A Nightmare to Remember #MondayMusings #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpts

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which 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.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do dreams/nightmares influence your writing? Do you keep a notebook by your bed to write down ideas?”

Years ago when I was in college, after reading an Ellery Queen mystery, I developed an irrational fear of policemen, which caused me to be plagued by nightmares. One such dream inspired the following scene from my first novel, We Shall Overcome.

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“Where are you taking me?” asked Lisa as several policemen carried her down a long, dark hall.

“Where do you think?” one of them said.

“Please put me down,” Lisa said. “You’ll drop me. Just because I don’t see very well doesn’t mean I can’t walk.”

The men only laughed, and she was consumed by panic. Lisa fought to free herself from their grasp, which was not easy since her hands were cuffed behind her back. Two of the officers held her ankles while others held her shoulders. She began to scream and continued screaming until she was carried through a doorway and tossed onto a hard bunk. The cell door slammed with a resounding thud as the policemen left her, still handcuffed, lying face down on the bed.

“It is now six thirty am,” said the male voice of Lisa’s talking alarm clock as a cheerful tune was played. She sat up with a start. Her heart pounding, she discovered to her relief that she was not in a jail cell but in her own bedroom. The sheets and blankets were in a tangle on the floor. “Oh, god,” she said and flopped on the bed to wait for her heart to stop pounding.

***

How about you? If you’re an author, do dreams or nightmares influence your writing? Have any of your characters ever had bad or good dreams? You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

 

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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What’s Not Fair? #It’sSix-SentenceStoryThursdayLinkUp #WritingPrompts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

I’ll tell you what’s not fair. You’re staring at a blank computer screen, where you must write no more and no less than six sentences, using the word “fair” at least once, and nothing comes to you. So, you just sit there, listening to Christmas music playing in the background on your smart speaker, which brings you no inspiration.

You make a trip to the bathroom, then get a drink of water and return to your desk, but still, no idea comes. You throw a pity party, asking why you and why this word. Then, you realize there are worse things than not knowing what to write and life isn’t always fair.

***

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

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In case you missed my interview on local radio station KROE that took place on Monday, you can click here to listen to a recording. My actual interview starts about four minutes and 18 seconds into it. Enjoy!

Now, I have two exciting events to announce, and I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of one or both of them. First of all, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, The Red Dress, and My Ideal Partner are now absolutely free as part of the Smashwords end-of-year sale, which will run until December 31st. You can click here for more information and to download these books.

Also, I’ll be playing the piano and singing on Thursday, December 23rd, at noon mountain time at The Hub, here in Sheridan, Wyoming. If you live in my neck of the woods, you’re welcome to come and enjoy a delicious, nutritious lunch while listening to my music. If you’re unable to attend, you can view the event on Facebook, and a recording should be available later. You can click here to visit the event’s Facebook page. Again, I hope you can take advantage of these exciting events.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

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 Sound of Silence #Musical Monday

I recently read, somewhere, the story behind the Simon and Garfunkel classic I’m featuring today. Sanford Greenberg, a blind lawyer, was roommates in college with Art Garfunkel, who inspired him after he lost his vision. Apparently, Greenberg’s experience, in turn, inspired the song.

According to Wikipedia, “The Sound of Silence,” written by Paul Simon, was first released in September of 1965. It was included on two of Simon and Garfunkel’s albums, Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m. and The Sounds of Silence, and hit Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January of 1966. It was featured in the 1967 film, The Graduate and ended up on the soundtrack of the 1968 film, Mrs. Robinson. A top-ten hit worldwide, it was added to the National Registry in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2012.

Sanford Greenberg’s recently released memoir, Hello Darkness My Old Friend, tells his powerful story. I’m hoping to read and review this book here soon. Meanwhile, enjoy Simon and Garfunkel’s rendition of the song.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Anthology Portrays Life in the West #Friday Fun Reads #Re-Blog

Today is Friday. So, don’t let the title of the post I’m re-blogging confuse you. This is an oldie but a goodie from last year in which I’m reviewing a book that will help you see the west through the eyes of people who actually experienced  it.

 

Via Anthology Portrays Life in the West #Thursday Book Feature

 

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

How to Build a Believable World #Thursday Book Feature

Write Great Fiction – Description & Setting

By Ron Rozelle

 

What Amazon Says

 

How essential is setting to a story? How much description is too much? In what ways do details and setting tie into plot and character development? How can you use setting and description to add depth to your story?

You can find all the answers you need in Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting by author and instructor Ron Rozelle. This nuts-and-bolts guide – complete with practical exercises at the end of each chapter – gives you all the tips and techniques you need to:

        • Establish a realistic sense of time and place
        • Use description and setting to drive your story
        • Craft effective description and setting for different genres
        • Skillfully master showing vs. telling

 

With dozens of excerpts from some of today’s most popular writers, Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting gives you all the information you need to create a sharp and believable world of people, places, events, and actions.

 

My Thoughts

 

One thing I don’t like about this book is the use of the ampersand sign in the title instead of the written word “and.” To me, this implies laziness. Of course, it may not have been Ron Rozelle’s decision, but come on. How much time and space does the word “and” take?

Otherwise, although I took issue with some of the author’s suggestions on writing and editing, I found this book helpful, especially the exercises. One of them inspired me to start the first chapter of my novel-in-progress, Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, with a description of the sights, sounds, and smells in a nursing home. If you write fiction and are struggling with description and setting, this book will be your friend.

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By the way, My Ideal Partner and The Red Dress are now available on Smashwords as part of its sale to support those isolated by the coronavirus. This sale will run until the end of May. Please click here to visit my Smashwords author page and download these books. As always, thank you for reading.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.