Top Ten Reason I Haven’t Been Posting Lately

It’s obvious I haven’t been posting lately considering I only wrote one post in July. Here’s why, or maybe I should say, here are my excuses:

(10) I’m lazy.  No wait. Actually I’m not. That little voice in my head, the one that sounds like my mother, it says that I’m lazy. All the time. But it’s not true.

(9) I get easily distracted.

(8) I have needy friends. Okay, they’re not needy, but I need them which means I need to nurture those relationship. This one includes taking care of Ms. BlackBeary, my cat, who is eighteen years old, and a very demanding ol’ lady.

(7) I have a 9-to-5 job that requires my attention.

(6) I do need to eat and sleep. Contrary to that little voice, you know the one, I have to spend time on things besides blogging, things like eating, cleaning (myself and the condo), exercising. Sleeping.

(5) I’m in the middle of repainting my condo. Yes, and during a heat wave at that.

(4) Sometimes, I just don’t feel like sharing. Not today, obviously, but sometimes I’m just not in that place where I want to tell all to whomever is listening.

(3) I’ve been reading. Not only am I a member of a book club, but I read because I’m a writer. And because I enjoy it. Sometimes after everything else going on in my life, I need a refuge from the real world, a place to escape.

(2) I’ve been editing and re-editing, tweaking and wordsmithing a submission to a literary magazine. True by all accounts. I am a perfectionist, and so, even on the last read through, I was still changing things. It took me a  good three weeks to be sort’ov happy with a five thousand word submission. So you can imagine what my novel writing obsessions are like.  And yes, I finally let it out of my nit-picking little hands. I set it free. And I’m still having doubts about it.

(1) I’ve been writing, working on my current project.

Editing: An Easy Way to Check for Over-Used Words

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m in first draft mode, which I am right now, I frequently end up using the same word over and over, and over again. And that’s bad, very very very bad.

I’m a visual person. So this method works for me, and it’s really easy if you’re using MS Word. Basically, I go to the Search (and Replace) function and use the advance features. This allows me to replace a word (or all the same words in the document) with a formatted word.

If you want to try it out, bring up the Find/Replace function, type the over-used word in the “Find what:” field. Type the same word in the “Replace with:” field.

Select More>> in the lower left corner of the default Replace window. In the picture I’ve provided, I’ve already selected More>> so it shows up as <<Less. Then go to Format and Font.

When you do the formatting part, make sure you’ve clicked in the “Replace with:” field so it’s selected, or this won’t work very well.

A picture is always worth a thousand words, at least for a visual person like me.

So voilà: editing

The Secret Way into the Cemetery

0903121607aUvi & Asbe, the story continues… (a bit of back story from my work in progress)


Father has taken the long way around, the correct way, the way that Grandfather and Grandmother Ward would take, Mommy takes them through the shortcut. Even so, in the squeaky, pinchy shoes, the walk feels forever. Each step makes Asbe want to wrench the shoes from her feet and throw them as far as she can.

“Don’t snag your clothes,” Mommy says as they sneak through the hole in the shrubs.

As Asbe follows Uvi through the secret passage, she keeps a close watch for the cat. One of Asbe’s favorite stories is how, on one of Mommy’s walks, while she was pregnant with Asbe and Uvi, she followed a cat hoping it would share its wisdom, and it did. The cat showed her the secret way into the cemetery.

The cat told her that the dead are always with us. To be wary, but not afraid.

Asbe likes coming here. Mommy lets her and Uvi run around, lets them play hide and seek or tag. Once Mommy even brought a picnic. She found a grassy spot with a view of the sound, and they spent the afternoon snacking and playing and telling stories.

And she always leaves a bit of food for the cat.

Of course, Father doesn’t know about those times. He wouldn’t approve.


Book.Review: Blindness

blindnessI’m not sure how Nobel prizes are handed out. I believe it is based on an author’s body of work, not just on one book, but after reading Blindness, I’m unwilling to read any more of José Saramago’s books to find out if, in my opinion of course, he deserved the prize.

You can think what you want, that maybe I’m not intellectual enough to appreciate this book that “has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man’s worst appetites and weaknesses-and man’s ultimately exhilarating spirit.”*  To be very blunt, I thought this book, Blindness, was crap.

[Sorry, but crap is a funnily appropriate term considering Saramago’s obsession with shit.]

The books wasn’t compelling, and it could easily have been. The story was there, the storytelling was not.

I got past his “…long blocks of unbroken prose, lacking conventional markers like paragraph breaks and quotation marks…”**  I struggled with how the point of view was all over the place: third person, head-hopping, first person, and the much confusing we used when Saramago interjected himself into the novel to have a short conversation with the reader, just in case you, the reader, weren’t smart enough to get the point. Near the end, even the dog got a chance to share its point of view.

I don’t have problems with difficult books. I’ve read Faulkner’s Sound and Fury, for goodness sake. I actually love Faulkner, and have read most of his books. I’ve read Dostoyevsky and Eco, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. I’ve read Borges and Marquez. And I’ve read quite a few of the other Nobel Laureates, and that’s why I don’t understand how this book could have gained the following it has. These other authors, their stories engaged me as a reader. Blindness did not.

What bothered me was two fold.

One, I didn’t care about the characters, not really. [I told myself I was going to finish this book whether I wanted to or not, because I felt it had to have some redeeming qualities. It didn’t.]  It wasn’t until I was about half-way through, when the doctor’s wife realized she had the scissors, that I actually got just a teensy bit interested in what might happen, but even that fell a flat, was too predictable.

The doctor’s wife would have been a great protagonist. The one person who can see in a city of blind people, how could that not be more engrossing than the “village chorus”**?

Did I mention that no one had names, that they were the first blind man and the doctor’s wife and the boy with the squint, etc? Maybe that was a way of being clever, of trying to show how blindness can de-humanize us, but it put distance between me and the characters. I didn’t connect with any of them, not even during the most horrific scenes.

And finally, regarding characters, it felt very obvious that this book was written by an old man. The women were two-dimensional, more so than the men. They were either whores or mothers or crazy, mostly whores. I really disliked his treatment of women, and not in the way you would imagine. The rape scenes and the surrounding text did not anger me because those scenes felt like possibly the only true to life scenes in the book. I just felt like I didn’t care about these women. They were all whores or crazy, and uninteresting whores and crazies at that.

Two, the book felt antiquated. I kept thinking it was written in and about the 1930-40s, until he would throw in a term like microwave or AIDS that made me stop and wonder too many things that kicked me out of the story.

Why were none of the women concerned about birth control or the spread of venereal diseases? With all the shit everywhere, why did none of the women get infections? [Old man writing?] Why did no one have a computer? And considering the problems the sighted doctor’s wife dealt with in the city, were there no flashlights with batteries? Really? In a city of blind people, you’d think flashlights wouldn’t be in high demand. Where were the malls? the REIs? Where were the religious fanatics? Surely someone in the hospital would have been shouting how this was all God’s will, that he was punishing sinners. Where were the drug addicts going through withdrawal? Why did no one in the hospital have cancer or diabetes or require special medicines? Did no one get a cold or have a headache?  Did no one bring a bag full of drugs, over the counter or not? Why, out of 200+  inmates, did only one person bring a gun?

Did the blindness intentionally take the good, the old, the boring people first?

I just couldn’t relate to these people or the problems they were having. The people in Saramago’s world were more concerned with filth, with how everything was covered in shit and piss, than with realities. Saramago must have had some psychological problem with cleanliness. I get it. It smelled really bad and felt really bad, conditions were unsanitary, but if you say it more than three times you’re beating the reader over the head with it and showing the world your own obsessions.

He needed to show us what real people deal with everyday, things that would have been exacerbated by blindness. Things besides their bathroom habits.

Maybe a lot of these things were in the book but I just didn’t care enough to remember. Maybe they were too subtle for me to notice, or maybe I’m not intelligent enough to get it. Or maybe they were covered over with shit.

I gave this book two-stars because I did finish it. I didn’t want to, but I did.

 * Blindness (Amazon)

** José Saramago, Nobel Prize-Winning Portuguese Writer, Dies at 87

Today at BlackBeary Condo: The Mystery of the Short White Whisker

IMG_20150525_191652BlackBeary stands in front of the vanity mirror, the only full-human-length mirror in the house, the only mirror low enough for her to admire herself, and something is wrong. Very wrong.

Her silly, clumsy human apparently got too frisky with the grooming shears, and now BlackBeary has half a whisker staring back at her like some neon sign flashing a warning about how crazy things get at her house, and it’s not just any whisker. It’s one of her stately, white whiskers.

Will it never end, BlackBeary asks herself. Will these things she has to put up with, the degradation, the disgrace, will it never end?

How embarrassing!

ReBlog: Yes, The Cat will be Okay

I’ve been working on my latest novel, and in it there is a dog which reminded me of this post I wrote back in mid-2013 on my old blog,


Last weekend I got a text from a friend which said that [and I’m paraphrasing] her friend was reading Couillon, and she really liked the story, but before she went any further she wanted to know if the cat would be okay.

Years ago, I was lucky enough to attend a writers’ retreat in Maui.  [Sadly, that program no longer exists.]  Anyway, James Rollins spoke at the retreat.  He did a presentation on how to make a character more likable.  The one suggestion I remember best, because I love animals, was to give the character a pet.  Again, I’m paraphrasing, but he said something like this: if in your book, you gave Hitler a big goofy Labrador as a pet, the reader would feel the need to find some redeeming quality in him because monsters can’t possibly own big goofy Labradors. The thing is that even with Hitler, if he’s part of your story, he can’t be two-dimensional.  Yes, he was a monster, and should be portrayed as such, but if you don’t give him other qualities, at least one good quality, your story will be flat… and boring.  You want to surprise your reader.

Maybe I’ll write a post about making characters likable, someday, but, as they say in old books/movies, I digress.  Back to the issue with the cat being okay.

The other thing I know about pets in novels, is that they should survive whatever situation you put them in. I can’t remember where I heard/read it, maybe in Stephen King’s On Writing, although he kills the Oy, the BillyBumbler in the last book of The Dark Tower.  Basically the rule is to never, ever kill a pet in your story unless it is absolutely necessary.  Where humans are concerned, we see and read about so much violence and killing, we’ve become desensitized to their deaths, no matter how bizarre or gross, but kill a pet and you will likely alienate your reader.  So, unless you have a following as big as Stephen King’s, always make sure the pet is okay at the end of the story.

I will say that I cried more about that damn BillyBumbler dying than any of the other characters in The Dark Tower.  And if it had of been a new author I was reading, I may not have ever read another novel by that author.

Sometimes it happens even with authors I love.  In Minette Walters’ The Shape of Snakes, her descriptions of cruel acts committed on neighborhood cats by one of the characters almost put me off reading her ever again.  She’s a good writer, but I don’t want those images in my head.  Maybe if she hadn’t been quite so graphic about what was done, but it make me feel sick and afraid to read more of her work.  So you see, it does matter.  If she’d described those same things happening to a human… well, good, bad, or indifferent, let’s just say all those murder mysteries I’ve read have certainly anesthetized me to humans being tortured and killed.  But not animals.

So, think twice before hurting or killing an animal, especially a pet, in your story.

With that said, yes, in both Couillon and An Untold Want, the cat will be okay, as will the dog in Beryl’s Story.

2014 IU Flash Fiction Anthology is out…

The 2014 Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Anthology is not only available, it’s free [on Kindle] through May 25th.

AND in it, you’ll find one of my submissions, from the January 11, 2014 contest: Death for Sale.

Here’s the prompt:

Photo by K.S.Brooks

          Photo by K.S.Brooks

The car was a 1954 Pontiac. Her first owner was Bill Keenan, a newspaper reporter for the Kansas City Star.

Bill drove the car home and his wife met him out on the front steps and shot him dead. She’d found out about Bill and his secretary.

Now, you can say that didn’t have anything to do with the car, and I guess you’d be right. Still, it seemed to have gotten the car off to a bad start. Over the years, she was owned by 13 people. Every one of those folks was murdered.

I don’t really consider myself to be superstitious, but I don’t see no reason to tempt fate, neither. That’s why I tried to talk Eric out of buying the car. It was useless, of course. He was in love with the thing.


It took me longer than I expected because I needed to do some research, but the research is a huge part of what I enjoy about putting together a story.  Anyway, below is what I wrote in response to the prompt.  I titled it Bit of a Poke.

This was my response:

“For Christ’s sake, Eric, as if this old heap isn’t bad enough, the steering wheel’s on the wrong side,” Fiona said. “What could possibly have possessed you to buy it?”

“The seller told me a great story.”  Eric smiled the smile, the one that, long ago, had beguiled her into marrying him. “Get this.  All thirteen owners died, uncannie like. Murdered.”

“And dunderheid that you be, you believed him. I dinnae ken what gets into you sometimes.”

“The original awner, a guy named Bill from Kansas, well, his wee wife shot him the day he brung it home. Apparently ol’ Bill was giving his secretary a bit of a poke on the side.”

Fiona felt her face burn.

“The seller swears a brollachan possesses this here motorcar. Swears it pops out every now and again and enters a human’s body. Poor awners always seem to get the warst of it.”

She clenched her fists, digging her nails into her palms. “Really?”

“The second awner, another damn American looking to live in the Highlands, brung it over and, get this, he ended up being kil’t by an axe murderer. In the garage. Right beside it. It’s wickit. A brollachan makes sense.” He smiled again, darker this time. “And the murderers either weren’t caught or convicted.”

“So why the f–  Why would you buy it, you eeejit?”  She watched Eric’s eyes go dark, then glow red.

“Did I forget to tell you, you unfaithful cow, I put the car in your name?”

Flash.Fiction: Snowman (and older entry)

Photo by K.S.Brooks

              Photo by K.S.Brooks

This is one of my flash fiction entries, an older one, from the Indies Unlimited, February 1, 2014 contest.

The prompt was:

State Trooper Tom Dewitt pulled up on what he thought was a vehicle that had gotten stuck in the snow and abandoned by its occupants. The vehicle was no longer running and he couldn’t see anyone inside.

He didn’t want to stop, fearful that his own car might become stuck as well. He drove slowly by, and craned his neck to look into the other car.

The two occupants were slumped toward each other, and from the blood splattered on the headrests, Tom knew the serial killer they called the Snowman had returned. What Tom did not know was that the Snowman was still there…

And my response:

Tom enjoyed working with his partner Tommy. They seemed to share something, some deeper understanding he’d never had with other partners. Tommy, normally called Tom, went by Tommy on the job so it wouldn’t be so hard for the other officers to differentiate between them.

But even having Tommy in the car with him didn’t make what Tom was seeing any easier. Two bodies bathed in blood and frozen stiff, yet clasping each other as if seeking solace in their final moments, a sight gruesome enough to turn the most seasoned officer’s stomach. The Snowman, that bastard, had claimed two more.

“You okay?” Tommy said.

“Just makes me queasy. They’re the first ones I’ve had to report.”

“You want me to—”

“No. I got it. Thanks.”

Suppressing the urge to puke, Tom called it in. With the knee deep snow, they’d need a truck to haul the car to the station.

“What kind of person could do this, Tommy?”

“Dude, maybe it’s an illness. Like maybe the guy’s a schizophrenic or someth—”

“That’s no excuse. There’s a world of difference between being a psycho and being a monster.”

“I’m just saying. He could be sick, inside. Yet… Yet, look totally normal, like us, on the outside—”

“Give it a rest, alright.”

Tom turned the radio up, and the two waited in silence.

Forty-five intolerable minutes later, Jameson tapped on the window.

“Tom, you okay?”

Tom nodded.

“Man, it must have been creepy sitting here all by yourself.”


Please note that since this interview, the time frame has shifted from the present era to the early 50s.
And sorry for the re-post.  This was me copying it to a page to place under a menu and not paying attention to what I was doing. Typical of me.


Name: Beryl Ward

Gender: female
Age: 27
Home:  upper Queen Anne, Seattle, Washington
Ancestry: Native American (mother) / German (father)
Appearance: It’s obvious that Beryl gets her looks from her mother’s side of the family. Her caramel coloring, round face, almost almond-shaped eyes and high cheek bones betray her Native American heritage. She wears her hair long and straight, usually pulled back in a loose pony tail or braided due to its thickness. Her eyes are a dark chocolate-brown that matches her hair. She has no distinguishing facial features, no tattoos, no scars.
Favorite color: black, of course
Typical Outfit:  She appears to be the epitome of Seattle Grunge, with her jeans and a plaid button down over a tank top, worn laceless Vans on her feet. Her outfit looks like a hodge-podge of clothing she found at Value Village.

Today, I’m interviewing Beryl Ward, the protagonist in my latest–yet to be named–novel. Thank you, Beryl, for spending some time with me, for letting me expose you, who you are to potential readers.

[Beryl shrugs.]

So what do people call you?

[rolls her eyes at me]


No nickname?


You live on Queen Anne, right? Must be nice, living in that part of town. Lots of beautiful old mansions up there.

If you say so.

You’re not very talkative.

You’re the one who wanted to do this interview. Wasn’t my idea. I agreed, but I don’t have to be overjoyed about it.

Were you born there?

Yes. My father has owned that house since before I was born. I live in the guesthouse out back now, though.

You don’t live in the house with your father. May I ask why?

You can, but I don’t think it’s any of your business.

Okay. Let’s see… [check my list of questions] Who are the people you’re closest to?

That would be my brother, Jeryl.  And maybe Mr. Denny across the street. He’s blind. Mr. Denny, not my brother.

Funny. Beryl and Jeryl.

We’re twins. I guess my parents thought it would be cute. 

[another eye roll]

And your parents, you didn’t mention them when I asked about people you’re close to.

You’re right. I didn’t.

Would you care to elaborate?

Not really, but I know you’ll just keep asking if I don’t. My mother died when I was very young, five or six maybe. I can’t even remember now. To say that my father and I aren’t close would be an understatement. Let’s just leave it at that.

This Mr. Denny, how long have you known him?

He’s lived across from us since I can remember. I think he’s one of the Dennys, you know, the family that founded Seattle.

What is it you like about him?

He listens to me.

[almost laughs]

Well, I guess he has to since he’s blind. But, you know, he treats me like a person. He’s old, and loves to tell me stories, like my…

You stopped. You were going to add something.

I was going to say like my mother.


My mother told us stories when we were little. Me and Jeryl, she told us stories about Raven, the trickster. About Otter and Orca and Mink. Native American stories. If we were bad she’d tell us that The Woman of the Woods–a giant cannibal woman–was going to get us. But she never let us be afraid for long.

Was there any story in particular that she told often?

There is the Nootka legend of the twins, the Kwe’kustepsep who changed the world. I guess I remember that because of Jeryl and I being twins. But if I remember correctly, she always started her stories–  Once, many many years ago, there was a Nootka chief who had a beautiful daughter, that was how most of my mother’s stories began.

[pauses again, turns away and looks out the window]

She didn’t mean to imply that she was good-looking or even a handsome woman—I came to understand that, only later—but she understood that the best stories are always about the beautiful daughter.  She knew that girls are capable of getting into so much more trouble but as storytelling goes, an ugly daughter, especially a child of a chief, was not worth considering.

[still looking out the window, pauses, this time for so long that I almost ask another question]  

I am the ugly daughter of the beautiful daughter of a Nootka chief.  I wanted to be beautiful, but I only ended up being troublesome. 

Beryl, you’re not ugly. 

It’s not what you see. It’s what I see.

[pauses, turns back toward me]

Let’s talk about something else

Okay. [pause to look at my notes] So what do you do for a living?


I have a stall down at Pike Market. I draw medicine wheels and read spirit cards.

Medicine wheels?

What? I have to teach you everything? Let me Google that for you.

[big sigh]

In general a medicine wheel is a physical structure. I create a very small one in a sand tray with stones to act as the elemental points. It’s an introspective way of connecting with, with–  That whole circle of life thing new-agers are so crazy about. You know, the elements and totems and such. I figured out a way to make money off of it. It’s not true to Native American beliefs, but it’s good enough for a bunch of wannabes.

That sounds a little cynical.

I give the customer what they’re looking for, a feel good session. Basically, I listen to their problems. And say supportive things. I think I actually have a gift for knowing what people need to hear. And for them, it’s cheaper than a psychotherapy session. I only charge $60 an hour.

Do you get a lot of customers?

Enough to support myself. 

But you live on Queen Anne.

I live in my father’s guesthouse, okay. I would have moved away a long time ago, but Jeryl won’t move out of the big house. So, I stay there. And no, before you ask, I do not have to pay rent. But I pay for everything else I need, food, clothing, stuff like that.

I’m really not trying to be confrontational. Just to prove it, if you were [laugh] a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Wow, that’s original. Who are you? Barbara Walters?

Aren’t you a little young to know who Barbara Walters is?

[no response]

Alright, let’s try something else, something that will hopefully give us a view of who you are. What’s your totem animal, or your astrological sign, or whatever you follow?

Leo. And my totem animal changes at times, depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. But usually it’s Raven.

Leo is interesting, all fiery and loyal, fierce and egotistical at times. [smile] I know because I’m a Leo too. But most of us know a bit about astrology, enough to recognize the signs or how to find more information if we want it. Because I don’t know as much about Native American mythology, I have to ask what it means to have Raven as your totem animal?

Raven is the keeper of secrets. But is also the trickster. With Raven, you  never know if what you’re seeing/feeling is real. You never know what you’re going to get.

Okay, how about another one, one a bit more esoteric this time? What smell do you associate with the kitchen from your childhood?

[scowls, and then very slowly smiles]

Pancakes. My mother used to make pancakes for me and Jeryl. His favorite– our favorite, blueberry pancakes. 

That sounds nice. So how about another easy one? What’s your favorite novel?

I don’t read.

May I ask why?

You may.


I’m dyslexic. Reading is difficult for me. But if I had to guess, something I’ve had to read in the past, I’d say Jane Eyre.

Ok. Just for me, let’s do a silly Barbara Walter’s type question. Please?

[sighs and then nods]

If you were a rock star, who would you be?

[gives me a look of long-suffering]

Ummm. Lady Gaga.

You don’t seem all that flamboyant, at least not from physical appearances. You remind me more of Sarah McLachlan, well with Native American coloring. So why Lady Gaga?

I want to be like her, unafraid of being who I am and showing it. Maybe she’s not like that at all, but she projects that.

So I’m about to wrap this up. Is there anything you would like everyone to know about you, something I haven’t asked already?

Yeah, tell them to mind their own business. No one likes their life being on display for everyone to dissect. Your life must be pretty boring if you have to examine mine so closely.

Alrighty then. So do you have any questions for me?

I do. Why are your words in bold and mine aren’t. What, do you think you’re more important than I am?

Well, I did create you.

Sure, keep telling yourself that.

Flash.Fiction: Sugar Britches – or – What A Mom’s Gotta Do

This week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction challenge allowed me to show the part of me that knows mothers can and do put their children first.

The prompt is:

The little flower had fallen off one of the cookies. Andrea stood and stared at the flawed little thing. In all other respects, it was the same as the other cookies. It just seemed so much more plain than the others. 

Photo by K.S.Brooks

Photo by K.S.Brooks

It is different. It has given something up – perhaps its dreams or its youth. That cookie is the mother of the others. 

She stood mesmerized by the thought. She felt a tug at her blouse. 

“Mommy, I hafta go to the bathroom!” 

Andrea sighed. “Just a second, sweetie. Miss? I’ll take that one.” 

Just then Bruce came strutting around with the cart. “Hey sugar britches, we gotta go. The game will be on in a few minutes.” 

As the woman behind the counter lifted the flawed cookie out, it broke. Andrea winced, then some little thing inside her broke, too. Bruce was definitely going to miss the game.

And my response (250 words):

Before they were even out of the parking lot, Bruce was complaining.

“God, you’re sappy. I’m gonna miss the kickoff ’cause you had to stand in line for a cookie with Mom on it. A broken cookie with Mom on it.” He laughed as he pulled a beer from the backseat cooler. “Guess that kind’ov fits you though, don’t it, baby cakes? Broken…” He popped the beer open and took a long draw. “You’re one dumb—”

“Just stop. Please. Polly’ll hear.”

“Sheesh, excuse me.” He belched, laughed again, then continued, “I’m pretty sure buying broken cookies at full price ain’t too smart.”

Andrea clenched her teeth. As much as she hated his complaining, hated the drinking and pet names, hated him for even existing, she knew arguing wouldn’t help. Over the past year or so, she’d all but given up, until he started calling Polly sugar britches. Until she noticed how his hands lingered when he touched Polly.

Andrea caressed the bag with the cookie in it and then causally sat it on the console between them. As she expected, Bruce didn’t hesitate to wolf down the one cookie. The broken cookie with Mom on it.

When Bruce started to cough, Andrea glanced back at Polly, made sure she was strapped into the car seat. The ride was about to get bumpy. But from now on, Polly would be safe.

Sugar britches might be dumb, but she had been smart enough to buy a cookie with nuts in it.

NOTE: On Wednesday (May 13th) afternoon, IU opens voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

I’d really really — really —  love it if you’d vote for my entry. No login / user account creation is required to vote.