#WIPpet Wednesday A Spot On the Hill Number 2

My cemetery play A Spot On the Hill opens this Friday. We have three shows this weekend and then two shows next weekend. Once again I am blessed with an amazing and stellar cast. If you are in the Northeast TN area, we still have tickets available for the 2:30 matinee this Sat, Oct 20 and the 2:30 matinee next Sat, Oct 27. You can get tickets online here.

Seeing as this will no longer be a work in progress come Friday, I’ve decided to share one more story from A Spot On the Hill. These stories are about real people who are buried in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery.

In this cutting you’ll meet Robert Dosser, local merchant extraordinaire and his wife Laura who was quite the fashionista. You’ll also meet their son. Here is a picture of their grave site with the actor who portrays Robert Dosser.

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For my WIPpet math we have 21 paragraphs (10+17+7-1=21) for 10/17/2018.

ROBERT D

I know what it’s like to have a family name to live up to. My name is Robert Dosser. My father was James Dosser, merchant extraordinaire. He established his mercantile store at 117 East Main Street. In that store he sold a little bit of everything, including the latest fashions. My father built a local empire, an empire I inherited alongside my brothers. When he died in 1891, he left the store to Albert, Frank, and me. I put my heart and soul into that business, just as I’d watched my father do. My brothers married and had families, but I was too busy traveling, making contacts, expanding the business. My father had once advised me that I couldn’t love both, family and work, with my whole heart. It was family first and then the business. It could never be the other way. And for a long time, at least for me, it was just the business. She was my mistress.

Finally, in 1889 at the age of 33, I married Nellie Fain. She became the love of my life, and we had four beautiful children. But then tragedy struck, and Nellie died in 1901. I retreated into my business; sure my heart would never know that kind of love again.

(Laura D steps forward.)

LAURA D

My name is Laura Brunner, and I did not have a family legacy, or an empire. I only had myself. In Jonesborough, I lived with Mr. and Mrs. L.H.Patton. I had to contribute to the household, so I worked for R.M. May and Sons. I would usually see Mr. Dosser in the store, talking with Mr. May. Everyone knew of Mr. Dosser and his great knowledge of clothes, but he didn’t know everything.

ROBERT D

Excuse me, ma’m. Does Mr. May carry this Chevron pattern in a darker shade?

LAURA D

That’s Herringbone.

ROBERT D

Pardon?

LAURA D

That pattern is Herringbone.

ROBERT D

I’m certain it’s Chevron.

LAURA D

And I am certain it is not. See here, the break is at the reversal, which makes it Herringbone.

ROBERT D

How much does Mr. May pay you? Come and work for me, and I’ll double it.

LAURA D

I did go and work for him. We spent more and more time together. And what began as a disagreement over patterns, quickly turned to love. In 1904 we were married in the Patton family home. The Herald & Tribune announced our wedding, writing –

HERALD & TRIBUNE

“These people are too well known to our people to need an introduction from us. They are well and thoroughly known to all, and are fully deserving of all honor, and are sure to receive the congratulations of all. They go to St. Louis on a bridal tour. May peace, prosperity, and happiness accompany them all through life.”

LAURA D

We went to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Lois. It was like traveling to the future. After that, we returned to our home in Jonesborough. Life was suddenly a fairy tale that had come true.

ROBERT D

In 1908, my brothers and I sold the business in Jonesborough. We had a new business in downtown Johnson City. That’s where the future was. That was the legacy I was going to leave to my children. That same year, Laura and I had a son. I knew that one day he would join his siblings in the family business.

(Dosser Boy steps forward.)

ROBERT D

Now, what has your father always told you?

DOSSER BOY

It’s family first and then the business. It can never be the other way.

ROBERT D

Good lad.

DOSSER BOY

But I never helped in the store.

LAURA D

No, and I never lived to see what it would become. The two of us died in 1908 in childbirth. We’re buried in the Dosser family plot alongside Nellie Fain Dosser, the mother of your half siblings.

(to Robert)

It was a beautiful story, Robert, while it lasted.

ROBERT D

Yes, my dear, it was.

 

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(Picture above Joel VanEaton, Jeremy Reeves, and Kellie Reeves)

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#WIPpetWednesday #workinprogress #ASpotOntheHill #playwriting #realstories #reallives #realtombstones

#WIPpet Wednesday A Little More Spooky

I’ve still got ghost stories on my mind, especially since I’ll be sharing original ghost stories at the end of the month at Brews and Boos. Here’s a cutting from Beep Beep, Honk Honk. I wrote this one way back in college in 2005. It’s always nice when I get to use stories that haven’t seen the light of day in sometime. Also, there’s nothing creepier than small children.

In this story, Geoffrey and Amy are moving into their new house. There’s an even larger house across the road. It’s the kind of house the two of them fantasize about living in some day, a large house where they can raise lots of kids. A young girl is sitting on a swing. They’ve already met the older lady who lives in the house, but this is the first time they’ve seen the young girl. Geoffrey decides he should do the neighborly thing and go over and introduce himself.

This week I’ve got 38 sentences from this short story. For my WIPpet math we have (10+10+18=38) for 10/10/18.

“Geoffrey stopped at the edge of the road.  A car was coming around the corner.  It was true, you couldn’t see a car coming around that corner till it was right on the two houses.  Fortunately, the driver wasn’t speeding.  Geoffrey nodded a hello to the driver as he passed.  Once the car was by, he crossed the road.  He approached the fence with a friendly smile and careful step.  The little girl didn’t run away.  She continued to swing.  “Hello there,” Geoffrey offered warmly.  “What’s your name?”  He stopped before he reached the fence.  He didn’t want to make her nervous.  The girl didn’t answer his question.  She stared at him with her big, blue eyes.  “My name’s Geoffrey. What’s your name?”  The girl didn’t respond.  “How about Shirley?  Marie?  Betty?  Jil – ”

“Beep-beep, honk-honk.”

The girl’s first response caught Geoffrey by surprise.  “What?”

“Beep-beep, honk-honk,” the girl repeated.

“That’s the noise a car makes.  Did you know that?”  Geoffrey took a step closer to the fence.  The girl gave him a small nod and a smile.  “Do you see a lot of cars on this road?”  Geoffrey pointed to the road behind him.

“Beep-beep, honk-honk.”

“Yeah, beep-beep, honk-honk.”  Geoffrey stepped up to the fence and rested his hand on one of the white stakes.  “Do you live here with your grandmother?”  The girl didn’t reply.  She looked over at the empty swing next to her.”

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*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

#storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

(Photo credits, Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash, Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

 

#WIPpet Wednesday A Little Bit of Spooky

The Summer Between is out into the world now! I had an amazing launch and book signing on Monday at The Corner Cup. (I always appreciate a different sort of Monday.) I am super grateful to my friends, family, and community for all their support.

FYI, The Summer Between is Jackalope approved. Pick up a copy today!

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I made the front cover my hometown paper The Herald & Tribune. This week’s edition was very small town, my book launch, a local artist and his toaster art, and the hometown barber shop gets an update. A lovely little slice of Americana. I truly love where I live, and this is my equivalent of Rolling Stone. Read the article here.

Since I must leave The Summer Between behind in this week’s WIPpet Wednesday, I will turn my attention to October and storytelling and spooky stories. The International Storytelling Festival takes place in Jonesborough the first full weekend of October. Tents pop up all over town and stories are everywhere! It’s a busy time, but a magical time.

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This is my current view in my work parking lot.

I fancy myself an amateur storyteller, and I’ve been asked to tell spooky stories again this year at Brews and Boos on October 26.

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It’s scary stories outside after dark with beer! What’s not to like? I always try and tell original stories for this, one because of copyright issues and respect, and two because it gives me a chance to write spooky stuff. I also fancy myself an amateur horror writer. I like giving myself the heebie jeebies. One day I’ll write a really great horror story, until then I like to dabble in the genre.

Below is a snippet from one of the original stories I’ll be telling at this year’s Brews and Boos. I honestly haven’t looked at it since I wrote it way back in 2006. (There is so much editing in my future.) It’s entitled “Some Things Are Beyond Our Control.”

This week I’ve got 30 sentences from this short story. For my WIPpet math we have (10+3+18-1=30) for 10/3/18.

 

. . .Vincent couldn’t let it end at that.  No, there had to be one more punch, one more stab.  “Oh, no, no, no,” Vincent chastised as he hurried after her.  “You’re going to leave me with that?” 

Julia kept walking.  “Yep.”  She moved down the stairs, headed for the door. 

Vincent finally stopped her there.  His hand grabbed hold of the front door as she opened it.  “What’s his name?” 

It was Julia’s turn to sigh, but it wasn’t a sigh of feigned boredom or pretend superiority.  It was a sigh, an honest sigh.  “I don’t want to be with anyone, remember? But I find your jealousy incredibly flattering.” 

Vincent folded his arms and leaned against the door frame.  “I’m not jealous.” 

Julia smiled and looked at the ground.  It was a smile he’d seen only a few times before.  It wasn’t her cruel and coy smile.  This was her real smile, simple and shy.  It made Vincent stop and take notice.  It took all the brag and bluster out of him. 

“I’m spending time with my family this weekend, and there’s a lot of business I need to take care of.”  Julia raised her head and looked at him.  This was the truth. 

“And this is all going to carry on into next weekend, too?” Vincent asked.

“No.  I have to finish it now.  I’m going to die on Sunday.”  Vincent’s hold on the door faltered and Julia was able to push it open enough and slip out of the house.

#TheSummerBetween #storytelling #scarystories #originalwork

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

(Photo credits: Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash_

The Summer Between is Out Now!

The Summer Between is available now, just in time for National Book Month!

You can order the book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Mountain Gap Books!

“When I was eighteen years old, I knew everything there was to know about anything ever in the history of the entire world. I thought I was a genuine, Stephen Hawking-level genius. My entire life stretched ahead of me, and everything I’d ever wanted was going to be handed to me on a silver platter carried by admiring angels who’d ask, in dulcet tones, “Brendon, how’d you get to be so cool?”

I also thought I was immortal.

Thank God for summer break, for those ten weeks between high school and college when life took me roughly by the collar, shook me hard, and said with a deep, guttural laugh, “Buckle up, kid, ’cause I’m drivin’, and you don’t know squat.”

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After you purchase a copy of the book, please leave a review. That’s how all artists learn and improve.

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #NationalBookMonth

The Summer Between – The Elephant in the Room

This may come as a shocker to some of you, but I was never an eighteen year old boy. However, The Summer Between is told from Brendon’s perspective, and he is most definitely an 18 year old boy. There’s a back and forth argument I have with myself all the time – Anne, write only what you’ve experienced directly, or Anne, write to a larger truth. I like to combine both when I write, and I always try to capture the heart of my character’s story. As I’ve said before, this is Brendon’s story, and he asked me to tell it.

So, no, I was never an 18 year old boy, but I was 18 once. I remember quite well the fear of what came next, the anxiety, the stress. I remember the trepidation of leaving my friends, of leaving home. I certainly remember the anticipation that I needed to have a really good final summer because things would never be this way again. There’s a part of me in Brendon, but there is also a part of Brendon’s story that was never mine.

Some of the lessons I learned growing up are reflected in The Summer Between, lessons I wish someone had pointed out to me ahead of time, but I probably wouldn’t have listened. Hopefully Brendon listens better than I did, but we both still have a lot of growing up to do.

We’ll get there someday, in some form or fashion.

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The featured image on this blog is me at my high school graduation. The picture above is Brendon, of course. The picture below is me dressed up as the wrestler The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and giving “the People’s elbow” to my friend Nikie who was dressed up at the Undertaker. Ah, high school.

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Everyone thinks you make mistakes when you’re young. But I don’t think we make any fewer when we’re grown up .” – Jodi Picoult

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

The Music of The Summer Between

I always listen to music when I write. My usual go to artists are The Counting Crows and The Killers. While I was writing The Summer Between, I had Mrs Potter’s Lullaby by The Counting Crows on a continuous loop. I feel like that song really captures the ups and downs of Brendon’s summer. (Ironically, this song did not make it onto his summer playlist, but it was definitely on my writing playlist.)

My taste in music is eclectic, to say the least, as is Brendon’s. You never know what will pop up on his iPod next. His musical world is a mix of genres and decades.

Music is very important to Brendon’s life. It might even be his future career. Music is also important to his older brother Derrick, and this shared passion may be the only thing that can repair their relationship.

The Summer Between features an original band, one Sticker Fish, original songs, and extreme karaoking. Each chapter follows along with Brendon’s summer playlist, which changes names and tone with his many moods. I suggest you listen to the songs either before or after you read the corresponding chapter. You can find Brendon’s playlist here.

Track List

Chapter One – The Climb, Miley Cyrus

Chapter Two – Cruel Summer, Ace of Base

Chapter Three – 9 to 5, Dolly Parton

Chapter Four – God Must Hate Me, Simple Plan

Chapter Five – Stuck In the Middle With You, Stealers Wheel

Chapter Six – Sitting, Cat Stevens

Chapter Seven – Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down), Chumbawumba

Chapter Eight – For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

Chapter Nine – I’m Not Talking, The Yardbirds

Chapter Ten – Secret Agent Man, Johnny Rivers

Chapter Eleven – The Best of What’s Around, Dave Matthews Band

Chapter Twelve – We’re Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister

Chapter Thirteen – Rockstar, Nickelback

Chapter Fourteen – One Hit Wonder, Everclear

Chapter Fifteen – It Ends Tonight, The All-American Rejects

Chapter Sixteen – I Shall Believe, Sheryl Crow

Chapter Seventeen – Desperado, The Eagles

Chapter Eighteen – Roll Away Your Stone, Mumford and Sons

Chapter Nineteen – Rock’N’Roll Dreams Come Through, Meatloaf

Chapter Twenty – To Be With You, Mr. Big

Chapter Twenty-One – Little Wonders, Rob Thomas

Chapter Twenty-Two – Closing Time, Semisonic

Happy reading and listening!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music

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(Photo credits: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash, Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash)

2009: The World of The Summer Between

I wrote The Summer Between during the summer of 2009. The story is set in that year, the final breath of the aughts. Here is a quick glimpse of that year and the world that is Brendon’s reality.

In 2009, MySpace is still king when it comes to Social Media. Facebook is open to the non-collegiate public and is slowly gaining speed, as is Twitter. There is no Snapchat or Instagram. iPhones were just released in 2007 and not everyone has a smartphone. Most people aren’t used to updating their social media status at a moment’s notice or getting news instantaneously.

iPods are still a thing, and music is stored on them and not a smartphone. Pictures, for the most part, are still taken on digital cameras. Cellphone photos are notoriously awful and grainy.

Fun fact, 2009 gives birth to the first “viral selfie.”

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(Melissa and her husband Jackson Brandts were exploring Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, Canada, when a ground squirrel photobombed their timed picture. )

The Great Recession of 2008 is still going strong, but it hasn’t impacted Brendon’s immediate reality. (He’s lucky.) It will definitely impact his future, though. He’s still facing the pressure to go to college and pick a career. But should he pick a career he loves, or one that will guarantee security?

Brendon lives in the suburban mountain South I know so well and grew up in. It’s not a small town, it’s not a large town, but it’s big enough to have a downtown, and a decent mall.

Avatar is the biggest movie of the year and American Idol (pre re-boot) is the biggest TV show.

And this is the 2009 version of Miley Cyrus, which will matter when you read the book.

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Get a copy of The Summer Between and enter Brendon’s world! Order now from Barnes and Noble or Amazon!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music

 

#WIPpet Wednesday Number #6 The Summer Between

It’s time for the final WIPpet Wednesday for The Summer Between. For the rest of the story, you’re just going to have to buy the book, which you can do here.

This week I’ve got 33 sentences from Chapter Seven: From Sunup to Sunup. For my WIPpet math we have (26+8-1=33) on 9/26/2018.

“Derrick rolls over the back of the car and somehow manages to land on his feet. We follow him as he unlocks the back gate and runs through the yard, finally collapsing near the patio furniture, his hands stretched toward the sky. “Come here.”

“Shouldn’t we go inside, to bed?” I ask.

“No!” He shoots me down.

“I’m sticking my feet in the pool.” Glenn moseys away from us.

I sigh and join my brother on the grass.

“We’re crossing two things off your list,” he says.

“Yeah?”

“We’ve done extreme karaokeing. Now we’re staying up ’til the sunrise. Check, check.” Derrick smiles at me and points above. The black of night has already faded to blue, and streaks of orange, red, and purple stretch across the sky.

“Thanks for tonight.” I say after a moment. He’s right. Tonight’s a favor that’s chipped away at my wall of worries until it’s nothing more than a smoldering pile of rubble.

“I love sunrises,” Derrick says. “I mean, with all the shit in the world, a good sunrise is priceless. And this one—” He shakes his finger upward. “— has the makings of a great one.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s the one time of day you can look up and believe everything’ll be okay. Know what I mean?” Derrick turns to look at me, his eyes large and pleading. I’d never seen this expression on his face before, and I’m not sure how to categorize it. “Know what I mean?” he asks again, a new urgency in his voice.

“Yeah, I guess.” My answer must be satisfactory because Derrick breathes a sigh of relief and directs his eyes back to the heavens.

“Everything is gonna be okay,” he mumbles as the sun breaks the horizon.”

*WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop hosted by Emily Wrayburn wherein writers share excerpts of their latest WIP. All genres and levels of accomplishment are welcome. The only stipulation is that the excerpt must coincide with the date in some manner. For example, on 10/8/14 you might share 10 lines from page 8, 8 paragraphs from chapter 14, or perhaps 18 sentences by doing WIPpet math and adding the day to the month. We’re flexible like that.

And for some perspective, here is the first completed draft of The Summer Between in 2009.  (Gotta love the photo quality of my Samsung Glyde.)

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And here’s the book today, on the eve of its publication. Never, ever, ever give up!

Summer Between Cover

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings

 

The Summer Between Meet the Characters Number 6 – The Rest of the Gang

We’re less than a week away from the release of The Summer Between! Over the past few weeks, I’ve introduced Brendon, his older brother Derrick, his best friend Lindsay, his good friend Glenn, and the ever straight forward Lillian. This blog is dedicated to the other characters who make up The Summer Between. There’s no way I could fit everyone in, but here are some of the other intriguing people who make up Brendon’s world and his summer.

Levi Connors Maxwell III – Brendon and Glenn’s dreaded boss at their equally dreaded summer job. He runs a tight ship in the Tri-City Mall.

“My name is Levi Connors Maxwell III. I am your manager. I have worked for The K-Nut Hut for ten years. This company graciously bestowed me with a job at the age of sixteen, and I’ve never looked back. I contemplated a military career, but the time has come and gone.’ The right side of Levi’s face, eyes, nose, mouth, the whole kit-and-caboodle, jerk upward in an awkward swoop as he mentions his former life. It’s a hell of a tick.”

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Then there are the rest of the employees at The K-Nut Hut: Thomas Jefferson, a poor soul trying to survive his first ever summer job, Samantha, who has a unique niche when it comes to sculpting, and ex-police officer Randy. There’s also Clark Smith and Kent Wilson, who may or may not be robots.

When he’s not stuck at work, Brendon is busy composing a song for Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. In Brendon’s own words, “I love Ashley Louise Alyssa Long. I have always, always loved her. I loved her in the tenth grade when she dyed her hair black and started a band with Amber and Andrea, aptly named the Triple A’s. Ashley Louise Alyssa Long is all about her music, a true artist. She’s going to get a double major in music performance and business, and then she’s going to be a talent agent. What I wouldn’t give to be her client, but I can’t get the girl to notice me. I’m just some kid in her class. That’s all I’ve ever been, but no more. On August 1, I’m going to take the stage at the annual Sinister Cyanide Lounge Singer/Songwriter Competition and blow her away.”

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Ashley’s favorite band is Sticker Fish. They’re also Brendon’s favorite band, and pretty much a musical fave for everyone in his circle. Who is Sticker Fish?

Sticker Fish is the best band ever, the sound of my generation! They’ve only been ‘on the scene’ for three years, and they’ve already had nine number one songs and two multi-platinum albums. You know their songs, such classics as ‘Monday Morning Amnesia,’ ‘Whirling Dervish Gypsy Divine,’ ‘Chew and Choke on This,’ and ‘American Rhapsody Temporarily Postponed.’ They may be big-time, but they always take time for their fans . . .”

 

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Then there is the Widow Radcliffe who lives with her plethora of small dogs in a cute, little house.

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But there’s more than meets the eye to Mrs. Radcliffe, just as there’s a little more to everyone Brendon interacts with. His summer will be filled with the unexpected, and lessons will come from all directions. Sometimes the lessons come from people he’ll never physically meet, like Bradley Simms and Lee Marcus.

How will these characters shape his summer, and maybe even the rest of his life?

Find out starting October 1!

#TheSummerBetween #YAfiction #teenlit #teenfiction #teenlife #friendship #siblings #music #songwriting

(Photo Credits: Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash, Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash)

 

 

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