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Shh! I snuck out to Trader Joe’s yesterday!

March 20, 2020 by in category A Bit of Magic by Meriam Wilhelm tagged as

I say “snuck out” because I promised all three of my children that I would stay home all day and write. I agreed with them that since I’m 65, I should stay home, sheltered in place, because that’s what we are all being asked to do where I live. This Corona Virus thing has me good and scared and I completely understand that to stay healthy, it’s best to avoid contact with others.

It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do. I’m in the middle of writing the next chapter in my book, making a quilt and I have a new found desire to bake. But that’s where my troubles began–I needed eggs and butter. That is, I needed eggs and butter if I was going to stay home for the next two weeks, feed my husband breakfast and still bake.

I figured that if I ventured out early enough, I might not run into as many people. So I did and I was right. My beach city was quiet, devoid of crowds, bikes and surfboards. I got dressed and was in line by 9:10. The store had opened at 9:00 and there were already about fifteen people in line ahead of me. Kudos to the pleasant Trader Joe’s staff who kept the store well stocked and the line moving. And kudos to the folks in line who, thankfully, approached the whole event with smiles on their faces. We all made a point of not standing too close together and I’m grateful that I heard neither a cough nor a sneeze.

In thirty minutes I was in and out of the store with lots of good stuff, including eggs and butter. I also left with another unexpected bonus. I met a new character for my book. She is a combination of the three wonderful women who I stood in line with. Total strangers, they shared their good humor as they threw out questions to the crowd like, “How many of you are over sixty and snuck out today?” and comments like, “I won’t tell your kids if you don’t tell mine!” All three were colorful women with infectious smiles who I soon found out were actually as scared as I was to be out and about when we should have been at home. I took all three home with me in my heart and joyfully morphed them into my new character.

These are challenging times for our world and I do not take lightly the recommendations coming out from the CDC and our local health officials. And I must admit that it will be a while before I need or want to venture out to the market or Trader Joe’s again. But, I am grateful to the staff who continue to work so hard to keep our markets full. I also want to extend a personal hurrah to the medical community who are working so tirelessly to get us all through this crisis. I have a first hand view of it as I watch my daughter, who is a nurse, march off to work to keep her cancer patients safe.

Good health and best wishes for an end to this soon!

Meriam

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Curly Tuwitt and the Rhode Island Red

March 19, 2020 by in category On writing . . . by Jenny Jensen tagged as ,

Yesterday Rebecca Forster posted a challenge on FB. Write about whatever pops into your head right now. I’d just listened to the 1st WH news conference and feeling an odd mixture of ignorant, apprehensive and sardonic this is what came tumbling out:

Only one Rhode Island Red crowed like that. And it hadn’t come from Scoundrel’s pen. Curly Tuwitt ground his teeth—all seven of them. He hated that wart faced, belly slitherin’, wrinkled old hag on a good day but this—this was the last straw from a lifetime of her crap.

Already het up over the never ending updates and dire warnings about that Chiineeze virus pouring from the TV, pissed that he’d failed to stock up on anything and was out of everything. (There was that one lone can of beans, and he hated to think what that could lead to.) A second, clearly distant call from Scoundrel chased out any thoughts of supplies and focused his blazing anger.

The first time he’d seen her was skippin’ across his grannie’s strawberry patch, just a pickin’ and a nibblin’ her way through those fat ripe berries like she done own it all; like she’s the one who’d been out in the last frost, barefoot and freezin’, just to get the young plants covered and then come early summer who you think did the weedin’ and the waterin’?

He wasn’t but six and that girl looked tall. Despite that he knew she weren’t much older than him. With that fiery red hair and those rusty freckles like she was in the way come sloppin’ time he knew this was Marjo Geordy. Pa said that whole clan was troublesome.

“Hey, you there! Put them berries down now or I’m a gonna whoop your skinny butt fer stealin.” Curly’d made his voice as deep and growly as he could and he’d stood his ground, frowning, like a man ready to make good on his word.

Marjo looked up, slowly placing a purloined berry into the basket on her arm. Her mouth, red with the smear of ripe strawberries, looked to be dripping in blood. A slow, malicious smile bared reddened teeth. “Where you want me to put ‘em, big scary man?”

Marjo didn’t sound scared and for a moment Curly was flummoxed. “Down. Put ‘em down. Right there.” Curly pointed vaguely to the edge of the patch. He hoped he sounded as stern as Pa when he caught Curly in the sugar bowl.

Marjo looked to where he’d pointed. Her smile got even wider and she turned back to him. “Okay. But you better be ready to grab this basket quick. I don’t give up easy.” Her long legs took three steps to the edge of the patch and reaching out one long skinny arm she placed the basket high on the top of a bush. Three reverse steps took her back in the patch. She didn’t have to say a word; her whole body screamed challenge.

Curly looked to the basket and knew he’d have to jump to reach it. I’m fast; I can do it. Running like lightening he’d leapt into the bush, grabbed the basket and got a snoot full of unmistakable scent—poison sumac. A cackle of mirth faded into the distance. That was just the first time.

Curly understood life takes us on unexpected paths. From his family’s farm down the road of economic highs and lows he’d come near his end in this dusty settlement of trailers, not more’n 60 feet from his nemesis. There was some satisfaction in seeing Marjo brought to the same pass but she had taken Scoundrel and that was the final poke she was gonna take at him.

Heaving himself out of the recliner he slammed out the door, grabbed his pitchfork and stormed across the open 60 feet. “Marjo Jean Geordy you give me back my rooster or I’m gonna use this pitch fork to take him.”

“Possession is nine tenths of the law. Got papers to prove that last one tenth?”

“You stole Scoundrel and you know it, you skinny old cow.”

“Naw. No stealin’. I just took him to try him out. I like him. That rooster is as purdy as everyone says. I‘ll trade ya for him.”

It was always like this. Marjo Geordy bein’ all reasonable like and Curly Tuwitt gettin’ flustered and maybe a little confused. “You can’t trade for somethin’ ya stole.” Curly glared at Marjo who leaned calmly against her little storage shed.

“Mebbe not in regular days but things’re a bit different right now. Might be there’s somehin’ you want more’n that rooster.”

Curly lowered his pitchfork, eyes wary as he saw the familiar smile creep over her lips. “What could I possibly want more’n the best Rhode Island Red in the tri-counties?”

Still graceful and wiry after all these years Marjo turned and pulled the shed door open, bowing like she was presenting the Queen of Sheba. Curly stared into the shadows at rows and rows and stacks and stacks of toilet paper.

It had always been like this and it looked like it always would.

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Racial Bias in Fiction by Kidd Wadsworth

March 18, 2020 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth

When I sent my first novel to a beta reader, she flagged several passages, including the one below, as “racist.” The brickwork discussed in this passage still stands at Fort Gaines—built in 1821—on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama. My intent had been to convey my respect and admiration for the craftsmanship of the slaves who laid the bricks. After receiving my beta reader’s comments, I rewrote the passage to both remove the bias and to focus the narrative on one of the main themes of the book which is: truly seeing the many choices in front of us and choosing the right path. Lloyd is African-American and Anthony (the speaker) white. Both are twelve years old.

The Original Passage:

We inspected the fort’s buildings, the bakery, the latrines, and the armory. “Hey, these were built by slaves,” Lloyd said, reading a plaque.
“Yup, look at that arch.” I (Anthony) pointed upward at the gorgeous brickwork. “Dad took me here when I was five. I remember him holding me up, showing me this brickwork saying, ‘Son, you’ve got to respect a man who does an excellent job, even when he’s a slave. He didn’t get paid, in fact he probably got whipped, but he did a good job anyway, obviously took pride in his work’.”

Rewritten to (hopefully) more accurately portray Lloyd and the African-American experience:

We inspected the fort’s buildings, the bakery, the latrines, and the armory. “Hey, these were built by slaves,” Lloyd said, reading a plaque.
“Look at that arch.” I (Anthony) pointed upward at the gorgeous brickwork. “Why do you suppose the slaves did such a good job? If I’d been a slave, I would have died rather than build my master a fort.” I drew my knife. “I’d have taken some of them with me, too.”
Footsteps came our way. Quick, I sheathed the knife and pulled my sweats down over it. Two little kids, one chasing the other, raced by.
Lloyd ran his hand over the curving side of the archway. “My daddy told me that slavery wasn’t homogeneous.”
“You mean like milk?”
“No, that’s homogenized.”
“Oh.”
“What he meant was that each person experiences slavery differently. One person might escape. Someone else might get depressed and never want to do anything.”
“Are we still talking about bricks?”
Lloyd gave me a mean look. “My daddy had a boss that always took credit for my daddy’s work.”
“Why didn’t he complain to the boss’s boss?”
“They were brothers.”
“He should have quit.”
“He couldn’t quit. He needed the money. So, he decided to keep doing the best job he could.”
“Why? That was just playing into his boss’s hand.”
Lloyd shook his head, “Don’t you see? It wasn’t about his boss. That’s what my daddy figured out. He could choose who he worked for. So, he decided to work for God.”
“What?”
“Anthony, I don’t know why those slaves did a good job. But I guess I’m hoping that they did it for God.”
“Lloyd, these bricks were laid in 1821. All those slaves probably died slaves. They were never freed, they never even got paid, and their masters got all the credit.”
“Did they?”
I glanced over at him.
“The Old South is gone, Anthony. But hurricane after hurricane this fort has survived.”
I looked again at the beautiful brickwork.
Lloyd whispered, “Maybe God did see.”

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. I’d like to get this right.

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March Releases

March 17, 2020 by in category Writing

Two new releases for March

First up is Jina Bacarr’s The Runaway Girl

Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…

A sweeping, emotional historical romance set aboard the Titanic, perfect for fans of Gill Paul and Suzanne Goldring.

This is a revised and fully updated edition of a novel previously published as Titanic Rhapsody.

THE RUNAWAY GIRL
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Kobo

Next we have a dark fantasy compelling dark fantasy novella by International Bestselling Author, Jaclyn Roche.

A reincarnated goddess…
An unrisen long-dead god…
Only she can bring him back to life.

DARK LEGENDS: CURSE BREAKER
Buy from Amazon

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Meriam Wilhelm Featured Author of the Month

March 14, 2020 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , ,
Meriam Wilhelm | A Slice of Orange

Meriam Wilhelm Featured Author of the Month

The one thing I know, after all my years as an elementary school principal, is that there is magic everywhere and in everyone. While I miss those enchanting moments with kids, I have always wanted to let my imagination run wild as I seek out my own magic and write about it.  When I retired, I started to write my first books, a series called The Witches of New Moon Beach and inspiration wasn’t hard to find.

I have lived in Redondo Beach all my life, and New Moon might have more than a passing resemblance to my hometown. Every day I walk on the path that runs along the beach, sometimes with my sisters, but most often with my thoughts as I plot my next book.

I am long married and mom to three great grown kids. When I’m not writing or walking on the beach, you’ll find me sewing, reading or traveling and taking pictures.

Website: www.meriamwilhelm.com


MIDNIGHT MADNESS

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MIDNIGHT MADNESS

MORNING MAGIC

Buy now!
MORNING MAGIC

MURDER BY MAGIC

Buy now!
MURDER BY MAGIC

NIGHT FLIGHT

Buy now!
NIGHT FLIGHT

SEA DREAMS

Buy now!
SEA DREAMS

SUNSET SPELLS

Buy now!
SUNSET SPELLS
THE WITCHES OF NEW MOON BEACH BOXED SET

THE WITCH OF BERGEN

Buy now!
THE WITCH OF BERGEN
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