Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Empty Bench...A Short Story

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 The Weekly Photo Prompt

 This week's entry is a little different from what I usually write. There's a brave contributor to this weekly process who has gone through some tough times of late. So, here's something for her.

If you'd like to write a story yourself, here are the rules:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up your story at these sites: Nicole, Carrie, or Leanne.   
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

Your mandatory words:

Day
Vowel
Stool
Spaceship
Calm

 Hope you like it.

The Empty Bench

There's an empty bench on a path in the wood where I go to remove myself from the world. It's a place of solitude, of quiet calm, of reflective space. 

Years ago I pictured the day when I would stroll with my daughter and we would find the empty bench. We would go in spring, summer, winter and in autumn with God's brilliance gently falling on our heads and shoulders and boots. 

I envisioned smiling as I watched her look at the world as only a child can, the wonder of a stick on a leaf-covered path, her curiosity in the way cats recoil when she touches its whiskers, and the way she would crawl under a kitchen stool and pretend to be locked inside a spaceship on its way to Mars.

In the wood we would walk and talk about bugs and gummy bears and discuss which of Santa's reindeer is the best, the vowel in Rudolf sounding more like Ru-duff would never get old.

We would go hand-in-hand until the empty bench invited us to sit. And sit we would as the crisp air of fall kissed our cheeks and dusted our noses with the teasing promise of snow.

But God had different plans. Instead of walking with me, my hand in hers, He would be there, a loving Father in heaven sharing His realm with her. They would take the walks I thought would be mine, sharing the smiles and the joys of wonder as she sees the universe as only a child can.

The pain I feel as I pass the bench remains temporary, a burden that one day will be lifted from my shoulders and released forever replaced with unimaginable love, love for me and the child I will know later. My heartache is my gift to God for allowing me to dream and wish and cry and live in the world he created for me. As I walk I notice that the bench remains empty...empty for now.

Word Count: 336

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Baker, California...


Ever Been To Baker, California? I have.

Before today I didn't know where Baker, California was, or if it existed at all. I passed the place a couple of times in my life, but I never stopped there. Today as we drove home, we stopped for gasoline and a quick Arby's lunch.

Did you know that in Baker stands the world's tallest thermometer? Nor did I. Question...can a structure that doesn't act as a thermometer be considered a thermometer? As we drove by, for the life of me I couldn't see if the thing actually worked.

According to the literature picked up at the before-mentioned Arby's, Baker was established in 1907. It is 60 miles northeast of Barstow and 90 miles southwest of Las Vegas. And it's better known as the Gateway To Death Valley. These things I did not know.

Farewell, Baker with your closed Bun Boy restaurant and Mad Greek industry complex. Until we meet again. Take care.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Magical...

Tonight I don't think I'm going to get home before midnight so I'm posting this blog entry from my phone. The day has been, in a word, magical. Good night and God bless from Disneyland. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Split Ends: A Little Background On A Short Story...


The following is my latest blog post on my author website. Our official book launch is on Halloween Day so I need to get the word out. If you'd like to access my author blogpost go: HERE.

From ScottWilliamTaylor.com

Halloween Day signals the release of Xchyler Publishing’s latest, Shades And Shadows, A Paranormal Anthology. One of the nine stories contained in the book is mine.

A little about my story, Split Ends. I’ve never written a paranormal story even though I find the subject fascinating. So when Xchyler announced the theme of paranormal for their next anthology, I started to think about what I could contribute to the project. I thought about relationships and that led me to what ultimately became Split Ends.

The story revolves around two people, people who have known each other for decades. It’s set in a beauty salon (something else I have little experience in…). Since I lack experience writing in the genre, I felt I couldn’t “out scare” or “out gore” the other submissions. I wanted my story to be different from the other short stories, and I was right.

Over the last month on my daily blog, ScottyWattyDoodleAllTheDay.Blogspot.com, I reviewed each of the stories in the book, except mine. My reviews were not extensive–I didn’t want to give away too many spoilers. I tried to give some honest opinions and flavor of each story. They’re all so different, so I suppose my tale fits right in.

If you’re interested in ghost stories that contain both the expected and unexpected, check out Shades And Shadows, A Paranormal Anthology. You can find the Amazon like to the book: HERE. I’d love to hear what you think out how it all turned out.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Can't Wait To Tell Her About...Oh, Yeah


Currently, we're on vacation, which has been a blast so far, but there's one thing that's happened on this trip that I never would have anticipated.

It's been many years since our family embarked on a vacation of this length. It's been so long, in fact, that my mom was with us the last time we were on vacation. What I mean to say is, she didn't accompany us on the vacation, but she was there when we returned.

What's happened to me this week that I didn't expect is that when we have done something cool on the vacation or seen something interesting, I keep thinking that I need to tell my mom about those cool things we've done or the interesting things we've seen.

And then I catch myself and remember that my mom's no longer with us so I can't talk to her and she won't be there when we get home, like she always was before.

It's been over six years since my mom passed and had she not, she would have turned 82 today. It used to happen a lot--I'd catch myself missing my mom, and then it kind of went away. This trip brought some of that back again. Happy birthday mom. Miss you.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kids On The Beach...


What is it about the beach, exactly, that captivates us? Why are we drawn to the sea, the rhythmic beat of water reaching land?


I certainly don't know, but I do know one thing. As much as we adults love the beach, kids love it even more. Today we were fortunate enough to reach the beach and my kids had a blast during the time we were there. My youngest had never before set foot on a beach or seen an ocean. He made the most of his first visit.


Here's a few pictures I took of my beautiful kids.





It was a great day.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Trolley Car!...A Short Video


Trolley Car!


I've seen them on TV and the movies all my life, nearly 50 years. Today I rode a San Francisco trolley car for the very first time.


Sure, it took a while for us to ride. That's fine to experience American history in person. Our family was the first to board so I got a seat in the front and took out the camera.


And thanks to Apple for updating iMovie (and adding several new movie trailer templates of which I cannot wait to try out...), I can bring you a new movie trailer. It's called Trolley Car! Enjoy!

video



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Humboldt County Line...A Short Story







Humboldt County Line

Steve saw the minivan and trailer with the flat tire pulled over by the side of the road. A sickening feeling in his gut intensified when a family of four people ran after seeing Steve's truck round the corner on the hot desert road. He knew why the family ran. He knew that if his truck broke down trying to keep his family alive, he would run too.

"Should we stop and help?" Steve's wife Kim asked, a benevolent pleading in her voice. He didn't answer; he didn't have to. Kim knew that stopping to help someone could get you killed, even if those you wanted to help looked as helpless as new-born kittens. Rumors that the tactics used by bandits were changing, evolving meant no one driving on the open roads was safe. Running away could be the latest ploy. You stop to help. They kill you. They take everything.

Steve watched as the family scattered trying to find sanctuary behind sagebrush too short to accomplish the deed. He guessed their trailer was full of food--just like Steve's trailer. Had not their home been compromised two days prior Steve, Kim, and their daughter would be hiding in their basement with enough food to outlive the deadly pandemic plaguing the country. Steve had studied just how travelers were murdered while trying to flee the populated areas, killed mostly for their provisions. He gained useful knowledge of the tricks that worked and those that didn't. He had to be prepared because he had food. He didn't want to leave, but when others found out about the food they'd spent years gathering, staying meant dying.

Since all the trucked in and shipped in food disappeared from the store shelves hours after news of the disease and its deadly properties hit the news, those with weapons controlled the new commerce. To survive Steve left Concord, California, their residence for the past seven years, and crammed as much food as possible into the family's trailer and headed east. He headed inland where populations thinned and where Steve's sister's family lived, just past the Humboldt County line in Nevada. God only knew if she and her family were alive, but he hoped. He'd know in a few short hours, just as long as no one blocked the vacant road, or shot out a tire as they flew by at 80 m.p.h.

"That poor family," Kim said. Steve glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw his daughter in the back seat, glad the eight-year old was sleeping. "I sure hope they can get where they need to go," he said.

Steve scanned the horizon, his eyes alive with fear. He thought of the scared family with the disabled trailer. He hoped no one found them before they could fix the tire. He thought of the father frantic to find the car jack as his wife stood at the edge of the road looking up and down both directions of I-80. If they were lucky, they'd fix the flat and be on their way. Of course, if they saw someone approach, they'd have to decide. Should they pray the person stopping was to help? Or should they leave the trailer and escape, giving up their own survival by transferring it to the hand of others? Steve pushed down the accelerator and the Ford screamed faster into the fading afternoon. Hopefully he wouldn't have to make that kind of decision any time soon.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Indian At Washington Square...


This afternoon I took a break from the 48-Hour Hold List (those with whom I work know what I'm talking about...) and walked over to Washington Square. I've taken dozens of pictures of the big building in the middle of the square (it's the Salt Lake City City-County Building...), but during this time of year, the beauty surrounds the building.

 

I entered the park from the northeast corner and I saw for the first time a statue of an indian, a statue I didn't know was there. It's an impressive work. It must stand 12 feet tall or taller. I tried getting some interesting shots, but it's difficult to capture the real feeling you get when you're standing in the park.


So, here's some of the shots I took today. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and check it out yourself.




Darn fly...


Pretty day at the square.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Tale Of Two Perspectives...

obamacare logo*

If there's one topic I do not cover on this blog it's politics. I've read that I could probably get more visitors and more traffic to my blog if I did get political, and especially if I chose a side and with passion, expressed my opinion. But then there's the as passionate responses from the other side of the argument chiming in. I never wanted this blog to have that feel. It's not its purpose.

So, that's not what I'm going to do with this particular post. In fact the reason I'm bringing up the topic at all is because of two things I saw yesterday while on Facebook. Two perspectives.

I have a friend who wrote about the incredible savings is family will now enjoy because of Obamacare, or its correct name, the Affordable Care Act. By his calculation, his family's coverage will go from $950/mth to $444/mth. In his words, the act "works perfectly."

Of course, every coin has two sides. A popular post that's gone viral is from the blogger Matt Walsh and his post titled: The Definitive Guide to How Obamacare is Destroying American Lives. Walsh had an idea. He asked for stories of how the new law has affected Americans. He then posted some of these stories on his blog. Needless to say, to these people Obamacare is anything but "perfect." Here's the link to Walsh's post if you're interested: Matt Walsh Blog.

Will it work? Only time will tell. I have my own opinions. Using past history as a guide and my almost 48 years on this earth watching and studying human behavior, I'm pretty sure I know how this will all turn out. Buckle up, folks! It's going to be a bumpy ride!

* Photo used without permission from: http://www.depauliaonline.com/opinions/obamacare-a-brighter-vision-for-the-future-1.2880100#.Umc7XiRQ23s

Monday, October 21, 2013

Author--Slash--Small Business Owner...


Last Friday I wrote a post for Xchyler Publishing's blog. I wrote about some sound advice I heard from author Brandon Sanderson. Here's what I wrote. If you're interesting in visiting the Xchyler site, you can find it: HERE.

The author's other definition.

Almost every writer has, at one time or another, heard that being a writer is like having a second job. Some writers turn their part-time job into a full-time career. But for the mass majority, we work during the day so we can write later.

I think most people can relate to the concept of a second job. Most have done it—many are doing it now. In order to be successful at both jobs (and remain sane), the trick is to budget enough time for both, get enough sleep and food, and try to keep your life together.

As a writer, I am always looking to improve my craft. Books have been written, conferences given, all in an effort to help others capture that elusive muse.

One resource I find both informative and entertaining is the Writing Excuses podcast, and it was in one of the more recent installments I received advice that struck me. Brandon Sanderson, one of the four authors in the podcast, said that part of being a writer is being a small business owner.

The statement was brief, but for me, it packed a punch. Owning a business requires more effort—and more risk—to succeed, much more than just working part-time for someone else. A writer is not only the Director of Creative Content, but also needs to become a President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, as well as have an understanding of marketing channels, distribution trends, and resource allocation.

Yes, publishers and editors are involved in getting a book from the mind of the author to the hands of the reader, but ultimately, the responsibility for the success of any project rests squarely on the shoulders of the writer. Without the writer, there’s nothing to sell.

Would a person opening a corner deli or a computer repair shop expect their business to grow if they aren’t there every day? I doubt it. They would never treat their business casually. If it’s going to work, it requires serious commitment to that dream of success.

Using this perspective I hope to change how I look at my small business, and treat it not just as another part-time job.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coffee Money...A Short Story

Untitled

 Return To The Weekly Writing Photo Prompt

I took a break from my weekly photo prompt writing. But the photo and words for this week proved to powerful a draw. Again, if you don't know the rules, here they are:

1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
3) You have until next Tuesday to link up your post.
4) Link up your story at these sites here: Leanne or Tena.  
5) Have fun, don’t stress, let those creative juices flow.

 Here’s the five words:

Butcher
Bullfight
Gossip
Result
Novel

 Well, we'll see what you think after a couple of week's off.

 Coffee Money

Carmen sighed as she pulled up her bank account on her iPhone while laying in bed not wanting to get up. "Crap," she said to the still morning air. Her vacant balance a result of a "punch-drunk" shopping spree over the weekend. The shoes? Well, she just had to have those.

The glace also reminded Carmen that today was Monday and that she had a meeting with her boss to discuss her new position with the company, new as of 8 a.m. this morning, and the meeting was scheduled to take place in a mere ninety minutes.

"Coffee," her gravely voice broke the silence. "I need coffee." She reluctantly rose and stretched. She completed her morning routine quickly and spotted a ten dollar bill on the nightstand as she headed out the bedroom.

"Yes!" she said as she grabbed the bill and stuffed it into the pocket of her business suit. "Thank you," the slim woman glanced skyward.

Fortunately she lived close to her office, she thought as she piloted her quick import through the semi-busy streets. Just beyond the butcher shop stood her salvation--her favorite coffee shop where the $10 bill would be put to good use, perhaps the best money spent by anyone anywhere. 

She needed to stop by the butcher's after work--no time this morning--and pick up something for dinner. Rick was coming over and she didn't want take-out, again. She laughed when she thought of the butcher. Of course, stopping meant enduring his constant flirting from the diminutive man from Juarez who tried relentlessly to ask the young accountant out, only to be rebuffed each time. Oh, the gossip he'd tell if she ever agreed to his advances. He'll try again; he always did.

The thought of coffee evaporated the thoughts of the butcher and his unnecessary unbuttoned Cabana shirt and velvet bullfight posters. Carmen rounded the corner and found a parking spot right next to the coffee shop. As she jumped from the driver's seat to exit the car, the bill she had in her fingers slipped and fluttered back into the car, unfortunately landing in a void vacated by a missing cup holder in the car's console. 

"No," Carmen said as she watched the ten spot disappear inside the belly of her car. She climbed back in and tried retrieving the bill with her fingers. It lie just beyond her reach. Now she faced a dilemma--find a novel way of getting her coffee money and quick, or leave and make her meeting.

Coffee-less, she cursed as she slammed the door shut and shot her car into morning traffic.

Word Count: 440

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Next Thing You Know, They're Putting On Make-Up...


Tonight I drove a couple of my kids to a Halloween party. I glanced over and noticed my daughter applying make-up, and it made me think.

Normally, my daughter does not wear make-up. She is too young, and she understands and accepts this. The make-up was for her Halloween costume. She also wears make-up when in plays.

When I saw her it was one of those moments when, as a parent, you realize life is changing right before your eyes. In just a few years--almost no time at all--she'll be sitting in a car applying make-up and someone else will be driving, someone who won't be me.

But, that's how it's supposed to be. That's how it was for us. To my beautiful daughter. Love, Daddy.

Friday, October 18, 2013

1000...Has It Really Been That Many?


On January 24, 2011 I began this blog and named it after a phrase I was called as a kid, a phrase still used by some. I began the blog without really knowing what I was going accomplish with it. I did know, however, that I was going to write a blog post everyday.

And a thousand days later, I've kept that promise.

The first post was 311 words long and I included no photos. It might be the only blog where I didn't include a picture. I had nine visits to that site.

Here's what I wrote a thousand days ago.

And so, it begins...

So, somehow you've stumbled on this humble little site. A little about me. I'm a (hopefully...) middle-age father of four with a wife, a cat, a dog, a mortgage, two jobs, a minivan, and several writing projects suspended in the air hoping at least one allows me to provide for my family from the written word. Time will tell, of course. Time will tell...

The truth is, I wanted to start another blog for some time, even though I have a perfectly good blog collecting dust in cyberspace somewhere which reminds me of several pair of shoes and a couple of sweaters currently collecting dust in my closet. But you probably don't care about why I've begun this little literary adventure--you just want to read something funny, something that takes less than 10 seconds to scan and that will hopefully make your day just a little bit better.

I'll do what I can. That's my promise. I'd like to say this will be a daily pursuit, but I think we both know that's probably not true. To quote a great flick: "We are men of action; lies do not become us."

And if you're wondering why in the name of all that's holy is this blog titled as it is, all I can say is as a child my cousins called me that, a tradition continued by my sister-in-law (someone, by the way, I knew existed before my brother did while I lived 5000 miles away from her and he lived 15 miles from her, but that's another story...) to this day, much provides literally seconds of enjoyment to almost all who are lucky enough to hear her say those words, "Scotty Watty Doodle All The Day."

Let's hope we have a good time as we interact and explore and entertain and inform. We shall see...
 
The blog's been many things...a place to display some of my photos, where I have submitted several short stories, and expressed an opinion or two. But what it had evolved into for me is a place where the events of the past 2 1/2 years have been chronicled, recorded, preserved, a place where one day my kids might access and say to themselves, "I remember that" and they remember why.

Thanks to everyone who's ever visited my little site. Thanks to those who left comments, who "plus-ed," who shared a post or two. I hope the time you spent checking out the site was worth it. And here's to another 1000 posts. Good night.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Crossroads, By Neve Talbot...A Review


The following is a final review of another story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. This story in the anthology is titled Ghost Townies, by E. Branden Hart.

Crossroads, a word meaning a location where roads meet, or it can be used as a metaphor...a moment when a decision must be made so that consequences of the decision can play themselves out. Neve Talbot's Crossroads contains both.

The story is longer than all other stories in the anthology, a fact I had not realized until I began writing this review. It certainly doesn't feel like a long read. Talbot takes the time it needs for the reader to really understand the central characters. It's more than a snapshot moment in their lives. She digs deeper, and the result is appreciated. 

The story deals with a death--a given for such an anthology. The characters, as do we after such an event, confront their our own mortality. Death makes us look inward. We take stock of our own lives and we contemplate not only the decisions we have made, but the ones we're making right now. We are forced to confront ourselves in a way that makes us uncomfortable, for death is the final word in our own personal "book of life."

Reading Talbot's words is such an enjoyable experience. They comfort and surround and conjure pleasure as the story unfolds, a story never rushed, but timed perfectly. I have read Talbot's steampunk selection in Mechanized Masterpieces Steampunk Anthology, in which she uses another writer's story as her backdrop. With Crossroads, she steps away from the that canvas and allows her work to shine. It's a really well done story. Thanks Neve for its inclusion and happy birthday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Resistance And Vandalism...


I saw this on a park bench today, and it made me wonder just what are the vandals were thinking about. 

Resistance.

Resistance to what? To tax dollars paying for public use benches (and the cleaning of those benches...)? And anarchy symbols. Is anarchy based on a resistance movement? Must we resist to abandon authority? And if authority is forcing us to resist, would non-resistance be considered anarchy? If so, it should say "Join The Non-Resistance."

My guess is the person, or persons who defaced this bench have absolutely no idea what they're talking--or writing about. I'm playing the percentages here. Or it might be some high I.Q., goth-clothed, depeche mode-listening wunderkind who has studied political philosophy. Yeah, I don't think so, either.

It's a small thing, really. This small act of defiance (or what some might call stupidity...) really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Some civil servant--a worker paid in part by the vandal himself or herself--will be required to repaint the bench and eliminate the illegal act of "free speech," the call for resistance disappearing forever under a swath of latex.

Resistance? Whatever...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ghost Townies, By E. Branden Hart...A Review


The following is a review of the another story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. This story in the anthology is titled Ghost Townies, by E. Branden Hart.

One of the things that have fascinated me about the prospect of ghosts is--except for scaring you to death--I don't see them as being able to inflict physical harm. I mean, if there is some entity that was once a living person and all that now remains is their soul, there's not much they can do to a person. I may be completely wrong, but I keep hold of this theory so that just in case I ever run into a ghost, my hopefully rational mind will tell me that "it's just a ghost--it can't hurt you."

If I ever believe the terrifying world created by E. Branden Hart, however, my theory is down the crapper. You see, in Hart's world, ghosts can not only hurt you, they can kill.

The story beings in a library. The two characters, Dean and Jimbo search the abandoned space where a couple of dozen people have died. To the reader the world is unknown. We're not sure of the rules in this new reality, but Hart does an amazing job filling us in so we can understand what's going on. But he doesn't give us too much too soon. The addition of a new character allows the author to give us more until finally we have a complete picture of how things work. I enjoyed the pace at which Hart allowed us to get to know his world.

The entire story takes place within a couple of days. It's a tale of survival and the bonds of friendship where sticking together appears to be the best way to survive among the dead. The story's tempo is crisp with a wonderful combination of humor and tension. It's a fun read.

Like I said, I wouldn't want to find myself waking up in Hart's story. I prefer my ghosts like the ones in books or in the movies--they can scare, but that's about it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Little Service Station...


There's a business out there that you have to see to believe. Those living near me are familiar with the small auto repair shop on the main road. The place is like a time capsule and it's a photographer's dream.


Last year I took my car to this establishment for the annual safety and emissions testing. It passed. Since it passed I decided to do it again this year. One thing I forgot, however, was my good camera. The iPhone shots will have to do.


If I had more nerve, I would ask the proprietor if I could spend an hour or two and just take pictures. There's a million things to see in such a small area. Outside there's a buggy wrapped in Christmas lights, saddles and reading paraphernalia adorned the office inside, a second service bin where half a dozen folding chairs are set up in a semi-circle, clever sayings on the walls, and a real live horse out back.


It's not your ordinary service station (that doesn't sell gasoline...), but maybe here out west, it just might be.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This One Really Made Me Sad...

*

There's a lot of depressing things on the internet lately. Government shutdowns, debt limits, undefeated Pac-12 teams losing (actually, that one made me very happy...), but last week I found a post my friend Tony put up on Facebook. It made me sad.

 Here's the link he posted: HERE. Normally I'd copy and past the pictures of what I saw on this blog, but instead, I invite you to go to the site and check out the pictures. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how the pictures make you feel.

For years we've heard how bad things are in Detroit. Personally, I don't have any first-hand experience with the town or the people--only things I've heard or read about. It's amazing to see buildings abandoned, a community dying. I can't imagine what it's like to witness this transformation in person.

 If you choose to visit the above site, you'll see pictures of a library that was closed. Everyday buildings are razed, homes destroyed, so why did these pictures affect me so much? Maybe it's because I'm trying to establish myself as an writer. Maybe it's because one of the best things I can do to prepare my children for life is to instill within them a love of reading. Maybe because when we so little value the written word, we reject one of God's greatest gifts, the ability to communicate with each other through the written word.

Of course, if we choose to, we can surround ourselves with depressing thoughts. I try not to. But I'm glad my friend posted the story and I'm glad I clicked on the site. Hopefully it will make me appreciate the gift of writing even more.

* Photo used without permission from: http://detroiturbex.com/content/parksandrec/twain/twain.html

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tombstone, By Scott E. Tarbet...A Review

*

The following is a review of the another story in the upcoming Shades And Shadows Paranormal Anthology, to be released Halloween Day, 2013 from Xchyler Publishing. There are nine short stories focused on the paranormal, as well as a forward by the multi-talented Ben Hansen of SyFy Channel's Fact or Faked. This story in the anthology is titled Tombstone, by Scott E. Tarbet.

Ever wonder what The Beverly Hillbillies would be like if Jed Clampett never left Arkansas, but instead remained at the homestead and was murdered by his offspring? I know I never have, but if you're interested in this alternative version of a fictional reality, you'll LOVE Tombstone.

I hope the mention of a murder in the preceding paragraph isn't too much of a spoiler for you, dear reader. It's obvious from the first page that we're hearing a first-hand account of a man and a crime, a crime performed decades earlier and chronicled by a paranormal investigator. The colorful language (not profanity colorful) and southern dialect transport us to a time when a man's commitment to homestead was sacrosanct. Nothing in this life or the next will made him leave the land he loves.

Tarbet gives us a tale of jealousy, greed, revenge, and--in the end--genealogy. The narration is fun, even while describing the worst of humanity. When you're done, you'll know the secrets of a mystery that's been unknown for years. I thought the story was about Tombstone, the city, and I wondered if it would be a little dry. I was wrong--on both counts. Great job, Scott!

* Thanks Penny for the photo!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Shades And Shadows...It's Coming


On Halloween of this year Xchyler Publishing will produce Shades & Shadows, A Paranormal Anthology. Halloween, a great day to release this book.

The past couple of weeks I've been reviewing the stories in this anthology. I'm abut halfway through and I hope to get the rest of the stories edited soon. It's a good way for me to read the material myself. I love reading the other stories in a book where one of my stories is included.

This title is also found in Goodreads. Here's the link: GOODREADS LINK. Those of you with an account, please go and check it out.

Also, we're looking for some ARC readers. We'd LOVE to have you enjoy the book and post a review. Us authors are a fickle bunch--we LOVE feedback. Let me know if you're interested and I'll see what I can do.

I can't emphasis enough how wonderful an experience it's been to work with Xchyler. As a writer you hear things about how writers are treated by publishers, editors, basically everyone involved in turning the author's dream into a reality. For some authors, those dreams have become nightmares. For me, however, Xchyler has been nothing but professional.

But they've been more than that. They've been respectful of what I've created, of what I want to do and how my contributions add to the overall mission of the company. This is the second project I've been fortunate enough to participate in. It gets better and better every time.

Stay tuned for more reviews from the book and I hope you can join us for the book launch on October 31. Paranormal anthology launched on Halloween, a great day to release this book.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Appreciated...


Today ended a week of activities at work designed to show appreciation to us, the employees. It was Customer Service Week. I feel appreciated.


My co-worker was given the monumental assignment of day-to-day activity coordination and she did a lot of work to make it a great week.


We had word games, cup stacking competitions, and today's huge activity--breakfast. Cooking eggs, bacon, sausage, and tortillas in an office building designed to discourage the very food preparation we did this morning. 


But where there's a will (and hunger and the promise of bacon...), there's a way.


And, if you're looking for a fun office game, cup stacking was a hit!

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