Month: October 2018

Five Items, One Story!

Two week’s ago I shared with you about the new Winchester Writers group, and the take home assignment I gave them at the end of that first meeting.  Today they brought their stories back, and I have to say, I was blown away by how good they are. If you remember I gave them a tray with five items on it and their stories needed to include each item. The stories are unique, and the individual writer’s feelings come through clearly.  Some are still in the beginning stage, but I am so impressed that I’m giving you a sample of each one as my Blog today. What you read below is unedited or changed in anyway by me. Enjoy!

Cinderella Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

She felt a little like Cinderella, but a whole lot more like Miss Hannibal from “Annie”. As she gradually woke from her stupor, fully-clothed, she squinted her heavy, hazel eyeballs to take stock of where she was. She noticed the fake candle with it’s flicker still on and her right foot with the shoe off. Her left foot was still encased with her pricey, emerald Jimmy Choo. Panicked, to be sure the other was nearby, she jerked herself up from the comfy divan. Her head throbbed badly, she collapsed backwards so fast she miss-judged the edge and fell on the floor.

 

As the Pump Pole Rolls

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP….As the alarm screamed I rolled over and growled, “Mindy…” Oh, that’s right she’s at the hospital with Joey. Well, I guess life doesn’t move unless I get up. Oh, that’s not true! J.J. the mighty seven-year-old doesn’t need me to move, my guess is he’s already up watching Pokémon. I slowly get out of bed and turn off the evil alarm clock that always ruins my day. As I walk out of the bedroom I hear, “Good morning, Daddy.” Yep there he is watching Pokémon snuggled in my chair with his blanket and Dog Dog. I head to the kitchen to start the day by looking at the calendar to see what the day holds for the ——- family. As soon as I look at the calendar my face turns white. I forgot that Abbey and J.J. have a doctor’s appointment at noon.

 

A Hated Name

Another Saturday afternoon and Mike, aka Bluto, was in his dingy office of the basement at work. His boss had once again intruded on his time.

The latest in a string of personal sleights and insults.

That name, Bluto, he hated it. He never got used to being called it, from the moment he heard it in kindergarten at Maple Elementary, 30 years ago on the very first day of school.  His first lesson. The world was cruel.

 

The Party At The Thrasher House

The girls had gotten more or less moved into their new house after the drama with Jenny had subsided. Joy said “hey it’s Friday ifht, let’s have a party.” They loaded up into Madison’s Super Sport and headed into town. Madison’s protests fell on deaf ears. She was wanting to keep this thing small but the other two girls wanted at least a case of beer and a couple of fifths on top of what they normally drank. Madison had no idea what she normally drank. Throughout her teen year’s Madison’s highly religious mother had installed in the young lady the perils of alchohol.

 

The Jagged Nail

Picking at my ragged fingernail, I try to remember where we keep the keys. Such an easy thing has me baffled. I try to talk myself down and remind myself to count slowly, envisioning what it is I’m trying so desperately to find. I see them now, snuggled in between the Cabin in the Woods candle and the frame. That damn, menacing frame. The frame holds the Cleavers, white Pickett fence and all. A sham. A scam. Maybe even a conspiracy of sorts, I’m sure.

 

Untitled

My friend Jesus is awesome. He is always teaching me Spanish words. He doesn’t go to church, though. I guess that’s normal; most people are leaving the church.

Today’s word was “pais”. It means country. The girls I work with call Jesus a dirty Mexican. He’s actually from Guatemala. I don’t know what city he’s from, or even the capital of Guatemala! He’ll teach me with time.

Every now and then at the diner we get a rich businessman as a customer. Emily is smart, I guess, and grabs their tables before any of the other servers do. She can make a day’s wages within an hour.

 

What you read above are snippets of the stories that were turned in to me today. If I had space for each story in its entirety, you would see that each one deals with the struggles of everyday life for someone. I’m extremely proud of this group of writers, and that’s exactly what they are.  Writers’s, looking for their voice.

Use your voice for good this week! Spread some joy; it’s the best thing you can do!

As Always,

Dana L.

 

 

 

One Small Spark Guest Blog by Jackie Minniti

A CHARACTER IN SEARCH OF A STORY

Every so often, a character takes up residence in a writer’s mind and refuses to leave until his story is told. That’s what happened to me with my latest novel, One Small Spark. I really had no intention of writing another middle grade historical, but an eleven-year-old boy who lived in Boston in the 1760s had a different idea.

This is how I got to know Christopher Seider.

I’d learned in elementary school that Crispus Attucks was the first casualty of the American Revolution, so imagine my surprise when I found out that I’d been mistaken for more than sixty years. It happened one evening while I was channel surfing and came across a program on National Geographic titled Legends and Lies: The Patriots. I’m not sure what it was about the show that caught my attention, but I put down the remote and settled in to watch it. The storyline focused on the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Boston was in crisis. Part of the population wanted to break away from England , but not enough were actually willing to take up arms. The colonists were engaged in a boycott of British goods that was taking its toll on the English economy. Samuel and John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and some other patriots had formed a secret society they called “The Sons of Liberty” to try to foment anti-British sentiment. They recruited a gang of boys to harass merchants who broke the boycott and vandalize their businesses. British soldiers were occupying the city because of the unrest, which added to the colonists’ outrage.

Enter young Christopher Seider. The son of poor German immigrants, Christopher was working as a servant in the home of Grizell Apthorp, a wealthy widow. On a cold February day, Christopher joined  a gang of boys who
were demonstrating against a local merchant named Theophilus Lillie. Lillie had spoken out against the non-importation boycott and became the target of the Sons of Liberty, who enlisted some of the neighborhood ruffians to teach him a lesson. No one is certain why Christopher was present at the protest. Was he a political ally, a curious kid, or just someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time? While his motive is lost to history, his decision turned out to be a deadly one.

Ebenezer Richardson, a man of ill-repute and a known British informant, tried to intervene on Lillie’s behalf. The gang followed him home and began pelting his house with snowballs and rocks. When an upstairs window broke, Richardson fired his musket into the crowd, injuring one boy and mortally wounding Christopher. Word of this tragedy spread like wildfire, and the colonists were enraged. The Sons of Liberty saw this as the perfect opportunity to promote their cause. Newspapers throughout the colonies recounted in heart-breaking detail the final moments of Christopher’s life. When Christopher was laid to rest in the Granary Burying Ground, over two thousand Bostonians attended his funeral.Speeches were made by local dignitaries touting the bravery of the little lad. More than 500 schoolboys walked in a procession behind his coffin, which bore a velvet drape with a Latin inscription that read, “The serpent lurks in the grass. The fatal dart is thrown. Innocence is nowhere safe . ” By the time the sun set on February 26, 1770, the colonists were ready to take the final step toward armed revolt. A week later, five Bostonians, including Crispus Attucks, were killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre, and the American
Revolution was underway.

When I clicked off the television, I was amazed that I’d never heard of Christopher Seider. How could someone so pivotal to our country’s past become lost to history? When I went to bed that night, Christopher whispered to me in my dreams, and I knew then I’d have to tell his story.

The next day, I began my research and discovered that, while there were accounts of Christopher’s death and mentions of him in some history books, no one had written a book about him. Since he was the
perfect age for a middle grade novel, I decided to write for that audience. This led to a thorny problem. I knew I couldn’t make Christopher the focal character because he would eventually be killed, and that’s
not something that would sit well with younger readers. After thinking about this for a few days, I decided to tell the story from the point of view of a boy who became his friend. I thought Christopher would like that. And as I wrote, the Christopher Seider in my head began to come to life on paper. When I finally typed The End , I could almost see Christopher jump from my head into my pages. I hope his story will be an inspiration to young readers, and I’m glad that they won’t have to wait sixty years (like I did) to meet this important young man.

One Small Spark by Jackie Minniti

Publisher: Anaiah Press

Imprint: Adventures

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Amazon link: (Hold down on picture and it will take you to Amazon for a preview and the link to purchase)

Blurb:
A mysterious message on a scrap of paper.

A shadowy group whose motives are unclear.

A political struggle that pits friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor, and father against son.

Eleven-year-old Benjamin Pembroke’s safe, sheltered life is turned upside-down when he meets a strange boy who becomes an unlikely friend in troubling times. Unfortunately, Benjamin has no way of knowing that his future, as well as the future of his country, will be changed forever.

Author Bio:

Jackie Minniti is a former teacher and journalist. She is the award-winning author of Project June Bug and Jacqueline. Several of her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul collections. She lives in Treasure Island, Florida, with her husband and two noisy macaws.

You can find Stephanie at:

Website: www.jackieminniti.com,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackieminnitiwriter/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/JackieMinniti/e/B0037ZHSKK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Winchester Writers!

This summer I was struggling to write, and felt the need for a writers group. I found one in Muncie, and while it sounded great, they met monthly on Saturday afternoons, and that just wasn’t an optimal time for me. So one day I was lamenting to David Edmonds, multiple Award Winning Author, and retired writing professor, and he asked me, “Are you a leader or a follower?” My response was, “well I used to be a leader.”

That conversation stayed with me for weeks, and one day I took a notice to the Winchester Library to see if anyone else was interested.  Much to my surprise five people signed up, and I finally got the courage to make this goal a reality.

If you remember the story of my Fairytale, then you know that I’m big on making dreams come true, so I reached out to the Florida Writers Association for guidance. As it turned out they were more than happy to allow our group in Indiana to fall under their umbrella, and the Winchester Writers was born!

Today was our first meeting, and it went so well! Six people besides me attended, three women and three men, all from different walks of life.  A retired special-ed teacher, a retired Army Staff Sargent, a pastor, a career newspaper journalist, a part time preschool teacher, and a recent college graduate. It was such a diverse group, and I know everyone will bring something unique to the table.

Our meetings will be held every other Tuesday at the Winchester Library from 10:00-noon, in the Carnage room.  If you are interested in joining, or know someone who might be, please have them email me at info@danalbrownbooks.com.

Ever since I made the decision to become involved in a writing group my love for writing has come back, so while my current WIP is not part of the AMI Series, it is still in the Women’s Fiction genre. I won’t share the title just yet, but the protagonist’s name is Summer, and she’s someone closer to my age.

My dad used to have a record by Frank Sinatra that he played all the time. I was just a kid and thought it was cheesy,  but it was about Fairytales coming true. Now that I’m not such a kid, I realize how important it is to have a dream, and to never let it die.

”Fairytales can come true, they can happen to you…..”

Have  Blessed week, and never stop believing in Fairytales!

Dana L. 🌴