No More Lighter Fluid? #SixSentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #Inspiration #WritingPrompts

I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. My brother Andy, who was seven years my junior, developed a scientific interest in flame when he was five years old. He set fire to his basement bedroom, but my mother was able to put that out before much damage was done.

Once, he was playing with matches near an abandoned shack when it caught fire. Another time, while we were in his room, he held a lighter to my face and flicked it, but it only hissed. He insisted it was out of fluid, but I ran away, not about to take any chances.

***

Thanks to Girlie on the Edge for inspiring the above true story with her six-sentence prompt for this week, in which the given word is “fluid.” You can click here to participate and read other bloggers’ six-sentence creations.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Third Thursday Poets #WednesdayWords #WeeklySmile #Poetry

 

Attending my local poetry group’s monthly meetings always makes me smile. Most of the time, I’m inspired to write a poem, and we always have fun together.

The Third Thursday Poets started meeting in 2006 as a weekly class at the senior center. Having just started caring for my late husband at home after he suffered his first paralyzing stroke, writing poetry was a great way for me to deal with the stress of being a family caregiver. You can read more about my experiences in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. But I digress.

After the class ended in nine weeks, we decided to meet monthly at the same location. We’ve been meeting there ever since. When the COVID pandemic started, we met via phone conference until we could gather in person again. Members have come and gone, but the idea is still the same. Write, share, and have fun.

We each take turns running the meeting. Our facilitator begins with a prompt that we work with for about twenty minutes. Then, we each share what we’ve written. The facilitator then gives us a “homework assignment,” a suggested prompt for a poem we can bring to the next meeting. We spend the remainder of our time together critiquing poems we brought, some of which were inspired by the “homework assignment” from the previous meeting.

Last Thursday’s meeting was no different. Our facilitator asked us to pick a word from a list she gave us. We were then prompted to write down about three other words or phrases we associated with that particular word. We could then organize all that into a poem.

My chosen word was “meadowlark.” Below is what I came up with. You can click on the title to hear me read it.

 

Meadowlark

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

It’s song rings out over the lake
on a sunny cloudless Wyoming afternoon,
as our boat glides through smooth waters.

Dad and younger brother try to fish
while Mother and I enjoy the bird’s song,
gentle breeze that carries with it
the scent of pine trees,
whiff of worms used for bait.

At the age of thirteen,
I know little about the meadowlark,
enjoy the boat’s gentle motion,
observe, with limited vision, the lake, grass, trees, sky,
happy in summer.

***

What made you smile in the past week? You can comment below or click here to participate in this week’s feature.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Hunting Out of Season #TuesdayTidbit #Fiction #Inspiration

Even though it’s Tuesday, I’m posting the following story as part of fellow author and blogger Stevie Turner’s Friday Write feature. This work of flash fiction appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders. I was inspired to write it after someone told me she’d actually overheard a stranger say the story’s first lines into his cell phone.

 

HUNTING OUT OF SEASON

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Copyright 2022.

 

“Next time you don’t pick up the phone, I’ll beat the shit out of you!” His words were loud and clear through my sister’s cell when she answered his call.

I pulled the rental car to the side of the road. Turning to her, I said, “Give me that phone.”

She complied, her hand trembling, nearly dropping the device. “Not any more, buddy,” I told him. “Not if I have any say in the matter.”

The call was disconnected. “He thinks he called a wrong number,” I said. “He’ll call back.”

Sure enough, the phone rang, and his name came up on the screen. “Hi, Mike,” I said.

“Who the hell’s this?”

“Oh, you don’t remember me from your wedding a few months ago? I’m Debbie’s big brother Rick, six-feet tall, muscular. I had a bad feeling about you. So, I wasn’t surprised when Debbie called me yesterday after not speaking to anyone in our family for three months and begged me to fly all the way out to this god-forsaken state of Arizona to rescue her. She didn’t tell you she’d invited me for a visit? That was smart. You would have beaten the shit out of her then and made her tell me not to come.”

After a pause, he said, “Of course I wouldn’t have done that. I know who you are. We talked about going hunting in October when the season opens. Maybe Debbie and I will come this fall, and we can do that.”

“Seriously?”

“Look, we’ve have some disagreements…”

“Disagreements? You call a broken arm and bruises all over my sister’s body mere disagreements? I don’t think so, buddy.”

“I told her I was sorry. Sometimes, I lose control when I get angry. I’m trying not to…”

“Yeah, right. That’s what they all say. Forget it! I’m taking her back to Wyoming. If you come after her, you’ll be in big trouble because you’ll be hunting out of season. As a matter of fact, there is no hunting season for the type of game you’re after.”

I ended the call and handed the phone back to Debbie. “Can you believe he said he wanted to come up to Wyoming and go hunting with me?”

She managed a weak smile, as she slipped the phone into her purse. “You’re good.”

“So are you, Sis.” I resisted the urge to pat the shoulder of her broken left arm. “Let’s get out of here.”

As I put the car in gear, she fanned her face. “God, I hate Arizona summers. Why did I ever leave Wyoming?”

 

THE END

 

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Marketing Strategies That Don’t Work #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration #WritingPrompts

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “We’ve shared marketing tips that worked for us. What have you tried that didn’t work?”

For the first few books I published, I created cell sheets and sent them to bookstores across the state. I also put together a press release and sent it to newspapers. Although the local bookstore in Sheridan, Wyoming, has always responded favorably and a few regional newspapers have done an article on me here and there, I’ve learned that most newspapers care only about what goes on in the community they represent and don’t give a darn about what happens anywhere else unless, of course, it’s a story of national interest. I even contacted my state public radio conglomerate, to no avail.

Now, when I publish a book, I do what works. I contact my local radio station that has a talk show on community affairs and schedule a spot there. I hold a signing at the local bookstore, and I deliver a press release to my local newspaper. I also use my blog and website to promote the book and appear on podcasts and other online events. These tactics seem to draw the most readers. I’ll no longer waste time on marketing strategies that don’t work.

How about you authors out there? What marketing strategies did you try that didn’t work? You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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The Wheels Are Turning at the Seeing Eye #FridayFinds #Reblogs #Inspiration

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. Her brown hair is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

After losing her guide dog six weeks ago, fellow author and blogger Mary Hiland is finally ready for another one. In this post, she explains the first steps in applying for a guide dog. You can check out my reviews of her books

here and here. Enjoy!

***

My darling Dora died of cancer six weeks ago. While there are times that something sets me off, a word, a song, or just the overbearing feeling of loneliness, and I weep, even sob, in self-indulgent sadness, I know that sooner or later, I must replace her with a new Seeing Eye ® dog. I hate using the word replace, because a dog like Dora cannot be replaced. Yet, I can’t go on needing to hold the arm of a kind person to go anywhere outside my home, and I’m terrible at using a white cane. It’s time to go back to the Seeing Eye to train with a new dog to regain my independence.

 

Read the full post on Seeing It My Way.