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Archive for November, 2016

Shoney Flats, TX. It’s not much, but it’s home to fifth grader Jerome. The town is to be made larger with the new housing development in the works and the shopping mall. All Jerome’s dad has to do is persuade Wild Willy to sell his junk yard. While Jerome’s father tries to do that, Jerome explore the place, eyeing all the metal pieces and the stuff that’s been thrown out such as outdated equipment.

But Shoney Flats is more than just your average Texas town and the junk yard holds secrets such as Arkie, a scrapper made of metal. His body is made of a coffee pot, garden hoses and more. Finding Arkie puts a whole new spin on the situation.

I’ve always enjoyed stories with junk yards, oh the possibilities. Like a junk yard, this tale has things hidden underneath. There’s a great back story including the one how Jerome lost his mother and brother. There’s plenty of imagination. I enjoyed reading how the scrappers were made. Arkie is a character to remember. I liked him from the beginning. This story has exciting end with a few twists.

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Stuff

There is a rummage sale I signed up for and it has made me think of ‘stuff’. The stuff one accumulate over the years and how, one day, I’ll need to whittle down my mom’s ‘stuff’. And my stuff. I have a lot of stuff, but now, living with my mom with very few of my belongings with me, I find I don’t need all that. I’ll be paring down as well.

Mama keeps saying she’ll go through her stuff. She never does. I once tried to help and brought her things I thought were no longer useful, but she wanted most of them even while she was saying she needed to let go of things. I suppose I’ll be the same, but I’m going to try, try, try really hard not to be. Let’s see how that goes.

When I was packing to move here with my mother I found a box, opened it, and knew, just knew I couldn’t give the items inside away. I hadn’t even remembered I had the stuff and went around in perfect bliss that I owned it. Really, I told myself. The thought gave me the push to put the things in the garage sale pile. Ask me what they were and I’ll tell you: I have no idea.

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In May of 1915, a girl is found on an uninhabited island off the coast of England, off Cornwall. Alfie and his father find her and take her home, a lost child, and thus her name is made: Lucy Lost. She doesn’t talk, doesn’t have any memory of how she came to that island. Some people suggest she may even be the enemy. But to Alfie’s family she’s a lost girl and they aim to help her, come bad or good. And both do come.

This is set in the early years of World War I and shows the tension of the islanders and the effects of war in a small community. Readers may remember Mr. Morpurgo as the author of ‘War Horse’, another fantastic book on the first world war.

The book is written from various points of view including that of Lucy Lost, the doctor, and the ‘beastly’ teacher who makes life miserable for the kids at the school. The prose reads how one would think the people on the island would speak.

All the characters are wonderful. One is Uncle Billy, Silly Billy, a man who rebuilds an old wreck. He’d gotten depressed after his wife and child died and was put in an  asylum, but his sister, Mary gets him out and now he lives alone.

While I wished there was a map, there is historical background notes. A must read to find out more about the era.

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Reading YA (young adult) books could be detrimental to a YA author. Yes? No? Candance Moore in her blog article “Why YA Authors Should Spend Less Time in Bookstores” makes some good points. Not that I will read less YA. I’ll explain as I go along. Or at the end. We’ll see.

Ms. Moore writes that fads in young adult changer faster than in the other categories. The fad ‘du jour’ of today are dystopic novels and vampires and zombies and the supernatural. Next year it can be something completely different as teens today go on to college tomorrow and the new teens, who are interested in other things, take their place. One could start a book in those genres or voice today and by the time it’s published the book is dated.

If one reads the books published today, Ms. Moore argues, and use them as a reference point, as a tip off point for one’s own novel, one could be doing oneself a disfavor especially if relying too much that dystopias will continue to be a strong seller.

I don’t read YA books to get ideas or see what publishers are buying. One reason is that I’m usually ahead of the game, not that I ever wrote a vampire story, but I’ve always written dystopic ones (I called them science fiction). I do know writers who monitor what’s currently out and asking what publishers are buying today. Ms. Moore offers good advice although one could be lucky and the fad continues. By being original, the writer gets a chance of being noticed and, hey, maybe even start the next new trend. Just think J.K. Rowling.

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Dear Hamish,

Congratulations on the win in the dancing contest. ‘Tis bonny! I do miss the contests. Glad to know me moves helped. I was sorry to hear how the tent fell on your head. I was not surprised at all that they found Heather all tangled in the ropes and Peatmoss nearby. Those naughty twins. One has to wonder what they are thinking. If they even do. You should put a restraining order out on them.

I went to the State Fair again this year. ‘Twas a bonny day, sunshine, blue sky, and not hot. The heat this summer was not good to me wool. I fear for its quality. But back to the fair. It would have been perfect except Pawnee and I were banned from the agricultural exhibits. You may be remember that last year, Pawnee popped a few balloons and I accidentally ate a veggie. I tried to be brave, but I wish we’d stayed far away from the agricultural hall this year. I think we are banned from the fair altogether this time.

The person and her mum came with, or, rather, we went with them. I meant to stay with them the whole time. This lasted until Pawnee Kitty got a wee bit of lemonade spilled on her and ran off to disinfect herself. The person didn’t see the encounter, but I did and went after her. I told the mum where we would meet, at the rocket. ‘Tis a famous meeting place and there really is a rocket.

“‘Tis only lemonade,” I said. “And no artificial ingredients.” I found it tasty myself although the price, $5 for the smallest cup, too much.

“You don’t understand. It’s poison. I’m going to smell like a lemon for the rest of my life. You know how I avoid citrus smell.” She stood under a spigot and waited for a drop of water to splash on her head. The few wee drops hadn’t done much yet.

She got herself ‘un-poisoned’ and we made our way to the rocket. But there was free ice cream in the offering and Pawnee had to have a taste. As ice cream is not good for me teeth I studied the other food offerings. Me tummy was grumbling and I would like to have a bite. They have bacon wrapped cinnamon rolls, cracker jack ice cream Sundae, steak and meat ice cream, fried candy bars, and other inedibles. Where was the vegetation? The broccoli? I should have brought me own snack.

Me eyes went unbidden to the agricultural hall. I so wished to go back. But nay. I needed to not get in trouble. I concentrated on surveying the area for the person and her mum, standing high on a wall. Okay, so not so high, but higher than the ground. I thought I saw the person and leaned far over. And fell off the wall. Into a cup.

Och, Hamish, it was so embarrassing. Me hind hooves were sticking out on top and me noodle legs were kicking about. I screamed, but it only got stuck in the cup with me, echoing around and around me head. I just knew everyone was taking pictures with their mobiles and uploading them to Snapchat and Twitter and the like.

The cup tippled over. “Are you okay?” Pawnee asked as she pulled me out. There was an audible pop when me middle unplugged.

“How many photos were taken?”

“Darn. I forgot to take one. Can you do a do over?”

“No.” No one seemed to have noticed my predicament. I smoothed down me kilt. “I need to go to the vegetation and get composed.” I just know the corn and pumpkins and other delectables will help. It will ease me mental pain.

“We’ll not allowed.” She rightened me former prison. “Macgyver. That’s it, Angus, we’ll Macgyver our way in.” She patted the name on the plastic cup.

“‘Tis not a verb and the program is violent. Not for a sheep like meself.” The person watched it once. All I know is that the main character, Macgyver, who is not Scottish, uses ordinary, everyday objects to get out of trouble.

Of course Pawnee doesn’t listen. She picks up the cup, dragging it along as she pulls on me arm. “I have the best idea ever.”

Fast forward to minutes later. I am disguised as a pear and Pawnee uses a plastic spoon to open a back door. It works, which is a big surprise for me. Pawnee, by the way, has Macgyvered herself into looking like a jar of honey, the bear shaped kind. We make our way into the hall and along the wall. The balloon exhibit makers are back. This year they are making a giant beehive. Me eyes don’t linger. I covet the vegetation.

Apples. Corn. Pumpkins. Potatoes. Watermelon.

And what was this? A bit of vegetation that has escaped the confines of its neighbors and fled to the safety of the floor? I picked the wondrous morsel off the ground, wiping at the slight bruise on its side, taking in the delicious scent. Maybe taking in too much scent…

“Run for the hills!” Pawnee with a wee bairn after her zipped past. And that’s pretty much the start of the end right there.

Vegetation flew right and left. Balloons popped. A local television personality got trampled. And from the loudspeakers I heard:

“Pawnee Kitty and Angus. McSheep. Meet your party at the rocket.”

That’s when a net swooped me up and me with a vegetation still in me hoof. As Pawnee Kitty would say: Busted.

We didn’t have to pay anything. There wasn’t enough evidence to prove we did most of the damage, or any really, but the sheriff, aye they have sheriffs here, said it were best we stay away from the fair from not on.

I didn’t even get to keep me vegetation.

And that’s me sad tale. Me hooves are sore from typing and I must say goodnight for now.

Yours, in the colonies,

Angus. McSheep.

 

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