Her Window

The earsplitting howling, an eerie high-pitched note whirls around in Stephanie’s mind as she sleeps. The awful noise wails just outside her window, so she is bound to hear the sound that could echo a music score in a horror movie. Not that she would know because she isn’t old enough to watch scary movies. But her imagination tells her so. The trees fall into a trance like a magic spell cast upon them. They rock back and forth, their branches bending in unnatural ways, the tips like long, pointed fingernails scratching her bedroom window. The sound grates on her brain like a fork scraping a plate and tires screeching on asphalt. Stephanie tosses and turns. She fights to stay asleep, to ignore the menacing noise. Subconsciously, she remembers Beauty and the Beast on the wall above her headboard, her favorite musical, how she adores Belle. They take her to a happy place so she can fall back into that deep slumber. But only for a few minutes…

The scratching escalates, growing more intense, faster, and wilder on her windowpane. The wailing blares louder than fire sirens. Her eyes scrunched closed, she covers her ears with both hands, hoping to mute the horrific sound while lying still, no longer tossing and turning. Fear has paralyzed her body. She feels trapped, so afraid to move even an inch. But she has to get out of bed! It’s coming for her! It will shatter her window and climb inside! Her legs may as well be blocks of cement, but somehow, with all her six-year-old might, she swings her left leg over the side of her twin bed, then her right leg. She is sitting up now but has to run! No time to waste! No time for shoes! Her bare feet must carry her down the hallway to save her parents! Suddenly, Stephanie hears glass shatter, shards land on her comforter! She flies off her mattress so fast, her legs sprinting out of the room!

For a second, Stephanie closes her eyes while her legs move at marathon speed, the hallway never seemed so long. And just when she reaches her parent’s doorway, arms bind around her tightly in boa fashion, squeezing the air from her lungs.

“Let me go! Let me go!” She screams loud enough to shake the roof. Her arms and legs fling sporadically. Fighting off the huge monster with pointy fingernails.

“Stephanie, it’s Mom, wake up!” Lauren gently shakes her daughter, sitting on the edge of her bed. Belle and the Beast watch from the wall.

“Mom! It’s coming for us. We have to get Dad. We have to leave, now!”

“Oh, sweetheart, I think the wind howling caused a nightmare. It’s storming outside, but the three of us are safe in the house. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“I was so scared, Mom. I hate the wind!” Stephanie says, hugging her mother, never wanting to let go.

“I don’t like it either,” Lauren hugs her daughter back, loving the feel of her little girl safe in her arms. “But just close your eyes and know that everything is okay.”

And just like that, consoled by her mom, Stephanie lets go and rolls over onto her right side. Exhaustion from the excitement finally kicking in. Her eyelids close slowly. Lauren sits for a few minutes, watching her beautiful daughter fall into a peaceful sleep. Then she quietly walks out of the room, but the earsplitting howling perpetuates. The storm isn’t due to pass for another ten hours.


Lauren Scott (c)

Book Review: Vanished!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and Easter! Today, I have the pleasure of sharing my review of a compelling suspense novel.

Mark Bierman’s Vanished is a work of fiction, but the story propels us to the scene of the violent 2010 earthquake in Haiti. John, and his son-in-law, Tyler, volunteer to assist with an orphanage months later following the devastation. Their relationship is strongly convincing as they cope with the passing of Tyler’s wife, Joy (John’s daughter). They hope to channel their grief by aiding others, which will help them through the various stages.

Little do they know what lies ahead on their journey. When a little girl disappears out of the blue, John and Tyler are transported into the horrific world of human trafficking and child slavery. Her mother spirals into a frenzy of fear, imagining her daughter’s possible impending plight. These appalling crimes are so common, though, that no effort is enforced to finding this little girl, but morally, John and Tyler can’t just look the other way. They embark on a quest riddled with danger lurking around each corner.

In addition to John and Tyler, supporting characters seize the spotlight, and their stories and struggles are just as intense and page-turning. I was really impressed with the manner in which Mark’s clever writing intertwines all roles. Sympathizing with the abused while loathing the abusers comes effortlessly. Most importantly, holding onto hope with a strong grip is significant as the rescue mission continues. At first, I was reluctant to read this book because of the unthinkable topics. Mark’s novel may be a work of fiction, but the subject matter is not only horrifying and heartbreaking, it’s very real. There are moments in the book where I held my breath, and one scene especially had me feeling a little claustrophobic. Regardless, I couldn’t put this book down because of Mark’s excellent writing and delivery. The story is fast-paced and gripping, an edge-of-your-seat read. I give this book 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Happy Reading!

Lauren ❤️

A Mind of Their Own

Tammy’s attempt at living on her own involved roommates and failed twice: one month following the first move-in date, her roommate became suddenly engaged, soon to walk down the aisle, then her second roommate unexpectedly chose to become a nun. So, she finds herself living in her childhood house again with her parents. The house is conveniently designed with three bedrooms – hers is on the opposite end from her parents with the kitchen and living room in the middle. A great floorplan that affords her a little privacy. She also has her own bathroom, not to mention, the third bedroom across the hall acts as her media room with a TV and the comfortable sofa that her parents will probably own forever. Tammy really has no means to complain, except that her twenty-sixth birthday is fast approaching, so she should be living on her own in the hub of independence. But she feels grateful that her parents allow the revolving front door, until she finds an affordable apartment of her own. She has dealt with enough stress with the roommate scene. 

She and her parents arrive home on the quiet block in their suburban neighborhood around the same time on this Thursday afternoon. The coffee cup shaped clock hanging on the kitchen wall shows five o’clock, and although Tammy is of drinking age, she doesn’t feel like joining her parents for their nightly cocktail. Work has been hectic, so she just wants to hunker down and fall into her Elin Hilderbrand book and its characters whom she feels like she’s known a lifetime. Her parents head for the black faux-leather bar in the corner of the dining room to shake their dry martinis. She strolls down the hallway, walking into her room and can’t wait to pull on her soft gray sweats before winding down. Funny, it’s only been ten minutes or so, but she doesn’t remember the weather raging outside. When she steps into her room, the wind blows up a storm, howling to the universe with what sounds like a very urgent message. Tammy rushes to the big window to pull down the blinds hanging above her oak desk.

Oddly, when she tugs on the blinds, they resist by pulling themselves up! They seem to have a mind of their own. With the fierce strength of the wind for support, it feels as though the blinds are angry at her. This struggle lasts only a few minutes, but long enough to cause some anxiety as she finally gives up and sprints out of her room. What just happened? Am I hallucinating? she thinks to herself, trying to catch her breath. Her heartbeat matches a marathon!

“Mom? Dad?” Tammy calls, her speedy footprints muffled on the tan carpeted hallway. The rest of the house stays eerily calm. She finds her parents sitting in the living room, sipping their martinis. Outside the slider, the sky can’t be any bluer and the sun shines brighter than a high-powered flashlight! What?

“I need to talk to you both!” The panic in Tammy’s voice piques her parents’ attention, so they follow her down the hall, as she motions with a wave of her hand.

When the trio steps inside her four pale lavender walls, they can hear a feather drop. The window blinds hang calmly as can be, and if those blinds can wink at her, Tammy swears they are doing just that! She explains with trepidation the horror of the blinds, how they acted uncontrollably in the stormy weather as though they had a pulse and were very much alive.

“I tried to pull them down, but they resisted, and the wind blew even stronger against my touch.” Even after the words tumble from her mouth, Tammy knows how ridiculous she sounds. She closes her eyes for a minute, breathing in, slowly breathing out. She recalls the sun shining in the living room. They won’t believe me. Why would they?

Her parents look at the blinds then they look at their daughter. Tammy reads their minds. She understands their facial expressions, the concern in their eyes.

“Honey, we don’t know what to say. We had a little rain in the early afternoon, but it certainly wasn’t storming, and now look! The sun is shining; the day has turned out to be glorious!” Tammy’s mom says. She turns her head towards her husband, silently pleading for him to say something.

“Sweetheart, maybe you’re just tired and need some rest,” her dad says with empathy. “You said the bank has been especially busy with new clients recently, so maybe exhaustion is the culprit.”

“I’m not tired! I literally fought with those blinds! Every time I pulled, they pulled back with force! Look, I don’t mean to raise my voice. I know this sounds irrational, but it’s the truth! You guys have to believe me!”

Tammy suddenly sits up in bed, reaching for her cell phone that reads 5:03 am – her eyes the size of golf balls. A headache tries to attack every muscle in her head. She practically slides out of bed as quietly as possible, so she doesn’t rouse her husband out of his deep slumber. She walks into the bathroom, hoping to find unexpired Advil in the medicine cabinet. What the hell was that all about? Since when do I remember my dreams, and since when do window blinds come alive? Inanimate objects don’t communicate with humans…or do they? No!

Last night’s dream is so bizarre that Tammy fears it will control her thoughts throughout the day. She holds the title of Account Manager at the bank downtown, and with four new appointments on her calendar, concentrating on getting their accounts set up will take more effort. What is even stranger is the setting in her dream; her childhood home that she lived in with her parents before she married and had three children. Only her parents were in the dream, and they had passed away years ago. Tammy portrayed a younger version of herself still living at home with them. Made no sense at all.

Tammy’s desire to interpret this dream becomes all-consuming. Maybe recent threats of a drought manifested themselves through that storm, and the blinds were angry because of the potential fire danger developing. Yeah, that sounds perfectly logical.

But how her parents held the leading roles remain a mystery. Perhaps, subconsciously she missed their physical presence. She does miss them very much, and she often reminisces to her childhood. Okay, this reasoning sounds valid.

The supernatural quality confused Tammy, though, and it was a bit unsettling. She’ll never forget as a teen, watching The Amityville Horror in terror with her best friend, Melissa.  It took weeks to shake those images from her mind.

Will I ever unearth the why’s of this unnerving dream, pieced together with an array of question marks? I have no idea! But I’m keeping a close eye on the blinds in this house!

Lauren Scott (c)

Dynamics

Sarah gets ready for church each Sunday because attending deepens her faith. Just walking through the mahogany double doors causes worries to shed. She learns from the Word and singing songs of worship provides comfort. She believes because the evil in this world must be endured with a greater presence filled with compassion and love.

Peace stays nearby during somber times because of her faith. Yet, some people who attend in this sanctuary…they sing, they pledge, they sip coffee and chat during fellowship hour. But they are the reason she has one foot in and one foot out the door.

Lauren Scott (c)
Fiction – Drabble (100 words)
Featured photo/header: Google

BOOK REVIEW for John Howell: Eternal Road – The Final Stop


I was thrilled to be a part of John’s blog tour in helping him promote his new book which is now a new favorite in my home library. So, today I introduce John Howell again and I’m sharing my review of Eternal Road – The Final Stop.

My 5-star review on Amazon:

What a thrilling ride Eternal Road – The Final Stop turned out to be! We are introduced to James who is on a road trip in his classic 1956 Oldsmobile, but we are shocked when he ends up dying in a tragic car accident. And yet, we still find him driving his Oldsmobile when he decides to give a hitchhiker a ride, who surprisingly, happens to be his childhood sweetheart Sam. She is now an adult because seventeen years have flown by since they have seen each other. And when Sam breaks the surreal news to James that they have both passed on to eternal life, his head spins with questions that cannot be answered just yet. So, the two begin a compelling journey together in the afterlife. The challenges and twists and turns they encounter are spellbinding. John inserts time-travel which takes the reader to interesting historical time periods where Sam and James have critical decisions to make. Interlaced in the protagonists’ story is just about every genre and topic you can imagine: adventure, old west, suspense, romance, artificial intelligence, including visits from the devil, which I’ll admit, were a bit unsettling but had me on the edge of my seat.

Throughout their story, the more Sam and James learn about each other, the more the reader assumes a certain outcome. And yet, the events in their journey lead to a surprising ending. Their unfolding relationship tugs at the heart and settling family matters brought me to tears more than once. Eternal Road keeps the reader engaged to the very last sentence. This is a novel that simply cannot be put down! I was captivated from the very beginning to the point of wanting to skip work just so I could cozy up at home and read more about James and Sam! If you are up for a road trip in a 1956 classic Oldsmobile, I highly suggest you hop in and begin turning the pages!

Here are the universal links:

Kindle Universal link  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Paper universal link mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

If you’d like to contact John…

Blog Fiction Favoriteshttp://johnwhowell.com/

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John has a quick wit, a knack for clever dialogue, and an amazing talent for writing compelling fiction. So, I hope you’ll pay him a visit and don’t forget the universal links above for a copy of his book.


Thanks for stopping by! Lauren
💓

A Timely Surprise

 “Am I worthy of love again after all these years? I think I am, but it sure hasn’t worked in my favor,” Kate said.

“If you believe, that’s half the battle.”

Kate found herself stopped in the road of the campground, wondering whose gentle voice that was. Turning around, she looked into the handsome face of a man with a splash of graying hair. His azure blue eyes expressed sincerity and caused unexpected butterflies in her stomach.
“I can’t believe I said that out loud!” Kate was mortified!

“It’s okay…I do it all the time. My name’s Jim, by the way,” he said while holding out his hand as he climbed out of his golf cart. “I work here, but I’m actually retired. I keep telling myself that, but tending to these grounds is just something I love to do so it’s hard to let go.” He smiled and those butterflies became active again.

“I can see why you love working here – it’s so beautiful. I’m only staying for the weekend…my name’s Kate.” She shook his hand unable to ignore the powerful surge of electricity. Butterflies and electricity. Where in the world did these come from? Jim also felt that spark, a feeling he hadn’t felt in over two years. But by the few words he accidentally heard her say, he knew she was upset about something. He probably heard too much already and it was certainly none of his business.

Within seconds, Kate’s mind drifted to when she arrived earlier that afternoon. After unpacking, she sat in the rocker by the window and opened up the Sandra Brown book she’s been reading. She read the same line twenty times and still couldn’t recite it by memory. Kate thought the silence and peace would be good for her. Instead, the quiet was more pronounced in the small cabin than when she lived in the big house with her ex. Words between them were anything but present – which led to this temporary get-away. It took both partners to communicate in order for any relationship to work, yet, she was the one doing all the talking.

Getting away for a few days to regroup was a perfect prescription for her heart and mind. She wanted to rent a cabin with a front porch and was able to find one. Even if uncertainty joined her for a sip, she couldn’t wait to enjoy a glass of wine that evening on the porch while attempting to combat the turmoil in her life. Kate was not going to let her ex control her self-esteem, and she certainly wasn’t too old to let love in her life again. She’s often read encouraging stories of people finding romance later in life. So why should she be exempt? Not that she’s looking this very moment, but it wouldn’t matter. The candle went out years ago in her marriage. She just kept looking for the good and fighting for this relationship that may soon end.

Before Kate left for the campground, she called her sister, Jane, who lived an hour away.

“Hey, Sis, how’re you doing?” Jane asked as she put the call on speaker phone.

“Hi Jane. I’m alright, but I need your advice because you’re the more logical one.”

“Uh oh, what’s this about?”

 “Well, honestly, I don’t know what to do. Should I accept my marriage as it is with hope that it’ll get better? Or would it be best for both of us if we divorced? I want to keep my marriage going, but if I’m the only one trying, then I feel like I’m stuck with no way out and I don’t want to settle. What do you think I should do?”

“Oh, Kate, you know I can’t tell you what to do. But I know you’ve been unhappy for years and nothing’s going to change on his end. I think deep down inside you know that, too, even though it breaks your heart into tiny pieces. I honestly believe the ball is in your court – the decision has to be yours for any changes to occur, and whether you know this or not, you are worthy of happiness! He’s a good man, we both know that, but couples grow apart over time. So, if you acknowledge this, then it’s okay to move forward. You’ve given your marriage your all and it’s been twenty-two years! When will it be time to think about your happiness? Guilt shouldn’t be your best friend.” Jane sighed, hoping beyond hope that she didn’t say anything she’ll regret. All she heard was silence. “Kate, are you okay? Are you there?”

“Hmm…I’m here, just thinking over your words. You’re right; it’s just that taking that step feels like walking in sinking sand. It’ll be a slow process.”

“And that’s okay. Go at your pace, but once you make the choice, everything will become easier and fall into place.”

“I know. Oh, and by the way, I hung up my RN uniform for the weekend, heading to Pine Lakes.” Kate and Jane shared fond memories of the lake when they were little. Those memories evoked many great times that they wanted to carry the tradition into their adult lives.

“That’s good to hear. Nature’s always good at clearing up messy minds, Kate.”

“Yeah, I can’t wait to be in the mountains, walking among the pines and hanging out with the birds and squirrels. I should probably go, so I’ll keep you posted. Love you, and thanks for everything.”

 “Love you, too, and you know I always have your back. Stay safe, Sis!” Jane wanted nothing more than her sister to find joy and love again and she had no doubt that it was more than possible. But it would take her sister to open her eyes to new possibilities. Right now, Kate had the shades of possibilities closed securely because she had drained all of her energy into her marriage that became stagnant. She’s exhausted. However, she deserves to have that same attention by someone who truly cares about her.

Suddenly, with a soft touch on the arm from Jim, Kate returned to reality. “Kate, are you alright?” he asked, sounding a little worried. It was too soon to know why he felt concerned since he didn’t know her, but the feeling was significant.  “You were in another world.”

“Uh, yes…yes, I’m okay. My mind just wandered. It does that sometimes,” Kate answered with a nervous chuckle because embarrassment rapidly washed over her. She hoped her face wasn’t the shade of a pomegranate!

“Those things happen. My mind drifts all the time, so don’t worry about it. Look, we hardly know each other, but I wonder if you’d want to go for a walk sometime? I know the grounds pretty well around here,” he said with a smile. “Unless, of course, I’m being too forward. I know we just met,” he added, but his baby blues were a bit too irresistible.

She has no reason not to trust Jim, but she has no reason to trust him, either, so it’s a fifty-fifty chance either way. Kate chuckled at his subtle humor – of course, he knew his way around the campground. She also admired his welcomed honesty, not to mention again, her interest was surely piqued by this sudden attraction. Her messy mind deserved some good company and an interesting distraction from the rocky road ahead. After getting the green light from her sister and now meeting Jim unexpectedly, she gladly opened up those shades of possibilities and could already feel warmth from promises on the horizon.

 “Sure. I’d like that. I’m still settling in today, though, so would tomorrow afternoon work?”

“Tomorrow afternoon would be great. I work in the morning, so the afternoon is free. Why don’t we meet in the lobby at 3:00?”

“Sounds great,” she replies. Kate, what are you doing?!

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

New Book Launch ‘Eternal Road – The Final Stop’ by John W. Howell

It is my pleasure to have the talented John Howell visit today for the launch of his new book ‘Eternal Road – The final stop’. I’ve read Eternal Road and it is worth all the publicity it has been given. Interlaced in the protagonists’ story is just about every genre and topic you can imagine: adventure, science fiction, old west, suspense, romance, and artificial intelligence, to name a few. And now, John, the floor is yours!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Lauren, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you are very busy so I appreciate you taking the time to help with the launch. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th.

Here are the universal links

Kindle Universal link  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Paper universal link mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

James shakes his head. “Lucifer has an assistant every bit as scary as him. Was it my imagination, or did that voice sound like it came from the deepest part of hell?”

Sam folds her arms. “You can assume it did. I don’t believe she works in a call center in the Philippines.”

James smiles. “Did you enjoy the part where Lucifer wants you to attend as well?”

Sam unfolds her arms. “Gave me the creeps. You don’t know what a nasty guy he is. If you think of everything that has gone wrong in the world, you can bet he was behind it.”

“Why do you suppose he wants to talk to us?”

“As I said, he wants to make a deal for your soul.”

James sighs. “What kind of deal would I make? I’m already on the right side of God, why would I give that up?”

“I have no idea.”

James puts his hands to his face. “Are you sure we can’t call someone to give us help?”

Sam sits on the bed. “I’m afraid we’re on our own. No one can help us.”

“What about God?”

“I’m sure he’s busy. Besides, God would tell you to follow your heart no matter what Lucifer proposed. He wouldn’t step in but would want you to make the best decision.”

James sighs and stares at the floor. Sam takes his hand and places it over her lips. An irresistible impulse to kiss her moves him, and he acts on it. The sensation feels as if he touched an electrical wire to his mouth. The sparks blind him, and his head grows lighter.
James wraps his arms around Sam, and the two go into free-fall. Sam yells above the roar of the wind that pulls them down, “Hold me tight. We can’t let go of one another, or one of us may get lost.”

James tries to yell, but the noise proves too much. The wind blows his words away as soon as they come out of his mouth. Instead, he intertwines his fingers behind Sam’s back and holds on for dear life. The fall continues until James can no longer remain conscious. He fights hard. The pressure of Sam’s body, and the comfort of her arms wrapped around his waist, reassure him. As long as they have each other, they will come to no harm. He pulls Sam in tighter, and then the pull of unconsciousness wins, even though he fights. With no choice and little time, James vows to remember Sam forever and thinks of her while the blackness seeps into his soul.

The trailer

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

My GRL,

His Revenge

Our Justice

Circumstances of Childhood

The Contract: between heaven and earth

After All This Time…

Dear Friends,

My blog sat alone for almost a year and a half, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Baydreamer and I had been forgotten. At the end of 2018, I posted about the success of a medical procedure, and then I fell off the blog for over a year? Since then my health has been back to normal, but soon after, I felt the need to disengage from technology. Now, I’m drawn to blogging again because with physical distancing, the connections that blogging offers are welcomed. As to writing, I drifted from poetry; instead, I have been writing personal essays and trying my hand at fiction, which has been challenging but rewarding. Occasionally, though, a poem begins to form.

How surreal I return in uncertain times, living in a pandemic world. I realize when the sun shines and the sky brightens to a beautiful cerulean blue, my attitude shifts to positive thoughts. When I stroll around our backyard, enjoying all the spring blooms, I wonder if the flowers have the slightest hunch of what Covid-19 is and its impact on human society. Probably not, which is why they bloom in spite of the bleakness all around the globe.

Don’t these flowers radiate joy? How can the same elation flood through our veins despite hearing the grim accounts of this virus? Answers vary, but two thoughts come to mind: Faith and Hope. Whatever you believe in and no matter how far you need to stretch to grasp even a fraction of Hope, without these, we can easily become defeated and remain in that gloomy headspace. It seems taking one day at a time is applicable once again.

Even while practicing physical distancing, there is some good that comes to light: I have seen more smiles on the street while walking our chocolate lab mix, Copper. Not to mention, the neighborhood has never been so joyfully packed with people of all ages out for a walk. This truly is a welcoming site. Stories of people helping each other are abundant – offering to grocery shop for a neighbor or reaching out to those who are lonely where isolation is more challenging. These simple gestures are a means to stay sane in the midst of this insane scenario. Acts of kindness make us feel good and they afford a sense of purpose. At 8 pm each night in our community, everyone howls in gratitude for the heroes working in essential jobs risking their lives for us. My family participates in this gesture of appreciation, and Copper sings his part in the chorus, too.

However, five weeks into sheltering-in-place does not advise complacency. It’s not over until it’s over. We still need to be responsible in taking precautions to help mitigate the spreading of the virus. We wash our hands a million times a day, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes stay within reach, and we wear masks and gloves, not just to protect ourselves but to protect each other. Those who have lost loved ones to the virus remain in our hearts. This health crisis is serious and if any doubts arise, simply turn on the news. There is no exemption card. The effects from Covid-19 are devastating, overwhelming, and heartbreaking.

But while staying at home, the time is at hand to find beauty in each day: an opportunity to complete unfinished projects, spend quality time with family, get exercise, pick up a good book, put thoughts to paper, or step outside where flora and fauna are abundant. I revel in the gorgeous spring blooms where hope blossoms. They provide a sense of normalcy in these most abnormal circumstances. My family and friends are doing well and we are beyond grateful. And after all this time, thank you so much for stopping by, but mostly, I hope you’ll stay safe and healthy. 

For those of you who are new to my site or who haven’t visited my other pages, I encourage you to visit my “About Me” page and sign my “Guestbook.” 

In Love and Friendship,

Lauren

 

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

 

 

 

Five Ways Novelists Are Just Like Poets

I’m sharing a wonderful and informative post by my good friend, Louise, from her blog, A.B. Michaels and am honored to have been included in this comparison between novelists and poets.  She is the amazing author of a romantic series, Sinner’s Grove, The Art of Love, and The Lair, which are all available on Amazon. I encourage you to take the time to visit her site, http://abmichaels.com.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NE18GYY

http://www.amazon.com/Lair-Sinners-Grove-Novel-ebook/dp/B00YYJT2G6/

The Lair by AB Michaels

A very good friend from my years in northern California is the poet Lauren Scott. (lscotthoughts.com). We are both writers, but while she writes pieces with minimal words, I write full-length novels. Not much overlap, right? Wrong. The truth is, long-form writers and poets have quite a bit in common:

We both love words. I mean love them. I know that even though she may write a first draft intuitively, Lauren considers every single word that goes into every single poem she writes. Is it conveying the emotion I want it to? Is it describing the scene I’ve created as well as it could? Does it sound right next to the other words I’ve chosen?
As a novelist, I do the same thing, except that I have a bit more latitude, because my readers are kind enough to give me ample space to set my scene, introduce my characters, tell my story, and so forth. But sometimes, having all that leeway causes “bloviating,” as one television commentator calls it. I simply write too much and have to get rid of the excess. Sometimes that’s painful. Sometimes, for the sake of the story, I have to say goodbye to a bit of writing I love very much. My guess is, sometimes Lauren has to say the same goodbyes. With such a short form within which to share her vision, she can’t afford to have even one word that doesn’t work for her.
BOOK COVER FINAL 1.26.15

Our words must tell a story. Novelists like me have hundreds of pages in which to tell their story; poets like Lauren measure the length of their work in lines, not pages. Yet we must both serve the same master: the story.
I so admire the discipline that Lauren and other poets use to shape their work, that I thought I’d share a writing exercise that fiction writers sometimes use to fine tune their editing chops. The general term for it is “flash fiction” and those of you who like poetry might also follow flash fiction writers.
I subscribe to a writing blog written by Morgen E. Bailey (she’s a writer in the U.K.) https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/flash-fiction-fridays/ and she regularly publishes examples of very short fiction (less than 500 words) and better yet, six-word stories. That’s right. Six words. Even Lauren’s poetry has more than six words!

The key to this exercise is that your six words must tell a story.

“She had a new blue cell.” Is there a story there? Meh.

“The cell beeped and she screamed.” A story? Possibly. As readers, we wonder, why did she scream? Who was calling her that she should have such an extreme reaction? Is she in danger now? Yeah, but maybe she just wasn’t used to the sound and that’s all it was. Not much of a story after all.

“The cell’s silence lacerated her heart.” Not great, but best of the bunch, I think. We imagine something intense is going on with the woman; she’s experiencing a profound sadness because someone on the other end of that cell isn’t calling. There’s a story there. Both Lauren and I look for the story and try to tell it the best way we can.

We seek an emotional response. Okay, so the beeping cell that caused the woman to scream? Maybe it’s a story, maybe not. Let’s say it is. Are we emotionally invested? We might surmise the woman’s in danger, but do we really care enough about her at this point? I don’t (but maybe I’m cold and heartless!). In example three, however, the reader has a sharper sense of what’s going on. We don’t know the details, but we wonder. And we empathize. In short, we connect. Lauren strives for that response from the reader and so do I.
We strive to capture the imagination through imagery. In long form, this is a matter of style. Some writers take great pride in their descriptive ability; they love to use metaphor and simile to describe character, setting or emotion. Others feel their work is best served by keeping such word play to a minimum. I’m somewhere in the middle. Too much of “The willows undulated like dancers in a riverfront’s far flung chorus line” takes me away from the story; too little leaves me feeling like I’ve just eaten unbuttered toast. I strive to keep the right balance in my writing.
For poets like Lauren, however, capturing the reader’s attention through vivid imagery is their stock in trade. Since they work with so few words, they have to make virtually every word do some heavy lifting. Here’s an example from Lauren’s poem, “Pillow”:

It’s not the best night
for a mutual agreement
instead my stomach
entertains a live
basketball game
where thoughts dribble
and strategy is weak
You ask about the score?
It’s looking like a blowout,
not in my favor

©2015 Lauren Scott

I can perfectly picture what Lauren’s protagonist is going through, thanks to her basketball game metaphor. I too look for ways to bring the idea I want to get across through vivid images.

We want our readers to take something away from the experience. Let’s face it – most writers, even if their main goal is to entertain, consider it a bonus if their readers walk away with something – a thought, a feeling, a new way of looking at some aspect of life, a nugget they might remember and mull over after they’ve read the last line or the last page. Consciously or not, we interject theme into our work, that underlying takeaway. It’s our way of saying, “Hey, this is what I think or feel or wonder about this subject, and I’d like to share it with you.” Poets and writers of any form have this trait in common. It’s what keeps us tapping away.
Are you a poetry lover? Have you ever used that form to express yourself? What other similarities do you see with longer forms of writing? I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Lauren’s books of poetry are available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Xlibris (links are below)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Finding+a+Balance+Lauren+Scott
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-day-new-dreams-lauren-scott/1117050670?ean=9781483685687
http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0140289049/New-Day-New-Dreams.aspx

(ALL proceeds will be donated to The Chris Klug Foundation to help spread the importance of becoming an organ donor; to offer second chances on life.)