Expansion of “For Katie”: Ch. 1

For Katie

Photo From Here

Trigger Warning: Violence

Taking a break from working on a new author’s feature, I decided to look over what I’d planned for chapter one of the new book I’m working on. I truly believe Katie and Ellie’s story will be worth telling over the course of two books, but I was having a hard time just getting started with just the first one.

Like any new author, I found myself terribly excited at the story line I could see in my head, yet getting it down on paper in a coherent and cohesive way was proving difficult.

It still is.

Which is why I’m asking for reviews on a small rough draft portion that I’ve worked of Chapter one. For the sake of those upset by violence, I repeat the trigger warning stated above.

Here goes:

Chapter One Draft

            “I remember…”

………………..

 

“Happy birthday to yoo-ou!”

The song’s last notes are sung real loud with happy cheers and applause from the whole family. Everyone is outside around the picnic table and everyone is smiling and laughing and cutting the cake.

But not me.

All because stinky cousin Boonie was invited. Ugh. I hate him. I really hate him. I asked Katie not to invite him, but Mommy made her. Now he keeps trying to get me to go in the play house with him. I’m not allowed in the play house without Mommy or Daddy or Katie and I don’t want to do anything with Boonie. He has cooties. So I just keep running away from him and hiding. I hid under the table, behind the tree, by the side of the house and he found me every time! But this is my best hiding spot ever.

I don’t want him seeing me watching out the window, so I drop the edge of the curtain and sit down. My head thumps the wall under the window sill, but it doesn’t hurt. I’m so mad. He’s making me miss the cake. I really wanted a piece of that cake. Mommy made it special for Katie’s birthday.

The back of the yellow chair in front of me is pretty, but there’s a string hanging on it. I reach out and pull it. I pull it as hard as I would pull Stinky Boonie’s nose off his face. But it wouldn’t come off.

“What are you doing, Ellie?” Mommy must have seen me looking out the window. “Are you still playing hide and seek with Boonie?”

“I wasn’t playing hide and seek with Boonie.” I look at Mommy. She has a big tray full of dirty cups and bowls from outside. Her eyes look sad, but she smiles at me anyway.

“Ellie, he asked me to help find you because you were hiding so well from him. He said you win and can come out now.”

“But I wasn’t playing with him! I don’t like Boonie! He..” the door slams and the other kids come running in from the back yard. Everyone is laughing and talking so noisily that mommy can’t hear me. They must be following Katie to look at her new Easy Bake Oven in the kitchen.

“Did you find her, Aunt Sarah? I’ve looked everywhere.” My eyes squeeze shut.

A sound like breaking glass comes from the kitchen and a few girls scream and laugh. “Ellie, you need to come out and go play with Boonie and the others,” she said as she turned toward the kitchen. I peeked around the chair. “Just go on. Go play.” She disappeared around the corner, her tray rattling loudly.

“Come on, Ellie. You heard your mom. I’m playing in that house out back and you havta come play with me.” Boonie reached around the back of the chair and grabbed my arm with his dirty fingers, still sticky with cake. “Let’s go.”

I don’t want to go with him. I really don’t. “Stop it! You’re hurting me!” I slip out of his grip and run as fast as I can to the back door, but he runs faster than me ‘cause I’m only five and he’s… well, he’s just a really big kid. Boonie opens the door and I run outside. “Daddy!” The screen door slams behind me and I notice the yard is empty.

“Uncle Rusty went to the front yard, dummy.” Slimy fingers grab my arm again and Boonie jerks me toward the wooden play house. “But that’s okay. We’ll play house and I’ll be the daddy for you. You can be the mom. But you still have to do what I say because mom’s have to do what dad’s say. It won’t matter if you’re a dummy then. That’s how it works.”

“I’m not a dummy! I don’t have to listen to you! Let me go!” He’s dragging me past the picnic table and I grab at it. The plastic table cloth rips and what’s left of the cake flops to the ground. My face feels hot and my eyes are burning. My arm hurts where Boonie keeps squeezing it to pull me. He made me ruin Katie’s birthday cake. He won’t let me go and I’m scared, but I don’t want to cry like a baby. I’m not a baby.

“Yeah, you gotta listen ‘cause your mom told you so,” he says. He looks at me with his muddy brown eyes. “Now look, moms don’t cry, babies cry. If I’m the dad, you have to be the mom. You can’t be the baby, so stop it.”

“I’m not a baby! Let go!” I try to pull away from him and his fingers slip from my arm to my wrist. He tightens his grip and jerks. Something pops in my wrist and I scream. “Let go! Let go! Letgo-letgo-letgo!”

“Let her GO!”

All I see is a blur of curly black hair and pink tulle as Boonie shoves me backwards. Teeth snap together, then my chin hits my chest as something slams into the back of my head. I must have thrown my hands behind me to catch my fall because when I land in cake and half under the picnic table, fire shoots up my arm. I can’t stop crying. I lay down in the grass, using my legs to scoot backwards under the table to hide behind the curtain of torn plastic.  Lying on my side, I hold my hurt arm close. My hand won’t move and it looks like it’s growing bigger, like a balloon. My ears are ringing and I can’t breathe right so I close my eyes.

In just moments, everything is going numb and the ringing is going away, but it’s replaced by the sounds of screeching and yelling. I pry open my eyes and around the tablecloth, I can see Katie sitting on top of Boonie, punching him about the face and head over and over again. His arms are flailing at her, but she doesn’t seem to be hurt. I hear the screen door slamming and more yelling. Mommy’s coming. I can see her shoes under the bench as she runs past.

Things are getting fuzzy again as I watch Mommy lift Katie from Boonie and kind of throw her away from him. Her party dress is ripped and dirty, the make-up that Mommy put on her is all runny on her face and she’s got a bloody nose. She looks right at me as my eyes close again.

“Ellie! Ellie, wake up. I’m here.”  There’s screaming and yelling still going on, but it sounds like it’s coming from grown-ups now. “Let me see, Ellie.”

“Sa-uhhhhhh….” I can’t say what I want to say, that I’m sorry for messing up her birthday cake and that I feel sick. Before I can turn away, I’m throwing up in her lap.

“It’s ok, Ellie. It’ll be ok.” She reaches for my arm and the fire comes rushing back along with the darkness.

 

………………..

 

“But what about your parents? How long until they came looking for you under the table? I mean, wow. If I was a parent…” I struggled to put my feelings into words.

“Oh honey, it wasn’t long at all. It all happened in mere moments. My mother came barreling out of the house about the same time the other adults came from the front yard.” The kettle on the stove whistled and Ms. Ellie rose from her seat. “Cousin Boonie’s father had trouble controlling his temper back then and coming ‘round the corner to see his son being beat on by a girl triggered quite the fit from him.”

As Ms. Ellie shuffled slowly into the kitchen to make tea, the ending to her story played through my head. But what did she mean by his father having a fit?

“So when your mom pulled her off of Boonie, she didn’t ask Katie why she was beating on him?”

“No, Katie came directly to me as soon as she was pulled off of him.” Her back towards me as she puttered around the far cabinets in the kitchen, she continued, “Boonie’s dad was trying to get at Katie because Boonie was pretty messed up. He was twelve or so at the time and twice her size. Katie had just turned eight, but she still nearly broke his face open.”

END DRAFT

Thank you for reading! As always, feel free to leave a comment below, shoot me an email, catch me on Twitter, or Facebook me. I’d really appreciate any and all honest constructive criticism. 🙂

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“Just Desserts”

Kindle Just Desserts

For sale on Amazon.com, “Just Desserts” wasn’t necessarily my favorite story to work on. I want to provide the best products for my customers; something that is known to grab the reader from the first sentence and take them for a trip. It’s not right to play favorites with your babies, I know, but I have to in order to be honest with myself so that I can be honest with my readers.

Why didn’t I like working on “Just Desserts” as much as I enjoyed “For Katie?” Why did my latest project feel like such a chore to finish? I mean, when I completed “For Katie,” I was a bit sad yet excited, and filled with a kind of trepidation that made the whole experience of finally being a (self-)published author seem exciting. But with this last story, I felt a sort of…. doom.

Maybe the genre is just not for me. I mean, I absolutely love Shakespeare’s plays and Poe is one of my absolute favorite short story authors. Both of their works are terrifically full of irony any way you turn, and maybe my attempt seemed unbearably pathetic in comparison. Or maybe it was the knowledge of just who Marie is to Mandee that made it hard for me to continue the dialogue in an interesting fashion. Whatever the reason, I’m just not sure if I pulled it off correctly.

I want readers to check out both stories and let me know. I challenge you to critique my work. Give me your most blunt statements of how you think I can improve in order to provide a more satisfying story. Compare and contrast. Are my characters believable? What about the plot? Can you see a traditional story arc? Leave a comment here, email me from the contact thumbnail on the top of the page. I’m dying to hear what you have to say. 🙂

     Just Desserts on Amazon.com

“For Katie”

For Katie

Photo from: https://journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com/2015/02/13/laurels-story/

The process of writing this short story actually began in a course I was taking at Pima Community College. Writing 206, taught by Professor J. Milliken, to be exact. Short story writing. I loved it. It was supposed to be my final assignment, but I ended up not using it.

You see, work-shopping this story over the course of about six months, “For Katie” became my baby. The seed of the idea for this story was to write about one of the most epic moments in my life: the birth of my daughter. I began writing it in the form of a biographical moment, but it was just so personal that I couldn’t bring myself to actually show it to anyone. I knew I wanted to write a birth story. I knew I could use my experience in childbirth to help describe such a moment. I knew that it felt absolutely perfect to write it in the first person. It just couldn’t be about me.

Since it couldn’t be about me, my main character, Ellie, couldn’t have the same experiences I did. Maybe her child wasn’t planned. Maybe her child wasn’t… wanted. Those thoughts led me through the process of thickening the plot, moving the story forward. They also urged me into comparing my experiences birthing my sons to that of my daughter. I researched others births. I spoke with friends and family about theirs.

Over the course of six months, I put this story together. It took months longer to concentrate on dialogue, description, and finally grammar and spelling. Add on the time it took me to learn how to use certain aspects of the internet, as well as my computer programs, and it’s been close to a year since I first set pen to paper on this journey.

Today, I begin a new journey and begin creating a brand new baby. I’ll be writing Ellie’s odyssey, all the way from the beginning. I hope it brings me as much joy as writing her short story did. I hope this work brings satisfaction to all those who have begged me to expand on it. I hope I can re-publish “For Katie” in a few months, no longer a short story, but a full length novel. And I hope you love it just as much.

  • “For Katie” is listed on Kindle, currently priced at $0.99, or free on Kindle Unlimited. Please click the link (or copy and paste to your browser) in the widget on the right hand side of the page.

 

 

Fellow Authors

David J. Barron   Genre: Sci-Fi

DJB

David J. Barron on Facebook

David J. Barron, a fellow member of Writers’ Group on Facebook, writes science fiction in the theme of alien abduction and wars in space. He has three books published,  currently available on Amazon in paperback or ebook form.

Barron’s first title, Protocol 13, is Volume I of a two part prequel which is followed by The Roo. These two stories lead up to his final work,  Marauders of the Synchronetic Line,  which has received 5 stars from a reader including a review that compliments the “fun and colorful crew of humans and hybrids [as the main character] embarks on a new life with a new purpose” (Ida). In reading the descriptions, my curiosity is tickled as to how the titles of his stories connect to the intriguing plot and I admit – I really want to know how the stories unfold!

Barron’s biography explains his writing style by speaking of his life experiences: “Throughout the years, he has lived in and amongst some of the most interesting, violent, colorful and seedy communities and people on the planet. He has felt the brotherhood of soldiers in arms on foreign soil and the solitude and loneliness of 2 O’clock in the morning mid-week on Hollywood Boulevard. All this time he has been writing” (Barron).

With such an intriguing snapshot of his history and how it effects his writing, plus the glowing reviews of his readers, I believe Barron’s books should be on my ‘To Read’ list. If you get to them before I do, leave a review on Amazon, drop a comment here or shoot me an email via my contact page. Enjoy!

 

Barron, David J. “David J. Barron.” Amazon. Www.amazon.com, n.d. Web.

Makeup and Smiles

monroe

Photo from: http://ppcorn.com/us/2015/12/11/marilyn-monroe-15-things-2/

“A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear.” Marilyn Monroe said that. I used to agree whole-heartedly and I smiled all the time, sans lipstick. As a young girl (and certified tomboy) I never really had an interest in makeup. I would rather use my first morning hours running barefoot after my brothers and chasing them up trees than primping before our bathroom mirror. I had four brothers and not the tidiest of dads-suffice it to say our bathrooms stunk anyways.

As an adult, I never had time for primping either, even with clean bathrooms, choosing to focus on the beauty in others and on my scholarly pursuits, of course. One such pursuit, writing, led me to a point where I came to realize that I needed makeup. I’d been invited to introduce my poem, “To the Audist,” at the unveiling ceremony of the 2016 edition of Pima Community College’s award winning magazine, SandScript. I was told to “dress up.” I had no clue what that meant. I researched images of “dresses at a book unveiling” and proceeded to be blinded by the absolute sparkle and glamour. Photo after photo of floor length gowns and high heels astounded me. So, off I went to Grandma to beg for help.

Grams and I hit up the thrift shops and at the second store, she proclaimed we had found the perfect dress. It WAS floor length… and it was plum. Plum. But okay. Once home, I immediately tried it on. With my hair pulled back starkly from my face into a low pony-tail and my bare feet drowning in the silky material of the gown, I stood in my (not stinky) bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror. I looked like a little girl playing dress up. The plum color made my skin seem pasty and my summer freckles stood out even worse than usual. I’m normally kind of shy and how the dress made me feel made it worse. I didn’t feel anything like those glamorous ladies in the pictures looked. I felt like I looked; that little girl playing dress up in her mother’s evening gown. I smiled at the thought and just knew I needed more help, so I appealed to the Facebook gods.

Luckily, a Facebook group was forgiving of my bumbling questions and a gorgeous lady in that group proved to be the answer to my problems. Deja, of Makeup By Deja Victoria, invited me to her studio in an absolutely stunning area of northern Tucson, and proceeded to spend a couple of hours completing the hair and makeup for my special night. She was friendly and professional, she explained everything she was doing. I received a lesson from waxing, shaping eyebrows, and in the application of everything from foundation to mascara. She curled my hair and put it up in this really complex half French twist with a pouf up top.

At the end of the appointment, I don’t think Ms. Monroe, herself, could have felt lovelier. I know that on any normal day, my smile really IS the best makeup I could wear. It doesn’t fade. It doesn’t wear out unless I let it. But you know what? I’ve always felt like I’m just me. I’m no gorgeous Marilyn Monroe with that thousand watt smile. That night needed to be special and it was. Tyra Banks said: “I love the confidence makeup gives me,” and it’s true. Deja Victoria’s work gave me the confidence to stand in the spotlights and under scrutiny to speak about a topic from my heart, without having to worry about how I looked. Under the spotlights, I smiled and I felt like if I wanted to be, with that makeup on, I could be a Marilyn Monroe too.