Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
On Sundays I post an assortment of short little snippets, quotes or pictures (as listed on the side-bar of Dishin' It Out). Today is Poodle Sunday!
Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
September 2017 is the release date of my anthology, Gumbo Ya Ya, by my publisher BWL Publishing. And, as always, BWL’s art director, Michelle Houston, has designed a spectacular book cover for me—with just enough heat to pepper every woman Gumbo!
Here’s a little teaser from, “A Slice of Scandal”, the third story in my Cajun anthology! “Hey, now, ‘dis key lime pie’s like de one I sever at my restaurant. Simple to make and good to eat! Key limes perk up de mouth and makes you happy.” Producer/Director, Julia Kincaid focused on her monitor and adjusted the mic of her headset. “Camera One, tighten that head shot.” She watched as the camera feathered over the chef to capture the best angle. The camera should have loved Chef Franklin. His height was average, his hair black, short and curly and his skin gook on a polished bronze color under the harsh camera lights, but the camera didn’t like Franklin. There was something about his eyes; like dark agate, forbidding and expressionless that was difficult to erase. “Okay. Now hold it, while Chef Franklin pulls the second pie from the refrigerator. Follow him back to the island. Good.” When the chef stood on his mark, Julia said, “Cue the music. Okay, Two, scan the audience. Back to Franklin.” “It’s best to serve ‘dis chilled, a twist of key lime on the top. And, boy-oh, boy, does ‘dis taste goood!” “Camera Two, pan the audience. . .focus on the pie. . .Camera One, close-up on the chef. . .Hold it.” Julia heard the studio audience applause. “Now, pull back. He cuts the pie. . . he puts it on the plate. . .now wait for the whipped cream and . . .okay. . .he’d got the fork. He’s taking a bite.” The studio audience uttered a collective sigh. “Let’s call it a day. . .” Julia said, pulling off her headset and allowing it to dangle around her neck. “Hey, Hey, what’s he doing, now?” she asked J.D., “This is where he says goodnight. What’s he doing?” Snagging the mic that was clipped at her waist she barked, “Someone cue Franklin. He’s off his mark.” It was times like this she questioned her sanity at trading a career in Hollywood daytime T.V. for that of the Good Eats Network in Orlando, Florida. From her left, she heard J.D. groan. “Julia, Franklin’s spitting out the pie! Harvey’s gonna boil all of our carcasses in the stock pot for--” Julia hopped down from the camera and took off at a full run toward Franklin, the sound of clanging pots and pans crashing to the floor barely registering. Gone was the applause. People jumped to their feet. People screamed. “He’s on the floor!” J.D. bellowed. Julia could see that! Kneeling down beside Franklin, her fingers felt a faint pulse. “J.D. call the medics! Franklin must be having a heart attack.” I hope you enjoyed this little snippet from my next release. More anthology snippets to come! Happy Reading, Connie
I had an article about the craft of writing written and ready to post. I decided, instead, to share that post on a later date..
For those of you who follow my Twitter, Instagram, author Facebook page, or website, you know I often share stories about my little poodle-mix puppy, Chanel.
Please, no groaning from those of you who prefer cats.
Chanel, is lively, friendly, and poodle-like in her powers of reasoning.
She is also serious about her friendships.
Well, before the SoCal winter rains, there was a young opossum who would walk along the block wall several nights a week at 2:00 A.M. I know this because this is the time I usually finish writing and get ready for bed. Chanel dance in a circle requesting to step outside. She would run over to the wall and bark, causing the little white-faced opossum to dart away.
I would pick her up, instructing her to leave “Harvey” alone. (Yes, I know he is a wild animal and does not possess a name.) Chanel, however, knows every ‘thing’, be it a person, toy (bouncy-ball, Side-kick, blue bouncy-ball), animal, or ‘food’, has a name.
So, this opossum was dubbed Harvey.
Harvey didn’t return during the rains, or afterwards. Then, magically, one night a larger, more attractive, and braver “Harvey’ returned.
This time he sat on the wall and waited for Chanel to bark at him. I’d pick her up, bid “Harvey” good evening. While the two of them stared at each other for a few moments. We’d go in and Harvey would leave.
Where does “Harvey” live? I believe he lives in the yard next door (the owner is a bit of a zealous ‘collector’), or perhaps in the shrubby in a nearby park. I’m not too sure if he has a family.
It has never gone past the ‘flirting’ stage with Chanel. And ‘Harvey’ never ventures into our yard when we are about.
Today, all of that changed.
Today was my wedding anniversary. My husband and I went to local home-style diner for an early dinner. We bid Chanel bye and promised to bring her home a mini-hamburger patty. No. Sorry. No riding in the car this time.
When we got back to the car, packed left-overs and doggie meal in hand, my husband voice his concern about something handing from his side bumper.
I bent over to examine it. While my husband kept saying he would yank the piece of the plant out from the bumper, I objected.
It wasn’t a plant.
It had an odd texture. It was a pale color. It was a snake, no. A rat. . .oh, no!
It was the hook of a opossum’s tail.
“Harvey?” my husband questioned.
“Yes. See, that’s Harvey’s tail.” The tail went limp, they turned back into a hook.
“This could only happen to you.” was my husband’s only response.
“Harvey just wanted to join us for our anniversary dinner.”
My husband stifled a chuckle. “I doubt that very much.”
“Now at least we know where he sleeps during the day.”
So, we drove home via the city streets, so not to ‘over heat’ Harvey. When we arrived home, Harvey had pulled his tail back up into the wheel well, waiting for us to leave.
Do you have an interesting anniversary story to share?
Yes, Harvey did return several days later to visit an 'concerned' Chanel (she been looking for him every night).
Harvey appeared a little road-weary--not quite as tidy and his face appeared a little dirty, and moving like he had a few sore muscles, but otherwise, his usual Opossum self.
Today my guest, Grace Cummings, the heroine in Dancing Fawn is here to tell us how she survived being held
captive by Indians.So, without further
ado, let's begin the interview:
Just for clarification, HOST will indicate the interviewer’s
HOST:It must have been a very traumatic ordeal
for you.Can you tell us about it?
GRACE:It was horrid. (She shudders) I still hear my mother's screams in my head.I…
HOST:Do you need a moment to compose yourself?
GRACE:No, I'm fine.(Deep breath)It was 1874. My family had moved around a lot
because my father, bless his departed soul, was a restless man.It was hard for a girl my age to make
friends, not living in one place for very long, and just when Ma, Kevin and I
thought we might settle down, General George Armstrong Custer made an
announcement about gold being discovered in the Black Hills of Lakota
territory.That's all it took!Pa loaded everything back into our Conestoga
and insisted this was his chance to strike it big.
HOST:Why didn't you mother put her foot down?
GRACE:You have to understand that back then, women
were expected to know their place.Ma
pretty much did as Pa said.Besides, he
promised her that when he hit the mother lode, he would buy us a new house; new
furniture and we'd never have to move again.
HOST:I can see how that might have sounded pretty
GRACE:It was.We all had visions of putting down permanent roots, so being out on the
plains, cooking over a campfire again and roughing it for a just a little
longer was worth it if Pa and my brother, Kevin, found gold.
HOST:Tell us more about your experience, please.
GRACE:All right.We had made camp at the base of the Black Hills, near a sparse stand of
trees.There was a small stream nearby,
so water was plentiful.Ma and I slept
on a pallet of blankets in the wagon, while Pa and Kev slept in a makeshift
tent.We had just finished breakfast one
morning and were laughing and talking before Pa and Kev went off to the mine,
when I happened to spy some riders on the horizon. It soon became clear from
the whooping and hollering that they were being attacked by Indians.
HOST:Oh my goodness, what did you do?
GRACE:Pa immediately yelled for Ma and I to get back
in the wagon and he and Kev grabbed their rifles and crawled
underneath.I hunkered down behind the
tailgate, waiting for Ma, but she never came.I was so scared, hearing the sound of gunfire and those blood-curdling
war cries, I covered my ears, but it didn't help.When I got the courage to peek outside, I saw
the Indians circling our hiding place and Ma running in the opposite direction.I think she was trying to draw them away from
me.I didn't realize it at the time, but
Pa and Kevin were already dead.They
were easy pickings with no real shelter.
GRACE:You have no idea!(Stopping to bite her knuckle, then staring
straight ahead). They…they shot my ma down in cold blood right before my eyes.
HOST:Oh you poor thing.What did you do then?
GRACE:(Dabbing at eyes with hanky) I curled myself
into a ball and prayed that it was all just a bad dream, and that I'd wake
up.When I didn't hear anything for a
while, I found the courage to rise to my knees and peer over the tailgate
again.I almost had heart failure when I
came face-to-face with the ugliest sight I'd ever seen.
HOST:Oh my gosh, I have goose bumps. What was
GRACE:It was the person I later learned was Black
Crow.His face was painted with bright
yellow lightning bolts, and he had a scar that ran from ear-to-ear.He pulled me out of the wagon, barking orders
in a strange language, and threw me to the ground.I felt like my heart was going to pound its
way right through my chemise. (Holds hand against chest)
HOST:Oh my goodness, what was going through your
GRACE:I was certain he was going to kill me,
too.I think he might have had it not
been for one of his friends.The one,
called Little Elk, seemed to step in and calm Black Crow down.Still, it was an awful thing to go through,
wondering if you were going to live or die.After Black Crow tethered my arms together and dragged me along behind
his horse, like I was nothing more than an animal, I almost wished I had
died.I fought to keep up all the way to
the Indian village.
HOST:How far was it?
GRACE:(Holding out her wrists).I'm not sure, but you can still see the scars
where the rawhide bit into my skin.I
didn't have time to get my shoes on, so my feet were pretty raw, too.I'm used to walking beside the wagon every
day, but being dragged is quite different.It took forever.
HOST:What happened when you got to the village?
GRACE:I was so tired I could barely stand, but I
dared not drop to the ground when it seemed like the whole village stood in a
circle around me, staring and laughing.I thought for sure I was about to meet my maker, but something very
HOST:Don't stop now!
GRACE:A beautiful green-eyed woman walked into the
midst of things and protected me.She
spoke their language and dressed in their clothing, but it was evident from her
flaming red hair that she was white.If
it hadn't been for her I would never have survived to tell this story, that and
the fact that Black Crow's mother didn't like having a white woman share her
home.(Grace gives a half-hearted chuckle)
GRACE:After only one night in her tepee, Black Crow
handed me over to Little Elk. He, at least treated me with kindness, allowing
Green Eyes to help me bathe and wash my hair.I was still scared, but not nearly as much.Pa always said I was headstrong, and it
almost got me intotrouble when Little
Elk gave me a new name.(Sitting up
straighter, squaring shoulders)
HOST:Oh gosh, we're almost out of time and I hate
to make you stop.Can you give us a
brief summary, and quickly?
GRACE:Although there is so much more to tell, I'll
just say that Little Elk played a big role in the decision I made when the
white soldiers raided the camp. Unless you want to invite me back for another
visit, I guess you'll just have to read the book.(Holds out a copy)
HOST:Is this for me? How nice, and it's
autographed.Grace Cummings, thank you
so much for spending time with us and sharing your captivating story. I'd like
to remind our readers that Dancing Fawn by Ginger
Simpson is offered at http://bookswelove.com/authors/simpson-ginger/.It’s also offered on her Amazon page, but you won't get the BOGO sale going on right now. Buy one, get one Free. What a holiday deal.Happy reading!