate

Emilie Loring – Day No. 18

I have mentioned extensively about one of my favorite, if not total favorite, authors; Emilie Loring. I’m sure half of you don’t have a clue who she is, but I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about this wonderful author. So bear with me.

I was first introduced to Emilie Loring when I was 16 and moving my way up in the library books from young adult to adult. My mother was hunting through the large library and came back with two of her books and I was hooked. My first Emilie Loring book I fell in love with, and to this day is till my favorite, is Here Comes the Sun. That is the cover from the one I remember, which is kind of funny because the girl is a blonde. It took me forever to re-imagine her as a blonde.

The books are wholesome, which is pretty much the formulaic way of Emile Loring. Her books are so clean I would let a 14 year old read them with no issue at all.  They are romance books, but they have mystery and portray family life, love of country, love of the military, and the true honest love of two people.  They are romance the way romance should be written, which is why I still return to them over and over. Sure, the more modern romances are fun, but they are filled with a fair amount of sex… Which again, can be fun, but sometimes you just want the story. And these books, while somewhat predictable, are just a lovely story.

So, the books are inspiring, but the woman herself is inspiring. Emile Loring didn’t start writing until she was 50, in 1914, and continued till her death in 1951. So she wasn’t rushing to write and publish at a young age. I think that’s great. Here I am, trying to  publish, having some writers say, “Oh you gotta publish now,”  while others, like Susan Wooldridge, have told me, “slow down and just focus on your blog. Publishing will come later.”  Emilie Loring’s life fits with the latter.  Which is helpful.

Sometimes I really feel like I need to just get something published, but there are writers out there that haven’t published till their later years. If it takes me till I’m fifty to publish, well I guess it takes me till. I’m fifty.  (oh please no!!!)

Also, Emilie Loring is inspirational to me because of the style she describes things. She describes landscapes and flowers and clothing in a manner that is unique. With lots of fragments that make up a paragraph in an amazing style. And the woman loved her flowers, and gorgeous flowers too. She’s always talking about flower borders.

The men are dashing, the girls are sweet, the villains vill quite well.  All making for a very good story.  I highly suggest Emilie Loring books to young women growing up.  They are sweet and inspirational without having to be a Christian book.  And yeah, I might go on and on about Emilie Loring, but it’s because she is the inspiration for why I started writing. I would not have written my first very bad start to a romance when I was 16 had it not been for her.

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Go on and check it out!

Kate