Guest Post

HAVE A BOOK TO PROMOTE? Lyrical Pens welcomes guest posts. Answer a questionnaire or create your own post. FYI, up front: This site is a definite PG-13. For details, contact cj

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Stuff and Nonsense Writing Contest

September's Stuff and Nonsense Contest yielded not one entry, which is sad news for all of us who love to read a wonderful new creation from someone's imagination. But perhaps everyone was busy getting the kiddies back into school and perhaps into classes for the parents as well. And then there are all the ballgames and getting gardens ready for next spring. We all have a lot to do.

Ever the optimist, I will post another contest this week for October in the belief that one of you will shower us with a new piece of flash fiction (500 words or less), a new look at that orange month of spooks and goblins, beautiful fall leaves, and the first breath of cool air to remind us that the seasons have indeed changed as we depend on them to do.

I would like to hear from some of you with ideas for prompts to stir up writers' imaginations on the orange month of fall. To that end, I will wait a few days before I post the contest for October.  I wish I had thought of this sooner. Maybe the problem last month was with my prompt, so I'm counting on you to help me out with a bigger and better challenge for October.

Here's hoping.................


Friday, September 20, 2013

Kat Kennedy Part II

Kat Kennedy is back with the second half of her post and an inside look at her work.
Flamingo Funeral & Tales from the Land of Tea Cakes and Whiskey is not a book depicting the genteel South of mint juleps on the front porch and Southern Belles. This is a book of stories about the hard drinking, hard living South. It is filled with characters like the worn and weary Jolene who discovers “being crazy is the easiest job {she} ever had,” and Ree Lambert whose wish to be left alone leads her to do the unthinkable.

Excerpt from Mean Woman Blues

Lidge poured Vernon a decent shot of Jack Daniels and filled the rest of his glass with Coke.

Jolene, not one to be left out, emptied her glass and clinked the ice cubes before setting it down in front of Lidge.

“Me, too,” she smiled.

Damned if she aint downright pretty when she smiles.

Jolene had had a hard life. She was forty-three years old and looked every day of it plus some. She was what people meant when they said, It aint the years, it’s the miles. Jolene had been a lot of miles. Hard living and drinking had done its duty on her face, but anyone could see the ghost of her beauty haunting her high cheek bones and long neck. She had not gotten fat like many of the women she had gone to school with, and had retained her slim frame, though there was not one ounce of muscle to be found on it. Still, she looked good in jeans. Jeans and a tank top were her usual attire because the heat in southern Alabama was unmerciful most of the year. In cool weather, she wore the same uniform with a sweater thrown over it for the cold, adding a jacket when the weather reached its coldest.

Jolene had not worked in years. She once had a job at Clayville’s sewing factory, which she hated. One day she couldn’t take it any longer and walked out. She got the idea from one of her cousins who had been to Vietnam. She could get help from the government if they thought she was crazy. When her cousin had come back from the war, he really was crazy. The government paid for his housing, food and nearly everything else he needed. Jolene called him up and asked where he went to get his “crazy check.” He gave her all the details.

Jolene worked out a plan.

Buy Flamingo Funeral & Tales from the Land of Tea Cakes and Whiskey

Contact Links:
Tea Cakes and Whiskey

Give Kat some feedback on her down-home style of writing and what you think Jolene might be up to.  Thanks for sharing with our readers, Kat.     Mahala

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kat Kennedy - Author

Kat Kennedy
Today, we welcome
Kat Kennedy, local author of short stories, poetry, and novellas for the first of two guest blogs. Kat was born in Dothan, Alabama and is a true Southern writer. She has won awards for her poetry through the Alabama State Poetry Society Association and the Gulf Coast Writers Organization. With a history of teaching English in middle and high school as well as college level, Kat's hobbies include research into old bluegrass and blues music as well as the history of the Chattahoochee Trace, a good deal of which she incorporates into her writing. She lives in Mobile, AL with her husband, Randy and her offbeat, crazy, sense of humor.

Flamingo Funeral began as an eight-page short story. I had just begun attending a local writing group and decided to bring it for critique. I enjoyed writing the story and felt it had good bones. I had always thought of it as a short story, but after the critique, the group seemed to reach the same conclusion: there is more to the story. So what was a short story became a novella.
As far as character development, I draw upon people I grew up with, people I notice at grocery stores, people in doctor’s offices, people at restaurants. It is amazing what you can learn about human nature by starting a conversation in a waiting room. I have never met a Southerner who didn’t have a story to share. It’s a regional past time.

I have also found music to be a great way of putting myself into a particular setting. It helps to remind me of childhood stories I had forgotten. I don’t write family stories verbatim, but use old family stories as a springboard.
Flamingo Funeral was one of the most fun pieces I have ever written. The Uncle Gus character gave me the freedom to get into the theme of family loyalty – what Faulkner called the “pull of blood.” People will do the craziest things in the name of family because that is what’s expected of them. Couple that with the mystique of the South, its history, music, and food and you’ve got the perfect blend for a unique story. There is also a bond between all Southerners that perhaps we don’t even understand. I have never met a Southerner in any other part of the country when it didn’t feel like a family reunion.

Flamingo Funeral and Tales from the Land of Tea Cakes and Whiskey includes the novella and six short stories.

Flamingo Funeral information to whet your appetite for Kat's next post:          What drives family loyalty past the point of common sense? When Uncle Gus dies suddenly under dubious circumstances, his family is left with more than just a funeral to arrange. Gus has left a secret will and a family legacy so dysfunctional that the thought of refusing his wishes, even from the grave, is not once considered.

Stay tuned......Mahala 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Best Friend

Sometimes there are things so personal it's hard to decide whether to share them. I have chosen to share them with my blogger friends and associates, many of whom met her.

August 31, 2013

      My best friend is dying. She’s at peace with it, sort of. Mostly she’s confused. She wanders around, staring at the furniture, her sisters of varying sizes and backgrounds, her water dish, me, my daughter, my granddaughter as though we’re made of bright new colors. I know she’s memorizing it all, absorbing our love and energy to take her on her last journey.

     Food is no interest and the few bites that she nibbles and finally swallows too often come right back up. She doesn’t seem to mind. She just leaves the small bile-filled pile and lies back down to sleep. I so hope her dreams are filled with the same things I’m remembering.

H              Her plane ride from Oklahoma to Florida when she was only three months old brought this bundle of sweet love to us. A wee three pounds, she slept most of the way on that trip, arrived refreshed and ready to meet her new family. That’s the way I imagine she will enter Heaven. Refreshed and read to meet her angelic new family. She will be happy to see her sister, her best friend and playmate, who died a few short months ago.

H             The warm baths she treasures. She lay in the water last night almost floated with pure abandonment, exactly as she did eleven years ago when she was a puppy.

H              The days she enjoyed with my granddaughter who dressed her in baby clothes and pushed her around in an umbrella stroller. She looked precious in her pink rosebud bonnet, never once complaining.

H             The rides in my granddaughter’s, red wagon as they explored the neighborhood. She never once demanded to be free from her perch on a fluffy pillow, but considered her realm with a royal demeanor befitting her role as queen during their short treks.

H           The lazy sunbaths, absorbing the warmth of the sun, the smell of fresh cut grass, and the giggles from the wading pool close by.

H         The jaunty trips in her pink doggie stroller from which she surveyed the world around her, the places far from home filled with strangers and new smells.

H         The shopping trips through stores in shopping buggies that fascinated her, never growling, but reveling in the adoration of the crowd.

H         The trips to school to pick up my granddaughter that excited her into a whining frenzy the minute we turned into the parking lot and sent her to the window trying anxiously to pick out my granddaughter from the crowd.

H           The slight wag of her tail as my granddaughter, a teen now, sits beside her and lovingly feeds her tiny bits of food and sips of water.

H         The breeze from the car’s air-conditioner blowing her black and white silky hair as it thwarted the incessant, summer heat and humidity, and sometimes curled her into a ball if it got too cold.

H          Her royal countenance in the front seat of the car—one of the few things she ever demanded—watching passers-by. None of that hanging out the window like a commoner for this princess.

H          The haircuts and trims to keep her curls from matting and filled her with frustration.

H          The lovely lavender and pink polka dotted bows for her curly locks, the ones she couldn’t remove fast enough.

H          The Halloween she patiently wore a bumblebee costume to the fall festival.

H          The doughnuts she turned, barking and begging for her breakfast and dinner and keeping her amused.

H          The Christmas packages she tore through to find the Greenies she loved so much along with some peanut butter cookies.

H          The icy, sweet popsicles she licked into oblivion.

H          The cold nights when the best place to sleep was deep under the covers next to my feet.

H          The fun mornings waking to a game of hide and seek with the sheet and blankets.

H          The lovely lavender, faux-fur trimmed coat she pranced and preened in across the backyard and on walks around the block.

H          The sheer joy of snuggling with her white teddy bear.

H          The forbearance of following me from room to room and lying for hours in her white wicker bed with ruffled pillows under my desk as I worked.

 My best friend is slipping away. Age and disease have come to stay. Hopefully, it will only be for a short while.

Rest in Peace my precious Hannah Belle Church.

June 30, 2002 – September 2, 2013