Annie’s Cottage

FeaturedAnnie’s Cottage

It isn’t every day that I drive past a house that literally leaps off the lot at me and demands that it be added to my current WIP (work in progress), but a few days ago, on my way home from a writing date with my dear friend and #PlotSister Jude, I simply had to drive back after I passed a little charcoal grey cottage on the west side of Far Hills Ave.

It’s an unassuming little cottage, with two front porches, a room with large windows separating them. My writer brain began to spin into action, “Annie would use the one room with an exterior door as her “office”…. perhaps she leaves that door unlocked, would her stalker boyfriend find her here in the woods?

Or, she turns on the electric kettle for her morning pour-over and walks across the sunlit wooden floors of the large front room to a comfy chair where she picks up the single wine glass on the table from the night before…

An excerpt:

“I have a good feeling about you, Annie Jacobs, I think you’re going to learn to love our small town of Danbree, Kentucky after all.” Sadie Campbell walked ahead of her up onto the porch of a small cabin.
Annie slowly nodded, so many thoughts swirled in her head, “I hope so, Mrs. Campbell, I really hope so,” She needed to make the new teaching job work; she needed this whole new life to work. She was leaving a trash heap scrap of a life back in Dayton, Ohio.
The older woman unlocked the door to the small house on Dowler Lane, the painted porch still smelled of fresh paint. A large window on the porch showed the simple furnishings inside, “Call me Sadie, dear, we aren’t so formal here in Danbree.”
Annie smiled and wiped her feet on the mat outside the front door, “this really is a charming place. I think we will all be quite at home here.” She set the cat carrier down near a chair in the front room, “I’ll let Abigail get a bit more used to the place before I let her out.”
Sadie walked her through the little house, talking about all the features, pointed to a sign with the Wi-Fi password, and said some other things that Annie did not make out; she was not here, not completely anyway, in body, yes, but her mind was really two hundred miles away in Dayton.

Back to the WIP, this book won’t write itself.

But in between the writing sessions, I will admit to indulging my imagination, fixing a cuppa something delish and sitting down to spill the tea with Annie about that old boyfriend…

Dear Don José…

Dear Don José,

You, Sir, are a liar and a cheat.

You are a disappointment among humanity, an epic failure as a man.

I feel the passion of a thousand Spanish suns on my face with the heat of my anger with you. You are, worst of all, disingenuous. Inauthentic at best.

I think most would also fault Carmen as well. Yes, she flirted. She suggests. She sang her siren song. (She may or may not have actually  cast a “spell” as there is part of this story that makes me sad that the Romani people were often cast as the enemy,  but I digress) He listened, initially appearing to be disinterested, or distracted? (Perhaps by his “alleged love” for Micaèla”?? HA.) Her behavior, while rude and brash, was at least somewhat logical. Carmen is true to herself above all (ok… and maybe she IS sort of magic…, but whatever… Carmen will always be free…)  

She gave him the flower (a literal reference, as any “literary” bloom had long since left her possession), he tosses it away, only to manage to squirrel it away in his uniform so it is with him in prison…. for what? #spoileralert… allowing her to escape after slicing up another chica in the cigar factory.

So, dear Don José, this is why I left at the end of the first act. I know how this is going to go, and on this misty, rainy, can’t make-up-its-mind Sunday afternoon I didn’t want to watch or listen for another minute. In retrospect, I should have offered the tickets to someone else. As a bright spot in the otherwise cloudy afternoon, it was easy to exit the parking garage….

Oh, and D-José, one more thing….. thanks.

Because of your little story-turned-opera today, a figment of the vivid imagination of one story-teller named Prosper Méremée, circa 1830, from a novella, as I later discovered (thanks, Google). Anyway, because of your work then, your imagined story of love-lost, and love-squandered (poor Micaèla, btw). A story that is nearly 200 years old made me really angry!  Which made me think. Isn’t it wonderful that the written word, albeit sung in this case, is still capable of stirring emotion? I was inspired to blog about it now, I’m inspired to write more of my own stories, with fleshed out broken, dysfunctional characters as well. I want my readers one day to yell into the book, to cry, to laugh!!

So, Don José, although we parted ways earlier than we should have today because I couldn’t bear to see you make such grievous errors in the name of love. I’m going to have to forgive you for all of your flaws. Quite simply because in spite of them, I was able to see that one unifying human condition is the desire for a good story.  I can only hope that my words someday find a place on a stage… to inspire or enrage,but  most importantly, to breathe emotion into the hearts of those who hear them.





An Octothorpe & an Ellipsis walked into a bar…

# and …

Seriously, that “hashtag” thing everyone (cooler than I am) is using to “tag” their Twitter and Instagram feeds is actually, seriously, called an Octothorpe. Here’s a link to my source on that (BTW,thanks, Oxford dictionary

True confession time: apparently, I overuse the octothorp in my texting, Facebooking, general writing. At least according to my kids, I do (you know I overheard you all talking at Grandmas house, and you are ALL in agreement, but no one wants to have “that weird conversation with Mom” #awkward, #dontmakemomcry, #whywontshestop)

And the ellipses . . .?

Again, thanks, Oxford Dictionary… but I’ll take it from here…. My own writing group The Plot Sisters has pointed out gently, patiently, calmly… that I overuse THAT particular bit of punctuation in my fiction-writing.

So, what am I? Some sort of punctuation slaphappy slob?

Bordering on illiteracy?

Do I throw punctuation rules out  the window like uncooked fish at the end of a long weekend? Am I insensitive to the nuances of the octothorp? Irreverent with its purposeful use in the world of coding, dismissive of its actual role in sorting all of the shit out there in Tw!tterland? And the ellipsis point? The set of ellipses… three of them, like my children, obediently marching in a line . . .  #wonderingwhowilltellmom, #rockpaperscissoranyone?

I’m at an impasse … #conundrum.

Until I stopped for a moment and gave pause to the cause. I, like millions (OK, maybe only thousands) of Octothorp-Offenders use the # for the simple fact that it makes you notice what we have said. It turns a phrase into a clever joke, #dontwant2misreadanything. #busyfeelingcool. #relevant. Ah yes. Relevant. 

The bane of growing older in our plentiful American society is “relevance.” I’m guilty, I’ve shifted a glance to the younger set, to see what is coming next? What’s new? What’s cool? I’ve set aside that which was perfectly fine, for what is perfectly new. Perhaps I should spend this next year re-thinking that strategy? Instead of hash-tagging something sassy and bold, I’ll just say it! Or write it! Least of all, tag it.

And, about that other problem of mine . . . my Emphatic Ellipses. I tend to use them to slow things down.

The pacing of a story. . .

I’m buying time . . .

I don’t know what to say . . .

Gah! There I’ve said it out loud. I use the . . . when I don’t know what the Hell to write next, and I’m stuck. So, I trail off and slip off of the page for a moment. Only problem is, I tend to put my reader to sleep. So, I need to cool it in my writing. 

It’s T minus 15, Folks, I’m finishing this blog post, and looking down the barrel of 2016. Time to put the punctuated foibles and faux pas of 2015 to bed and dare to do better in Sweet 16.

Be better.

Be Relevant on my own terms. No Octothorp needed.

Time to finish the damn book, too. Period.

I’ll catch you on the flip side, Folks.

Happy New Year!

Be your best you ever, on your own terms.

12 Days (Before) Christmas…

So, I’ve been really cognizant all day today that there are exactly “12 more shopping days before Christmas”. (Actually fewer, since my husband’s family will be over on Christmas Eve and stuff needs to be purchased/made/wrapped before then…) But I digress, 12 days on the front side of Christmas, I’ve never really paid attention before this year, and if it hadn’t been for the priest today (who looked/sounded a LOT like the doctor in those Seinfeld episodes with the “remarkably refreshing” Junior Mint and the one where Susan died “she’s…gone”. My mind DID wander off for a moment or two, but I think I got the gist of what he said today)

12 shopping days.

12  days to panic.

12 days to freak out about your family coming to visit/or traveling to visit your family.

The priest actually SAID it. Then he reminded us in less than 5 minutes, (mass was really short today) that the point of TODAY is to feel “Joy”.

Joy of what is to come.

Joy because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Joy because we are saved.

(He also pointed out that he is wearing “rose” not “pink” the color of the emotion “joy”. … I don’t have a problem with “Pink”. And that there are only two days in the entire Church year when our focus is on an emotion.  (not sure what the other day is, I’m thinking it’s sometime in Lent…)

So, here at the end of the “12th day BEFORE Christmas” I am happy to report that I have been focusing on “Joy” today, not stress, not panic.


May the next two weeks bring you Joy.

Merry Christmas!


I just figured out how to put my “physical fitness” bracelet to sleep…. instead of “tapping it twice” as the instructions stated to do, it responds to a “rapping with the knuckle”…. that’s right, I’m KNOCKING on the bracelet to put it to ‘sleep’, and to come out of the ‘sleep mode’… and, I’ve named my bracelet Walter… Comment below if you get my sense of humor. LOL.