I love cats. I love cat memes. But really, I think “I can Haz a Cheezeburger” killed the internet. Find out how the Rome Construction Crew brought the internet back!
(Go on, click – it has a cute cat picture!)
I love cats. I love cat memes. But really, I think “I can Haz a Cheezeburger” killed the internet. Find out how the Rome Construction Crew brought the internet back!
(Go on, click – it has a cute cat picture!)
The Rome Construction Crew was reborn today! Way to go, Crew – you were the best thing to happen to this blogger!
Just like a spider
From Part 2: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Like A . . . I know I’ll have to go after Mr. D, just to make sure he don’t get himself into any more trouble. That boy and trouble is like bread and butter. And if that Someone Else is as bad as I reckon he is, then trouble is just around the corner. But I don’t mind. I say bring it on.
Because let me tell you, Sweet Cheeks, you ain’t seen nothin’ like A.
Here I am, lookin’ at ol’ Ronnie Johnson, and damn if I ain’t got a problem.
Damn fool gave his ol’ Buick to Mr. D. Gave it to him, like Mr. D was the Second Coming and needed a ride outta Dodge to pick up all those who were gonna sit at His right hand.
I took a moment to let this sink in. Ronnie tried to slink away, but I pinned him to the dirt with just my eyes. I’m told I got mean green eyes. I don’t know ‘bout that – what I do know is that when I give a man my glare – an’ I mean my best and fiercest glare – he won’t have what it takes to say boo to a goose.
Now, I had a good idea of where Mr. D was headed. There ain’t much out here in the desert and the nearest town – some rinky-dink place called Bald Junction – isn’t even on the damn map. An’ that boy do kinda stand out – all six feet and lean muscle of that boy stand out. So findin’ people who’d seen him wasn’t gonna be hard.
Of course, it woulda been easier if I had been able to put a discreet word out to the ol’ boys in blue that a stolen car was seen headin’ towards that ghost-town wannabe. Then I could have let them circle the wagons and caught Mr. D as he tried to slip through their net.
Because lemme tell you, that boy’s not dumb. He would have slipped through that net, and there I woulda been, sittin’ there waitin’ for him, just like a spider. But thanks to ol’ Ronnie, I gotta think up another plan.
I says goodbye to ol’ Ronnie and get back into my pickup. The sun was startin’ to get low in the sky, night was creepin’ on in – and at this time of year, it was gonna creep on in quick. I do some of my best thinkin’ at this time of the day. Everything stops, like the day is holdin’ its breath, waitin’ to see what night’s gonna do to it.
I know that feeling.
If Mr. D was headin’ towards Bald Junction, then he was going to find himself up against the Good Ol’ Girls brigade there. There’s more than a few blue-haired ladies that’ll give my boy a run for his money – even as much as he’d love to give them a run for theirs, you know what I mean? Like I said, that boy sure do look nice, but he plays nasty.
So, I’m watchin’ the sun sink lower an’ lower – makin’ the sky as pink as a girl’s first blush – and it dawns on me. It’s a big ol’ thought, all bright and happy even though it meant pokin’ a stick into a vipers nest.
There’s a spit of a town, just beyond Bald Junction, called Leeds – named after some fancy English that lived there back in the days of the War Between the States. There’s been some rumors of some pretty heavy fellas movin’ in there. Heavy fellas that even the Cartels won’t touch.
Let Mr. D play. I got a few people who’d be more than happy to keep an eye on him. Let him think he got away – that he outsmarted ol’ A – for just a bit more. It would be kinda fun to see what trouble that rustles up. Might be kinda interestin’ to see if that Someone Else really is watchin’ our every move like I think he is.
I gunned the engine on that ol’ pickup and grinned wide enough to split my face ear to ear. Oh yeah, those are gonna be some vipers.
* * *
D: How long are you going to let this go on?
A: As long as it takes.
D: But that’s just it – do you even have an end point, or are we just puppets, tied to the random and whimsical movements of your hands?
A: What’s wrong with whimsical?
D: Druids don’t do whimsical.
A: Don’t you? Haven’t you spent enough time in my head to at least tolerate whimsical?
D: Being in your head has used up my tolerance for whimsy, A.
A: Well then you will be happy to know that I have every intention of writing an outline to see where this story is going.
D: Every intention . . . this does not sound promising.
A: Oi, I started one! What else do you want?!
D: How about a plot arc?
A: It has that . . . somewhere. . . I think.
D: . . .
A: Oh come on, D. You’re enjoying it. Admit it.
A: Ha! Knew it!
A: No, don’t say anything more, D. It’s a beautiful moment. Let’s not ruin it with you speaking.
A: Cheers, D.
D: Wednesdays are Druid’s Day, A . . . what are you doing?
A: Ignore the woman behind the ‘publish post’ button.
D: Nice try, oh puny and not-so-powerful woman.
A: Fine. I’m trying to expand into that lyrical prose thing. Since it’s just for you, I figured it would be appropriate.
D: Well, since it’s for me. . . wait, are you saying I should be at the end of a barrel?
A: If the poem fits, D. If the poem fits.
* * *
Tell me the truth,
Said at the head of a cold barrel.
Undo the latch –
Who knows what whispers spill.
He flicked black hair from his eyes and straightened his bowtie. He could feel the heat rising from his collar and hoped he wasn’t blushing. Blushing would not be dignified. And he wanted dignity, perhaps even a little presence, when interviewing Marie Ann Bailey, writer and blogger extraordinaire at 1WriteWay.
D: Nothing about that is dignified, A.
A: Well, I’m not the one who wanted to present Marie with a bouquet of flowers.
D: Impossible woman. Is there something wrong with trying to impress a lady? She was gracious enough to allow me to interview her, again. Sheesh. Some people.
Without further ado (or interruptions from A), please welcome Marie Ann Bailey.
D: Give those who may not know about your series, The Widows Club, a quick snapshot:
M: The series is about three cousins who grew up together, went slightly separate ways when they married, and then regrouped when all three become widows. And all three cousins are in dire financial straits with few marketable skills, so they get the idea to set up their own private investigation business. The business leads them into interesting but dangerous adventures such as kidnapping and murder.
D: By the way, how is Brittany? She and I met briefly, if I recall. I hope the poor girl makes it.
M: Well, I would be giving it away if I told you, D. Let’s just say, at this point in the draft, she survives, but barely 🙂
D: Oh, I forgot about A’s favorite word: Spoilers. Of course – and thank you for the update. I shall continue to hope for her.
D: How did you meet the lovely Mary, Melissa and Maggie? Have you known them all your life, or did they knock down your door, demanding to be written?
They gave me insomnia, to be honest. The thing is, I do have a lot of cousins and many of us are close in age so we spent a lot of time together when we were growing up. I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the difference between the relationships one has with their families and their friends. One of my cousins often said, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives.” Lovely sentiment, don’t you think? Anyway, one night I couldn’t sleep because these three women kept popping into my head. I got up and wrote a page or two, and then the next I knew it was October 31 and I had decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. I took those two pages and ran with it … whatever “it” is.
D: I think “it” sounds fantastic so far. I’m looking forward to A reading it someday soon!
D: I have it on good authority that you are indeed the Great Cat Rescuer: how many and do they all get along? Any cuddly stories for the cat fanciers out there (you know who you are)?
M: Do you like cats, D? I imagine you as more of a timber wolf kind of guy 🙂
D: Ah, timber wolves, wolfhounds and mastiffs . . . those are my kind of animals, but cats do have their uses, I suppose.
M: Right now we have four cats, which is the most we’ve ever had indoors. Two of the cats, though, Maxine and Junior are indoor/outdoor because they do stay close to the house and it helps the dynamics if they are not indoors 24/7. Maxine is a b**ch because she wants to be the “only kitty” and doesn’t really like to share. She’s not above tormenting the old lady (Luisa). She tries to give Junior a wide berth because he enjoys beating up on her.
The good news is our most recent “rescue”, Wendy, is generally getting along with everyone now. We think Wendy has a crush on Junior, the only male of the bunch. He’s quite rambunctious and likes to play and run around. The last few nights they’ve taken to running up and down our hallway for several minutes. You know, right when we’re ready to go to sleep. That’s when they like to play. As soon as lights are out. It makes me feel very old, like Wendy is our late-in-life child.
D: I can relate – A makes me feel like that sometimes. Speaking of which, do you have a least favorite character within your series – or any other novel-in-progress?
M: I’m struggling with Melissa, one of the cousins. I’ve become very fond of Maggie and Mary, but Melissa is turning out to be a challenge. All three women have their flaws of course. Maggie is a bit too reticent and trusting. Mary is headstrong and acts before she thinks. But Melissa has some issues with her cousins that frustrate me. She has some deep-seated issues stemming from childhood that are only now starting to surface and create rifts between her and her cousins. The upside is that their conflicts drive some of the plots in the series; the downside is I have to keep my eye on Melissa, try to make sure she doesn’t go off the deep end and ruin everything (as in, I will no longer have a story to tell).
D: Following on that, do you have any methods you use to keep troublesome characters in line?
M: Well, to be honest, D, I was thinking of asking A how she keeps you in line. Wait, not that I mean you are troublesome! Please don’t scowl at me, D. It makes you look your age. No, let’s just say you are very independent.
Anyway, it’s still a mystery to me how to control a character who starts developing issues, like Melissa. I don’t want her to ruin the relationship with her cousins because then their story would end. But she needs to work through what is bugging her. I’m hoping we resolve things in the third novel. It’s almost like I have to be her counselor and try to nudge her toward making better decisions. Easier said than done, though.
A: It is rather like being a counselor . . . and ‘independent’ is a good – much nicer than I would use – word for D. Of course, I do let him get away with anything, within reason. Later, I kill the darlings when he’s not looking.
D: A! How could you?
D: Well, I never . . . Marie, If you were to find yourself alone in the world as your characters in The Widow’s Club are, how would you face that challenge?
M: Oh, dear, if you mean, if I found myself as a widow? I hate to admit that it’s crossed my mind and perhaps to some extent, that’s why all three women are widows. My husband is several years older than me and statistically . . . (D, I know you think you’re an exception, but you do just exist in A’s mind) . . . Anyway, some of my female friends and I have discussed the possibility of moving in together if we should become widowed. Although I doubt that any of us would want to start a private investigation business. Actually, Maggie and Melissa don’t like the PI business. Just Mary does. She’s nosy.
D: Nothing wrong with nosy – I would have very little to do if A weren’t a bit of a nosy madam herself. Speaking of nosey, A’s friend once knit her a nose warmer. Are all knitters mad or is it just A? What has been your favorite piece to knit?
M: What? Knitters aren’t mad. Hatters are mad. I imagine that where A lives, a nose warmer would be a nice thing to have. For a while, I was knitting a lot of socks. I learned how to knit two at a time, toe-up, and made a few. I made my husband a pair of wool knee socks that have Aran cables on the sides. Those were fun. I want to knit more socks, but right now I’m knitting a shawl. Shawls are my next favorite things to knit. I pretty much like to knit anything I don’t have to sew together.
D: You are a huge advocate for NaNoWriMo – any plans for November? Do you have any future stories you’d like to share?
M: I love NaNoWriMo! Thanks to last November’s challenge, and the camps in April and July, I now have three (poorly written) first drafts for my series. I will be participating again this November. I’m not sure what I will do, but I’d like to write another horror novel. My very first NaNoWriMo was in 2007 and that was a horror novel, and my very first novel actually. The first two chapters of it received the Featured Post badge from the Community Storyboard. I hadn’t looked at the novel in so long; now I’m thinking of editing it to see if I can make something more of it. But in November, I’ll have to come up with something else. Unfortunately, I’m a pantser so I probably won’t know what I’m doing until I start doing it 😉
D: You are a versatile writer – as your blog, and your work on the Community Storyboard proves – do you find that helpful overall when writing a series, or can it be a distraction?
M: Why thank you for saying I’m versatile, D. I’ve never really thought about it before. Aside from the wonderful community of bloggers and the Community Storyboard, all this writing is helpful because it gets me to write. The more I write, the quicker ideas come to me, the faster I write, the more productive I am. Before my blog, I could go for long periods without writing. And actually I was fairly convinced that I didn’t have it in me to be a writer. Blogging has changed all that.
The only distraction now is just trying to keep up with everyone else who blogs. I could spend days and days just reading other blogs. There is so much good stuff out here! And that’s why it’s really great that you are doing these interviews, D. You need to get out A’s head now and then (and give her a break).
D: A break?! The woman takes enough breaks. She needs to work harder! Do more!
A: D? Come back, D. Your dictatorial tendencies are showing.
D: Oh dear, I don’t know where that came from. Anyway, continuing on your versatility, is there any genre that you would love to explore more? Why?
M: I would like to explore writing a memoir. I have a very poor memory of my childhood, which may be a blessing, but I still want to write what I remember of it and of the people in my life. I think writing a memoir could be cathartic in a way that writing fiction is not, even though a memoir may border on fiction. It would be a way for me to preserve the memory of people I’ve known, people who should not be forgotten.
D: Say, how is Mary doing? Do you think she’s really ready for commitment with that ‘old friend?’ Don’t you think she could spice up her life with a little Druid love? Please?
M: Hmmm … Druid Love. Sounds like a good name for a rock band. Tell you what, D. Mary is … well, has become intimate with her old friend, but that doesn’t mean you two can’t have a date together. I know she would find you very interesting … and her late husband was quite a bit older than her so, you know, she likes older guys. Have a talk with A. Maybe she’ll let you out for an evening. And thanks for the interview. You were quite (surprisingly) the gentleman.
D: And you madam, are ever the treat to have on this space. Thank you for gracing it again and chatting with me.
A: Yes, thank you Marie for giving D another chance! It was such a pleasure to have you here! And PS: I love that you knit Aran cables on socks – they sound really cute! Now everyone, go check out 1WriteWay, Marie’s blog! You won’t be sorry!
A: This is Majestic.
D: And the muddled?
A: Me, every day?
D: And you decided that it was worthy of a blog post.
A: Well, I could regale the good people with the details of my horrifically cold rummage sale over the weekend.
D: Please don’t.
A: Exactly my point. Lacking anything better, I thought I’d share some very funny DeviantArt cartoons I found, courtesy the OneRing.Net.
D: I’m sensing a theme with you.
A: Whatever do you mean?
D: You know what I mean. You have this sheepish grin on your face and you keep giggling. How old are you, woman?
A: Apparently not old enough for you, which in my book, is an okay thing.
D: In your book? What book? Have you written a book?
A: Bite me.
D: Ah, the eloquence.
A: (Eye roll) Look, I am continually charmed and wowed by The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, never mind the white-fleshed orc, unexpected hugging and made-up elven lasses. So is the creator of The Oakentoons. Did I mention that they’re funny? Because they are. Ridiculously so. Go. Read now.
D: Wow, is she bossy today or what? Been eating your Wheaties, A?
A: Um, gluten intolerant, so no. Do eggs, sausage and a protein shake count towards bossiness?
D: Probably better than Wheaties . . . anyway, in case you didn’t decide to run off and look at all 66 Oakentoons, you might want to stop by the Community Storyboard for the Prompt of the Week, Autumn.
A: I love autumn and all (no, really I do – love love love, and I can’t wait to write for the prompt), but I think you should run off and look at all 66 Oakentoons. Autumn can wait. Then again, you may be waiting for something more witty, in which case, wander on down to Andra’s series on taking the plunge and embracing change. It’s well worth the read.
D: Also well worth a read: book blogger extraordinaire, Ionia Martin – she who showcases all others – has been showcased herself, by author Bianca Sloane.
So my fine friends, even if you didn’t read all 66 Oakentoons (but really, you should), what give you a real giggle and smile – not necessarily a belly laugh, but a charmed, can’t-help-but-grin giggle?
A: Check out this week’s prompt at the Community Storyboard: Autumn!
D: Well, that should make you happy, Miss I-Want-it-to-be-October.
A: Yes, it does make me happy. Very very happy. You could take a lesson from Autumn, D.
D: How’s that.
A: It never manages to overstay its welcome!
D: Ooh, ouch! Touche, A. Touche.
Squirrels, This Time It’s Personal is complete! Many thanks to Green Embers for completing the multi-part Community Storyboard chain-story extravaganza! And, even better, it’s now an ebook!! Wonderful job everyone!
My Name is D, Part 3: Jackpot
From Part 1: I opened my door. Regretfully, I was not paying attention to my nearest blind spot, so worried was I about watching the road behind me. A – she was dangerous and she was pissed.
I smashed the unknown woman in the leg. I heard the crack. I heard her scream and my heart sank. Oh no, not again. . .
I turned, expecting the worst.
What I got was a slap to the face and the bellicose roar of a husky grandmother.
Well, I guessed she was a grandmother. She was as hunched, wrinkled and grey as one, but I’m not entirely certain that any man had been able to get past the mustache and deep voice to make an honest woman of her – or a woman at all, for that matter.
I rubbed my cheek where her gloved hand had left its mark and attempted to offer my apologies. I can be suave when I want to be, but Grandma was having none of it.
“Don’t try to sweet-talk me, you worthless, good-for-nothing drifter. Yes, drifter. I know your kind – look what you did to my cane! How do you expect me to walk to church – to the market – to my bridge club – with my cane looking like this!
She held the mangled thing up for me to see. I winced. Old Johnson’s car was a trash heap but it was a solidly-built trash heap. I think that cane – looking as calcified as its owner – would have dented the door to any modern car. Unfortunately, the boat of a Buick had trashed it.
As she shook it in my face, a bit of metal clattered to the pavement. I bent to pick it up and spied a glittering within the splintered once-handsome cane. In fact, quite a bit about Grandma glittered.
There was gold in them there hills, as A would say.
I held the cane’s brass tip and quickly re-evaluated the woman before me. She’d stopped yelling at me. For the moment, she was content with merely giving me a glare fierce enough to scare most puppies and small children.
I am not a puppy, nor am I small.
The mustache wasn’t so bad – all woman of a certain age get them, I hear. And she wasn’t so much wrinkled as slightly rumpled, like a loved-in bed. And have I mentioned that grey is one of my favorite colors? No? Well, it is.
Yes, yes I think I could make this work.
I gave Grandma a smile.
“Please accept my deepest apologies my good woman. This is not my car, merely a loan. I was stranded on the road and a good man, named Ronald Johnson, gave me . . . .this so that I could make my way to the nearest mote of civilization to file a complaint against the brigands who accosted me.”
Grandma stared at me. There was a slight flush to that ancient cheek. I clasped her hand in mine, and placed the cane’s tip at the heart of her gloved palm.
“My name is Declan McAlister,” I said, staring into the eyes that were neither clouded nor bemused. “And you must allow me to assist you.”
A: D, you . . . you . . . how could you?
D: How could I what? He broke the dear woman’s cane. He needed to make reparations. He was simply being honorable.
A: Honorable, my Aunt Fanny. D took one look at that old woman’s fancy cane and saw the words “sugar momma” all over her.
D: D is driving a hunk of junk that rattles and belches unmentionable smells. He needs help.
A: Oh boy, does he ever! Oh, and D. . . I notice he’s using a fake name.
D: Your point?
A: Guess you liked Declan after all, hm?
D: It worked in a pinch. Don’t get your hopes up.
A: (Eye roll) Indeed.
A: Wednesday is Druid’s day, but it’s also Pamela’s Birthday. D and I wanted to do this especially for you, Pamela! Take it away, D!
D: Can you find one thing to be grateful for, every single day? Would you make it a point to say that one thing (or two things, or ten, or twenty) and say it loud and clear for the world – at least the blogosphere – to see?
A: Pamela is a bright spot in my day, and the day of many other bloggers. She reminds me to approach my world mindfully, looking for things to be happy about. I can think of no greater gift.
D: She supports authors like A, and all sorts of blogging characters. She cheers us with her stories—
A: That grandson with his smile.
D: Her daughter with her artistic flair.
A: She’s a poet in her own right,
D: And A, please stop, before we start to fight.
A: Over my really bad rhyme, am I right?
D: (Groan) Move on, woman.
A: (Tee hee) Well Pam, on this D and I can actually agree: You are spot on – you’re the ‘nth degree! Happy Birthday!