Them Old Cotton Fields Back Home

Well, we are home everywhere we go since we take our home with us.

Yesterday we took an excursion into Memphis to see some sights. We got up late due to not being able to sleep well the night before. By the time we got there and found the downtown welcome center it was almost noon. We had stopped at the travel center earlier and picked up some brochures of local interests. One of them had a rather extensive list of things to do, places to see, and restaurants. Maps were at the back of the brochure showing the trolley routes.

Due to a late start and taking the time to decide what we wanted to see first, which trolley to catch, and what direction it was going, we didn’t get to the Cotton Museum until 2:00.

We took the tour and learned a lot. Tourists are allowed to take pictures, which is nice. We didn’t get to the upper floor but were told it has been preserved in its original 1930’s appearance. The upper floor was the cotton exchange. The history is rich and vibrant, with many displays of the various uses of cotton. Did you know that our currency is made from cotton fiber? Some of our paper is made from cotton.

It was interesting to see and feel the trough with the recycled denim being used for household insulation. It is better for the environment and much gentler to handle than its fiberglass counterpart.

Mannequins displaying various types of clothing made from cotton adorned one display case. Some of the clothing was vintage 1930’s. One was a military uniform. Other display cases housed artifacts used in bygone eras which were used to produce and weave cotton.

There were four computer stations with headsets included to watch and hear video presentations on the subject.

Upon entry into the first section of the museum a large LCD screen may be turned on to enable hearing the history of the Memphis area and the impact the cotton trade had on its growth and development. The video highlighted the types of people involved in the industry and their impact on society.

The second room had displays showing the progress in harvesting the cotton, the modern weaving processes, and a couple of games to test your knowledge.

Tomorrow’s post will highlight the downtown area.

Why Pinterest May Be The Greatest Website For Writers

Ryan, thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been on Pinterest for years and had no idea! Reblogged from https://ryanlanz.com

A Writer's Path

by Teagan Berry

There are countless social media sites out on the internet, each of them offering us different means to share our thoughts and life with other people. For authors, social media can help us out in many different ways. Book promotion, connecting with fans, networking with other authors… and that’s just to name a few.

A little while ago I was introduced to a site called Pinterest by a fellow author and let me tell you, I will be forever grateful to her for it. In this post, along with another one I shall be putting up in a couple days, I hope to give you a few reasons why I believe Pinterest is so useful for authors. Right now, I’m going to focus on the private side of Pinterest, and what it can do for you and your specific writing.

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Blogger-versary!

I am enthralled with this book. Can’t wait for it to actually be printed. This is one great author of suspense and thrillers. Reblogged from https://britestfyrefly.wordpress.com

britestfyrefly

Thanks to social media, I realized I began my blog, two years ago! My Very first blog post was about writing my book, which was super fun to revisit.

I wake up each morning and check my stats on my blog, book, Twitter and all my notifications on FaceBook. Understand that my mood for the day is not based on numbers, but I do use them to gauge my relevance in the literary world. Lately, I have been reaching more people and slowly adding to my following. And because I am a huge nerd, numbers really get me going. Seeing a measurable increase gets me motivated to do more. With my book steady at #1, and my blog views as high as they have ever been, I am feeling a little more accomplished as a writer.

SO…. In honor of my 2 year anniversary, I’d like to do a…

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Chapter 3 of Dacia Arnold’s book Apparent Power

Dacia is running a contest through the month of July to win a free signed copy of her latest book, Apparent Power. 

This book is a suspense thriller that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning as a young mother tries desperately to be reunited with her young son and keep him out of the hands of a government bent on using him and her as guinea pigs.

With her permission, this is chapter 3 of her book.

Hopelessness over took her. She had to get home to her son. Somehow. All she could do was cry. Valerie mulled over the what-ifs and the things she could have done starting with not taking a shift so far from home. She cursed, screamed, and threw punches into the steering wheel. Her dad would have been so disappointed. He would just watch her throw her tantrum without an offer of condolence. He would watch in silence waiting for her to figure out a solution herself. Suddenly, it was clear what she had to do. She cleared her mind of emotions looked straight ahead at people running in and out of the chain drug store. She pocketed her keys, got out of her car, walked across the parking lots and through the open doors of the drug store. First she grabbed a pink backpack that sported a cartoon cat. She threw in plastic drinking bottles, nuts, and dried fruit that were still on the shelves into the bag. As she made her way out, she threw random items into the bag to possibly trade later when people were truly desperate. Without looking to her left or right or stopping to check out, she walked back out of the drug store and to her car. She collected her belongings and opened the trunk. She took out her wallet, tablet, and whatever lunch she had left. Everything else she left secured in her trunk.
“Roy, I need a ride to my dad’s. It’s only twenty minutes from here.” She yelled across the counter as she made her way through the facility to the break room. Stepping around the milk puddle, she took the five water bottles out of the kitty cat bag and set them on the counter. Her eyes drifted back to the puddle while she waited for the bottles to fill. To her, it felt like she dreamt the unmade coffee still sitting in the machine; and the milk puddle was the result of something that happened years ago.
Valerie was still deep in thought when August walked in. She had finished filling the last bottle. Her heart did a small flutter and the feelings were back. She ignored them and maintained her determined standoff.
“Valerie, the roads are blocked with stalled cars. There are no open roads out of here. You’d be lucky to make it out of the parking lot at this point.”
“Then I’ll walk.” She replied sternly as she shoved the bottles back into her bag. Did he expect her to stay there with him and wait for things to clear up? She was set on getting home, but the idea of staying lingered a bit longer than she had liked.
“Were you affected by the electric current?” He asked studying her. She stopped what she was doing but did not meet his gaze.
“No.”
“The president has declared the entire country in a state of emergency, martial law in effect. It’s like this everywhere. They are placing those effected quarantine.” Valerie looked up at the young doctor. She studied his face but wondered what he was getting at.
“I don’t think the CDC has anyone’s best interests in mind. FEMA should have been here before the CDC, and their first response takes almost 24 hours. But I do think we should stick together. I want to show you something.” Her pounding heart was making her stomach sick, but she wanted him to keep talking. August pulled his cell phone from his pocket and placed it on the table. He slowly pulled his hand away. When he did the phone sprang to life. It blinked and vibrated with incoming messages. He brought his hand back to the phone and it stopped. The phone went blank and silent.
“Take your phone out and put it on the table.” Valerie could not move. She was afraid of what he was trying to tell her. She was more afraid of what she would see on her phone when it came on or if she would see nothing.
“It’s alright. I’m not going to turn you in.” He knew. She would fight with everything she had if he did turn her in. She never had any intention on going with the CDC. She was small but there was something to her that demanded that she be taken seriously. Valerie tried to stay put together even in her panic.
She fingered the phone in her scrub pocket a few more moments before she pulled it out and placed it on the table. She lifted her hand and slowly pulled it away. Just like August’s phone, hers sputtered and lit up. She watched the list of messages grow on her phone until Gia’s name appeared. She instinctively reached to snatch it up, but just before her hand could reach it, both phone popped and caught fire.
“NO!!” She screamed into the small fiery piles on the table. She did not understand how she caused the batteries to explode, but she knew she had.
“I don’t know.” August began thinking out loud. “It’s like a six inch bubble. Anything electronic within that bubble doesn’t work. Roy and Betty weren’t affected. It would explain why we couldn’t hook up those patients to any of the machines. I don’t think that any vehicles we get in would work either. It’s not the cars that are stalled. It’s the people in them. If we get anywhere close, nothing works. But it’s also inconsistent. We were about to get somethings to work when we really needed them to. I’m just happy I wasn’t on a plane today.”
“I still have to leave. I don’t have a choice. I can’t stay here. I have to go.” Valerie was pleading with her own heart and to him, hoping he would break her of the spell of wanting to stay. His eyes reflected the same.
“Grab some Gatorades from the fridge. I’ll get into the med room and get you some antibiotics before anyone else thinks to clean it out. If things are as bad as they are talking, antibiotics are what keep you alive when everything goes downhill. No sense in living through this if a simple infection kills you.”
Valerie took his advice and packed anything worth having. Her bag was considerably heavier than she anticipated. She only filled two of the water bottles since it was only a mile to her brother’s townhouse. She could fill the rest up there before regrouping. Her brother would have military gear more suitable for her trip than her kitty cat backpack. He would also have guns.
With one water bottle drained before reaching the main road, she replaced it with the other full one from her bag. Pillars of smoke rose from various directions and distances. The planes were probably just lifting off from the Colorado Springs Airport, she thought as she took another drink and decided to push it out of her mind. She did not have time to save the world from plane crashes. Her thoughts started working on a mental list of things she should grab from her brother’s supply. John would be on lock down on the military base, unable to leave and on communication black out as well. Madilyn, his wife, would most definitely be home, hiding under a bed. Valerie was never really impressed with her. She was weak minded and superficial; incapable of having an independent thought, much less doing anything on her own. She guessed this made John like a daily hero, rescuing her from pumping her own gas. On holidays, Valerie did her best to be polite. They took turns hosting. John and Madilyn had hosted New Years. Valerie was supposed to host a barbeque for Memorial Day in Denver. That would be difficult now. She laughed at the thought of Madilyn having to walk there for Memorial Day, like a giraffe in heels.
When she turned the corner of the townhouse community, it appeared to be abandoned. It had been hours since the first plane went down and the chaos erupted. She wondered if they had all been detained by the CDC or if they were just hiding. Empty cars blocked the entrances of the community. She felt uneasy, like she was being watched. She picked up the pace until she stood at a door adorned with a spring wreath with their monogram made with yarn and buttons. She knocked knowing no one would answer. After waiting a few seconds for any indication of life on the other side, she plucked an imitation rock from the mulch bed and flipped it over to access the cipher lock on the bottom. She keyed in the numbers and rolled her eyes. Of course it would escape Madilyn to bring the spare key in the house.
“Madi. It’s me… Val.” She set her bag down and shut the door. She heard shuffling above her as her slender sister-in-law emerged from her hiding spot. Once free the lanky woman bounded across the hall and down the stairs in full hysteria. She looked ridiculous dressed in her yoga clothes with heels and a full set of jewelry. Valerie was not sure if she was going to the gym or a night club.
“Val, where is he? Why isn’t he answering? He should be here. I don’t know what to do. Planes crashed and I heard gun shots. I can’t do this, Val. Why won’t he call me and tell me he’s ok?”
“Madi, look at me. We need to get Dad’s. I need your help.” Valerie spoke slowly trying to calm the blubbering woman. Madilyn was just under six feet tall and more thin than Valerie. Her long blonde hair that had been straightened earlier in the day was tangled from being under the bed, or in the closet. She was completely disheveled.
“It’s the end of the world, and John is not with me. He’s all I have left in this world and he’s not here.” Madilyn collapsed into the shorter of the two women, whose patience was wearing thin. Valerie struggled to find a way to motivate her sister-in-law to pull it together and quickly. She ran through a few different approaches in her head. First, and instinctively, she wanted to slap the woman and inform her that she was the least of her concerns, but she knew that if Madilyn’s need for attention was not appeased, she had might as well turn around and leave. It was pointless to attempt to explain why John could not be with her. Anything he was doing was a better use of his time than huddling with under their bed waiting for the end to come. Explaining this, of course, would take up too much time and the crying would continue. Her father’s approach would be to make the twit figure out the solution herself, but they were running out of daylight. It would take Valerie between two and three hours to walk to her father’s home. It would take Madilyn four hours. Valerie’s thoughts turned again to slapping the woman or at least shaking her real hard. Instead she pulled the slobbering figure from her soaked collar bone. With her two hands steadying her new companion’s biceps, Valerie tried to ignore how utterly disgusting and pathetic her sister-in-law looked despite herself.
“Madi, we need to focus. I’m taking you with me to Dad’s house. You’ll be safe there and that’s where John would come looking for you. Dad has food and supplies stock piled, and he knows how to use all the guns you have here. But we need to get there and we need to leave soon. Ok?” Madilyn gave a whimper but nodded in agreement. “I need John’s ruck sack. It is a huge backpack with a plastic frame and a belt built into it. Do you know where it is?” Madilyn gave another affirmative nod. “Can you get it? And anything else that you might think is useful or that you want to take with you. Anything that is special to you that you cannot carry, you need to put it in the safe and leave it here.”
“Ok, I can check the garage first.” She was surprised how easy it was to get Madilyn to snap out of her pity party, though she still wanted to slap her.
While she was away rummaging through John’s military gear, Valerie opened the kitchen cabinets and began pulling out food, water filters, soap and other things that would make the extra house guest worthwhile for her father. Madilyn was tolerated by the family for the simple fact that John loved her. She was, after all, beautiful under normal circumstances and she would not possibly make it in society on her own. Valerie on this day she was thankful that she had not grown up in a protected bubble. Her father had taught them everything they needed to know in the case that something like this happened.
She eyed more water bottles on the top shelf of the cabinet and put them on the counter. Madilyn would need water, though, she would benefit more if someone were to carry her.
“Is this it?” Madilyn held up the object she was asked to retrieve. “And I found these, too. This one has a bunch of pockets and this one has no pockets but looks like a tiny backpack.” She held up an empty medical bag and a hydration system. Valerie smiled, thankful that she could at the very least follow directions.
“Perfect, Madi. I’ll carry the big bag and you can carry the one with pockets. That thing,” she pointed to the hydration system, “you fill it with water and use the straw to drink while you walk. It will be a lot easier than carrying all these water bottles and switching them out.”
“Ok, do you want me to start packing this?”
“No. We need ammo. I need you to gather all of it and every gun in the house. I don’t care how big or heavy it is.”
“Are we going to kill people?” Madilyn asked as if the answer would determine her further assistance in the matter.
“We are not going to kill people. But I don’t know when you’re going to be able to come back home. We can’t leave them here. It is just better to have them with us, you know?” Valerie maintained her instructive tone but was growing increasingly impatient.
“Ok. I know how to use them. I just don’t think we need to go around killing people just because the world is ending.” This was actually good information for Valerie. She knew that John would have taught her how to use them and also how to be safe with a gun. Whether she would use a gun to save her own life would be a gamble that she had no choice but to take.
“No murder. I promise. Just protection.” Valerie smiled again, though her entire being screamed at the dim woman. She really had no grasp on what was happening outside of her door.
Valerie took inventory and packed what she could carry. She allowed Madilyn one section of her bag for personal items. She was not forgiving when packing the remaining sections. Food, water, medical supplies, and ammo were heavy. Her sister’s bag was shaped like a huge brick and just as solid. It reached from the top of her belt up to her shoulders and covered the width of her back. The ruck sack that Valerie carried was easily twice the size of her torso with additional pockets on all sizes full to capacity. The design of the bags distributed weight evenly from shoulders to the waist band which would make the seventy-five pounds more manageable.
They both changed clothes and by three in the afternoon they were near ready to leave. Madilyn had come up with four fire arms: three nine millimeter hand guns and a military style AR-15 rifle. In case John returned to his home before meeting up at their fathers, Valerie instructed that she put one hand gun back exactly where it was hidden before along with a box of ammo. Each of them carried a hand gun in a leg holster. Valerie would sling the rifle once her bag was in place.
The women were helping each other get the heavy bags onto their backs when the door handle began to jiggle. Within a second, Valerie pulled the nine millimeter from her leg holster, slammed in a full magazine, charged the weapon and fired a round three inches above the door jam.
“If you don’t live here, you should leave.” Valerie shouted at the closed door. The silence that followed indicated that the prospective intruder took her advice. Once Madilyn was able to breath, she spoke in just a whisper.
“You said no killing.”
“I was aiming above the door on purpose. It could have been John. I wasn’t trying to kill anyone. They were probably just looters looking for empty homes to steal from. Last thing anyone wants is a fight.” Valerie was ready to leave when she arrived.
“It’s time to go.”

Apparent Power by Dacia Arnold

 

The End!!!

If you want a great read, write down the name of this author and her book “Apparent Power.” When it is released for print you will be glad you did. I have followed the progress of this book, now in it’s final stage of first draft. It is filled with suspense and intrigue, a real page turner, keeping the reader on the edge of the seat. Reblogged from https://britestfyrefly.wordpress.com

britestfyrefly

I wrote it! The outcome is set (well as set as a first draft can be). And I will not give it away! I am still waiting to hear what my beta readers have to say. But I am pretty darn proud of myself considering I had no idea what it would even look like until last week.

I have, for the first time in my writing career, penned the words “THE END”! How did this even come to be? I plan on taking a much needed break from the book, as many professionals suggest. My original timeline was to begin editing in July.

So, hurray for huge victories. Thank you for everyone that has took time to listen to me about “my book” and even asking what it’s about so I can practice my elevator speech. There is still a long road ahead to publishing. My crap writing needs…

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Sounding the Alarm Part 2

It is unfortunate that in our society today, it takes at least two incomes to support a family. That means absentee parents, and children who are left in the care of an older sibling or just to themselves. Often we cannot afford to pay someone to care for our children while they are alone and we are at work.

Then we have single-parent families, which usually means that single parent has almost no time for the children. The children then are left feeling unimportant and unloved. They may seek affection and caring from other sources, which can lead to very severe problems.

I made some typos in part one of this series. Prayer and church attendance are NOT enough to ensure the safety of our children. NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES, WE MUST FIND WAYS TO WATCH OVER AND PROTECT THEM. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Sit down with your child and go over some safety rules about not trusting ANYONE too much. A family member, close friend, neighbor, teacher, anyone has the potential of molesting your child, regardless of gender. We live in a perverted society. It even happens in church groups because no one is perfect, not even Christians. And not everyone who goes to church is a Christian. Some people are just religious. Some people go to church because they are depressed and want to feel better. Some people go to church just because they were raised to do so. There are many other reasons, but you get the picture.
  • Make sure you have a good relationship with your child/children so that they feel they can come to you if someone does mistreat them. Also, know your child well enough to know if they are making it up to get attention, or if they are lying because they are mad at someone and wants to get them in trouble. But ALWAYS be willing to listen. Be willing to check out the accusation, even if you think that person would never do such a thing. We generally trust too easily, too quickly. We never know what’s in another person’s mind. Be sure to emphasize to your child that no matter what threat they have been given to keep them quiet, it is a scare tactic and that it is your job to protect them. Make sure the child understands the importance of NOT BEING AFRAID to tell you about it if does happen, regardless of who the perpetrator is.
  • Give your child/children instructions on what to do if someone does molest or hurt them in any way: a neighbor or friend to contact, how to get in touch with you while you are at work. If someone molests them they need to dial 9-1-1 at the first opportunity and give as much detail as possible to the authorities and have the authorities contact you at work.
  • If your child/children are home alone while you are at work, have them stay inside, play quietly, no loud TV or music, and lock the door, and keep it locked until you return home.
  • Teach them what to do in case of fire.
  • Check out your child’s friends and families. Don’t let them stay with just anyone. It would be better if the child’s friends came to your house so you can check on them, and know what’s going on. When you visit other families, check on your child often. You never know what goes on behind closed doors, with an adult or another child. Most children are molested by someone in the family, or close to the family. Don’t let yourself wear blinders. I know from personal experience that a child who has been molested often carries the emotional scars for the rest of their lives and their lives are filled with bad decisions, resentment, and bitterness that only God can heal.

 

 

How to Simplify and Authentically Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

What a great post for simplifying your sharing opportunities and growing your readership.. Reblogged from https://suzie81speaks.com

Suzie Speaks

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Blogging is now a viable career option and there are endless examples of bloggers who have monetised their site to the point where they can quit their 9-5 job and live the dream.

Consequently, the bloggosphere (blogisphere? blogosphere? There really should be some clarification on this) is filled with ‘Earning Reports’ (which I often ignore), along with a bajillion things that we should all be doing to optimise our traffic and increase engagement to our sites. I apparently need an email list, in which I should offer incentives. I should be part of an Instagram pod or tailwind tribe. I should be self-hosted and have a professionally designed site, I should have paid advertising across all of my social media. I should be building up my social media accounts by following and then unfollowing people.

Nonsense.

No wonder so many bloggers are feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with the fact that…

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Writing Tracking Scenes: Happens More Often than One Expects

More great information from thestoryreadingape on writing tracking scenes. Reblogged from https://legendsofwindemere.com

Legends of Windemere

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We’ve all been there.  Stalking an enemy until we find the perfect chance to strike or discover their hideout.  Then the author falls asleep or gets bored and throws the entire scene into chaos.

Having one character follow another can be tedious, especially if it lasts for a chapter.  I’ve seen it done different ways too.  Some authors only have villains do tracking, so it’s in the background.  Others have the trackers so far away that they can talk and the physical act is secondary.  Then there’s avoiding such scenes entirely.  I like having some tracking scenes since Luke is a forest tracker.  Pointless to give him the skills and never have him use them.  I tend to fall into that second category, but there are ways to make it interesting.

  1. Have the prey throw in some tricks like crossing water and backtracking.  This makes them appear…

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Hearing Gods’ voice

This is a great post on hearing God’s voice. Reblogged from https://thepearlsisters.blog

Dear Sister,

I have been a Christian for quite some time now. I always hear fellow Christians saying how Gold told them this or that but I just don’t understand how people hear Him or have direct conversations with God. I do pray and when I do I usually don’t get an answer. Yet other Christians are able to hear his voice. Please advice me on how I can hear Gods voice more clearly.


Dear Sister, 

God speaks to us all the time. But to hear God’s voice, as you put it, you must be “listening” for Him. He speaks to our hearts not our heads, so please be concerned when others say they heard His voice. Satan likes to play mind games with us, always trying to deceive. So please don’t be mislead. Our Heavenly Father wants us to have our own personal relationship with Him, so that we…

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