Sunday, July 31, 2011

Short Story Wyoming

canyonroseplaymay2011 003
Chapter Two

People squawk about the bison verses the rancher but they don’t know the real fight is man verses man. Water is the number one resource fight in America. It is no different in Wyoming where you might think the thorns of hell catch your coat every time you leave the door. I suggested to Adam last summer to think about a dude ranch, you know a bed and breakfast for guests or specialize as a hunting lodge or something close enough to spend a couple days with the family playing little house on the prairie. They have a pretty stream, water rights and fair sized summer pond and the main house is large enough. He’s still thinking performance horses, studding his quarter horses and the glory past of a grand champion steer trophy. Adam has not gone to the State Fair in four years, fighting the cancer, being driven to town for chemotherapy is all he could lift his weary bones to survive. I will tell you point-blank this is the Third Great Depression but I was afraid to put it to him so harsh, he’s starting to look more ant-like with that distended abdomen full ball bad cells lumping.

I am musing as Shorty trots with the afternoon sun relaxing the muscles in my back, leaning light on the blades of bleached grass. Occasionally a stone or dip brings me back into real life, I am following my instincts not tracking when I actually find hoof marks about a mile from the border of land managed poorly by the Bureau. There are also the telltale signs of shoed horse prints spinning on the outside,“Shorty one can assume we’ve been robbed.”

The funny thing about animals, well dumb cows, they have no loyalty, but then I seem to find that in the men I pick, lying to everyone with a secret life. I am not speaking of cow brains that hold the mysteries of the universe but you would think they have enough sense to know who feeds them in the winter.

The tracks head toward a once marshy area of sycamores, old growth oaks and something that gives me great worry- wild berries: huckleberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries all wonderful to collect for a pie; but the favorite of black bears. I have Adams’ Colt 45 with me, and no, it is not an old -fashioned single shot it is a modern steel stopping machine. I could challenge anyone at the firing range twenty years ago, but I have not practiced much and even a center shot might not fall a Momma bear. I follow the tracks into the bushes knowing I must be dutiful alert.

Shorty snorts understanding my worry, he is between my legs and feels the emotion of full fire alarm. We slow forward, I grab a branch to wack bushes making noises singing. I cannot seem to stick with a song that makes any sense for the situation. I start with my Sally Gardens lullaby then Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes blurts from my vocal cords. Shorty likes the soothing one better but I do not want to startle any furry teddy bears because they are not reasonable. A doe leaps from my stick stomping on the branches and looks at me irritated as if to comment on my intonation.

“Would you prefer something of Michael Jacksons?”

Then I try Beat It however I mix up the lyrics. We trek on past dried rush and bull weed. The tracks are convoluted and I decide to get out from the heavy brush, I’m wearing Adam’s slicker jacket sweating like a big dog because I don’t want ticks hopping on me. If there are deer, there is lyme disease. My nose is itchy with dust and the smell of rain memory, the earth wishing for a drink. As we lift up the hill I see the infant bears and I know I am in for trouble. I kick Shorty on faster to get distance from them as soon as possible. He rumbles his lungs and shows me what a stallion is made of in a full canter. The dumb bears follow as if it is a game. They make crying sounds behind me and I am looking through the leaves and branches as they hit my cheeks hoping not to spot their mother.

(((pss more to follow and need title input))

Short Stories From Wyoming

The baby is finally sleeping in his own bed after travelling from California to Wyoming twice this summer. Because our cottage doesn’t have curtains yet on the south-east side the house floods with blue clear light early in the long days. I’m up writing before the dawn and feeling more productive and stronger in spirit. My novel is off for editing. I have completed fourteen short stories, one a day just like the vitamins. They vary from flash 1100 to 5000 words. I sent one on a lark to Steven James when I spotted his call to: a murder goes never goes as planned. Firing off the words straight stream of consciousness. Some of the stories are great pondering of ideas nagging to be put solid on paper, some are dark.

My neighbors on the north side (there is only meadow and mountain range to the west and south really no need for privacy), Adam and Sue are a dear couple in their seventies. He is a silent source of courage and example of how a good man walks to me and all of my children. The cancer is in his spine now, and myself being a cancer, well they never say survivor yet; but I do, I know his immense pain. Adam is using a walker to get around on their property but the time is approaching when they need to make some adjustments. In the past week I realize how being neighborly can be the difference between life and death.

Adam and Sue manage cattle on hectares of land. Their property is fenced with barbed wire and spiny pots, last summer Carson and I took the bale of wire, clippers and hatchets to repair some of the weaker spots. I am certain each of those points were stronger than any icy wind from the mountain.

Out in the garden pulling bugs off my tomatoes and sunflowers when one of the dogs tears off barking. The baby is hanging in this pouch on my chest as happy as a new born kangaroo, he smiles at the disturbance of yapping.

“Come back Peanut.” I look up and see Adam working his way across the meadow with an aluminum walker. With muddy hands and a sweating front I jog towards him.

“What are you doing out?”

“Some of the livestock is missing.”

“How many Adam?”

“Don’t know, but my grand champion European Cross and all the Angus disappeared.”

“And you don’t have money to hire cowboys to fetch them.”


“Can Sue watch the baby? My two eldest didn’t come with me this week, Carson is in Santa Cruz and Blair has summer college classes.”

“We were hoping you might say that. She was saddling Shorty to go out herself if you didn’t volunteer.”

“Can I help you back?”

“No,” he says gently, and smiles, “you are something..”

In the barn, she fumbles with the red Indian pad to prepare Shorty, named so because he is a giant seventeen hands tall. I turn a bucket upside down in the hay and arch my feet. I tighten him down.
I don’t hear Adam returning, and I did not want to embarrass him with my hovering.

“Go check on Adam heading back Sue.”

“He was stubborn, he didn’t let me go ask you.”

“I have expressed breast milk in the refrigerator, I think three or four. He needs a nap in an hour then at three feed him one. I don't know how long this will take.”

“Come here Maclund Reid,” she lifts his grunting face from my chest contraption that he loves. He knows her but he fusses. She bounces him as if on the ocean in the rhythm that he enjoys and he is calmed.

Adam is at the barn gate,  "you’re an angel.”

“No only wish God smiled on me that way.”

“Pack my Colt and some snacks.” He points to the holster, “Watch for black bears.”

“I’m more concerned about thieves.”

Story to be continued

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Marketing Make A Wish

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Scapegoat Review emailed me to publish my flash fiction piece Entropy out of the sky.

Dandelion seeds I blew into the hillside seem to be flourishing as the intentions appear.
This same morning a gull billed tern popped upon the glass wall looking for some treat.

"I only have nyjer thistle, sunflowers and millet for mourning doves and towhees. You Sir, are no slender necked rummaging sparrow."

He whistled "Chewh ahw."

"All right, you brought me good news after months of stabbing rain."

So with the filling the hummingbird feeder, as they dive bomb to remind me,
I now have adopted a bossy white tailed kite.
Hopefully he likes to eat wild dandelions to help spread the word.
Do birds know anything about austerity?

photographs Copyright Caroline Gerardo 7/26/2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Amazon Buzzards Come and Get Me

feb2011savannah 027On Sunday the revision was final.
I deleted one ending and have chosen two.
I am emailing pdf copies and a paper copy to:
a writer buddy beta reader, a friend from twitter who fits my demographic and my friend in London. All three are men because
I believe that is who will most enjoy the narrative. This one is pretty dark, and this time frame since Thanksgiving has been the inkiest buzzard swarming betrayal in my personal life. But the story has a hopeful quality in his Don Quixote quest to connect and ultimate acceptance of who he is in the soul. A character as anti hero transforms through the diving in the pool as a lifeguard through fire, violence and electric shock. My editor in the U. K. only read two chapters and is clapping his hands to hurry me along. Editing for me is a tedium and a torture. Dean Wesley Smith in his Killing the Sacred Cows says not to use the slow process I have chosen, but there was backlash critics who sniped at me for my writing style.
A couple of the posters on Amazon are not critics of my work,
they are mean spirited individuals who know of me.
However, manipulation of Amazon is widespread. The more novels,
short stories, poetry and work I complete and publish
- the easier it is to take a swing under my chin
to break my neck.
Little do they know I am ready with my left.

Photograph copyright Caroline Gerardo 2011- yes there are buzzards in that foggy tree waiting.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Poison My Anti-Hero?

LustGreed (Cardinal Sins) 
canyonroseplaymay2011 006
Poison Water Hole copyright Caroline Gerardo July 2011

Second revision is near completion. I have three different endings for the novel. I would like to find three beta readers who will each read the pdf. of the book and decide with me - Does Seth have a happy ending and Rebirth? Does his daughter that he disallowed, and claimed was not his (although there is a DNA match just as in real life) come back and take his life? Does he make peace with his own soul fulfill a need for connection?

I am inclined to have him live in apathy but for story telling purposes that seems rather dull. It is not one of the endings I have put in chapters. The vengeance ending is my last choice.

The novel has some structural problems I need to toy around with. I think I will make three sections with chapters as the voice changes. First is voice of daughter in a brief prologue introduction, then the body of the narrative is in second person, and the ending chapter might be first person or daughter depending on the ending I select.

I continue to struggle with an anti-hero who wants love and connection. He takes the journey with willing heart but lacks the right map. Can we as humans really change that much? Or are our souls, our destiny filled with liquid of a certain DNA, a pre-planned God mapquest and if doused in violence the water is forever poisoned?

A couple of my short stories are up in the Kindle 1000 range

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Swimming Turtle


Turtle Bravely swimming into the dark future.
Copyright Caroline Gerardo

Merideth Greene's review of Read Mill

Intelligent article about choices, my hand is up in the air when called upon. Me first.

I love the freedom of reading in all formats.

There is something sacred about wandering through Laguna Beach Books and chatting with Jane Hanauer about novels she stacks. I still adore the smell of vanilla pages in my hands, dog earing the pages or leaving them upside down on a beach towel in the summer. An ebook does not fulfill the same piece of soul.

However, I also enjoy the ability to order ten books on my Kindle and decide after reading two Chapters what I will or will not continue in a faster delivery method. It is a less emotionally connected purchase. I buy on impulse on Kindle, often not reading the whole book. Why you ask? Like my teens, the siren song lures of so many other things to read and taste while online.

An interactive reading style will further develop the internet. I see authors like myself who also are visual artists using linking websites, music, and interactive story telling. Writing might be something where three authors begin a premise and readers change the direction of the tale. Not the same as gaming, prehaps in real time. I embrace the idea that ereading is the Gutenberg press of our time. Authors and artists must join together to find new ‘guilds’ and new art forms that will push the limits of narrative experience.

That a company chooses to limit or change the font I chose, certain I dislike the edges of that. Will they also censor the violence or sexual overtones in my writing?

It is an amazing time of growth ahead of us, happy to see Meredith Greene, you are asking questions.

Readmill Site in Progress

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thriller Fest Writers

Ghost Image New York 7/6/2011 Copyright Caroline Gerardo

Learning pearls of wisdom at Thriller Fest, Craft Fest Classes. It is amazingly for a writer. It is not just seeing people I have read, but hearing them speak with passion about writing.

A real treat of the day (although I have not slept now third night) was David Morrell talking about his own vision. He emotionally spoke of how authors today are free to write what they want. He is a master who has a thirty-nine year career investigating his topic and living off his craft. He makes an excellent point that all we have is time. If a writer is going to invest a year of their life into a novel do not waste it chasing the tail of some latest trend pulp fiction because the fashion will pass you by faster than one can imagine.

When I return home, more on Steve Berry’s lively presentation and William Bernhardt’s five plots. I believe the Tylenol PM is finally kicking in.
Wish I brought my copy of Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A novelist Looks at his Craft not to have it signed, just to show him how crumpled it is from reading.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thriller Fest New York

nymarch3 051Happy Fourth of July
I'm not packed for my New York trip but feel a sense of anticipation and worry.
I love New York.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bumps in Writing Path

Feeling gnarly and lower back pain.
The second revision is almost there.
 Things around me are as watery wind.
Think I will take a break from writing and hike today.  
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