Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing

It’s “Writing Prompt” Thursday. I really hope more of you will begin to participate in this activity. It’s wonderful practice for those of you who write as well as an opportunity to share your writing with others.

Remember, no disrespectful or degrading comments will be posted here about anyone’s writing, as all comments must be approved by me before they post. This site is for encouraging and helping writers. It is a place to lift each other up.

The prompt for this month is:

Suzy ran from the house, letting the screen door bang behind her. She ran to her favorite hiding place.

This can be used anywhere in your story. It doesn’t have to be the first sentence.

Remember, if your story is 500 words or less, please post it in the comments section below. If your story is over 500 words, please email it to me at cre8tiveme07@gmail.com and I will create a special post for it here on a Saturday, or you can post it on your own blog or website and post a link to it in the comments section below.

Also, remember, you have until the first Thursday of October to write and submit something for this prompt — plenty of time to get those creative juices flowing!

Timeless Tuesday — History Related to my Novel

The photo above is of Samuel Clemens, better known as “Mark Twain” a famous author. During the time of the Pony Express, Samuel Clemens took a stage coach across the west to Virginia City. Along the way, as he looked out the stage coach window, he saw a Pony Express rider. He wasn’t a published author at the time, but it wouldn’t be long.

In what became Mark Twain’s second book, Roughing It, he wrote of his adventures and described what the West looked like in 1860 and 1861. In so doing, he unintentionally wrote much of what we know about the stations of the Pony Express during that time.

Mark Twain said of a Pony Express rider, “The pony rider was usually a little bit of a man, brimful of spirit and endurance.”

He wrote an entire chapter about the Pony Express in Roughing It.

The Ravenstone: The Secret of Ninham Mountain by Diane Solomon & Mark Carey

The Ravenstone is the first of a two-book set of fantasy stories by Diane Solomon and Mark Carey.

About the Book

Aidan and Nadia, thirteen year old twins, find a mysterious mirror while they are supposed to be cleaning out the attic. When the image of an old shaman appears and attempts to communicate with them, they are stunned. Then they find the Ravenstone, and this is the beginning of their adventure to a time and land of Celtic princes and a shapeshifting raven.

My Review

This is a delightful story about twins living in a wonderful home with loving parents. They have a quirky grandmother living nearby as well, and their family history is fascinating and holds a bit of mystery of its own.

Diane Solomon and Mark Carey did an excellent job of creating characters that pull the reader into the story right from the start. Their personal lives and their travel adventures keep the reader turning page after page. The story is very well written and well edited as there are no errors to cause a reader to stumble out of the story even for a moment.

As Nadia and Aidan travel back and forth in time, the reader is often kept on the edge of their seat wondering things like: will they get back to their own home and time; will they be captured; will they find what they are looking for.

The story is clean and acceptable for middle grade and up, and would even make a great family read aloud. It would also be a great gift for your avid reader.

If you like stories with mystery, adventure, and time travel, you’ll enjoy The Ravenstone.

I give this book 5 stars.

As a book reviewer, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Timeless Tuesday–History Related to my Novel

The Pony Express never made a profit, and it had a short life — only 19 months.

As you will read in my novel, the Pony Express began on April 3, 1860.

Some of the highlights of the life of the Pony Express:

The Pony Express delivered President Abraham Lincoln’s March 4th inaugural address to California in the fastest time ever — just 7 days and 17 hours. The message it brought was news that helped the state stay loyal.

In April 1861, The Pony Express delivered the word that the Civil War had begun. The Pony Express brought news of battles and lists of the dead and wounded to anxious westerners until the Pony Express’s last run in November 1861.

Due to the completion of the transcontinental telegraph, the Pony Express officially shut down on October 26, 1861, but it made it’s last run on November 20, 1861.During its time of operation, the Pony Express completed 300 runs each way over 600,000 miles and carried more than 33,000 pieces of mail.

The Pony Express lives on today–in books and movies, and in the hearts of people who love its history.

The National Pony Express Association rides a 1,943-mile route that is as close as possible to the original trail. It is a 10-day, round-the-clock non-stop event and more than 500 riders participate. But today’s Pony Express riders use short-wave radios and cell phones to spread the news of their journey.

Macario’s Scepter by M. J. McGriff

Macario's Scepter: The Magian Series Book One by [MJ McGriff]

Macario’s Scepter by M. J. McGriff is a fantasy novel for young adults and adults. It is the first book in “The Magian Series”.

About the Book

Samara feels stuck in a bar on an island she longs to escape, but she ran to this grubby tavern to escape a broken heart. Now she just wants to get back on a ship and sail away.

The night she plans to leave this tavern for good, the crooked boss steals her money pouch and tosses her out with a message to never come back. Then the man she fell in love with and who broke her heart shows up and offers her a chance at a secret treasure and a chance at revenge — an offer she can’t refuse.

Both Samara and her twin, Seraphina, a nun, end up on the Pirate Baz Blackwater’s ship facing a heap of trouble that includes a determined fire breathing sea serpent, but Samara is the Chosen One — chosen by Macario to wield his magic scepter and save her world.

My Review

In the beginning chapters of the book, the plot seemed rushed and the characters weren’t developed enough for me to determine if I liked them or cared about what happened to them. However, the adventure and action kept me turning pages.

About halfway through the book, the character development became better rounded and I liked the main characters and wanted to see them achieve their goals. The adventure and action continued and the pace of the plot slowed but not so much as to bore me or stop me from turning pages. On the contrary, I enjoyed the action, adventure, struggles, and relationships between the characters.

There was one thing that I found to be a distraction throughout the book — quite frequently a sentence either included an extra word or was missing a word. There were grammatical errors as well, and one scene had quite a mix-up in characters’ points of view.

Other than that, I really did enjoy the story. It was high energy with lots of action, danger, and fighting. After all, it is a fantasy story with pirates. Also, it was clear at the end, that another book will follow, but the end of this book leaves the reader satisfied, instead of ending with a cliff hanger. This greatly pleased me.

I would not suggest this book for children under fourteen or fifteen years of age due to the use of quite a bit of profanity, and one of the fighting scenes, in particular, was a bit graphic.

I give this book 4 stars.

As a book reviewer, I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review.

Flash Fiction Friday: Mysteries, Love, and Tea

Mysteries, Love, and Tea

by Kelly F. Barr

Brad hated his train commute to back and forth to the office everyday. The train was often crowded and nearly everyday, whoever sat next to him would reek of cigarette smoke, turning his stomach and engaging his gag reflex. He’d be forced to stand, his laptop bag over his shoulder and briefcase in his hand, or find another place to sit. If he stood, he’d arrive to an empty home with an aching shoulder and arm.

Today had been no different, and it had been a standing day. He turned the key in the lock and let himself into his empty house—no one to greet him and no sound except for the hum of the refrigerator. His mom and dad suggested he get a pet, but he wasn’t a cat person and didn’t want to have to walk a dog before and after work everyday.

What he wanted was a woman in his life, but all the women he’d met so far, since moving to Boston, were either shallow or more interested in his money than him, or weren’t interested in a long-term relationship. He sighed, moved to the kitchen and paged through the menus he had in a basket on the counter, pulling out the ones for restaurants he knew delivered. It was Friday and he was beat—didn’t feel like cooking or going out.

After ordering a pizza, bag of chips, and a two-liter bottle of root beer, he trudged to the bedroom to get out of his suit and tie. Exiting the bedroom in a comfortable pair of lounge pants and a sleeveless t-shirt, he slouched in his favorite chair, grabbed the t.v. remote, hit the power button and started flipping channels. He had just settled on a college basketball game, when the doorbell rang.

After paying the delivery guy, he put two pieces of Italian sausage pizza, oozing with cheese, on a plate, along with a handful of chips. He put ice in a glass and poured root beer over it. Then he returned to his favorite chair.

The basketball game ended at ten. Brad cleaned up his dinner items, ate a slice of the now cold pizza, put the rest in the fridge, along with the bottle of root beer, and went to bed.

Monday morning Brad stood on the platform in a crowd of people, once again waiting for the train. When the train pulled up, screeched to a halt, and the doors opened, people pushed to get through the doors. Brad didn’t even attempt to grab a seat, but instead stood and held onto the handrail.

As the train began to move, he saw a woman with waves of chocolate brown hair falling to her shoulders, slender legs beneath a tan skirt, and a book in front of her face. She seemed completely oblivious to everyone around her as she frequently turned the pages. Her eyes never left the book until the conductor’s voice came over the speaker, announcing they were entering Downtown Crossing.

That was Brad’s stop, but it appeared this woman planned to get off there as well. As she closed her book, he noticed she was wearing turquoise framed glasses over eyes the same chocolate color as her hair. She wore pink lipstick on bow-shaped lips. When the train stopped, she stood, picked up the briefcase at her feet, and when the door to the train car opened, she brushed past Brad sending the scent of sweet pea and violets to his nose. He moved to follow her.

He weaved in and out of other commuters to keep the woman in view. It helped that she was wearing a bright pink blouse. Though it was no easy feat, he managed to follow her to the street. She turned the same direction he did on the sidewalk. He could follow her much more easily now that the crowd thinned out a bit. As they drew closer to the office building where Brad worked, he wondered if she could be heading to the same building. However, she entered a skyscraper three buildings before his.

For weeks, the woman with chocolate hair and eyes rode in the same train car as he did, always reading a book during the ride. Brad wondered how to interrupt her reading and introduce himself, but his mind kept coming up empty.

Then one day, the train lurched to an unexpected stop and her book toppled to the floor. Brad bent and retrieved it, their eyes met as he handed it back to her, and he said, “Hello.”

She gave him a small smile, took the book, and said, “Thank you.”

Her voice was velvety soft that felt like a caress upon his skin. “My name’s Brad.”

“I’m Laney.”

“What are you reading?”

“I enjoy mysteries, especially cozy mysteries. This is an Aurora Teagarden mystery called ‘A Fool and His Honey’ by Charlaine Harris.”

Brad grinned. “Catchy title. Do you enjoy tea and gardens as well?” He quirked an eyebrow.

Laney gave a little chuckle that sounded like water bubbling over rocks in a stream. “Actually, I do.”

“Maybe I could take you to tea some time?”

“Downtown Crossing,” the conductor’s voice came over the speaker.

Laney rose, met Brad’s gaze, and said, “That sounds lovely. How about this Saturday?”

Brad’s lower jaw went slack, but he regained control quickly. “Saturday would be perfect. Say two o’clock?”

Laney nodded. “It’s a date.” She reached into a pocked on the front of her briefcase, pulled out a business card and handed it to him. “Call me on your lunch break and I can give you my home phone number and address.”

Brad nodded, took the card, exited the train, and walked to his office with a new spring in his step.

Saturday afternoon, Brad took Laney to a Japanese tea house and garden. They enjoyed sitting in the garden sipping Japanese tea and getting to know one another. As they were leaving, Brad took Laney’s hand in his.

Thursday’s Thoughts, Questions, and Comments About Writing

Just wanted to take a couple minutes today to offer a reminder and ask a couple questions.

Reminder: There is just one week left to share your short story based on the writing prompt that I shared here two weeks ago. One writer shared her short story in the comments section of the post. If you haven’t read it, check it out. It might inspire you to write something. Also, you can post your own in the comments section if it is 500 words or less. If it’s longer than 500 words, you can email it to me and I will post it in a “Special Saturday” post, or, if you have a blog, post it to your blog and put a link to it in the comments section of my post for the writing prompt so that people who read here will still be able to read and like it for you.

Question: I have an idea to help those of you who are interested in being part of an online writing group. I would like to know how many of you there are, so please, if you are seriously interested in an online writing group, let me know in the comments section below: 1) that you are interested, and 2) what exactly are you looking for in a writer’s group?

Question: What do you struggle with most in your writing?