Insight of an Author

Pen and paper

I’ve been asked how I write. What’s my style. Most professional writers will tell you to work on one project at a time. Plan it well, plot the character sketches into your story, arrange all the ducks in a row. Well, with my tornado brain, my ducks are all over the place and have lost lots of feathers. I write off the cuff, by the seat of my pants, and yes I use stereotypical cliches. The things I do would curl straight hair on the guys and gals writing for a living, but I’m here to tell them, I don’t think I am the only one. When I am working on one of my several projects or WIPs (Works in progress) and things start to come out stale, like gum that’s been chewed to death, and the characters start asking questions about whether I have lost my nut, and I start rewriting instead of just writing, I tell them all to shut up and settle down! I’ll be back later. That’s when I will switch genres and start fresh, the new tornado just a gentle swirl on the horizon. My current WIPs include a young adult novel about telepathy and dragons, A fantasy about a modern day nurse who is really an old warrior who has the power of everlasting life. I am also working on a novella that was a short story about a serial killer who’s targets are pedophiles, a light comedy about my days as a service plumber, with a few short stories of some of the more interesting calls, and an essay memoir which is on hold as I deal with yet another fork in my interesting travels down life’s road .

So you see I tend to do a lot of things wrong, according to the pros, and yet they tell us to go against convention and step outside the box, or triangle in my case. I am a terrible speller, and I rely heavily on my editors, but then I get to put wine and bread on their tables, and the circle goes round and round. Sometimes the circle is flat on one side, but we all have to change a tire sooner or later. At the end of the day, I work things out with my muse and we can usually quiet the riots from the characters, because they know the consequences of causing too much trouble is certain death.

My advice to anyone who has that urge to write. Listen to your muse, and let it work you and mold you. Don’t worry too much about editing, just write, and do the fixing down the road. Understand that writing is like getting water from a rusty pipe. You have to let it run for a while, and get rid of the dirty water before the clean, good water will start to flow out. Writing will become writing well in time and with practice. The really cool part is we are always in practice mode, and like learning to walk, then run, then fly, our writing will improve daily, but you have to write everyday. Quantity doesn’t really matter, in my view. Write one hundred words or one thousand words in a day, the idea is to just write something every single day. It’s the only way to drill down to the really good stuff that is in us all. On this the experts agree with me, so I am doing something right. Also know that some days you won’t be able to write. You might be sick, handling a life crisis, or if you are like every writer I know you will just procrastinate yourself right into watching cat videos on Facebook, and that’s okay, but that crap comes with a price, because you will have to write twice as much tomorrow, or so I keep telling myself.

I was also not sure what genre I wanted to write in, at first. I wrote a middle grade level fantasy, about a boy who meets a live dragon, and the dragon teaches him about nature, and helps unlock the boy’s ability for telecommunication. This started out as an entertainment piece for my two sons. Later as I stretched my writer’s wings I ventured into a police mystery, and a Sci-Fi story for starters. I’ve since done poetry, comedy, Fantasy, Fairy tales and Folk stories. I love trying my hand at the different genres, but some were not so successful, and bear in mind we as writers are our own worst critics. One comedy story is listed above in the masthead. “Not Waxing Poetic” went viral on the internet in the 80’s and in twenty some years had over fifteen million hits, and my name was never attached to it. This kind of piracy, whether intentional or not can and does happen, especially when sharing on the internet or in an email.

Did I stop writing when I discovered this about five years ago? Of course not. I was impressed that my piece received so many views. It did explain why I never had any results with the countless times I submitted to magazines and publishers. I grew a thicker skin and carried on. I’ll never make a dime off that piece, but neither will I off any thing I put up on this blog, because it’s considered as published already. And I’m fine with that because it’s my way of investing in myself to promote my words, and hopefully develop a following of more fine readers like yourselves.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to listen to an old writer, with an even older rant. I know there’s more of you out there. Let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by.

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Interview with a Concerned Citizen

Interview with a Concerned Citizen

L.F.Young

 

 

L.Y. ~ Welcome everyone. I don’t usually do interviews on my blog, but I ran into an old acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years at the beer store in Hillsborough, and we started reminiscing about old times. He asked if he could use my blog to spew off some steam, and I agreed. If you are of a sensitive nature, please stop reading and go to another blog, as my guest is not only colorful, he has a bit of a potty mouth. I make no excuses for this, but you have been warned, there may be explicit and colorful words and descriptions used by my guest.

 

L.Y. ~ So, Locknut, why don’t you introduce yourself to my readers.

 

Lonnie ~ Well first of all, I ain’t called Locknut no more. That was back in the days when I was a handyman. And don’t you be cleanin up my talk here today with yer fancy spellin and grammar crap. Just because you wrote two damn books, don’t make you no smarty pants.

 

L.Y. ~ Okay, word for word it is. So you just go by Lonnie now?

 

Lonnie ~ Well if you must know, my neighbors and me buddies calls me Lonnie the learn ed. I got that title by keeping my damn mouth shut for the past five years, but I can’t stand it no more. The idiot pile is getting higher around these here parts, and somebody’s got to say somethin. You can’t swing a dead road kilt raccoon without hitting an idiot. I’m tellin you they are everywhere. Well this here is Lonnie’s Lament, and I aim to speak my piece.

 

L.Y. ~ You seem pretty worked up, Lonnie. Have your say here. I’m sure my readers are taking this all in.

 

Lonnie ~ Well I ain’t gonna talk about the politicians. We all know their quota of idiots is endless, but I’m some fed up with just the normal people. I don’t know what happened or when it all went to shit. I told you I just shut my trap and listened for a spell, and I discovered that listenin was a big problem today. People don’t listen no more. Oh they wants to yap alright, and tell you how to run yer business, but they is all poor listeners.  Bobby Jean told me about this internet thing. She said people spends all the damn day on some social media thingie tellin each other how to live their lives. We can’t get the signal back home, but I don’t think we be missing much.

Now I don’t know a whole lot about the internet, but I’m thinking it might have something to do with the rise in numbers of all these idiots. I told Bobby Jean my idear the other day. She’s the smartest and prettiest girl I know, and she told me my idear was a theory, which is a fancy word like you use, Lockie, but it just means idear.

You see it goes like this, when we was getting schoolin people told us how things is done. Certain way to do everything, like readin and writin. Well they don’t do that nomore. Now all the answers are on this internet thingie, and folks are expected to learn it on their own. Well somebody should have told the idiot I saw the other day how to parallel park, because this poor darlin was driving head first into the spot. Now credit where credit is due, she did park the thing and went about her business. Mind you the arse end of her car was stuck out in traffic, but the folks driving by talking on their cell phones didn’t seem to mind one bit. That’s why I hates goin into the damn city. It is full of idiots. Especially this time of the year with all the road fixin goin on. They put signs out way down the friggin road, with flashin lights tellin the idiots to pull the frig over. That lane ends. But no, they ride that lane right to the end where they can’t go nowhere but into the lane they shoulda got into way back. So they waits and inch their bumper ahead to get back into the right groove, but no, the other idiots runnin the roads won’t let the poor bitch in, because they are idiots. I counted about twenty of em right there and then.

Now let me tell you one thing. I woulda let the driver in iffin I had been at the front of the line. But I wasn’t was I? No I was at the end of that line of friggin idiots, and the two other idiots that joined the first one tryin to edge in.

 

L.Y. ~ So, for five years you’ve kept quiet and just listened to and observed people. Have you had any other insights, other than a rise in the idiot population?

 

Lonnie ~ Yer damn right I have, but most of my… insights you call it, also contributes to the idiot problem. Now don’t get me wrong. I think cell phones is a necessary evil in this here modern day, but it’s an idiot maker and everyone has one. Folks don’t listen and they don’t talk no more. I seen lots of people eatin dinner and never say two words, but their thumbs is so busy they can hardly shove a burger into their yap. That ain’t right. Folks should be talkin to each other. That’s the social part they forgot. And while we are talkin about forgettin, I had a terrible thing happen the other day. My little niece was showin me her letter to Santa. Now she is way past the  printin stage in her schoolin, and when I asked her momma why she didn’t write to Santa, her momma told me she don’t know how. That ain’t right. When did they stop teachin that in the schools? So I ticked off another reason why there is a rise in the idiot population, because you can be damn sure they ain’t goin on no internet to learn how to write and pretty soon everyone will be forgettin how to do it.

 

L.Y. ~ Well, you certainly have some interesting theories. To close, do you have any positive thoughts for our future, or do you think we are just doomed?

 

Lonnie ~ Oh there’s hope. Even though there’s lots of idiots out there, and I think the population is on the rise, there is lots of smart folks too, like Bobby Jean, and you and a few others.  I think it will be good if we can get the word out amongst the smart people that we are all on the slippery idiot slope, and if we don’t do something real quick, it will be too late. Maybe get the teachers to start teachin writin again. Yup, there is hope we won’t get overrun. In the meantime, don’t yell at them idiots. Do what I did and just listen. They all gives emself away sooner or later.

 

L.Y. ~ Thank you Lonnie for those interesting insights. I can certainly see how you’ve earned your nickname. This interview was taped in Edget’s Landing, with Lonnie from “Just say back country, Albert County.”

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Just Hitchhike

hitchhikerThe frozen vapor exploded from his nose with every frenzied shovelful of dirt. He was working furiously in an attempt to stay ahead of the night’s chill. I smiled to myself, content in my choice. He was an excellent care taker, and his, ah, gardening skills were top notch.
“I don’t think it’s quite deep enough, sir. The wolves will dig him up as sure as if the devil himself handed them the extra claws to do so, if you’ll pardon the expression, sir.”
He was wiping a bead of sweat off his brow, and there was a shadow of a dirt smudge on his cheek, barely visible in the moonlight.
“You are doing a fine job, Alfred, as always. But I don’t think even the wolves will go near this gluttonous fat boy. Oh my, but he did love my special tonic. A bit too much it turns out”
I turned my back to the scene, and headed toward the shadow of the house on the hill above us, back-lit by countless pinpricks of light in the stary sky.
It had been an interesting turn of events. I thought it strange to see the fat man, hitchhiking on the side of the road. One usually sees long haired skinny  kids with backpacks. Of course I stopped to pick him up. I always pick up hitchhikers.
He said he and his wife had a huge argument on the way home from bingo. He said, and I won’t repeat what he called his wife, that she had kicked him out of the car, and took off without him. Apparently she is bigger than he is, and she literally kicked him to the street and took off. I was delighted to offer him a good stiff drink, and he was delighted to accept. Now, I’m afraid the only thing stiff is him. Oh well, these things happen. I mean, nobody ever drank the whole darn glass in one gulp before. They usually pass out long before the second or third sip.
That’s when Alfred and I take them down stairs to the lab. It usually only takes a few days for the neurotoxins to get flushed from the body, and then I can continue my experiments with a healthy, live specimen. It would have been a job getting this one down the two stories without bruising him a bit. We weren’t so careful getting him down the hill to the garden though, after he guzzled the whole glass of tonic. Well greedy guts got just what he deserved. At least my other specimens never suffered like this poor slob at the end. I got fourteen glorious weeks out of the last one. She was so pretty. I guessed her to be about sixteen or seventeen. She had an absolutely perfect liver. Not a spot or deviation, I completed many tests and experiments with that one. She was a run-away, hiking in the rain. Of course, with my generous nature, I had to offer her a lift and a nice warm cup of tonic.
I wonder who will be hitchhiking tomorrow. Male, female, young or old, I get them all here. I am not a fussy scientist. I have too much work to do to be fussy or picky. I think I’ll cruise the bus stop again. I’ve been lucky there, in the past.

Tomorrow’s Tonic Today

DSCN2629With September coming to a close, and October knocking on the door with a blustery coldness that is sure to turn the leaves to amazing colors once again, it is a time to prepare. Prepare the harvest, put up preserves and put down winter seed for field cover. It’s the time of year to prepare for the coming harshness of winter, but not just yet.

This time of year, when the mornings are crisp, and the afternoons can still be pleasantly warm, we will soon be looking forward to preparing for various feasts and parties to close out this year. Oh and we prepare for the abuse too, by stocking up on heartburn medication. You know the ones I mean. The little roll of relief tucked away in a pocket or purse. And don’t forget that big jug of pink coolness sitting beside the bed. Sure it tastes like peppermint chalk, but it puts the fire out baby!

Well here is a recipe that will do all that preparation work for you, and then some. Not only will it help restore your digestive system to the PH level it is supposed to be, but it will also result in better digestion by restoring production of your normal stomach acids. The natural apple cider vinegar has long been known to have healing and restorative properties as well, for whole body health.

So while we are getting ready for the onslaught of too much of everything this coming holiday season, why not enjoy this refreshing tonic every day, and you’ll see the benefits for yourself. I’ve made this part of my daily routine, and I feel a lot better.

PH Balance Tonic
By
Sue David

6 ounces of cold water (pure non chlorinated water is best)
1/2 lemon fresh squeezed juice
1 tbsp or more (up to 1/4 cup) to taste of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar or any organic apple cider vinegar and it must have the *’mother’
3 to four drops of Bragg’s amino acids (optional)
1/2 tsp of baking soda

Combine all ingredients, stir and drink while it is still fizzing. This tonic will restore your body’s PH balance to about 7.5Ph or slightly alkaline, where it should be. Unlike what you might think, the lemon, although it tastes acidic, actually turns alkaline when it is digested and restores balance to the digestive system, and there are many reasons to consume the juice. If you like a sweet drink, add molasses or local honey, but it should be honey from your local area to get the full benefits. Repeat once every day.
The amino acids are proteins and also the building blocks of the body’s tissues. Amino acids also help to combat body fat build up and also help to boost the immune system.
*Mother – Refers to the strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give organic apple cider vinegar that cloudy look. Before adding the vinegar don’t shake the bottle but gently tip to distribute the mother in the bottle before removing the cap as there will have been some settling. This potent liquid is high in acetic acid which is a strong antimicrobial and has been known to kill some types of bacteria. It may lower blood sugar levels, and has been used in weight loss drinks for decades. Apple cider vinegar with ‘mother’ is also being studied in cancer research.

Photo by Trish Young

Enjoy the holidays everyone and as always, thanks for stopping in.

Can I Have Some Catch-up?

Sure. Here you go. It’s seems like ages since I have written anything in here, and I do apologize to my subscribers, but let me tell you my excuse, and then you can stone me, okay? I’ve been going to the gym for the last two months or so in an effort to lose the weight I gained while flat on my back in hospital for three months back in 2013. Because my mobility was such that I couldn’t run…heck I could barely walk, I just wasn’t getting that glow on that you need to lose weight. I’m talking about good old fashioned sweat folks, but it just wasn’t happening at a slow walk. I found a great gym in town that catered especially and exclusively to disabled or handicapped clientele. It was perfect because, not having mastered my artificial leg yet, I just couldn’t keep my darn foot on a normal stationary bike. This place has a bike that you can strap both feet into the pedals. Perfect. I was very excited to see improvement right away in both my weight, and in regaining some of the muscle I had lost. I was also doing low impact weight exercises for my upper body. The pulley system was much easier than the old school steel dumbbells I remembered from my youth. Two times a week I’d visit the gym while my wife was running errands and getting groceries. It was working out quite well for a few weeks, but she was getting anxious to get back to work. Looking after me had been a full time job, with doctor’s appointments and rehabilitation. I was now able to look after my own needs more and more each day. Of course my transportation to the gym was now going to be an issue. I started looking at automatic cars, and thought it might be about five-hundred to one-thousand dollars extra to convert said beater to hand controls so I could drive it. While I was hunting down cars in the want ads and online, I was also trying to figure out how I was going to get the car, get it fitted, and registered all from home. It was a puzzling conundrum. That’s when I saw this little beauty. Zuma XA plan started to form in my writer’s brain. This fully automatic little gem had brakes and a throttle, and I didn’t have to shift, which was why I couldn’t go for a regular bike. What if I purchase the scooter brand new off the floor for about half what I will spend on a tricked out automatic beater? And what if I drive this little gas sipper all summer to the gym to strengthen my good leg so I can drive an automatic without hand controls? I could then purchase a regular car in the wintertime. The bonus is I can still use the bike next summer. The plan sounded perfect, and so it was that I asked a friend to take me to town to check out this bike I found online. Last year’s model, and a very good price. I had made the financial arrangements previously just in case I ended up purchasing the scooter. You know, when you have to do something, you just do it. I had never driven a motorized bike in my life before that day. This scooter is only 50cc, which means the size of the engine is small enough I didn’t need a motorcycle license, and my driver’s license was okay…in this province. Not so much in our neighboring province of Nova Scotia. I very cautiously drove that cool bike about twenty or so kilometers back home to my place, with my registration, insurance, and neat little helmet all taken care of. Well folks my plan lasted about a week and a half. I was thrilled to be able to get into town and back on my own, and do what ever I wanted to do. The freedom was exhilarating, but in my last session at the gym I must have pulled a muscle in my lower-back, because the next day I could hardly walk. Yes, isn’t it ironic that now I can’t even drive my bike two kilometers down the road to my physiotherapist, so I can fix my back, so I can get back on and ride my bike so I can get back to the gym. Oh my word, but doesn’t life like to tussle your hair once in a while? That is my excuse, dear reader. It is difficult to type for very long, and so of course my muse has decided now is a good time to crank up the imagination. The cruel little SOB is forcing me to write this thing now. Well, at least I can thank him for that. I enjoyed our little chat, and that’s what has been going on. I will continue to get to physio, because they are doing an excellent job fixing me up, and I will get back to the gym. I’ve come too far now to stop. As always thank you so much for stopping by, and reading my thoughts and musings. (Oh you are shameless…you had to get a plug in for yourself at the last minute didn’t you! Go back to sleep. We’ll write some more tomorrow.)

WordSpring 2015

Friday WFNB Lockie Young Photo by Margaret Eaton for WFNB

On May 22, of this year 2015, I responded to an invitation to read at the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick’s thirtieth year extravaganza. I was one of 11 newly published, or about to be published authors of this year, and I was honored to read the first chapter of the sequel to my first book. Following is an excerpt of the first chapter of my book. The photo is by Margaret Eaton, who did an outstanding job that weekend capturing the entire event for posterity. This photo was supplied by Executive director Gwen Martin. Thank you ladies, and WFNB for a wonderful weekend.

The Legend Returns

Chapter 1

The second hand on the large clock above the blackboard had just passed the six and was slowly – ever so slowly – starting its ascent to the twelve. In less than thirty seconds school would be over for the summer. I didn’t think I’d ever heard the classroom so quiet.
As I gazed around the room at my fellow classmates, every eye was locked on that spot above the board. The only one not looking at the clock was Mme. LeBlanc, our teacher. She was taking advantage of the unusual quiet to scan the stack of letters and thank-you cards. As I glanced at the clock above her head, I noticed the little smile on her face. Four, three, two, one… Brrinngg!
The whole place erupted in shouts and cheers of “we’re free”. Paper airplanes shot through the air, and the silence of just a few short seconds before was a lifetime away. School was finally over for the summer
While everyone else gathered their things, I let my mind wander back to Christmas Break when I had first met Willie. He was the best friend a guy could have, and even though he had to leave for a bit, he had promised he’d be back for the summer. Maybe he would be waiting for me when I got home .

“Ryan, do you like school so much that you don’t even want to leave for the summer?” Mme. LeBlanc asked still smiling.
Looking around at all the empty seats, I realized I had been daydreaming again. I felt my face burning with embarrassment as I replied, “S-s-sorry, Mme. LeBlanc. I guess I was thinking of all the neat things Will… I mean, I’m going to do this vacation.” I got up and hurriedly stuffed my gear into my backpack. “I guess I’ll see you next year.”
Outside, everyone was hanging around waiting for the bus and making plans for the long summer ahead. Behind the last bus was our car, with Mom behind the wheel and my brother, Jason, in the seat next to her. Disappointed, I piled into the backseat. I had been looking forward to talking to my friend Cory and making plans for the coming months. He moved to Bayside this year and hadn’t experienced summer near the ocean .
“How was your last day Ry-guy ?” Mom asked, as she put the car into gear. “I had to come into town for some things, so I figured I’d pick you guys up and treat you to some takeout. What do you say?”
Both Jason and I replied with a resounding “yes”, and we were off. Of course, Jason wanted hamburgers, and I wanted pizza, so we all settled on chicken. Isn’t it funny how chicken usually wins out? Anyway, takeout of any kind was always welcome.
“Mom, can I invite Cory for a sleepover in my new cabin?” I asked the back of her head.
Looking into the rear view mirror, she replied, “I have no problem with that, as long as Cory’s mom agrees. I think there’s an extra cot in the basement, and of course, Cory will have to bring his own sleeping bag.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I said. “I’ll give him a call when we get home.”
With Dad’s help, and Mom’s blessing, we had fixed up the old chicken coop and made it into a neat cabin. Even though Jason hadn’t helped, I was sure he expected to use it for his own sleepovers. At any rate, the cabin was mostly finished, and it was mostly mine.
For me, the cabin was so much more than a place to hang out – it’s where I’d first discovered Willie, who turned out to be the biggest secret of my life. Everyone thought he was some kind of imaginary friend, but he was a lot more than that! In fact, he wasn’t imaginary at all, even though he was the stuff of legends. Of course, the first time I saw him, even I was a little freaked out. I remember him trying to hide behind a gigantic rock. His pointy ears and lizard-like tail gave him away. I was so scared, but at the same time, I was curious. I didn’t know it at that time, but finding this creature was going to be an important event in my life.

If you would like to read the rest of this story, please follow this link to my book.

The Legend Returns

Spring Has Sprung Almost

Spring almostSpring has sprung for most everyone in North America. Here in New Brunswick, Canada…not so much. Yes there is still a good two feet of snow on my lawn, but the air is warmer. People everywhere here are exclaiming, “Yes! It’s above zero today.” The birds, returning from further south are madly searching for seed in a sea of white, and thoughtful citizens are making sure their feathered visitors are getting fed.

In other parts of Canada, the fir trees and evergreens are shedding their pollen in a gentle blanket of yellow. Folks are having barbecues, lawns have been mowed, and the short sleeved shirts and shorts are taken from drawers where they have been asleep all winter long, waiting for the sun again. In still other areas of this immense and amazing country of ours, people have the look of concern and worry on their faces. The spring flood season is here, and this year could break records. That is not the kind of record wanted by sun browned, cracked face farmers, wondering about the future of their cash crop.

But having snow into April (and May?) is not all bad. Just ask anyone who owns skis, a toboggan or snow machine. What is better that hurling down a snowy slope in a light jacket instead of the forty pound parka laying in a heap on the floor of your closet. It landed there the first week the temperatures were steady and never went below freezing. I can imagine guys everywhere all over town polishing up their bikes, checking oil and plugs, and cranking her over just once. I expect to see them taking their first freedom ride of the year very shortly. Most will freeze their first trip out, but would never admit it.

And the time for that very special season, which morphs into a year long event for some people. I’m talking about the never boring, always beckoning, and sometimes accident causing event we all know too well. The yard sale. Obviously another confusing English word for an event that has nothing to do with real estate and everything to do with getting rid of junk, and making money off it. In the UK and in other European countries, folks take their junk in the trunk of their car (the Boot, for you Brits) to a local mall and do their selling there. Apparently they have a lot fewer accidents this way. Gees, do you think? Yes, I am rolling my eyes, because I have nearly been rear ended several times when people decide to put balloons and a sign on their lawn, and invite people to drop in. The fact that their ‘customers’ are leaving their cars on the side of a busy highway is of no consequence during yard sale season. The driving public will just have to watch out, but please, do drop in. Wherever you are, I wish you well.

Thank you for dropping by, listening to my rants, and if I put a smile on your face, please pass it on to the next person.

My Writing Exercise

I haven’t published much lately on this blog, as I’ve been looking for dry tinder wood and kindling… so I can light a fire under my butt and get back to writing! I actually have a couple of followers of Lockie’s Lectern, and I want to thank you all very much for reading my ramblings. I want to share with you a couple of my exercises I wrote while taking an online Fiction course, graciously put on by the Writing University the University of Iowa.

The Prompt: “Think of places that have a real resonance for you (perhaps from different times in your life). Recall the people and their way of talking. Now, write a short scene (no more than 400 words) whose characters and setting somehow combine Material from two of those places.”

Because I live near the Atlantic Ocean, fishing is a way of life for a lot of people who live in Atlantic Canada. I came up with the following. We were only allowed 400 words, and this came in at just under 450 words…oops, math was never my strong suit. Oh, and all you writers and editors out there…this is not edited, so please bear that in mind, thanks. 🙂

DSCN3682

Last Day on the Rose Marie
The two men talked in hushed tones on the dock, as the thick mist enveloped the fat bottomed Lobster Boat, and hugged the men in a wet embrace.
The boat’s owner, Gilles LeBlanc was shaking his head slowly
“Lord Almighty. How did it happen Pat? Tell it to me straight now.”
“I’m telling you Mr. LeBlanc, I never seen anything like it. No sir not in 29 years sailin’ the deep did I ever see what I sees today.” The skipper of the boat was holding his hands in clenched submission, like he was praying for anything but this. “Young mister Davis, sir, he…he stood up stock still and ramrod straight. He dropped the fillet knife to the deck and he said I’m coming Mother, and he walked right off the side sir. Into the sea sir. I hears the first Matte holler man over, but we were in a bank thicker n this one here. When I come a runnin out the wheelhouse it was over and done.” The Captain reached up and removed his ball cap, and clutching it to his heart he turned to the sea and said, “Lord, see to the boy’s safe travels.”
“Tell the men to batten down the Rose Marie, and prepare for the wake. I’ll cover their wages. I need to go speak to Janet Davis.”
The fog horn on Long Point sounded, echoing the sadness in the muffling blanket of mist, tonight a mournful cry for the dead.
“Mr. LeBlanc!” He turned at the call of his name. “What will we do with the lads…you know, personal effects.”
He was looking at Pat, standing not more than twenty feet from him, his image disappearing and reappearing in the twisting fog.
“Just hang onto em Pat. I’ll send someone for them later, maybe even tomorrow.”
It was like he was talking to a ghost, he thought, as the image of Pat faded in and out of definition. Perhaps he was talking to a ghost. What in the name of all the saints was in the lad’s mind when he did what he did? The answer was as thin as the moist air, now collected enough to drip from the brim of his hat. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his greatcoat as he turned to the task at hand.
Gilles LeBlanc, owner and manager of the Rose Marie, supplying fresh fish for his seafood restaurant, being cooked by the wife of the man who caught the fish and who just went to meet his Mother and his maker off the side of his boat. What was he going to say to Janet?

Lots of people weighed in and commented on this very short story, and as they were asked to, also gave their suggestions as to how I might improve. This is the rewrite.

The Last Day on the Rose Marie
Revisited (rewrite)

“Latitude: North forty six twenty nine…Longitude: South sixty four twenty two, copy CG fourteen rescue over.
“This is CG one four rescue we copy your last know position. Be advised. Return to home port. Meet RCMP Officials upon docking. Please confirm fishing vessel Rose Marie. Over”
“Fishing Vessel Rose Marie confirms we copy return to home port. Report to RCMP. Over and out.”
This is madness. Thank god I had me wits about me to check the damn position. And the time…
“Malcolm, come to the wheelhouse now please”
What in all the saints in heaven ever made that boy just walk into the deep like that?
“Yes Skipper. You wanted to see me.”
I could see the strain in my first Matte’s eyes. He was too young to have to see death so soon.
“You got to be steady now Lad. I’m counting on you to hold the boys together out there.”
“I won’t let you down Pat. But this, we, we’re all some friggin wound up from all this you know. We were friends. And we looked for him for long enough, didn’t we Pat?”
“Yes boyo we did. A man don’t last long in these cold Atlantic waters dis time a year, no sir not long at all Malcolm. I heared He never did learn to swim neither, just like me…maybe jus like you too. If ever I goes into the deep like that poor lad, I wants it to be quick. Did you or any of the boys happen to look at the time? Now this is important boy.”
“Yes sir. I know it was seven o’clock on the button, because I never set my watch last time change, and I had it set to ring at six AM.”
The boy was looking out the port side window at nothing but swirling fog.
“Go on Malcolm.”
“Well Captain, my watch started chiming, and Ricky stood up, mumbled something bout his Momma, and he walked over to the side and over he went. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
“That sounds about right then. I saw him through this very cabin doorway, he dropped the pig sticker, and said ‘I’m coming Mudder’ and then he vanished. I heard you holler and…well. I’ll mark the time in the log after things calms down a bit. Alright, get the boys to button her up we’re headin in.”
This godforsaken fog.

One of the things I noticed, was how much fun the revision was to write, and with the feed back I received from my readers, I was able to breath some new life into the story. At least I think so. What do you think? Is the rewritten version better than the first draft? I’ve also been asked by several to write a longer story from this prompt. Any suggestions are most welcome, and as always, I thank you again for stopping by and reading.

L.F.Young

Polish Your Apples

Polish Your Apples

 

 

 

 

 

Author’s note* My feedback on this story has been invaluable, and I want to thank you all for your suggestions. This rewrite was inspired from comments made by my friend Tovah, and my wish is it will show the process and results of a hopefully good rewrite, and also remind us that our apples can always stand to be polished. The original piece is first and the rewritten and polished piece follows. As always, thanks you for reading.

L.F.Young

Once upon a time, in a kingdom by the great waterfall, there lived a little girl. Now this was no ordinary girl. No this little girl had the promise of greatness in her eye, and in the way she held her back switch straight as she scattered the seed for the chickens. Her father was the sole money earner in their small household. He was a tree cutter for the Lord in these parts. He was paid a good wage, but he worked very hard, from the sun’s rise until the moon was over the edge of the valley.

One day just as the sun was settling to the tops of the distant hills, a young boy came running up to the mother, and in a rush of breathlessness he announced the shock, the news that would change their lives forever. A tree base had split unexpectedly as the old fir tumbled to the forest floor, and the father had died after it kicked back and drove him into the ether. For days they struggled in their grief.

****

When we had cried all our tears and discussed all our fears, we decided that we might be able to make enough money to survive, but  now we had to both go to work. We hatched our plan over the last of the tea. My mother had increased the size of our garden plot, and as she said one day, with four extra rows, and one less mouth to feed we can sell the rest of the vegetables. And that is what we did. We made a box cart and sold our fruits and vegetables at the market in the village. That was my job, to gather apples and berries, and wild spices and seeds. The largest quantity of which were the apples, but they didn’t sell very well at all. One afternoon when the market traffic was slowing down my mother came over to my spot. You have a lot of apples left, she had said to me, and then she picked one up, and looked closely at it.

It was no different than the rest. She then lifted the folds of her dress and rubbed the apple until it was positively shining, and then she placed it back in the basket of apples at my feet. The beautiful fruit stood out from the rest, and as if on cue a woman who was passing by reached into the basket and snatched the glossy apple from the rest, and deposited a coin in the hat beside my leg. She even commented about the beautiful looking fruit.

You have to polish your apples, my mother told me. Make everything you bring to the market shine before you sell it to our neighbors, she had said to me. That day, by close of market there were no apples left in my basket, and we had tea in our cupboard, and flour in our bin, and very happy neighbors.

 

Polish Your Apples

L.F.Young

 

Once upon a time, in a kingdom by the great waterfall, there lived a small family. In their simple home were a mother, a father and their precious daughter. The little girl had the promise of greatness in her eye and in the way she held her back switch straight as she scattered the seed for the chickens, one of her many chores. Her father was the sole money earner in their small household; a tree cutter for the lord in those parts. He was paid a good wage and worked hard, from the sun’s rise until the moon peeked over the valley’s edge.

One day just as the sun was settling to the tops of the distant hills, a young boy came running up to the mother and in a rush of breathlessness he announced the shocking news that would change their lives forever. A tree base had split unexpectedly and as the old fir tumbled to the forest floor it kicked back and the father, knocked out of his shoes by the impact, died instantly. For days mother and daughter struggled in their grief.

 

When they had cried all their tears and discussed all their fears, it was concluded they had to make enough money to survive and that meant they both had to go to work. Plans were hatched over the last of the tea. Mother increased the size of the garden, and she mentioned the reason one day while weeding their precious plot of land.

“With four extra rows, and one less mouth to feed we can sell the rest of the vegetables in the market.”

And that is what they did. They made a box cart from wood scraps and discarded wheels and sold fruits and vegetables at the market in the village. The daughter’s job was to gather apples and berries, wild spices and seeds. The largest quantity of which were the apples, but they didn’t sell very well at all. One afternoon when the market traffic was slowing the mother went over to where her daughter was selling her goods.

“You have a lot of apples left daughter. Why are they not selling?” she reached into the basket that was slung over her daughter’s slender arm and picked out a large dull red orb and looked closely at it.

It was no different than the rest. She then lifted the folds of her dress and rubbed the apple until it was shining, and then she placed it back in the basket on her daughter’s arm. The beautiful fruit stood out from the rest, and as if on cue a woman who was passing by reached into the basket and snatched the glossy apple from the rest, depositing a coin in the little girl’s hand. She even commented about the beautiful looking fruit.

You have to polish your apples the mother told the girl. “Make everything you bring to the market shine before you sell it to our neighbors.” she advised.

By close of market that day not one apple remained in the basket and the mother and daughter had tea in their cupboard, flour in their bin, and very happy neighbors.

 

Dear reader

When we write our poems and our short stories and yes, even our Blog posts, I believe we need to remember we are bringing a product to our readers and we should present the best we have to offer. I try to polish my apples before I publish to the internet. Sometimes there are mistakes, a blemish on the apple. I would welcome suggestions if you notice a misspelled word or something sideways. If it’s sideways and meant to be that way I’ll leave it, but if it’s a mistake I can fix, and shine my apples some more, please do tell me.

As always, thank you for reading. Without you, there is no me.

Me Author You Author

LegendReturns_Cover_sm

On January 15th 2015, there was an exciting Launch Party for my book The Legend Returns, the sequel to the first middle grade reader. My publisher had organized the latest thing, well one of the latest things. An internet virtual party. I thought, at first, this was a pretty hokey thing. Now remember, folks. I am old school. I guess the word they use a lot these days to describe a relic is retro, and I’m as retro as they come. A virtual party, you say? With real people, who are not really at the party, but connected just the same, you say? OH and there was going to be virtual food and drink. Perfect, I thought, as I sipped my glass of Port. Does that mean just a virtual hangover, then?

I chuckled to my wrinkled old self, jumped in and threw doubt to the four virtual winds, and joined the fun. I had a blast. Not a virtual good time, but an awesome real good time. I met so many people who were so nice to come to my party. I mean, I was a virtual unknown (I am not sorry for that terrible pun. Bet it made you smile. 🙂  ) and these good people were kind enough to take time out of their busy lives to come, meet me and have a bit of fun at the same time. Someone brought an amazing cake, with a dragon theme, thank you very much. It was very tasty.The Cake

About a month ago, I received a call from a Journalist who has a column  in the local newspaper. In her articles called Buy The Book (catchy title), Linda Hersey introduces local Authors and their books to the paper-reading public, and she had done an excellent piece on my first book, Ryan’s Legend. She was responding to my email, at her request, to let her know when the sequel was to be launched. The telephone interview was scheduled, and yesterday the interview was printed, for all to read.T&T Article Buy The Book

That article in our local paper marked the placing of the final puzzle piece to complete the whole, at least for me anyway. It meant that the long journey of twenty years from conception to publication, was at last here, and it was as real as it gets, and all this because I simply did not give up. For all you writers out there who are not published yet, I want you to know a couple of things straight from this writer’s heart.

First: Yes, you write and therefore you are a writer. You’ve completed a story or a poem? Yes you are an Author. If you want to be published and if you persevere in your quest to do so, you will, and this is coming from someone who wanted to see his name in print on a book cover, and perhaps leave something for the grand kids to brag about, so I never gave up or quit believing in the dream.

Second: It’s okay to feel a bit jealous when you see all these people getting published, and you, so desperately want to join their ranks. It’s not okay to harbor that jealousy. Let it go, because the only difference between you and a published author is that the right publisher hasn’t seen your work yet. They are out there, just waiting for your manuscript to land on their desk. But guess what? It won’t go anywhere sitting in that notebook, or in that file on your laptop if you don’t send it away. “But Lockie. I did send it away, and it got rejected, twice.” I stopped counting after the fifth rejection and I ended up not even looking at the file for months. Mad at myself that I could be such a fool to think I could ever get published. If you just said yeah, that’s exactly how I feel, then know that every writer feels this, which leads me to point three.

Third: Know that feelings of being “Not good enough” are shared with every writer you have ever read. Now read that again, and let it sink in. I’m not a betting man, but if I was I would put solid cash down on the table and say, Steven King, J.K Rowling and any other writer you care to mention have all felt inadequate and “Not Good Enough” at times in their writing projects.  Perhaps even Shakespeare glared at the scrap of paper in his hand, declared it to be a trollop eating harlot and touched it’s coarse edge to flame. Whoever said we are our own worse critic hit that nail solidly on the head. Yes, that self negativity can be a very real obstacle. This post will not change that. I just wanted to point out that you are perfectly normal to think these things. You are the only one who can chase the negativity away, and you are the only one who can keep that determination and drive to do the best you can.

Lastly, a bit of advice for anyone thinking about self publishing. I am saddened and a bit more than concerned that the book market is flooded with self published books. Not because there are so many, but because there are so many that are not properly edited. If you are like me, you are somewhat put off when you read a published piece that is riddled with mistakes. Misspelled words and bad grammar really distract from the story and ,in my case, does not hold my attention even a little bit. I don’t care if it’s the best story since Romeo and Juliette, if I am struggling to read it, it gets tossed. If I feel that way, so do most other readers out there. You have worked hard writing it. You edited that story fifteen times, and had your high school English teacher do a complete line edit before you submitted it to LuLu, or wherever you self published from. If you want to actually realize sales you need at least two very important things.

1) A professional edit

2) A great, eye catching cover

These two things are a must, and you might have to shell out some real money to get these ‘must haves’ accomplished, but it will make a huge difference in how well the book does. In closing I think the most important thing a writer can do for themselves is no matter what, just keep writing and keep reading. Join writing groups and listen to the criticism. Use that knowledge to improve your writing, and don’t let negatives rule your life.