Finally!! Here it is! My First Published Book and I am bawling out my eyes and smiling at the same time.

Congratulate a friend’s new book!

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Out of the silent breath

I feel a deep sense of release. I don’t know how to express my thoughts. It’s been a climb and sometimes a dip, but I knew that one day, I will arrive at this juncture.

Except I sit with you over a cup of tea, maybe only then will you really understand my journey – one day, I shall speak of these things.

To all those who have supported me to this point, I remain ever grateful. You have no idea what your friendship means to me and how far it’s taken me.

I present to you – even though some of you had a sneak cover peek, it was tweaked a bit – my poetry book. I laughed writing some, I bled writing some, I sighed writing some and I cried writing some.

It’s all Glory to Him. He made it possible.

It’s available on Amazon-Kindle and Smashwords and…

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Maniac in the Wilderness

Bill and mother
I don’t know how my baby brother Bill ever survived my mother’s brutal abuse. When he was only a tiny lad of eighteen, he was six feet four inches tall. I think the fact that she wasn’t even acquainted with five feet added to his raging hormones gave him a feeling of superiority. While I won’t say he had a smart mouth, I will allow it was extremely well-educated. I am sure they only reason my mother hadn’t already killed him was because she hated to go to prison and leave her younger daughters motherless. It certainly wasn’t because the thought hadn’t crossed her mind at least a thousand times a day since puberty attacked him and her by proxy.

Anyway, on occasion, they had to travel places alone together. It was a misery to both. It didn’t help that the car was a tiny Volkswagon Beetle. It’s always worth a person’s time to stop and watch a huge guy unfold himself and crawl into or out of a Beetle, a pleasure Bill dreaded providing mirthful onlookers. It didn’t improve his mood on arrival, a mood already blackened with inevitable conflict he’d shared with Mother.

At any rate, on this particular day, they started home with Bill driving. According to Mother, he was driving like a maniac: driving too fast, following too closely, cutting people off. I have no doubt this was true. It was his typical manner. She insisted he slow down. He crept along at ten miles an hour, hoping that was slow enough to please her. She’d finally had enough, telling him to pull over. She’d drive. He critiqued her driving as soon as she started. “Speed up! Don’t ride the clutch! Change Gears!”

Finally, she’d had enough. She pulled over. “Get out!” Delighted, he hopped out, thinking she’d come to her senses and wanted him to drive. She drove off and left him standing on a country road, thirty miles from home. She enjoyed the rest of the peaceful drive. At home, Daddy wanted to know where Bill was. “I left him somewhere close to Bossier City.”

Daddy was shocked she’d left the little fellow all alone in the wilderness. “Well, You’d better go get him! It’ll be dark soon!”

“You go get him if you want to! I don’t care if he never gets home!”

Daddy was a lot better at giving orders than taking them, but he jumped in his truck to rescue his precious son and heir. Billy met him at the end of the driveway, brought home by a Good Samaritan. He’d somehow survived his abandonment but I think he still drives like a maniac. I don’t think he and Mother voluntarily ride together till today

See attached picture if you care to put out APB on either

Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 13

woman on motorcycle

A gigantic red motorcycle claimed a place of prominence front of ol’ lady Duck’s house for a day or two, till it moved over to the long-abandoned shot-gun house next door.  Now I’d had my eye on that shotgun house and its environs since I’d admired many times on the way to Miss Laura Mae’s house.  It had everything to recommend it.  Unpainted, its broken windows, door hanging by one hinge, a huge tree with a ragged tire swing in the front yard, a caved in storm-cellar in the side yard, and several plum trees called to me.  It everything a kid could dream off.  Best of all, there was a ramshackle car up on blocks. 

Mother never let me out of the yard.  Only her eagle eye and short leash had kept me away so far.  Mother constantly warned me of danger.  I could fall out of a tree and break my neck, drown if I played in the creek, burn up if I played in the fire.  So far, I had fallen out of trees many times, played in the creek as often as I could manage, and even been caught playing with matches.  None of these had killed me yet, though playing with matches did result in damage to my bottom when Mother caught me.  My cousins hinted at ghosts and maybe a devil in the ruined storm cellar.  Always concerned about nightmares, Mother had assured me there was no such thing as ghosts, and the devil wasn’t interested in children.  Is it any wonder I was wild to explore, having always yearned to see a ghost or a devil.

The motorcycle in front of the house was a good omen.  Maybe a family with children had moved in.

I chattered about the motorcycle while Miss Laura Mae buttered my biscuit.  I was lucky enough she had already made a batch of mayhaw jelly this morning and she slathered the steaming stuff on my biscuit.  She hadn’t even had time to “jar” it yet.  “I need to tell me if this tastes good.  Don’t burn your tongue.  It’s still hot. ” she told me.  Boy, did it ever.  I closed my eyes as I carefully licked the cooking syrup from the sides of the biscuit.  It was tangy and sweet, almost making my teeth ache.

As happy as I was with my biscuit and jelly, the word motorcycle caught my attention.  “Did you see that motorcycle outside ol’lady Duck’s house?”  Miss Laura Mae asked. 

“I sure did.”  Mother said.  “I figured it must be her boy Rudy’s.”

“Nooooo!  It’s his wife’s.  He got him a mail order bride out o’ one a’them lonely hearts magazines.  She come down from Nebraska with a big ole young’un on back to marry him!”  Miss Laura didn’t bother to whisper.

“Really?”  asked Mother.  “How did you find out?”

“You know Gertha Nelson in my quiltin’ group?  Well, she’s his sister.  She told me.  She said ol’ lady Duck is furious.  She don’t want him marryin’ no motorcycle woman.  But she tol’ her mama, it ain’t like anybody around here is breakin’ down the door to marry Rudy.  Beggars cain’t be choosers.  Anyhow, he moved her an’ her boy into that ol’ shotgun house next door.  He aims to fix it up some.”

“I saw the motorcycle moved over there, and thought I saw some work going on,” Mother said.  “Well, maybe they’ll make a go of it.  Rudy’s always been a loner.”

“Not if his mama’s got anything to do with it.  He’s always lived at home an’ took care of her.  Anyway, listen to this.  That boy’s mama is callin’ that big ol’ boy o’hearn “Little Rudy” after Rudy.  That’s crazy.  You cain’t call a kid “Charley”  all his life, then up an’ change his name to “Little Rudy” after a man you just married.  She thinks it’ll make him and Rudy git along better.” Miss Laura Mae said.


About three weeks later, I was lucky enough to get an update.  “Well, the honeymoon’s over down at Rudy’s.  His wife done left in his truck. “ Miss Laura opened the conversation.

“Well, that didn’t last long.”  What happened?”  I was at least as curious as Mother.  Why would anybody take a truck if they had a motorcycle?

“Oh, they done had a big bust up.  Rudy come home one evenin’ with a big load o’watermelons an’ peaches he was gonna peddle the next day.  He had a taste for some ham an’ went out to his smokehouse an’ found one’a his hams whittled almost clean to the bone.  He was mad as hops.  He’d been piecing that ham along, just cuttin’ off a slice fer his breakfast oncet in a while.  When he found it sliced clean down to the bone, he went roaring in the house and lit into ‘em.  Turns out that boy had been workin’ on that ham off an had just about et it up.  Rudy took a whack at the boy with the bone an’ his wife wrestled it away from ‘im and whooped him good.  Her boy jumped in an’ they ‘bout beat Rudy to death.  While Rudy was laying up, her an’ that boy took Rudy’s ol’ truck, peaches, watermelons an’ all.  They even took Rudy’s ol’ huntin’ dog and the last two hams..  Now ain’t that pitiful?”


A small request of all my readers …

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

iitcYes, I know this news is going to be hard to believe, but after 4 years in publication (both as an eBook and in print) Island in the Clouds will finally have a sister-novel to share your shelf or space on your eReader! I finished writing an umpteenth draft of One Woman’s Island a week-and-a-half ago and now it’s in the hands of my editor, Rachel Small. I think at this point in time, after writing and rewriting the story of Mariana on Bequia these past 12 years, I’m more relieved than excited. Now comes the ultra hard work of preparing the final edited manuscript for ePublication, sometime later this year.onewomanisland-cover-draft-3

That publication date has been moved back further, however, because yesterday I discovered this link to a competition for which the new novel qualifies. But the novel needs to be unpublished. Might as well give that a shot…

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Murphy’s Other Laws

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Grumpa Joe's Place

Usually, we blame Murphy’s Law on any thing that goes wrong when it shouldn’t have. Here are a few more of his law’s that are less known.



1. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

2. A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

3. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

4. A day without sunshine is like, well, night.

5. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

6. Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.

7. Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

8. The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.

9. It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world…

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Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 12

My grandma was in the hospital, we had a houseful of company, and we didn’t go to Miss Laura Mae’s house for several days. I was happy to be sitting on her top step with a biscuit again.

“Well, I ain’t seen y’all in a month of Sundays,” she said “Where you been?”

“Right there at the house,” answered Mother. “I’m so tired I can hardly wiggle. Bill’s mama thought she was having a heart attack and they kept her in the hospital overnight. It turns out it was just a hernia. She was doing fine but they still kept her overnight for tests. They were supposed to let her out the next morning. You know how Dr. Hawkins is. You can’t go to see him without him wanting to keep you overnight for tests. Anyway, she was sleeping and the nurse came to check on her. She thought she was seeing a ghost and got all upset,
convinced she was dying. She had the nurse call Bill to call all the kids in. You know she has seven.

Anyway, all the kids and in-laws came flocking in to the house along with all their kids. There was no need to all pile in at the house and stay all that time. They all live within ten miles of us. I don’t know what good they thought they were doing, anyway. Next thing, her two brothers and their wives showed up. Somebody called her step-brother from way down in South Louisana and told him it might be his last chance to see her. They couldn’t have been close. They hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years.

“Lordy, was she really that sick? That sounds like a mess.” Miss Laura Mae offered.

“No, nothing was really wrong. She’s just the superstitious type and was convinced it was a sign she was going to die. Anyway, the whole bunch hung around the rest of the night and visited the next day, like it was their last chance to see each other. They made a bunch of long distance phone calls, which I know they’ll never pay for, ate up my week’s supply of groceries, drank up all my coffee, and even used up all the toilet paper. Even after she got out of the hospital, they kept right on visiting. The kids were running in and out banging the doors and screaming and yelling like a bunch of heathens. I stayed behind them with the broom an mop, but it was hopeless. It was horrible. I thought they never would go home. I am so tired, I could sleep for a week. We are out groceries. I don’t even have any dry beans left. We’ll be eating biscuits till payday.” Mother sighed.

“You know, my mother had a stroke last summer. They didn’t know if she’d make it. She lives out in Texas. I wanted to go, but we talked about it and Bill decided we really didn’t have the money. I didn’t get to go for three months. It’s strange how when it’s the man, it is so different. It makes me mad all over we didn’t go when Mama was sick. I could have missed my last chance then. Why are men so selfish?”

“Honey, that’s why I never married agin after Floyd died. Most men think they own their women, an’ women don’t need to do nuthin’ but tend to them, the younguns, an’ the house an’ garden. I wasn’t much past forty and still had a couple of younguns to raise when Floyd died, but it was a lot easier for me to take in ironin’, sew for the public, babysit, or sit with the elderly or the sick than have to answer to another man. Now, don’t get me wrong. They’s a’plenty o’ good men out there, but they do that one bad thing. They just keep on a’breathing in an’ breathin’ out.”

They both laughed till tears were running down their faces.

Update to Miss Laura Mae’s House Part 11

It doesn’t seem fair to leave you hanging with John and Wanda’s story, but Mother didn’t learn any more for more than twenty years. It came by way of John’s second wife, Cathy, who had no particular reason to lie. John never mentioned any of this. John got out of the army after the war but stayed in the Army Reserves for twenty-five years. He went to law school on the GI Bill, but decided to teach instead. He later became a principal and married a teacher. They both taught the children of migrant workers dividing their year between South Texas and California. When they were teaching in California, a young man approached him, telling him he was one of twins and had been born a Holdaway, but was told his father was killed in the war before his birth. His mother married an old boyfriend who had adopted the babies, raising them as his own. At the boys insistence, the two couples met. The sister had married young and he didn’t meet her. It looked like the father-in-law engineered the whole story to break up the young marriage. He and his wife were long-dead, so they all let it drop, not affecting their long marriages. Wondering if it could possibly be true, I searched and found the birth and death records by the adopted name. Indeed, there was a man by the right name, born in the right time period born to Wanda. She did have a marriage recorded shortly after the boy’s birth. Unfortunately, John and Cathy never had children.