I have so many irons in the fire I need to hire a fireman to help me out here.
I finished the second draft of my latest book, The Alligator Dance. It was inspired by a try event here in Manatee County Florida. Did you know that poaching alligator eggs is big business? I wrote a romantic suspense around the event. the story involves a park ranger and a Florida Wildlife Conservation officer. I had to get my facts right. I was lucky and ran across two retired FWC officers that would read my book and critique it. Am I nervous, yes. did I have to do it, yes. I'm hoping to get this one traditionally published. fingers crossed. If not I'll just self-publish again.
The other thing I did was to take my Green Lady Inn series of audio books from exclusive with ACX. It's the Audible branch of Amazon. It's taken me months to figure it out but I finally did it. I up loaded them to Findaway Voices. There is much better distribution there. It's all a learning curve.
I'm teaching a bi-monthly writers seminar and the chairperson for the 2020 Southwest Florida Writers conference.
Tomorrow homeschooling begins again for my grandson, Hayden. He's almost as tall as I am now. He's such a good kid. We went out to Olive Garden for a meal Friday. He enjoys eating out with his grandma.
I'm also doing something just for me. I've started ballroom dancing. I go to Wilson's Dance club for lessons and they have fun group lessons too. I received my first achievement award December 14.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all have a the best year ever. My newest book
The Alligator Dance is now being read by two Florida Wildlife Officers to see if I made any big errors in my fictional story about a very real event that took place in Manatee County Florida a couple years ago. I'm still deciding if I'm going to go the traditional route with this one or self-publish again.
In the meantime here is what might be the first chapter in book two of this new series. I'm still working on a title for the book but the working title is Monkey Fishing.
Monkey Fishing on the St. Johns River
“Hey, Dusty, what you got there?” Curtis yelled, dangling his feet into the dark water. He was sitting on the rickety dock in the fading light of summer, holding an old fishing pole in his hands. His ol’ coon dog, Holler, was keeping watch over his worn-out boots lying beside him, head on his paws, snoring quietly.
His best friend, Dusty was loading some strange stuff on to his rusty old John boat tied up to the dock on the St. Johns River, just east of Melbourne, Florida. Dusty and Curtis had been friends since they were in diapers. Dusty was the handsome, smart one. Curtis struggled from grade to grade and was always the last one picked for any game.
“I’ve been out to see my Grandpa out in Titusville. He tol’ me how he used to catch lots a fish by using ‘lectricity. He called it Monkey Fishing. Him and a bunch of his buddies would go out on a night like this and catch enough fish to have a big ol’ fish fry for everyone.”
“How can you use ‘lectricity to catch fish?” Curtis wondered. “ My uncle, Wade Hollister, you know him, tol’ me how he used dynamite for fishing until Harold Hunsader blew off two of his fingers. Shit,” he jumped up. Finally, a fish was tugging on his line. He reeled the line in hoping for a big fat catfish for dinner. He was so excited he almost stepped right off the edge of the dock.
“Damit all to hell.” The small fish dangling on the end of his line was a small sunfish. Not the monster catfish he was hoping for. He’d need a dozen more sunfish to make a meal. His mum would not be pleased if all he brought home was one lousy sunfish.
Disgusted, Curtis threw the fish back and dropped his rod on the deck and strolled over to see what Curtis had going on. “So, tell me about this fishing with ‘ectricity.”
“My Grandpa took me to his shed out back of his house, and he showed me this box of stuff. There an ol’ old phone, and this thing he called a magneto. You hook the phone up to the magneto and throw this here cable in the water.”
“Don’t it kill the fish” Dusty was busy inspecting the things Curtis had in the boat. He couldn’t wait to try it out and see it work.
“Na, you can adjust the current. Grandpa says, you got to be careful. You only want to tickle ’em, so they raise to the surface. If the current is too strong, they swim away, and you don’t get any. He tol’ me how to use it.”
Curtis continued to stow the gear away under the seats of the boat. Covering it with oilcloth.
“When you gonna do this? Can I come, Curtis? Can I?” Dusty shifted from foot to foot, his hands in the pockets of his bib overalls, tossing his head to get his toney hair out of his eyes.
“I’m fixing to take off now. You have to leave Holler. He might get excited and tip the boat over.”
“I’m comin’,” Curtis jumped into the boat and told Holler to stay put. Holler put on a sad face and lay down. He was ok not going in the boat when they went fishing.
Dusty and Curtis pushed off and floated downstream a piece. The sun was setting while Dusty put the equipment together.
“This thing gets going you stay on the seat. You stand on the bottom of the boat in your bare feet, and you’ll be dancing along with the fish,” Dusty couldn’t help laughing at the look on Curtis’s face.
The stars came out as Dusty threw the cable into the dark water for the first time and turned on the juice. A hum filled the air around them. The water vibrated, and fish began to dance to the surface.
“You did it, Dusty. Them fish is dancing to your tune.” Curtis was so excited. He grabbed a long-handled net and started to scoop fish into the boat. Slipping off the seat, he put a foot down to balance himself a felt a zing go through him.
“Wow, I feel sorry for them fish,” Curtis said as he quickly scrabbled back onto the bench seat of the boat. Still feeling his insides vibrate.
Suddenly from downriver came the whoop, whoop, whoop, and flashing lights of the river patrol from the Florida Wildlife Commission.
“Hey boys, you doing a little monkey fishing tonight?” The officer called out
“Ah, crap,” Dusty cursed. Turning down the current.
“Who’s that?” Curtis whispered
“That’ the man that’s gonna put us in jail.”
“Why’s he gonna put us in jail, Dusty?”
“Because Monkey Fishing is against the law, you dummy.”
The officer glided up beside the old john boat and looked at the equipment and all the fish they had. How old are you boys?
“We’re thirteen, sir,” Dusty answered for both of them.
“And who told you about Monkey fishing and gave you this equipment?” The officer asked.
“My Grandpa did, sir.”
“Well I want you to get that motor going and get back to the dock back upstream. I’ll meet you there. We’re going to call your grandpa and have a long talk.”
The officer let go of the john boat and watched as the boys got the motor running and headed back to the dock. He started his own engine and sat back, shaking his head and laughing. It had been many years since he had caught anyone Monkey Fishing along the St. Johns River. It had been an old poacher's trick. He could only think that Grandpa had filled his grandson’s head with storied of the old days.
The officer looked forward to meeting Grandpa. Maybe he had arrested him a time or two. There was a new generation of poachers coming along. He called the incident in and asked for a patrol to meet him at the dock.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. You can also contact me on my email - firstname.lastname@example.org
What's over? Christmas, that's what. I'm so glad to be able to get back to normal again. We spend way too much money on gift no one really needs or wants. Grocery stores have us buy all the sweets and candy that expand our waist lines, bump up our blood pressure and sugar levels. Yes, we could say no but few of us ever do.
We all feel that if we don't bake and buy till we drop we will not have a proper Christmas. It's a load of commercialism jammed down our throats by companies trying to fatten their bottom line.
Black Friday seems to be loosing some of it's punch with all the online ordering. I hated the idea of having to cut Thanksgiving short to go out and fight the crowds for a bargain I didn't need in the first place. I never did it and I'm happy it's not as popular as it was. I order most of my things on line or use the small local shops.
I have a second theory. I watched a program on a PBS channel last night about the Twelve days of Christmas during Tudor Times, the reign of Henry the Eighth.
England was Catholic at the time and the four weeks before Christmas was Advent. A time for fasting and prayer. Christmas Day set off twelve days of feasting and gift giving. Could it be that the Tudor traditions have carried over into the twenty-first century?
I'm one of the people that suffers from Christmas depression. If I could eliminate the holiday altogether I would. I start out in October happy and enjoying life. By the time Christmas gets here I'm broke, exhausted and thoroughly pissed off with the whole thing.
I can't wait for things to get back to normal. I have a couple projects to finish before Christmas break is over and I start homeschooling my grandson again. I love my normal boring routine.
Stay off the road if you value your life.
From the active mind of Brenda M. Spalding