Friday, November 30, 2012

It Always Works in the Movies

"I can't believe you forgot your keys.  Again."

"That's easy for you to say, you live here, too.  Where are your keys?"

"On the hook by the front door.  Right on the other side of this wall, as a matter of fact.  You were driving, so I didn't think I needed them.  How was I to know you were taking your spare set?"

Tony sighed and dug through his pockets once more, hoping to discover that he had also brought the other ring of keys.  No such luck.

"I'm cold and I have to go potty.  What are we going to do?"  Lisa pulled her coat tighter around her shoulders and readjusted her woolen scarf.  She rocked from side to side on her high heels, attempting to ignore her impatient bladder.

"How many cups of coffee did you drink tonight?"  Tony smiled as his wife wiggled on the front step.

"Don't talk about it," she groaned, "just get the door open.  Please."  She grimaced and regretted her third latte.

Tony slipped his hand out of his glove and slid his hand around Lisa's ear.  "Stop it!  Your hands are freezing ..." she stopped when she saw one of her bobby pins pinched between his finger and thumb, "What are going to do with that?  Oh, wait.  You're not going to try to pick the lock, are you?  Honey!"

"What?  I've seen James Bond do it a hundred times."  Tony bent the bobby pin and knelt down on the door mat, squinting at the lock.  He worked the point of the pin into the hole and poked around.  "Hmmm ... maybe you need two pins.  Do they use two pins in the movies?"

"I don't know.  The camera doesn't usually zoom in on the lock picker's technique."

"Do you have another bobby pin?  I think I can do this.  Really."

Lisa rolled her eyes.  She reached up to pluck another pin from her hair.  A dark tendril slipped loose and hung over the collar of her coat.  "Here, Love.  I'm calling the locksmith.  I really have to pee!" She pulled out her phone.

"Thank you for your vote of confidence," Tony smirked over his shoulder as he wriggled the tip of the second pin into the hole.  "I think ... I've almost ... got ... it."

"Did it work?"

Tony rested his head against the door.  "No.  And now both the pins are stuck."

"Aack!"  Lisa doubled over.  "Don't make me laugh!  I'm going to wet my pants!"  She tap danced around the porch.

Ten minutes later, the locksmith arrived and twelve minutes later, Lisa sprinted into the house, kicked off her high heels, just barely making it to the bathroom.  Tony paid Bruce, the locksmith's name was embroidered on the pocket of his coveralls.  He grinned sheepishly, "It always works in the movies."

"I hear that a lot."  Bruce handed Tony an invoice for $97 dollars and the doorknob jammed with bobby pins.  "You'll want to get that fixed.  Have a good night."

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Linking up with The Red Dress Club.  This week's prompt:  500 words using one of these items:



I, too, have felt the urgency of Lisa, and I've considered whether I could pick a lock with a bobby pin.  I think I would also end up with an invoice and a jammed lock.  And a broken credit card.  They make it look so easy on TV.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ta-Dah!


This morning I submitted my book for "word count validation" and now I have this super cool button:


Yeah, me! :)  

Now I will go back and begin the editing, revising, rewriting and much-needed tweaking to what would appear to be book one of a set.  Eek.

Here's a little excerpt from Gifted and Talented:

The next morning, Mrs. Counterman pulled up to the curb in the school loading zone.  Peter sat in the passenger seat with his back pack between his feet.  As he reached for the door handle, his mother put her hand on his shoulder.  “Remember what we talked about last night.  Don’t be ashamed of your gift, Buddy.  Maybe this is the year you find out why God made you to see the world through numbers.”

“I know.  I’ll see you this afternoon,” Peter nodded, still feeling a little groggy from the early morning start.

“I’ll be praying for you today.  That you will have an excellent ‘Special Assignment’!”  She let go of grip on Peter’s shoulder and patted him twice.  “And don’t forget, you’re riding the bus home this afternoon.”

“Bye, Mom,” Peter unfolded his long legs out of the blue sedan, slung his back pack over his left shoulder, swinging the door closed behind him.  It was a chilly fall morning, but as it would warm up mid-day, Peter had decided against grabbing a sweatshirt.  He tugged on the long sleeves of his blue and green striped shirt, slipping his hands up inside each sleeve, and made his way to the front entrance.  He turned and waved once over his shoulder as his mom made her way through the congested school parking lot.

Once inside, Peter walked toward the school office.  There was another long line of students waiting to talk to the secretary and Ms. Inkstein already looked frazzled.  Peter took his place in line and looked around, fresh numbers flitted across his vision.

2 drinking fountains.

32 trophies in the display case.

1 framed photograph of the school staff.

27 smiling staff members.

4 pencils in Ms. Inkstein’s bun.

“Good morning, Ms. Inkstein.  Here is the form for the G & T class.  Is there anything else I need to do?”  Peter asked as he stepped up to the counter.

“Good morning, Peter.”  Mrs. Inkstein, dressed all in black again, had chosen a cranberry-colored lipstick for today.  The red seeped into the creases around her pursed lips.  She reached up for one of the pencils from her head, made a few notes on Peter’s form and then stamped it with a date stamp.  “You’re all set.  Have a good day.  Next!”

Peter ducked out of line and headed to his locker.  The hallways were already bustling with students and Peter checked the clock above the cafeteria door to see how long before the bell rang.  Three minutes.  As he spun the combination dial on his locker, he looked around for X.  He was anxious to see him, to have a friend to start his day with.  There was an eruption of laughter from the direction of the gymnasium and Peter craned his neck to see over the crowd.  Sure enough, he spotted X standing face to face with Flitch, who held X’s back pack over his head, out of reach.  Peter sighed, slammed his locker shut and made his way through the crowd.

“What you got in here, Xavier?” Flitch stretched out X’s name, taunting him.  “Let’s see, shall we?  What sorts of weird stuff does a weird kid carry around?”  Flitch unzipped the main compartment on the back pack and moved to dump it on the floor, but before he could, Peter came up behind him, standing a head taller and put one hand on his shoulder and one hand on the bag.

“Give that back, please,” he said quietly, but firmly.

“Hey.  Get your hands off me,” Flitch snarled, “Mind your own business, Skyscraper-Boy.”  A trickle of laughter ran through the circle of students.

“Sorry.  This is my business.  Please give the bag back.”  Peter looked down at Flitch and offered a small smile.  “Just let this one go, okay?”  At that moment, the first bell rang causing the surrounding audience to collectively groan in disappointment and head off to their lockers.  Soon only X, Flitch and Peter remained.  Without the support of his gang, Flitch scowled.

“Fine.  Here, Xavier,” he threw the back pack at X’s feet, sending several pencils flying out the zippered opening.  “Next time you won’t have your babysitter around, so watch out.”  And then jabbing a finger in Peter’s chest, he snarled, “And you ... I’ve got some friends in your gym class.  We could make your day pretty miserable.  And we will.”  He grinned maliciously, spun on his heel and walked off.

Peter exhaled, relief flooding his tall frame.  He had no desire to pick a fight, but he couldn’t stand by and watch anyone be bullied.  Turning to X, he stooped down and helped scoop up several pencils.  “You know, we don’t have to start everyday like this,” he joked.  “I’d be fine with just a simple, ‘Good morning.  How are you?’”

X looked up with his lopsided grin, “Good morning.  How are you?”

Laughing, Peter clamped one hand on his friend’s shoulder, “I’m great.  But we better hurry.  I don’t think we want to be on Mr. Hink’s bad side, too.”  With a quick stop off at their lockers, they half-ran, half-walked to class, slipping through the door just as the final bell rang.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time Bender Trip

The book is still coming along well.  I'm on-target to finish on time and the story seems to be taking me along for the ride!  Very fun to see it come together.

I have enjoyed some spirited conversations with Aaron about what should happen yet.  And I have decided that Aaron needs to write his own book!  He has a lot of ideas, convoluted plot lines and intricate character interactions.  It was hard to keep up with all the twists and turns of the the tale as we walked through the grocery store yesterday.

Here is an excerpt from one of the Time Bender trips ... enjoy!


Case No. 216
Date:  9/22/12

Location:  London, England
Time:  July 11, 1859

G & T Team:  Charlotte, Charlie, Espi, X

We were deposited by the TB in the early morning hours in an unknown alley in central London.  We deduced our location by investigating our surroundings.  The cobblestone streets, the lamplighters working their way down the street to extinguish the street lights, the English accent of those walking by.

Our first course of action was to attempt to disguise ourselves adequately so as to not draw unwanted attention.  In the alley, Charlotte was able to crawl through a small hole in the wall of one of the buildings.  In spite of the hole being 10 feet off the ground, the twins were able to work together acrobatically to get Charlotte safely inside.  After squeezing through the hole, she discovered that it was a grocer.  As the store was still not open for business, Charlotte was able to smuggle out a bolt of dark fabric that we used to make capes to cover our clothing.  She also found two bonnets and two bowler hats for us to wear to cover our heads.

Now that we could chance being out among the Londoners, we braved the opportunity to leave the alley and get our bearings.  Once we were out among the public, we noticed that there was steady stream of people walking toward our right.  We joined the crowd, but we linked arms so as to not get separated.  We each were listening intently to the conversations around us in an attempt to discern what was happening with the hopes that we could pinpoint our location and time period.

The destination of the crowd, as it turned out, was Parliament Square, which was already quite full when we arrived.  We worked our way to the front of the crowd and that was when Espi deduced our whereabouts.  The crowd was gathered to hear the Great Bell’s strike for the first time on the Elizabeth Tower, better known to us as Big Ben.  Espi informed us that this historic even took place on July 11, 1859.

The excitement in the Square was palatable.  There was a steady hum of cockney accents on every side of us.  We only had to wait approximately fifteen minutes before the Great Bell began to chime.  In contrast to the previous noise, the bells signaled several moments of complete silence in the Square.  At the sixth and final bell, the crowd erupted in applause and shouts of, “Long live the Queen!”  Espi was quick to remind us that Queen Victoria was reigning during this time period.

The crowd began to dissipate, Londoners disappearing into the streets and alleyways surrounding the Parliament Square in within a few minutes, we were left almost entirely alone.  We took this time to conference, trusting that we would not be overheard.  Now that we were secure in our surroundings, it was decided that we would travel back down Queen Street toward the alley from which we emerged, seeing as in previous assignments, most missions are completed near the original drop spot.

As a group, we headed back they way we had come.  But before we had gotten far, Charlie became aware of a woman, some 50 feet behind us, who was crying.  We slowed our walk and allowed her to catch up with us.  We stood off to one side, while Charlotte cautiously approached the woman under the guise of asking for directions.

Within a few moments, Charlotte had managed (as she always does!) to befriend the woman and fish out her story.  She was Miss Rachel Ermin and she was the ward to a Lady Mockton, her own parents dying many years earlier in a plague epidemic.  She was only a young child at the time and was taken in by Lady Mockton as a distant relative.  Her twenty years spent in the care of Lady Mockton had been favorable.  She had joined Lady Mockton’s own small children in their lessons and their play and had grown up among society, at least as an observer.  Lady Mockton’s daughter, Harriet, and Miss Ermin were very close and spent most of their growing up years together.  That is until Harriet married earlier that spring.  Now Miss Ermin spent most of her days alone and lonely.

This new isolation had driven Miss Ermin to the library of the Mockton Victorian house.  During one afternoon the previous week, Miss Ermin had come across a small leather ledger.  Upon opening it, she soon discovered that at the death of her parents she had been gifted a large sum of money, enough for her to live on quite comfortably the rest of her life.  It was then that she realized that her parents had not left her penniless as she had been brought up to believe, but that in fact she was quite well off.

Being a spirited girl, she had pocketed the ledger and immediately requested an audience with Lady Mockton.  That very afternoon, she confronted her guardian.  Lady Mockton was surprised at the discovery of the ledger, but made a quick recovery and created a concrete case against Miss Ermin and the possibilities of her being independent, one that she claimed would hold up in court.  Miss Ermin had no defense and fled the room.  She had spent the remainder of the week, back in the library, searching among the books of law for some way to seize her financial independence and escape Lady Mockton’s grasp.  

On the morning of our encounter with Miss Ermin, she had given up all hope, hence her tearful walk.  With a promise to help, Miss Ermin invited us to the house with the hopes of us scouring the library and discovering some means of Lady Mockton releasing her inheritance to her.  The Mockton House was just a few blocks from the alley where we were deposited earlier.  She informed us that Lady Mockton was out of the house for the day, the society ladies having seized the first chimes of the Elizabeth Tower clock as an opportunity to have a luncheon.  Miss Ermin managed to sneak us into the house using the servants entrance.  She snuck us down the hall to the library and secured the door.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pitter Patter

Splish, splash ...

Two pudgy feet clad in floppy pink crocs jump off the bottom step and land in a puddle.  

Sploosh!

Rain comes down heavy, bubbles forming on the asphalt as little drops collide with the ground.  She points a dimpled finger at the black street and giggles, "Bubbas, Momma!"

Plip, plop ...

Tiptoeing out into the grass, her ladybug umbrella hides her gleeful face.  One little hand peeks out from under the red and white covering, fingers wiggling in the rain.  She laughs and the umbrella slips back, the pole resting on her shoulder.  The handle gripped in her wet hand.  She turns her dimpled grin toward me and I can't help but smile.  Such joy!

A flash lights up the sky followed by a low rumble, a growling from the clouds.  Her delight turns to distress, eyes wide, smile slipping.  Another flare, a louder grumble and she scurries up the steps.  Panic in her every move, fast feet and fluttering hands.

Her footsteps are soggy, bare feet slipping inside her plastic shoes.

Squitch, squelch ...

She topples into my lap here on the top step under the protection of the porch.  The cluster of ladybugs lays forgotten in the grass.  Her shoulders are damp; dark hair hangs in clumps, sticking to her forehead and cheeks.  A single raindrop glimmers, hanging off an eyelash.  She looks up at me, resting her head against my chest.  Her smile creeps back into place.  "Sing the song, Momma?"

Pitter, patter, pitter, patter,
Listen to the rain!
Pitter, patter, pitter, patter,
Listen to the rain!
Our God in heaven,
He makes the rain fall,
He makes the rain fall down!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

This Made Me Smile

Crisp fall sunshine cascading through the windows, bathing the carpet in rectangles of light.

Parallel lines in the freshly shampooed carpet, yet unsmudged.

My sweetie-pie snuggled with her babies in the recliner, teaching Fancy Nancy her p's and q's on her hot pink laptop.

Huey Lewis and the News rockin' in from the kitchen, singing about the power of love.

A hard job finished, listening to the clock strike eleven.

An afternoon ahead to write.  {smile}



_____________________________________________

#5 - Tell us/show us something that made you smile this week.  I did both.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Time Bender

I have been plugging away at my book for the past 12 days and it's been astonishing to me to see how the story is unfolding.  I am currently just a bit over 26,000 words and I have just arrived at my, "uh-oh ... that's going to be a problem" moment, so I think that I'm on the right track.

I had an interesting situation crop up with a recent chapter in my book.  I was wanting to describe a scene involving a run-away train.  But, it stressed me out.  I had absolutely no clue as to how I would actually tell that story - especially with my limited train knowledge.  I let the idea sit for the better part of a day, mulling it over and coming up empty.  Then I had a spark ... maybe the train problem was out of my league.  I am better suited to write about a people problem, and so I did.  And I liked it.  And I worked in a problem with the train's brakes that didn't freak me out, but did raise a little panic with my characters.  Just enough.

It was a good lesson in writing about what comes naturally and not trying to write about something foreign.  Unless, of course, I have extra time to research, which right now I don't.

So ... another lesson learned.  And another snippet to share.  Enjoy!

Room A-1 looked the same as before, but there was an excitement in the air that Peter hadn’t noticed yesterday.  Silently Charlotte and Charlie sat side by side, their eyes turned to where Mr. Wiseman sat behind his desk, flipping through a stack of papers.  Espi sat on the edge of her seat, chewing on her thumb nail.  Her feet, both dressed in neon orange knee-high socks twitched under her desk.  Her wild and curly hair looked wilder and curlier today, perhaps because of her wide-open eyes that refused to blink.  She didn’t even acknowledge Peter and X as they entered the room.

Silently, X signaled for Peter to take the seat in the front row and he slid into the desk just behind him.  He lifted his index finger to his lips, as if Peter needed to be informed of the need to be quiet.  Peter looked to Mr. Wiseman who continued to study the file in front of him.  Every few moments, he blindly reached toward a brown paper sack on this desk and pulled out a lemon drop and popped it in his mouth, never moving his eyes from the page he was reading.

Peter couldn’t decided if the hum of energy in the room was as a result of nerves or anticipation and likewise he couldn’t imagine what could possibly transform these four students into twitching, wide-eyed, speechless individuals.

Finally, Mr. Wiseman looked up from his paper and smiled.  A collective sigh erupted from the twins and X and Espi, but they still said nothing.  Mr. Wiseman nodded a few times, still smiling, and then beckoned the students toward his desk.  Peter stood back, surprised, as the four students ran to the front of the room and surrounded Mr. Wiseman’s desk.  Peter walked cautiously to a space to the left of X and studied the faces around him, still unsure as to what was happening.

“Well, class.  I am very pleased with your report from last week.  I feel that you followed all the proper protocol and took great care to conduct yourselves appropriately and covertly.  I feel confident that you are aware of the awesome responsibility that this opportunity carries and that you are each using your individual gifts to the best of your abilities.  And so it is for those reasons that I have made the executive decision to send you on another, ‘Special Assignment’.”  Here Mr. Wiseman smiled warmly at each student, pausing for a moment to consider Peter’s puzzled expression.  “Peter, I can only imagine how confused you must feel right now, but I truly believe that you will have a clear understanding of what we do here, very soon.  Please be patient with me as I get the other students working and then I am at your disposal.  Agreed?”  Peter nodded, brow wrinkled and a frown forming on his face.  “Now, if you four are ready, please extend your right hand.”

Mr. Wiseman leaned back in his chair and pulled open the desk drawer to his left.  Reaching inside, he pulled out a long rectangular black box.  It was old and the leather along one corner was cracked.  Two rows of gold tacks ran along the middle of the box, indicating the top and bottom of the container.  Gingerly, Mr. Wiseman lifted the lid from the box revealing a bronze cylinder lying in a bed of scarlet satin.  The curious artifact was about eighteen inches long and had two bronze dials on either end.  The dials were marked with mysterious symbols Peter had never seen before.  Mr. Wiseman lifted the cylinder carefully and held it out toward the students.  X, Espi, Charlotte and Charlie each grasped the cylinder with their right hand and immediately a strange low humming sound filled the room.  The sound grew not in volume, but in intensity causing Peter to feel as though his entire body was vibrating.  Mr. Wiseman let go and moved his hand to the top of the cylinder, twisting one of the dials until there was an audible click.  Suddenly there was a wooshing noise, a momentary flash and then silence.  

Peter realized he had closed his eyes and when he opened them, he discovered that he was standing alone at the desk staring at Mr. Wiseman.  His teacher smiled at him, and held up the small paper sack.  “Would you care for a lemon drop?”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Introducing Peter Counterman

Peter stepped out of the main office and into the hall of his new school.  Waves of noise and busyness washed over him - lockers clanged, students shouted, laughter erupted to his left.  He scanned the hallway taking in the hustle and bustle of Great Heights Middle School.

341 lockers.

5,492 tiles.

51 fluorescent bulbs.

297 middle school students.

Peter closed his eyes for a moment, trying to silence the overwhelming evidence that he was the new kid.  Again.  He slung his navy blue backpack over his shoulder, summoned his courage and stood up straight.  Then he thought better of it and slouched, hoping to better blend his lanky 5 foot 10 inch frame in among his fellow students.  In spite of his efforts, he still stood a head taller than his classmates.  

Peter caught his reflection in the glass of the trophy case and rolled his eyes.  He attempted to tame the shock of black hair that stood up from the back of his head.  He had that popular look of having just gotten out of bed, albeit unintentionally.  Giving up on his unruly hair, he tugged the front of his shirt straight and pulled on his sleeves, making them even.  He might not be able to make his hair behave, but he could still control his clothes and that was one of the reasons he preferred to wear stripes.  Stripes, like math, were predictable, orderly and organized.

Peter took in his unfamiliar surroundings while his mind counted what he saw.  The ticker tape of numbers flickering before his eyes was the only part of this morning that wasn’t foreign.

“Come on.  The bell's gonna ring.”  He felt a tug from the older student standing at his elbow.  “You don’t want to be late to Mr. Hink’s class.  Trust me.”


_________________________________



Linking up with The Red Dress Club.  This week's prompt:  300 words about something new.  These are the opening lines to my NANOWRIMO project.  Peter is shaping up to be a pretty cool kid, a little odd perhaps, but odd in a good way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gifted & Talented - a little snippet

I am currently six days into this NANOWRIMO adventure and I'm thrilled to report that I'm currently on target.  That's truly saying something as I spent the weekend gallivanting about the Eastern Slope.  (I did sneak in a little long-hand writing one evening ... and I'm still suffering from that cramp!)

It has been a bit exhilarating ...

finally pouring this story out onto paper and emptying my head of details,

discovering my characters' quirks and strengths,

watching my plot develop and thicken, and

being surprised at where my story is headed!

I have already changed my main character's name (Marcus and Marcus's has too many s's) and I've rethought my villain, but for the most part, I'm sticking with my current plan.  At least, for today.

Here is a little snippet from one of the first chapters.  I think it gives you a good idea of the kids I've been hanging out with for the past six days.  They are a curious bunch!
_____________________________


The next several hours passed quickly and soon Peter found himself standing outside the cafeteria, clutching his brown bag lunch.  His last class of the morning had been a long and lonely hour spent in the computer lab.  The teacher assigned the front computer to Peter and then proceeded to forget that he was there.  

Peter spent most of the class time trying to log into his computer using the login name and password that the teacher had scribbled on an index card.  Unfortunately his handwriting was so poor that the information was a mystery.  Each time Peter tried to get the instructor’s attention, all he got was a scowl and a request to “wait a minute”.  Sixty minutes later, Peter had managed to open the desktop, but he had missed out completely on the assignment.

“Maybe tomorrow will be better,” the teacher said, walking the students out to the hall.  Peter wasn’t optimistic.  Now waiting in line for the cafeteria, Peter tucked the index card, with his re-written information, in his back pocket and tried to shake off the frustrations of the last hour.

Stepping into the lunchroom, he scanned the room.

29 tables.

7 windows.

4 teachers patrolling the room.

2 tables filled with Flitch and his goons.

1 seat next to X.

Peter waved and walked toward the empty seat, skirting around the full tables.  X was busy pulling his meal out of his lunch bag and reached out a protective hand toward the seat as Peter pulled it out from the table.  “This sair is chaved," he stuttered.  He looked up with relief.  “Oh.  It’s you.  Good.  I hoped you would sit with me.”

Peter laughed, scanning the room, “Who else would I sit with?”

X shrugged and smiled weakly.  Peter slid into his seat and pulled out his sandwich.  They ate in silence, Peter trying to think of something to break the ice.  Lucky for them, Espi appeared.  She flounced into her seat across from X, setting her cafeteria tray down dramatically.  “Ay, ay, ay.  Would you look at this lunch?  You call this enchiladas?  Mi abuela would be mortified to know I was eating this.”  She poked her lunch with her fork, lips pursed, inspecting the layers of cheese and tortillas.  Espi dove into the salad instead and sipped her chocolate milk.  “So?  How was the rest of your morning?”

X shrugged again and made a move to say so-so with his hand.  He chewed his sandwich thoughtfully, swallowed and said, “I had algebra with Mr. Daniels.  Since I’ve already finished the homework for this quarter, he let me work on my biography of Isaac Newton.”

Peter was impressed.  “So you just bring in your research and work in the back?”

X was chewing again, he held up his hand, telling Peter to wait.  “Um, sorta.”  He pointed to his head, “It’s all up here.”  The confused look on Peter’s face brought out a  boisterous laugh from Espi.

“Our amigo, X here, has what you might call a photographic memory.  If he’s read it or seen it, that information is stored in his head, waiting to be used.  Comes in handy when I have a report to write, too.”  She smiled, teasing X good-naturedly.  The color flooding X’s face made her laugh even harder.  “Are you going to eat that?”  She asked indicating X’s apple.  As X shook his head, she scooped it up, polished it on her sequined top and took a noisy bite.

“Good job asking, Espi,” X said, swallowing his mouthful of milk.  “Any trouble today?”

Espi’s smile slipped, wavered, and she looked at her tray.  “Uhm ... just one itsy bitsy problema ... I gave them back, of course.”  She looked up at Peter and rejuvenated her smile, “It’s not like Mr. Hink needs 14 pencils on his desk.  But I put them back before I left the room, so it’s not like I actually took them.  It’s more like I borrowed them.  Right?  Anyway ... I have to run.  I’m off to the office to help with some copies for Mr. Wiseman.  I’ll see you both later.  AdiĆ³s!”  She blew them both a noisy kiss, grabbed her tray and headed for the door.

X shook his head and watched her go.  “What was that all about?”  Peter questioned.

X sat silently for a few moments before answering.  “Espi is great, but she’s a bit of a kleptomaniac.  She’s one of my best friends, and she’s the first to jump in and help anyone in trouble.  Just keep an eye on your stuff around her.”

Peter nodded.  So far his new friends were full of surprises.  And that made him very happy.  Maybe he’d fit in after all.

“Hey.  Where’s my candy bar?”

X raised his eyebrows and looked toward the door, gesturing toward Espi with his chin.  As she left the cafeteria, Peter watched as she licked the chocolate off her slender fingers.

Friday, November 2, 2012

i AM looking ...

Ben launches himself across his bed, bounces and lands sprawled over the rumpled comforter.  He flips on the radio and rummages around the nightstand.  Lifting up a library book and an empty water bottle, he retrieves his most recent LEGO catalogue.  He taps his foot and mumbles the lines he knows.

"How's it going?"

"Fine."

"Did you find it yet?"

"Nope."

"Well ... keep looking.  I'll check up on the bookshelf, you dig around down here."

"Okay."  Ben sighs and rolls off the end of the bed, landing on his knees in a pile of clothes.  He lifts up the corner of the bedskirt and peers into the darkness.  Sweeping his hands under the bed, he drags out a lone sock, wadded in a ball, and battle weary LEGO ship.  Gingerly he sets the plastic creation on his dresser and crawls around the end of his bed.

"The clock is counting down.  The crowd is on its feet.  Number 24 fakes and then shoots ..." Ben lobs the sock toward the hamper.  "It banks off the board!  He rebounds and shoots again.  It's at the buzzer and ..." Ben tosses it up again, "it's good!   Aaaahhh!"  Ben celebrates from his position on the carpet.

"Way to go champ."  Mom appears at the door with a laundry basket.  "Any luck with the math book?"

"I'm looking."  Ben lifts up his beanbag, looking beneath the red behemoth.

"Sure you are."  Mom begins filling the basket with Ben's clothing.  "This is a song from when I was your age.  And it's just a little ironic for you to be singing it right now."

"Huh?  What's ironic?"

"This song and your missing math book."  Mom joins chorus, "And I still haven't found what I'm looking for..."

"Mom!  I said, I'll find it."

"Okey dokey.  Let me know if you need an extra set of eyes."

As Mom closes the door, Ben groans and flops into the beanbag.  He reaches toward the nightstand and rustles up another magazine.  Stretching his legs, he kicks the text book further under his bed.

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Linking up with The Red Dress Club.  This week's prompt:  350 words inspired by a song.  U2 could play this particular song on a regular basis in our home as my children "look" for their belongings.  The boy's name in my story has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NANOWRIMO ... huh?

Before Gretel tossed her hummingbird into the flames and scampered down the trail to be reunited with her family, a new story was brewing.  My brain barely had time to rest before another tale began to take shape in my mind's eye.

Fresh characters grew flesh, developed personalities and hefted their backpacks over their shoulders.

A bell at an unknown middle school rang and a new school year started, halls loud and boisterous.

Troubles with bullies, problems to solve and friendships to build ... scenes all impatiently waiting to be spelled out.

A mysterious relic, five eclectic students, a quirky Gifted & Talented teacher and a world that needs saving ... one adventure at a time!

And another challenge to jump into as a writer.  A crazy, impossible, mind-reeling, caffeine-worthy, finger-trembling challenge.  This month I will follow Marcus out of the principal's office and into the main hall of Great Heights Middle School.  Here I will join him on a wild adventure filled with friendship, fraught with danger and sprinkled with silliness.

And in the midst of these 30 days with Marcus and his friends, my goal is to tuck away 50,000 words (gulp!) and end up with a book.  At least, that's the plan.

Of course, I already sat down with our family calendar and attempted to map out the month.  I'll do the math for you ... 1,667 words a day.  And then double that every now and then to make up for days away from the computer for Thanksgiving and gymnastic meets (oh, my head) ... but before I could talk myself out of it, I officially signed up with NANOWRIMO:

National Novel Writing Month

You can follow along with my progress with a peek at the little blue window to the left.  And you can cheer me on as I face this daunting (albeit, thrilling) task.  And maybe you could even send chocolate.

I am anticipating that I will be a tad bit sporadic here, but I intend to share snippets of the novel.  Maybe  I'll even surprise you every now and then with a snapshot or two.