Posted in Blogging, stories, Truth or Fiction, writing

Bettering Oneself

Thank you to everyone who read last week’s story. I must have given something away in the story as everyone got it right! Yes…it was based on true events. I was working at a casino in Wisconsin at the time and the man really existed and the story of his murders and suicide are true. He was creepy and I always got bad vibes off of him but he insisted on standing at my cashier window every time he came in. He would just stare at me and never say a word.

So, when I heard of what he did, I was shocked. Not so much at what he did but because it came a bit too close to home as one of the men he killed was my brother-in-law’s brother. It was a strange experience in my life. Ok, another strange experience in my life. Seems I have had quite a few of them as my friend Marlene stated.

So, thank you again for participating last week and guessing correctly! Now, onto this weeks story.

Is it based on truth…or fiction? You tell me!

 

 

Bettering Oneself

 

She sat at a small, scarred wooden table which wobbled if she didn’t stick a magazine under one leg. A dim flickering light shined down on the paper she so studiously copied from. A short stub of a pencil was wrapped in her hand as she tried to copy the flowing letters on the piece of paper.

The lettering itself was of the alphabet. Beautiful flowing cursive letters of the ABC’s done in black ink that was a bit smudged and dirty from constant use. Her mouth pursed in concentration, her black curly hair falling in disarray around her hunched shoulders. Her brown intense eyes, usually seen with a sense of sadness behind them were focused on the letters she so diligently copied.

Behind her lay in darkness, as the dull flickering bulb was not strong enough to penetrate the shadows of the small room. A single small bed sat neatly made next to her and an even smaller window sat above it. Curtainless, the glass clean with a tiny porcelain figure of a woman sitting on its tiny ledge. The figure had been broken at one time and one could hardly see the lines of glue holding her together. A broken beauty in a stark bare world.

The woman, girl really, should have been in bed. Her workday started early in the mornings. She was up at 4 am every morning but Sunday. That was her one day off a week. Tomorrow was only Saturday. She promised herself a few more minutes of work with the stub of pencil, then she would crawl into her bed and go to sleep.

Her maid uniform was neatly hanging in her tiny closet. Pressed earlier in the night so that any errant wrinkles were ironed out of existence. Her employer, Mrs. Hightower, hated an unironed uniform. She said it was a slight towards her if any wrinkles should be present. The young woman didn’t want to slight Mrs. Hightower. She had a lot of respect towards her employer, if not outright love.

Mrs. Hightower hired the young woman six months ago over her better judgment. She knew in her heart the woman was more a girl, at least two or three years younger than the eighteen she stated. She was small, young and vulnerable. She was also quick, smart and willing to learn, Mrs. Hightower found out within the first few weeks. They quietly settled down to a routine.

The girl was fascinated with the flowery, flowing handwriting of Mrs. Hightower. In her mind, it was a symbol of wealth and breeding. She wanted to learn to write like that, so secretly she started copying the beautiful penmanship of her employer. She already copied her speech, her walk, her posture of shoulders back, spine straight. Young women didn’t sit with their legs crossed either. They kept their persons clean and neat along with their surroundings. It was lessons learned that would stick with her for a lifetime.

By chance, Mrs. Hightower caught the young woman picking an example of her handwriting out of the trash and asked her what she was about. The girl stammered out an answer. Embarrassed that Mrs. Hightower caught her stealing a piece of trash, she thought for sure she would be fired. Once it was explained why the girl wanted the castaway, unfinished letter to a friend, she stood a moment in silence than smiled.

She turned, sat at her writing desk and pulled a clean sheet of paper out of a drawer. That’s when she started to write out the alphabet for the girl stating that if she wanted to learn she can’t have her learning only half the alphabet when she could learn it all. With that, she handed her the paper with the letters on it and several blank sheets of paper as well.

“Never stop trying to better yourself, my dear.”

The girl with the big brown sad eyes and dark curly hair turned off the dim bulb, crawled into the small bed and closed her eyes to sleep. Four in the morning came quickly for young girls who were far from home and trying to better oneself.

 

 

 

So, what do you think? Is it truth or fiction? Have you ever had an employer you really admired? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Tuesday's Tongue Twisters

Tuesday’s Tongue Twisters

Hello once again, folks! Here are some more fun tongue twisters for you to enjoy.

Tongue twisters aren’t just for fun you know. They are a huge help with your pronunciation. Many actors and public speakers practice them as a means to better their way of speaking. So think of these as education tools!

tongue-twisters

 

Silly Sally swiftly shooed seven silly sheep.
The seven silly sheep Silly Sally shooed
Shilly-shallied south.
These sheep shouldn’t sleep in a shack;
Sheep should sleep in a shed.

 

Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.

 

Three sweet switched Swiss witches
Watch three washed Swiss witch Swatch watch switches.
Which sweet switched Swiss witch watches
Which washed Swiss witch Swatch watch switch?

 

A big bug bit a bold bald bear and the bold bald bear bled blood badly.

 

A maid named Lady Marmalade made mainly lard and lemonade. M’lady lamely never made a well-named, labeled marmalade!

 

A twister of twists once twisted a twist;
A twist that he twisted was a three-twisted twist;
If in twisting a twist one twist should untwist,
The untwisted twist would untwist the twist.

 

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Flash Fiction, postaday, Wednesday Whatever!, Word Fun, writing

Wednesday Whatever!

Today is going to be more word fun. I love words, letters, paragraphs, stories. There are so many people out there with so much talent for writing good stories. Sometimes though I like to read short stories or flash fiction. I love to write them too.

I think the shortest stories I’ve written were the six-word stories that you see sometimes as challenges. Now that truly is a challenge! It’s not so easy. I suppose the most famous six-word story is the one by Hemingway. I’m sure you are familiar with this one…. “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In fact, I just did a six-word challenge not too long ago over on J.A. Allens blog. She has a challenge going every week over at her blog, why not check it out?

I went on the search for some six-word stories. Here’s some of what I found. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Wednesday

 

I’ll start out with my own six-word story that I did for J.A. Allens challenge.

Stormy night. Checked in Hotel California.

Now some of what I found.

microfiction_web

 

download (1)

 

beautiful

 

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9a874ce23e845b2b14f4460a0a7cb898

 

img_20160217_101621181-1-e1455805445619

 

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Can you write your own six-word story? Please do in the comment section, I would love to read them! 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Friday Quotes, nonfiction, postaday

Friday Quotes

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2016

 

Nature Does Not Hurry

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in DeeDee Watson, My Books, nonfiction, postaday

Spring Fling Book Sale ~~ Free Book!

Hello, People!

This is just a quick reminder that I am having a Spring Fling book sale on my two books this weekend….starting today!!

A Case of Deceit will be FREE!

Deceit Kindle Cover

 

The Canine Caper will be 99 Cents!! Grab them both this weekend and enjoy a good read!

 

cover play 5 canine caper

 

If you would be ever so kind and spread the word by reblogging and letting others know! Thank you!!

 

*Be kind to authors and please leave a review on Amazon after reading (or Goodreads!)* 

 

 

Posted in Author Interviews, Blogging, My Books, postaday, writing

Indie author of the day: Jackie Phillips

My interview for the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did doing it. 🙂

Scarborough Mysteries

Jackie 2009We’ve gone through the first week of our indie book blog tour, which I am co-hosting with the talented Kate M Colby, http://katemcolby.com, and haven’t we had fun! Today is a writer who likes a mystery as much as I do, Jackie Phillips. JL Phillips is a dreamer. Now she is a writer of stories. Being a dreamer is nice but it’s not perfect until you put those dreams in writing and let other people see them. Here she introduces her book, A Case of Deceit:

Private investigator DeeDee Watson receives a desperate phone call from an old college roommate. Dee can’t turn down a plea for help from a friend, so, along with Tee, her trusty sidekick, she agrees to help. It doesn’t take long for Dee to find herself in the middle of something sinister. The more clues she finds the more she realizes all is not what…

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Posted in Author Interviews, Blogging, postaday, writing

Author interview: Helen Jones

And another great author from our 2016 2K Indie Book Tour! Look for ME tomorrow!

Scarborough Mysteries

Helen JonesHalf way through my leg of the indie blog tour, before I hand over to my colleague, Kate M Colby, http://katemcolby.com. Today I welcome fantasy writer, Helen Jones. She grew up in Coventry, England, then moved to Canada and Australia before coming back to the UK. She now lives in Hertfordshire and loves to write, dance, study and paint, seeking pathways beyond the everyday. She’s worked many jobs, from martial arts instructor to photography producer, but writing has turned out to be her absolute favourite one of all. She’s written for several publications and blogs in Australia and the UK. Oak and Mist is her debut novel:

‘The end of everything? Great, no pressure then.’
A young girl witnesses a strange event in the woods at her local park. Five years later, in the same place, she is attacked and pushed between two trees… then disappears. She reappears in…

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Posted in Author Interviews, Blogging, postaday, writing

Author interview: Christina Ochs

Another great author on the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour that I am participating in the next couple of weeks! Please join us!

Scarborough Mysteries

Christina2As we continue with our indie book blog tour (co-hosted with Kate M Colby, http://katemcolby.com) today I am very pleased to welcome historical-fantasy writer, Christina Ochs. She writes epic historical fantasy from the passenger seat of a semi truck. At any given time, she, her driver husband and their two cats – Phoenix and Nashville – can be found anywhere in the lower 48. With a bachelor’s degree in History and an MBA, Christina uses her writing to indulge her passion for reading and research. Publishing as an indie author provides an outlet for her entrepreneurial side and she is an avid supporter of fellow authors, both independent and traditionally published.

Rise of the Storm is the first book in the Desolate Empire series, a historical fantasy retelling of the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War. It follows four main characters through the religious and political upheavals triggering…

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Posted in Author Interviews, Blogging, nonfiction, postaday, writing

Author interview: Zach Chopchinski

The second interview in the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour! Enjoy!

Scarborough Mysteries

On the second day of our 2K international indie book blog tour 2016 (hosted by Kate M Colby http://katemcolby.com http://katemcolby.com & me, Kate Evans). I am delighted to welcome our first indie author for interview, Zach Chopchinski.

LLP_5958Zachary is 27 and lives in Florida with his lovely wife, Layla. The two of them share a home with their four fur-children. Zachary has degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology. He had two short stories and a poem published by Ohio State University. Zachary has always had two passions in his life, criminal justice and writing. After spending nearly 5 years working in security, Zachary decided it was time to give his other passion a chance. Zachary is very much a family man and when he is not deep in writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing video games or contemplating his next story idea.

He introduces his…

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Posted in Author Interviews, Blogging, postaday, stories, Uncategorized, writing

Author interview: Kara Jorgensen

Here is the first interview in the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour put on by Kate Evans and Kate M. Colby! I will be showcased on Friday the 12th! Come join us as we visit different genres and authors. It’s going to be loads of fun.

Scarborough Mysteries

It is time to kick off our 2K international indie book blog tour 2016 (hosted by Kate M Colby http://katemcolby.com http://katemcolby.com & me, Kate Evans). I am delighted to welcome our first indie author for interview, Kara Jorgensen.

KaraK picKara Jorgensen is an author of fiction and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs.

Here she introduces her book,  The Earl and the Artificer (Ingenious Mechanical Devices #3), a historical fantasy novel.

What mysteries…

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Posted in nonfiction, postaday, Wednesday Whatever!, Word Fun

Wednesday Whatever!

Welcome to another edition of Wednesday Whatever! I bet you are on tenterhooks thinking…..What is she going to talk about today?

Well, there is a hint in the above sentence. Can you find it? No? Ok, let me tell you. It’s the word ‘tenterhook’. I’ve also seen it written ‘tenderhook’, but the right way is tenterhook. A strange kind of word that one doesn’t see too often anymore. But I love using the odd word now and again. Like ‘alas’…I love that word.

So today I thought we might look at words or phrases (idioms) that are sometimes used that we wonder where they came from. Like tenterhook.

It’s meaning, of course, is ‘a state of suspense’. This is via Wikipedia:

Tenterhooks are hooks in a device called a tenter. Tenters were originally large wooden frames which were used as far back as the 14th century in the process of making woollen cloth. After a piece of cloth was woven, it still contained oil from the fleece and some dirt. A craftsperson called a fuller (also called a tucker or wa[u]lker) cleaned the woollen cloth in a fulling mill, and then had to dry it carefully or the woollen fabric would shrink. To prevent this shrinkage, the fuller would place the wet cloth on a tenter, and leave it to dry outdoors. The lengths of wet cloth were stretched on the tenter (from Latin tendere, meaning “to stretch”) using tenterhooks (hooked nails driven through the wood) all around the perimeter of the frame to which the cloth’s edges (selvedges) were fixed, so that as it dried the cloth would retain its shape and size. By the mid-18th century, the phrase “on tenterhooks” came to mean being in a state of tension, uneasiness, anxiety, or suspense, i.e. figuratively stretched like the cloth on the tenter.

 

Drop a Dime

Who besides me (because I’m old) remember saying this? Come on! Fess up! I mean the ‘old’ meaning and not the drug type one! Geesh, people. This means to make a phone call. According to American Idioms:

This is a good phrase to discuss with anyone born after 1970. When pay phones were still around they really did cost 10 cents at one time. The dime was dropped into the slot of the pay phone.

 

payphone_page2

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

Another oldie but goodie. My mom still uses this one as do several other people I know. Most know what it means of course, but how many know where it came from? American Idioms says:

Horses have gum lines that recede with age. Hence older horses have longer teeth than young horses.
To “look a horse in the mouth” is to examine the horse’s mouth closely to determine its age (and therefore its usefulness and/or worth). To immediately judge a gift based on its worth or usefulness rather than the “thought” behind it considered rude, and ungrateful (it is a gift after all, and didn’t cost the receiver anything).
The phrase is apparently quite old, a Latin version of it appeared in a work by St. Jerome in 420 AD, and it also exists in many languages. An Early english version (1510 AD) appears in John Standbridge’s “Vulgari Standbrigi”: “A gyuen hors may not (be) loked in the tethe.”

 

Close but no cigar

I admit I use this one quite often. It means one almost achieved success, but not quite. I never really gave a thought of where it came from so I thought this was interesting. Who doesn’t love a good carny, eh?

Carnival games of skill, particularly shooting games, once gave out cigars as a prize. A contestant that did not quite hit the target was close, but did not get a cigar.

 

mage by John Leech, from: The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A Beckett. Bradbury, Evans & Co, London, 1850s Fulvia
image by John Leech, from: The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A Beckett.
Bradbury, Evans & Co, London, 1850s
Fulvia

 

Let the cat out of the bag

I was ignorant about this one. Until now. Poor kitties. According to my reading, this is where it came from.

At medieval markets, unscrupulous traders would display a pig for sale. However, the pig was always given to the customer in a bag, with strict instructions not to open the bag until they were some way away. The trader would hand the customer a bag containing something that wriggled, and it was only later that the buyer would find he’d been conned when he opened the bag to reveal that it contained a cat, not a pig. Therefore, “letting the cat out of the bag” revealed the secret of the con trick.

 

Rule of thumb

We all probably know saying this means something that is usually right, but not always. Did you know where it came from?

Based on the use of ones thumb as a rough measurement tool. Generally correct for coarse measures.
Most old English measures of distance were based on the body measurements of the king — the length of the foot, inch (thumb tip to first knuckle), cubit (elbow-to-fingertip), and yard (nose-to-fingertip).

 

Toe the line

Some people mistakenly say or write ‘tow the line’. Alas, this is wrong! It really is toe the line, which means, of course, a person is expected to do what is right. Here is why.

This term comes from military line-ups for inspection. Soldiers are expected to line up, that is put their toes on a line, and submit to the inspection.

 

And there you have my lesson for today. So toe the line and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and accept my small piece of advice. Write it right!

 

 

What kind of old phrases do YOU use? 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, nonfiction, postaday, Wednesday Whatever!, writing

Wednesday Whatever!

Today I want to talk about …. Writing advice. I think I’ve touched on this a time or two before, so bear with me. I had a small conversation with my friend Kim over at Silently Heard Once about writing advice. Oh, by the way, go visit Kim if you like poetry and good discussions on things that matter. She’s a wickedly good poet.

Anyway, we touched on reading writing advice and how much it scared us both. So much so we couldn’t write! We doubted ourselves so much because we couldn’t write like people would say we SHOULD write. So we didn’t write at all.

In my case, I was pretty much a newbie on blogging. Just starting out on this blog and wanting to write stories so much I dreamed of them. I was scared to write them down and put them out there. Sure I had a blog for cooking, recipes and such. I wrote on that for at least a year before I started this blog. To me though that was different. It was recipes. It was cooking. It was about food.

This blog was scary to start. Why? Because it was about writing. Writing stories. Writing characters. Writing something that someone else actually wanted to read and enjoyed the experience! I had kept the love of writing stories to myself for so many years that I was scared to death to put my work out there to be read by strangers.

I also had a conversation many months ago with my mentor and good, good friend Maddie Cochere from Breezy Books. (If you like funny books with a mystery go check her out!) I told her of my fears and she told me to stop reading writing advice! Which thanks to her I have. Whew.

Now, I’m not saying writing advice is a bad thing. Nor am I saying no one should follow it. What I am saying is this….read, apply and believe with caution. Don’t be like me. Don’t think all writing advice should be followed. Because if you try to do that you will just drive yourself crazy(ier) and come up against a wall you can’t climb over.

Write-what-you-are-passionate-to-know-about

Take what writing advice makes the most sense for YOU. If you feel you can only ‘write what you know’, then go for it. Just don’t be afraid to write what you DON’T know. That’s what research is for.

For every ‘do’ in writing there is a ‘don’t’. Eh, DO what makes you happy and what makes you proud to put out there. DON’T be afraid to put your writing in front of people. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow as writers.

I’ve also heard this…When you are not writing, read!

Image-1-5

Well, that is good advice if someone doesn’t have a life at all. Now me, I have the husband to take care of, the house, bills to pay, groceries to buy, people to talk to. I have a life! I can’t be reading as much as writing or nothing else gets done. Hell, some weeks I can’t even write because I have too many other things to do and it’s exhausting. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit and just read a book. It’s been that long.

Would I love to? Hell yeah! Do I have the time? Hell no! I do what I can. When I have time and the energy, I write. Because right now that’s what I need. I need to get my stories out. I don’t need to acquire someone else’s story. Sorry. Nothing personal. I’m sure many of you understand what I mean. I love books. I’ve read countless books in my life. I want to read countless more. But not right now. Sorry, Mr. King. When I become as rich as you I will hire someone to do all these other silly things. Until then, well, reading is not high on my priority list and I don’t feel bad for it.

So, what I’m saying is this….do what works for you. Don’t be afraid of writing what you want. Pay attention to the writing advice that works for YOU. Don’t follow blindly. You have a brain, use it. Just because some big name writer says it, doesn’t make it useful for you, just them. There will only ever be one Stephen King, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman. Thank the goddess’. And there is only one YOU.

 

writers block game writing creative

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?