Lucky Seven Time!

Sabrina Garie, author of Fires of Justice, tagged me (sometime ago) for Lucky Seven. Be sure to check out her blog, Sabrina Garie: Life’s a Journey, Keep It Spicy.  She is funny, intelligent and, yes, spicy!

So what’ s Lucky Seven?   Here’s how it works.

*  Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript

*  Go to line 7

*  Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences

*  Tag 7 other people to do the same

 (To help set the scene, here is a photo of my long suffering mother and me.)

This will help put in context the following excerpt from my manuscript, Real Troopers:  Crystal Logan was raised to believe being a good wife and mother meant always putting your family first.  When a cancer scare triggers a Middling Life Crisis, Crystal finally rebels at setting up Girl Scout camp in the rain.  She and her Girl Scout co-leaders go rogue, and take a field trip to Italy, without children, husbands, or permission slips.  At a castle in Tuscany they meet Walter, amateur astronomer, poet, and retired F.B.I. agent.  Crystal falls hard, and has some tough choices to make.

“Sorry,” he said, laughing softly.  “I wasn’t expecting company.”  While he cleared the clutter, Crystal flashed a helpless grimace in the direction of her girlfriends, still crouched and hiding  in the roadside ditch.  

    “That’s better,” said the stranger, stepping aside. 

      Crystal had never gotten into a car with a total stranger.  She could hear the bloodcurdling echoes of her parents’ voices screaming in alarm.  What the hell, she thought.  Cancer would probably get her before this guy would.  A remarkably liberating thought.  Crystal smiled up at him, and he smiled back.  This must be the year of living dangerously.  The click of the stranger’s car door behind her sealed her fate.

(To see a photo of Walter in the Wild, click here.)

Now here are the next Lucky Seven winners.  Honestly, I don’t care which seven lines they choose to share.  I’m just looking forward to reading their work, and introducing them to my friends.  If I’ve included an extra writer or two, I doubt anyone will mind, because that’s one or two more writers to discover and connect with.  Happy tales!

Sarah Potter, sarahpotterwrites

Kourtney Heinz, Kourtney Heinz’s Journal

Beatrice, Adventures for the Faint of Heart

Sara Flower, Sara Flower Writes

Kasia James, Writer’s Block

T.W. Dittmer, Self-Published Author

Paula Acton, Scribblings of an Aspiring Author

Maggie Myklebust, flyawayhomebook

Char, Joy in the Moment

Because this is all about wordcrafting, I will also include a splendid poet, the icing on the cake, The Poet By Day, Jamie Dedes.

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck


My Turkish De-light!

Two of my favorite things in Turkey…


The more the better!

Eye candy!

Sky candy!

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Luminous.

Click here for more interpretations of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week: Smooth.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination.

All words and images NaomiBaltuck

Through the Looking Glass

January has been a busy month for storytelling– dusting off old stories, rehearsing new ones, attending to related business correspondence.   Last week I was pressed for time, polishing a story for its public debut, when I heard a little thump.  I peeked through the French doors onto the deck.  A tiny olive gray creature, scarcely bigger than a hummingbird, lay stunned and shivering where it fell after flying into the glass.

It was a male Golden-crowned Kinglet, with a bright orange and gold crown.  They favor coniferous forest; this one was likely nesting in the grove of cedar, hemlock, and Douglas Fir in our backyard.  Kinglets are monogamous, and raise two broods each season.  As soon as the first nestlings can fly, Mama Bird lays another batch.  While she protects the new eggs, Papa feeds up to ten fledglings until they can take care of themselves.  Good Daddy!

Perhaps the little bird was an adolescent, driving too fast on his first solo flight, or maybe he was an exhausted frantic father trying to feed his hungry brood.  Birds are delicate, and often die of stress.  Not wanting to frighten it, I didn’t open the door, but I kept watch through the glass for neighborhood cats and hungry crows. What would happen, I wondered, to the fledglings if their Papa died?  How might his mate manage as a single parent when the next brood hatched?

As The Bard said, all the world is a stage.  Everywhere tiny dramas–life and death performances–are played out.  Most will never be witnessed or even imagined, completely lost in the big picture.  Or worse, they will be observed by cold and uncaring eyes.

On my deck, in city streets, in our wealthy country, and all over the world, baby birds are not the only creatures who slip between the cracks, with no voice, and no champion to speak out for them or watch over them.

I turned for an instant to check the clock.  When I looked again, the little bird was gone.  My eyes stung with tears of relief.  Someone looking through the glass onto my deck would see only a few bird droppings, but to me it’s a reminder that life can get messy.  Not everyone has a safety net.  Not every story has a happy ending.  Sometimes we can only  look helplessly through the glass at the world’s suffering.  But sometimes it falls within our power to change the world, one tiny story at a time.

Something to think about.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Travel Theme: Glass

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

Everything is Illuminated

On Christmas afternoon, we go for a walk, rain or shine.  In Seattle, that usually means rain.

One of our favorite destinations is the duck pond a couple blocks from our house.

We had a green wet Christmas…

… at the end of a green wet December.

But we didn’t mind a few puddles, and neither did the ducks. They reflect the sky and light up the forest floor.

The forest was showing off its Christmas colors.

The sun never came out, but orange streetlights lit up the raindrops in the tree branches.

There was even enough light cast by the streetlight to take a shadow portrait.

Our afternoon walk turned into a night walk when we decided to go to the top of the ridge to watch the moonrise from our favorite overlook.

I love night walks.  Everything is illuminated.  Light and color are everywhere.

It was interesting to note how people decorated for the holidays. From this…

To this…

And everything in between.

The moon looked like a giant Christmas bauble in the sky.

But the lights on the ferry were as pretty as any I saw that night.

And the wet pavement reflected the streetlights,paving our streets with gold.

Maybe that’s why we’ve never bothered to decorate the outside of our house.  I doubt we could improve upon the job Ma Nature has done.  But the inside story is different.  It is there that we like to let our little lights shine.

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination.

No Admittance, Except on Party Business

A cherished friend, One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, broke bread with us on Christmas Eve, and shared the gift that keeps on giving–the nastiest cold germ I’ve ever made personal acquaintance with. By Christmas night, my throat was scratchy, and it was all downhill from there.  The next day Bea was felled.  The day after, Eli.  My brother Lew, who spent the holiday with us, left to suffer in the privacy of his own home.  A week later, on New Year’s Eve Eve we were still in no shape to host the hobbit party we had planned.  I rescheduled with family friends, but Bea asked if she could still have just a small handful of her friends over.  I said, yes, but only if they knew they were coming at their own risk.  So we did a little decorating, a little shopping, a little food prep, a little dress up, and we were ready to party in quarantine.

Eli and I were chief cook and bottle washer, but we dressed up too.  Then, like dwarves showing up unannounced at Bilbo’s hobbit hole, the guests began to arrive.  They came in ones…

..and threes…

Oh, yeah, and in most interesting and unexpected twosomes!

They played…

…and played.

…and played.

As midnight drew near, there was only one task left to do. Mama hobbit began to prepare the Boston Coolers, an ancient custom practiced by native Detroiters and their offspring, to toast the New Year. It is a delicate concoction of Vernors ginger ale, not Canada Dry or any other pale substitute. Only Vernors, aged in wood, and deftly mixed with vanilla ice cream. Try it sometime, but you must promise not to settle for anything less than real Vernors!

Cheers! Bottoms up! Skumps! Happy New Year!

Then, just as suddenly as they came…well, actually it was four hours later…the mysterious guests slipped out of the door…

…and melted into the night.

The moral of the story is this:  When a friend comes knocking, and you are tempted to go back to bed with a hot water bottle…open your door to the possibilities.  Even if you think you aren’t up to it, chances are you might be glad you did.

May the New Year bring you peace, health, happiness, and just enough adventure to keep you on your toes!

All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Inviting.