For NaPoWriMo Day 26, the Prompt is: “to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.” I’m combining with Bikurgurl’s Week 67 for #100WordWednesdays.
1. Sarah, Please Tell Us About Yourself? What Are Your Writing and Blogging Goals? What Do You Hope to Accomplish by Writing?
My name is Sarah Whiley and I live in north-east Victoria, in Australia. My blog is: ‘By Sarah. I’m a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students.
In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right. This is what I am hoping to accomplish by writing and blogging. I am so fortunate to live where I do. They don’t call Australia the “lucky country” for nothing!
2. Tell Us About Where You Live and What You Love About It?
I’m originally a city girl from Canberra, and later, Melbourne. I have enjoyed the spoils of both cities’ such as the cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants, nightlife, and their unique cultures.
When I met my husband and moved to the country! I love the wide- open spaces, the varying landscapes and the bush. I am now an avid bushwalker and spend most weekends out and about, communing with nature.
“I am a primary school teacher of 17 years and have taught all ages from 5 to 12 years old. I have always loved writing since I could pick up a pencil and create. I am passionate about instilling this same love of writing in my students. In order to do that, it is important that I see myself as a writer – as an author in my own right.” – By Sarah Whiley
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does Writing Mean to You?
My journey with blogging began five years ago, after a series of personal setbacks and issues. I commenced blogging primarily, as a cathartic experience to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. Once I no longer ‘needed’ my blog, I had a small break, however always felt something was ‘missing.’
After attending professional development for helping me teach writing, I realized, the hole that blogging and writing had left in my life!
I started my blog, ‘By Sarah,’ to explore my own creative writing, to explore myself, and my talent for writing. I have, particularly, enjoyed writing short stories and poetry. An unexpected bonus to continued blogging has been the great friendships I’ve gained in the WordPress community; I have established so many along the way.
4. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue Writing and Blogging? Why Is It Vital for you to Keep on Writing?
I have some seeds of ideas stashed away in my writer’s notebook. I tend to work on these pieces over a long period of time. For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it’s important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.
Moreover, as a teacher, it is easy to get stuck in a cycle of hyper-vigilance and not to give yourself enough ‘down time’. I find a variety of prompts extremely helpful for motivating and inspiring writing for myself and in my teaching.
As well, I have a schedule of sorts and I endeavor to write every day aside from Wednesdays (which is my ‘well-being-do-nothing’ night!
“For other ideas, I rely on a range of prompts. I feel it is important to write regularly in order to develop my skills and continue to write and maintain it as a habit. Also, I experience a great degree of stress relief from writing.” – Sarah Whiley
5. What Are Your Writing and Blogging Habits? Do You Prefer Writing a Certain Time of Day?
I set aside time each day to write. Usually, I can be found on the couch with a dog or two keeping me company, along with some background noise from the TV (I am one of these people who can’t concentrate when it’s quiet). I enjoy writing poetry most. I have a knack for rhyme and rhythm and find it easy to whip up a poem.
As well, I have been challenging myself to explore other types of writing and short stories to extend my skills. I don’t write in the mornings as I am in a rush for time once I wake up. I rush out the door to teach school, but I write after dinner, sometime between 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. at night. I find Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my busiest and most productive days.
6. What Are Your Most Current Writing or Blogging Projects? Do You Have Projects Outside of Your Blog Involving Writing? Do You Plan on Publishing Any Writing in the Future?
Currently, I am undertaking Sammi Cox’s ‘A Month of Mini Writing Challenges’ and have am the new host for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s ‘Saturday Mix’. Outside of my
blog, I keep a writer’s notebook and am busy maintaining a Class Dojo Story (similar to a blog) for my classroom.
I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.
“I will soon be published as a feature writer in Linda J. Wolff’s upcoming eBook. Linda runs a fantastic Urban Poetry site and I was the winner of her Fibonacci poetry competition earlier this year. At the end of the year, I plan to convert my blog posts for 2017 into a self-published collection for family, friends, and anyone else interested.” – Sarah Whiley
7. Can you Briefly Describe Your Writing Process? What Do You Think Will Be Your Process of Self-Publishing Your Writing?
Being a teacher, I find the writing process natural and not something I have to think too hard about. Storytelling and explaining my ideas is something I innately do. Upon analysis of my writing, though, I definitely follow six-traits in my writing process including ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.
After I am happy with a final piece, I often bounce it off my husband or my mum, seeking their feedback. They are a tremendous help to me and improve the end result of my stories and poems and their overall flow. When I self-publish at the end of the year, I am investigating the use of the ‘Blook-Up Service.‘ (As Sarah gave me these answers super-quick back at the end of August or September, please ask her about the progress of her book and her published poem!!).
8. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing and Reading Genres? And Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers Starting Out?
Well, I’m definitely drawn to the dark, somewhat macabre styles of writing. My pieces often take a dark turn or have a twist at the end. I am not a fan of science-fiction or fantasy, at all, but I prefer supernatural, horror, thriller, crime, mystery, drama, historical, and biographical works.
My advice for new bloggers is:
Write what you know. Capturing a small moment in time can sometimes produce the best piece of writing! Also, go with the flow….literally! Don’t overthink it. Go with your ‘stream-of-consciousness’ and see where it leads.
Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.
Find like-minded people. Better to have fewer blog followers and likes, and better to have more feedback from those few who ‘get’ you and your writing, those who appreciate your efforts! Quality not quantity as they say.” Sarah Whiley
9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us About Writing Or Yourself?
My experiences growing up in a large family and my relationships with my siblings have certainly shaped many of my ideas and stories! I am the eldest of six children (No, we are not Catholic!). My mum just wanted another son and kept trying until she got one! It’s ironic how she wanted four boys…she ended up with four girls! Despite the large age gaps between some of us, we are reasonably close and hang out together and, at times, travel together.
Also, I LOVE to travel. Whether it be exploring local gems, interstate expeditions or overseas adventures. I am curious and interested in the world around me. I soak up information and facts like a sponge (you never know when they’ll come in handy for a trivia night!) I enjoy nothing more than experiencing new things. I adore the outdoors and take every chance (money permitting of course!) to jump on a plane and go somewhere different.
As well, I love New Zealand and have holidayed there four times now – with plans to go back! I have also traveled to the US (including Hawaii), England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and Indonesia. All of these factors have helped develop my writing.
10. Can You Briefly Tell Us About Some of Your Favorite Blogs? What Do You Like Most About Them?
Gosh, it’s hard to name a few. There are a lot of my WordPress friends whose work I truly respect and enjoy. But, if I have to narrow it down, I would have to say:
Jane Dougherty Writes – Jane has a wonderful turn of phrase and is able to use colorful words to create great imagery in her poems and stories.
God’s Chair – Jael Sook is an engaging and diverse poet and writer and I thoroughly enjoy her work, anticipating each post she makes.
RedStuffDan – Dan is an incredibly artistic photographer. His subjects include Bordeaux vineyards, local village life, architecture, doors, mirrored
images and digital photography as art.
11. Can You Please Share With Us a Few Links from Your Blogs:
My summer holiday in Hobart, Tasmania had not begun quite as I had expected. A thunderstorm, a severely delayed flight, and an inaccessible hostel topped off with some bitterly cold weather that I had most definitely not packed for. Finding myself with a few hours to spare, I decided that a stroll around the CBD to orient myself was in order.
The gathering, dark clouds had other ideas.
I had no sooner ventured out onto the streets when the skies opened and a torrential downpour began. Cursing, I sought cover under the awnings of the few shops that had them.
And that’s when I saw it from across the street. ‘Lark Distillery’.
I have never been a whiskey drinker, but I could not resist the pull of the plume of smoke coming from the chimney, nor the cozy 1800’s building that housed it. I ran across to the front door and pushed it open.
Immediately, a warm, yeasty aroma hit me. Unsurprisingly, I was the only patron. The young man behind the ba took in my sodden, street-urchin appearance, and without a trace of disdain, offered me a tasting.
‘But I don’t really drink whisky,’ I protested. ‘Can I just stay in here until the rain passes?’
‘Sure,’ he replied. ‘But why not have a little taste, just to pass the time?’
He took a glass and bottle from the shelf behind him and sang a few lyrics of the Metallica song, ‘There’s whisky in the jar oh.’ He winked, and with that, I took a seat at the bar. I felt somewhat lonely amongst the long row of empty bar stools. Clearly, they were used to a greater custom.
‘So what would you like to try?’ he asked.
‘I’m in your hands,’ I admitted. ‘What would you recommend?’
‘Let’s start with the single malt. It’s a classic,’ he advised.
He poured a sample into the glass. The glug-glug and almost syrupy quality of the liquid was mesmerising.
‘This whisky is double distilled in locally crafted copper-pot stills and aged in small, 100 litre oak casks. We store our spirits for 5-8 years in smaller barrels for faster maturation,’ he explained.
I took a sip and promptly spluttered. He laughed.
‘Try throwing it back in one go,’ he suggested.
So I did.
After the initial burning sensation and urge to cough, the most amazingly delicious warmth spread from my belly to my brow.
‘Mmmm,’ I approved. ‘Nice. Smooth.’
‘Well if you like that, you’ll love the cask strength. It’s got the same smoothness but is more full bodied due to a higher percentage of Tasmanian malt. It bursts across the palate with hints of maple syrup and sweet notes of highland peat.’
‘Right,’ I said, not having a clue what that meant. Irrespectively, I nudged my glass forward and said, ‘Hit me.’
And I threw that back too.
This bloke knows what he’s talking about, I thought. It was amazing. My palate was dancing and my whole body was alive. The rain outside had faded away, and I felt all toasty and warm and happy.
‘How much alcohol is in this?’ I demanded.
‘58%’ he replied, with a twinkle in his eye, as if he knew that I was feeling tipsy already. ‘How ’bout we mix it up a little? Wanna try some gin?’
‘Gin?’ I replied with enthusiasm. Now we were speaking my language! ‘Oh yes please! Definitely’.
Again, I pushed my glass forward.
‘Now, here at Lark, we do a gin each season,’ he explained, ‘that way we can capitalise on the unique flavours available at different times of the year. This one is our summer release.’ He poured a more than generous sample.
This time, before I drank, I lifted the glass to my nose. The aromas were incredible. Bold and beautifully sweet, I inhaled a balance of citrus and rosewater with undertones of juniper and coriander. It made me think of the warmth of the summer sun. It was almost as if I could feel it on my skin.
I drank and closed my eyes with satisfaction.
‘That was good.‘ I could hear my voice starting to lilt and slur with the effects of the high alcohol content. I sat with the gin in my hand and sipped from the glass again and again. As if wanting to savour it but devour it at the same time, until every drop was gone. I couldn’t wait to see what was next.
‘This is slainte,’ he declared. ‘This is very, very special. It was developed by one of our owners in response to the strong demand for a unique Australian whisky liqueur. Slainte is the marriage of our single malt whisky and a distilled spirit of herbs and spices. The two are carefully combined to give a complexity of character, spiciness and sweetness, while maintaining the overtones of the whisky.’
I could listen to this guy talk all day! I thought. Such passion for the product.
My head was swirling, and I though I still didn’t fully understand what this whisky was all about, I had decided I liked it. Very much. I slid my glass towards him.
‘Now, Tasi,’ he began, as he pulled out a new bottle from behind the counter, ‘Tasi is something different altogether.’
‘What is it?’ I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.
‘Tasi is a unique herbal liqueur derived from a single native Tasmanian berry.’
‘I know about the Tasi berry!’ I interjected, surprisingly myself. ‘It’s actually called a Myrtus berry isn’t it?’
‘Yes, that’s right. It’s unique to Tasmania. So this really is something you can’t find anywhere else,’ he was speaking almost reverently. ‘Pass me your glass.’
Unlike any of the other tastings, he first scooped up some ice cubes and placed then delicately in the bottom of my glass. Intrigued, I leant forward as he carefully poured. Tasi was a glorious deep yellow in colour and looked like liquid gold, flowing over iridescent rocks.
I will never forget that first mouthful. It was as if the liqueur curled around every inch of my teeth and gums. It stuck to my tongue and was like treacle down my throat. That liquid gold coated every surface it touched within my body and I felt like royalty. I smacked my lips approvingly and even moaned out loud. I appreciated every last golden drop and licked the ice cubes once my glass was drained.
It was THAT good.
I bought three bottles and thanked him for his time, his advice and his expertise. The bottles clinked as I pulled the door open and reentered the world outside.
Thank you so much to Sarah for filling out the interview questions and providing such honest and thoughtful answers. I’m so sorry it took so long to put the interview together. This last past year has been crazy. Make sure to check out Sarah’s Blog: By Sarah.
I should have another interview out in the next couple of weeks, with no promises. If you would like to be interviewed and are a writer or blogger or if you blog for a cause, please reach out to me through my Contact Page. If you’re a regular, you’ll notice I’m playing around with my blog to update my theme. The Contact Page info also needs to be updated eventually.
I’m going to continue with my one of my Tale Weaver prompts with a modern rendition of Red Riding Hood with the main character, Red, who has just met Axel.J. Wolff or ‘Wolff’ in her grandmother’s house. Wolff is house-sitting for grandma Addy who is in Hawaii with Wolff’s Grandpa Reggie. Things were heating up for them at the end, I wonder what will happen when they get to the park?
She shouldn’t have run but that’s what she did. Wolff offered her his hand and invited her to keep him company and she panicked.
“The rest of the food is in the fridge,” she said ignoring Wolff’s outstretched hand. She turned towards Gran Addy’s bedroom door before Wolff could capture her hands again.
He was gorgeous with shamrock green eyes and tanned skin, probably from being out on the golf course but well, who was she to judge. She had had to learn to golf for work herself but instead of tanning her fair skin on the he course, her skinned often burned.
Red was alarmed she didn’t want to resist Wolff. He had gazed at her as if she were prey, looking her up and down as she found herself caught betweeen him and freedom through Gran’s bedroom door. He had licked his lips and stretched his arms above his head.
As if Red, wouldn’t notice his taut muscles and the pleased grin on his face. His teeth showed as he grinned as if Wolff thought she would give into him like weak prey. But Red wasn’t weak. No one had called her that for a long time. Red was strong. She was first in her class at Columbia and the best young associate at her firm.
Just the same, when Wolff asked Red to stay she backed up and tripped over her flats caught on the carpet. Then, getting up before Wolff could help her, she took off out the front door towards the safety of her red Coralla.
As she drove off, Red saw Wolff leaning against her grandmother’s front door, smiling at her. There was no doubt his gaze was predatory.
Thick lust and heat coursed through her veins as she backed up her car trying to force herself to calm down. Wolff waved and Red’s tires squeeled as she took off down the gravel road towards her family’s summer cottage and safety.
When Red walked in the cottage her mom appeared surprised to see her, “Gina? I’m surprised you’re home so early. Your Grandma called and said you were having a wonderful time with Reggie’s Grandson Wolff. I thought you’d be a while,” Anne said raising her eyebrows.
“Um, he’s fine. Wolff appreciated the food.”
Then Red got mad, “You should’ve told me Grandma Addy was in Hawaii with Reggie. Wolff scared the h*ll out of me. I didn’t know what he was doing in Gran’s bedroom.”
“Oh, Gran said she had the biggest bedroom. Reggie and she are gone for three months so she felt Wolff should have the biggest room in her house. She bought some manly bedding and packed away her old trinkets. He’s been so good to your Gran and Reggie.”
“You should have said something. I hate being surpised like that. I almost screamed bloody murder. I don’t need you or Gran to set me up like that. I’m a single girl and I like it.”
Red’s mom chuckled, “Most unattached women say that until they meet a great guy. Axel has his demons behind him and needs to settle down. Well, that’s what your Gran and Reggie said. It was their idea for you to bring him food. I thought it was a great one, ” Anne said winking.
Red stomped her foot, ” I get to choose who I want to date or meet. I mean, he was half naked in Gran’s room. Who does he think he is trying to shut me up before I tell him to get out? He shouldn’t be in there, doesn’t matter what Gran Addy thinks. Doesn’t he have a job and his own place?”
Anne chuckled again, ” He was half naked, eh? I would’ve loved to have seen that. I’ve seen Axel on the beach a few times and that man works out. Such intense green eyes, an Irish background, a hot body, and helpful to his Grandpa, sounds sexy to me. If I was a bit younger, I’d go for him.”
“Mom!” Red said shocked.
“He likes you, you know?”
“Does not. He doesn’t even know me.He just wants what ‘all ‘guys want.”
‘Did he ask you to stay?”
“Yeah, he did. But I panicked. I never panick. I’m cool under pressure. That’s why I’m good at my job,” Red said confused.
“You ran, didn’t you? Took off like Little Red Riding Hood being chased by the big bad ‘Wolff?” Anne said laughing a her joke.
“I did. Not quite like that though. How did you know?”
“You look anxious and I know you well. What did you think was going to happen?” Anne said enjoying teasing her daughter.
“Stop it, mom. I can’t handle a guy like Wolff now. Too hungry, the kind of guy who wants too much. I’ve plenty of options in the city.”
“Yet, you don’t date much,” Anne murmered.
Red stomped her food again, “I’m fine. I’m going to bed. Don’t bother with breakfast for me tomorrow. I’m going for a run in the park when I wake up, a long one.”
Anne chuckled,”I’d be careful if I were you. Axel Wolff likes to run in the park in the mornings too.”
“Well, I’ll go running tonight then. The sun’s up for a few more hours.”
“Red, don’t go. You’re all worked up for no reason and you haven’t had dinner, have you?”
“No, I’m fine. I’ll eat after I’m back.”
Red left the family cottage slamming the back door. She changed into her running clothes in her car and made a beeline for the park a few blocks away. When she was half-way down one paved trail she stopped abruptly.
Wolff was sitting on a park bench in his own running clothes. He had taken his shirt off, and Red could see his fascinating tattoos. She wondered what they were images of and what they meant.
Her eyes were glued to Wolff, wiping the sweat off his body with a towel. For some reason, her mouth was dry. She felt heat flowing through her veins again. It was an overpowering sensation.
Shaking her head, Red noticed she had stopped running entranced by Wolff’s body and shamrock green eyes. He gazed up at her and stared.
Wolff’s lips curled into a half-smile, “Surprised to see you here?”
“What are ‘you’ doing here?” Red asked instead.
“Had to wear off supper. But I’m hungry again. Did you come to help me with that?”
“Not really. But . . . ”
Wolff cut her off, “You do have big eyes, Red. They’re beautiful and so are you. Sit, talk with me.”
Red was ready to run but then Wolff was in front of her as in Gran Addy’s room. He grasped her wrist gently. Red could tell he wasn’t afraid of confrontation. For some reason he made her feel okay with backing down. No other guy did that.
She pulled and tugged but Wolff wouldn’t let her wrist go. She was disgusted with herself for not smacking his amused face.
“You, you just want to eat me up with your big teeth,” she said fumbling to find words.
Wolff laughed, “It’s not my teeth you should be worried about.”
Red tried pulled away from Wolff again. By then, Wolff had guided her to the park bench without her realizing it. Putting on his shirt back on he turned to her. He still grasped her same wrist and hand gently, “So, tell me something Red?”
Red’s eyes dilated, growing larger and bluer. Wolff stroked her cheek with his other hand.
Red was tired, worn out from helping her mother clean up the summer cottage. They had scrubbed it from top to bottom. Now that Red and her mother, Anne, were nearly done, all Red wanted to do was sit back and watch a movie with a bottle of her favourite ‘Red’ — a nice Cab-Sav or a Merlot.
Then, her mom appeared with a picnic basket, “Gina, I know you’re tired and we’ve been working all day, but I need you to take this basket of food down to your Grandma Addy’s house. She’ll be upset if one of us doesn’t at least pop by for an hour or two to visit.”
Red crossed her arms, “Mom, all I want to do is put my feet up and rest. I came out here to relax with you, Dad, and Michael, not to work even harder than I do at the firm. Besides, no one calls me Gina, just you. Call my Red that’s my name , like my hair.”
“Well who do you think your beautiful hair came from? My mother, your Gran Adeline of course. I know you’re worn out but you’re younger and have my energy than I do. I still have to change the sheets and air out the upstairs bedrooms for your father and I, and your brother’s room needs new bedding as well.”
“Make him do it.”
“Mike won’t care. I can’t have his room that way.”
Red grumbled, “Grandma’s a fantastic cook, mom. She makes amazing food for herself. She eats whatever she likes and doesn’t have diabeties even at eighty-three. How about I give her a call and tell her I’ll come by with lunch tomorrow? She’ll prefer I call before showing up,” Red reasoned.
“Err, Red, your Grandma isn’t always as healthy as she likes to think she is. I was down here earlier this year because she hadn’t been able to cook and do a lot of her usual activities. Her arthritis has been acting up. It’s not healthy for her to be too thin at her age and she refuses to take the steroids the doctor prescribed her. She needs the food tonight. I called her and she told me she’s been eating toast and jam for days.”
Red was shocked, “You should have said something earlier, I would have visited Gran Addy before now.”
Anne shrugged in apology and Red gave her mother an angry look tbefore stockng out the front door to her Camry. It was red like her hair and practical. Red was nothing if not practical. It was why she was one of the best associates at her law firm.
She drove as fast as she could down the dirt road to her Grandma’s quaint house. Red gritted her teeth as stones assaulted the sides of her car and sighed in relief when she reached her Grandmother’s front drive and bungalow.
She picked up the picnic basket from her back seat and knocked on her Grandma’s aubergine front door. “Gran, are you there? It’s Red, I have food mom made for you. It ‘s delicious and should tide you over for a few days. I can bring more when I’m over next,” she yelled through the door.
Red didn’t hear a response so she tried the door handle. When the front door opened easily Red grew cautious. She walked inside her grandmother’s front entrance, hanging up her vermillion jacket on a coat hook and putting most of the food away in her gran’s fridge. She put together a plate of chicken, potatoes, gravy, and cauliflower with cheese sauce for her grandma before heating the food in the microwave for a few minutes.
“Adeline?” Red called. “Grandma Addy? I have supper for you from my my mom. It’s Red, Grandma? Are you okay?”
She walked down the hallway and knocked on her grandma’s bedroom door holding the tray with the steaming plate of food and a cup of her gran’s favourite tea. The door swung open on its own and Red realized her Grandma Addy wasn’t in her bedroom. But who was?
Red shrieked when a half naked man came into view stretching his well defined arms and back in front of her grandma’s picture window. The man was covered with intricate tattoos, designs trailing up his well toned arms and back.
He seemed to know she was there and when he turned around Red almost drooled noticing the attractive man’s six-pack abs and mesmerizing shamrock eyes. She had to close her own cerulean eyes to gather herself and not clumsily drop the tray of food. Red felt her grip wobbling as she tried to breath.
The gorgeous tattoo covered man rushed forward to help her. Red noticed his dark hair and inhaled his fresh woodsy scent as he grasped the tray from Red’s shaking hands.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“No! No I am not. What the Hell are you doing in my Grandma’s bedroom? Where is she? My mom sent me over here to bring her food. All she’s been doing is eating toast all week. So where is she? And who are?” Red yelled.
The man tried to calm her rubbing her arms and hushing her. Red didn’t back down, “You have five seconds before I call the police and tell them you’re trespassing in my Grandma’s home. Guess what else? I’m a lawyer so I’m going to make sure we sue you for trespassing and anything else I can.”
The man sighed shaking his head at Red. She followed him to her Gran’s writing desk, tray in hand. His handsome face crinkled as he gave her a genuine smile and took the tray from her. Red started to shout again but the man placed his hand over Red’s mouth.
“Just give me five minutes. I’ll clear this all up.”
Red wrinkled her nose and grasping his hand over her mouth, threw it away from her.
Then his hand was back over her mouth, “Okay, Miss lawyer. My name is Wolff, Axel J. Wolff. But everyone calls me Wolff. Your Grandma asked me to house-sit while she and my grandpa Reggie went to Hawaii. They used to go out before both of them married their respective spouses. But now your Grandpa and my Nana have died so Addy and Reggie are both enjoying life together. I’m not trespassing and your Grandma did call your mom to tell her to send you over with food for me. I’m pretty sure she wanted us to meet.”
Wolff smiled then picked up the fork from the tray and started eating. “This is amazing. Not as good as Addy’s cooking but much better than my own. Did you make it?”
All Red could do was stare at Wolff suspiciously. Something about what he said didn’t add up. Her Grandma always told her if she was going away. She would’ve mentioned something on their twice weekly phone calls.
“Wolff,” Addy said. “If your Grandpa Reggie lives here, how come I don’t know you? My family’s summer cottage is not far from here on the lake and I remember your Grandpa and even your Dad here in the summer. But I don’t remember you?”
“All the children and grandchildren came down here in the summer for at least a few weeks. I would remember you were Reggie’s grandson. Your Grandpa always gave me twizzlers, but I don’t recall you for some reason, why is that?”
The back of Wolf’s free hand grazed Red’s cheek. He smiled at her taking in her sweet appearance with a predatoral gaze. His eyes swept her face and down her body several times. Red felt her body flush responding to the hunger in his eyes. She couldn’t help but admire his fit body and perfectly structured face. Red bit her lip and Wolff echoed her reaction to him.
” I saw you a few times growing up. You’re around ten years younger than me so that’s probably why you wouldn’t have seen me. Beside, most of the time I was away at military school and then I was in the marines for a while. We didn’t get much of a summer break.”
Wolff set the tray aside and stared into Red’s dazed eyes, “What big eyes you have, Gina. Do you believe me? About Addy and Reggie?
“My name’s Red. Has been since I was eight. I hate Gina. I believe you but how’d you know my real name?”
“Addy of course. Red, would you like to keep me company?” His eyes travelled down her body and up to her mouth, devouring her as he went.
“Whose the one with big eyes now?” Red asked.
“The better to see you with,” Wolff replied.
” I don’t know if I believe a word out of your mouth,” Red said observing Wolff with careful curiosity.
Then his shamrock eyes glimmered and he held out his hand to Red. His smile was indeed wolffish and Red’s pulse raced as he took her small hand in his own.
Coastal style interior design can be defined diversely depending on where a person lives in the world. The Tropical coastal style emerged from “Hawaii, Polynesia, and many places near the Pacific” Ocean. It is decor style that is popular in homes across the world. Tropical coastal style, also known as ‘Island style,’ usually “reflects the customs, colors, and beliefs of a place’s native peoples” such as in the Hawaiian islands. “Bright, tropical patterns, natural elements such as teak and other woods, and cultural and nautical decor,” define this coastal style.
Moreover, Mediterranean Coastal style, in particular, is a home decor style with history going back for centuries. It has been used and adapted all the world but especially is found where it originated in Greece, as well as coastal towns in Spain and Italy. Mediaterrian coastal style includes a great deal of natural light, brilliant “sunbaked colors” with “terra cotta, heavy woods, black iron or metals, and carved detailing.”
American coastal style or Florida style (which I am discussing in this post) is about “relaxation and comfort,” at it’s core. It is currently, “one of the most popular decorating styles” in the U.S and in Canada and is also “quickly growing and branching” out into “sub-styles such as ‘Cottage Coastal style,’ and ‘Contemporary Coastal style.'” American coastal style as a whole may include aspects from these branches.
Florida style incorporates clean lines and materials that are natural with simple textures. A neutral background including smooth steel, wood, and woven materials are also key to achieving this look. Textiles and surface materials used in coastal style are durable and include colors such as “clear blues, sea greens, creamy whites, beiges,” other tints and shades of white and even soft gray. While coastal style homes are usually warm and relaxed some people do prefer a cooler color pallet.
My preference for both paint colors and major living room furniture, especially pieces such as couches or large comfy chairs, would be to choose neutral colors in durable fabrics as a background for more colorful decor. Neutral furniture works well for indoor or outdoor living areas as brighter colours can always be added through decorative pillows, nautical or sea themed objects, (etc).
As well, paint colors could be a warm antique white or a clearer nautical white. Subtle tints of blue, sea green, and coral would also work well for paint colors that provide a soothing feeling as if you were in an elegant but comfortable cottage.
I have always found shades of light blue, turquoise, and soft green to be luxurious and peaceful so it is not surprising that these colors are especially found in coastal design. Despite the lakeside or seaside cottage ambience, this style is also uncluttered and decorative pieces and textures should be chosen carefully. As well, if colors of the sea in light blues and greens against neutrals are not your cup of tea, coral shades and tints can create an interesting Florida design style with a more brightness.
As well, coastal style often includes prints stripes and patterns that can be bold and large, based around navel and seaside themes as well as items synonymous with Florida, and other cottage decor. As in any living room or seating area, a chair or two that contrasts against neutral colors is key outside or inside. As well, decorative pillows in a range of the color pallet can provide a room with more vivacity, texture, and key focal points. A blue or gray rug on the floor can also add subtle color and pattern. Rugs in sand shades with a beachy texture like a beach mat or some a courser material are wonderful too.
My own preference for larger pieces of furniture in the Florida style that aren’t coaches or chairs but actual wooden furniture, leans towards restored furniture or furniture that has the appearance of being restored. Colorful light blue and turquoise mid-century furniture made out of natural wood can pop against neutral walls and couches.
If you prefer, beach-like drift wood furniture works well and as does worn looking dark wood. Considering the flooring of a coastal home would also be important to determine what kind of larger cabinets, tables, (etc)., a person would choose. A darker stained wood floor for contrast with neutral walls would be anchoring. But a lighter floor that is more like a ‘sea worn’ wood would keep your home more peaceful. I enjoy painted wood furniture that has been repurposed or has that appearance myself, with darker wood floors.
Moreover, focal points or places that draw the eye to them can be created with statement art, special furniture pieces, and carefully chosen decorative ornaments. As well, nautical and beach accents such as shells, coral, sea creatures, and sea or cottage themed paintings or artwork, brighten up the laid back coastal style. I’ll note again that an uncluttered appearance is key to the style so no hoarding ornaments or decorative items and placing them everywhere. A refined cottage style retaining a tranquil and relaxing environment with an elegant sense of design is the vital. Pops of color here and there are important; however, because they help to avoid manotomy and to provide visual appeal.
Light through large windows is also significant in the contemporary coastal look because we want to keep a house bright and airy so if you are designing a home or looking for a home to decorate in the Florida style, large windows would be a wise investment. Not to mention, new windows will save you money on your power and heating bills in places where the weather becomes colder.
As well, sufficient indoor lighting is beneficial to creating the perfect ambiance. A mix of elegant metal and nautical inspired chandeliers over the dining table and in various rooms, contrast with the laid back Florida or coastal style. Table lamps for lights near chairs to read as well as to provide more lighting at night are also essential.
When designing a coastal themed kitchen it is important to keep things light and airy, carrying in color schemes from other rooms in the house. The kitchen should feel open while maintaining a coastal themed color pallet such as light blue, coral, ocean-like colors, or nautical themed hues.
White or off-white is a great choice for cupboards perhaps some with some glass in the cupboard doors. Also kitchen paint colors in light tints of blue, green, coral, in sand, and white or off-white keep a room neutral in the background.
As well, having a kitchen bar enhances the refined cottage look providing a casual place eat, but also to incorporate bright pops of color on the bar stools or on the bar top. A backsplash is also a vital place to play around with brighter shades of light blue, turquoise, navy, or coral. Perhaps only certain tiles could be vivid acting as accents in the kitchen or in a bathroom.
As well, curtains or shades in the kitchen and everywhere in the house, can contribute to having a light airy feeling through out. Curtains should not be too heavy or dark but in lighter shades or tints of the colour scheme. Sheer curtains, cotton-like, or fabrics reminiscent of nautical sails and or other nautical materials, all contribute to the coastal style.
Also, a similar design in the kitchen can be followed in places such as the bathroom and laundry room, incorporating coastal colors, textures, and tones while keeping most of the space neutral. Remembers pops of color or accents are essential in neutral spaces but should not be overdone.
Florida or coastal themed bedrooms share similarities with the other rooms in the house creating more continuity of style. The key if you are decorating your entire home in coastal style is to keep the flow from room to room without overdoing the trend. Oceanlike, comfortable, and calm surrounding are essential to recreating the effect of the luxury or a refined cottage theme for the Florida style in your own home. Bedrooms in particular should be cozy, comfortable, yet stylish.
All in all the coastal or Florida style throughout a home should keep a color palette in mind, think about flow, and how certain Colorado and hues blend with each other and neutral walls and bigger pieces of furniture. As a whole coastal style seeks to be a place people can return home to and feel at rest as if they can relax and forget about their day in their own place of a seaside haven.
Whether you prefer coastal decor or the the use of tropical vibrant colors, you can find inspiration by checking out Florida real estate for more ideas of how to bring an outdoor feeling into your home.
He was happy and content, floating amidst graduations of colour. He had never felt such tranquility in life.
He was awake suddenly and strolling on a picturesque beach. White sand almost burned his feet but he buried his toes down into the sand, and his feet cooled.
Gazing down at himself he saw he was only wearing swim trunks and a white T-Shirt. Sunglasses adorned his eyes and he knew it was his favourite pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses he broke some time ago he remembered. How odd they were in one piece now.
He languidly walked through the surf on the beach. Was he on vacation? He couldn’t recall. He didn’t even know what he was named. It was slipping his mind. How could he not know his own identity?
Sleep had held him in her vivid colours and luminescence for ages. His mind was foggy and he had forgotten details of his life he thought he should know.
In his mind, he kept seeing her . . . Nina. His beautiful blond haired girl smiling with pretty pink lips. He knew Nina had helped him break his curse because he loved her. He hadn’t loved anyone as much he loved her, ever.
Wait, he had been cursed? He couldn’t recall why.
But he pictured beautiful Nina in a pink bikini and grinned. He wished she was here so they could be alone and he could sip Corona and talk with her.
He’d convince her to go into one of the two cabanas where he could touch her smooth creamy skin. He’d remove the pink bikini that was the same shade of pink of the heels she worn when they first met… How had they met?
He sighed, lonely at the thought of not being able to be with Nina. He was by himself here on a fabulous beach which stretched for miles either way.
There was a cottage up some stone steps where he had been living, but other than this cottage, and the cabanas, there were no other dwellings as far as he could see.
Fully awake and lucid (he believed), he thought of Nina. He knew had a family besides her too. Their faces were blurred images in his mind.
He recalled two rambunctious little boys laughing with him as he played with them and their construction trucks in the sand. His nephews . . .and that led him to who they looked like — Jasper his older brother. He had a younger brother too — Jordan.
She had given Jordan her soul.MHe didn’t know why she had done it or how he knew since he had been lost in colour and light then. But he could feel a darkness, a shadow when he thought of her.
Yes, she had cursed him. She had separated him from Nina. He hated her.
He knew in the end, the lake had swallowed her corpse and dying she hadn’t been darkness or light. She had been both.
So much did not make sense to him he thought struggling to think. Sitting down on a stained Adirondack chair, he leaned back, squinting into the sunlight in his sunglasses. The sun was incredibly bright. He was sweating in the heat. Could this be Mexico? The Carribean?
Not too far away from him he noticed an older man walking barefoot through the sand towards him. The man had a grey straggly beard and the man’s gate was self-assured.
How how had he not seen the man coming in the distance? He stood, a tad frightened at the thought of someone else being here where it felt he had been alone a long time.
He faced the man as he stopped at the steps and the man said: “John? Is that you? You’ve haven’t been this healthy in years. You’re well rested and I believe you’re bored of paradise.”
“Yes, you should’ve remembered your own name by now Mr. Eric. You’ve remembered Nina.” John flushed unaware the man had been privy to his inner thoughts.
“I don’t know you,” John said, his name and identity rushing back to him in torrents of thought.
“I need to see if Nina is okay. I need to check on Jordan. She did something to him. Talise or Tia, whatever or whoever she is, she put a ring on Jordan, one he can’t take off.”
“It’s an emerald with a silver band, and the emerald colour matches Talise’s eyes. Beneath the emerald her soul floats. It’s dangerous, why did she put a ring, her soul on Jordan?” John asked afraid for his brother.
“Good questions John,” the man said walking up the steps. He came up to John and shook John’s hand which John shook back without thinking.
“You have a good hand shake,” John told the man. “It doesn’t fit with the rest of you . . . You look as if you’re . . .weathered. You’ve been through tough times I think. It appears as if you live on the streets because your clothes are dirty and worn.”
“No offence, they haven’t been washed in a long time, and you need… you need a shower man.” John peered guilty at the homeless man, ashamed of what he had said.
The homeless watched him closely, his face expressionless in creases and wrinkles of acquired wisdom. Suddenly, the man smiled and let out a boisterous laugh, his deep creases becoming more pronounced.
“Yes, John. My appearance of late has been a homeless man. And if you’re offering me a shower and clean clothes, I gladly accept.” John smiled grateful the man wasn’t offended by his words.
“Come into the cottage and make yourself comfortable,” John remarked easily becoming a host. He peered in the fridge, “There’s trays of fruit and another of vegetables. Some steaks I can grill if you’re interested? There is even craft beer, AlleyKat,” John said grinning.”I don’t know how this all got here? Was it was here before I woke up?”
The homeless man only smiled at John and headed for John’s bedroom, “Where’s your closet John? Ah there.”
John followed the man to the master bedroom into a walk-in closet full of beach clothes and clothes one didn’t wear to work. “This is wonderful,” the man said, “Can I stock up for the road?”
“Of course,” John said. “I’m not sure any of this –the clothes, the cottage, and the food –even belong to me.”
The man smiled again at John, a curious light in his brown eyes.”After my shower we can sit and eat. We can talk all you want. Chill a few beer for me in the freezer will you?”
John regarded the man thoughtfully, trying to remember him.”Who are you?” John asked.
“I’m here to help” the man remarked, peaking back at John before he shut the bathroom door with a bang. John heard the sound of water streaming.
He wasn’t sure what to do. Usually, John was head strong and sure of himself. He had had to be with the curse from Talise, the sea witch who’d been his girlfriend in the past.
John felt enraged with Talise. She had separated him from his loved ones with her cruel curse. He was afraid for both Nina and Jordan.
Perhaps, the homeless man could return John to his family, especially Nina. He would also like to know where exactly he was?
His mind made up, John decided if this homeless man was here to help him, then John should be a good host, as his mother had taught him.
After all, John was filled with so many questions he needed answering. There was much he didn’t know about current events since he died.
The old man was keeping many secrets, John was sure. Not to mention, John wondered if the man might be benevolent magic of some kind? He could use some magic now.
John set out the fruit and vegetables on a large coffee table on the patio. He got out the steaks to Barbecue (they were already in marinade) and placed six beers in the freezer.
John went back on the patio to warm the Barbeque up, and he waited for homeless man to emerge.
A couple of hours later, John was sitting on the patio having finished his dinner and two icy beers. The homeless man could really put his food away and he’d had four beers as well.
“Are you hungry still? There’s extra steaks in the fridge I could bring out to Barbecue if you like? And there’s some lemon cake?”
The homeless man patted his belly, “I think I’m full now John, but thank you. By the way, you can call me Norman.” John nodded teeming with questions.
“Alright, Norman. You told me you were here to help? I thought you might be able to answer my questions such as why I’m here when I’m supposed to be dead? And who are you?” John asked.
Norman peered at John curiously. “You don’t know then? You haven’t figured it out? You’re not dead John. You’re in-between life and death, between the spaces between spaces so to speak.” John was even more confused.
“So, is the beach and cottage like purgatory? Where’s my body at if it’s not dead?”
“Your body is here and you’re not in purgatory. You’re not Catholic John, you’re Anglican,” laughed Norman.
“As for me, I’m here to help you and Nina. It’s my job, helping certain people in difficult situations. I know you want to go home, but there are some things we need to discuss first.”
“Rianne would know who I am,” Norman said.” She went to buy Chinese food and Talise’s bewitched boyfriend Malcolm, knocked her head against the wall and Rianne passed out. Which, is the reason Nina was alone when Talise kidnapped and bewitched her.” Norman explained.
“I woke Rianne up and made sure she was okay, so she could go back to Nina’s condo and call Jasper who called Jordan, to come help you and Nina.”
“They decided to bring your sailboat out at night, even though it’s impossible to see in the dark. It was windy at least. I helped them find you and they would have never seen you if I hadn’t been there.” Norman said.
“How could you help them on the Sirene at night?” John wondered and Norman smiled secretively.
“I whispered in Jordan’s ear as he sailed the boat. My form isn’t always a homeless man or a human. Sometimes I’m an extra push in someone’s mind to get them moving. Or a whisper their ear such as I was with Jordan.”
“You’re magic?” John asked, trying to understand Norman.
“Magic is as sufficient a word as any.”
“So what are you? A wizard?” John questioned and Norman laughed again.
“I’m here to help and I’m on your side,” Norman said.
John realized Norman was providing him with the only explanation he would receive. John changed his line of questioning. “I’m worried about Nina and my family. How long have I been gone?”
Norman appeared to be thinking. “You’ve been gone four-months now, nearly more. Nina she doesn’t give up hope. She convinced your family to hold the funeral off for months. She believes in her heart you’re out there somewhere. She’s right you’re here.”
“I need to get back to her. Has my family had my funeral?”
“You’re funeral is tomorrow, Saturday. Nina doesn’t think your dead, she’s only attending out of respect for your family.”
“Your nephews, Sam and Eric, don’t know you’re gone yet. You should probably get back there soon if you don’t want to break too many hearts more then you already have.” Norman said thoughtfully.
“In time,” Norman said giving John another secretive smile. His brown eyes glimmered with knowledge. “You wanted to know about Jordan and the ring Talise put on him with her soul inside?”
“Yes, absolutely. How do I help Jordan get rid of the ring?” John asked desperate.
“You can’t help Jordan, John.” Norman replied. “The ring and Talise’s soul is Jordan’s path to travel down. Just as you’ve have your pathway and responsibility regarding Nina, now Talise is Jordan’s responsibility.”
“But why?” John argued, “Isn’t Talise dead and gone. She’s evil! Just because she did the right thing by me and Nina in the end, doesn’t mean she isn’t still malovelent, does it?”
“Her soul was still in Jordan’s ring last time I checked. Talise chose Jordan. In the end, she saw something in him, she never saw in you. It was something like what she found in Ethan. But closer to what you and Nina had in each other when you first met.” Norman explained.
“She’s not gone?” John said afraid.
“No John. But Talise isn’t a sea witch anymore. A mermaid yes, but with no magical abilities. She gave them up. Talise is redeemable.”
“Are you kidding me?” John yelled.
“Don’t worry about it. You can advise your brother with her but Talise is his problem in the end. Let it go.” John was incensed but a feeling of calm washed over him as he regarded Norman. How did Norman do that?
“Why do you want to go home John. Beyond your family and being with Nina, why do you think you should be alive?”
John gasped. “I didn’t expect that question. I . . . It’s not fair. Curses are supposed to work out if you break them. They shouldn’t end in death. Talise cursed me, she told me I would have to sacrifice myself for the woman I loved, and I did.”
Norman nodded, urging John to continue. “Nina helped me, she loves me.Together we broke my curse so terrible events would stop occurring around me each day.”
” I should get to be with Nina, raise a family with her, be with my parents and brothers, and grow my business. If I die, it’s not fair. The curse was a lie because spells which are broken end happily,” John argued vehemently.
Norman peered at John from his seat around the patio table, the sun was beginning to set.”That’s not real life John, you know that. What you believe is some Disney fairytale and real life isn’t Disney believe me, I know. Do you think there would be homeless men in a world where everything was fair?” John starred at Norman confused.
“It’s not about life being fair. Or curses having a happy result.”
John stared at his hands at loss for words. “What’s life about then?” He asked feeling angry and betrayed.
“I’m glad you asked,” Norman said, brown eyes gleaming.
I would like to go to Banff, and spend some time walking in the town and enjoying being in the outdoors. Banff is a popular tourist spot and ski town in Alberta, Canada.
2. I would like to finish scrapbooking a mini-album for a friend whose wedding was last year.
3. I would like to go some where warm for vacation. I’m thinking Mexico or Hawaii.
4. I would like to finish the first manuscript for my novel.
5. I would like to sleep and wake up and feel completely energized and able to do anything I desire.
Thanks to La Duchesse D’erat for the list writing prompt. The Duchess wrote that we should list:
” . . .things we feel like doing in 2016, things that really inspire us, make us smile, giggle. It’s not a resolutions list. No need to feel compelled to realize what you write down, but the simple fact of writing the list may blow some wind under your wings and help you accomplish something new . . .”
Gia gritted her teeth in frustration, trying to complete her last final exam before the Christmas holiday. She was a University student in her thirties. Gia’s husband, Tyler, worked as a Lawyer while she finished her business degree part-time and raised two children.
Gia threw her school bag in her car and drove to the mall for Christmas shopping. At the mall she efficiently found presents for her family, even Tyler who was always hard to buy for. When Gia returned to her car, it wouldn’t start.
Reluctantly, Gia locked all the presents in her trunk and started the long walk home. She couldn’t get through to anyone for a ride, not even a cab. It started to rain and Gia pulled out a red umbrella from her purse. The umbrella broke.
Worse, when Gia was leaning down to tie her shoes a man ran by and grabbed her purse. Lucky her keys were in her jacket. She began to cry and her tears mixed with the rain. She found a 7-11 on the way and begged the the man working at the cash register to call her a cab. He did and Gia hoped Tyler still kept an extra credit card in his desk drawer for emergencies.
When Gia went to put the credit card back, she found a picture of cute blond in Tyler’s front desk drawer. She was surprised to find a series of love letters between Tyler and the woman, Elizabeth.
When Tyler came home with the kids, Gia was still crying. She put the TV on loud while she cooked dinner, so the kids could watch and told Tyler about the letters she found. He admitted he had been writing and sleeping with Elizabeth since before he married Gia. She didn’t understand why Tyler even married her if he had always been seeing Elizabeth. But she managed to get her car towed to her house and to deal with her credit and bank cards. Gia was heart broken and exhausted after a long hard day.
She brought in the presents from the car as her kids slept. She wrapped them all, including the ones for Tyler. She wrote them heart felt cards and when it was around midnight and her husband was still working in his office, she packed her bags.
Earlier Gia had booked a last minute trip to Hawaii. She had kept the credit card from Tyler’s office; she knew he wouldn’t blame her. Gia needed to think and Hawaii over Christmas was the place to do it.