Camp NaNoWriMo July 2020 Edition

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It’s that time again!  Time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

I’ve talked about NaNoWriMo a lot over the years because their events and their commitment to stories and creativity really speak to me.  I participated for the first time in November 2009, in their original challenge, which is to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in 30 days.  It’s kind of insane, but also a lot of fun.  I didn’t discover that there were regions, forums, or community around the challenge until my second year.  I didn’t discover that Camp events were a thing until 2013.  But that means I’ve participated in one of the three (November, April, July) NaNoWriMo events twenty-five times over the last twelve years.  I haven’t always drafted a brand new novel, or even been drafting at all, but that’s a lot of words, time, and energy I’ve spent during these months working on my writing.

NaNoWriMo has also been an amazing place to meet new friends.  I’ve made lasting connections with other writers and found a group of local friends that are supportive and amazing.  I owe a lot to NaNoWriMo, which is one of the reasons I’m always talking about them and their events.  I want others to share in my excitement and hope that they will make lasting connections while working on their writing as well.

I get that the full challenge isn’t for everyone.  November might be a busy month, or deadlines might be paralyzing rather than motivating.  Or you might just think you’ll never write fast enough.  Not that any of those should keep you from trying it out.  The point is to try to develop a daily writing habit and find community, winning is entirely optional.

Camp NaNoWriMo might be a better place to engage if you don’t feel ready for the full challenge.  You get to pick your own goal, so it can be something that feels more realistic for you personally.  You can also choose to track something other than words (they’re working on the site functionality for that, but you can do a conversion on your own).  I’ve tracker hours (not my best decision as 30 hours in a month is a lot), minutes (which has always gone well), and words during my past Camp NaNo attempts.  The only one I didn’t meet my goal for was the 30 hours of editing in a month.  One, 30 hours is a lot, and two, I really don’t like editing, so that was a struggle.  I did minutes the next time I tracked editing and was able to meet a more realistic goal for me.

That’s all a very rambling way to say that even though it’s the third already, It’s not too late to join the fun and try Camp NaNoWriMo out for yourself.  All you need to do is sign up (or sign in if you’ve tried any NaNo events before) at www.nanowrimo.org and then go to the camp page to get all the details on camp.  (Signing in should be optional for viewing the camp information, but if you’re thinking of trying it out you might as well make your account.)

If you do decide to join me for a Camp NaNoWriMo challenge this July, I wish you the best of luck!

The Plotting Experiment: Progress So Far

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If you’ve been reading along for a while, you may have seen me talk about this before, but for anyone new, I’ll start with a little bit about what my writing process has usually looked like.

For most of my life, drafting has been a wild ramble that started with a character or a scene and expanded from there.  Plot and structure have always been fixed and molded after the fact.  Some call this discovery writing, some call it pantsing (because I’m flying by the seat of my pants) and I’ve just always thought of it as writing or drafting.

This method of writing has led to a very labor intensive and often excruciatingly hard editing and revision process.  During work on my second book, this led to breaking down the entire thing by scene, looking at what that scene was supposed to be doing and then culling any scenes that weren’t essential.  That led to a scene list and a plot outline and a complete rewrite of everything.  I kept a bit of dialog here and there, and most of one scene, but other than that, I was writing everything from scratch to fit the new scene outline.

This lead to an attempt to write the outline first, and then do the drafting.  It was the first time I’d ever tried it.  Even back in school when outlines were required, I would work ahead and draft the whole paper, so I could then reverse engineer the outline.  I’ve never liked them and always found them confining and creativity-reducing.

But I needed to redraft book three, which wasn’t finished, and the outline had worked for book two, so surely I could make this process work again.

It’s sort of worked.  I have most of a draft of book three.  I have a bunch of versions of the outline (including one that does a seven-point plot breakdown of the overarching plot and each subplot).  I have most of the plot relevant scenes for the major overarching plotline.  My subplots are a mess.  Part of the problem might be that I’m trying to insert subplots that relate to certain characters who are not very important to the main plot, and thus it’s hard to add those scenes in a way that feels relevant.  Part of it is that for seventy-five percent of the book half my characters are not interacting with the other half.  I’m still working on how to make that structure work without confusing or boring readers.

It’s not a failed experiment, it’s just not as successful as I wanted it to be.  I’m still struggling with the outline itself.  I still struggle to write the scenes the outline calls for.  The closer I get to the end, the harder it has been to write.  This may have nothing to do with the outline process (the world is more insane than usual right now) but it’s hard to separate it out and remind myself that there are confounding variables.

This latest experiment wasn’t a fully from scratch project.  It’s the third book in a series, which has its own difficulties, and it was about 50% written before I started working on the outline for the redrafting.  I’ve been making progress.  Pretty stable and consistent progress even, but it doesn’t feel the same.  I’m not excited about the story or the characters or the ideas in the same way I was when I was originally drafting the first version, or the way I usually am as I draft a new project for the first time.

Maybe I’m just getting to the point where I’m realizing that writing is work.  For the first fifteen years or so that I was actively writing, it was all just for fun, and just for me.  I didn’t share my work much.  I was praised for the work I did share, and that gave me confidence to keep writing.  I took creative writing classes in high school, I took creative writing seminars in college, and even audited one in grad school because I missed it.  (I’ve never loved writing short stories, but I do love being in a critique group or a workshop environment.)  Now that I have one book out, and two more in revisions with the goal to publish them, it’s more than just fun and experimentation.  Writing is work.  And sometimes work is hard.

I’m going to keep pushing forward with the experiment and keep working on this draft so I can finalize book two and then book three and work on getting them in shape for publishing.  I welcome any and all tips from those who learned to outline or those who always have.

Image Prompt 065 – Children in Snow

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I chose the image of the snow-covered patio furniture for my twenty-minute sprint this week.  This incorporates characters (all my originals) from my fanfic, so if anyone found me by way of that, you may recognize some of them.  Also, the inspiration to write with them again was all Manda’s fault 8-P.  (But I love her for it, so it’s fine.)

Children in Snow:

Síneag pushed the curtains back from the sliding glass door and was greeted by the brightness that came after a snow storm.  The world had turned white, and their patio furniture was covered in fluffy snow.  It looked like they’d only gotten four or five inches in the end.

The children would have fun playing in the snow later, she was sure.  Jenn had said they were all going to come by late morning to see Síneag and let everyone visit.  She’d been looking forward to it for weeks.

Leaving the curtains open to allow the light in, Síneag went about cleaning everything up and making sure anything that wasn’t child safe was carefully put away or out of reach.  She double checked that the basement door was locked as well.  As much as Ira loved the children, she knew he wouldn’t want them to see him during the day.  They might be very familiar with vampires, but that didn’t mean they needed to see one that appeared dead.

By the time she had everything cleaned up and child-safe, it was already after ten.  They would be there soon.

Síneag could hear them before they even made it to the door, which just made her laugh as she headed in that direction, opening the front door and watching Jenn, Jess, and Kim struggle to keep the children headed toward the door rather than out into the snow in Síneag’s yard.

“Don’t you want breakfast first?” Síneag called.  “I’m making French toast,” she added, knowing the children loved it.

There was a chorus of cheers as the three barreled toward the front porch.

“Snow stays outside!” Jess called after them.

The three tumbled to a stop on the porch, the twins stomping their feet to get the snow off them and encouraging their tiny sister to do the same.

“Close enough,” Síneag said to the three when they’d knocked most of the snow from their boots.  “You can leave your books here by the door,” she added as she stepped back to let them in.  It was such a delight to see the twins quickly deal with their own boots, and then help their sister before their mother and aunts even made it up the steps.  They shed their coats as well and headed for the kitchen.

“Thank you for inviting us,” Jess said as they walked in.  “They’re going to have such fun sledding in the back yard.”

“It’s always wonderful to see you and the children,” Síneag said.  “The twins are growing up so fast I feel that if I blink I’ll miss it.”

“You and me both,” Jess replied.  “It’s been surreal.”

Síneag nodded.  The three had rather unique heritage, and that led to some very interesting talents and growth even as young as they were.

Síneag made everyone breakfast and it was a bright, lively time.  Her kitchen was full of laughter and she loved it.  Things could be so quiet during the day while Ira wasn’t with her.  She was getting spoiled since they moved here.  She had far more friends and more chances to interact with others than she had while they were still living in hiding.

Once everyone had eaten their fill, the kids ran back to the entryway to pull their snow gear back on.

“Mom, do you think we could shift after sledding?” Jess’s little boy asked.

“If Auntie Síneag thinks it’s safe, you could shift in the house and then go out to play in the snow,” Jess replied.

“They’re still small aren’t they?” Síneag asked.  “As long as they’d be easily mistaken for dogs, no one in the neighborhood will think anything of it.”

“They’re still small enough,” Jenn said.  “But probably not for much longer.”

The twins cheered at that pronouncement.

“But only after you’ve had your fill of sledding and your sister is done too,” Jess said.

“We know,” the twins chorused.  They loved their little sister, so Síneag had no doubt they’d make sure she was completely exhausted from too much fun.

Síneag bundled up as well and lead them all out through the garage so they could gather the sleds and go out the side door that was inside the fence that surrounded the back.  They had a good bit of property, but they’d fenced in enough of the yard to make it safe for the children to play and for the occasional shifter to take their animal form where they would be safe.

Kim ended up on the hill with the children, helping them get settled on their sleds and pushing them off down the kill.  Jenn and Jess stayed on the deck with Síneag, brushing the snow off a few of the chairs so they could sit.

“You’re sure the neighbors won’t think anything is amiss?” Jess asked softly.

“They look like black German shepherds,” Síneag replied.  “Besides, with us here with them, no one is going to think of anything before they think dog.”

“Relax,” Jenn said, reaching over to rub her sister’s back.  “The kids are safe here.  And if anything major were going to happen, Kim would be sure to tell us.”

Jess nodded.  She had such faith in her sister.  So did Síneag when it came down to it.  That’s part of why they’d bought the house.  Kim had seen them happy here.

Image Prompt 065 – Ducks & Geese and a Snowy Back Deck

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 065-001 - Snow10-12-26 003

Image Prompt 065-002 - Day Three05-05-11 022 Sheppy's Cider Farm

The Value of Kindness

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It’s been a bit of a rough week for me, so I wanted to take a little time to focus on something positive in the midst of the insanity the world has become.  In the midst of a global pandemic, the kind of situation that should bring us all together for the common good, there are still so many instances of injustice, systemic and individual, in my country that it makes me heart sick.

I don’t want to spend my time ranting or focusing on individual injustices or acts of hatred and violence.  But I do want to talk a little bit about kindness.

I think of kindness as the universal religious principal.  Whether you’re talking about the pagan three-fold law, the golden rule that appears in major religions, or any number of other religious organizations or dogmas, you can boil most religions I’m aware of down to a single shared principal.  Be kind.  Be kind to others, be kind to yourself, and be kind to the world.

Yes, this is a huge oversimplification of religion.  I know that.  And I don’t mean to be insulting to any one religion (or any of them at all) by making it.  I’m just drawing a comparison.  Whatever the specifics may be, in the end, religion teaches us to be kind to ourselves and others.

This week, it’s felt a little bit like my country has forgotten that.  It’s not the only country with hate problems, but it certainly feels like a very big problem.  This isn’t new.  The problem has been around a lot longer than I have, but it’s really hit home this week.  I know that there are many people working against the hate and injustice and I admire and appreciate them so much.

I don’t have a grand solution, but I know that if each individual human took the time to think about their action in the context of kindness, things might get just a little better.

Kindness can mean a lot of things.  It can mean assuming good intentions.  It can mean forgiving mistakes.  It can mean not complaining about a small inconvenience to yourself that will help save the life of another.  It can mean offering a smile and a thank you to every worker you come into contact with.  It can mean sharing your wealth (in the broader, beyond just money sense) with the world and with others.  It can mean reaching out a helping hand.

Kindness is such a simple thing.  I just wish there was a whole lot more of it in the world right now.

I Might Be Story Obsessed

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One of the things I’ve been doing to stay connected and social with my friends while we’re all trying to practice good social distancing, is playing Final Fantasy XIV Online.  For those not familiar this is the MMORPG in the Final Fantasy lineup.  (That’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, for those not familiar with the string of letters.)

This is a game my husband has been playing for about a year, that he got one of our other friends into about six months ago, and that was suggested when we were all looking for an RPG to play together.  All told there’s about seven of us trying it out.  We started on the free trial (which is pretty expansive really), and there have been some deals since then, so some of us have upgraded to paid accounts, but that’s all a bit beside the point I started out with.

So, I might be a little story obsessed…

Like most MMORPGs, this one is based around individual quests, leveling up your character and gear, and some group dungeons/events/quests/battles/raids (or whatever the game calls them).  What seems to make this game slightly different is that there is a main story, with it’s own set of quests that tell a cohesive story, and all the other quests are a complement to that (and entirely optional).  The other things that makes this game different is that one character can have as many classes/jobs as you feel like spending time to earn levels in.  This includes combat classes/jobs (your standard healer, tank, and DPS (damage per second) style roles seen in most RPGs) as well as gathering and crafting classes that let you collect materials and then make them into useful gear or items.  Being able to do all of them on a single character is what I haven’t seen in very many other games, though my experience is limited.

So there’s the main story quests, telling a story about your character moving through this world.  Then there are all the side quests.  Each of these tells a mini story about somewhere you are or a character you’re interacting with.  I’ve found myself obsessively picking up and completing every quest possible.  The smaller quests give richness and depth to the area I’m in and add complexity to the main story as I get to know the side characters (sometimes very far to the side indeed) around the main story.

This seems to either amuse or frustrate the friends I’m playing with.  Some of them have had less time to devote to the game, and thus aren’t as far along.  They’re still playing and I hope enjoying the game, and we’re all able to jump in and help them with their next story dungeon (the game automatically levels everyone down to match the difficulty of the dungeon), or answer questions about interface or where to find that one person in some back room of an inn who on the map looks like they’re on the hill behind it.  (Okay, so the getting lost part may be mostly me projecting, but wow is it hard to find people sometimes.)

One of my friends is a little ahead of me in the main story, and as she approached level fifty content (and the end of the base game) she said she was going to wait for me to catch up.  A side-quest heavy evening and then an evening reading instead of gaming means she broke down and went into that level fifty dungeon on her own.  Which is fine.  She’ll come back and do it again with me when I get there, and that’s what matters.  She’s having fun and flying ahead, and I’m having fun and goofing around and taking forever.  We’re both enjoying the game in our own way, which is what’s important.

I find it interesting that even when I’m playing a video game, it’s the story that matters to me more than anything else.  My level and equipment and all that is secondary.  It shows how important stories are to me.  To steal a NaNoWriMo saying, “Stories Matter.”  And to me, they often matter more than anything else.  That’s certainly reflected in how I spend my time.

Have you been finding stories in interesting and unexpected places?  Or finding creative ways to keep in contact with friends while social distancing?  I’d love to hear about either or both.

Life in a Time of Pandemic: Silver Linings

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Well, I’m in week ten of stay-at-home conditions.  My state is slowly beginning to open up a bit again and my university is planning for a students-on-campus as open as possible fall semester.

I’m trying to find all the silver linings.  Because it’s been a stressful last few weeks and I’m starting to feel the strain.  So I’m just going to list some of the silver linings I’m finding in a world that feels full or rain and storm clouds right now.

  1. While it may be raining and dreary, it’s also in the 60s during the day in the third week of May, which is weird for NC.
  2. I get to take short breaks at work to pet my cats and hug my husband.
  3. I still get to hang out with my friends and chat and play games fairly frequently. They’re just different games and the chat is over the internet.
  4. I have a standing desk at home now.
  5. I have the kind of friends who send gifts of appreciation to our other friends working at grocery stores.
  6. There has been a lot of delicious homemade food in my house since this began.
  7. My local pizza place is still doing carry out orders, and the pizza freezes well for oven-baked reheating.
  8. I’ve been playing an MMORPG with friends and my husband, and he was so happy about it when we started he was literally skipping through the apartment.

There are many more, but those are the ones that are coming to mind at the moment.  I just wanted to take some time this week to appreciate the good in all this.  I hope you can find some good in it as well.

Stay safe, healthy, and well.

Image Prompt 064 – Plans for the Winter

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I chose the image of the shop at the Carolina Renaissance Festival for my sprint this week.  It started out as the usual twenty-minutes, but then the idea sort of got away from me, so this is a bit longer than usual, and might be the spark of a new book idea.  We’ll see how that part goes.

Plans for the Winter:

Garret double checked the displays one last time as he heard the opening cannon fire from the front of the festival grounds.  It was the last day of the renaissance festival as well as the last day of the season.  It had been a pretty good year.  The shop had done well at all the fairs and festivals they’d gone to, and there hadn’t been any extra health issues for his mom.

“Do we need to pull out anything from the back?” his mother asked as she came in from sweeping the porch of the little house their shop was set up in.

“I think we’ll be good until lunch,” Garret replied.  They didn’t usually get quite as many customers on the last few days.  Folks tended to save up for the bigger items on final day when vendors would sometimes give additional discounts.  Garret and his mother sold jewelry and a few little decorative things, so they usually did more sales at the beginning.

Garrett heard boots on the porch, so he made sure he had his hat on and a smile on his face.

“Good mornin’” came a cheery male voice Garret recognized.

“Good morning to ya,” his mother replied, smiling brightly at Toby, one of the festivals most loved performers.

“Morning,” Garret said softly.  Toby was everything Garret had wanted to be back in high school.  Tall, handsome, outgoing, and popular.  Garret was just glad he’d figured out he didn’t actually want to be most of those things before it was too late.

“How fair things with my favorite jewelers?” Toby asked.

“Lovely,” Garret’s mother replied, laughing.  Even she knew Toby called everyone his favorite.  “How was the crowd this morning?”

“Boisterous,” Toby replied.  “And it was a good size, too,” he added.  “Have you decided where to winter yet?”

“We’ve got it down to a couple places,” she replied.

“Still thinking about Georgia?” Toby asked.

“It’s on the list.”

“It’s a good place to winter,” Toby replied, glancing over at Garret.  “I can tell you all about the good places.”

Garret just raised an eyebrow.  Toby was nice to everyone, and friendly with everyone, but they’d never interacted much outside the festival.  From what Garret heard, Toby was often out late partying with the other performers or various vendors.  Garret wasn’t usually invited along, not that he’d have gone if they had asked him.

“My people are in Georgia,” Toby said, his southern accent slipping out over the ye olde style of speech everyone affected for the festival.

“I’ll have to chat with you about the place we’re looking at,” Garret’s mother said.  “But I’m guessing you don’t have time for that now.  Your shows start early don’t they?”

“That they do, my lady,” Toby said, sweeping an elaborate bow in her direction.  “I’ll be sure to find you after closing tonight.”

Garret’s mother just laughed and waved as Toby made his exit.  “He’s a nice young man,” she said to Garret.

Garret just shrugged.  Nice didn’t usually have much to do with it.  And Toby had been looking at him a little more intently than Garret liked.

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It had been a great day.  The shop was practically bare.  They’d gotten a rush in the morning, so Garret had hauled in all their extra stock to fill the displays back up a bit before lunch.  Things had remained steady after that, and there wasn’t much to pack up now that the festival was officially over.

“Why don’t you work on the exterior things since there’s so little to pack up,” his mother suggested.  “We’ll just get in each other’s way in this little space.”

“Alright,” Garret agreed, stepping out onto the porch.  They brought their own signage and a few extra decorations for the house, so he worked on pulling those down, setting them on the table just inside the door.

“Packing up already?” someone asked from behind Garret.

He turned to find Toby standing there, his signature feathered hat held in his hand and his tunic unlaced and hanging open over his loose shirt.  He’d completely dropped the ye olde accent he used during the festival, so Garret hadn’t recognized his voice right away.

“We always start packing up right away.  Usually stop when it gets dark.”  It wasn’t worth the risk of injuries tripping over something, especially carrying any of the merchandise.

“Want some help?” Toby asked.  His southern accent was really thick and Garret wondered if it was authentic, or if Toby played it up like he did the ye olde one.

“Sure,” Garret replied.  Extra hands were almost always helpful.  “You have anything ready to haul back to the trailer?” Garret asked his mother through the open doorway.

“Got a few done,” she said.

“Well, someone offered slave labor, so we can start carrying,” Garret said, grinning over at Toby, who laughed.

“It’s the least I can do,” Toby said, following Garret in and picking up one of the plastic tubs Garret pointed to.

“After working all day?” Garret’s mother asked.

“Well, I came to ask y’all a favor, so the least I can do is help cart things about.”

“A favor?” Garret asked.  He didn’t know Toby well enough to know if that should be worrying.

“Yeah,” Toby said actually looking a little sheepish about it.  “I talked to my Mom at lunch, and apparently she’s having to move in with her mother for a while.  She was asking if I knew anyone who might be willing to watch the house.  You’d mentioned wintering in Georgia, so I thought I’d make the offer.  She’s actually willing to pay someone if she needs to, but I thought maybe rent free, and you cover utilities while you’re there would be a pretty good deal for everyone.”

“Oh,” Garret’s mother said, her voice full of worry.  “Is your grandmother alright?”

Garret smiled.  Of course that’s what she was worried about first.

“She’s got some vertigo issues, needs someone around for when the world gets spiny,” Toby said.  “Other than that she’s in great health actually.  Mom just wants to be there for her, and they live in the same town still, so she’d been just going over a lot.  But it’s wearing on my mom, so she’s looking to just move for a bit.”

“Why don’t you have her call me,” Garret’s mother said, plucking one of their cards from the holder she hadn’t packed up yet and a pen from her apron before scribbling her number on the back.  “She and I can talk through everything and see what’s what.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Toby said.  “In the meantime, I’ll help with the boxes.”

“Why thank you,” she said with a smile.

Garret picked up a box and lead the way out toward the exit gate.  There was no sense wasting daylight.

“I hope it works out that y’all can come down,” Toby said as they walked.

“Yeah?” Garret asked.  ‘Why?’ would probably be rude.

“There’s a really great maker community in town, and I think you and your mom would get along well with them.  Our moms would probably get along well too at that.  And I might actually get a chance to say more than six words to you.”

Garret almost tripped on his own feet.  Why did Toby want to talk to him?  He tried to come up with a response that didn’t make him sound like an idiot.  What did you even say to that kind of declaration?

“I’m not too picky about where we winter,” Garret said, hoping he hadn’t been silent long enough to make anything awkward.  “So if our moms work something out, I don’t mind.”

“I’m sure they’ll work something out,” Toby said.  “I know how important it is to save money in the off season and it will be a huge help to my mom.”

“If she’s looking for people to be in the house that means you don’t stay there during the winter,” Garret said.  A lot of rennies stayed with family for the month or two they weren’t traveling between festivals and other shows.

“No, I haven’t stayed at the house in years,” Toby said.  “When I came out, my father made it clear I wasn’t welcome.  He’s been gone two years but it hasn’t felt right going back, you know?”

“That must have been hard,” Garret said.  His dad died before Garret came out, and his mother had always been supportive.  She probably knew long before Garret ever thought to categorize himself.

“I had family who took me in, and my mom did what she could to make sure I knew she still loved me, but wasn’t in a place to go against my father about it.  It’s worked out alright.”

“So you still stay with family then?”

“Yeah,” Toby replied.  Garret could just make out his smile in the quickly fading light.  “Moved in with my aunt and uncle to finish school.  My cousin and her husband have the house now, and she insists that my room will always be mine.  I think it’s just because I’m free babysitting whenever I’m home.”

“Never underestimate the power of free babysitting,” Garret said.  He’d never been around little kids much, but he knew parents were always desperate for babysitters they could trust, free or not.

“True,” Toby said as they arrived at the trailer.  “But I also know Cally loves me to death, so it’s all good.”

“I’m glad you have good people,” Garret said, setting down his bin and getting the key out of his pocket.

By the time they got the two bins stowed away where they belonged, Garret’s mother had arrived with a few bags and told him the shop was all packed up, they’d just need to pack up the boxes in the morning.

“How early can my mom call you tomorrow?” Toby asked.

“I’m up by about dawn most days,” Garret’s mother replied.  “But I’ll also be up for a few more hours if she wants to call tonight, get things settled.”

“I’ll call her shortly then,” Toby said.  “I’m around tomorrow if y’all need any help hauling things,” he added.

“That would be much appreciated,” Garret’s mother said.  “If you meet us at the shop by eight I can feed you.”

“I never say no to a free meal,” Toby said, giving an exaggerated bow.  “See y’all then.”

Garret just watched as Toby walked away.

“Interested?” Garret’s mother asked.

“What?” Garret said, quickly turning to look at her.

“He is rather handsome, and he seemed interested in spending time.”

“I have no idea,” Garret said.  “I barely know the guy.”

“Well, that’s likely to change this winter.  We could use a break and free lodgings, even with utility costs, would be a big help.”

“I know,” he replied.  He wasn’t going to object to staying at Toby’s mom’s.  The margins were pretty close when you had your own business and you were traveling all the time.  A few too many vehicle repair bills this year had left things tight for their winter budget.

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Two days later, they were driving up to Toby’s mother’s house.  Apparently they weren’t even being charge for all the utilities.  His mom had agreed to pay $150 a month to cover most of the utilities, and that they’d mow the lawn if it needed it, which apparently in Georgia, even in winter, wasn’t uncommon.

Garret was glad that Toby wasn’t going to be here when they arrived and moved things in.  He had another show before he was done for the winter, so he’d be down again in six days and had promised to stop in and say hello.  Garret still hadn’t sorted out how he felt about Toby’s sudden interest in getting to know him.  He’d have a chance to find out next week.

Image Prompt 064 – Welsh Hill Stairway and Renaissance Festival Shop

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 064-001 - Welsh Dragon05-05-07 091

Image Prompt 064-002 - RenFest10-10-24 085