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.

****

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

 

Advertisements

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

 

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

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.

***********************

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!

This week from the writing house

Just a little writing inspiration this week. Made me think about how important it is to keep the audience in mind. We want to get them engaged and keep them engaged.

Reading Quote - Patterson

I did a lot of rewrites on The Bully’s Way this past weekend at our cabin and I think the story is really coming together. Looking forward to doing a full read through when I have this editing round done.

When I get to this point with editing, it becomes very motivating to keep writing. I want to see where the story is going to take me. I also keep checking with myself to make sure that not only I like where the story is going, but so will my readers.

Have a great week!

Book Review – Conspiracy 365 – February by Gabrielle Lord

Once again, I found a book in our house to review. One of the boys had it in his room. I think it might have been one he read for sophomore English this year. It looked interesting, but the fact it said February on it made me wonder if I should read it before the January one.

Our book club read a book in a middle of a series for one of our monthly reads. Thunder Bay, by William Kent Krueger, the seventh book in the series. Since we read that one, I have gone back and read most of the series (I finished book #10 and Jim has read through #11) of sixteen. His books could all be read without having read the previous ones. But, if I had read the books in order, I would have learned more about the main character’s back story.

The Bully’s Way is the second book in The Way Series I am preparing for an alpha read in September.  I have heard when writing a series, the author wants to have it fit into the series, but also be readable on its own. So the reader doesn’t have to read the first one to enjoy book two. It is something I will keep in mind as I continue to write the books in The Way series.

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Conspiracy 365 – February

Author

Gabrielle Lord

Type of Book

Middle Grade/YA mystery and suspense. This is the second book of a twelve book series.

Background

Lord is an Australian author known as ‘The Queen of Crime Fiction’.

The books were all published in 2010 and made into a mini television series in 2012 in Australia. Each segment of the television show was aired the first Saturday of each month through out the year. There are a total of seventeen books in the series, with additional storyline played out in the last five books.

Summary of Story

Callum Ormond is a fourteen year old boy on the run from the police and violent gangs. He has to find the answer to some research that his dad was working on before he died and has to stay alive for 365 days to do it. He lives in junk yards and abandoned houses to avoid all of those who are chasing him.

Reactions to book

The story was good. Lord kept the action moving and kept me reading. I found it may have been helpful to read January first to have more continuity in the story line. The book seemed to get a little long in parts, but as a 40 minute tv show, it may not have felt as long. It was probably written that way to get the story into the twelve segments.

If you are interested in picking up a copy of this book or any others in the series, you can find them here Conspiracy 365 Series

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out her website Gabrielle Lord.