Stories, art, and ALL THE OTHER THINGS!

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I have to admit a big fat fail.

Well, on the bright side, Story-a-Day May has introduced me to knew characters and their storylines. Yay!

But I have to focus elsewhere. My son hopes to qualify for Nationals in speed skating. He’s going to practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. (One of these days I’ll write a story about a roller rink.) He has a good chance to qualify for Nationals, but paying for it is a whole ‘nother thing. Anyway, I’ve got to work on earning a few more quid. I can’t work more hours at my day job, but I can make things, and some of you know I love to make things! But making things takes time and energy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you understand. (Unless you’re rolling in money…are you rolling in money? Because that’s weird.) So, I have art for sale over here on my art website. Woo!

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If you’re interested or can share the site, FANTASTIOSA! I’m still going to write, but not daily. I can’t story a day this May. Because I also have an art show coming up in June, so I’m trying to sell art and have art for the show. Yeah… And I’ve got a class this summer that I’ve not before, and the textbooks changed in other classes making most of my previous lesson plans useless. There are things. Like everywhere else, there are a lot of things to get done. Amiright?

I’m just going to do what I can. These stories aren’t going to leave me regardless. In the meantime, I’ll be making art like a loon.

Thanks for reading!

Story-a-Day May! Not even halfway…

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When I started Story-a-Day May this time around, I planned to write a series of stories. But I seemed to have gotten sucked into a longer storyline! Because that’s what I needed, right?

Anyway, slowly but surely my characters set out on their journey.

When Millie-Marie appeared at the edge of the square, she had a bloody nose and disheveled hair. She carried a small shoulder bag and a hefty looking stick. Her eyes met Ida’s, and she waited, stock still, for several heartbeats before marching across to the clock tower.

Ida said nothing. She nodded at the stick.

“Old Mortar took issue with me leaving,” Millie-Marie said. “He tried to relieve me of my bread and wages.”

Ida raised an eyebrow. She hadn’t considered Millie-Marie would say anything to either boss, least of all Mr. Mortar.

“It’s all right. He looks a right sight better than he’s looked in years,” Millie-Marie continued. “Looks a lot more graveyard.”

“Did you tell him where you were going?”

“I don’t know where we’re a going. How I gonna tell?”

Ida patted her coat pocket. “I’ve got us tickets on the overnight train.”

“The train?”

Neither girl had ever been on the train. Only one train worked and that was the overnight, and it didn’t always run. The governor didn’t care about much townspeople making their way anywhere. He had a private car and permits for every checkpoint. One of the last journalists asked him about the state’s plan to fix the train system. “Trains?” the governor laughed. “People are going to be expecting unicorns next.”

But the governor’s wife took on the cause. She was expected to have a cause after all. And she had a great ribbon cutting ceremony for the new overnight train. The questioning journalist disappeared a short while after and a few souls took to wearing unicorn on their lapels. Someone, no one knew who, spray painted unicorn on the side of the train. By then the governor’s wife was dead and the white scrawl remained on the side of engine, darkening with rust.

“How in blue blazes you get tickets?” Millie-Marie asked. She pulled a stray lock of hair from her face. “You don’t even got parents!”

Ida couldn’t help but grin. “Best you don’t know yet.”

Millie-Marie rested a hand on her hip. “Listen up, Miss. Princess Pants. I done beat a grown man with a stick and helped myself to a week’s worth of bread and cheese because you asked me to see the world. Don’t you go telling me it’s best I don’t know. I best damn well know everything.”

Ida took Millie-Marie’s rant in stride. “Course, I’m going to tell you. But if you don’t know, you can’t tell if we get in trouble.”

“You think I’ll blabber?”

“I just don’t want you to get in trouble.”

Millie-Marie shook her head. “I don’t ruined the boss man’s good eye. I already in a heap of trouble. Listening to you. Now you get yourself sorted, and you tell me how you got train tickets.”

A loud clatter echoed across the square. The vendors were closing up their stalls. Ida wasn’t ready to tell the whole truth even though she wanted Millie-Marie’s trust. And images of Mr. Mortar’s eyes pushed into her thoughts. Lots of adults who managed to live as long as he had possessed damaged senses—failed hearing, partial blindness, numbness in the limbs. Only the very rich avoided such plagues, and even they had trouble. “I stole the tickets, of course. I’ll tell you the details when we’re on the train. But we’ve got to get going or we’ll miss it.”

A hint of suspicion clouded Millie-Marie’s face, but she nodded. “That story’ll do, I guess. I’m already in deep here. Can’t never go within a horse ride of Mr. Mortar. He’d have me strung for sure.”

They both shuddered. Ida picked up her own bag and slung it over her shoulder. Her hand trembled slightly. “All right, Millie-Marie. Let’s go catch that train.”

Millie-Marie laughed. “I’m not sure I believe this train exists. I never have seen it, you know. I heard a couple grown ups tell about it, but I never laid eyes on it. What we gonna do if it’s a fairy tale?”

Ida shrugged and headed down the nearby alley. “Walk,” she replied. “Catch a unicorn.”


Thanks for reading!

Story-a-Day May! Day 10.

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I wrote yesterday but was too tired to think. And while I’ll willingly share rough drafts in much of their rough and tumble glory, sometimes I have to say no.

I’ve written a little this evening. I was exhausted after work today, and maybe I can get enough sleep tonight if I walk away from the computer at a decent hour.

But here’s what I managed to write today. I took some of the scene I tried to write yesterday and redid it. It’s still rough, VERY ROUGH! But thanks for reading anyway.

The clock tower no longer told time. City officials said the gears came to a halt after the Workers Rebellion twenty years back. The trains failed to run, leaving the needed parts undelivered. The Clock Master joined the rebellion and no one else could see to the needs of massive machine. No one seemed interested in fixing it, and Ida thought of it as nothing more than a landmark about as significant as the non-working petrol station at the end of her street.

Ida leaned against the tower wall, near the plaque declaring it a monument to those who stood for tradition and against the rebellion. People didn’t read the plaque. Not even Ida read it as she stood there idly waiting for Millie-Marie.

A few city officials argued the city clock stopped turning when the governor refused to pay the engineers and staff who kept the clock tower and most other municipal offices in working order. The clock tower could work again if the governor released the funds and apologized. Ida knew nothing about this. She’d have needed a bit of time to remember who the governor even was.
Citizens believed other stories. Ida’s mother had repeated a rumor she claimed not to believe but that she couldn’t stop talking about. The clock tower ceased telling time when the governor, or his henchmen perhaps, threw the Clock Master into the gears. The Clock Master, Ida’s mother assured the children, hadn’t joined the Rebellion. He’d lead the damn thing until crushed at two minutes to twelve.

Ida’s classmates had sometimes dared each other to sneak into the tower and crawl into the works. “You’ll see the Clock Master’s bones jammed in the teeth,” said one boy Ida never particularly liked.

“I heard they used the blood of unwanted children to grease the gears,” she’d replied. She’d never heard such a thing, but she couldn’t resist adding bloodshed to a story. Her embellishments had made her mother laugh.

“That why you missing so many brothers and sisters?” the boy asked.

She pushed him. “Am not.”

“Uh-uh. Your mom’s had so many kids, she’s been selling them for body parts.”

She’d kicked him in the shins. “Go to the tower and bring back a bone if you’re so clever.”

Now, Ida leaned against the tower and its shadow fell over the marketplace. Few people ever looked up at the tower’s worn face. Ida didn’t believe any of the stories. She believed what her father had told her. One day the great clock quit. The gears came to a stop and the Clock Master vanished. Perhaps he never existed. Once in a while someone wondered out loud about fixing the old thing, but the town needed more fresh food brought in and more armaments at the wall. Who argued for wasting resources on a timepiece? Who even cared about time?

I haven’t even figured out what genre this story is going to be. Hmm…

Day 2 of Story-a-Day May!

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I’m not posting entire stories, but here’s the beginning of what I worked on today. This is back story for a manuscript in progress–The Book of Astrophilia. It is my sci-fi fairy tale. And this bit tells about a few of the passengers (secondary characters) on a ship traveling the stars.

The sisters, Jezebel and Skye, smuggled food from the kitchens to the boy they kept hidden in their room. Fabule Earl didn’t eat much, and between them, the girls provided just enough food to keep him quiet. Although he would’ve stayed quiet anyway. He’d do anything for the twins, especially Skye, whose blank, black eyes never saw him but whose hand always held his when he had bad dreams.

The backstory isn’t actually very long. I just explain their motivations and why Fabule loves one sister more than the other and why they’ve hidden him away in their cabin. Of course, they aren’t the main characters of the novel, but I like knowing why everyone in my stories is doing whatever it is they’re doing. Who knows how much of that backstory will make it into the final draft.

Thanks for reading! Tomorrow I hope to work on another story.

Story-a-Day May Returns!!


I have so many stories to finish, it is foolhardy to try Story-a-Day May again, but I can’t resist its siren call.

What about you? Are you writing?

I hope so.

And for this year’s writing madness, I have a plan. And my plans tend to end up like old school paper maps. I get them and they’re nice and crisp, folded perfectly, and a short while later they’re folded the wrong way and stuck in a nook somewhere in my car to be pulled out every once in a while as if I’d never seen it before in my life.

Anyway. Today is day one of Story-a-Day May! Congratulations to anyone writing out there, too.

For Day One, I’ve started a new story and it begins like so,

Miranda Magpie Jones did it for love. Which isn’t much a surprise to anyone who follows stories of humans making mistakes.

What is a surprise to some folks is what happened when she woke up on the dirt path that ran along the old graveyard. Of course, she didn’t wake up as you, dear reader, might think. Miranda Magpie Jones, 45, returning college student, always in a financial bind, and thoughtlessly in love with her professor had died earlier that evening in an unexpected, lurid fashion.

The working title is A Night in a Graveyard and Other Stories of Immortality. It’s inspired by a story my mom once told me.

But I’m also going to use this month to revisit other manuscripts in progress, write backstory or character profiles. And we’ll see where it all ends up.

I’m also getting ready for an art sale, and that takes precedent this year. This first week shouldn’t be too hard since I’m on vacation and can’t spend any money. What else to do but make things and tell stories?

When classes start back up…fingers crossed and wishes made!

Thanks for reading.





Not Forgotten


I haven’t forgotten these characters. But I’m also trying to finish another draft of my next novel, work on a few commissioned art pieces, grade student papers, work on our house, spend time with my family, go to speed skate practice, and sleep.

I’ve cheated though. I’ve skipped ahead. When I finish my novel, I’m going to come back to this, map it out, and fill in all the gaps. My goal is to have something pieced together in a readable form by the time next year’s Story-a-Day comes around. We’ll see how that goes. At least, I don’t have to go to chemo anymore! Yay!

As always, thanks for reading.

Hannah and the old woman waited for Meredith to return. They sat together in the cramped space of the closet in the dark. Maybe not being able to see the old woman made Hannah bold.

“Do you have any children?” she asked. Hannah had come to the Asylum, after all, to find out about her grandmother. Possibly even meet her. Earlier the idea would have horrified her, but she was getting used to the old woman. Calling her a friend seemed unlikely, but she did feel a bond that was hard to explain.

“Nosy girl, you are,” the old woman replied. “Why would you care?”
Hannah could hear the frown in her voice. “There has to be some reason why we came across each other and have been sticking with each other,” she said. “There has to be some reason you’re still with me.”

The old woman didn’t reply. Hannah knew the old woman was there only because of the sound of her breathing and that there really was no where to move.

“Do you believe in horoscopes and fortune telling too?” the old woman asked.


“You appear to ascribe happenstance to supernatural or mystical sources.”
In the dark of the closet of the Asylum, muffled sounds beyond the door, the supernatural felt immensely close. “Don’t you believe in the supernatural?”

“I believe in what I can do and what I can not do. The rest I leave to others.”

“But you could’ve taken off without me. But here we are together.”

“You’re welcome to leave any time,” the old woman said.

“I couldn’t just leave.” Hannah wrapped her arms around her knees and gripped her hands more tightly. “We’re a team.”

The old woman laughed and then coughed. “I’d love to hear the doctors discuss my suitability for a team. Have you never been taught how teams work, child?”

Hannah was glad the old woman couldn’t see her reddening face. “We have worked together.” It wasn’t that she believed in fate or serendipity, but she didn’t not believe in them either.

“We’ve managed not to die,” the old woman replied.

“Do you think dying is likely?”

“Dying is certain. It’s the timing that’s unknown.”

Hannah pushed images of the dead security guard and the dead patient away. Thinking about who they were wasn’t going to help her. “I don’t see what has to be certain about it.”

“Maybe you won’t die here. But you will die some day. You can’t deny that.”

“Well…no, but that’s kind of morbid to think about.” Hannah thought she saw a glint of the old woman’s eyes in the darkness. In her normal life she liked talking about death and dying, but now that it felt as if these things were close at hand, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to say.

“Meredith will be back soon. And everything it going to be fine.”

“Right. If she doesn’t give us away.”

“She’s on our side now.”

“Is she?”

“Doesn’t she have to be?”

Silence again hung between them. “They won’t let her walk away from this either. As a traitor, she should be the most frightened.”

Hannah wasn’t sure about her feelings for Meredith, but she’d placed her trust in the nurse and perhaps the nurse had put trust in her as well.

But she didn’t want to think about Meredith now. There wasn’t anything she could do for her. Meredith would either succeed, or they were all in deep trouble.

Right now in the dark and waiting, she hoped that maybe the darkness would encourage the old woman to talk. “What happened to you here?” Hannah asked.

“This is a closet. Not a confessional.”

This time Hannah didn’t reply. She resisted the urge to fill the silence. Her dad once told her you had to give people time to answer rather than rush in to hear your own voice.

The old woman breathed in deeply. Hannah imagined she could feel her exhale.

“Maybe I was young once,” the old woman said. “Do you believe that? Youth is a fairy tale, don’t you know? Can’t you tell?”

Hannah sucked in her bottom lip to keep herself from talking. She didn’t move. Anything might quiet the old woman, and a moment like this would likely not happen again.

“Once upon a time there was a girl they called Zeenia. Her parents adored her, of course. Adored her more than good sense allowed, and so no one prepared this child for the real world because why bother when everyone thinks you’re a princess? A princess must never sully herself with the real world. Never mind that she will grow old one day. No one ever thinks of this. Do you?”

“What?” Hannah asked, surprised the old woman seemed to expect a real answer. “I guess I never thought about it.” Cinderella old? Sleeping Beauty? Snow White with gray in her hair and crow’s feet at her eyes?

“They think about it here,” the old woman said. “Here in the Asylum they think about it. They think about everything and plan accordingly.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Nobody wants an aging princess with a mind she knows how to use.”

“Were you a princess?” Hannah hoped her voice sounded as if she believed what she was hearing. Where did princesses still exist? “Are you from another country?”

“I’m from another plane of existence.”

Hannah stayed silent. Her questions weren’t getting her anywhere. Maybe the old woman needed to be locked up in the Asylum. Maybe all the patients were truly sick and she had this all wrong.

The old woman snorted. “I wore beautiful dresses once upon a time, my dear, but I tired of their weight. I complained to my husband, my prince, and he showed me that jewels and brocade are so heavy when wet that they’ll drag you down to the bottom of the sea.”

Hannah tried to make sense of what the old woman said. Sitting in the dark for so long was affecting her senses. She lost track of time and wondered if she were dreaming.

“But I was saved, if that’s what this life is called. Saved.”

The door startled them both. The room beyond the pantry was a paler darkness and they could just make out Meredith’s shape. “Hurry,” she said. “Your lives depend on it.”

I have not given up.


I have not given up on my story. Even though I missed the end of Story-a-Day May, I’m going to keep working on this. It was hard though, getting back into the plot. I haven’t written an outline or taken notes, so I get stuck. I know only a fraction more than you do about what is going to happen next. When I try to outline, the desire just to tell the story gets the better of me.

Also, I’ve got notes back from a reader on my second novel. I’ve got to go through those. Then the publisher looks at the what-I’d-like-to-think-is-final draft and makes more notes. Then the publisher works on the formatting and the cover. Then it will be published. Eventually. It is not a fast process.

I’m trying to get more of my art out in the world too. In spite of a few shows and festivals, I’m woefully naive about the art world. Certainly, I know more than I used to, but how to make a go of it still eludes me.

And I’ve got an idea for other stories. You know those ridiculous boxes that a person can stand in while money is blown around by a large fan and the person tries desperately to catch as many dollar bills as possible in the allotted amount of time? I feel like my brain is like that.

Anyway, here is the next installment of the story. Thanks for reading!


Tommy forgot the way he’d come from the Asylum. He took several turns and suspected the roads were purposefully taking him in the wrong direction. That was crazy, of course.

He gave up on finding the back entrance headed to the entrance everyone in town knew, the front gates. Hannah’s father had said nothing since they pulled away from his house. Tommy wasn’t sure if he should make small talk, but he’d been taught to let the adults take the lead in a conversation. Silence felt right for the situation anyway.

What met them at the Asylum gates surprised them both. A crowd of people stood at the gates staring out. Tommy stopped the truck, the headlights shining through iron bars and over the crowd. Many of them were in pajamas.

“My Hannah responsible for this?” her father asked staring through the windshield back at the patients.

“I don’t rightfully know, sir,” Tommy said. “But you know, Han. She does what she thinks is right.”

Mr. Wygant sighed. “It’s a lovely day, my boy, when what she thinks is right and what actually is right align.”

“But she’s smart.” Tommy didn’t take his eyes away from the crowd. They didn’t appear concerned or interested in the arrival of the truck. They didn’t even blink in the glare of the truck’s headlights.

“I just wish she were smart enough to stay out of trouble.” He didn’t stop watching the crowd either. In the crowd were boys and girls, adults and children, the healthy looking and a few with oxygen tanks and canes.

“Ain’t nobody that smart all the time, sir,” Tommy replied.

Hannah’s father let out a hint of a laugh. “You ready?” he asked.

“Ready for what?” Tommy gave Mr. Wygant a quick look. He figured he knew what the man meant, but he hoped otherwise.

“Well, I think we both know Hannah isn’t going to be waltzing through that gate on her own. We’re going to have to go in. We’re going to have to deal that crowd.”

“Maybe I could drive the truck through the gates, sir. Smash right through. They’d all take off runnin’ and we’d be in.”

Mr. Wygant frowned.

Tommy cleared his throat. “Sorry, sir. I wouldn’t. I’m just a little afraid of all those people. They don’t look right.”

“Imagine how we must look to them. No, my boy. You and me, we’re going to walk up to that gate and talk them like decent folks.”

“Yes, sir.”

“We’ll tell them what we’re going to do and let them move out of the way.” Mr. Wygant put his hand on his door handle.

“Sir,” Tommy said. “What do you think they’ll do when the gate’s open?”

“I suspect some of them will end back where they started, and a fair few will act free. But we don’t need to worry ourselves about that now. We’re here for Hannah.”

The teenager and the father sat in the cab another minute in silence watching the unmoving crowd. Finally, the boy spoke. “I’m ready when you are, sir.”

Mr. Wygant sat up straighter. “Remember,” he said. “I’m doing this for Hannah.” And with that he opened his door.