Dear Arlie – picture prompt

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Dear Arlie is a fictional tale about five friends in their early 20’s, set in 1911. While fictional in nature, snippets about these real women have been taken from actual postcard correspondences between Pauline Washburn and Arlie Shinkle.

In Tuesday Tales, we write to a weekly word prompt. Once a month we write to a picture prompt. This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. There’s three photos to choose from. This is the one I chose.

Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read other fun tidbits of upcoming works.

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With the long walk, the heat of the day and the water play, exhaustion settled in around the group of friends bringing the siren sound of slumber. Millie and Alla ambled back towards the blanket. Soon drooping eyelids proved that the others were ready to join William and Eddie, who were still dozing.

Arlie stood and nudged the two sleepers with a bare foot. “C’mon, let’s head back home. I have no intention of falling asleep out here where an insect is sure to fly in my open mouth.”

The boys sat up and stretched while the girls began packing up the food. On the walk back, the six weren’t as chatty or animated as they’d been on the way to the meadow. The three girls traipsed on ahead with the three boys lagging behind.

Millie eased up to Arlie and spoke softly in her ear. “So? What did you two talk about?”

Arlie answered with a Cheshire cat grin. “Not much important. But – he’s going to stop by Tuesday morning and walk me to the picnic.”

No matter how much Millie prodded and pleaded, Arlie didn’t add any further information.

The next two days a restless Arlie wandered the house. Her mother finally snapped at her. “Will you go in the kitchen and help Cook? You’re pacing is about to give me a case of the vapors.”

The minutes ticked by on the grandfather clock hanging on the foyer wall, with resonate gongs sounding every hour. Finally, the sun was breaking on a hot and humid Fourth of July day. Arlie stayed upstairs so she wouldn’t be called into helping with the picnic preparations. But her door remained open so she could listen.

Just as the clock finished chiming eight o’clock, Arlie heard a loud knocking on the oak door. Her feet flew down the stairs, her hand barely brushing the polished walnut hand rail.

 

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Dear Arlie – picture prompt

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I’m taking a break from Ten O’clock Scholar to work on a historical short story for an upcoming anthology. Dear Arlie is a fictional tale about five friends in their early 20’s, set in 1911. While fictional in nature, snippets about these real women have been taken from actual postcard correspondences between Pauline Washburn and Arlie Shinkle.

In Tuesday Tales, we write to a weekly word prompt. Once a month we write to a picture prompt. This week we’re writing to a picture prompt, so the posts will be 300 words or less.

Return to TUESDAY TALES here, to read other fun tidbits of upcoming works.

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Arlie shook her head vigorously, causing a lock to spring from her tidy bun and drape down the nape of her neck. “Not this year. After all, I’ll be turning twenty. I’m getting much too old for that now. Don’t you think?”

When Alla and Millie merely looked at her with questioning gazes, Arlie shrugged her shoulders and chattered on. “Besides…then I can’t invite the fellas to join us. A taffy pull would be fun. The boys would join us, loving anything with candy and sweets.”

Alla snickered. “And by boys you mean George. Right?”

A haughty rise in Arlie’s shoulders hinted at her inner agitation. “Naturally I mean George. Just as you’d enjoy pulling taffy with William.” She stuck her lower lip out in a pout. “But Mother nixed that idea. She said July heat is too ferocious to have molasses boiling all afternoon.”

“Arlie Lorraine Shinkle…” Millie spat the words out in frustration. “So what are you planning for your birthday party? Don’t keep us in suspense.”

“Well…I was…maybe…” Arlie hemmed and hawed.

“Spit it out,” Alla commanded in a rare show of authority.

“I was thinking a picnic in the meadow. I’ll ask Cook to fix us up a picnic basket with fried chicken and finger foods. We could go to that shady glen nestled at the bottom of the meadow. After lunch we could wade in the stream. Get our feet wet.”

“You just want to show off your trim ankles to the guys. You’re such an indecent lass sometimes.” Millie giggled at her impudent accusation. “You are inviting the fellows, aren’t you?”

As Arlie nodded in agreement, a distant rumble of thunder echoed across the skies and through the room. All three girls dashed to the bay window.  The wind whipped elm branches about and the sky darkened with the threat of an imminent thunderstorm.

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Three friends – circa 1911

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – picture prompt

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In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. In this snippet, we jump ahead in the story to Peggy’s first day of class.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt.

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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It was the same as always with this site. That’s why Peggy only looked at Pinterest after the boys were in bed for the night. First she scrolled through the new posts. That task always took longer now that she followed more pages than ever before. New recipes, craft ideas, garden inspirations. Quotes that encouraged and motivated. An hour later she was still browsing. She hadn’t even looked at interior design ideas yet.

She pulled the loose tendrils off her neck that had escaped from her massive hair clip and muttered out loud to herself. “Okay. Ten more minutes. And that’s it.” Moving the mouse to the search option, she typed in ‘interior design living room.’

If the countless pins that showed up weren’t enough, additional options were listed across the top bar, giving her the chance to drill down even further: Colors. Warm. Rustic. Staircases. Modern. Bohemian. Small. Traditional. Cozy. Contemporary. Luxury. Simple. The possibilities went on and on.

Feeling whimsical and free-spirited, she clicked on ‘Bohemian.’ The images that appeared caused a feeling a peace to settle across her like a well-worn cloak. She grinned, feeling like she was stepping back in time, back to her younger care-free days – a time before husband and children – a time of fewer responsibilities.

She kept scrolling and looking, even as her eyelids began to droop and her shoulders began to sag. Yet, she couldn’t stop. She felt compelled to keep looking.

The sound of a buzzing alarm from her bedroom filtered through to her consciousness and jolted Peggy awake. She sat upright in the chair where she’d dozed and shook her head, trying to step out of the fogginess of slumber. Lifting her head, she saw the golden orange glow of the sun peeking over the horizon, casting its early morning embers across the sky. She wondered what Derek would say, or if he’d even notice that she never made it back to bed last night.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read more delicious story snippets.

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Ten O’Clock Scholar – picture prompt

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In Ten O’Clock Scholar, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college for her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt.

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful tales from other talented authors.

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By the time the next weekend arrived, Peggy wondered if the weekend away was even worth it. It was easy for Derek to agree to the trip to Big Bear. All he had to do was come home from work, load the ice chest into the car along with the bags that were already packed…and take off.

It was Peggy who spent most of the past two days shopping for groceries, washing and packing clothes – in general, making a list and checking it twice. She’d been up well past midnight the night before working on last minute details. But, even thought it was a lot of work, a change of scenery would be a nice treat.

The boys bickering in the back seat didn’t bother her. As most mothers can do, tuning out siblings arguments was an acquired skill and one that she had to put into play all too frequently. About the time the nitpicking started to screech through her numbness and get on her last nerve, she turned to reprimand the two and caught Jonathan’s head drop to his chest in slumber. Motioning to get Cliff’s attention, she held a finger in front of her pursed lips. “Shhhh. Leave him be and let him sleep.”

With no little brother to pester, Cliff soon settled down and started playing one of the games on the tablet they saved for the boys to use while traveling.

Peggy turned her attention to the scenery, watching the landscape change as they gained in elevation, getting higher into the mountains as the SUV turned on the switchback road like it made the trip every week. Thoughts of the pine scented forest that waited for them at the cabin tantalized and Peggy’s thoughts roamed to luxurious walks alone in the wooded trails around the lake.

Ten O’Clock Scholar – picture prompt

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For the next few weeks, I’m stepping away from romance and working on something new, Ten O’Clock Scholar. In this story, Peggy, a mother of two young boys, decides to go back to college and get her Interior Design degree. The only problem with her plan is a reluctant husband. Peggy soon learns what it’s like trying to complete homework assignments, draw plans, and take required home tours while maintaining a home and caring for two little ones – with no support and a lot of opposition from hubby. Will she survive and achieve her dreams? Or will the struggles and arguments undermine her and make her give up? Stay tuned and read along as we find out.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. Picture prompt weeks are quick reading, as we’re only allowed a 300 word snippet.

Enjoy this week’s story snippet, then return to Tuesday Tales for more delightful reading.

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Textiles, History of Western Architecture, Space Planning, Lighting, Design Studio; the class requirements for an Interior Design major beckoned from the inky pages. Peggy ran her finger down the list, stopping at the classes that appealed to her. She couldn’t wait to get to some of the fun classes. But, she knew that she’d have to start with the preliminary classes first. “Introduction to Interior Design,” she read aloud and groaned. “I want to get to the good stuff.” She spoke aloud as if she weren’t sitting in the living room by herself.

A few of the classes were intimidating. Introduction to Lighting and CAD for Interior Design were two programs she’d love to skip. Unfortunately, they were both subjects she’d need to have knowledge of it she wanted to pursue this career field.

Could she do it? Could she complete the entire program while taking care of the house and her family? She wasn’t entirely sure. It was one thing to have a dream and the desire to follow it. Knowing whether or not she could achieve her dream was something else entirely.

She flipped to the pages tucked in the back of the catalog. One sheet outlined the courses she’d need – forty eight units if she took the required and the recommended classes. Another page had the general education requirements, another eighteen units. Did she want to go for the whole Associates Degree, or just tackle the classes for her certificate and get out of school quicker?

Unable to decide at that moment, she dropped the school catalog down beside her and reached for the Architectural Digest laying on the table next to the sofa. Leafing through the glossy pages, she browsed through the elegant rooms full of polished parquet floors, stunning stained glass windows and ornate stairways.

My Wildest Dream – TT picture prompt

TT_bannerIt’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, so for Tuesday Tales this month I’m jumping to another WIP, My Wildest Dreams. This tale follows the prequel, A Second Chance, where Jenny survived Sudden Cardiac Arrest and desired to honor her second chance by living an authentic life. She decided she wanted to own her own herb and garden store. Join us as we catch glimpse of her here as she follows her wildest dream.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt, so the snippets are limited to 300 words. Return to Tuesday Tales here, to read the other snippets from talented writers.

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TT_November 2015 prompt“What are we looking for again?” Carla called over her shoulder as she scurried through the golden carpet of fallen leaves.

“Mullein.”

“Mule…whatever… Just tell me what it looks like.”

“It’s got large silvery, gray fuzzy leaves.” I held out my hands showing the approximate size of a small watermelon. “They’ll be about a mound about a foot or so high, with a tall fuzzy stalk coming out of the center.”

“A stalk?”

“Yeah. A really tall one, almost as tall as you are, or taller.” Which wasn’t saying much as Carla was a bit of thing that barely came to my shoulder. “With clusters of yellow flowers, or flower pods at the top.”

Carla stopped and scanned the woodsy undergrowth around us. “It still has flowers this time of year?”

“Probably not. It’s probably dried seed pods now. They’ll be about pea sized pods in large clusters.”

“Why are we looking for it if there’s no flowers?” My friend looked totally confused now. She wasn’t a plant person and would be the first to admit it. But, being my best friend she was up for any outing I suggested, even if she didn’t understand the whys of our Sunday afternoon wandering.

“The seeds. That’s what I’m after.”

“What are you going to do with seeds?”

“Plant them. Next spring I’ll have my own stock of mullein plants growing.” I pulled a few Ziploc baggies out of my pocket and dangled them in the air.

Carla grabbed for a bag. “The thing I do for you,” she muttered.

“Hey, you should like these plants though.” I paused to catch her attention before I continued. “The Indians lit the dried stalks to use as torches…they used the leaves in cradleboards as diaper material…the smoldering roots eased chest congestion…and teas…”

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A Second Chance – TT picture prompt

TT_bannerHere’s another snippet from A Second Chance, the prequel to My Wildest Dreams, the first book in A Growing Wings series.
In A Second Chance, Jenny suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and is grappling with a flurry of thoughts and emotions about it. This scene happens after Jenny eludes a coworker’s invitation to lunch and she escapes to one of her favorite lunchtime locations…the local cemetery.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt. The scenes will be short, 300 words or less, so it will be quick reading. For more fascinating story snippets from the wonderful authors in the group, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

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tt_sept 2015Something about this old, historic cemetery called to me. With hardly more than a handful of headstones, and just as many large rocks signifying a burial, it sat next to a new housing development of towering McMansions, fenced in but otherwise ignored.

I’ve loved visiting cemeteries for years, long before my cardiac arrest, so that’s not the reason. Cemeteries give me peace. Sitting there, trying to commune with lives past, is soothing to me. At one point in time, these people also walked this earth. They too lived and loved. They provided for a family, protected them, clothed them, they were a member of a community.

Maybe. They could also have been a traveler, a man out to see the world, without a place to call home, following the wind and a dream. Now, what’s left to commemorate their life is a headstone with a time-worn name etched in granite or stone. Sometimes only a half-buried rock or pile of rocks marks a place where a body was once buried. Many gravesites sprout trees or shrubs, sprouting from the place a body was once buried; a plant flourishing, taking nourishment from organic matter that the soul no longer requires.

Many people are cremated and have been scattered to the winds, the sea or the earth. No tangible monument marks the site of their final burial. Fifty or a hundred years from now, no one will stumble across a headstone, rock or tree, marking the site of their last earthly presence.

What memory of my life do I want to remain after I leave this cellular body?

What do I want to leave to the future besides a name etched on a granite stone?

A worthy answer eludes me.

Starting Over #4

Welcome to TUESDAY TALES.

Today’s snippet is part of a new WIP, tentatively titled ‘Starting Over’.

The story of Victoria and her little shop in Oak Grove Square continues. This week we’re writing to a photo prompt. Only 300 words!

Enjoy – and feel free to leave a comment. Click the link here to go back to the main Tuesday Tales site for more entertaining story snippets.

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TT_moon july 2014The wagging tails at the front door almost dispelled her wrath. Almost.

It was when she walked out back with Cody and Cowboy that the brilliant calming light of the full moon fully soothed her. In its place a gentle wave of loneliness washed over her. It didn’t happen often. And when this feeling did drift into her life, it was usually only for a brief time. Generally Victoria was extremely happy with her life. It was full. It was satisfying. She did what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it. And a life with an occasional moment of feeling alone was certainly better than having someone in your life that cheated on you whenever they got the chance. Or, in the words of the pilot she’d banished long ago, “… only when ‘the magic’ was gone.”

From now on, she was in charge of the magic in her life. She intended on flying solo for the rest of her days. Especially when the world was full of arrogant jerks like that Toby who’d entered Serendipity earlier that day.

Building cookie cutter houses where my cows used to roam. Really! The thought raised her ire once again.

“Come on boys,” she called to the two dogs roaming the back yard. “Let’s eat and go to bed.”

She was tired. That must explain her irritability. A good night’s sleep is what I need.

A good night’s sleep is not what she got. And it wasn’t visions of sugar plums dancing in her head as she tossed and turned. Although, I suppose some girls may consider the blond hunk that infiltrated her dozing thoughts a sugar plum.

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