National Mother Goose Day

Today is National Mother Goose Day. In honor of that, I thought I would share a scene from a book that will probably never see the light of day. I entered this book in a publisher contest many years ago. It didn’t win, but a few weeks after the contest ended, I received a letter from an editor at the publisher  requesting the complete. She loved my voice. Ultimately, the publisher passed on the book.

I hope  you enjoy this excerpt. It’s one of my favorites.

The purr of a car in the lane drew Jake out of his funk. Gracie emerged from her nest under the porch to investigate. The goose was better than any watchdog because she was unexpected.

A sporty white Miata stopped next to his truck. Gracie headed straight for the intruder.

Jake swung his feet to the porch. He didn’t rise, waiting instead to see if his visitor was foolish enough to tangle with a goose. The car door opened, and Gracie’s wings came up in her warning stance. Legs clad in light colored slacks swung to the ground. Gracie hissed.

The trespasser ignored the warning. Jake’s hand went to his side, looking for the gun he’d stopped carrying eighteen months ago. His palm itched with longing when he recognized the hat.

The woman who had tumbled his world stood in his dooryard, warily eyeing his guard goose.

Sic her, Gracie, he thought, blood lust overriding the tightening in his chinos.

The goose’s head shot toward Lyra, hissing another warning.

“Nice birdie.” Lyra tried to appease the fowl.

Gracie wasn’t having any of it. Her wing feathers ruffled as she prepared to defend her domain. Lyra stepped forward, ignoring the signs of attack.

Just like a reporter. Can’t see what’s under her nose.

“Ouch!” She jumped back and fumbled with the door handle.

Seconds passed before he realized he was grinning.

Gracie nipped again before Lyra reached the safety of her car.

He waited for her to start the engine, but only Gracie’s triumphant honk disturbed the twilight silence.

“Mallory!” Lyra lowered her window. “I know you’re here. Call off your bird.”

Fat chance. Gracie roamed at will for exactly this reason. And if Lyra didn’t leave soon, Gracie would fly right through the open window and attack, like a scene from a Hitchcock movie. Gracie circled the Miata. The lazy goose didn’t want to exert the energy for flight.

“Mallory!” Lyra’s tone slid from angry to pleading. “I’m bleeding. Your stupid bird bit me.”

Good. Maybe you’ll get an infection.

“I’m not going anywhere until you hear me out.”

That was the problem with reporters. They clung like leeches, sucking the life from their victims. Hadn’t she already stolen too much from him? Now she wanted his time.

Oh, hell. He had time. Time was the only abundance in his life besides his anger.

The car door inched open. Gracie honked, homing in on the crack as if it were food. “Call off your bird!” The door slammed. Gracie glared — if a goose could glare — at the open window.

He had nothing better to do than wait to see who surrendered first — Gracie or Lyra. Both were tenacious. Both were stubborn, argumentative and audacious. Their standoff amused him. The confrontation was better than any sitcom zipping through his rooftop antennae.

He sipped his drink, holding the rough liquid in his mouth.

How desperate for entertainment was he that he actually looked forward to discovering if Lyra Lucas could outmaneuver a goose? He’d been isolated too long.

But if she’d found him, anyone looking for him could trace him. Not that he was hiding. Just out of the picture.

Forcing him to witness Matt’s murder was a threat he couldn’t ignore. He’d spent too much time in O’Flaherty’s inner sanctum to leave without ties. He wasn’t sure why O’Flaherty let him live after Lyra’s exposé. All he knew, all he cared about was that his silence kept his sister and her babies alive.

What if Lyra had compromised their safety?

Fear rode on the breeze, chilling him in spite of the whiskey’s fire in his belly.

“Mallory!”

She wouldn’t surrender. Ego wouldn’t allow a goose to win.

Gracie’s snowy white feathers were nearly luminous in the fading lavender light. Her wings ruffled at Lyra’s words.

“Why don’t you whack her with your Emmy?” he suggested, breaking his silence. “It worked on me.”

“I knew you were here.” The door whipped open, nearly broadsiding his bird. The white Miata resembled a one-winged goose battling with Gracie.

He laughed. Aloud. Laughing felt good.

“This isn’t funny,” Lyra said, as Gracie ducked under the door to nip at a bare ankle.

Blaming the whiskey for his half-aroused state, he planted his feet on floorboards. “You’re trespassing again.”

“O’Flaherty’s back.”

His glass slipped from his numb fingers, spilling acidic liquid on the porch. Silence closed in. Crushing silence. Even Gracie ceased hissing. He tried to force his feet to move toward the kitchen door.

O’Flaherty. The name was better than a secret password.

Didn’t Liar realize O’Flaherty had never gone away? He’d merely lurked in the shadows as he determined the weaknesses of those whose help he required.

The blare of the Miata’s horn split the night. Gracie honked back, as if surrendering to a larger fowl, and scurried toward her haven beneath the porch.

The Importance of Story

I consider myself a storyteller, first and foremost.

One of my earliest memories is of lying in bed, telling myself what the cowboys on the wallpaper were doing.

cowboy wallpaper

 

A year or so later, my dad took me into the local department store to choose wallpaper for my bedroom in the new house he was building for us. I chose this, because it had letters , and I knew I needed letters to write my stories, and there were toys about which I could make up stories.

childhood-wall-paper-576x1024

Even at aged 3 (yes, 3), I knew I was meant to tell stories.

For me, the story is  about which  books, movies, and even songs should be. One of my husband’s cousins is into film. He runs a couple of prestigious film festivals. For him, movies are about texture and other visual things. Story isn’t even secondary. What is the point?

One of the reasons I love baseball is because it is rich in the “feminine tradition of oral history,  story telling, and gossip.” (Breaking into Baseball by Jean Hastings Ardell) “Baseball loans [sic] itself to story telling.” (Jeff Gellenkirk)

Story pervades every aspect of our lives. From religion to the memes we read on social media, our business plans to our successes (and failures). Story is everywhere.

Today is National Tell a Story Day.

Don’t just tell a story today. Celebrate one.

 

 

Snarky Sunday: Eyebrow Threading

There’s a relatively new trend in cosmetic enhancement called eyebrow threading. I first heard about it from X-Chromo, who has actually had this done. I understand the concept: it’s like plucking with tweezers or using hot wax to extract eyebrow hairs. What I don’t understand is the mechanics.

A couple of weeks ago, X-Chromo and I went to The Maul (not a typo). One of the first things I noticed is how dark the interior of the place has become. I knew the “new” part of the sprawl was “green” and ill-lit, but when we ventured into the “old” part, I felt as if I’d wandered onto the set of a post-apocalyptic movie. Very dystopian feel to the place.

And there, in the middle of all this darkness, someone was having her eyebrows threaded. In a Maul kiosk, not a in a private space. And the technician had the threads in her mouth. As if they were dental floss. Using them. On some stranger’s face. In the dark.

I think I’ll pass.

Weird Collections

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever collected?

My daughter made a rubber band ball.

Rubber Band Ball courtesy X-Chromo

Rubber Band Ball courtesy X-Chromo

At one point in my unexciting childhood, I collected the tags from Tetley Tea Bags. I believe the brand was Tetley. The tags were printed with clever sayings. The one I remember–and still quote–is “To make a long story short adds six words.”

Nowadays I collect and share the sayings from my Yogi tea bags.

How about you? What odd thing have you collected?

 

Purse Project (Reprise)

Purse project 01

Remember this purse? I really like this purse because of its outside pockets.  But it wasn’t quite big enough.

My portable keyboard didn’t fit.

portable keyboard (1)

I couldn’t carry a magazine.  Or a file folder.

mag and file

So for my birthday, I decided to buy another purse–if I could find what I wanted. I wanted the same purse, only bigger. Only by an inch or two.  Just enough to accommodate my portable keyboard or a file folder.

X-Chromo told me I should check out JC Penney. We went to the Maul together. She guided me through parts I’d never seen before (I am not a fan of the Maul). Nope,nope, nope. Then we went to JC Penney. She went directly to the purse I wanted.

purses 01 (3)

I am delighted. The new one (on the right) has a pocket on the back (although the keyboard also fits inside very nicely).

Purse with keyboard