Short Story (cont’d)

Years passed and Mary went to college but Ed went to a different college than Mary. They kept in touch through e-mails and then drifted apart as friends came into their lives.

Mary learned to shut out the gift and didn’t hear or see the spirits until one day when she went for a walk in the nearby park.

The birds were singing and there was a slight breeze that was cool as it brushed against her cheek. She thought it was strange for a cool breeze in the middle of summer, but dismissed it and continued her walk. When she rounded a curve in the path and looked to her right, there was a person walking along her that had appeared from nowhere.

Startled Mary gasped and halted to catch her breath. The person also stopped and faced her. Where did this person come from and who was this person? She looked around her to see if there were other people and the path was empty.

“Who are you? Where did you come from?” She said in between rapid exhales and inhales. But the person didn’t say anything. He just looked at her with a grin. It seemed a friendly grin, but Mary wasn’t sure. There was a feeling of happiness and sadness as she studied the person in front of her.

“Why don’t you answer?” The person made no attempt to move or answer any question she may have. This was annoying Mary and she raised her hands in disgust then started her walk again.

When Mary got further down the pathway, she turned to see if the person was following her. He wasn’t.

“Good, he’s gone. But who the hell was he?” She turned back another time to double-check. Still there was no one behind her.

Before she went to her apartment Mary decided to stop at the coffee shop and get an iced coffee. This was her usual routine and the people in the shop knew her by name. Mary was a person of strict routine and the workers knew when she would be stopping for her coffee.

Walking into the shop she was hit with a blast of cool air as the hot steamy air from outside passed behind her. All the tables had people talking and laughing and customers milling around at the counter.

The man behind the counter smiled as she entered and Mary smiled back. She had a crush on this man but hoped he didn’t see it. Please! How could he not see it?

Mary handed him her store card and rang up her order without her saying a word on what she wanted. It was always ready for her.

“Thanks, Alan.”

“You’re welcome, Mary.”

With coffee in hand she exited the coffee shop and walked to her apartment a few doors down from the shop. The thought of Alan still on her mind she didn’t notice anyone passing her on the sidewalk. It didn’t matter she was in another world, a world with just her and Alan.

Mary unlocked her apartment and stepped inside then locked the door behind her. A small table was against the wall that she placed her keys on so she would always know where they were when leaving.

Mary walked into the living room to relax on the brown leather sofa with soft thick cushions and felt something wasn’t right. She looked around the room, but didn’t notice anything amiss. Then she noticed on the chair at the end of the sofa there was someone sitting there.

Short Story

Mary Louise Grace was an active child full of questions and wonder. There was something special about her, but the other children thought of her as strange.

She reflected on her childhood as she looked out into the distance as if in a trance—like she was looking at something special, and Mary wouldn’t move or speak when entranced. She always knew she had a gift even when she was six years old.

As the teen years approached in August, the gift was growing and the incidents grew. Mary told one person of the gift she had, even her mother didn’t know.

Mary’s friend, Edgar Bernard, was the only one who knew her secret. He was the one true friend she had and he could be trusted with her life.

Mary turned to Edgar, Ed is what she liked to call him, and looked at his big brown eyes and his straight brown hair that fell over his forehead. Mary knew that someday this scrawny boy would be a handsome man and make a good living. Ed was smart and he had common sense that most of his friends didn’t have.

“You’re not gonna tell me what you saw, are you?” Ed looked at the ground and knew the answer before he asked, but he always hoping for an answer each time.

“No.” Mary smiled as she stood.

“Geez, Mary. How long are you going to shut me out on what you see? Best friends share, and you haven’t shared what you see since you told me your secret.” Ed looked into her light blue eyes as the sun made her blonde her sparkle and they laughed.

“Someday Ed, someday. When I think you will understand what I tell you.”

“But, I already know you see and hear the dead. Why can’t you tell me about who and what you see?

(Continued next week)


Writer's Digest "Novel Writing" Edition

Writer’s Digest “Novel Writing” Edition (Photo credit: Arthaey)


Sorry it took so long to post, but I’ve been really      busy.

I’ve been writing and editing and reading and   learning more about the craft of writing. In my first book Murder Before Dawn, I kept hearing that the characters needed more depth and layering. At the time I didn’t understand what that meant.

Since then I’ve done a lot of reading on defining characters and the book I’m writing now has more polish to the characters. Also, the saying “to show don’t tell” is something I really have to work at. I see a picture as I’m writing, but instead of telling what I’m seeing, I write it.

In this second book, I’m describing what I’m seeing and hopefully it is showing not telling. The story has layers and hints, as the first book didn’t have them.

There are three subplots in the second book, and the first book had one. I’m seeing growth as the story moves forward and each time I edit there is a definite growth emerging.

An article I just read from RWR explains how to get deeper into your characters through passive-aggressive storytelling making your characters more believable. Lately, the articles in the magazine have been very helpful. Also articles in Writer’s Digest.

As I read a story lately, I’m looking at the way the writer creates the characters in the book and try to emulate the pattern in what I’m writing.

My goal is to grow in my writing as the story progresses and the only way I know to do this is to read and continue writing.

I love to write and as I further the story I find the characters are telling me what to write and what they want to happen next. I’ve tried to use an outline, but that doesn’t work for me.

There are certain elements to each scene and chapter and in editing, I try to make sure they are there. Most of all I’m trying to create characters that draw in the reader and become personally involved with the characters I’ve created.

I know the more I write the better the story will get. Practice make perfect, right?

Until my next post, good writing!


Writer's Block 1

Writer’s Block 1 (Photo credit: OkayCityNate)

Grammatical Mistakes to Avoid

This is the last of the mistakes from the article in Writer’s Digest by James     V. Smith, Jr., from an article in the September 2012 issue. 





25.  Advance plan? Why not a simple plan? After all, isn’t the notion of advance preparation included in the four-letter word plan?

Same with future planning. (And in any case, what good is retro-planning?)

26.  Rather? Avoid using it as a qualifier. Rather pretty? Not unless you mean Dan the former newsman.

Avoid very as a qualifier, too. Writers use very and rather because they’re too lazy to look up a precise word. Rather sounds pompous besides.

27.  You center on, not, center around.

28.  By the same token–say it fi you like, but never write it in you fiction.

29.  Don’t use parentheses. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

30.  Criterion is singular, criteria refers to more than one criterion. Same deal with media. It’s The media are jackals.

31.  If and when? Use either if or when. And not either/or. Pick one.

32.  A joint collaboration is a redundant collaboration. Or perhaps the sharing of an illegal substance.

33.  Avoid however in your writing. At all cost. However is hokey, even in fiction; however, even worse, it tempts you to string clauses together, making your writing bulky.

34.  Ditto importantly and more importantly.

35.  Ditto in addition to and moreover. Use the global search function of your word processor and cut these abominations from you work.

36.  Prohibited altogether isn’t any more prohibited than prohibited. Just twice as long.

37.  Midair collision? Where us midair? You mean in-flight.

38.  Notoriety is not the sakes as fame. In fact, notoriety is ill-fame. Use it only with bad guys and deeds.

39.  Ditto infamous; remember Dec. 7, a day that lives in infamy?

40.  Don’t write thus and thusly. Verily, for thusly, you do not come of rather stuffily.

41.  Vast us a great word, but it doesn’t go well with difference. Use them together, and it sounds as if you’re stretching the facts.

And while we’re on the subject, why not be the first writer in memory to write the word wasteland without the vast?

42.  For the purpose of has no purpose; say to.

43.  End result? No, result. The result of using end result? You don’t sound as smart as you’re trying to sound. Mentally, your readers correct you.

44.  Don’t commence, begin. And for Pete’s sake, don’t commence to begin.

45.  Same with proceed. One bestselling novelist is fond of writing. She proceeded to ask…

He means, She asked.

46.  Watch why you make, you could be making perfectly good verbs into cumbersome nouns.

Don’t make corrections to the report. Just correct it.

47.  It’s different from, not different than.

48.  Don’t use individual for person. And please don’t write the redundant one individual.

49.  En route is two words; it’s not enroute.

50.  Whether or not? Just whether will suffice.


English: Originally for the article Contractio...

English: Originally for the article Contraction (grammar) , to show a contraction in image, to make extra note of an example contraction (grammar). keywords: contraction grammar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ll continue with twelve more of the mistakes to avoid. This is from Writer’s Digest, by James V. Smith, Jr.

13.  Loan is a noun; lend is the verb–always. You lend money. That money is a loan.

14.  Use hopefully the way you use a gun. If you don’t know how to handle it,   leave it alone.

You wouldn’t say, Hopefully you will die. Even when you mean, It is hoped you will die. Which still pales next to, Drop dead. If you insist on hopefully, try, Hopefully, I give you this poison.

15.  Use fewer with things you can count, less than with quantities. He has fewer than 10 fingers and less than enough sense.

16.  Imply means to suggest. Infer means to deduce.

17.  Its is possessive, while it’s is the contraction of it isYour is possessive. Get your gun. You’re is the contraction of you are. You’re gonna get it, you dirty rat.

18.  Their is possessive. It’s their car. They’re is the contraction of they are. They’re going to collect their revenge. There is the pronoun, as in over there.

19.  Don’t modify unique with very, more, rather or so–unique is unique, one of a kind.

20.  Don’t use anxious  when you mean eager. MEMORY AID: Anxious refers to anxiety.

21.  Currently means now; write now. At this point in time, put simply, also means now.

22.  Don’t string nouns together as adjectives, as in, emergency procedure qualification flights. What the writer meant was check rides.

23.  Catastrophic mishap really means crash. By the way accident usually means crash, too.

24.  Watch out for activity. It’s often a sneak attack of redundancy. It’s not a sports activity; it’s a sport. Thunderstorm activity is one or more storms.

The next twelve will be on my next post. Good writing!



I’ve been writing everyday. Sometimes it is hard for me but I do it anyway and find as words hit the screen they just keep coming. That’s a good thing. So it does work if you are blocked and don’t know what to write, put anything down and suddenly the words flow.

I came across an article in Writer’s Digest about 50 Grammatical Mistakes to Avoid by James V. Smith, Jr. Here are a few I’ll share:

  1. Avoid multiple exclamation point !!!!!!
  2. Avoid even single exclamation points! Except for the case of a true exclamation, like the rare Rats! Or the too-rare Cubs win!
  3. DON’T WRITE TEXT IN ALL CAPS. It’s too hard to read and it’s shouting in print.
  4. Avoid per instructions. Other than uses like words per sentence, let cats per.
  5. Use the search function to find–ly words, also known as adverbs. Check each adverb to see if it can be cut. Use stronger verbs, and you’ll find you don’t need the help of adverse.
  6. Search for — ice and — ization and cut those whenever you can.
  7. Search for — tion words, too, and cut them down to size.
  8. Affect is a verb meaning to influence. Effect is sometimes a verb meaning to produce, but it’s most often a noun, meaning the result produced.
  9. Impact is best as a noun, not a verb. Wrong: The 10-pound report impacted him a lot. Right: The impact of the 10-pound report broke his ribs, his spirit and his momentum up the career ladder.
  10. Don’t entitle songs, books, reports or films–title them. Entitle refers to ownership. I titled my book The Writer’s Little HelperI’m entitled to its copyright.
  11. Don’t type up or print out; type and print will do the job just fine.
  12. Don’t use et cetera or etc.

These are the first of the list. I’ll continue on the next blog.


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It was difficult for me to write this week, but I managed to get in some writing. I started off slow then gathered momentum as the week progressed.

I pushed back the goal of completing the manuscript to mid September. At the rate I’m going, I’m hoping that will be enough time. But, I’m going to stick to that goal and push myself to complete it in that amount of time.

I think mid September is more realistic than July. Really? What was I thinking, end of July! That was just insane to think that I could finish in that amount of time when I only had one chapter done and twenty-four to go.

Maybe if I was alone and did nothing else, it might be possible. LOL!

By keeping track of word count this past week, I noticed I was writing a little more each day. I’m not sure you’re interested in my daily ramblings about my writing, so next week I’ll be talking about something else. It will still be about writing, just not my writing.

Thanks for reading.


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