Anything But Quiet: Monday Blog Post

Jade Plant with Christmas Decorations

Jade Plant with Christmas Decorations

It’s the middle of the month and my supposed quiet month is anything but. I’m working on two non-profits, with no respite since their actual operational dates. I know I shouldn’t put so much energy into them but both are dear to my heart. I have mentioned in past weeks about my editing projects and trying to get my Mystery and NaNo novel to finished 1st draft. None of that has happened. What I have started is a project for another writer, formatting her book. That has been a struggle but I think I’m about done. It had to be converted from PDF to word, which made the formatting that much harder. On the positive side, she’ll have a word doc that she can actually work with once I hand it back. That’s a win in my book. Aside from the 21st and 22nd, the remaining days of the month are actually appointment free. I may get things done after all.

I took my Christmas boxes to the post office last week. It only took half an hour in line to get them mailed out. I count that as a win. My friend, eight people in line behind me, was there over 45 minutes.

On the Christmas front the front yard is decorated beautifully. Best of all on Saturday we had snow. All day the trees were frosted but that didn’t last long. By sundown, most of the snow had melted. I was hoping by the time the outdoor lights came on there’d be snow to offer a frosted effect but that did not happen. A little sad but that just means my Sunday walk with friends was less slippery. I have the tree up and the cloth picture we cover with wrapping paper to tape received Christmas cards is hanging up. The rest of my interior decorations I’ve left in the bins and taking back out the garage. Other than my jade plant, the tree and the card display, I’m not going to put up any other decorations. My heart just isn’t into it. No real reason except I keep thinking about all the work to put them up only to take them down in two weeks. Just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

I had a January Jones web radio show scheduled for today but January is travelling. If you missed my show last week, you can go to my Media tab and the Recorded Interviews sub-heading to find links to any of the six supporting stations broadcasting last week’s show. Author friend, D’Elen McClain, was on with me. A two for one deal. Please listen. We talk about our work, how we go about doing it and even some personal Christmas stories. By January I’ll have my 2016 appearances, at least the ones I have scheduled so far, up on my Where Will I Be tab. Take a look. If you’re in the area, please stop by and see me. I’d love to chat with you.

I’m excited about Christmas, despite my reluctance to decorate inside my house. My daughter is coming to visit, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depends on other family obligations. I’m going to try and convince her to come Christmas Eve. I’ll make duck for dinner. When we were stationed in England, I always bought a goose, an English tradition, for our Christmas feast. Goose isn’t available here so duck is the next best thing. I love duck and can’t wait to share it. I’ll have the traditional mashed potatoes and green beans and from my own family, cole slaw, or as my people say, cabbage salad. I’ll make cranberry sauce too, the fresh kind with ground up cranberries and orange. There’s nothing better in my opinion.

I mentioned last week that I started an Instagram account. I’ve posted a few pictures since last Saturday’s Electric Light Parade. There are pics of our Tuesday hike to a spot called the Spanish Ruins, putting up my tree and even Saturday’s snow. You can find me on Instagram at ConniesRandomThoughts. What a fun way to share pictures. I hope you stop by my page and follow.

We’re getting down to the last two weeks of Santa’s Authors Christmas 2015 Giveaway also known as the Winter Wonderland of Books Christmas Giveaway. Here’s the link through my website: Fifty authors have put up all kinds of prizes from books to jewelry to Amazon gift cards. Go ahead and log in. You’ll find links to all of the supporting author’s social media. Click on a link, enter to win. The more links you click, the better your chance of winning. The grand prize is $200 of Paypal cash, good anywhere on the planet. I’ve put up the two signed paperback books in my Brown Rain series as my main prize. I also put up my Christmas Tales book (signed, of course) as a second prize. Good luck! Thanks for participating.

If you are an author, please take a look at the Holly Lisle How to Revise Your Novel, offer. It ends Tuesday (the 15th!) at mid-night. I used this course myself and found it to be just the thing to get me from a hot mess of an initial draft manuscript to a real story. It’s been revised and is better than ever. If you’d like to turn your NaNo novel, or any other manuscript, into a work that can be published, you want to sign up for this workshop. Click on this link to sign up.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you’re having a marvelous December. Do you have Christmas decorating stories? Kitchen disasters to share? Fun in the snow pictures? I’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments below.

I published my December newsletter. Did you miss it? Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I make special offers to my newsletter people that I do not make on the website blog posts. If you like the content, please encourage your friends to sign up, the newsletter is sharable, send it to whomever you think will like it. Don’t delay signing up. You’ve already missed out on two great offers. The January newsletter is coming out soon. Sign up now so you don’t miss out.

Mystery at the Fair released July 15th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords , Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

Friday Flash Fiction Story: Desperate Quiet

Tears, Rain, BlackJack 0919,

Tears and Rain by BlackJack 0919 via

Eleanor Marks drove home from her job as a mid-level secretary in a mid-level accounting firm. Her ten year old car was a sedan, as plain as she was. Once home she made grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans for supper. It was the same thing they had every Wednesday night. Her husband, Arnold, arrived home promptly at six and wanted dinner on the table by six-fifteen.

“Good supper, El.” He wiped his mouth on his napkin and went into the living room to watch the seven o’clock game show.

El. Eleanor sighed and began clearing the table. Her family called her El, too. All of the people in college and now at work called her El. Why couldn’t she be Ellie? Ellie was bright, happy, and popular. El was plain, ugly even. She hated her short name. Once, in high school she’d tried to get people to call her Ellie. It was a waste of time. No one noticed the plain girl nor cared enough to follow her request. She stopped trying years ago.

After she did the dishes she came into the living room. Arnold was turning the channel to catch his favorite eight o’clock TV show. She picked up her embroidery hoop and began where she left off last night. Tonight’s program was another shoot ’em up cop show. She wondered why her husband liked them. No one on the series was happy. It was depressing.

At a commercial break she turned to Albert. “I think there’s a leak in the roof. There’s a water spot on the upstairs bathroom ceiling.

“Always something.” Albert got up and went to the kitchen. He came back, beer in hand, just in time for the show to restart.

Eleanor took a deep breath. She’d remind him on Friday and he would take care of it over the weekend. The show droned on and she occupied herself with the tiny stitches. The thread colors pleased her, reds and oranges, violets and blues, greens of grass and moss and new shoots. She loved them all.

At nine o’clock Albert turned off the TV and began his nightly routine of checking that the doors and windows were all locked. Eleanor followed along behind him, turning off lights. She wondered how this routine began. They never even spoke. They just started the house rounds, every night the same.

He readied for bed and vacated the bathroom. After her hand washing and face creaming, she stood in the adjoining bathroom door and looked at her husband, already asleep in their queen sized bed. She rubbed the lotion into her hands.

She’d never dated in high school. No boy wanted to date such a plain girl. So it was in college that she dated. Not the cool popular boys. College was just high school on steroids. But George worked in the student cafeteria when he wasn’t in class studying programming. Certainly not handsome, they had begun talking as he bussed nearby tables. One date, then two, and before she knew it they were going together. He graduated the year before her and at their quiet graduation ceremony, just the two of them at the local pizza place, he proposed.

Eleanor wondered at her immediate acceptance. Did she think there were no other men out there who would be interested in her? She drew a deep breath, a lump forming in her throat. That must have been it. She was so pleased to be asked that she just took the first offer. Finished rubbing in the hand lotion she went back into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She studied her face in the mirror. There was nothing to see. Eyes were gray, not blue, her hair was graying, and she didn’t have the energy to even consider dying it. What was the point? It was a mousey brown to start with, hardly worth trying to keep. Wrinkles were forming at the corners of her eyes and mouth, as were jowls at her jaw line. The lump in her throat grew and she sat down on the toilet lid.

How did she get here to a boring marriage in a boring life in a boring house? Perhaps children would have made the difference but Albert wasn’t able.  She considered how children might have changed their lives. PTA meetings, taking the children to sporting events and talking with the other parents as the kids played on the fields or courts. They might have become more social. Instead they became insulated. Neither of them made friends at work so there were no get-togethers for drinks or dinner after work. It was just the two of them, moving silently though a quiet house every evening and weekend.

Tears flowed down her face and she unrolled three squares of toilet paper to wipe her eyes. She was only forty-five. She was smart. She liked good food and music and plays. Eleanor felt trapped by a life she’d built one small decision at a time. Crying herself out, she blew her nose and rewashed her face. In the mirror she could see that her eyes were red and puffy. It didn’t matter. Albert was sound asleep. He’d never know that she had been crying.

She turned out the light and crawled into bed. Eleanor stared at the ceiling. He never knew that she cried every night.



The End

897 Words

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