A New Short Story: Requiring of Care

I dropped a broad hint about a new story about 10 days ago. I even teased with a faux tweet back in August. I’m done hinting and teasing. Today you get the real thing!

short story, Smashwords, Cameron D. Garriepy

Requiring of Care | Smashwords.com

I’m pleased to announce that–just in time for Halloween!–my second short story, Requiring of Care, is now available via Smashwords and Amazon.com for $0.99!

Here’s the teaser from the Requiring of Care page on Smashwords.

Lucy Montgomery answers an unusual Help Wanted ad: Twelve-forty-two High Street. One girl, aged eight years, requiring of care. Between pressed flowers, blood on the wall, and dark closets, Lucy is pulled into the world of Violet, a little girl who holds fragments of a haunting story.

Smashwords offers downloads in every digital format you might need: Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, PDF and online reading, and of course the iPod/Phone/Pad. Smashwords will also be distributing the story to the major e-retailers in a few weeks, if you prefer to download direct.

For my Kindle user friends, just click here to download Requiring of Care directly!

Thank you all for your continuing support and feedback. My wonderful friends and readers are a blessing.

And if, while you’re visiting the story on either of the pages linked above, you find it in your heart to Stumble, Pin, Like, or Tweet it? Well, to say I’d be grateful would be an understatement.

Thanks again, and happy reading!

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Six Exciting Words

Crockpot apple butter and homemade granola.

The Seven Sisters

The Seven Sisters, constellation

Image Courtesy of Pinterest. Click Image for source info.

England is fading away into the dawn as the Physician and the Captain flee England. For more of this story, read here.

Isaac stands at the stern, hands braced on the rail against the pitch and roll of the Channel’s current; England fades to a rolling line, then slips away under the gray sea like Atlantis. He wonders if it is lost to him now, and his daughter with it. The crew is watchful, but not active, as dawn breaks. He and his Captain are the only passengers on this ship.

“Dr. Lowe? Isaac?” her low voice and her touch on his arm are simultaneous.

He answers without turning.

“I didn’t know you knew my name. We never discussed it… before.”

“I saw it sewn into your satchel when you were brought aboard the Siren,” she explains, joining him. “I thought it best we maintained some distance at the time.”

Her careworn hands alongside his on the rail kindle a fire under his skin that the sea air does nothing to cool.

“If I am to be Isaac,” he asks, “who are you to be?”

Motion in the lines and rigging tugs at the ship. The crew calls. Isaac watches her body shift with the vessel’s heaving even as his overcompensates.

“Rose O’Leary Marquez de Navarra.”  Her eyes meet his, gray and steady. “You may call me Rose.”

“Rose, then.” He falls silent, watching her watch the water. Across the back of her neck a cluster of small stars are tattooed onto her skin just below her now close-cropped hair.

“It’s true, then,” he muses, “all pirates are tattooed like the Painted Prince.”

Her hand flies up to cover the constellation.

“It is the Pleiades. The—“

“The Seven Sisters,” he finishes. “I know the story.”

“One for each of us, and I the only one not gone to Heaven, nor likely to go. And our brother now years gone, as well.”

This week, we’d like you to write a piece in which a tattoo figures prominently. Fiction or creative non-fiction. There is a lot to think about: why someone would get one, what they chose, when they got it, what message does the tattoo(s) send? You will have 300 words with which to play.

Faster Than A Healthy Walker

free writing exercise

Image courtesy of Pinterest. Click image for source info.

I’ve been writing to prompts and with agendas for so long now, I’d forgotten what it was like sit down and let my personal thoughts and observations dictate my fingers for a few minutes.

When I was in college, I took a basic intro to creative writing class. Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry was the uninspired but honest title in the course-book (Course selection back then was based on a paper catalogue and a room full of tables where you filed index cards according to your choices. Barbaric, I know.).

Our instructor had us free write for ten minutes every day, and once a week, she collected them and read them over. We weren’t graded, per se, but she made notes of ideas or structures of patterns which emerged and caught her interest. Those free-writing exercises unlocked ideas and images and stories which often became seeds from which I grew actual assignments for the course.

And don’t tell my screenwriting or playwrighting professors, but some of those free-writing pages came to life for their courses, too. So this morning, I gave myself ten minutes of not answering emails or hopping up to fetch and carry for my little boy, and I wrote. And it ended up being about running of all the things.

* * *

I came awake to the rush and whine of the recycling truck picking up the 90 gallon container at the end of our driveway–that’s not strictly true, I woke to the rush and whine of the truck and impatient and moving honk! from a driver not willing to wait in traffic for the truck to finish its work.

And then the soreness in my hips and calves burned through. I decided to start a running program yesterday, didn’t I? After more than a year of dedication to sitting on my ass in front of the blogging world, via the screen on my Mac, I asked my body to move.

Stretching I examined a little tug in my back, between my left shoulder and my spine, and a tightness in my hamstrings. Must stretch better–more?–next time.

Next time.

Apparently there’s going to be a next time. I’m mildly surprised. I’ve never liked running. I didn’t particularly like it yesterday. But these tugs, and this soreness feel good in a way. I’m not going to lie, even in my bed, which might be the most comfortable surface on earth, I am uncomfortable. The discomfort brings with it a measure of pride. You can’t tell to look at me, but I pushed myself yesterday.

A nineteen minute mile isn’t exactly impressive, but it’s less than a twenty minute mile, which is what they say you should be able to walk. So I went faster than a healthy walker.

“Maaaaaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaah!” and my son is impatient. No more wallowing in bed and self-analysis. The soreness will simply have to come with me downstairs, to see how it feels about being part of my family.

* * *

Do you ever take ten minutes for yourself and really take note of what’s going on in your mind? in the world around you? Give it a try. You might be surprised what comes of it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

blueberry muffin recipe

Image courtesy of Pinterest. Click image for source info.

Muffins and I have a complicated relationship. The muffins you find in bakeries? In donut franchises and coffee shops? Those are not muffins by my–admittedly narrow–definition. Those are cake baked in muffin tins. Too sweet, to… cakey.

My Mom always made blueberry muffins from a battered and butter-stained page in the Blueberry Hill Cookbook, and they have set the standard for me.

These muffins are dense, chewy, not too sweet, subtly pumpkin-ey and moderately chippy. They are also reasonably low in fat and have some fiber and protein… so you can justify having them for breakfast!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
based on the Blueberry Hill Cookbook’s Blueberry Muffin recipe
Yields 2 dozen muffins 

3 1/2 c. flour (I use a blend of all-purpose and white whole wheat)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. flax seed meal (optional)
4 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice (or a blend of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, clove, & nutmeg)
4 eggs
1/2 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 1/2 c. milk (I use 1% with no ill-effects)
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease 2 1-dozen muffin tins.

In a large mixing bowl, stir flour through pumpkin pie spice to blend. In a medium bowl blend eggs, pumpkin, and milk until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring only until fully incorporated. Don’t over mix! Gently stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins, filling the cups two-thirds full. These are best when not gigantor muffins, so please trust me on this.

Bake for 15 minutes. A tester should come out clean and dry.

Cool in pans for a few minutes. Then turn out onto a rack to cool. These are awesome warm, so dig in!

studio thirty plusIf muffin recipes aren’t your thing, or even if they are, I have a post featured at Studio Thirty Plus today which has nothing to do with baked goods, but which does reference Hoarders and Pteranodons.

Bear On A Bike

Barefoot Books

Image courtesy of Barefoot Books.

Felix is at a curious crossroads as a pre-reader. He loves small chapter books and no longer relies on pictures to bring stories to life. We’re reading more and more complex tales with few to no illustrations, but he still loves to revisit his favorite picture and even board books, especially those favorites to which he knows the words.

Bear on a Bike, by Stella Blackstone, is one such favorite board book. He will pull it from the shelf and recite along with me–and we’re still finding clever details in Debbie Harter’s whimsical illustrations.

Bear is a featured character in a whole line of board books (the six titles in the gift set are available separately as well, and are available in paperback) which explore different early development topics–community, home, shapes, travel (Bear On A Bike), occupations, weather, family, and birthdays!

In this book, Bear travels by different methods to wonderful places.

barefoot books

Image courtesy of Barefoot Books.

Accompanied by his friend, whose refrain, “Where are you going, Bear? Please wait for me!” Felix always “reads” with me.

Barefoot Books

Image courtesy of Barefoot Books

I admit it: I’m going to be a little sad when he finally says goodbye to these charming books.

I am not being compensated for this review. The opinions are entirely my own, but I am a Barefoot Books Ambassador, and all links on this page will bring you to my affiliate marketplace, sales from which do earn me a commission.

Six Autumnal Words

apple picking

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Corn maze.

Apple pie.

Swamp maples.