George Goes Along

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A Short Story Finalist in the Texas Writer’s Quarterly

My husband George always loved the idea of trying something new.  When we went to Cayman, he parasailed, went snorkeling, and actually swam with sting rays.  “See? The guide took pictures of me holding a sting ray in my arms!” He crowed.  All I could see were his puny little arms covered in gray hair and a smile on his face that could light up a small city.

I, on the other hand, waited sedately on the shore, watched from afar, and enjoyed the latest romance novel.  I did try a new rum punch they offered and was very proud of that feat.

“Hey Junie, why don’t we go white water rafting?” He asked me one morning over our non-caffeinated coffee and sugar free creamer.

I looked up from my paperback, still dog eared from the night before and said, “George, listen, this bucket list of yours is getting ridiculously long.”

He scratched his scraggly gray beard and smiled at me.  I saw it then, that young man who had worked all of his life in the maintenance department picking up after other people.  He deserved this time.

I patted his hand gently, “Honey, if you really want to go, I’ll go with you.  But you know I’ll wait on the shore at the end of the ride.”

That’s how we ended up on the water.  He had talked me into going.  He had talked me into packing.  He had even made me promise to go with him in the canoe.  I always kept my promises to him including a corny one that went “For better or for worse”.

The young guide, Ben something or another, was surprised to see us there waiting to take the trip down the river.  “Well hi there!” He welcomed us with a lopsided grin.  “Are you ready for a great adventure?”

Before I had a chance to back out we were suited up and in the canoe.  He saw my trembling hands holding on to a velvet pouch with white old lady knuckles.  He said calmly, “Relax, this is going to be fun.”  And I had to believe him after all I was already in the canoe.

Slowly we pushed away from the shore.  The water was cold and frothy and that worried me.  I tightened the strap of my life jacket and hoped it would live up to its given name if the time came.

Ben paddled slowly down the river talking about the mountains that surrounded us and the animals we saw from time to time.

I looked back at him and noticed his longish, brown hair.  ‘This kid must be younger than my grandson!’ I thought.  “How did you learn so much about this river?” I asked and wished I had checked his canoe license.

“I was raised not far from here and went rafting every week with my dad,” Ben answered and tried to smile reassuringly.  It failed.  He still looked like my grandson who could barely drive and was graduating next year.

That’s when the white water slammed into us.  The canoe tipped from side to side and threatened to throw us both out.   We hit a particular rough bit and George flew into the water.

“George!”  I screamed and reached out of the canoe to catch him.

Ben grabbed my arm and held me back.  “No ma’am!  Let me get further down and get the canoe stopped.  Then I can get George, ok?”

He seemed so calm!  I hated him!  And I was so mad at George I could have spit!  But when Ben put George into my hands, the velvet bag that held him was wet and squishy.

I held the bag for a minute and thought, ‘This is what George would have wanted.’  I emptied the bag into the water and watched George swim joyfully away in a bright silver ribbon.

Ben touched my arm and asked, “Are you ok ma’am?”

I nodded and smiled, “My name is June son.  Are we going to see any more white water?”

“Lots,” he answered.

I sighed, “Then let’s get going, I have a good book waiting for me.”

Unspoilt treasures of Papua New Guinea. An underwater short film.

A wonderful underwater paradise! So beautifully done.

Tribalmystic stories

OceanShutter.com presents an Underwater Short Film.
Please Like, Share and Comment!
The Rolling in the Deep series takes us to Papua New Guinea. One of the last unspoiled diving destinations left on earth.
I hope you enjoy it!
All Underwater Video Copyright © Dustin Adamson/Oceanshutter.com. All Rights Reserved

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An Interview with Becky Villareal by E. G. Moore

Welcome Becky Villareal!

Happy Monday Everyone!

I’m thrilled to be interviewing Becky Villareal today as a stop on her blog tour for her novel Gianna the Great, recently published by Anaiah Press

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  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing career? Is this your first published novel?

I have been writing since I was six years old and could make little books out of scraps of paper.  Since then, I have published articles in the Dallas Morning News, have been a finalist in the Texas Writer’s Journal quarterly, and have a website entitled “Becky’s Getaway” at https://vramon249.wordpress.com/ where I publish short stories. Gianna the Great is my first published novel.

  1. What inspired Gianna the Great?

Gianna was inspired by two people, my mother, and a young girl from my journal club named Gianna.  She was interested in everyone and everything and very bright and articulate.  My mother did not have any knowledge of her family history and I began my genealogical research because of her. I was also inspired by the character Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

  1. In the blurb released by Anaiah Press, Gianna is looking for her family history. Why is this so important to her?

Gianna has no knowledge of her family.  She knows she doesn’t look a lot like her mother and wonders who she does look like.  She wants to find out not only about her family, but the beginnings of her family as well.  As it turns out, the more she finds out, the more she wants to know.

  1. What are Gianna’s talents? Flaws? How do they help and hinder her in the novel?

Gianna is bright and curious especially about people and the reason they do things.  This is the biggest reason she is so interested in her family.  Her determination and doggedness, though a bit aggravating to her mother at times, will help her persevere when she comes to dead ends.  She also wants to know why her ancestors made the decisions they did.  How did these decisions help them to survive and go on?  This will be revealed more and more as the stories go on and she is able to help others in their journeys as well.

  1. What kind of research did you have to do?

In order to complete this work, I had to explore all the avenues of genealogical research including the National Archives, the Baptismal Records of Mexico, and pictorial records from Fold 3 as well as Ancestry.com.  I also had to do research within the library system itself and within the records of the Family Search organization in order to find out not only about my own family but to experience what Gianna will have to face as she continues this journey.

  1. How much time did you spend on the opening line or paragraph? Has it changed in the publishing process?

This opening line has changed again and again especially when the book format itself changed to become that of an early reader instead of a young-adult book.

Why did you decide to work with Anaiah Press to get Gianna out into the world?

Jessica Schmeidler, the editor I worked with in the beginning, showed a genuine interest in not only my work but my characters as well.  “I want to see more of them,” she stated and won me over completely.

  1. Where’s your favorite place to write?

In a big blue leather chair and ottoman by the window in the den of my home.

  1. When do you do your best brainstorming?

I can be in the middle of house cleaning, making dinner, or driving home from work and ideas pop into my head.  I have to keep a notebook close by otherwise I’ll lose those nuggets of inspiration the Lord sends from time to time.

  1. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

To believe in yourself and never give up.  To believe in your writing and follow your personal passion.  I would also like to recommend for them to look inward, what is special about you and your story?  What can you bring to the table that is fresh and alive that no one else can share?   Also, collect positive quotes about writing and join others who are struggling and don’t be afraid to help other beginning writers.

That advice speaks so much to me! Thank you so much for being here today Becky! Congrats on Gianna’s release!

http://emilygmoorewriter.blogspot.com/2015/04/welcome-becky-villareal.html

Check out this interview with Linh Nguyen-NG Author of Mommy’s Little Wordlings

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What inspired you to write your book?

MLW_Bookcover_FrontI’ve always loved kids. I love their sense of wonder. So when I had my own kids, I wanted to create something that captured that special moment in my life. I wanted a book that illustrated the special connection between a mother and her child.

How did you come up with the title?

I had a few titles in mind. But my husband helped me with this one.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are sections in the book that are based on my own experiences. Some are my perceptions from those around me–family, friends, co-workers or even the way strangers act and react. I think no matter what book you write, there will always be pieces of you that are sprinkled into it.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Where do I even begin? There were so many. But the first book that popped into my mind is A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I remember reading it in high school and it made me think on a whole new level.
Growing up I enjoyed Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur.

What book(s) are you reading now?

My To-Be-Read book pile seems to grow daily. I can’t keep it up!
I’m currently reading One Hundred and Thirty Stars by Shelley Sly, a great writer friend of mine. And Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.
For my kids, I’m reading them Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Wolfie by Ame Dyckman.

What are your current projects?

I am working on a Young Adult novel and few other picture books.

How did your interest in writing originate?

I love words. So when you blend words with imagination, you get amazing stories.
I used to make up bed time stories for my three younger siblings when we were little. I guess it never stopped.
I think my love to create—whether it’s writing, drawing or any artistic outlet—originated when I was a child responding to a pencil and paper. I prefer pencils over pens. For me, a pencil allows me to erase and start again especially in the beginning stages where things are not as concrete.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I will try. For my young adult novel, it’s a story that will make you look at things from a different perspective. I’m working on a few picture books right now. But the one I’m very close to finishing is the Daddy version to Mommy’s Little Wordlings.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Like a child, each book has its own personality, its own positive and negative traits. So there are different challenges for every story that I write.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don’t think I have a favorite writer. I like different writers for various reasons.
I like Shakespeare for his poetry, Nora Roberts for her ability to weave together mystery and romance, James Patterson for his fast paced and compelling novels and Stephen King for making me so scared that I don’t watch horror movies anymore. Hahaha!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part is finding/creating time to write. I have two little kids and I work full time so it’s been a challenge. But every moment I find to work on it, there’s a sense of joy that is inexplicable.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that great works take time. Be patient with yourself. Sometimes you just have to let things play out. Don’t force a word where it’s not working, don’t force an illustration when it won’t show the story (even though the sketch is amazing.)

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have heard so many writers say this, but it is true, KEEP WRITING. Each new word leads to a new sentence and each sentence eventually creates a story. For every story that you write, know that you’ve put your heart and soul into it—that you’ve brought something amazing to life. Writing is easy. Writing a story well is not.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Why do we write? We write for people who love stories. In the end, it’s all about the readers. I hope that my book will make a difference in a reader’s life, even if it’s very small. If I my book can make you see or feel something that you haven’t before, then I’ve done my job.

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Website: http://www.linhnguyenng.com

Twitter: @linhnguyenng

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lnguyenng

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