wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Surf City Plus One

These Brewer’s blackbirds are enjoying their day at the beach.

Remember the Beach Boys’ song, “Surf City”? Two girls for every boy?

Well, at this beach, it’s three girls for every boy. You may have to look hard for the sixth “girl.”

Black Bart at the bottom right says, “Now listen here, gang. It’s all very fine to cavort around, playing ‘king of the castle’ on this boulder, and leaping off it like you’re an Acapulco cliff diver, but keep in mind these are dangerous times.

“We have to stay in our bubble. Anything up to 23 is fine, but never, never, never be part of a group of 24.”

“But that just doesn’t make any sense,” chirped Betsy Brewer. “If it’s okay to be in a group of 23, what’s one more?”

Black Bart puffed up his chest. “What’s one more?” He shook his head sadly. “Betsy, Betsy, Betsy. I’ll tell you what one more is. It’s blackbird pie!

“Good grief! Haven’t you heard of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie? Here, I’ll recite it for you.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey,

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
Along came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?”

Betsy felt foolish at first, but she was not to be shamed so easily. “That’s okay,” she chirped. “When the pie is opened and the birds begin to sing, that will be me with my lovely voice, and I will please the king … and who knows? Maybe I’ll be rich.”

Black Bart rolled his eyes. “Yeah, that’s rich, all right. Rich, like a rich gravy is what you’ll be.”

*****

Please visit my other blog, anneli’s place, if you are interested in informal writing tips.

*****

If you need a good book to read, click on the cover images at the side of my blog posts. Romance, plus drama and adventure.


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Blue Moon on Halloween

No, the moon is not blue. More like blurry, because of the clouds. But it is called a blue moon (and many other names) when a full moon happens twice in one month. The moon would have to be full on the first and the thirty-first of a month, and that would make it a relatively rare occurrence.

This time, it happens to be on October 31st, Halloween.

Halloween will be different this year because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. Trick-or-treating is being discouraged, and to be honest, I don’t want the munchkins coming to my door, no matter how sweet their costumes are. I don’t want to be picking up the virus at the door and then passing it on to my elderly family members.

The kids can have fun in other ways, just this once, until we get the virus under control. I know that missing out on trick-or-treating is survivable because I’ve done it.

So here is my story.

When I was very young, we lived in Germany. On All Saints’ Eve (what we call Hallowed Eve – or Halloween here in North America), my mother took me by the hand and we visited the town cemetery. My grandfather, who had died of cancer at the young age of 75, was buried there. I loved my grandfather and he loved me, so there was nothing spooky about going to visit his resting place. Several other village people were also visiting the graves of loved ones, and most brought candles in coloured glass containers to place on the graves. The cemetery was neat and well kept up. With the many lights glowing on the graves, the whole place was peaceful. I remember feeling close to my beloved grandfather and in awe of the pretty lights. The hushed conversation of other visitors showed their respect for their lost loved ones.

We came to Canada soon after that, when I was six years old. The following year, on Halloween, I heard about all the kids going out trick-or-treating. This would be fun! But my enthusiasm had cold water thrown on it when my mother laid down the law and said, “No child of mine is going door to door begging for candy.”

“But it’s not like that,” I whined. No amount of fussing would change her mind. For the next four years she stuck to her guns and our family became the weird ones that didn’t believe in Halloween.

By the time I was 11, she relented. She was beginning to understand that it wasn’t about begging. My younger brother and I were allowed to go out to a few houses on the block to trick-or-treat.

On the afternoon of the 31st, the radio told of a severe windstorm that was due to hit at six p.m. We didn’t really believe it. Not a breath of wind. We put on our costumes and got our goodie bags ready. As we tried to go out the door at six o’clock, we wondered why it wouldn’t open. We pushed against it and had to get our mother to help. As soon as she opened the door, it ripped out of her hand and slammed against the side of the house. The big windstorm had hit us at exactly 6 p.m. My mother yanked us back inside lest we might blow away, and pronounced, “You can’t go out in this. It’s too dangerous.”

Fast forward to the next Halloween when I was 12. I had grown into a tall skinny girl, but inside that gangly body lived a child who had yet to experience trick-or-treating. We trooped out with our goodie bags, anticipation ratcheted up into high gear. At the first house, we called “Trick or treat.” The owner came to the door and said to me, “Getting a bit old to be doing this, aren’t you? It’s supposed to be for little kids.”

I was glad I had a mask on so he couldn’t see me fighting not to cry.

I never went trick-or-treating again, and I suppose I have a warped idea of what Halloween is about. When I see scary spiders, monsters, ghosts and vampires flitting around neglected cemeteries, it is not something I find easy to relate to. My grandfather’s cemetery was clean and cared for. It had a manicured hedge and clean gravel paths between well-tended graves. It was not a scary thing to visit him. The North American version of Halloween jarred when I compared it to my first experiences of All Saints’ Eve.

Still, customs vary, and I’ve learned to accept that Halloween is not all bad. Most people love it and they are not easily scared by the horror they conjure up to celebrate this holiday.

I don’t like horror shows. They give me nightmares. I’m a wimp. I don’t begrudge others having fun, but I find it hard to get into the creepy spirit.

A tame Halloween is fine for me. Give me the pumpkin pie and a taste of that chocolate bar from the goodie bag, but keep the spiders away from me.

If you’d like to see posts on copy-editing horrors, please visit my other blog.


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Relationship Security

This memoir by Kathleen Price will pull at your heartstrings and enlighten you at the same time.

Anneli's Place

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Why are you like that?” Or maybe you’ve asked yourself that question about others. There are reasons for our behaviour. Some of them we don’t understand; some we are not even aware of, and never will be.

In her book, Relationship Security, author Kathleen Price shows us that, along with some other factors, our experiences, even those we have as young children, shape us into the adults we become. They influence our responses to nearly every situation we deal with as we go through life.

Most of us seek a loving, caring relationship in which there is mutual trust. As young adults, we are optimistic about finding the right person who will fulfill that expectation. If we haven’t witnessed an example of a secure bond in our parents’ relationship, marriage may bring disillusionment when we perpetually need to protect ourselves because…

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A Change in Menu

Anneli said she’s sorry, she ran out of sunflower seeds and she hasn’t been back to the Bulk Barn to buy more yet. Would I like to try some of the walnuts she has been drying?

They are wonderful! She has a whole tree of them in the backyard, but the shells are pretty hard to crack. I would have harvested them myself, but the husk around the nuts tastes bitter.

That and the fact that the backyard supervisors are always patrolling out there have kept me away.

There’s only the little black one now, but she’s dangerous. She leaps up four or five feet if she’s after something, so I’m careful around her.

And anyway, since Anneli has cracked these walnuts for me, I don’t have to hurt my teeth trying to open the shell. She takes good care of me so I don’t have to risk my life around that crazy killer dog.

Oh, ye heavenly squirrels on high! This is delightful!

I could even use this shell as a sippy cup. Slurp, slurp!

I wondered where my breakfast was,

The seeds were not in sight.

I nearly died of shock because

The change gave me a fright.

Instead of tiny sunflower seeds,

Just walnuts could be found,

The food that would fulfill my needs,

In shells so rough and round.

I checked them out and noticed then

The nuts were cracked in chunks,

It looked like I could eat again

The meat lay there in hunks.

How sweet of her to crack these shells,

To spare my tiny teeth,

Inside the nuts were little wells,

With nutmeat underneath.

I nibbled it and pulled it out

The flavour was the best,

No need to cry or mope about,

A change is good as a rest.

*****

Please visit my other blog, Anneli’s Place, for writing tips posted in small doses so as not to be overwhelming.


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The Over-achiever

 

Big Egg and Little Eggie

“You know Eggie, it’s not over-easy to be big. I was brought into this world the same day as you were, and right away, people had a lot of eggspectations from me. My mother, obviously, was an over-achiever. Had to be, just to lay me in the nesting bock-bock-bocks.”

“Right Big Egg, I’m sure she had to eggsert herself to squeeze you out without scrambling you.”

“Yes, she must have tried eggstra hard to lay me without having an eggsident. I remember hearing the other hens clucking around her at the birthing. What a hen party that was! “Push! Push!” they clucked, egging her on, and eggs-horting her to try harder, and the whole time she was in eggstreme pain. The yolk was on them though, because I came out big and beautiful. But it was really oval the way they teased her about having such a big baby.”

“‘And look how green his face is,’ they jeered. ‘Must have been in the womb too long before he got air.'”

“‘Hah!’ snorted my aunt Penny. You remember Henny Penny? Well, she said, ‘It was probably the air in this henhouse that turned his face green.’ That nearly cracked me up, but I have to eggree with her. It is pretty hummy in there. So green I am, and green I shell stay. Still, I’d like to add that I’m eggcited to be here.”

“But you think your life is hardboiled already? What if you were eggstra small like me? I’m just a shell of a man. It’s hardly worth adding me to a cake or an omelette. I’ll always be the odd man out; an unnecessary eggstra.”

“Oh I have an easy shellution. Your size will come in hendy. You are the perfeggt size for a special eggcasion. Before an opera singer goes on stage, she has a glass of wine with a raw egg in it. She doesn’t want it to be so big that she geggs on it, so a tiny tot like you, for eggsample, would be perfeggt.”

“Okay, so my problem is solved. What about you though? You will have to be an over-achiever like your mother. That will not be a sunny-side up road for you to follow.”

“Not to worry, Eggie. I have a secret helper. I’m really a twin and life will be fine, like two eggs, over easy. Those hens that laughed at me for being big don’t know it yet but the yolks are on them.”

 *****

 If you have not visited Carol Balawyder’s post, please do. She has kindly featured my novel Reckoning Tide, the sequel to The Wind Weeps. Visit Carol’s blog here.


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Apostrophes

If you are a writer and would like to find out more about how to use apostrophes correctly, please visit my other site: https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/apostrophes-commas-in-the-air/

Common mistakes I see when copy-editing

Apostrophes

Many people confuse the purpose of apostrophes in their writing. So when should you use an apostrophe? 

Read more at annelisplace


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Remote Control – Not the Kind You’d Like

Stuck in a remote cove on the BC coast where Robert, her handsome new husband, had a cabin tucked away, Andrea had no connection to the life she’d left behind. Her family and friends had no idea that she was a prisoner in this isolated place. No phone, no radio, no other people, no one except Robert, and he was getting more psychotic every day.

Young and pretty, Andrea had come out west for adventure, leaving her family in Ontario. Her new West Coast friends had warned her to be careful of Robert, that he had some strange behaviours. But Andrea found this commercial fisherman charming. He swept her off her feet.

Bit by bit, he charmed her into a rushed marriage, and then, bit by bit, his true nature came out.

The cabin was remote and he had control.

Andrea soon had reason to fear for her life.  She had to get away, or die.  A strong, experienced woodsman would find escape from this place challenging, whether by land or by sea. Certainly, it was daunting for a naive city girl. The woods were home to cougars, bears, and wolves, and what if she got lost?  But desperation gave her courage. She would rather die trying to escape than to risk another day with Robert.

 

You can read about Andrea’s story in Book One, The Wind Weeps, on sale for only $.99 on amazon now.

 

Book Two, Reckoning Tide, is the sequel, available on amazon for only $2.94.

Why not give yourself a treat? Give your e-reader a workout.

If you don’t have a Kindle you can always order the books at smashwords.com.


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Finicky Finch

This female house finch has just had a bath and is now looking for a snack on my brussels sprouts plants.

These tasty sprouts are still so small,

That’s not much food for me at all,

To peck them isn’t worth the work,

I’ll have to find some other perk.

So many pairs of pears I see,

Too many hanging in one tree,

Too big for tiny little finches,

I’d get fat and put on inches.

The sunflower seeds will soon be ripe

And then I’ll have no cause to gripe,

They are my favourite snacking food,

To nibble them improves my mood.


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Orion’s Gift – Review

Author Diana Wallace Peach has kindly reviewed my novel, Orion’s Gift, and has included it in her April reviews on her blog. You can see all the reviews there.

I enjoyed writing this book because it included many scenes from my travels to Baja California. The plot is totally fiction, but it was inspired by characters I met there.

Diana W. Peach’s Review of Orion’s Gift by Anneli Purchase

Sylvia and Kevin are both escaping abusive relationships and individually head to Mexico to camp along the beautiful beaches of Baja. They end up meeting and fall immediately into lust, which gradually turns into something deeper. But nothing’s going to be that easy as the drug trade south of the border strikes a little close to their camper-homes, and even worse, their exes are trying to hunt them down.

Romance with lots of misunderstandings and emotional turmoil is a major theme in the book, but the subplots add a lot of drama to the story. Both exes—who are quite different from each other—have chapters from their points-of-view which adds to the building tension. The subplot regarding the drug trade escalates the danger, particularly for Sylvia.

I liked the quick pace of the story and there was plenty going on to keep me turning the pages. The descriptions of camping in Baja include well-researched details, not only regarding the landscape but also the challenges, the things visitors need to know, and some of the pitfalls. I enjoyed the authenticity they lent to the story.

Kevin was my favorite character as he’s pretty solid and straightforward. Sylvia suffers from insecurities throughout the book, but this struck me as realistic based on her history as a victim of domestic violence. She also has a secret that interferes with any dreams of a future with Kevin. A well-rounded story and highly recommended to readers of romance.

*****

You can find Orion’s Gift by going to my website: www.anneli-purchase.com