The Last Apples

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The last apples

I’ve picked the last apples from the tree,
raked the last pile of golden-red leaves,
cleaned the storm drains of their muck,
and now the rains may come.

mapleleaves

The cool air is welcome,
we’ve had enough sun
everything’s dead
and now the rains may come.

(as if my giving them permission will make it happen, sheesh…)

The theory behind blogging as a marketing tool is…if you blog about your expertise, people with an interest in that subject will want to buy your book.  Undoubtedly that works if you wrote “A Trout’s Tale” and you’re an expert fisherman. Not sure it would work for me. The only thing I’m an expert in is trying things.  Gads, I’ve tried a lot of things.  Here are a just a few:

  • See’s Candies Girl – See’s encourages employees to eat all the chocolate they want.  The theory being that you’ll get tired of it – HA!
  • Department Store Dummy – “poke her, Joey – see if she’s real!”
  • Softball coach – I didn’t even know what the term “bases loaded” meant when my friend Lizardo and I attempted this little stint.  The little devils on our team learned how to climb the backstop and get into poison oak but not much more until the fathers couldn’t stand it any longer.
Baseball

Lizardo and I with the little monsters and the father who finally couldn’t stand it any longer and took charge!

Lest you think I’m a person of no-accomplishments, I do hold the all time, as yet unbroken record for flunking the Army typing test. And no, I wasn’t in the Army.  I was playing chauffeur for my Uncle Bob who wasn’t allowed to drive a car in Europe for a number of different reasons…  So readers, my expertise appears to be misadventure.

VW

Uncle Bob’s two horse power VW

Oh, in case you’re at all interested – mincemeat pie won the worst T-day food contest.

Oyster Stuffing Blues

There isn’t a single Thanksgiving Day food item that I like.  How about you?

When I was a child we lived far away from both sets of grandparents, thus generally spent the T-day with friends and assorted semi-relatives (to my father, that would be anyone from Montana.)  I don’t think we ever shared turkey with the same group of people.  Every year it was a new group, a fact I attributed to Mother’s oyster stuffing (sorry Mom).  I’m sure oyster stuffing (like tuna noodle casserole) has evolved over the years into something divine but back then mother’d mix together a can of  oysters, cream of mushroom soup, Lipton’s Onion Soup, some old dried up bread, soy sauce and a dash of powdered garlic which she would stuff into a large dead bird and cook.  It looked almost as bad as it tasted.

Generally you can expect a treat after being   forced to eat a meal simply because of tradition, some special cake or candy, but not Thanksgiving.  Someone would always show up with a mincemeat pie which had to be tasted out of kindness.  With its filling of suet (mutton fat found either in the loins or kidneys), blood raisins, dried prunes and other fruits,  all highly spiced and baked in a cornmeal crust, it was quite a treat for a child’s palate. Yum!

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Just part of hubby’s collection of cookbooks

Although I’ve managed to stir hubby clear of oyster stuffing and mincemeat pie,  every November I wait in dread for the moment when he announces “It’s time!”   Time to make the most tasteless waste of calories ever invented.  Before I tell you what drives hubby even goofier than he already is,  I must to point out that this is a man who considers himself a gourmet.  He’s bought every kitchen gadget known to man, owns over two hundred cookbooks and watches every frigging cooking show on the telly.  And yet, can you guess what he simply cannot go with out once Thanksgiving nears?

pumpkinpie

Joel’s old fashioned pumpkin pie – it actually tasted really good. Course, maybe it was the whipped cream.

PUMPKIN PIE

 But not gourmet pumpkin pie. Oh no, the kind his mother made.  Right out of the can.

Next week I’ll post the results of the Most Hated T-Day Food Poll.  Make sure to add your vote!

Duke made me do it…

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Last known photo of Duke Miller. Buy his book!

At the urging of one Mr. Duke Miller (check him out here – you won’t be sorry) I’ve begun posting chapters of FLIPKA on a web site called Wattpad. It’s free for both writers and readers – anyone can post a story, finished or not, and anyone can don a critic’s hat and let loose.  Thus, tripping through Wattpad (as Duke warns) is better attempted while under the influence.

However, that does not mean all the crap on Wattpad is indeed crap.  Consider the fact that this seven year old Canadian enterprise has managed to attract Margaret Atwood, best selling author of “The Handmaiden’s Tale.” Whoa.  And why?  Because writers don’t always start out as writers.  Sometimes they start out as dreamers, as believers, as those in pain who know they have something to say but don’t know to say it.  Putting it out there helps.  Shared humanity.  That’s what Wattpad is. Shared humanity.

I should point out that it isn’t easy to find your way around Wattpad.  First you’ve got to find folks to follow to in your genre and hope they follow you, thus attracting readers.  If you don’t write fantasy, romance, thrillers, erotica, spiritual tomes, or sci-fi,  you’re supposed to categorize your work as “non-teen.”  Pretty scary, huh?

Better ways to find writers to follow are the Smackdowns – flash writing contests in the following categories:

  • @frozenintime (historical fiction)
  • @forbiddenplanet (scifi),
  • @cupid’s corner (romance),
  • @magical_realms (fantasy)
  • @motherhorror (duh, horror)

I cheated.  I  found good old Duke and checked out the folks he was following.  Worked out well for me.  I’m now enjoying the works of Kristebelle, Sorrowfulface, PaulTristam, RSKovach, seeliot, OwianGlyn, JustlikeHeaven (to name just a few) – as well as fellow Booktrope authors, FebruaryGrace, Toddied, CullynRoyson and NicholeJPersun.

I’m not sure all of this will lead to book sales, fame and recognition, or more drinking.   We’ll see.

Ending of Vortex of Blue

Note and apologies to followers:  
This ends my attempt to write
horror! When the season
 provokes me into thinking I can do,
kindly remind me of The Vortex of
Blue...

Cristabel took the old woman’s arm and together they walked down to the lake.  It was a chill afternoon in mid October, only four o’clock but the sun’s warmth had already departed.  The surrounding vineyards, stark; piles of rosy leaves IMG_2003round the root balls.  Winter was coming.

The old woman had to be walked round the campus every afternoon at four and then brought back in for her “martini” (sedatives)  followed by supper and cup of camomile tea.  It was the same thing every afternoon, a routine that had to be met, no questions asked.  It was boring.

Cristabel had only been working at the Haspens3ole for a month.  At first she had a quaint notion that working for the mentally insane (as her father put it) might be fun – especially dealing with homicidal maniacs.  I mean, how cool is that! She wasn’t supposed to talk to her friends or family about the patients but who paid attention to that stupid rule?

Listen and respond as little as possible, she’d been warned regarding Mrs. White.  If the conversation veers strangely awry, walk her back inside.

“My daughter came to visit today,” the old woman said.

“That’s wonderful!”

“Is it?” The old woman faced her with ice blue eyes. “Is it?”

“Ah, don’t you get along with your daughter?”

“Don’t you see?  Now he’ll know!”

Okay, this is weird, Cristabel thought.  “Do you want to go back in?  It’s getting cold.”

“He has part of my brain!  He took it from me but what he did the others – oh my God!  You have to call my daughter and warn her.”  The old woman grabbed Cristabel’s arms and shook her hard.  For an old woman, she was strong.  “Don’t you see?  He’ll summon her to the mountain using my brain!”  With that she broke into sobs.

Cristabel was still shaking when the doctor called her in.

“First of all.  Please relax.  You are not in any kind of trouble.  You did nothing wrong.”

“What happened to that woman?  Why is she so whacko?”

The chair was leather, stiff, expensive probably but not comfortable. Cristabel liked Dr. Butters.  She was cool.  Not like the other doctors with their beamers and Caribbean tans.  She always had candy in her office and road around in a rat-butt volkswagen with stickers all over it.  When she gave Cristabel a ride home, she never made a snide remark like “you live here?” Not like the other doctors.

“The fact is, we really don’t know what happened to her or her husband.  She was found on Mt. Shasta  by a group of hunters, in shock and suffering from hypothermia.  Her husband was never found.  Their car was also never found.  Her daughter claims they were planning to drive straight home from Portland so we have no idea why they stopped.  Maybe foul play.”

“My grandfather won’t go near that mountain.”

“Why’s that?”

“Oh, I dunno.  Something about little blue men.  He’s a little goofy himself.”

Dr. Butters chuckled.  “Mrs. White hasn’t mentioned little blue men although she often talks about the bed and breakfast she and her husband stayed at.”

“Maybe that’s where their car is.”

“Oh no, Cristabel. The place she claims they stayed at was shut down and abandoned sixty years ago.”