Was playing with some dialogue and came up with this:

A Graceful Exchange

“So frustrating,” Mrs. Lovejoy sighed as she glanced out her kitchen window to see Bella, her daughter, dancing in six inch stilettos in the family rose garden. She turned her attention back to her guest, the new gardener, whom she had invited to breakfast. “If only she had discipline” Mrs. Lovejoy said, “she could’ve been a principal ballerina instead of a ballroom dancer.”
The gardener looked out the window, her eyes widening at the sight of an attractive, full-figured, locked-hair woman dressed in red and flawlessly executing a pirouette. “Devant. Chassé,” the gardener commented.
You know ballet?” Mrs. Lovejoy asked.
“I do!” the gardener exclaimed with pride.
“May I ask where you studied?” Mrs. Lovejoy inquired and poured her guest a second cup of tea.
The gardener slowly raised the cup to her mouth and smiled. “With disciplined ballroom dancers,” she said.
Mrs. Lovejoy nodded, though slightly embarrassed. “Touché, my dear, touché.” She looked out the window again at her dancing daughter. “She is at least graceful—my Bella.”
“She is,” the gardener agreed. “May I guess who taught her?”
Mrs. Lovejoy gently stirred her tea twice and tapped the rim lightly. She lifted the cup with a thumb and index finger perfectly positioned and her pinkie correctly extended. “This former ballerina, of course,” she answered.
“Principal, no doubt?” the gardener assumed.
Mrs. Lovejoy, with a smile, motioned for her guest to look out the window once more just as Bella glided through a Viennese Waltz turn and ended with a slow, elegant curtsy.
“A rose comes from nothing less than a rose, no doubt?”
The gardener nodded. “Touché, madam, touché.”

A.M. McKnight (March 2019)

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Sprintin’ into 2019

AM McKnight Ebook Collection

Ever heard the saying, “You can’t get anywhere standing still”?  How ’bout, “Don’t think, just do”? Both pop into my head every time I open my latest WIP and look at the word count. Yikes!! A snail with a broken number 2 pencil could eek out more words than I do some days. It never fails, every Christmas holiday is like kryptonite to me. Instead of stroking out dialogue on the laptop, I fixate on things I planned but didn’t do the last eleven months and obsess over a “master plan” for the coming year. It’s tedious thinking and leaves my brain feeling like a deep-fried twinkie cake. (Yuck! Sorry,  but food always finds a way into my work.) Writing, at times, has just been pure, slow labor–without the love.

But as I follow other authors(some new, many well established), I’ve been impressed and inspired. I don’t think there exists any group more supportive and more tenacious than fiction writers (especially romance writers; spend some time on Twitter, and you’ll see exactly what I mean). They know the ups and downs, the joys and pains of trying to plaster our imaginations onto blank pages with enough “fire” that a reader can’t wait to turn the page. They also know the angst of slogging through WIPs when so many other things fight for our attention–like, oh yeah, the fate of our democracy!

So with the help of fellow scribes, I’ve realized a simple remedy : Sometimes you have to look back at what you did accomplish to believe what you will accomplish. Every author started at zero to get to where they are now–whether they’ve written their first or thirty-first novel. I never thought I would’ve self-published two books, a short story, and a vignette when I started writing seven years ago. But anything … no … everything is possible. In the New Year, blank pages will get filled and WIPs will get whipped–into shape(ugh, the agony of editing) ’cause that’s just the way it is.

To authors(beginners and pros), pens up! To readers and reviewers, thank you. To all, happy holidays and all the best.

beverage blur candy candy cane
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

 

 

Cate & Luna’s Love

Cate could feel herself blushing. She and Luna had made love hundreds of times, but the feeling was always new.
With a deep kiss, Cate laid Luna down on the blanket and pressed against her. Luna responded with a soft, sensual moan. The sounds of the stream shared the air with chirping robins and rustling oaks as the women wrapped themselves in each other.
Cate, in a sensual breath, whispered, “Luna—the brightest moon ever.”

Available now at Amazon in eBook: https://amzn.to/2H4Fdqa and Paperback: https://amzn.to/2GKVMtw and at Goodreads: https:///bit.ly/2pZ88nB

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon–Cate & Luna: Love In Changing Times

I know you love strong women and good romance as much as I do. So, here’s a tease from my new novelette that combines both, coming in April 2018. I hope you enjoy meeting Cate & Luna of Savior Hill.

1000 x 650 Cate and Luna

The Virginia mountains, North of the James River, 1916

Sheriff Cate Murphy and Deputy Luna Bell’s love for each other runs as deep as the river valleys and as long as the Appalachian summer days. Best friends since childhood, the two women are true country girls—from the top of their Stetson hats right down to the leather soles of their cowgirl boots.  And life is good in their home town of Savior Hill—a town built by former slaves—where Cate and Luna, two queer women of color, are loved and respected.

Yet, a change is happening—a great migration of colored folks away from the nurturing land and to the big cities, in search of a more dignified way of life. Cate sees the change, and her curiosity is piqued. Maybe she could learn to be a city girl. Luna is having no part of it, though. She’s happily tied to small-town living and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But changing times have a way of teaching new lessons.  Come visit Cate and Luna in Savior Hill.

Excerpt:

A pale white moth fluttering over the campfire broke Cate’s stare just as Luna turned around.

“I make my appearance before the Lord every Sunday,” Cate said before taking in another spoonful of stew.

“Stickin’ your head in the front doors to say ‘Good mornin’’ to the choir and flickin’ a penny in the collection plate is not ‘makin’ an appearance,’ ” Luna said and wagged her finger. She walked over to her horse, Timber—a quiet, silky gray gelding that was tied up next to Magic. Luna fed Timber a piece of cornbread and patted him on his head before sitting down and facing Cate with her legs crossed also. “Shame on you too,” she added, “for tryin’ to bribe your way out of Ms. Pearl’s Sunday school class by offerin’ to buy one of her pies.”

Cate hung her head in mock guilt. “I confess, Your Honor. But in my defense, I have volunteered to help at the next church picnic.”

“You volunteered?” Luna asked with a raised brow. “To do what?”

“The most important job at a church picnic, of course—official pie taster!”

They both laughed out loud as Timber and Magic gave head bobs. As they sat and ate, Cate gazed up at the night sky and spotted a shooting star.

“Make a wish,” she said and pointed.

“A wish?” Luna looked.

“On a shooting star.”

Luna closed her eyes. “I wish the little devil that made hay fever gets struck by lightning while cleaning his pitchfork.” 

Cate laughed and patted Luna on the knee. “I promise this is the last time I let Sheriff Lucas talk me into roundin’ up those Dooley brothers again.”

“Liar. You know you’ve got a soft spot for that old rascal who’s too dang lazy to chase down those drunkards after they raise hell and skip out on their saloon tab. This is the fifth time in a year we’ve tracked and dragged their sorry behinds back to his jail.”

“He did offer us supper when we dropped the brothers off at his jail,” Cate said, “and he always says, ‘Thanks, Catie girl,’ with the biggest smile.”

“He’s got you wrapped round his finger.” Luna leaned forward and pulled Cate closer by the front of her shirt. “And I know you keep doin’ it ‘cause you like us bein’ out here all alone.” She quickly kissed Cate once, then twice.

It was true. Cate cherished the times that she and Luna were by themselves, so they could be themselves—two women who deeply loved and desired each other. Rumor had it that the Sheriff of Savior Hill preferred the company of women, but no one—other than her parents—had dared to ask Cate directly. The Murphys admitted  not understanding their daughter “takin’ a shine” to Luna. At first, they thought it was childish infatuation because the two had been inseparable as kids. But the two grew closer and closer as they matured, and it was obvious that Cate had no interest in being courted by any gentlemen callers. Any and all who were encouraged by Abel Murphy to try, had been summarily dismissed by his daughter—and her six-shooter.  

When Cate and Luna decided to live together, they did it under the guise of two childhood friends wanting to be “roommates” who were destined to be old spinsters. But they had each other, and having each other meant more than anything else in the world to them.

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Writing from the heart

Reblogged from Women and Words

Women and Words

Surviving our national challenge of 2017 has taught me something important about writing. Not just any writing—our writing. Our stories. Queer, feminist, black, white, survivor, triumphant, unique and challenging stories. The lessons of our life told through our fiction and poetry and lyrics.

We live in uncertain, volatile times. Everyday brings another assault on our freedoms. And if you’re like me, you feel as if you might go crazy because it seems nobody is listening outside of our families of choice or our liberal, literary communities. The rest of the world I inhabit doesn’t want to hear my warning cries. I feel unheard. Our rights are increasingly endangered and they couldn’t care less.

I know now this is the time for artists to dig deep. Telling our stories feels urgent and necessary now more than ever in times like these. Because story is how we translate the personal into messages…

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