The Return of the Seven

Ham with a side of Cranberry? Really?

I haven’t shared notes about our resident turkeys since The Chuckster and then to mention we hadn’t seen them in a bit. Prior to that, I wrote about Two Toms a’ Struttin’ and noted that, with that much testosterone hanging, turklets (we’ve been instructed they’re not “hatchlings” or some such. The proper translation from Toiga, the primary Turkey language, is “turklet”) were sure to be around.

We’d been hearing turkeys calling each other for a while. Hadn’t seen anyone, though. No turkey signs, either. You know, those signs they carry. Ban Thanksgiving!, Humans are Turkeys, Too!, Support the Turkey Lobby!, and Try Ham with a Side of Cranberry! So Good and So Good for You!.

Anyway, one day as I was working on Gable Smiled and had a sense I was being Turkied. Sure enough, lifting my eyes from my monitor, what do I behold?

There were more than seven, of course. I counted fourteen at one point (they came three times. Wanted to be sure I understood this was to be a turkey-less Thanksgiving this season).

And there were turklets. More like turkteens but still turklets.

Welcome.

Grafton’s Ghost-Child

Even unto the Seventh Generation

 
Grafton turned the knob on his daughter Cloe’s bedroom door so slowly, thankful for the patience that came so naturally to him. The doorknob would sometimes crick and he didn’t want to wake her, just peek in to watch her sleep, make sure she was snug under the covers. Sometimes Amanda would open the window in their daughter’s room to let the night air in and Cloe would curl up into a tight little ball, just her nose exposed and forming a little steam tent.

She was adorable.

His hand turned past the crick, he opened the door slowly. Sure enough, a few icy snowcrystals blew in as he entered and Cloe was beginning her curl into a ball. Like her father, she was patient. It would take about ten minutes before she was done, never waking once. Grafton had watched her do it.

As he entered, Cloe’s Merchant-Ghost looked up. It was sitting in a recliner beside the nightstand next to his daughter’s bed. It was reading a book – Grafton could see it in his hands. It had to be as ancient as the merchant ghost itself – it’s eyes emitting that odd red-yellow light to illuminate the pages. The Merchant-Ghost nodded, its tree-like body and bark-like skin folding as it moved, then went back to its reading.


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Chester and Sylvie

The kits are out and about

A few weeks back I wrote Vasch and Euste Join Us for Some Casual Dining. I have mentioned the possibility of fox kits in Vasch the Fox. We knew kits were out there (we’d heard them crying more than one night) and waited patiently until they made their presence known.

Sure enough, a few nights back that’s just what they did.

Welcome Chester and Sylvie, Vasch and Euste’s kits from earlier this year (we think).

We, of course, are thrilled that Chester and Sylvie have human-pronounceable names.

But they are fox.

They could be foolin’ us.

William Noble’s “‘Shut Up!’ He explained”

Make every word your characters speak count

I reviewed William Noble’s Make That Scene on both Goodreads and in a bit more detail on my blog. That book was a gem, so I picked up Noble’s Shut Up! He explained and settled in for some good learnings.

Truth is, I’ve read the book twice in two years and will easily read it twice if not thrice more in the next few years. It’s that good.

Truly amusing to me is how little I retained from my first read. Of all that’s in the book, I locked on the gem about having characters ask each other questions to keep dialogue interesting, engaging and moving. Probably because I was writing lots of dialogue for a work-in-progress, Ritchie and Phyl (A Celebration of Life). That wonderful piece of advice became my big hammer for several dialogues in several works-in-progress. It’s an incredible tool all by itself and worth the price of admission.

But that, as noted, was what stuck with me from my first read. My second read had me dog-earing pages starting at 5 and several pages in each chapter thereafter.

For authors working on realistic, believable character exchanges – the book covers more than dialogue but dialogue is the main focus – it’s a must.


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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 1 – First Meeting

The strongest relationships often start from the strangest meetings

Ritchie caught the blues bouncing off his visor and checked his rearview mirror. The police cruiser was right behind him, blues jockeying back and forth on the roof rack, headlight hi-beams winking right left right left. He lowered the volume on the radio. John Mellencamp went from a car quaking “This is a little ditty, about Jack and Diane, two kids growing up, in the Heartland…” to a quiet mumble.

He slowed and pulled onto the shoulder. The police car stayed right behind him. There was a road on the right that went between two fields. He put on his directional, his eyes bouncing back and forth from road to rearview, and took the turn, staying to the side and continuing to slow.

The cruiser stayed with him.

He stopped his Leaf, lowered his window then put his hands, open and fingers pointing up, on the top of the steering wheel.

The officer got out of the cruiser, adjusted her duty belt, looked at him and stopped, her hand hovering above her weapon. “What are you doing?”

“I’m making sure you can see my hands. You folks have a tough enough job these days without having to worry about what’s going to happen when you stop somebody. I figured I’d make sure you could see my hands so you’d know I wasn’t going to do something funny.”

She didn’t move, just kept her eyes on him and stayed in her ready position.

He smiled at her in his side mirror. “Everything okay, officer?”

His paperwork still in hand, she pulled it back and flipped it over, skimming the back where medical conditions are normally listed.

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