100-Word Challenge for Grownups # 186

Julia has offered us another 100-word challenge this week with the following prompt:

“… looking back, I remember …”

I have to confess that I’ve cheated a tad. I’m about 19 words over, but I just didn’t have any more time to spend cutting it down further.




“Looking back, I remember how easy everything was – especially communication.”
“Tell me, Grandpa.”
“Computers ran everything, including phones and automobiles.”
“And almost everyone could be reached by Internet.”
“I’ve heard about Internet.”
“It’s been twenty-two years since the grids went down.”
“And that shut everything down?”
“Yep. Nothing could be manufactured, vehicles couldn’t run, almost all communication shut down. Our nation had been attacked by E-bombs, and our irresponsible government had no back-ups.”
“Did we fight back?”
“Couldn’t. No way to fire missiles, no planes. And once we were down, other free nations were attacked. The whole free world reduced to walking, writing with wooden pencils, and bartering goods for food and water. Grandson … your generation has a big job ahead of it.”




Daily Post Prompt: Three Little Cinquain for the Eyes

To join the challenge, visit The Daily Post for today.




Some say
That love is blind.
Not so. Instead I find
True love seeks out and focuses
On good.





A smile
Upon the lips,
Can hide ill feelings well.
But sincere smiles will shine out of
The eyes.





Hey, guy,
You’ve caught my eye.
You’re just the man for me.
It’s time to kiss those other girls




Daily Post Prompt: Moon

I know the Daily Post Prompt says to write a “new” post on the day’s topic, but I’m going to ignore those instructions. I’ve actually posted most of these pictures in a couple posts for other reasons — and I wrote the poem for a totally different challenge earlier this year. However, they fit the theme so perfectly that I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share both again. The pictures are works that I created using two of my own photographs of the moon, taken at totally different times, and I have used them to create a whole line of greeting cards called “Moonglow.”



Well, now, you lovely silver orb
Rising nightly, taking up your throne
To rule the sky amidst your starry entourage,
You have the power to stir men’s souls
And capture their imaginations —
Fostering mysteries, romantic notions,
Ghostly tales, and lovers’ secrets.

But how you’ve gained so grand a place
Within the minds of earthly men is quite beyond me.
For truly you are but a piece of rock
With lustrous filaments that cause you to reflect another’s light.
With no light of your own to boast
And no control of how you make your way across the sky,
I fail to see why you should be the root of so much poetry —
Or epic tales — or artistry.

You’re just a great reflector,
And all your beauty’s lent you by the sun.
Yet, still you manage with your borrowed lumens
To capture hearts and minds.
And so ’twill be as long as time shall run
That men, in word and song and artist’s brush,
Will make of you a symbol of their highest expectations,
And set you as the goal for which they reach
As they attempt to soar beyond their realm of dust.

And I suppose in that respect, you do deserve some praise.
For were it not for you, perhaps there’s many a man who would have trod this earth
And failed to lift his eyes to higher heights and deep desires.
So shine on, silver orb,
And carry on your glorious procession
Each night across the sky.
For generations yet of pioneers, adventurers, and lovers too
Will need your light to inspire their hearts to dream —
Then strive to make those lovely dreams come true.



SOCS Writing Challenge – 8/13/16: Cash

I‘m experimenting with a new challenge this week. Actually, I was supposed to write this piece yesterday, since the challenge is titled “Stream of Consciousness Saturday.” But I just didn’t have enough time. The hostess is Linda G. Hill, and if you’d like to start participating in the challenge, just follow the link to her site.

I like stream-of-consciousness writing exercises. I use them often with my creative writing students in the college classes I teach. And many times, those exercises allow us to discover aspects of our creativity that we didn’t know were there. When we just start writing without planning and let our creativity take us wherever it will, without stopping to reason or even edit, we can come up with some surprising things.

This time around, I think I’ve come up with something rather silly, but — what can I say — I just started with a question out of nowhere and followed up with another line and another until I had what you see below. Maybe it will at least give you a chuckle.


Public domain image from www.public-domain-image.com


“Cash! Darn it, man! What took you so long?”

“I couldn’t find my gun.”

“What the heck you need a gun for?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean what do I mean? What do you plan to do with a gun?”

Cash looked at his friend Kent. They’d gone through high school together as best friends. And even after Cash had gone to Brazil to work, they’d kept in touch – well – until his accident. After that, he’d lost touch with most of his acquaintances, due to the amnesia.

Now, ten years later, most of his memory was coming back – slowly – and he had manged to get a job at the computer company where Kent worked. Kent had invited him to go out with him tonight – since it was Friday and no work tomorrow – but he was wondering now if his friend might be having some issues with forgetfulness himself. He looked at him closely. “You all right, Kent? I think maybe you’ve been working too hard.”

“Heck no. I’m fine. Lookin’ forward to tonight.”

“But I notice you don’t have a gun – and you’re not exactly dressed for hunting are you?”

Kent scratched his head. “What’s with this gun business? You afraid someone might try to hold us up or something?”

“No. But hunting requires some kind of weapon, doesn’t it? Bow and arrow or knife or a gun? And I figured since you said we’d be hunting chicks, the gun would be the most appropriate.”

Kent’s eyes bugged out. “What?!”

“Well, chickens are going to be pretty hard to take down with a bow and arrow, and, frankly, the knife sounded like it would get pretty gory, so the gun seemed the best choice.”

“Buddy … are you telling me you came tonight planning on shooting at a bunch of chickens?”

Now it was Cash’s turn to look astounded. “But that’s what you said we’d be doing. I remember distinctly. You said, ‘Hey Cash, wanna go out with me tonight? We’ll hunt us up some chicks.’

Kent just stood there – mouth open, but silent. No words came to his rescue. He’d have to figure out a way to explain to Cash that, evidently, his memory was still a long way from back to normal. Colloquial terminology needed to be the topic of discussion at his next therapy session.




‘Slate’ is On Sale This Week!

Hey, Great News!

My digital novel – Slate – went on sale today for only $0.99. The sale will last through midnight next Wednesday, August 17.

The book also has a brand new Facebook Page, where you can get to know more about it and read a few excerpts. Some of you read it on here, but many of you are new enough followers that you didn’t get a chance to do that. So follow this link and get to know more about the book and the characters.

The Facebook page also has a “Shop Now” button that takes you right to the page at the Amazon Kindle Store to place your order.

Or — you can just bypass Facebook and go straight to the Amazon page.

And if you don’t own a Kindle, no worries. Amazon offers a free Kindle app for any device right on the page where you order the book.

Slate is an inspirational story that will stay with you long after you read the words “The End.” Buy a copy for yourself and another for someone you love.




Daily Post Prompt: Joke

Maybe it’s because I’m such an avid reader — and an avid writer — but I do believe this is one of the funniest jokes I’ve ever heard. I’ve retold it zillions of times — with a tip of my hat to its incredible creator: Mr Groucho Marx.


Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.



To participate, hop over to the Daily Post.


20 Things the Well-Prepared Woman Has with Her at All Times

WINKING RIGHT EYE -BLACK(It’s been a little over 2 years since I first created this list. I thought it might be a good time to post it again. I’m also interested to know if any readers out there have suggestions for additions.)


  1. Chocolate
  2. Peanut Butter & Crackers
  3. Small package of Kleenex
  4. Individually-wrapped anti-bacterial wipes
  5. Bottle of water
  6. Dental floss
  7. A delightful book
  8.Two Pens
  9. Notepaper
10. Extra chocolate
11. Two Band-aids
12. A nail file
13. Two Safety pins
14. Two paper clips
15. Compact with mirror
16. Comb
17. $10.00 in immediately spendable currency
18. Cell Phone – for emergencies only (a phone held to the ear constantly is very unattractive.)
19. A big smile
20. Extra chocolate



100-Word Challenge For Grownups – Week #184

Julia’s back into the swing of things with her 100-Word Challenge for Grownups this week. The prompt is the following phrase:
“… and just when Harold thought it couldn’t get any worse …”

Visit Julia’s blog to get the details of participating.


Harold slapped the alarm, grabbed the remote and clicked on the TV as the lottery numbers came up. Grabbing his ticket, he checked off the list.

“I won! I won!” He jumped out of bed, stepping on his boxer, Dolly.

“Woof! Woof!” Dolly joined in the excitement.

Barely thinking, Harold threw on clothes and started downstairs. Dolly ran under his feet, and Harold tripped, rolling down the flight in record time. Rubbing is head and his tailbone, he made it to the kitchen to warm up yesterday’s coffee.

The microwave blew a fuse, so he opted for juice, which he spilled on the floor. He bent to wipe it up and dropped his winning ticket into the puddle. And just when Harold thought it couldn’t get any worse, Dolly snatched up the ticket and chewed it to bits.


Daily Post Photo Challenge: Morning

I know this is technically a “photo” challenge, but I’m going to stretch it out to a little bit more. To begin with, I’m using a photo from my good friend – and one of my favorite professional photographers – Terry Valley. I’ve posted it previously, but it fits this week’s theme perfectly. I think my story does too.

TERRY'S HORSE # 2 - brightened, new credits

I first saw her just across the ravine that runs through the Morgans’ wooded glen. I’d been walking there since dawn, too restless to lie in bed after hours of being too troubled to sleep. Old Man Morgan’s property bordered ours, and I often walked there, regularly ending up at my favorite spot, where the trees abruptly stopped to open up a small clearing and allow the sun to shine onto it in full power.

That day, as the sun caressed the earth with its warmth, it drew a heavy mist from the ground. A veil of softest silk; a gossamer film that shifted and swirled – light gray and white, but suffused with that iridescent pink that can be found only in the day’s very first kiss of sun.

All was silent except for birdsong, but as anyone who’s walked alone in the woods knows, that song is part of the unique quiet of wooded havens. There was no disturbance of nature from any direction – except within me. I had been besieged for months by a mind that wouldn’t be quiet, and a heart that raged against all that had happened until it sometimes felt as if it would burst from my body, and I would have to die. It raged at me that day. And the thoughts harangued me, until I finally threw myself down on the shallow bank of the ravine and leaned against the tree in exhaustion.

I don’t know for sure how long I sat there, looking out at the open meadow area directly across from me, watching the sun draw the mist and change its color from moment to moment. Finally, my eyes drifted closed. It may have been for a few seconds or for several minutes. Not having worn a watch, I’m still not sure. But suddenly, I opened my eyes and there in the open meadow walked the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. She was white –pure white – from nose to hooves, from mane to tail.

She was just far enough away that for a moment, I wasn’t sure I hadn’t imagined her form as a mirage resulting from the swirling mist. But the longer I watched her, more of the mist began to dissipate, and finally I was convinced of what I was seeing. She moved with stately grace, slowly and easily, but sure of her territory. I was interested to see that she walked the perimeter of the meadow, not stopping to graze, as most horses would, but seeming to delight in just taking the exercise.

I expected her to move out of my line of vision and go back to the stables or the coral where she had came from, but she did not. She came full circle around the meadow and back to the place she had started, right in front of me, just a few feet from the opposite bank of the ravine. She nodded her head a few times, then turned and looked right at me. Blowing softly through her nostrils, she watched me even as I watched her. Then she whinnied quietly, nodded her head at me a second time, turned and walked away, disappearing behind the stand of trees at the edge of the meadow.

I blinked, then closed my eyes. Immediately, I realized that my breathing had changed. My heartbeat had changed. My mind was actually quiet for the first time in months. I took a deep breath and roused myself to look around me more closely. I could see by the changes in the light that the day was well on its way, and some of my responsibilities wouldn’t wait any longer. At the thought of facing what the rest of the day held for me, I started dragging again, but I knew there was something different about me – something fresher and more alive that hadn’t been a part of me when I’d started my walk this morning. I’d need to think about it more later.

The following morning, I woke to realize I had slept five hours. That, in itself seemed a miracle, but I was wide awake at the very first rays of dawn. I threw on my clothes and headed out the door, knowing exactly where I was headed, and wasting no time getting there. I sat, again leaning against the tree, and waited. This time, I heard her before I saw her. She snorted softly a time or two, and I strained my eyes to watch for her. The mist was thick again. It was that time of year, and nearly every day, it took an hour or two for it to burn off completely. Then I saw her – the same as yesterday – walking slowly through the meadow – always within my line of vision. This time, when she was on the back side of the meadow, she stopped and looked across the expanse in my direction. I couldn’t see her eyes up close, of course, but I felt sure she was looking directly at me. And when she whinnied softly the way she had the previous day, I was convinced.

She continued her walk and came back to the edge of the ravine, stopping, blowing softly, looking at me and waiting. Yes, for some reason, she just watched me and waited. Finally, I spoke. “Hello there, Morning Star.” The name flowed out of my mouth without conscious thought on my part. I don’t know why. It just fit. She blew softly again and nodded her head. She liked it. My heart actually skipped a beat, and my breath caught in my throat at the idea that this lovely creature somehow genuinely cared about me and was wanting to communicate that fact to me. It was an amazing experience.

I’d been a Christian believer all my life, and I was firmly convinced that God had personally created every single creature on the earth. I knew that in His Word, He clearly indicated that the human race is responsible for those creatures – not only to bring them into subjection, but also to love them, care for them, meet their needs, and bless them. I had always been a responsible pet owner when I was a boy, and I believed my dogs and cats had always been happy in my care. But this experience was a different thing. This time, it felt as if this animal were taking the responsibility to love me and care for me – even if only for a few moments. I wondered: could God cause these less elevated creatures to know – really know – when humans had needs? And could He — well, admittedly, I believed He could – but would He call on them to help those humans in their times of need?

I didn’t have an answer to that question, but Morning Star, whinnied softly to me again, nodding her head once more, so I started telling her about my life. I poured out more that morning than I had poured out to any other creature under Heaven. Well, in fact, I don’t think I had even said all of those things in so many words to God Himself. He knew them, of course, but there’s a difference.

When I was to the place that I was ready to stop, Morning Star was still watching me intently. Throughout my speech, she had responded with her soft, comforting, blowing sounds and an occasional nod. That was all, but oddly enough, it was all I needed. When I had been quiet for several minutes, she whinnied and turned away, again making her stately way into the copse of trees that evidently held the trail that led to her home.

I went every morning that week, more eager to rise from my bed each day, and realizing when I did so that I had slept more hours each night. By the seventh day, I felt truly rested. I hurried to my place of rendezvous, and, to my delighted surprise, Morning Star, was already there waiting for me. She stood, beautiful in the mist, which held a unique golden-pink glow this morning. “Hello, Morning Star,” I whispered. She greeted me with her familiar soft blowing, nodded her head at me, and began her walk. I wondered at her turning away to walk right after I arrived, but then I realized that she was giving me time to settle in and get quiet enough to receive more help.

When she had come full circle and stopped, looking at me, waiting for me to speak, I realized the I had nothing to pour out to her about my terrible life experiences. My mind was so quiet that I couldn’t even find the haranguing thoughts that had been pounding through it for weeks on end. They were gone. My body felt light, fresh, energized. “Well, Morning Star,” I began, “Believe it or not, I don’t have anything to complain about today. In fact, I’m feeling grateful that I’m alive and well and capable of working.” As I spoke the words, I realized that deep inside I had been experiencing a gentle nudging for the past couple of days — a desire to begin work on projects that I had put off for months. I realized with a thrill to my entire being that I actually wanted to work again! I wanted to live again!

I looked back at my friend. “I’m okay, Morning Star. Really okay! I’m ready to get back into life.”

She whinnied, more forcefully than she had done previously, and nodded her head so energetically that I had to laugh. Then she began to paw the ground and even prance a little. I could never explain to anyone how I knew, but I did know that Morning Star was happy – happy for me! It was one of the most exciting experiences I had ever had. I laughed, and she whinnied, eventually rearing up on her back legs and pawing the air in her own excitement. “Thank you, Morning Sar.” I said, and her response was another excited whinny as she reared up once more and then settled down again.

I rose and slowly made my way across the ravine, thankful that the water merely trickled through it this time of year. She stood still before me, still making her comforting blowing sounds. “Thank you, Morning Star,” I whispered again, reaching up to lay one hand on her nose and the other on her neck. She felt like velvet, and I was not surprised. She turned her head and nuzzled my cheek. I laughed, patting her neck again. “I love you, girl. Thank you for being here.”

After nuzzling my cheek another moment, she stepped away from me and half turned. I glanced upward, knowing the true source of the gift I had been given. I closed my eyes and lifted both hands in the air. “Thank you, Lord,” I whispered.

Opening my eyes, I turned to reach out to Morning Star again, but she was gone. The mist was gone. In its place, glorious sunlight enveloped the meadow and filtered through the trees and shrubs, spreading it’s warm brilliance everywhere. It bathed my face, drying the tears that had begun to course down my cheeks. I couldn’t hold them back, but they were not tears of distress. They were tears of joy and gratitude. I knew Morning Star would not be back. I would miss her sorely for a while, but she had given me a gift that would always be a part of me. I had my life back, and the will to live it.

I have no idea how she came to be in that glen. That she was not a figment of my imagination coupled with the mist, I am quite sure. I touched her with my hands and felt her nuzzle my cheek. But do I believe she actually lived on a segment of land anywhere in that county? Maybe not. Maybe an angel rode her to the glen each morning for that week. Perhaps I’ll never know. But I do know that she is one of God’s creatures, and that He graciously led her to me when I needed her. She loved me when I needed love. I’ll love her for the rest of my life.




Daily Post Prompt: Muse

To take part in the challenge, visit Daily Post.

Clip art courtesy Clker.com

My muse
Went for a snooze.
Left me to write alone.
And although on my own,
I wrote great stuff.
Aha!  I’ve learned I don’t need him at all.
“Dear Muse,
You snooze; you lose.
You’re fired.”





Silly Cinquain

Gert and Yogi
Just had a baby boy.
They compromised to choose his name:


Sorry: It’s been a very long, very hard day. I just couldn’t pass up this ridiculous thought (especially since I was eating a cup of yogurt at the time).

However, I did accomplish something worthwhile today: I bought a car. Life is almost back to normal now.