The Biscuit Bandit in WRiTECLUB

Your story reminded me of O. Henry and a scene from Les Miserables where the pastor gives the churches silver to Valjean. Hope you win the contest.

Word Craft

I’ve returned from a short hiatus of editing stories to submit to contests for #shortstorysunday. The story below was one I submitted to the WRiTECLUB Contest last year. I’ve submitted 2 stories for this year’s competition, so be sure to click the link and watch the bouts to see 30 brave writers compete anonymously for the top prize. The winner is chosen by you, the readers who take time out of your day to read two stories and leave a few encouraging words and a vote. It takes 3 weeks for all the contestants announced, so 137 writers will be checking in with baited breath!

Voting starts on April 29th, so bookmark the link now!

The Biscuit Bandit

Fritz glanced back, stretching his hand towards the steaming biscuit. It disappeared into his pocket, and Fritz sighed at the warmth. A second biscuit followed.

Then he saw it: the little cake…

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The astronaut attitude

getoutoftherecliner

Not everything has to be geared towards achieving a specific future purpose to be worthwhile.

Let me rephrase that:

Don’t try to live in the future. Appreciate the present.

My dad was a storyteller. He grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and he had a great fund of stories featuring hard work, honesty, thrift, and generosity. The theme, in addition to whatever specific value was being imparted, was that living by that value would pay off in the end. Hard work pays off in a satisfying career. My dad’s thrift as a child enabled him to lend his parents money when times were tight in the Depression. His honesty in remembering all winter that he had to repay a penny as soon as the roads cleared earned him a whole bag of penny candy from the surprised storekeeper. His mother’s generosity to a band of traveling Cree people was…

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Lessons of the Road

amyhenrybooks

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to. 
Don’t try to see through the distances. 
That’s not for human beings. 
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move. 
(Rumi)

[The Spin: What better time than April, the month of Earth Day, to recycle a post from another April—with several spiffy additions applied like a new coat of (non-toxic) paint?

The Truth: Major time-crunch this past month—final revisions, agent searches, query letters. Every writer knows the drill. I promise to be back next month with a scintillating brand new post. Until then, rejoice. We have survived another winter.]

When I was in my twenties, I imagined that by 40 or so (when I imagined such an advanced age at all), I would have acquired a certain grace at living. Grace implied to me a kind of sanguine wisdom, the possession of which…

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Self publishing 2 – improving

Clarissa Gosling

Self publishing 2_ improving.png

In the previous post in this series I wrote about the importance of sitting down to write. You can’t succeed self publishing books if you have nothing to publish.

As well as writing, and the pure drive to get words on the page, you need to be looking to improve your craft of writing. Make what you do write better. And understand that this is a lifelong task – as long as you are writing there is always something to improve.

Story structure, characterisation, emotional resonance, dialogue, descriptions, outlining methods, how to create tension, … this list can go on and on. And I have by no means mastered any of them! I am still finding out what works for me. I find this really exciting – a challenge to see how my writing improves the more I do it. Trying to find new ways to describe things. Description…

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Rightfully on Our Reading List

Domestic Vocation

I got a copy of Carolyn Astfalk’s first book Stay with Me for my kindle, and jumped at the chance to read her follow-up, Ornamental Graces. I love Carolyn’s style of writing, from her ability to make characters believable to her ability to include her Catholic faith without being in-your-face about it. I even shared Stay with Me with my teen daughters.

Rightfully Ours FrontAnd now, Carolyn Astfalk has released a brand-new book, aimed squarely at young adult readers (and those older readers, like me, who enjoy a good love story without having to skip pages). Rightfully Ours is a coming-of-age story about first loves, buried treasure, and the lesson that some things are worth waiting for.


Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep.

Paul’s new home with the Muellers…

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10 steps to Girlfriend Status, by Cynthia T. Toney

Adolescence is the most difficult time of life. How do we survive it? What with all the physical, emotional, external, and self-inflicted challenges, it is no wonder that many teens lose their way on the path to maturity.

In 8 Notes to a Nobody, Cynthia Toney’s first volume in the Bird Face series, Wendy Robichaud, with help from her friends learns to smile. As 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status follows 8 Notes to a Nobody, Wendy seems more confident. In fact, we see a daring and assertive Wendy. She grows close to her first boyfriends. She encounters the unstoppable forces that will separate her from Mrs. Villaturo, the only “grandmother” that Wendy knows. Wendy weathers the on-again-off-again friendship with her new step-sister Alice Rend. That’s enough stress for anyone.

As the title suggests, Wendy checks off each leap forward in her relationship with her boyfriend, David Griffin. Of course, for every step forward, there may be a step or two in reverse.

In addition to the “David loves Wendy” story, 10 Steps cleverly explores the emotional permutations of Wendy’s first year in high school. She moves in with a blended or step-family. She struggles to balance her parents’ rules while still enjoying dates with David. She suffers the slings and arrows of rivalries— Wendy vs. Alice, the David-Wendy-Sam love-triangle. She mourns as the erosive effects of Alzheimer’s Disease dim her relationship with Mrs. Villaturo.

Wendy resents parental and step-parental advice, even though her mom and “Papa D” share the scars of their own teen ventures into dating. Everything seems to fly out of control with no solution in sight until Wendy hears about the family secret.

Mrs. Villaturo rouses Wendy’s curiosity when she mentions a scandal involving Wendy’s great-uncle Andre. Detective/diplomat Wendy sets out to uncover and solve this mystery. “Inquiring minds want to know.” She deliberately invites Alice to a road trip to bayou-country where answers may dangle amid the Spanish moss. Besides, Alice has her own not-so-mysterious reasons to visit great-uncle Andre’s relatives and their neighborhood crawling with alligators and snakes.

Excitement, conflict, mystery, and infatuation march through the pages of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status. The reader learns that Wendy’s heart is big enough to love selflessly and tender enough to ache and break as tragedies past and present unfold. The reward for her love-quest comes in the form of a closer and deeper relationship with every other character in the book.

Cynthia Toney caps off her engaging story with discussion questions and resources on the topics of teen dating, teens and Alzheimer’s disease, blended families, and stepfamilies.

She and I belong to the Catholic Writers Guild Fiction Critique Group. She provided me a review copy of 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status, which proved to be a joy to read.