Archive for August, 2015

In my last post I mentioned that the presenter of the memoir writing workshop knew a publisher. She’d talked to the person who said they were looking for more young adult authors. Cool I thought. Of course, by the name, Palmetto Press I thought they wanted only SC stories. Once I got home and on my netbook I found that to be true. Not only that but they asked for a detailed cover letter describing the work, it’s purpose, scope, length and with an explanation of how it differs from competing works. And you had to assess ‘its likely readership.’

Well, that got a bit too complicated for me so I pushed the idea of using that publisher out of my head. Except the idea didn’t go away. Wait a minute I thought. Don’t you have the blog – 47parkssc, a blog on what to visit in South Carolina? And, in your research on places, didn’t you think: oh, that’d make a nice story? And didn’t you think, hey no one’s written a story on this?


I’ve already begun my research. This will be interesting because I’ve never done such rigorous research on a book before. Usually I do it as I go. But I need background information before I start and as I read I’m thinking, wow, this is kinda writing itself. The characters are popping up in my head, talking and complaining and becoming people. The events are getting real. I think I can do this. No, I know I can do this.


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Readng there’d be a workshop at a nearby library on writing memoirs, I knew I had to go. They presented it at the rather odd time of 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon, but I could make it. Armed with notes I’d put in a powerpoint presentation, I moseyed over. Turns out I was the only one who showed up besides the presenter and the library host. I would have liked more people, more people to bounce ideas off, but if this was it, so be it.

The presenter meant to write a memoir too, of her dog, a seeing eye dog. I, of course, want to write a fictional account of my mother’s life growing up in Germany during World War II, adding bits of family history along the way. I can’t remember what the librarian wanted to do.

The workshop had worksheets and we got homework – to make an outline and write the first chapter. A good start I thought and an impetus to actually get started on this thing. On our second meeting, there’d be three in all, we’d discuss and read what we accomplished.  Sad to say the second part was canceled due to an emergency, but again, it is what it is and hopefully nothing horrible happened.

My best bit of information was a lead on where I might publish a story. But more on that next time. Our next and last meeting is next week.

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Devlin lives in a pocket of heaven, an oasis of fertile land hidden away from the drought stricken, hot world of tomorrow. When his grandfather dies and the farming gets too much for him alone, he leaves to get help, extra help, from the city a place he’s never been. The city turns out to be a horrible place, one he’d never imagine. A chance encounter with Kit, an abused girl, leads to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Children, someplace that sounds much better than the city.

I wanted to throttle Devlin for leaving the farm, but then there wouldn’t have been a story, a good story. I like the contrast between the rich, who controlled the water, and the homeless kids. Something a reality in many parts of the world, except for the water part, but it may come to that with droughts in many places.

The book is like a mash-up between what’s happening in California and homeless kids around the world in the big cities. Then add a mythical home for children, a scary staff, plucky kids. While I guessed what was going on, it didn’t matter because I had no idea of how the story would unfold and end.


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Dear Hamish,

‘Tis bonney you got to see Shaun the Sheep three times and enjoyed each and every time especially with your little niece. She is a bonny lass. I’m sorry to hear you got soaked with oatie juice and pelted with oatie bits at the first one. The twins said they tripped. Why they had to sit behind you, I don’t know. At least their attention-deficit selves got distracted by the movie.

As you can see by me pictures I enjoyed the film meself. The horrible cinemas here only showed it on two days. Aye. Two. For something worthy of an award from the British Academy of Film Awards, that is deplorable. I shall complain. I nearly didn’t see it at all, but I scoured the websites until I found the cinema and time and dates.  Wednesday and Thursday, 4th and 5th of August. I penciled in the dates on me calendar and put them in me mobile. On Tuesday, Pawnee comes and asks if I want to go with her, shopping.

“Shop? You? You dinna have any money.”

“I have money. C’mon. I have transportation waiting.”

And she did. We hopped in the car and drove to a mall, the scary mall. I told you about this one. I’ve never been meself, but the person has. I had to wonder what Pawnee had planned. ‘Tisn’t Halloween so she isn’t going to be scaring me. The car drove to the rooftop. Aye, there is a car park there and a cinema, the very one I planned to see Shaun the Sheep.

“Since we’re out, I thought we can get advance tickets.”

“Because? And who said I wish to see it with you?”

“Who else would you go with? Besides do you really want to arrive, jump out of your taxi, buy a ticket, and wait in the movie theater with a bunch of kids around? You know that’s not going to end well.”

I have to admit she had a point. I dinna did think of all the wee bairns flocking to the cinema to see the film. Their parents don’t always watch over them and I could feel all the hands already squishing me and me wool becoming butter popcorned flavored.

“And you’ll need a special seat unless you only want to hear the movie.” She moseyed into the lobby. A bear held the door open for us. Aye, a bear. I dinna thought they’d allowed them in here, but if they allow sheep and wee kitties, they’ll allow bears. The bear helped us to the counter too it being even too high for Pawnee to jump.

We had to get the tickets elsewhere. They only sold them for today. No problem and off we went, but first I had to have me picture taken with the Shaun the Sheep film poster and the Shaun the Sheep cutout display. They were bonny.

We ended up in one of the theaters. ‘Tis much bigger than the barn in which we see films or the Farmer’s living room where we see films on the telly. ‘Tis then I saw it full. The place was packed with bears, cats, dogs, bunnies, hawks, and other varieties of different species. Hardly had I sat down when the film started. I got oatie bits and oatie juice and it was och so bonny.

Afterwards I had to ask Pawnee how she did it.

“I still have a few Rent-a-Theater-for-the-Day coupons. You know, from Talbot.”

Talbot was one of her ‘bestest’ friends in the whole ‘universe’. Don’t ask me how but she got tickets for concerts and films, but she did due to her ‘cute and adorable’ features as Pawnee puts it.

“They nearly didn’t let me get the place, but I called the company and a few people and… viola. Shaun of the Sheep private viewing. We get a poster and the cardboard cutouts too. We have to pick ’em up on Saturday.”

I was so gobsmacked I didn’t even correct Pawnee Kitty that it’s Shaun the Sheep, not Shaun of the Sheep. ‘Twas a very nice thing for Pawnee to do. I made her scones when I got back and added two more hugs on me list of allowable hugs.

That is all for now.

Your friend in the Colonies.

Angus. McSheep.

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Monday morning. I head over to the park, planning to take the long loop as far as I can, say thirty-five minutes in and the same out. As I hit the connector path, I begin a slow jog. It won’t last long, but I’ve been going further each day. My eyes are on the ground, but this is a good stretch with few roots or dips.

My left foot catches on something. I try to counter with my right. It’s too late. Bam. I’m on the ground, glasses rattling and probably my teeth too. My arm hurts and my knee.

I’ve done it now, I think and say aloud as I clutch my knee. I’ve done it now. I’ve been so careful not to get hurt. Who’ll take care of my Mom if I’m laid up? I’ve done it now.

But my knee bends, so it’s not broken. I inspect my arm, there’s a large, Kennedy dollar scrape just above the elbow. That’s what saved my head from banging in the dirt.

I guess I can sleep late for a few days. I can take a break from exercise.

But in two weeks I wanted to take a day trip and do some hiking? Can I still do that?

Up I sit and get to my feet. The knee hurts, but it doesn’t HUUUUURRRRRT! That’s good. It’s a ten – fifteen minute walk back. I limp home, but hide that when I see someone. Inside the house I wash the scrape. Boy does that hurt. I even feel sick afterwards and have to sit down.

Now about the knee. Urgent Care? I have to wait ’til eight to call my insurance and they tell me which one to visit. I tell my Mom I’m going out, but don’t tell her where so she doesn’t worry. I get to the clinic and of course it doesn’t open to nine, which is thirty minutes away so I go to Target to look at their clip-on lamps. That should tell everyone right away my knee’s not that bad. And it isn’t. Just a bad bruise. I don’t even need pain medication even though they give me prescription. The worst pain was handing over my credit card and paying the place. Ouch. But I need to be safe and not sorry later on. Now, sitting on the couch I think this’ll give me something to put in a story.

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Silverton Manor sits on top of a hill, cranberry walls, shingled roof, a pretty picture. Too bad it’s haunted.

Twelve-year-old Dahlia is the resident ghost, a young girl, she waits for things to expire so she can add it to her garden or ghost room. Her routine is interrupted when Oliver Day and his family move in to get the house ready to sell. They don’t believe in ghosts, which makes it easy for a ghost hunter to wrangle his way in as a supposed handyman. But Oliver, his sister, Poppy, and the twins aren’t going make it easy for him to capture Dahlia.

I loved the idea that objects, even food, can expire and their ghostly selves rise up to be plucked if Dahlia is quick enough. The description of Dahlia waiting for a flower to expire is fantastic. I also enjoyed the ending. Did not expect that. It was different than other endings of ghost stories and good.

There are great characters in the story like Mrs. Tibbs, the almost Mary Poppinish lady who is helping Dahlia find her anchor that’s tying her to Earth. The side plots such as Oliver’s Dad’s puppet shows are funny and flesh out the story.

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