Member Monday: The Crepe Myrtle by Linda Boyden

Welcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature a poem by poet, storyteller and children’s author, Linda Boyden.  Just in time for Christmas, you can purchase a hardback copy of Linda’s newest picture book Boy and Poi Poi Puppy at All About Books.

The Crepe Myrtle

by Linda Boyden

It waits in the front yard,

a loyal dog

eager to welcome us home

standing silent

stationary

sharing its beauty

season to season:

a dark lattice silhouette in winter;

a verdant explosion of green come spring;

and in the dead of summer

a pink riot of blossoms cheer us

through smoke or drought and heat;

but in the autumn

its glorious leaves

shimmer and flick

tiny bursts of gold,

as if painted by Klimt.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

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Member Monday: An Excerpt from A.N.G.E.L.S. by Bob Bliss

Bob Bliss - Photo -Author.docWelcome back to Member Monday.  It’s a pleasure to feature an excerpt from A.N.G.E.L.S., a novel by Writers Forum member Bob Bliss.  Here’s a little more about Bob.

Dr. Robert W. Bliss is a retired Computer Systems professor.  He taught for 27 years at Saddleback College, in Mission Viejo, California.  Prior to that, he was a technical writer and systems analyst in the computer industry.

His article “Hybrid Computers” made the cover of Machine Design magazine, in October 1977.

McGraw-Hill published his textbook, “Introduction to Computer Information Systems – A Business Approach” in 1990, and Bliss revised it every year until he retired in 2004.

McGraw-Hill published his science-fiction novel, “A.N.G.E.L.S., INC.” in 1998.

Dr. Bliss got all of his college education at night, while working full-time to support his family.  He has an AA degree in Physics from Cerritos College; BA and MBA degrees in Management from California State University, Fullerton; and a Doctorate in the Administration of Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University.

Bliss has made three television series.  In 1988, viewers phoned in questions, which he answered live on his “Computer Talk” show, at KSBR, Saddleback College’s TV station.  In 1989, Saddleback videotaped 28 of his Computer Systems lectures and broadcast them as a telecourse for several years.  In 1990, he made the “Computer Literacy with Dr. Bliss” series, which was filmed at KOCE-TV, the PBS station in Orange County, and was distributed nationally by John Wiley & Sons.

A futurist from an early age, he read his first Sci-Fi story at age seven.  At his high school Science Fair, he lectured on space flight-four years before Sputnik.  In 1968, he won an employee suggestion award for recommending a machine we now call the Fax.  His most recent interests are intelligent robots, and genetic engineering.  While teaching at Saddleback College, he took sabbaticals, where he visited the Artificial Intelligence Lab at M.I.T., the Robotics Institute at Carnegie-Mellon, the Knowledge-Engineering Lab at Stanford, and he studied with Professors teaching Artificial Intelligence in Business Decision Making at Harvard and Dartmouth.

A.N.G.E.L.S.

by Bob Bliss

Sunday morning, he awoke to find her lying beside him, propped up on one elbow, looking at him.  The morning sun streamed in through the tiny window behind her.  Her blonde hair, slightly disheveled, caught the warm, golden rays like a halo around her face.   “You look like an angel, Steph.”  She continued to gaze at him with a warm, loving smile.  “Have you been watching me sleep?”

She nodded and caressed his cheek lightly with her finger-tips.  “I’m falling in love with you, Jack.”

He felt a great surge of warmth, “I love you, too, Steph.”  She bent her head and kissed him with exquisite tenderness.  After a moment, he could taste salt on her lips, and he knew that she had been moved to tears.

When she pulled back, she wiped away the tears with the back of her hand, “I told you I love movies where I can have a good cry.”  They laughed together.  And then they made love.

 * * * * * *

 Later that morning, he sat in the tiny kitchen and sipped his coffee as he watched her make an omelet.  He felt great happiness and contentment.  “Steph, would you like to move in with me?”

She dropped the spatula and rushed to him, “Oh, sweetheart!  Yes!”  She leapt into his arms and he held her for a moment.  Suddenly, she yelped, “Yipes! The eggs!” and rushed back to the stove.  As she stood with her back to him, she wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand.

He walked up behind her, wrapped his arms around her slim waist and nuzzled her neck.  “You are the sweetest, most tender woman I’ve ever known, Steph.  And I love you very much.”

“I know, Sweetheart, but if you keep nuzzling my neck like that, you’re going to get more than an omelet for breakfast.”

 * * * * * *

Jack’s love for Stephanie continued to grow.  After living with her for a few months, he realized they were as close as any married couple he knew.  He never tired of her.  “You’re fun to be with, Sweetheart,” he said.  “Always happy.  Always focusing on the positive.”  She had a wonderful sense of humor.  They became good friends, as well as lovers.  They shared the joy of swimming, running, and just reading quietly together.

On their first Christmas, they had lived together for five months.  They sat at a small tree in the living room, drank eggnog laced with a little bourbon, and listened to Christmas carols.  He pulled a small package out of his pocket and handed it to her.  She quickly peeled away the wrapping paper and saw a small, velvet-covered box.  Her hands trembled a little as she lifted the lid.  And she gasped when she saw the diamond ring.

Before she could speak, he said, “I love you very much, Steph.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?”

She flew into his arms, and the tears started before she could say, “Yes, darling.  With all my heart, yes.”

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

Member Monday: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Duct Tape by Terry O’Connell

Welcome back to Member Monday.  Today wordsmith Terry O’Connell joins us with a humorous essay.  Welcome back, Terry!

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Duct Tape

by Terry O’ Connell

We all know about duct tape. It has thousands of uses and can temporarily repair almost anything. A Star Wars fan once said, “Duct tape is like The Force: it has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.”

The only thing even remotely controversial about duct tape is the name itself.  In pronunciation, the “t” is duct is absorbed by the “t” in “tape” so it sounds like “duck tape.”  To make matters worse, a few years ago a company started marketing duct tape under the brand name “Duck Tape.”

I was appalled and offended.  I wanted those abusers of language brought to justice. And then, quite by accident, I learned, as the saying goes, “the rest of the story.”

The tape was developed for the military during World War II as a water-resistant adhesive. Because it “shed water like a duck’s back” it was originally called “duck tape.” After the war, when many military technologies found civilian applications, the tape was predominantly used to seal ducting in heating and air conditioning systems. It became know as “duct tape” and people have been playing with the name ever since.

Where word play is concerned, even corporate America can have its share of fun. I recently saw a line of colorful, decorative duct tape marketed by the industrial giant Scotch/3M. One of these tapes features a camouflage forest pattern and is called … “Duct Blind.”

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com. Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

A Message From the President: November, 2013

I have several things to comment on this issue.

First is a reminder of our 9th Annual Authors Fair on November 9 at the Mt. Shasta Mall from 10 to 4. We couldstill possibly need volunteers by the time this goes to press, so please check our online volunteer sheet at http://tinyurl.com/kr9h47g. You are encouraged to drop by any time during the event to socialize (and buy books). We have filled the available tables (we are limited to what the Mall provides) with authors from near and far; as far North as Montague, as far East as Reno, and as far South as Alameda.

Next is NaNoWriMo, an acronym for National November Writing Month. It is a free annual novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world. Several Forum members have challenged each other. Details can be found their Website at http://nanowrimo.org/ and once registered, online support is available.

The third announcement is that our dues will increase from $20 to $25 for new members and renewals effective January, 2014. This is the first increase in years and years (I have been a member for nine years and I heard it had been that price long before). We had actually dropped the $15 initiation fee several years ago, but recent increases in the cost of doing business (like the yearly insurance we recently started carrying) have forced our hand.

Last is that I had the honor, and pleasure, of representing Writers Forum at the Harris Studios 24-Hour Scriptwriting Competition the evening after our morning meeting on October 12. It was a blast! From the dozens of writing samples submitted, five were selected. When the competition started Friday, the writers were sequestered for the night; our own Jessica Fletcher Wiechman was among those (by Saturday night she commented that she had been up for 38 hours). Then Saturday morning the teams of three actors and one director started rehearsing their lines, and that night they performed their fifteen minute skits to a packed house at Old City Hall Arts Center. The four judges were chosen from the local community, the audience got to pick their favorite, and at the end plaques were awarded for Audience Fav and Judges’ Critical Acclaim. Jessica’s play, a spoof of the Mad Hatter Tea Party, was the audience favorite.

See ya at the Fair.

Larry Watters,

Writers Forum President

Authors Fair

On November 9, the Ninth Northern California Authors Fair will be held at the Mt. Shasta Mall in Redding, California from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Record Searchlight and funded by a Scripps Howard Foundation Volunteer grant. This event is in lieu of Writers Forum’s regular monthly meeting. Genres include Children’s and Young Adult, Mystery and Fiction, History and Memoir, Travel, Crafts, Self-Help/Realization and more.

All authors will meet the public, answer questions and sell their wares. The Fair has been popular with holiday shoppers seeking gifts for book-loving family members and friends.

Anyone feeling stirred can also enter a “First Sentence” contest to win a prize.

There will be a basket of Local Author Books to be won.

Local award-winning authors in the past have been Linda Boyden, an author/illustrator of children’s books; Charlie Price who won the esteemed mystery Edgar Award in the Young Adult category; Steve Brewer, multi-talented mystery author.

Attendance is free. Participating authors pay a minimal fee for table space. While we have filled all open tables, we still need volunteers to help. For details: email writersforumauthorsfair@gmail.com or call 530-515-4828 to leave a voice mail message.