Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story part 3

This has been a fun prompt! It has turned itself into a short story. I have found in many of my writing experiences you just never know what adventure a story line can take you on. During the week, I did some thinking about where I thought the story should go and decided I would just start writing and see where it actually goes.

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Bud didn’t know what to say to his wife. He was ashamed to tell his friends what he did to the time capsule. Not only did he take their chosen items out, but he put a gag gift back in. At the time, he thought they would never see it again and if someone did find it, they would get a good laugh out of the joke.

“They will be really mad. Annie put a couple of her prized possessions at the time in there. She is probably looking forward to seeing them again.”

“You are going to have to tell them. Otherwise, you will have to live with the guilt of what you have done. Just come clean with it honey. You will feel better about it.”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to sleep on it. I’m heading up to bed. Are you coming?”

“I just want to watch my show. I’ll be up after.”

“Ok,” Bud replied, and walked toward the stairs to their second floor. He turned back towards Helena and started to say something. He stopped and turned towards the stairs to bed.

#

After a night of tossing and turning, he woke up an hour before the alarm was scheduled to go off. He looked over at Helena still asleep and decided to head downstairs and make some coffee.

While he waited for the coffee maker to finish, he figured he would have to tell the guys what he did. Maybe Stan could help him talk Annie through it if she was upset. He nodded. He would meet up with the guys on Saturday at Stan’s house.

#

It was hard to get through the rest of the week. He was afraid that his friends would get angry and that Annie would be disappointed in him. In a small town like Stanley, having friends mad at you could eventually have the whole town mad at you. News spread really quickly here. Waiting was making him feel worse. He didn’t know if he was going to be able to do it.

He continued to have problems sleeping throughout the entire week. When his daughter and her family came on Friday to stay the weekend with them, he was having a hard time staying awake. He was happy to see them, but distracted by what he had to do. He needed to get this over with and was glad he would tomorrow.

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week for the final installment of Stan’s story. Adding my little book promos at the end of the post feels like a commercial after the show is over for the night.

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

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Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story continued

And the story continues…

All three men walked out of The Kasino Club and into the parking lot together. Bud walked over to his grey pick up truck on the far end of the lot. They decided to get together on Saturday to open up the capsule. Bud hoped they would never open it.

He drove to his house and parked his truck in the driveway. He sat there for a minute and took a deep breath. He didn’t know what he was going to do about Saturday. He may have to make up an excuse and not show up. Maybe his wife Helena had plans for them on Saturday. He could only hope.

Bud walked in and saw Helena sitting in her recliner watching tv.

“How was you guys night?” Helena asked.

“It was ok. Same as always.”

“I thought you liked getting together with them?”

“I do. We were talking about the past tonight and it made me feel a little bit weird.”

“Why?”

“It goes back to high school honey, you may not understand.”

“You always say that after you get together with them. I was in high school once. Maybe not at your school. We did some of the same things you did. I may just understand.”

Bud thought about what she said. Maybe it would make him feel better to talk to her and get some advice on how to handle it with the guys.

“OK, maybe you can help me. Before we graduated, we created a time capsule.”

“A time capsule? That sounds kind of neat.”

“Annie spearheaded the whole project. Stan and Harvey played a long.”

“What about you?”

“Honestly, I thought it was kind of dumb, but I contributed a couple of things to it.”

“This all sounds good to me. What would make you feel weird?”

“I did something to the time capsule.”

“What did you do?”

“I took everything out of it and replaced the items with something else.”

“What?” Helena replied, “why would you do that?”

“I thought the whole idea was dumb. And I decided to make a joke out of it. I didn’t think Annie was going to get it from Madison Lake and keep it in her attic.”

“What did you put in there instead?” she asked, “Did you keep the other stuff someplace?”

“I don’t think I can tell even you what I put in there. It is pretty embarrassing. I can’t remember what I did with the stuff we originally put in there. I want to say I put it in a bag and hid it at my parents’ house. If I did, well, we know what happened to their house.”

“It burned down.”

“Yep.”

“What else could you have done with it?”

“Maybe thrown it away in a dumpster?”

“Oh Bud.”

“I know. I’m not feeling good about it now. I wanted it to be funny.”

“Well, it won’t be funny. That’s for sure. What did you put in there?”

“Can’t tell you.”

“I think you are going to have to Bud. It may be the only way that we can figure out what to do about it.”

Bud sat on the sofa and shook his head.

“I can’t Helena.”

“Well, they are going to find out when they open it. When are you going to tell them?”

“I was thinking we could got out of town this weekend and go see Mandy and the kids.”

“And not be here when they open it, right?”

“No, I want to go and see my daughter and grandkids in McCall.”

“Bud, you are going to have to tell them.”

“Can’t I just let them open it? Think someone else changed out the items in it?”

“You want your friends to just find out like that? When you know you did it?”

“I don’t know if I can face them with what I did, Helena. It happened a long time ago. I thought they would have forgotten the whole thing.”

“I can understand your feelings, Bud. But you are going to need to come clean with what you did.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Bud! Are you seriously telling me that you wouldn’t tell your friends what you did?”

****

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what happens next in Stan’s story.

 

And now for the book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

 

Writing Prompt – Stan’s Story

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoy your Labor Day holiday!

As I was walking Maddie in our neighborhood after I posted last week’s post, I started coming up with a possible answer to what Stan wanted to share with Bud and Harvey at The Kasino Club.

“Let me tell you a story,” Stan replied.

“Ok,” Bud said.

“You guys know Annie, my wife. Of course you do. She was remembering the good ole days when we were in high school. With the 50s music, poodle skirts and dances.”

“Those were some fun times,” Harvey replied, nodding his head.

“She went up into the attic and pulled her hope chest out of the dustiest corner of the room. Guess what else we found back there?”

“What?” Bud and Harvey asked in unison.

“The time capsule that Annie made us put together after high school graduation.”

“You still have that thing?” Harvey asked, “I forgot all we did that.”

“After we got back from our honeymoon, Annie went and got it from the place in the woods where we buried it. She wanted to make sure we kept it in a safe place. Do you remember where it was buried?”

“Out by Madison Pond. By the fourth tree away from the lake.”

“Good memory Harvey.”

Bud looked down at the table. He couldn’t make eye contact with anyone.

“What’s wrong with you?” Stan asked Bud as he took a big gulp of his beer.

“I’m just not as excited about the time capsule as you two are.”

“O.k,” Stan replied, “so when should we all get together to open it?”

“Shouldn’t this be something the wives should schedule? They always undo our plans and redo them with what works for them,” Harvey stated.

“I was thinking of taking a look before we all get together.”

“Annie will be mad Stan.” Bud finally said.

“He speaks!” Harvey exclaimed.

“They can’t be mad if they don’t know. Annie is going to be at her mom’s this weekend, so we’ll have the house all to ourselves.”

Be sure to stop by the Monday Morning Blog next week to find out what is in the time capsule.

And now for a book promo…

Looking for a good middle grade early teen read? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Hard Way! It is available in e-book format on Amazon.com and in paperback on both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon.com link! The Hard Way – Amazon.com

And the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

This week – A Writing Prompt

Happy Monday!

When trying to come up with an idea for this week’s blog, I tried to brainstorm something different to write about. I have been writing a lot lately about my self publishing experience. I really haven’t had a lot of time this week to read a book for a review. So, I decided to pick out a writing prompt from the book 642 Things to Write About. So, here we go…

The Prompt: Write about a scene at The Kasino Club, the only bar in Stanley, Idaho, on an ordinary Tuesday night. Stanley’s population is just under five hundred and it is best known for being the coldest place in the lower forty-eight.

Harvey Nickel pulled up to The Kasino club in his 1978 Ford pickup truck like he did every Tuesday night after dinner. He met up with his friends Bud Lincoln and Stan Plank. They had all grown up together in Stanley, Idaho, playing football and baseball in high school. Tuesday night was their designated “boys night”. While they were out doing their thing, the wives got together to either play cards or work on their quilting project.

 The women at the church were working on making quilts for the people who lived on the north side of town, called Terrance. The people in Terrance lived in the poor side of the town and the ladies of the church tried to take those families under their wing. Stanley was the coldest place in the lower forty-eight states, so who couldn’t use an extra quilt to keep warm?

Everyone in Stanley knew each other. What would you expect with a town of only 500 people? As Harvey walked into the club, he waved at the familiar faces and saw Stan sitting in their normal place, the round booth in the corner. Stan’s parents had named him Stan after the name of the town. It wasn’t known for sure if they meant to do it, or just couldn’t come up with anything else. He got teased a lot growing up about being the mascot of the town.

“Hey Harv,” Stan said and raised his glass to him.

“Good to see you Stan. Is the tap any good tonight?”

“Dave said that this week’s brew came all the way from Boise.”

“I’ll go and get me one. Do you need anything?”

“No, I’m fine with the one I got.”

The club only got beer shipments once a week. Dave, the bartender, asked the delivery guy to bring a different kind each time so he could keep his customers happy. They were still all tap beers and Harvey couldn’t really taste much of a difference between them. As he walked back to the table, Bud was coming in the door. He made eye contact with Harvey and walked over.

“Looks like we are all here.”

“Like we always are,” Bud said as he laid his jacket on the seat and looked over at Stan, “let me get a beer and then you can tell us your big news.”

“I won’t say anything until you get back.”

Harvey laughed, “it will be the quietest five minutes tonight.” 

Stan just shook his head, but stuck to his word and didn’t say anything until Bud sat down with his beer.

“Ok, so I have some great news.”

“What is it?” Harvey asked.

I thought about what would be a clever thing for Stan to say. Maybe he is moving or he is becoming a grandpa. Those would both be big news items for our small town setting. What news would you have Stan give to his friends?
 

Observations from an author’s perspective

I have been pretty busy with my day job lately. I wanted to share two lines from my current project, The Bully’s Way, on Facebook yesterday and noticed the last update I made to the manuscript was August 3rd. It bummed me out.

It isn’t that I haven’t been able to write. I did get the Monday Morning Blog written and published for two and almost three Mondays since then. But haven’t had the time to get the edits done for my second book.

The writing projects I have in progress right now, my WIPs, are for middle grade/YA readers. So, I would say that some of my best storyline ideas come from observing teens. Not only in day to day life, but also on television and on the internet. I have two teens living in my household and have spent a lot of time at baseball games with them and their friends. I was also a teen once, so I can probably speak from experience.

As a teenager, I don’t know how aware I was about how my actions impacted my life path. As an adult, I can see those kinds of things with our kids and their friends. It is the angle I chose to write the books in The Way series from. To show a teen the kinds of situations they would come across and the choices they may have to make. I want to give them some things to think about when they are given a decision to do or not to do something. Teens may not have as much life experience at the time, but they can always use some additional information to help them out.

There are so many moments as a young adult when I finally figured out the value in what my parents told me. It was all good advice, it just didn’t fit with my life experience at the time to understand its value. It is something I remind myself as a parent when I talk to our kids about things. They may not get in now, but they will.

Peer pressure is one of those situations teens must deal with. The Hard Way is about a kid named Paul, who is put into a situation where he must make some new friends in high school. He finds out he may have picked the wrong crowd to hang out with. Find out how he deals with it in the first book of The Way series.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com and in both paperback and e-book. And on BarnesandNoble.com in paperback.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon link! The Hard Way

Here is the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

Book Review – The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets by Tom Seaver

It was a busy week in the writing house with marketing tasks for The Hard Way, but with a weekend off from work, I decided to squeeze in a little reading. With the Little League World Series Regional Finals on the TVs at our house, I was pretty excited to find a baseball book to read this time.

An autobiography is a book written by a person about themselves. I remember doing a writing unit in grade school and we wrote one. I’ll have to find it in the school papers my mom gave to me. I haven’t read very many autobiographies, but thought it would be fun to read this one. The book was published in 1970 and it was kind of cool to have an almost 50 year old in my hands.

There are many life lessons to be learned from the game of baseball. I’m glad that our kids get to play the game and experience some of those lessons first hand.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets

Author

Tom Seaver

Type of Book

Autobiography about Tom Seaver’s baseball career focusing on game four of the 1969 World Series when the New York Mets played the Baltimore Orioles.

Background

Tom Seaver was a professional baseball pitcher. Most people remember him and his time playing for the New York Mets. He played in the Major Leagues for 19 years, 10 years for the Mets and 9 with multiple other teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Summary of the story

George Thomas Seaver (Tom) was a kid who always played baseball. He started in Little League and worked his way into high school and onto college ball. He played with legion and town teams until he was picked to play for the Mets on April 2, 1966. It wasn’t an easy path, but he worked hard to get there. One of the ultimate goals for a pitcher is to pitch the perfect game. Meaning they don’t give up any runs or hits to the other team throughout an entire game. This story talks about his drive to pitch the perfect game in that game four and the events that led up to that World Series game.

Reactions to the book

The references to other players and historical events of the time helped me to really enjoy the book. I collected baseball cards when I was a kid (to keep up with my brother and the other boys in the neighborhood) so I have heard of the players Seaver talks about. The references he makes to Vietnam and strained racial relations will help a reader understand the time when Seaver played baseball.

I struggled a little bit with how he told his story. Going back in the past and coming back to where his was in the game seemed to confuse the timeline for me sometimes. However, the tidbits from his past did help me to understand the life path he took to be pitching in that game.

The story showed me how much passion Seaver has for the game of baseball. I was also impressed at how he instilled confidence in his players, something which brought a team from the bottom of the division the previous year to a World Series Champion the next. Very inspirational story. I would definitely recommend it.

If you are interested in learning more about the author/baseball player, here is a link about him Tom Seaver – Hall of Fame

The book itself is out of print, but I did find a couple of copies on Amazon.com The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets . Our copy had been given to us from a friend for the boys. It looks like it used to be a library copy taken out of circulation. Just like the one pictured above.

 

Looking back at my most popular blog post

Since I am working on marketing my book, I looked back to what was my most popular post. It happened to be one not about writing, but about a holiday. A holiday that is special to me for many reasons, but it also falls around and sometimes on my mom’s birthday.

Not sure why this one took off so well on social media, but, I’m examining some of those things as I decide what types of posts really work for my audience. Because those will be the places I will focus some of my marketing efforts.

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Memorial Day 2016

Two of the holidays we celebrate in May fall into a theme that May is known for, Military Appreciation Month. That theme leads me right into the final holiday to be celebrated in May, and my blog’s theme, Memorial Day. This year it falls on May 30th which would have been my Mom’s 77th birthday. Every year around her birthday, when Memorial Day didn’t fall on May 30th, she would say the real Memorial Day is supposed to be celebrated on my birthday. I thought she was just trying to make a point that it was supposed to be celebrated on her birthday for the sake of it. As I was researching the history of Memorial Day, I found out that May 30th was the original date that Decoration Day was celebrated starting in 1868. I guess that Mom was right!

According to The History of Memorial Day on the pbs.org website, Decoration Day was a celebration of the men, both Union and Confederate, who lost their lives in the American Civil War. It came out of a tradition of placing flowers on the graves of the soldiers who died in battle.

During its first celebration at Arlington Cemetery in 1868, the former Union General, James Garfield, who was an Ohio Congressman at the time, made a speech before the 5000 volunteers who laid flowers at more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers graves. Here was a quote from that speech.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

– James A. Garfield
May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery
 

That event at Arlington Cemetery was inspired by what many towns and cities were doing for Decoration Day since the end of the war in 1865. New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to celebrate the soldiers who died in all of America’s Wars. Once it became a National Holiday it was celebrated on the last Monday in May. That decision made the holiday not always fall on May 30th, to my Mom’s dismay.

There are multiple military holidays celebrated throughout the year. I saw a post on Facebook this week that discussed the differences between three of them. Memorial Day is the designated day to remember those who have lost their lives while serving in our armed forces. Armed Forces Day, which I blogged about last week, is designated to recognize the men and women who are currently serving. And Veteran’s Day, which falls on November 11th every year, is the day to recognize those who have served, but are still living.

So, what does one do to celebrate Memorial Day? At Arlington Cemetery, volunteers place an American flag on every grave. The President or Vice-President of the United States will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. During my research, this became an interesting story to me, one that is a big part of what Memorial Day is all about.

According to the ArlingtonCemetery.mil website, the tomb is a grave that sits on top of a hill at Arlington Cemetery. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified soldier from World War I to be buried in the New Memorial Amphitheater. On Memorial Day 1921, four unknown soldiers were exhumed from a World War I cemetery in France. Here is the story of how the one to be buried in the tomb was chosen.

Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, highly decorated for valor and received the Distinguished Service Medal in “The Great War, the war to end all wars,” selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets at the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, Oct. 24, 1921. Sgt. Younger selected the unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. He chose the third casket from the left. The chosen unknown soldier was transported to the United States aboard the USS Olympia. Those remaining were interred in the Meuse Argonne Cemetery, France.

The Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On Nov. 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

On  August 3, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill to pay tribute to the unknown soldiers who died in World War II and the Korean War. The same type of ceremony that was done for the World War I tomb was done for these unknown soldiers. They decided to chose one soldier from each of the main battle theaters in World War II, the European and Pacific, and one from the Korean War. Here is the story of how the ones to be buried in the second and third tombs were chosen in 1958.

Two unknowns from World War II, one from the European Theater and one from the Pacific Theater, were placed in identical caskets and taken aboard the USS Canberra, a guided-missile cruiser resting off the Virginia capes. Navy Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, then the Navy’s only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient, selected the Unknown Soldier of World War II. The remaining casket received a solemn burial at sea.

Four unknown Americans who died in the Korean War were disinterred from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Army Master Sgt. Ned Lyle made the final selection. Both caskets arrived in Washington May 28, 1958, where they lay in the Capitol Rotunda until May 30.

That morning, they were carried on caissons to Arlington National Cemetery. President Eisenhower awarded each the Medal of Honor, and the Unknowns were interred in the plaza beside their World War I comrade.

The unknown solider from the Vietnam War was designated during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor on May 17, 1984. Here is the story of his burial.

The Vietnam Unknown was transported aboard the USS Brewton to Alameda Naval Base, Calif. The remains were sent to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., May 24. The Vietnam Unknown arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the next day. Many Vietnam veterans and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

The Vietnam unknown soldier’s story didn’t end there.

The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, DoD scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant. The crypt cover has been replaced with one that has the inscription,

“Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.”

After the research I did for this blog, I have a better understanding about what Memorial day is really about. Many men and women lost their lives fighting for our country’s security. For some of them, we will never know where their final resting places are. The traditions found in the ceremony of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a somber reminder that not all who serve find their way back home after the war.

For Memorial Day this year, I’ll be saying a prayer for all of the soldiers that serve, have served and died serving our country and their families. I’ll also be going to visit my mom’s grave. She wasn’t a solider in a war, but it is still her day. Happy Birthday Mom!