Beware of Publishers

You can write a masterpiece, only to have it ruined by an inattentive publisher. It would be bad enough if they filled your retelling of Romeo and Juliet with typos, what if you had just penned the ultimate authority on grammar, or perhaps, spelling? Last month, British lexicographer Susie Dent released Word Perfect, a “brilliant […]

Why C.S. Lewis Remained Protestant

I find it intriguing how so many Roman Catholics wonder why all Protestants don’t find “crossing the Tiber” irresistible. C.S. Lewis disappointed his good friend J.R.R. Tolkien by not joining him in that church. As we prepare to commemorate another Reformation Day, I would like to share one of C.S. Lewis’ patient responses to that […]

On the Nature of Mascots

Brits and Americans share many things. That includes English as a primary language. Well, sort of. Aside from some people’s inclination to misspell words—such as adding a superfluous letter “u” to words like colour and humour—we agree on most things. Well, add quotation marks to the arena of dissimilarities. Nevertheless, we’re normally able to decipher […]

Filling the Shoes of Giants

One thing all humans have in common, is that we are mortal. Immortality is not inherent to our nature, and eternal life can only come as a gift from our Creator. All men and women live and die. In the words of Ecclesiastes: It is the same for all, since the same event [i.e. death] […]

Translating Foreign Languages

How many languages can you translate into English? If the answer is >0, I envy you. I’ve studied four,* and passed all the tests, but have an actual aptitude in none. If I were thus gifted, I would be transferring some of the world’s literary wealth into my native tongue—and vice versa. One of my […]

Challenging Writers Block in Texas

I find it difficult to write, anymore. I didn’t always. I used to be able to spin a yarn, almost without trying. Since I’m stuck, I’m trying something new. I’m taking an online course called “Write The Seven Step Story.

Yeah, I know. I keep taking classes. I can think of worse addictions.

For now, I have done a rather weird bit for the first assignment. Enjoy it, or not. Let your own taste dictate.

When you live off the Gulf Coast of The Big State, you know that there are only 3 times in the year. The first is the one that starts in mid-October and goes until mid April. In the course of this clime, the air can take on any traits: hot, cool, dry, wet. It can even freeze during the month of the New Year. The next time is the rest of the year. During that time it is hot. It may be hot and dry or hot and wet, but the heat drains your energy. This time is punctuated by August. During this, heat is increased.

So, if you live off the Gulf Coast of The Big State, you go in. That’s where cool, dry air stirs ‘neath fans. That’s where cold drinks quench thirst. That’s where friends and kin tell yarns and truths. That’s where love and hate twine hand-in-hand. It is where life dwells.

Someone Asked Me: What Things Make You Happy?

Colorful statue of a question mark on a gray background
What Makes Me Happy?

I pondered that for quite a while. There are quite a few things that I enjoy and appreciate. “Falling into” a great story, whether I am reading, writing, or watching it brings me great delight. Spending time with people I cherish is like oxygen to me. Learning and/or teaching is an intense pleasure. Circumstances, people, things are just stuff. And yet, none of those things can MAKE me happy. They may reveal a happiness or contentment (or lack thereof), but they can never place happiness within me.

Only God Himself can make me happy. As He rebuilds me from the inside out, preparing me for eternity, He places a peace beyond all understanding within me. He builds contentment and joy into my person.

The tools He uses are surprisingly simple. It starts and ends with His Word. Whether I like it or not, I need to let the Holy Spirit work through Scripture. Both Law and Gospel have to have their constant place in my life: God’s Holy Law has to tear down my pride and self-sufficient attitude and God’s Holy Gospel is to build Christ Himself within me.

That can’t happen quickly or easily. There’s a reason we are to gather together around preaching and the sacraments regularly. Having the pastor place forgiveness in our ears and on our tongues is a start. Unfortunately, we also have the attention spans of squirrels on crack. We can’t go 3 minutes within the service without getting distracted. That’s why daily, family and individual Bible study and devotions are important. We need to have the weekly church service lessons reinforced at any given moment.

We never know when life will place a “pop quiz” in front of us. God’s Word makes us joyfully free to live forgiven lives while forgiving others around us.

THIS makes me happy!

Lisa Tests: The Writing Streak website

So, I’m trying this new website, called Writing Streak in an effort to regularly get my word count going. It’s a pretty neat place. For starters, it lets you decide what days you are going to include word counts. I took Sundays off. I’m also starting off slowly, I only want a minimum of about 100 words per day. When I consistently do that, I can increase my minimum “bid.”

They also have story and article prompts. That can be useful for when I have absolutely nothing to say. After all, I don’t want to sound like a politician. (Lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing.)

Scary Monsters and Other Friends

“Tessie Mara Favor! Don’t make your Daddy and me come in there one more time tonight!”

The little girl pulled the sheet and blanket up over her head and closed her eyes tightly. “No ma’am, Mama. I’m asleep.”

Mama spoke more gently. “We checked in the closet and under the bed. We used the flashlight to see in all the shadowy places. You’re safe. Nothing bad is here.”

But Tessie could hear the giant spider walking across the ceiling. Its really big mouth scared her. It had huge brown things on the side of the mouth that made clicking noises when it ate one of the ghosts or fairies that got too close to it.

It’s eight eyes were too scary to look at.

Huntsman spider Olios giganteus eating crane flies
Huntsman spider Olios giganteus eating crane flies

Still, sometimes, even with her eyes closed she could see it. It wanted her to see it and be afraid.

She hugged her stuffed horse more tightly. “Pedro,” she whispered, “what can I do to make it go away?”

Pedro didn’t say anything, again.

Tessie made herself be very still. She breathed slowly and quietly. She thought happy thoughts to Pedro about playing outside in the sunshine. He thought happy thoughts to her, his white body with red polkadots becoming softer and more oval as he became a real horse.

After a while, she opened her eyes. She didn’t know whether she was sad or mad. It was still there.

She looked at the giant spider and asked, “Who are you?”

A lovely voice answered, “Why, thank you for asking. I’m Olivia. Most of my children have the same name, ‘Olios giganteus’. I and my children are definitely hunters, but we aren’t interested in you. Your kind aren’t tasty to us.”

“Olivia?” whispered Tessa, “Why do you seem so scary?”

Olivia thought for a minute and said, “I don’t really know. Why do you look so scary to me and my children?”

Tessa gasped. “I look scary to you?”

“Yes, indeed! Remember last August when you scared my daughter? Olios was in a cardboard box in the garage. After you disturbed her, she took cover under the truck. She was brown, and was probably 2 inches wide. She has a lovely eyes and darker brown chelicerae that are quite large.”

“I remember,” said Tessa. “She ran very fast and got very flat and got away.”

“Yes,” said Olivia. “I’m very proud of her. She has many beautiful children of her own, now.”

Tessa whispered, “I’m glad she got away. We were trying to kill her.”

“I know. Your kind doesn’t like what it doesn’t understand.”

The little girl thought about that for a minute. “You might be right. Can I ask a different question?”

“Of course,” said Olivia.

“Why are you eating ghosts and fairies?” Tessa moved closer to really look at the spider. “You are kind of a pretty brown and you look kind of soft.”

“Thank you,” Olivia laughed with surprise. “We all have to eat something. You thought they were ghosts and fairies, but they were just my usual fare, mostly flies and mosquitoes.”

“Why did it look like you were eating fairies?”

“You are still learning to see. It takes a while to learn to recognize what you are actually looking at. While it is just a part of growing, most of your kind take it too far. You stop seeing the wonder of life and can only see what is useful to you for now.”

“Is that why my parents can’t see or hear what I hear?”

“Yes, indeed.”

Tessa yawned. “Pedro, I want you to meet my friend, Olivia. Olivia, do you know Pedro? He doesn’t say much.”

“Yes,” said the spider. “We are old friends.”

“I feel sleepy,” said the little girl. “Will you stay and keep with scary monsters away?”

“Maybe for you tonight, I will,” said Olivia. “Maybe some of the scary monsters will also turn out to be friends someday.”

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. I will approve feedback of any sort, but will delete spam. That’s why I handle this task manually for now.

Here is the best part of the fun! It’s the list of everyone else participating in the Storytime Blog Hop:

link to story time blog hop
Storytime Blog Hop

Morning Has Broken, by Katharina Gerlach

Good Honest Work, by Chris Wight

Bad For Business, by Gina Fabio

The Last Friday, by Raven O’Fiernan

Lost And Found, by Angela Wooldridge

Bia Trevi’s Worldly Eats, by Barbara Lund

Hunting Bob, Vanessa Wells

Don’t Drink The Water, by Juneta Key

Duty, Elizabeth McCleary

The Footnote, Karen Lynn

The Monster Under The Bed, by Nic Steven

Field Trip to the UFO Museum, by Bill Bush


Remember, you can join the fun next time around. The next Blog Hop happens in April. Stretch your creativity and writing muscles. Get out of your comfort zone. The rules are here.

Storytime Blog Hop

link to story time blog hop
Storytime Blog Hop

This sounds like a lot of fun, even though Speculative Fiction isn’t my strong suit. Would you care to join the fun?

 Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop on January 30, 2019.  Speculative Fiction Short Stories up to 1000 words including SF genres science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism. Paranormal and supernatural stories welcomed and/or romance, mystery, thrillers with those elements.  Read the Rules & Guidelines to learn what to do.   Remember the deadline for Submitting Story Links is January 25, 2019. Join the fun as a participant or reader.  Read stories from authors around the globe.  Join Us!