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5 The Woods – Return to the House (1985) by LV Gaudet

 

 

The Woods:

1 – The Woods – The Dare (1985)

2 – Thirty Years Later – The Old Bennet House is for Sale (2015)

3 – The Woods – Jesse Hears a Noise (1985)

4 – The House – First Entry in 30 Years (2015)

 

 

1985

 

The boys burst into the house, hurriedly kicking off their boots at the back door before going any further.  Everything looks exactly like it did when they went out to play.

It’s 1985 and the furniture and décor are a clash of pieces mostly from the sixties and seventies, some bought new, some second hand, and some are hand-me-downs.  Nothing has been upgraded in the past ten years, a testament of thoughtful care and financial mediocrity.  The worn couch and dented coffee table, victims of having two rambunctious growing boys in the house, are overdue to be replaced.  A comic book lays discarded on the floor, open as if it is trying to fly away, The Thing is caught forever in an epic battle against a green monster that looks like a rough tree bark wall with many arms surrounding The Thing with flailing punching fists.  The television, an ancient tube set, sits dark and quiet on its stand.  A pair of discarded boy’s socks are tossed carelessly on the floor, and the latest edition of TV Guide sits on the coffee table.

“Mom!” Jesse looks around.

The house is dead silent except for their own breathing.

“Mom?”

Kevin stands there, looking around.

The house is exactly as they left it before they went outside to play.  How long has that been?  An hour?

But not quite.

Everything seems a little muted.  Off.

And more dusty than he remembers.

Jesse runs into the kitchen.  After a pause of a few heartbeats, Kevin follows.

“Mom?” Jesse pauses just inside the doorway, looking expectantly for their mother.

The teakettle still sits on the stovetop, two tea towels hang from the oven door handle where they were hung to dry after washing dishes in the sink, and the table is set for dinner with places for four.

Flour and sugar bags sit on the countertop next to a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon and measuring cup, pulled out in preparation of baking a cake.

Their mother is not there.

They run through the house calling, “Mom! Mom! Mom!”  They end their search back in the living room, out of breath.

“She’s not here.”

“Where could she be?”

“Next door, maybe?”

“Let’s go see.”

They pull their boots back on and rush out the door into the backyard, trained not to use the front door because that would somehow make more cleaning work for their mother, and around the side of the house to the front.

They stop, staring around wide-eyed, and turn to stare at each other, their faces full of fear and confusion.

They are standing in the woods next to that old stump.

“What the hell?”

“Don’t cuss,” Jesse says automatically.  There is hell to pay if their mom ever hears them use bad language.  Hell is one of many forbidden words.

Kevin turns to him, appalled.

“Seriously?  You’re worried about me cussing? We are back in the woods! How?  This is impossible!”

He stops.

“Jesse.”

“What?” Jesse is sulking now.

“The grass.”

“What about it?”

“Wasn’t there grass in the yard?”

“Yeah, so?  There’s always been grass in the yard.”

Kevin narrows his eyes, wondering if Jesse is just being dumb or is messing with him.

“It’s early spring.  Look around.  There’s still snow everywhere.”

“Yeah, so?” Jesse isn’t getting it.

Kevin’s shoulders sag with the futility of it.  Do I even bother? He sighs.

“Jesse, do you remember what the yard looked like? Just now, when we went back to the house.”

“Yeah, your bike was laying on the grass. I almost tripped on it.”

“Where was the snow?”

They both just stare at each other.

 

 

Follow The Woods installments

L.V. Gaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are and The McAllister Farm
where the bodies are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions? Find out in Where the Bodies Are.

The McAllister Farm-cover 1

Take a step back in time to learn the secret behind the bodies in Where the Bodies Are:  The McAllister Farm reveals the secrets behind the man who created the killer.

Link to purchase these books by L.V. Gaudet

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

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LV Gaudet, author

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When Blogs Sleep by L.V. Gaudet

I have been in something of a dry spell for the past months when it comes to writing, blog posts especially.drought

Lack of inspiration is only a part of the problem.

Most advice on how to have a successful blog boils down to one frequently repeated piece of advice.  Post interesting content regularly.

Easy, right?

The problem with that is not only do you have to come up with ideas of blog posts to write about all the time, but they also have to be interesting to other people.  Okay, so that is only half the problem.  The other half is having the time.

If you do not keep up on regular blogging, you can find your blog has gone to sleep and so have you as a blogger.  Your blog followers’ interest will wane when there is nothing to follow.  You become as forgotten as yesterday’s news.

People are fickle that way.  Once you lose them, you can find yourself starting over to create a following all over again.

It can also be harder to dig yourself out of that slump once you are fully entrenched in it than it is to keep writing regular posts.

inspirationboxGetting inspired takes time.  It takes a lot of things, but all of that means little if you do not have the time to let yourself get inspired.

Everyone finds their inspiration in their own way.  A quiet walk in nature, sitting alone enjoying a coffee on a Sunday morning, reading, letting your mind roam on your commute, people watching, these are just a few.

If you do not have the time for that in your busy life, you can find yourself feeling irreparably caught in a dry spell with no end in sight.

When the inspiration does come, it means not losing it, maybe having the chance to write it down before your busy day melts the thought away into a blank mind void.  And then you still have to have the time to sit down and write the article, edit it to perfection, and polish it.

Evasive-Manuvers-penguins-of-madagascar-13157021-607-478Time is both valuable and, at times, insolently evasive.  Time is not on my side.  Not lately.

If you are like me, and like many other writers, your writing by necessity comes a distant last after everything else in your life.

Bills have to be paid and family and home taken care of.  Commitments for work, school, and both immediate and extended family will always push writing time back.  By the time you have finished your work day and commute, feeding and chauffeuring your kids to their activities and back, and getting them into bed, you might find yourself lucky enough to have an hour left to make lunches, throw a load of laundry in, and pick up; and maybe even a moment to or two to write.

This can make you feel a tremendous self-imposed stress to do that writing you are missing out having the time for.  It is too easy in the rush of life and trying to fit in writing to forget what is important.  Never let yourself miss those family moments because you are pushing yourself too hard to do too much.

lessons-in-lifeThe most important lesson I ever learned in life I learned from my own toddler.  Back then, I was doing the stay at home parent thing.  Daycare for two would have cost most than I was making, so we opted for me to stay home.  Every time we went to Wal-Mart to shop for groceries, we passed a display of plastic and fabric fake flowers.  They were depressingly fake, but every time she would make me stop to smell them.  It was not just a memorable moment to be cherished; it was a life lesson.  No matter how hurried I felt, there always had to be time to stop and smell the flowers, whether they smell like anything or not.

Take each moment as it comes.  As the saying goes, take life one moment at a time.  That is the only way to do it when life gets busy.  I spend my lunch breaks editing, and with the distractions that is about all I can manage.  I try my best to note it down when inspiration hits and gives me an idea.  I write in stolen moments.   I do what I can to keep up on the major things while, unfortunately, the little things are often left to slide along with the housekeeping.

When I do have a moment (or thought I did) for writing, it may be interrupted and quickly evaporate.  My advice: no matter how frustrating you find it to have to try to seize those too often lost moments; do not let it become either a chore or a barrier to your life and family around you.

dullWhen your writing is just bland and dry, and inspiration has failed you, you might have to just accept that and cede defeat.  This time.  One of the lovely things about social media and networking is the very nature of it.  It is, for the most part, shareable.

People blog because they want to be noticed.  They want followers.  They want more visits to their blog.  What better way to have that happen than to have followers share their posts?

When the inspiration flows strong, get as much out of that as you can.  If you can snap out six or eight witty blog posts and another half a dozen ideas for later, you are on one killer roll!  Do not post all those great posts at once, but save them.  Spread them out and have some back up posts for those dry spells.

Make your blog more interesting with guest blogs and outside articles.  Invite guests to guest blog, have reviews on their books posted, reviews they wrote on other books posted.  Even just sharing other bloggers posts on your blog that you enjoyed and found interesting.  It is all about driving traffic to both your blog and theirs, and everybody wins.

Distraction is the writer’s curse.  Nothing can kill a writer’s mojo like distraction.  As a parent, I cannot turn my kids away when they need attention just because I am trying to write or edit.  The same goes for your life partner.  These are the most important people in your world, and hopefully your biggest fans and supporters.

When I do have time to write, it is often in the chaos of distraction that comes with a small house and no escape.  You feel like you are central to everything going on in your house because you are, literally, if you have no other room to escape to.  And even if you do have somewhere to go (unfortunately I don’t), if you are like me, they will just follow you there.

It is not easy to write with all the distraction.  And you certainly cannot do your best writing.  But, at least you are finding that bit of time.  If nothing else, you can edit and jot down notes for things to add later.  I certainly do not recommend writing under the cacophony of distraction, but busy people sometimes just have to do what they must.

At the moment, I am being distracted by one child (Okay, a “tween”.  She hates to be called a child.), who is not yet in bed and has a never-ending need to talk to me, a dog requiring my undivided attention, and a very persistent housefly that apparently does too.

recyleIf all else fails, you can always recycle.  Reuse, reduce, recycle.  Isn’t that the saying?  Oh, wait, that’s for reducing trash waste.

In all seriousness, when you are really stuck for something, you can always take an old blog post and re-write it.  You might be amazed at what you learn doing that.

Not only does your writing change, but so does your opinions, feelings, and knowledge.  Writing is a flowing creation that is never stagnant.  The industry itself is ever-evolving.

Over time and practice, your writing continuously improves.  Re-writing an old blog post is a good lesson in that.  Re-writing old stories, whether fiction, blog, or other, is like taking a walk down that memory lane to those old photos of your youth.  Yeah, you remember those old sick clothes and ridiculous hairstyles you laugh at now.

So dust off that old post or story like an old record and play it again, only better this time.

No matter what gets in your way, lack of inspiration, time, distraction, or anything else, you keep on writing.  It’s not what you are, it’s who you are.

You press on because you are a writer.  I am writer; hear me roar.

.

.

 

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

Links to purchase this and other upcoming L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

Facebook author page

Google+

Instagram

Pinterest

Twitter

WordPress

 

4 Comments

Filed under blogging, L.V. Gaudet, writing

To Offer it Free or Not – Marketing Your Work

Free BooksAs with everything to do with the art of writing, publishing and marketing books, there are different views on the worth of offering your books free.

Some will argue that you should not work for free.  And, in essence, that is what you are doing when you offer your books free.  You have spent countless hours writing, editing, perfecting, and polishing your writing.  You chose the perfect cover, formatted the book for eBook, and finally are rewarded with seeing your hard work available to the world.

Of course, you want some monetary gain from all that hard work.  Who wouldn’t?

But, unless you are already a well-known author, will the world even know you exist?  Will they (the readers) buy your book when you are an unknown quantity to them?  When there are so many badly written, badly edited, and just plain bad, stories out there, the reader needs to have a reason to want to invest their money in your book.

Possibly one of the more appealings ways to an author is the free sample chapters.  However you get that out there, through posting them on social media, allowing partial sample downloads on Smashwords, or ther means.  Free samples let the reader get sucked into the story, and just as they get hooked they are cut off with no option except to stop there or get your book.

I see offering books free as a marketing tool.  Companies do it with other types of products all the time, offering try me samples in the hope you will love it enought to buy it.  The buy one-get one free offer.  Buy that and we’ll toss this in with it.  Get one month free.  Even the grocery stores get in on the action with their free sample days.  These are all teasers to encourage you to buy or try their product.

If there is one thing everyone loves, it is getting something for free.

How many books have you passed over buying because you didn’t know if you would like the author?  The write up on the back cover looks good, the cover art is enticing, but you just don’t know.  So you decide instead to buy that new book by the author you love.

This does not mean you have to give it away free forever.  Offer it free for a limited time. With so many companies marketing other products by this method, it must work.  Otherwise, they would invest that marketing money in other ways to market their products.  You can always offer it free again if it suits your needs.

You can also offer limited time coupon codes so that those who get the code can read it free while others have to purchase it.  Coupon codes can be used in a targeted marketing campaign.  For example, let’s say you are publishing a humor book suitable for grade school kids about survival while camping with scout groups.  Offer the coupon code to your local scout groups, giving the kids the eBook free.  If they read it and love it, they’ll tell their friends about it.  Target book clubs for your genre.  If your book is about gardening, offer the coupon code for free limited time download of your book to a few garden clubs.

Knowing they got something free that others have to pay for makes people feel special.  They feel like they got a prize, they feel superior, they feel a small sense of empowerment.  They feel like they matter just a little bit more.  They feel like someone cares.  Each feels special in a different way, depending on their personality.  It doesn’t matter how they feel special, you made them feel that way and they like you more for it.

The hardest part of selling books is getting readers to know it exists. If free offers help, then it is worth it.  The first job of selling your book is getting someone to read it.  If you did your job right in writing the book, then they will do your second job for you – getting them to talk about it.

People talk about books and share information on them for three reasons:

(1) They loved it,

(2) They found it controversial and it got their blood boiling,

(3) They hated it.

Nobody talks about the book that isn’t noteworthy.  They also won’t talk about it if they haven’t read it or even heard of it.  If they loved it, they will talk about it, and they also will want to read more.

Another way to get free samples of your work into your potential readers’ hands is short stories.  Offer short stories for free eBook download.  Blog them, Facebook them, share them.

Consider this:  work together with another author who writes similar stories in the same genre.  You both offer a free short story written by the other with the purchase of your book.  Both authors have a vested interest in promoting the books, one to earn the royalties and the other to get their reader audience to grow through the free short story.

Always remember to plug your other work.  Whether a book or a short story, free or for a price, always remember to include a plug for other published work that is available.

Every piece has to be your best.  Whether free or not, a 100 word flash fiction or 150,000 novel; every bit of writing you put out there needs to be good.  Advertising yourself with mediocre short stories will not increase your readership.

However you choose to market your work, the goal is the same – getting potential readers and buyers to notice you in a sea of possible authors.

L. V. where the bodies areGaudet is the author of Where the Bodies Are

What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?

Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon at Second Wind Publishing, LLC:  The McAllister Farm.  The secret behind the bodies is revealed.

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Other links to purchase L.V. Gaudet’s books

Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary

https://angiesdiary.com/bookoftheweek-web/081-botwoct262014.html

Follow L. V. Gaudet:

Facebook author page

Google+

Instagram

Pinterest

Twitter

WordPress

25 Comments

Filed under How To, L.V. Gaudet, marketing, writing