Tag Archives: romance

The Spot Writers – “Goodbye” by Val Muller

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story about “Someone, not a stranger, standing on the edge of a precipice.”

Today’s story comes to us from Val Muller, author of the Corgi Capers kidlit mystery series. You can learn more at www.CorgiCapers.com.

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“Goodbye” by Val Muller

The wind whipped her hair. It whirled past her ears, crisp and brutal, just the way it would sound in a movie. In fact, that’s just how she felt—like one of those wives in a movie, the ones waiting at the top of the hill to catch a glimpse of her husband’s ship coming in after months at sea. The wife of a whaler, maybe. Or a colonial bride waiting for her lover to return from a jaunt to England.

But that wasn’t what she waited for, was it? Her toil was quite the opposite. No one was coming home. Certainly not Greg. How could he come home to her if he’d never been hers in the first place? Her brain itched with the questions.

Her hand twitched, eager to type them out, to allow the angst to flow through the keyboard onto the screen. She needed to create more words, words, words.

No. Dr. Moore told her she’d written enough.

She clutched the pages in her hand. They tattered in the wind, and her hand threatened to let go. The words were sentient, like little beetles dotting the page. Size 9, single spaced, beetles, confined in margins as wide as the printer would allow. She’d done what her therapist said, after all: She’d printed them out and deleted the files. All those months of journaling, hundreds of pages condensed into a hundred and ninety-seven double-sided pages. Each page a saga. Each page wrinkled and tear-stained. She’d read the whole manuscript—that’s what she called it now—once over before coming out here. She’d touched the words, surprised they didn’t stab her fingers as they’d done to her heart, spoken each one aloud. And then she’d driven here.

She had to let go, Dr. Moore said.

And so she’d driven here, to the overlook, the site of her one and only date with Greg.

It was only once, Dr. Moore had told her. One date didn’t constitute true love.

True love didn’t need any dates, she’d told him. True love was true love, and Greg was her true love, plain and simple. The problem was that Greg didn’t yet realize that it was true love. She’d gone to Dr. Moore to ask how to make Greg aware. How to wake him up, to make his heart sentient.

But Greg was married now. She’d had to admit that at her last session. She’d used her alternate account to view his Facebook page, as she did every day and when her insomnia hit, and her heart sank when she saw the big announcement. There it was, posted by his wife. She could barely think the words—his wife! His wife? That was her! It was supposed to be her. But it wasn’t her in the flowing white gown, arm strewn around Greg. Greg, so handsome in his midnight black tuxedo.

And the comments. People had the audacity to congratulate him. Congratulate him? On what? On finding the wrong woman? On taking a step away from true love? And some of the subtleties, asking about children? Babies? Those were supposed to be her babies!

The wind whisked her tears away as quickly as they could come. This type of thinking was not productive, Dr. Moore had said. She needed to move on.

Move on.

Move on.

She peered over the cliff. It was so far down. If she were a bird, she could leap and soar across the ocean, find a new continent and a new lover. But she wasn’t one.

The wind licked the first page of her journal, and she loosened her grip. It was the page describing the first time she saw him, walking into the deli at college. His eyes had caught her immediately, though he didn’t see her. He was like a supernova. How could she look away?

Dr. Moore said he was more like a black hole.

The beetles on the page protested. They did not like being trapped on the page. The wind called to them. They wanted to be free. Free, just like she should be, Dr. Moore had said.

The page loosened and hovered in the air in front of her. She caught only frantic phrases. “Eyes like stars.” “His name is Greg.” “He’s majoring in biology.” Then the page lost its battle with the wind and was whisked out into the air.

Its journey to the sea took eternities. She wanted to jump out after it, to rescue it from its watery fate. The wind seemed strong enough to hold her, after all. But she knew what Dr. Moore would say. That would not be healthy.

So she stood firmly at the precipice, watching the page fall impossibly far out to the sea. She could barely make it out in the glossy sun on the water as it finally hit.

She released the breath she’d been holding. With the exhalation, her grip loosened, and more pages took flight. One, two, ten, two dozen. More, more, more. The thirty pages written about the night Greg told her it just wasn’t working. Her musings about how wrong he was, how he could not possibly know it wasn’t working after just one date. Her frantic sonnets about his knit hat and how it fell over his brow. Her haikus about each beautiful curl on his head. His wife would never appreciate him with that level of detail: she didn’t deserve Greg.

All that beauty, captured in words, now flew out to sea like a flock of birds. They landed peacefully on the waves. Her fingers twitched, thinking of what to say about that, about her urge to follow them.

But that would not be healthy. She could hear Dr. Moore tell her so.

So instead, she sighed once into the wind and mouthed the words as she returned to her car to find a way to move on, somehow, with her life minus her soul mate. “Goodbye, Greg.”

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, avail

 

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Writer Wednesdays – Mary L. Bell

Today, Writing Wicket interviews Mary L. Bell. Mary is a multi-published Christian author. She lives in North Carolina and enjoys fishing, reading, and ministering in song with her hubby at functions. Her books are about small-town romance, suspense, and mystery, influenced by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Mary Ball

I asked Mary:

Q. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Through talking with new writers, I think one problem is they believe they have to pay a boutique or vanity publisher to become a published author. That is not the case; many traditional publishers are small and accept queries. Nine years ago, I started the publishing journey and queried about fifty smaller publishers before I was offered a contract with Prism Book Group (now part of Pelican Book Group.)

Q. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Yes. Thanks to Google and Bing, writers can find information about any subject. Goggling a phrase like, “What does a sad person feel?” would give lots feedback to help a writer capture the emotion of a scene.

Q. Do you want each of your books to stand on its own (if you’re writing more than one, that is), or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I like each book to stand alone. In my Celestial Investigation series, the sisters have a part in each story but the series reads fine without the other books.

Q. What book(s) have you written?

Publisher: Pelican Book Group

Escape to Big Fork Lake

Redemption in Big Fork Lake

Sparks of Love

A Love Valley Christmas

Publisher: Forget Me Not Romance (A Division of Winged Publications)

Thanksgiving Secret

Rose Colored Christmas

Sunny’s Dream

Luna’s Treasure

Starr’s Promise

Publisher: Life Inspiring Books

Christmas at Angel Ranch

Postmarked Ever After

Moments with God’s Word

An Angel’s Burden (Co-written with Blake Leonard)

The most recent release is Asheville Hearts, published by Dancing with Bear Christian Publishing

Q. What are you working on now?

Awaken the Past is a novella, which is part of Forget Me Not heroine in danger suspense set to release before summer. My work-in-progress titled A Special Christmas is part of the Romancing the Christmas Angel boxed set for the holiday.

For more information on Mary, check out her blog and other links:

Face Book-https://www.facebook.com/gracefulbooks

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Mary-L-Ball/e/B007O97Y0E

Website/blog- http://www.marylball.com

Twitter- https://twitter.com/inspires4mary

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

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Wolves Don’t Knock – an excerpt

Wolves Don't Knock FINAL PRINT COVER

An excerpt:

Light flooded the closet. He hauled her into the room, where the glaring overhead bulb blinded her and weakness threatened to buckle her legs. When he let go of her arm, she collapsed, and he wound a chain around her right ankle.

“What are you doing? Why are you doing this?”

Except for thick, raspy breathing, he remained silent.

“Please let me go. Please. I won’t tell. Just let me go. I’ll disappear, and no one will ever know.” Tears shed in the closet had dried stiffly on her T-shirt and jacket. She was soggy between her legs. She cringed, realizing her bladder had let loose. Was she leaking blood, too? Had he seen?

He read her mind. “You’ll be able to get to the bathroom but nowhere else. And no tricks or I’ll stick you back in the closet and throw away the key.”

She glanced around the room. A closet and a tiny window. A bed.

“I need to go now. To the bathroom.”

He pointed to the doorway.

Shackled like a criminal, she managed to stand. She held out her arms, silently begging him to untie her.

“No funny business,” he mumbled, removing the rope.

She stumbled into the hall and slipped into the nearest room, which happened to be the bathroom. She shoved the warped door against its frame, unable to close it completely because of the chain, and completed her business.

Three rolls of toilet paper sat on the shelf over the toilet, and she stuck a roll under her T-shirt, in her armpit.

Infused with newfound strength, she returned to the bedroom. “What are you doing?” She could handle this. She could talk her way out of this stranger’s clutches, having wheedled her way out of awkward situations with her parents.

He ignored her.

“Please let me go. I promise not to tell.” She held her left arm stiffly at her side to keep the toilet paper in place.

He mutely stared.

“Please.” She clenched her hands, her unkempt nails digging into her palms. “Who are you?”

“Paul Wolf.”

“Wolf?” Was that a joke? “What do you mean?” She had never heard of anyone with that last name. Or was it Wolf with an “e”? His name must be spelled with an “e” to distinguish it from the animal, wouldn’t it? Then again, wasn’t he an animal?

“I’m Paul Wolfe. That’s all you need to know. And don’t even think of escaping.” A yellow-nailed finger jabbed into her face. “I’ll kill your parents if you even think about running. I’ll get even. Even…” His eyes glazed until he shook himself out of an apparent stupor and glared at her.

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WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available on Amazon, print or e-book. Also available from the author.

 

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Writer Wednesdays – Tom Robson

This week, Writing Wicket is showcasing Tom Robson.

Tom says this about himself:

Eighty-two and still writing. And most of it makes sense. Not bad for an only child raised in World War Two.

Sixty years ago last week I started a teaching career in Jane Austen country in England. I learned nothing from this, even after just two years of training. The two years prior to that had given me more useful, never to be forgotten life experiences at sea.

My formal schooling had me writing as notetaker and regurgitator, in essays and exams, of what had been taught. Creativity was ignored in favour of facts, grammatical accuracy, correct spelling, and good penmanship. Writing was a chore. Reading was the escape. History was the adventure, and mysteries always had a solution.

The year before I got married, I lived and studied in Liverpool. Another unforgettable experience with the “living” outweighing the value of the study.

Not wishing to remain as a teacher where I had grown up, I quit teaching at thirty to work with delinquents removed from their homes for custodial reform. After five years in suburban Surrey, I was recruited to do the same work in Quebec. My wife welcomed the move. Our three children offered no opinion but loved the snow of the 1971-2 winter.

In much of these ten years, I was involved in writing and editing detailed reports, assessments, and recommendations on the needs of the non-conforming clientele. The ladies of the typing pool were editors par excellence. I did a lot of specialist writing where some histories were more incredible than fiction.

As I burnt out at work, my marriage disintegrated and I returned to the classroom and a second forty-plus-year marriage. Somewhere in those years I completed another three years of study. The degrees that the British system, at eleven-plus, said I might get and at sixteen determined I was not competent to achieve, was wrong—again.

I thrived as a student and teacher when we moved to Nova Scotia in 1979. Children were encouraged to express themselves—even in writing. Ideas were welcome, and the errors and omissions could be fixed later. Even the teacher enjoyed writing, and I began to do so for the sheer satisfaction, at age forty-five.

My wife tolerated this foible. My new daughter loved her father’s stories. My grade six’s (well, the girls anyway) enjoyed and learned the story-writing process and performed in plays I’d written. They weren’t as proud as me when I won the WFNS award for writing for children for a novel. Motivation—a class of demanding pre-teen girls expecting the next chapter read to them each Monday. I kept pace for ten Mondays and my ego followed their demand that I submit “Am I Dreaming” for competition and publication.

After my grade six teaching days and into retirement, I continued to write and to run early-writer workshops. My own writing was for my enjoyment until I joined the Evergreen Writers Group. I had a receptive audience that wasn’t my wife. They pooled their ideas and skills on publication. My writing could “go” somewhere. Short stories fitted into two anthologies we published. I collected autobiographical and family tales into a patchwork memoir titled Written While I Still Remember, some thirty stories and poems long.

And then my ego rose above itself. How many writers believe that somewhere inside their creative souls is a novel waiting to be written? I reached my eightieth year, convinced that my novel had to be written now, before time betrayed it. My reading tastes indicated I favoured history or mystery. My character has no tolerance for the amount of research a book in either genre demands.

Then my inflated ego heard someone say that a short story I shared could be the first chapter of a romantic novel. And so it became, but the plot was reaching for infinity and had to be curtailed. The ego believed there was a compensatory sequel. This writer knows he should have reached for a better, more conclusive ending because the sequel is a struggle at eighty-two.

Tom for web

Q: What’s the most you’ve ever edited out of a book?

A: Before I had a chance to submit my prizewinning teen novel, Am I Dreaming, to publishers, it needed a rewrite. The fickleness of my target audience had turned the adored, real-life pop singer into one of the most despised has-beens in a matter of months. Rewrite one had to create a generic boy-band to replace the actual original and provide a new, anonymous romantic target.

Rewrite two had to change the venue of the concert to which the heroine had won tickets (plus a hotel stay) from the Montreal Forum after it closed. I had to do quick research and relocate much of the action to the Bell Centre. Rewrite three never happened. The cellular phone radically altered teenage and other telephone communication, even before texting, etc. Reading the twice-revised novel from 1990 dates it even after the 1995 revisions.

Q: What motivates you (either in writing or otherwise)?

A: I could make up reasons why I write. Somehow it is connected to the extreme shyness and chronic embarrassment, plus the difficulty with stringing two oral sentences together, as a young teen. For me, it’s no oversimplification when I say I write because I enjoy it. Specifically, I love using words and stringing long, convoluted sentences together and making them work.

Q: Are you ever upset when you’ve finished a story, that your characters have said all they’re going to say?

A: I’m still upset that I got tired of Wait and See and did not develop the story lines, relationships, and characters more.

Now and then I feel I’d like to write another short story featuring some character I created. Too many of my pieces are about real people or family. I reminisce too much and don’t invent people to populate my stories and create fiction.

Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

A: I am too aware of my limitations as a writer to believe I could ever write like someone whose work I’ve read and admired. Having said that, I believe I have a writer’s voice which is distinctive and was acquired through reading osmosis. There are writers of history and mystery I envy. I admire those who had to write in quill or even fountain pen and ink. Knowledge of these tools retires with my generation. Computers simplify the writing process so the focus is on the words and ideas, not the mechanics of ‘scribbling.’

I felt cheated today upon hearing that a famous, past author had the privilege of dictating his words in the days before this was the norm, the days when a writer wrote. Not fair!

Being aware of the toils and tribulations of pre-typewriter novelists compared with the expensive team approach of researchers and editors and advisers and gofers and problem solvers and sub-editors employed by generic best sellers, I want to redefine writing but wouldn’t know where to start.

Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

A: Historical figures that feature in fact or fiction need a full accounting of their actions, attitudes, and behaviours. Such is seldom available, the truth being distorted by gossip, inadequate recording, political or class bias, envy, and blatant lies designed to discredit. Having said this, the task is nigh impossible.

All a writer can do is tell both sides of a historical figure’s story and not use inflammatory terminology. What is essential is that actions, especially those being condemned, are told in the light of conditions and beliefs of the age.

Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

A: Don’t know what an avatar is or a spirit animal. My knowledge base is not expanding. Mascots bring you luck and/or good fortune. At my age? I’ll go with the Liver bird. May I live long enough and write well enough to see it flap its wings.

Q: Do you ever have trouble coming up with a title for your books?

A: I change titles often during or after writing or editing but finding one that suits me and the story is seldom a problem. I have fun with chapter headings (see Wait and See).

Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

A: I write for me and I give good, if biased, reviews. Most reviewers haven’t a clue what went on between the book and the writer’s life.

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A: Occasionally, I give a name to an obnoxious character of someone who “did me wrong.” Exaggeration of happenings and my role in them will remain a secret.

Q: What was the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

A: I imagined my mother’s day of moving from the house my father had set up for her before he died. I had long avoided this emotional story that begged to be told because her only “child”—me—had abandoned her while she was still mourning. At 59, without a husband, and her son and grandchildren moving to Canada, she moved to be near her sisters. I imagined that final farewell to the house, its memories, and ghosts in “Kitchen Window Memories.” I can’t re-read it without crying.

Q: Have you set goals?

A: Hoping for more time and more inspiration for stories, essays, or poems.

Q: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

A: I think that everything I write is worth someone, other than me, reading it. This egotistical belief covers an insecurity that has struggled to find consistent success in life. I feel I am a successful writer because I have written and shared and been applauded. I am also more successful elsewhere than my insecure personage allows. I believe my exploration by writing has boosted my ego and made me more content.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

A: I haven’t done that for about ten years. I may do it when I’ve finished this.

Q: When you were growing up, did you ever expect to be a writer?

A: How my generation ever produced writers, given the prevailing education system of chalk, talk, learn, and regurgitate, is a mystery. I loved reading stories. There was no connection in my mind between these creations and me trying to do the same. First class Monday morning, age eleven: “In one hour, write a story on one of the six topics on the blackboard.” Not always said, but generally implied, were the words: “Remember good grammar, correct spelling, and neatness are important.” Further intimidation came later in the week when red-illuminated essays, blessed with an arbitrary grade, would be returned to you. There was seldom praise for ideas or content. I never had any because I was so obsessed with making my Godawful penmanship legible and fearful of misspellings.

Q: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

A: I am the writer that I am at an age where change is resisted and bad habits ingrained. What would I give up for miracles to occur? Can’t play that game if you don’t believe in miracles.

Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?

A: I’ve been angry and frustrated at the actions of a character I’ve created. Only what’s happened to real people that I’ve told tales about has brought tears to my eyes on occasions.

 Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

A: “Have you ever thought of how much enjoyment this person had in writing the story or book you’ve just devoured? Why don’t you use that imagination and try it?” Nobody ever connected the process to the product for me.

Q: Is there a genre you wish you could write that you can’t?

A: I am an impatient writer who is too lazy to undertake research. Thus, although I enjoy historical fiction, which takes me happily off at all sorts of factual tangents, I could never write it. I envy Ken Follett, Edward Rutherfurd, Margaret MacMillan, and Simon Winchester but would need to borrow one of their production teams to write in this genre.

Same applies to mysteries. Detailed and accurate research is essential, but beyond me. Pity!

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A: The thirty pieces in my patchwork memoir, Written While I Still Remember, were written over more than thirty years. Assembling, rewriting, editing, and revisions occupied another year. My teen novel, before the revisions and rewrites, took about seven months. Starting an adult novel in your eightieth year encourages speedwriting, which produces a hurried text that needed time to marinate, develop, and conclude. This too-short novel took only a year. I had time to nurture it longer, but I quit on it.

Q: What books have you self-published?

A: This is a literary secret that needs revealing. In the spring of 1956, the first lieutenant of H.M.S. Concord of the Queens Far East Fleet ordered me to assemble and produce a book detailing the activities, exploits, and journeys of the destroyer Concord and its crew, for the current, eighteen-month commission.

With a lot of help, especially from the Hong Kong Chinese publishers, some four hundred copies appeared before we went our separate ways in June. If you think my sentence structure, spelling, and editing skills are weak now, you should have seen me as a nineteen-year-old editor and compiler. Somehow the 53,000 mile voyage ranging between Fremantle and Yokohama, with myriad stops and situations along the way, was recorded. I have a closely guarded copy, now in its sixty-second year.

Also, check out these books:

Out of the Mist, a publication of the Evergreen Writers Group, has three of my pieces in it. (Published by Stone Cellar Publications, 2014)

Off Highway, the second collection of works by the Evergreen Writers Group, has two stories and a poem of mine on its pages. (Stone Cellar Publications, 2017)

Written While I Still Remember: A Patchwork Memoir. (MacKenzie Publishing, 2014)

Wait and See. A story of a romance and its effects on those related. (MacKenzie Publishing, 2017)

Visit Tom’s blog, Robson’s Writings.

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other local retailers.

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Writer Wednesdays

I’ve started a new feature on my blog. Every Wednesday, I plan to showcase one indie author. I’ve sent invites to my writer friends, and thus far, I’ve had a great response.

Of course, this is, I suppose, mostly self-gratuitous as I’m trying to promote my book, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK. But in the process, the authors who participate will be promoting their works, as well. And every little bit of advertising helps, right?

I’m doing this on a first-come, first-served basis. Wednesdays are booked for the next several weeks, but I don’t want “empty” Wednesdays while I wait for people to return the questions/answers, so I’m offering this to subscribers of my blog, too.

If you’d like to participate in “Writer Wednesdays,” send me an email (writingwicket at gmail.com) that you are interested. I will then forward you a list of questions to answer. Return them, along with a photo of yourself and a short bio, and voila! you’ll rate a spot on a future Wednesday. The only “catch” is that you must be a subscriber to my blog, which is a small price to “pay,” right?

I won’t have time to personally let everyone know the date of their interview, but since you, as a subscriber, receive an email every time I post to my site, you’ll see your interview when it appears. Thursdays are designated for The Spot Writers (an online, flash fiction group I belong to–free fiction!!!), and I might post one other day a week. With Writer Wednesdays, that makes, maybe, three posts a week. But the “delete” button is handy if you wish to ignore an email.

If you are reading this post and aren’t a subscriber, please subscribe. And if you want to be featured on a future Wednesday, email me at “writingwicket (at) gmail.com”.  I will  reply with the questions to be answered.

Happy Writer Wednesdays!

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other retailers.

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The Laker! I’m “famous”!!!

Well, duh! I guess I could have been “famous” had I not sent this post to “draft” rather than “publish.” It should have published August 13. Oh well, old news can still be good news, right? So, pretend it’s August 13. Here you go…

 

I was interviewed a while back regarding my first novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, and the article appeared in The Laker on August 8. I just got wind of it today. The article is also going to be published in the Lunenburg paper. My novel is set in Lower Sackville and Halifax, with scenes in Lunenburg and Peggys Cove. All in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Here is the link to the paper, The Laker

I was able to copy the article:

WINDSOR JUNCTION: Cathy MacKenzie can check writing a novel off her bucket list.

The author, who lives in Fall River Village near Windsor Junction, has just penned and published her first-ever novel, “Wolves Don’t Knock.”

MacKenzie has written more than 250 short stories and lots of poetry, but never a novel. Until now. It had always been a dream of hers to have one published. The writing began in 2014.

“It evolved from short stories into a novel,” said MacKenzie. “It kept going up and up for the word counts, so it’s a full fledged novel now.

“It was always my dream to write a novel, but I never thought I would do it. Now that it’s done, I’m pretty amazed.”

Wolves Don’t Knock takes place at locations across the province, including Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, Halifax and Lower Sackville.

It tells the story of 16-year-old Miranda who escapes from her abductor and the wolves that have tormented her soul for six long years. She returns to her childhood home where her mother, Sharon, caring for Miranda’s son, Kevin, has feared for her daughter’s fate. Uncertainty and distrust taint the first year after Miranda’s return.

Miranda and Sharon hide secrets they dare not reveal while constantly wondering when Miranda’s kidnapper will reappear. Can mother and daughter bury their demons and repair their strained relationship? Can Miranda bond with the baby she never knew and find the love she so desperately wants? Will Kevin’s father play a role? Will Sharon find the answers she needs to recover from her own troubled past?

Although Wolves Don’t Knock, which was released in July, deals with sensitive issues, there are no graphic sexual scenes, said MacKenzie.

“For the year that Miranda is back home, both she and her mom are looking over their shoulders wondering when the kidnapper will appear as he has yet to be caught,” explained MacKenzie.

The novel has had some readers not be able to put it down because of how suspenseful it is.

She said so far everyone she has talked to has liked it.

Cathy in the Laker

“I’ve had really good reviews of it on Amazon,” said MacKenzie.

MacKenzie said the two short stories she wrote made the novel become what it is.

“It sort of just wrote itself,” she said. “I just sat at the computer and the words just seemed to come.”

Wolves Don’t Knock is available through Amazon.ca, through MacKenzie locally by email at writingwicket@gmail.com and MacKenzie hopes it will soon be at stores like Chapters and Indigo. They’re $15 each from her.

***

My photo is hideous, as all my photos are. But I didn’t argue with the interviewer. If I’m promoting my book, I have to promote myself, too, right? GAH! And if I’m trying to promote my book, I guess I should hit “publish” instead of “draft.”

Still can’t believe I did that!

If you’re interested in my book, contact me through here. Or check it out on Amazon.

 

Wolves Don't Knock FINAL PRINT COVER

 

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The Spot Writers – “Wolves Don’t Knock,” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s theme is “monster,” to be interpreted in any way. Today’s post comes from Cathy MacKenzie, who is hard at work finishing her first (and only) novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK. The following is an unedited excerpt from Chapter 3 of the book.

WOLVES DON’T KNOCK: Expected publication date: November 1, 2017.

***

Miranda carefully shut the door behind her. She must not disturb Paul.

Despite wanting to flee far away from the cabin as quickly as possible, she paused to inhale great gulps of crisp woodland smells. The fresh scent of pinecones brought forth memories of Christmas. She exhaled, watching her breath spiral like smoke from a chimney and then vanish.

The wood pile, overflowing with logs for the stove, looked smaller surrounded by clusters of snow that remained after the milder temperature the previous day. Trees around the property, taller and thinner, appeared eerie in the dim light. Paul’s battered pickup truck sat by the cabin. Why hadn’t she snatched the keys?

Paul allowed her outdoors every few days, when he freed her from the chains, but she knew better than do anything foolish. She couldn’t jeopardize the little freedom he gave her. She relished those times—and others in the cabin—when she felt free, for her captivity could have been much worse.

Had it been that long since she had been outdoors, or had the chill changed the surroundings? Everything once green looked dried-up dead. Most of the snow had melted or Paul would be able to track her footprints.

The moon hovered, illuminating her path to freedom—if she could find the path.

The shed! She must investigate the shed.

Owooooo!

She froze. Had he woken? Was he after her? The wolf? More than one?

The shed forgotten, she raced through the woods until she couldn’t run any longer. Gasping, she leaned against a tree in a vain attempt to fade into the blackness and ignore sets of eyes that watched from behind every object.

Shivering, she jerked the threadbare sweater around her chest, her hands resting across her stomach. Her baby. Kevin would be—what? Five? Six? Seven? She shook her head. She could ponder later.

Where was the road?

She glanced around. Too many paths. Which way? And where would they lead?

She shuddered and swiped her hand under her runny nose. She didn’t know the time when she escaped, but it had been closer to morning than midnight. How long had she been outside? Three hours? Four? Frostbite worried her. The night had grown colder. The nubby wool sweater with its overstretched sleeves hanging below her hands didn’t afford much protection, but she had seized the chance when it arrived, not wasting time searching for proper clothing. Thankfully, despite wearing sneakers, her feet were dry. Nothing was more uncomfortable than wet feet. Not that comfort concerned her. She was elated to be out. To be free.

Ahhh wooo!

She jumped at the sudden sound. An animal? Wolves?

Not Paul. Paul the animal would have pounced long ago.

The cold, dank night seemed never ending. Eyes tailed her, glowing in the dark. Lights, white and yellow.

Inch by inch, the moon disappeared, allowing the sun to rise. Cousins trading places. Light overtaking dark. Monsters soon to be revealed for what they were.

Tree limbs lay on the crusty snow. A miracle she hadn’t tripped over them. She discovered a strength she thought lost and sprinted from one tree to the next like a rabid rabbit running from a wicked wolf. She would run for a few minutes, take shelter behind a tree, peer around to ensure the coast was clear, and flee to another tree.

Eventually, she would reach a road and find people. She had to believe that; she had believed that for the previous few hours.

While she mumbled prayers, Paul’s words rattled in her mind. “I’m Paul Wolf. That’s all you need to know.” She would never forget those first words out of his mouth and ones that followed about death to loved ones if she tried to escape. She hadn’t wanted to endure more death. The death of her father had been horrid enough, but selfishly she was relieved he was gone—if one believed, to a better place—because he would be ashamed of her.

Paul had moulded her the way he wanted, but she kept enough of herself intact. She endured pain at his hands but learned to co-exist, and thoughts of escape faded while endless days merged into endless weeks and weeks into nameless months. How long had it been? How many years?

When she had been home, before being taken, the odd news reports broadcasted abductions, and rarely had results been good. Paul ensured she had food and allowed her input into the grocery list. At the beginning, he regularly forced himself on her but those incidents gradually lessened. The more he ignored her, the nuttier and crazier he became. Had she turned into a nutcase as well?

Days had been so foggy she wondered if she would ever see clearly. And nights were worse when wolves surrounded her, chased her, howled. Ahhhh woooooooo!

She patted her pocket, which gave her comfort. The photograph she kept hidden. Paul had never found it.

When she glimpsed a road between the trees, she stopped to catch her breath. At the sound of a vehicle, she slipped behind a pockmarked pine and watched the car zoom by. Her stomach sunk.

No, all was okay. She would wait for the next car. The sun had fully risen, and she would see a vehicle in the distance and discern if it was Paul. If not, she would chance that, if he followed, he would be on foot, but she prayed he remained passed out on the floor. Time was running out. The cold would kill her if he didn’t. She must flag down the next vehicle. If he wasn’t already after her, he would soon be waking, and she had to be far away before then.

Minutes passed. Or was it hours? Snowflakes swirled. She stopped, sticking out her tongue to catch them. She hadn’t realized how dry her mouth was.

A vehicle! She dashed into the road, flailing her arms like a crazy person. The driver might run her down, thinking she was a crazed individual, or the driver could be Paul. Either way, she would be dead, but she had to chance it.

 

Wolves front cover FINAL

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Dorothy Colinco. http://www.dorothycolinco.com

CaraMarie Christy: https://calamariwriting.wordpress.com/

 

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The Spot Writers – “No Phone Restaurant” by RC Bonitz

Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s contribution comes from RC Bonitz, author of DANGEROUS DECISIONS and the recently released ONLY EMMA. The prompt for this month is “No Phone Restaurant.”

 

          NO PHONE RESTAURANT

Annie stared down at the blank screen on her smart phone. Of all the bloody times for the battery to die. She’d read only part of the text before it faded from view. Something about him enjoying their conversation at Pippa’s party last night and would she like to meet him for lunch. But where- she didn’t catch that.

Scott, his last name was Hansen wasn’t it? The sweetest guy with the biggest smile she’d ever seen. She’d been talking to Pippa when he appeared out of the blue and introduced himself and that was it. They must have talked for two hours. She looked around, searching for a pay phone, then remembered the name of the silly restaurant, the No Phone House. She wasn’t even supposed to be looking at her cell phone. She sighed. What did it matter. She didn’t know Scott’s number anyway.

Annie glanced at her watch. 12:28. She’d already eaten and it was probably too late to meet him. The best thing was to get home and charge her phone and read his message carefully. She downed the last of her coffee, touched a napkin to her lips, and pushed back her chair.

“Hey, where you going?”

Annie turned to see one handsome hunk of man beside her table. Blonde, tanned, muscles everywhere, and that great big smile from the night before. She gasped and cried, “Scott, hi.”, her voice way too shrill and shaky.

“Had your lunch already?”

“Um, yes, but I could manage a cup of soup or a salad.”

He pulled up a chair and sat down. “I texted you but you didn’t answer.”

“My phone died.”

He grinned. “Lucky thing I picked this restaurant then.”

“This was where you wanted to meet?”

“You betcha. I figured I’d stop by, just in case.”

“Oh.”

He reached out and gently touched her arm. “I’m damn glad I did.”

 ***

The Spot Writers- our members

 RC Bonitz

rcbonitz.com

 Val Muller

http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

 Catherine A. MacKenzie

https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Tom Robson

https://robsonswritings.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spot Writers – “Bad Table Manners,” by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to use three of the following six words in a story: dreamy, tender, boss, week, lamp, table. This week’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie, who doesn’t normally write romance, but the prompt shouts “romance.”

Give Cathy’s new Facebook page, “Granny MacKenzie’s Children’s Books,” a “like” and a comment perhaps?   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Granny-MacKenzies-Childrens-Books/482398755246309

Bad Table Manners

Clint had always been the most handsome man Stacey had ever seen, and his outgoing and empathetic personality complemented his looks. She watched while he flicked hair from his forehead and adjusted his shirt over his lean frame before he sat at the bar. Her husband, Steve, would go ballistic knowing she coveted his good friend. Steve’s temper flared enough without her help.

Stacey sighed. “Come on, let’s go. Nothing much going on here.”

Carol glanced at her friend. “What do you mean? There’s lots going on here.”

“Nah, it’s boring. I’m bored.” If Stacey were single like Carol, she’d be clamouring to stay at the Thistle Downe Pub, which had been one of her favourite places before her marriage.

“It’s Clint, isn’t it?” Carol asked.

Stacey’s eyes darted in Clint’s direction before flashing at Carol. “You see right through me, don’t you?”

“Leave Steve. You’re not happy. Neither of you is happy, truth be known.”

Stacey snickered. “Steve is. He has the best of both worlds—single and married.”

“My point exactly. It’s time for you to make the break.”

“Yeah, I know. Just not sure if I’m ready for that giant jump into the wild blue yonder.”

Carol laughed. “You have such a way with words, even when you’re almost in tears.”

“Ha, ha, ha.”

“Clint likes you. He always has.”

“Carol, get real. He’s still Steve’s friend. Besides, I had my chance with Clint and I blew it.”

“You didn’t blow it. Clint blew it. He didn’t want to commit, remember? So you settled on Steve.”

“I didn’t really settle. I truly thought I was in love with Steve.”

“He’d be on your side. He’d de-friend Steve if you said the word.”

“Clint has no interest in me anymore. Maybe it’s you he’s interested in. He bought you a drink, didn’t he?” Stacey picked up Carol’s wine glass and clacked it to the table.

“He bought you a drink, too.” Carol clinked her glass against Stacey’s. “And for the record, I’m not interested in Clint, and he’s definitely not interested in me. I know that for a fact.”

Stacey examined Clint again. He truly was dreamy. Most men didn’t possess more than one or two good attributes—at least that was her experience. Her marriage and past relationships had never lived up to her expectations. In retrospect, she should have given Clint more time.

But what was she thinking? Carol was right; Clint had never wanted to commit. Had three years changed him? Was he ready to settle down?

Stacey had dated Clint for a few months after she and Steve, early in their relationship, had temporarily broken up. Perhaps it was Steve’s bad-boy reputation that had reeled her back or perhaps she hadn’t wanted to be alone. Would she have married Clint instead had he asked? Could she have been happily married to Clint for the past three years instead of unhappily married to Steve?

She wondered for the umpteenth time if Steve had proposed to knock Clint out of the picture. Clint had been annoyed when they announced their engagement and, although Clint had been Steve’s best man, he had avoided both Steve and her for a good year after the wedding. She hadn’t noticed Clint’s absence at first since Steve had always had a ready excuse as to Clint’s whereabouts, but she soon questioned it. Gradually, Clint resurfaced but the tension was unmistakeable.

Had Steve ever, really and truly, loved her? Did Clint love her? Did she still love Clint? She thought she had back then, but never received the same vibes back from him. She shrugged, tired of asking herself questions she couldn’t answer. The past was the past; the present was now, and the future lay before her. And she wanted a better future.

She silently thanked God she hadn’t conceived since it was just a matter of time until she left Steve. Perhaps tomorrow. Or the following week. Or next month.

Perhaps tonight?

Where was her gumption? She should have left long ago when Steve’s philandering became public knowledge among their friends.

She’d have to sit down, ponder her future, plot her revenge. What could she do to her husband? Retaliate with her own affairs? Slash his clothing and toss them out the apartment window? Sprinkle a poisonous powder in his coffee? Substitute toxic pills for his vitamins?

She sighed and downed her wine, slamming the glass too hard on the table, startling even herself.

Carol nudged Stacey. “I spy with my little eyes. Poof!” She raised her hands from her lap to table-height. “I see a man. The one in the blue shirt. Do you see him?” She pointed to the far side of the room.

“Yeah, I see him. With my little eyes.”

“What do you think?”

“He’s okay, I guess.”

“Okay? He’s more than okay. He’s a hunk.”

Stacey didn’t feel like arguing. “Yep, you’re right. You gonna ask him to dance?”

“I might.” While Carol watched the stranger, Stacey watched Clint, who still sat at the bar alone.

Carol elbowed Stacey and whispered, “He’s coming our way.”

“Hello, ladies.” The man’s eyes darted first to Stacey, then to Carol, and then back to Stacey. He motioned to Stacey’s drink, ignoring Carol’s empty glass. “Can I get you a refill?”

Carol’s smile disappeared.

“Sure. White wine. Oh, and my friend needs another, too,” Stacey said.

As if it was a chore, the stranger glanced at Carol before looking at her glass. “Yeah, okay. Be right back.”

“Red for me,” Carol said.

The man glared at her and then swaggered to the bar. The two women snickered.

“Can’t believe you did that,” Carol said.

“He’s a loser,” Stacey said. “Losers should pay. Besides, though he may be handsome, he’s obviously dumb and lacking in personality. Unlike Clint. And he thinks he’s king shit.”

Carol laughed. “Ah, so you’ve finally clued in about Clint. Divorce Steve. Marry Clint.”

“Carol! Who says he wants to marry me? Who says he’s even interested in me?”

“Oh, you know darn well he is.”

Their conversation stopped when the man returned with two drinks.

“I’m John. John Brown.” He nodded at Stacey. “And you are?”

“Stacey. Stacey Jones.”

“I’m Carol. Carol Smith.” Carol covered her mouth. Stacey knew Carol was trying not to laugh.

John, oblivious to the women’s joking, pulled out a chair beside Stacey. “Nice to meet you both.”

He leaned in to Stacy. “I saw you eyeing me.”

Stacey had just taken a sip of wine and, at his comment, sprayed it toward him. He seemed oblivious. “I wasn’t eyeing you. I think that was Carol.”

John glanced at Carol before returning to gaze at Stacey. He patted her hand. “I could have sworn it was you.”

Stacey removed her hand from the table. “No, I’m married. And my vows are important to me.”

John sighed. “Who cares about vows anymore? Marriage is passé. He turned to focus his attention on Carol. “What about you, Cathy?”

Carol’s face reddened. “My name is Carol.”

“You married, Cathy?”

“Divorced. And my name is Carol.”

“Imagine that. So am I. Divorced, I mean. My name’s John.” He grinned, baring perfect, pearly-whites. “We’ll make a good match then.”

Carol was saved from further conversation when Clint appeared.

“Everything okay?” Clint glanced at one woman and then the next.

“I think John here was just about to leave,” Stacey said. “Unless Carol wants him to stay?” Carol’s face flushed, and Stacey immediately regretted her words. She opened her mouth to apologize but Clint interrupted.

“Carol?”

“Sorry, John Brown, I’m tired. I’m going home. Alone.”

“I’ll take you both home,” Clint said.

The three watched John slink away. Clint helped Stacey from her chair and linked his arm into hers. “You okay?”

Stacey grinned. “I’m fine. What a louse, but aren’t all men like that at closing time?”

Carol giggled. “All except for Clint, of course.”

Clint laughed. “Yeah, I’m a perfect man though a little slow.” He gazed at Stacey. “About three years too slow.”

Carol slung her purse over her shoulder. “I have my car, Clint. I’ll see you both later. Behave, the two of you.”

Stacey feigned embarrassment. “Carol! The nerve of you.”

“Tit for tat,” Carol said.

“Not sure about the tit for tat, but Carol’s right about one thing,” Clint said. “But before we misbehave, we need to talk.”

Carol winked at Stacey before vanishing out the door.

***

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

RC Bonitzhttp://www.rcbonitz.com

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenziehttps://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Deborah Marie Dera:  www.deborahdera.com

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The Spot Writers

This week’s post comes to us from Cathy MacKenzie, who writes short stories and poems. The current theme for The Spot Writers is to begin a short story with these four sentences:  “This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.”

Her new book, Between These Pages (over 60,000 words compiling 18 of her most recent short stories of varied genres), is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. $2.99 for the e-book; $10.00 for the print book. The kindle version for $2.99 can be found on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Between-These-Pages-ebook/dp/B00DP3RDOA/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374948755&sr=1-6

You can view all of her e-books on Smashwords at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/camack.

***

The End

 This is it. So very simple actually. Just the end. And no one can prevent it.

When I see the storm clouds, I run. As quickly as I can. But I can’t run faster than the rain, which pelts me like shards of glass. My flesh feels like it’s being punctured, but no matter how piercing the drops, they won’t cut into my skin. Another attack—more deadly than rain—might succeed, for nothing can be deadlier than black storm clouds chasing me down a dark alley.

The buildings loom alongside me. I almost feel smothered, and I would be, were they real, but they’re just inhumane chunks of concrete and strips of mortar and rising steel—inanimate objects—nothing that can actually crush the life out of me, unless, of course, the structures collapse upon me. But that isn’t happening. No, it’s the human factor in the equation I worry about, not the dismal grey surroundings.

I envision airplanes from World War II hovering over me, like when I was young and standing in the flowing fields, my face upturned to the sky, awestruck by the thundering steel birds breaking through the clouds. Menacing. War is like that—horrific. Yet, when it’s over, it’s done. And relief pervades. People relax. Somewhat.

I want this war to be over. When will he leave me alone? He is my war. I have no enemies except for him. I want no enemies. Life is within my grasp, breaths with which to flourish and eyes to wonder.

Yet, continual life is unattainable with him in existence. He prevents me from being me. From living and dying. Yes, even dying. Dying at will. Dying at my time, not his.

This is his time—or so he thinks. But he doesn’t know my stamina. I can live forever if I so desire. As much as he thinks he knows me, he doesn’t know me at all.

I hear the planes again and I’m transported back to 1944 when I was a toddler, uncomprehending and staring at the monsters above me. Many more years passed before I understood how complicated life is and how I may never understand men and women. How I may never understand life—nor death.

Death. That’s his aim. To kill me. I know that. Does he think it’s as easy to kill me as a mockingbird? I’m fearless. I can beat him. Like The Amazing Race, I’ll outwit and outrun him to the finish, intact and whole.

I sense him behind me, even though I don’t see. I want to see, but I can’t. Not with dark descending and overtaking light. Light can’t exist without dark, for what is light if dark isn’t there to obscure it? What is life if there’s no death? What is happiness without sorrow?

Despite my happiness, I’m clothed in sorrow, like at Halloween when masqueraders don their masks of deceit and hide from the world. But it’s not October. It’s still summer and the heat and chill fall upon me, trying to smother me as much as he wants to quash me.

I’m stronger than you, I want to shout, but I don’t, otherwise I’d give myself away. I hide behind one of the formidable pillars and I thank the architect for his unusual design. For surely it’s a man, right? It’s always a man.

He’s still here. He still chases me. I’m not as strong as I had thought. I used to be stronger. Age does that. Life overtakes you, swallows you whole, spits you out in pieces. You can’t win, no matter what you do.

***

The Spot Writers- our members:

RC Bonitz
http://www.rcbonitz.com

Val Muller
http://www.valmuller.com/blog

Catherine A. MacKenzie
https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Deborah Dera
http://www.deborahdera.com

 

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