- I've been editing my NaNoWriMo novel, even though I said I would wait longer. I just didn't want to wait. I've updated the title, too. Now, it's called Red-Headed Enchanted Justice. I'll post a brief excerpt, although this is just the first round of editing.
- I've been compiling my short stories into an anthology--one for kids and one for older readers. I'm working more on the kid collection first because kids always need something to read for school and everything.
- Shoveling snow. In my part of Michigan we had it easier than those out east, but last weekend it just kept snowing persistently. I would be done, but then more snow piled on.
- Battle Creek Boychoir concerts. I don't have any photos of Brayden singing in the "Nutcracker," but he had a concert the following day. I have a photo of him in his uniform. I'm not going to post the ones with the other choir members since I haven't obtained permission to use them.
- Fighting dry skin. Frigid cold air dries me out and lotion just never works. So, I treat my hands and my legs to water and Vaseline. It's disgusting, but has given me the protection I need.
Excerpt from Red-Headed Enchanted Justice:
Robert only shook his head with a smirk on his face. “Now, listen. Girls don’t have to go around being sissies. Of all the trouble I think your mother is, I have to respect that she does stand up for herself. And, shoot, if the other kids laugh at you, you just whip their little tails, too. I can give you some pointers on fighting if you’d like. That way kids will learn to respect ya. It’s better to be respected than liked, I always think.” He snorted up a gob of mucus from his nasal cavities, rolled down his window, and launched it from his teeth, splattering on the windshield of the red Mustang tailgating him just mere inches from his bumper. The young man with a ball cap driving it shook his fist and shouted curses at him, but Robert couldn’t hear him.
“Hah-hah, got you, you little S.O.B.” Because of where the wad of phlegm hit the Mustang, the driver had no choice but to turn off somewhere and clean it off. Robert returned his focus to Ruthie. “You see what I mean. That little turd behind us now has to clean off that nice, expensive Mustang. He’s a disgrace and has no business driving that beautiful machine. He’ll think twice before tailgating me again.”
Although it was disgusting, Ruthie became amused by her father’s kid-like antics and his suggestion that girls didn’t have to go around being sissies, and she began to think that it was possible she might actually like this man and get along with him. She still had a sense of embarrassment being in this ugly, smelly, car and the fact that her father spoke as if his head was full of rocks. Robert saw her tiny smile as she worked hard not to show him her true feelings, but he knew he got her to lighten up.
“I see you smiling, Ruthie. See, I’m not such a bad guy once you get to know me.” Robert began to enjoy his time with Ruthie, and he realized how much he had missed being around his daughter. “So…you want me to teach you about fighting and stuff. I’ll tell you not even the boys will mess with you.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I guess.”
He rubbed her frizzy red hair. “That’s my girl.”
“Dad? What do you think of witches? Are they real?” Ruthie stumped her dad for a moment.
He scratched his head, “How are we now suddenly talking about witches? Don’t mention this around your grandma. She doesn’t like anyone talking about witches, even for fun. She is certain you’ll raise up the devil himself if you talk about this stuff.” Robert looked at Ruthie, and knew she still wanted an answer from him. “Personally, I don’t see the big deal. I mean, witches aren’t even real. If it’s fake it can’t hurt nobody. You don’t think they’re real, do you?”
The fair-skinned child scratched her chin unsure of how to answer. “Well…sometimes at night when I’m in bed, an old woman comes into my room. She’s dressed in the fanciest dresses and she claims to be a witch. She goes by the name of Sue…”
“Are you sure you’re not talkin’ about that little girl, Suzie, you wanna beat up?”
“No.” Ruth scrunched her face. “Suzie is all blonde. This woman is mainly black haired with grey at the ends. She doesn’t look like a witch.”
“You’re saying a strange woman breaks into your mom’s trailer each night?”
“No. She doesn’t break in. She just appears. She’s quite magical. And she talks like in the olden days when people used to speak all proper.”
Robert chuckled. “I never knew you had such an active imagination. Are you just dreaming all this? I used to dream all the time as a child and I swore up and down that everything in them were real. You know how I stopped?”
She shook her head. “How?”
“My older brother used to tease me and hold my head in the toilet until I promised never to believe my dreams anymore.” Ruthie’s eyes widened in terror, and she was unsure if she should continue her story. Her father reassured her, “Now, I’m not gonna do that to you, sweet pea. Go ahead and tell me more about this witch.”
“Okay. She explained her name is Sue and she has lived for centuries, but is not going to be alive forever. She’s a witch and not a vampire, she said. She said that she needs a new gal to take over for her. Using her book of magic or whatever, she discovered my name was written as an apprentice. She’s even taken me to her little cabin in some enchanted forest somewhere. We just poofed there. You know, she was married and her husband used to beat her and stuff. So, she kept him alive in her basement eating chunks of him for years until he died. I saw his skeleton and stuff.”
“Dang, Ruthie. That’s disturbing. Living with your mom all that time has warped your brain.”
“I thought it was awful, but he used to be really bad to her. So, he kinda deserved what he got. Like you were just telling me to punch Suzie Akins. You know what she gave me once?”
“I can hardly guess.”
“She gave me this plum that I had to swallow and not chew, pit and all. At first, I was like, no way. But, my mouth and throat grew by her sprinkling I don’t know what on me, and I could do it. The plum is supposed to give me protection if anyone tries to hurt me. So, nothing will happen to me. When I’m thirteen, she’ll take me in as an apprentice. When she dies, all of her wisdom of the magic arts will get absorbed by me. Cool, huh.”
Robert scratched his head. “A magic plum? Damn, girl. You don’t really believe that, do you? Man…” he shook his skull. “You do need to spend more time with me. I ain’t as bad as Grandma Black, but I’ll drive all that crazy nonsense outta your head.” Ruthie glanced at him to see if he was serious about what he said. To her, it sounded like a threat. “Don’t look at me, girl, like that. I’m not some push-over like your mom and I ain’t afraid to rod over the spare or spare over the rod or whatever it says in the Bible.” Any hope of her liking her father had suddenly dwindled, and she began to believe going with him was a mistake.