Odyssey of a Novice Writer

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time… ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?

Independence Day… and what it means to me

Kate Loveton:

It’s Independence Day in my country, a time when many of us remember the men who forged a nation well over two hundred years ago. We consider these men American heroes: Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and others whose memory and courage we salute.

On this Independence Day, I’d like to share the story of another hero. On her blog, Sue Vincent shared the amazing odyssey of her son, Nick, and his ‘re-birthday’ on the 4th of July. Please read this story – you will be as impressed with the courage of Nick and his family as I am.

Happy ‘re-birthday’ to another 4th of July hero: Nick.

Originally posted on Daily Echo:

Nick today

Today is my son’s sixth birthday… he is thirty one years old.

I ought, perhaps, to clarify. It is the 4th July. What, to the US, is Independence Day, was long ago renamed in our household as Nick’s re-birthday. And in that simple prefix lies a story of hope.

Many readers are aware of my son’s story; stabbed through the brain and left for dead in a Bournemouth alley on July 4th 2009. The injuries were so severe that a murder investigation was underway before we had reached the hospital. He was not expected to survive, and needed immediate surgery to remove shards of bone from the brain, where the force of the blow had driven them. Nick had been in the deepest level of coma since the attack. It would be weeks before he woke, weeks when his vital signs were dangerous and the pressure inside his skull, from…

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The Electrifying Dorinda

Flames

The first time I met Dorinda she was appearing in Phineas Todd’s Circus of Wonders, sporting an electric crown and tresses that danced like flames about her beautiful face. She was breathtaking, my electrified Dorinda, charming the rubes; charming me as well, and for a good ten years we loved.

Then Stefano, that damned sword-swallowing lothario, joined the show, and one foggy night I followed my traitorous Dorinda behind the big tent and listened to the eager, frenzied sound of a sword being swallowed…

That’s when my beauties paid a surprise visit to the trailer of the two-timing Dorinda, who went to her grave covered in deadly kisses.

My name is Say-ed, the Arabian Snake Charmer, and this is my story.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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Note: Written in response to Lillie McFerrin’s “Five Sentence Fiction” (found here). This week’s challenge is to write a story in five sentences utilizing the word “flames.”

No Such Thing as Freedom…

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With grim satisfaction I received the news.

At last we were free.

No more dancing to your tune. No more “yes sir, no sir, anything you say, sir!” No more running for cover. No stiff upper lip while you bullied and pummeled.

You told everyone your boys were the toughest, the best. Fights were won in the schoolyard, or at home we’d face your fists.  Excuses were for sissies.

Such a little man; what made us think you a giant?

When I heard you had died, I felt liberated! Happy!

And then I cried.

You’re still here, damn you.

Inside.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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Note: This story is written in response to the “100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups” at Julia’s Place.  This week’s challenge is to write a 100 word story utilizing the phrase “at last we were free.” You can find the challenge here.

623. May contain spoilers

Kate Loveton:

This one is too good not to reblog!

Charlotte Bronte (Currer Bell) has long been one of my favorite authors on the basis of “Jane Eyre,” a book I was absolutely crazy about when I was sixteen years old. Bruce Goodman’s gives us an amusing take on Bronte’s classic.

If you like flash fiction, check out Bruce’s blog, “Weave a Web.” His blog is definitely one of my daily ‘must visit’ places in the blogosphere.

Originally posted on Weave a Web:

627charlotte

I have just received an unsolicited manuscript from a Mr. Currer Bell. The novel is called “Jane Eyre”. Clearly the author needs to read Stephen King’s advice on how to write a novel. There’s lots of other advice out there as well, especially on the blogs. A quick perusal of these postings would convince Mr. Bell not to waste a publisher’s time.

Firstly, the little child character, Jane Eyre, uses and understands multisyllabic words that barely, by their rarity, would be given a place in an unabridged Websters or a non-concise Oxford Dictionary. “Fifteen pounds is not enough for board and teaching and the deficiency is supplied by subscription… by different benevolent-minded ladies and gentlemen in this neighbourhood and in London.” The author must learn to get out of the mind of an adult and into the mind of a child.

Secondly, it is mildly acceptable to establish a conflict…

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Rewriting the Past

Kate Loveton:

This is a blog post I wrote back in January 2014. Frankly, I’d forgotten I’d written it and only came across it yesterday when it popped up as suggested further reading at the end of one of my current blog posts.

The reason I’ve reblogged it is that for many of you this will be something new as I had pretty much just started blogging when I wrote the post.

The second and more compelling reason is that it fits in nicely with some of the posts I’d written earlier this week about my father and the past. I think it is true that as we get older, we do tend the remember the better moments in our past and in our relationships with others. And I think it is also true that when those memories are not always good ones, we seek to rearrange them into something more palatable.

This is certainly true in this review and essay about the experiences of Walt Disney and the writer of “Mary Poppins,” PL Travers. If you have time, I hope you can spare a moment to read this. Thank you.

Originally posted on Odyssey of a Novice Writer:

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to venture outside our warm and toasty house, braving buckets of rain and nasty winds to catch a showing of a film we both had been wanting to see for several weeks: “Saving Mr. Banks.”

For those who don’t know, the film revolves around Walt Disney’s machinations to persuade P.L. Travers, author of the “Mary Poppins” books, to sign over rights to Disney for a film adaptation.

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Travers, a feisty, difficult person who had fallen on hard economic times, was loathe to part with the rights to the character, unwilling to sanction what she feared would be a cartoonish and folksy simplification of a story important to her. As the film goes on, we learn the reasons why “Mary Poppins” mattered so much to her. It was not, as we first suppose, Mary Poppins who was important to Travers, but the character of Mr…

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A Whale of a Tale

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I’d just polished off my sixth Budweiser and was half-asleep when I felt someone plop down in the sand beside me – a beauty with sea-green eyes and white surfer girl hair that rippled like waves around her hips.

“Well, hello, beauty,” I said, staring into those mesmerizing eyes, “what’s your name and where the hell did you suddenly come from?”

“The name is Lorelei and I’ve just walked out of the sea.”

“Sure you did, baby,” I grinned, “and your old man’s name is Neptune, right?”

“I see you know my family,” I think I heard her say, but I can’t be sure; I was too busy staring at the webbing between her toes.

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer

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Note: Story written in response to “Lillie McFerrin Writes” and her five-sentence fiction challenge (found here). This week’s challenge is to write a story utilizing the word “waves” in just five sentences.

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Wednesday Whine: Car Crashes, Batman – and Adam and Eve

It’s Wednesday, so I guess it’s time for me to do a little Wednesday whining. To be fair, though, I really don’t have a lot to whine about – as you’ll soon see.

So, friends, what’s the best way to start out a Monday morning, the beginning of one’s work week? Not with a car crash, that’s for sure! However, that is how I started out the week.

Monday was a brilliantly sunny morning. Imagine yours truly, traveling down a country road, singing harmony with Don Henley and The Eagles:

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
(Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year
(Any time of year)
You can find it here…

Coming to a busy intersection, I make a complete stop and look both ways, about to make a left-hand turn. In the split second it takes to make a decision, I make a judgment that an oncoming vehicle has its signal on and the driver is about to make a right turn at the same corner.

Turns out she isn’t.

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“Holy jumper cables, Batman! What the heck was that?!” asks a citizen standing nearby, wearing a mask and dressed in red. Batman-and-Robin

“That, Robin, was a motorist making a very poor decision,” says his pointy-eared companion.

“Golly Car Crash, Batman – there goes that citizen’s good driving record!”

“Yes, Robin, unfortunately that is the price we pay when we fail to yield to oncoming traffic. Learn from this woman’s folly, young sir.”

Sigh.

Okay, Batman and Robin weren’t really standing nearby. I made up that part of my tale – in case you couldn’t guess.

So, what really happened is that I ended up having an unwanted, intimate encounter with a big ol’ Chevy Caravan. My car got the worst in the exchange.

Fortunately, the driver of the other vehicle was uninjured. She was up, out of her car, walking around, and making calls on her cell phone to report the accident (as was I). I took a few photos of both our vehicles (and one of my ambulant new friend).

Kate's Baby

Kate’s Baby

I’d never been in a car accident before so it was all quite jarring to me – in more ways than one. While privately moaning about the injury to my baby (my three-year old Sonata), I was saying a grateful prayer that neither the driver of the Chevy nor I was injured. In the end, that is really what’s important – and I’m smart enough to realize that.

Sorting out the insurance situation and arranging for a rental vehicle took up most of my Monday. Fortunately, I was only about a mile and a half from home and was able to get my car back to my driveway and then arrange for its tow to the service shop. The insurance adjustor wrote out a check for $6,300 for the visible damage to my car (thank you, God, for good insurance!). I’m hopeful that there is no hidden damage, but the insurance adjustor said the company would cover any additional repairs if needed.

Bye-bye!

Bye-bye!

I will tell you that I have become a super cautious driver as a result of this accident. I have always been an excellent driver so this was a shock to me – an expensive one, at that. Now I am driving like someone’s maiden aunt, constantly checking side mirrors and the large mirror over the windshield. Speed limit? I’m not even exceeding it by five miles. I suppose it will take some time before I take driving for granted again.

It just so happened that Monday was also the day our new back porch furniture was to arrive – so, with the insurance adjustor making an appearance, and later the tow truck, we had quite an eventful Monday. The only thing that didn’t happen was my getting to work that day.

Interestingly (or not, depending on your point of view), what was supposed to be a fully assembled set of patio furniture was delivered last Friday – in two boxes. Two very large boxes that contained small pieces. Lots of small pieces. About a gazillion small pieces – all requiring assembly.

singer_ikea

Now, Mr. Loveton and I have our areas of expertise. Putting together furniture does not happen to be one of them. Heck, we have trouble putting together jigsaw puzzles. It is for this reason we were quite explicit about wanting the furniture assembled. We did pay extra for that service. It is our experience that it is worth doing so. “Easily assembled” often turns out to be a buzz phrase for “Sure to make you quite insane and guess what! We’ve failed to include a few screws and bolts just to make it more interesting! Have fun, suckers!”

After several irate calls from the grumpy Mr. Loveton, the store agreed to pick up the boxes and deliver a fully assembled love seat and two motion chairs as well as a table. They now sit on my back porch – the cushions still covered in plastic since I’ve not had the time to uncover them yet. I hope to provide a photo of the porch at some point.

I guess the only other thing of note is that I’m continuing on with my workouts, which consist of a lot of walking and a bit of weight training. It’s hard to find the time to fit this into my schedule, so I often end up taking an hour walk during my lunch break (right at the hottest part of the day!). I’ve managed to lose almost ten pounds, but would like to lose another ten.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Unless you’re a man, that is. Ladies, is this not true? You know it is! Men truly are the superior gender when it comes to weight loss. When they decide to drop a few pounds, they do so much more easily than women. I guess it’s God’s way of evening out the score – after all, men also seem to lose their hair more easily…

In spite of a pretty healthy diet and trying to walk every day, it’s hard to
get that dial on my scale to nudge. Well, to nudge downward – it’s always willing to oblige when it comes to moving upward!

Who knew my metabolism looked like a rabbit?

Who knew my metabolism looked like a rabbit?

I kind of get the feeling that my metabolism decided to leave town about ten years ago. Didn’t leave a goodbye note. Doesn’t even bother to send me a post card from time to time. I have this visual of it standing in the road, wearing a smart-ass look on its face, and trying to thumb a ride. I’d be willing to bet it headed down South… somewhere where the margaritas flow and skinny people sit around in bathing suits. Meanwhile, I’m stuck here – pasty-faced and ten pounds overweight, counting the calories in a small glass of wine.

That’s how I know the theologians are right. We do live in a fallen world. Why else would it be that everything healthy and good for you tastes like cardboard, and everything bad for you tastes delightful?adamneve

Ever since Eve took that bite out of the apple, we women have had to fight the battle of the bulge. Once Eve didn’t have that garden to take care of any longer, she and Adam got the bright idea of creating an industrialized society. You know the sort of society I’m talking about – the kind where you sit on your butt in front of a computer for eight hours a day and munch on Doritos. I’d be willing to bet you dollars to donuts (Oh, yes! Donuts!) that one of Eve’s sons grew up to be a doctor. He probably said to his mom, “You need to exercise more. Maybe start a garden – that’s great exercise… And, hey, mom – ditch the Doritos. Get more fiber in your diet – maybe eat some apples.”

And so we come full circle.

Well, there’s a lot more I could prattle on about – like how I was stuck in traffic this morning for two hours. Two hours! Why? Because of a multi-vehicle crash on the expressway. Did I get upset? Annoyed? Raise my fist and bawl out those careless drivers?

Nope. I just listened to my radio and kept my cool.

After all, motorists who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I’m sure that’s what Batman would say.

Have a great week, everyone – and be careful out on the roads. As they say, accidents do happen.

A day by the sea

Kate Loveton:

My pal, Keith, of Keith Kreates, writes some nifty limericks and humorous poems. This one particularly put a large grin on my face.

Do me a favor and check out Keith’s blog. Not only does he serve up a generous portion of humorous poetry, he also has some fine stories and superb photography posted there as well as some writing challenges.

Stop by, say hello. Tell him Kate sent you. :D

Originally posted on Keith Kreates:

2007-06-17 14-46-08_0022The weather was fine
And so me and mine
Went down for a day by the sea
We piled in the car
Then we drove very far
My parents, my siblings and me.

My Mum had contrived
That when we’d arrived
She’d lay out a fine picnic spread
But she whispered to Dad
That she’d really be glad
When we’re all back home safe in our bed

“Why’s that?” Daddy asked
As the relish he passed
And we all grabbed with pushing and shoving
“The reason,” she said
“Is that when they’re in bed,
We can get ourselves some serious loving”

“That sounds good to me,”
Said Daddy, with glee,
“Let’s wear them out, quick as we can.”
And so he did chase
Us all over the place
We ran, and we ran, and we ran.

Though we started off strong
Before very long
We were shattered, my siblings and…

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My Dad

Kate Loveton:

I hope you will forgive me for reblogging this post from last year. I find I’ve been thinking a lot about my father the past month.

No one needs to comment on this – I know you’ve all seen it before. But it was imortant to me to remember him again. He’s been a lot in my heart the past several weeks, showing up in my thoughts at odd moments. It’s an old chestnut that the people you’ve lost are really never dead as long as you remember them.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with something a lot less sentimental – maybe a little murder and mayhem or a humorous twist of fate.

But, for now, I’m unashamedly and unapologetically letting my father ‘live’ again.

Originally posted on Odyssey of a Novice Writer:

My Dad My Dad

This is my dad. His name was James, but everyone called him ‘Jim.’

This photo was taken about five years before he died, much too young, a victim of lung cancer. It’s my favorite photo of him because he looks so happy.

Dad was a Depression kid, born into a hardscrabble existence. I think his tough past had a lot to do with the man he became.

His mother and father were miserable people (together and apart), and they went their separate ways during an era in which divorce was frowned upon. Back in those days, a man could leave his family and not provide much in the way of emotional or financial support for his kids. My grandfather was a cold, selfish, vindictive man. He left his wife with four boys to take care of during one of the worst economic periods in U.S. history.

Later, in spite…

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Father’s Day

Me and Dad

Wedding Dance

Photos of my dad and I. Seventeen years since he’s been gone. I miss him more as time goes on. <3

Happy Father's Day to all you fine men taking an active interest in your children's lives. Any man can make a baby; it takes a real man to be a father. As time goes by, your children will remember. Trust me.

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