Tag Archives: fall

No-o-o-o-o! Scary October by Sheila Deeth

It’s only the middle of October yet. No-o-o-o! Not October! How did it get to be October, when it doesn’t even feel like September, and surely should still be July. I’m counting months by monthly blogposts now, and getting later preparing them every time.

So, it’s October: The month of frights and terrors and cold nights and foggy mornings and … blazing sun? I cut the grass today and felt like melting before it was done.

It’s October: The month of ghoolies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night; but I think, whatever it is, it’s still hiding under the eaves; I don’t think it’s found its way into the roofspace yet, for all that it’s trying.

It’s October: The month when the trees dress in robes of glorious scarlet and gold; the oaks cast their acorns; the birds carry nuts to the roof and deposit them loudly below; the drain blocks up with acorn pieces; the rain threatens to puddle as far as the door and invite itself in; I rake the leaves, then weed and cut more grass, and feel like melting before it’s done.

It’s October. Our local writing group gave us the prompt SCARE ME for this month’s contest. I listened to the scary rustling of leaves and wrote the following (a hundred word drabble), but what did it mean?

The trees whispered louder that year, leaves drought-dried and scorched by burning heat. Jerlyn thought they were warning her of monsters underneath, but Mom scorned her fears.

The night of her birthday, rustling shouted louder than the opening of presents, but friends were there so Jerlyn pretended not to care. When Mom went upstairs from the basement and didn’t return, Jerlyn followed, but fell back crying; the doorknob burned her hand. No one believed her though. They watched another movie till the power went out.

In the morning, ash covered the ground like snow. Sentinel trees stood silent all around.

Comments from fellow writers in the contest range from global warming to lethal moms. I’d love to know what scary scenario you think was haunting me.

Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero – a tapestry of lives torn apart by a breaking thread. Her second novel, Infinite Sum, should be released soon – watch this space! And she’s frantically trying to finish up the third while working on the fourth. Subtraction and Imaginary Numbers will soon be real, she hopes.

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I Miss Fall

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cool, crisp air, the glorious yellow, orange and red colors, and especially the tangy scent of wood smoke. I remember bobbing for apples, hunting for pumpkins to carve and decorating and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters for Halloween. I grew up in the northeast area of the U.S. and I guess it’s nostalgia that evokes these thoughts. I lived in a medium sized town, but my parents had a vacation cabin in the woods on a lake in northern New Jersey.

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Mom and Dad and I used to drive the family car up to the lake on weekends to rake leaves in October. I, of course, had to make my own huge pile, and then take a running leap into it. What a joy that was. When all the leaves were gathered, we burned them by the side of the road. It was hard work, but also a lot of fun. I miss the smell of those burning leaves. There’s nothing like it. Afterwards we’d sit by the fire in the cabin, drink fresh apple cider and reminisce.

My parents are gone now, the cabin’s been sold and I live in Florida, but those special memories live in my heart and always bring a smile to my face.

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Today, my sister, Joanie, who lives up in the Adirondacks, knowing my feelings about fall, sent me a few photos of the season from up there. Seeing them brought a whole host of happy thoughts of days gone by. Not only of my parents, but of happy times with her and her family. Thank you, Joanie!

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So after an unbelievably difficult week where just about everything that could have gone wrong, did, I’m sitting here in my office with a huge smile, grinning ear to ear, without a care.

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I hope some of you readers get the same lift I did by seeing these photos. Happy fall!!!!

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Life, Death and Seasons by S.M. Senden

October has begun.

The leaves begin to color; there is a different feel to the air, as summer’s gentle warmth cools and fades with the leaves.  Winter waits impatiently in the wings to come into her own with a chill in the air bringing the fragrance of snow wafting about me, stinging and teasing my sense of smell.

It is not an easy transition.

The seasons seem to do battle for supremacy of the climate. Tempestuous storms rage across the land, hail and tornados threaten as cold and warm fronts collide. We had a string of storms pass through here last night.  More are predicted and a cold front will win the battle for a day plunging us into a fifty degree day before temperatures return to the seventies for a while longer.

It is a season of riotous, gaudy display.

Mother Nature paints her trees in a glorious riot of color. I recall the many falls in the past as a child, walking to the bus stop in the chilly rain of October through the litter of color on the ground. Once and a while picking up a particularly beautiful leaf washed in red, pink, burgundy, orange and yellow with a hint of green, so as not to forget the former lush glory of that leaf. Though we are no longer allowed to burn leaves, someone somewhere always manages to do so. The air is tinged with the fragrance of memories of my past, I am a child again, with my life before me, and I play in the piles of leaves. Do the leaves on the trees miss their fallen companions of summer?

It is also the season of harvest.

Long ago people would hurry to complete their harvest by the end of October, for after that the Pooka was said to come and ruin the crops.  The frosts of November would kill what remained un-harvested. Halloween marked the end of the Pagan year. The hearth would be swept and cleaned, a new fire kindled with the New Year.  The earth would lie as if asleep through the winter, only to awaken in the spring, new life emerging miraculously through the ground that had looked dead and lifeless through the cold winter.

It is a time of change within the cycles of life.

As I contemplate the change of seasons I think about the seasons and cycles, not just of nature, but of life.  I had my birthday last month, and added another year to the increasing number of years lived. I started another annual rotation toward another birthday, like walking a giant spiral staircase that I can not see where it leads, though I go forward with faith that life continues in its succession of days until they come at last to their end.  I wonder what lies on the other side of the veil.

Today, I think of the span of years I have been here on this planet, the places I have seen, the people I have known, the history I have lived through, and the changes yet to come.  I remember meeting a distant relation once, I was twenty she was in her nineties. She made the comment about how she came into the world with gas light, and she was leaving it with men on the moon. Will the changes in my life be as astounding?

It is a time when we come again full circle from where we began a year ago. It is where we will arrive again after another year passes. My wish for us all is that in the year ahead we all know great happiness, great joy, very little pain or sorrow. Just as we can not live without the season where all things die, we must endure the pains and sorrows of life. For, like the season of winter when the earth seems to be barren and dead, we must experience sorrow, so that, we may appreciate joy even more when it comes to us.

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A Time for Every Season… by Sherrie Hansen Decker

One of the parts I like best about starting a new book is choosing the location where my story will be set. Local traditions, distinctive scenery, and quirky bits of historical lore can all be used to enhance the plot and bring life to your characters. Layering and interweaving them together or using symbolism to enhance the plot is pure fun for me.  Choosing the right season for your story is another fun exercise. My latest book, Love Notes, starts just about this time of year, when late summer / autumn is turning to winter.  The conclusion of Hope Anderson and Tommy Love’s story falls on Christmas Eve with a tender carol about hope, joy, peace and love. Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about autumn and the images it brings to mind.

But first, I’m going to backtrack a bit. I have to admit that autumn is my second favorite season. My bed and breakfast, The Blue Belle Inn,  is named after a spring flower, and painted in springtime colors, so you can probably guess what my favorite season is.

To me, spring is a season of hope, and new beginnings. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t start Love Notes in the spring. Because for Hope and Tommy, certain things had to come to an end  – die – before any new growth could occur. Dreams, self, old business.

I love spring, when the first blossoms start to poke out of the brown, colorless, still-half-frozen ground.

Spring has humble beginnings, and finishes with a truly glorious display.

Fall, on the other hand, is slow and mellow. It sneaks up on you. Why is it that we think summer will never end? I mean, we know colder weather is coming. Fall is about denial.

Fall is the season of being finished, pleased with yourself, satisfied and content. Fall is the time of year when the fruits of your labors are seen to completion.

Now I sound like a farmer’s daughter, which I am.

Fall is nature’s last hurrah.

Fall is frisky squirrels scurrying frantically about, getting ready for winter.

Are your characters driven – under a tight deadline? If so, maybe fall is their time.

Fall is yellow, orange and red… exactly what we expect, most of the time. But fall is also every color of the rainbow.

Fall is full of surprises.

Fall is hazy nights, full of dust and chaff, and beautiful sunsets.

If fall is hazy, summer is lazy. The time when we go on vacation, take siestas, and stop to smell the roses.

Summer can bring stormy weather.

Summer is unsettling, volatile. Things can blow up in a hurry.

Summer can be crazy.

Summer can be relaxed. Sweet. Wet. Wild.

Summer is a blaze of glory. Hot and humid. A time when things grow and burst into color. Everything is at it’s best in the summertime.

Summer is the perfect time to lean back and enjoy a day of basking in the sun or relaxing on a porch swing.

Summer is sentimental.

Summer is a time when I take nothing for granted, because I know it won’t be long before…

Fall. And fall is fleeting. The inevitable frost kills things, makes things colorless and grey.

And fall, after all, leads to winter. Winter…  it’s icy cold. If you’re not careful, it will freeze your little tush off. The tip of my nose is always chilly in the winter.

Winter is a time of desolation. Isolation. Winter is beautiful, even majestic, in it’s own way, but so frigid and unyielding.

Crisp, clear. Blustery, blue.

Merry, dear. Winter has its own set of wishes, its own brittle warmth.

Which season is your favorite? What time of year were you born in? Have one or more seasons impacted your life? After all, we’re all characters living out a story line. Wild Rose of Scotland, the book I’m working on now, starts in the spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom. But there’s a long, hot, oppressive summer in store for Rose before she finally feels the graceful acceptance of fall.

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In Life by J J Dare

Life is what you make it. Mine stays busy. I have a perpetual to-do list growling at me, except for those times I hide it under a couch cushion. I’m involved in my daughters’ lives on a daily basis (by their choice, most of the time). I still write when the muse makes her infrequent visits, I constantly battle housework apathy and I’m nursing three of my four cats through upper respiratory infections.

Fall has finally arrived in the South. It’s the most anticipated two weeks out of the year for many of us. My expectations are running high this week. The cool weather is a refreshing change from our normal humid heat and if the temperature drops low enough, the mosquitoes die off for a while.

October is the month for a horror-movie-a-day. My Yankee daughter and I pledged to watch an appropriately scary movie each day in honor of Halloween. I’ve unearthed some classic favorites along with some campy fun ones. In December, we plan to do the same thing with a holiday-movie-a-day.

There are days I wish I could clone myself or sprout a few extra arms. The creator was onto the right thing when octopuses were designed.

The to-do list contains a lot of carryovers from previous lists. There are twenty-seven listed things . . . so far. Just a few of these are:

  1. Clean out the back closet (portions of four different households reside there. Yes, it’s a big closet, but it’s bulging and spilling over into the rest of the house),
  2. File (the bane of my bookkeeping existence. My excuse is classic: these papers aren’t going anywhere),
  3. Light bulb in living room (it seems minor, but it’s a major task since I have high vaulted ceilings and the only way to reach the light is to stack two chairs on top of each other and balance on them like a high-wire act. Some have suggested I get a ladder, but it’s an adrenaline rush to perch precariously and not fall),
  4. Fix leaky refrigerator (growing up with tales of poverty in my mother’s early life and living on the edge myself taught me how to pinch a penny until it screams).

I expect November to be crushingly hectic. I usually celebrate Thanksgiving two or three times during the month. This tradition started long ago with my late partner because of his love for roasted turkey and my fattening cooking.

In addition, I’m signing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I did it last year and have another completed book under my belt that I need to do something about. When my busy niece told me she was thinking about joining the NaNo bandwagon, I told her to call me Aunt Crazy because I’m jumping off the cliff, too.

I don’t have to put everything on paper. My life reads like a book. There are some chapters that are painfully sad, some that are hilarious, some are mortifyingly embarrassing and some that I would give anything and everything to redo. The edits of my life are long and when I have time to think about the hurricane of my past, I sit in the calm eye of my personal storm and cry.

Tears are a good, yet, temporary release for the grief of life edits I cannot fix. Busy helps, too, but life isn’t all about action – sometimes, life can be about doing nothing and enjoying it. It’s a lesson my late partner tried to teach me and one I’m trying to learn.

How does your real life translate to your writing or reading habits? Do the different stages of your existence influence your writing? Have you ever read a book and sensed that the author had slipped inside your head and written about you?

~

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch.

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RUBICON RANCH – The Suspects are Growing

Summer is over. Fall is upon us. Time for a new project. The second chapter of Rubicon Ranch is now available and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m thrilled to be one of the writers involved in this collaborative novel. This innovative concept of presenting chapters online, followed by a printed version of the book may very well become a standard, but Pat Bertram thought of it first and Second Wind Publishing is enthusiastically supporting nine of their crime writer novelists in this project.

The first chapter, by Pat Bertram, features Melanie Gray, the recent widow who discovers the body of a little girl stuffed into the console of an ancient television set. Chapter two follows the path of the county sheriff as he begins his investigation. Lazarus Barnhill presents a compelling character who begins to expose the seven suspects living in the upscale California desert community of Rubicon Ranch.

Chapter eight is when you will meet my character, Eloy Templeton Franklin, an 82-year-old ex-military man who acts as sentry of the neighborhood. Riddled with arthritis, all but feeble, he is an outsider who rarely leaves his porch . . . or does he?

Eloy has been a much welcomed break as I toil through the galley of my upcoming thriller in search of dropped words, misplaced commas, inconsistencies, killing passives, all the while doing my best to approach this arduous task as if it is the first time reading this manuscript when it’s got to be the fiftieth.

SNARE is Book Two of my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series which is scheduled for release in December. Chantelle Aimée Osman has come up with a striking cover guaranteed to entice every suspense lover. Look for “SNARE Uncovered” on this blog December 5th to get a peek at this extraordinary cover and to find out more about the upcoming release.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the Rubicon Road site where a new chapter will be presented every Monday.

 Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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