they still did it #FoundPoem

Logic. Ya can’t beat it.

Here’s another call-in from our weekly paper.

they still did it

by Anonymous Caller

stilldiditThe person that
(commented) that
banning hand guns
the criminals
would get them
then he used
driving drunk,
they banned that and
they still did it.
Like you said,
criminals would get
their hands on them
if they wanted.
That’s the answer to your question.
They’d get them
whether you banned them
or not.

Makes you feel kind of sad, doesn’t it? But you can’t argue with logic. Or with syntax and grammar so poor, you’re not entirely sure what was just said.


I’m calling about the Ryan’s old restaurant, and I would like to see a family restaurant go in there, like a Hooters…. [emphasis mine]

I’m posting at Fatal Foodies today with my recipe for dill pickles.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a gun.



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Pride’s Children, Obsession’s Birth #BookReview

PridesChildren-b1As have so many good things since I started blogging, this book came to my attention through a world-wide web with Holly Jahangiri in the center.

Holly posted about plot bunnies. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt commented about writing prompts. I commented that I provided daily writing prompts on my blog. Alicia visited my blog and left some thoughtful, generous comments. I read one of her free short stories, got hooked, and bought this book.

How to characterize Purgatory: Book One of the Pride’s Children trilogy?

It’s centrally concerned with the interior lives of the main characters rather than with the activities going on around them, except as those activities impact their interior lives. (Things happen, it’s just that how those happenings affect the people is more important than the happenings themselves.)

So it’s Literary?

Specifically, the interior interplay between the characters focuses on various forms, abuses, amounts or lack of amounts, surrender to or denial of love and the power of love.

So it’s Romance?

The main character copes with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, one of those “invisible” illnesses that get people vilified by mouthy and judgmental people for using handicapped parking spaces when they don’t have an obvious limp.

But it isn’t Disability Porn.

What it is, is exactly what I want in a book, whether it’s genre (science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance) or not: It’s immersion in other lives, other personalities, other realities. At 474 pages, I had plenty of time to indulge myself – except that I stayed up late and ignored my work and read and read and read.

Sometimes – rarely – I have no earthly idea why one of Ehrhardt’s characters has a particular reaction or says a particular thing. Sometimes I catch on later, sometimes I don’t. Either way, I read on. Because I don’t have to “get” everything every time. Because I’m trespassing and eavesdropping on another psyche, and it feels natural that I wouldn’t invariably understand.

These characters, you see, aren’t one-dimensional, they’re four-dimensional: They’re full-bodied and they exist in time. Like real people you meet in real life, they have histories, and they’re made up of all the people they’ve ever been and all the people they could possibly become. They’re the people they seem to be to others, the people they seem to be to themselves, the people they wish they were, the people they’re afraid they are, and the simmering stew of people-stuff that they actually are.

What happens in the book?

A movie gets made on location in New Hampshire. The life of a best-selling writer with CFS and a retreat near the location intersects with the lives of the film folk. There are various family and professional crises or near-crises. Nothing is overheated. It’s a sous vide book: everything is held at the optimum temperature, the heat of the living heart.

I honestly don’t know how to explain the grip this book had on me from the first. I couldn’t stop reading it, and I wanted it never to end. I’ve read other books that affected me this way, but the authors always hurt the spell by tossing a plot bomb in through the window. Ehrhardt may do that before the trilogy is over, but she doesn’t do it in this book. The climax and ending are just as they should be: strong, natural, and satisfactory.

She says that books 2 and 3 are finished in rough draft. I paid (I! Paid!) actual cash money for Book 1. You’d better believe I’m buying 2 and 3, as well.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Your character becomes obsessed with something or someone.



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The Lost Scotch #SampleSunday

“For a Few Bottles More” was my entry in a flash fiction challenge Chuck Wendig ran calling for stories based on the discovery of Shackleton’s Scotch.

I subsequently included it in my second collection of “animals and oddities,” TURTLE FEATHERS.

Here is the opening of the story.

The Lost Scotch

excerpt from “For A Few Bottles More”
by Marian Allen

Pilar Penguin lit a cigarette and blew a smoke ring into the frigid air.

This life, she thought. This life is no good. How long had it been since she had seen the sun? Well, six months, obviously, but it had been longer than that. She slept through the days now, weary and bleary from late nights at the cantina.

But what was she to do? Pehuen had put everything they had into the place. She either worked by his side or watched their lives come apart like a calving glacier.

She wiped the bar, flipping the cloth free at the edge so it didn’t freeze to the damp surface. Pehuen would be back soon, and then they would open the doors for the evening and the other penguins would trickle in by ones and twos. Pilar disapproved of guys coming in with their eggs tucked between their feet and their bodies, but Pehuen was right—either they let guys in carrying concealed or they had no customers at all for part of the year.

The door slammed open, and Pehuen slid in. His breath puffed out in steamy heaves that crystalized and fell.

“Pilar!” He staggered toward her, stumbling over his own feet.

“Calm down, mi marido.” She waddled sensuously toward him, offering him the cigarette still warm from her beak. “I am here, as always.”

“But the stock—the stock!” He pushed her aside and scuttled behind the bar, coming out with The Peacemaker—the shotgun they kept there to settle any brewing violence.

“What about the stock?”

“They are taking it! They—the ones from the north!”

“The kiwis?”

“Yes!” Pehuen loaded the gun and crammed extra ammunition onto his feet. “I will kill them! It is I who found Shackleton’s Scotch beneath the floor of his hut—I! What makes them think they can come here and steal it from me?”

“But, Pehuen, there are so many of them!”

“There are also many pellets in my shotgun.”


This is flash fiction, so the excerpt is about half of the story.

millefleursTURTLE FEATHERS is available in electronic format for the low, low price of 99 cents.

Buy it for the Kindle at Amazon.
Buy it for the Nook.
Buy it for iTunes.
Buy from Smashwords in all electronic formats.

You can also read excerpts of all the stories on my TURTLE FEATHERS page.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a penguin. Or about Scotch. Or about a Scotch penguin.




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