Bio of The Stitchin’ Six #4 Madeleine

Next among the Stitchin’ Six is Madeleine. A former fattie with a sense of humor, she pedals her adult-sized tricycle all over Berryville. After having lost 150 lbs following gastric bypass surgery,  71-year-old Madeleine is left with flaps of skin  hanging all over her body. But, as mentioned earlier, she has a sense of humor, and so on the loose flabby skin beneath each arm she has had her grandson tattoo clotheslines on each arm so that when her “Bingo wings” flutter, so can the clothes on the line!

Bit by the fitness bug, it’s all she can do not to harass Rita about her smoking and her weight. Really, it’s out of the most sincerest of intentions, but she has learned to hold her tongue for the sake of her and Rita’s friendship.

Madeleine intends to get plastic surgery, but until then, her boobs droop like deflated balloons above folds of stretch-mark scarred skin she hides beneath loose-fitting blouses. Small bright eyes twinkle from a face that resembles that of a Shar Pei puppy, with floppy jowls and a quivering dewlap under her chin.   Her laugh is contagious and she’s the most upbeat of The Six, feeling she has received a new lease on life.

Bio of The Stitchin’ Six #3: Darla

Darla is mentioned briefly in a scene before the first quilting scene (was a toss-up between Carla and Darla, and chose to go with Darla by the way, since there is already a Cara). She is the housekeeper of antagonist Helen-Ophelia Barstow, the heartless, self-indulgent owner of half the town of Berryville.

Darla is in her sixties and wears a curly black wig, but in the right light it is clearly a deep purple.  She enjoys dishing on her employer to The Six and isn’t above enhancing the facts from time to time.  Her heavy eye makeup only makes her small brown eyes look smaller and she suffers from an unfortunate case of chronic halitosis. Due to the latter, she is placed at one of the ends of the quilting frame and often offered breath mints.

When she is not gossiping about her employer, she gushes about her seven grandchildren. Like our main character, Agnes, Darla is widowed and has her eye on Agnes’s widower neighbor, Harvey Dilwood. Unfortunately for her, Harvey is not the least bit interested, but that won’t deter Darla’s glaringly obvious flirtations!

Bio of The Stitchin’ Six #2: Genevieve

The next of The Six to emerge is Genevieve, the bandana-sporting, tie-dye wearing aging hippie. I came across her via combining the physical attributes of one friend with the enigmatic name of another.

Genevieve is the most mellow of The Six. Sixty-something (Age is irrelevant to Genevieve), her dusky brown eyes appear half-closed most of the time beneath the lavender-colored bandana she always ties around her head.  She smells of patchouli oil and (possibly) burnt sage. She’s into herbs and alternative healing methods.  If you’re familiar with Susun Weed, picture her and you have Genevieve (rhyming not intentional, I swear!).

Adept at quilting (or she wouldn’t be among The Six), Genevieve adds a touch of whimsy to her stitches. She has a penchant for fairies and Tree of Life images. Never married, no kids, she has always been a peace activist.

There appears to be a marijuana  problem in small-town Berryville, and predictably Genevieve is a main suspect.  Wise yet spacey at the same time, Genevieve will add her own amusing flare to the story!


Bio of the Stitchin’ Six #1

I came to my first scene where Agnes’s quilting group, The Stitchin’ Six, have assembled. They are all quite colorful ladies, and before I can write this scene I have to flesh them out a little more so I thought I’d brainstorm and introduce them individually here, starting with Rita.

Rita is the day cook at Finnegan’s Diner. Short and rotund with a voice like sandpaper due to her heavy smoking, she is an excellent cook and keeps her kitchen spotless despite her personal slovenliness. No need to ask Rita her opinion–she will offer it readily,  and not without profanities. Her thinning brown hair lies limp and flat against her scalp and her crooked teeth are tobacco-stained.  She is sixty years old and has been married four times, resulting in three grown sons with whom she keeps in contact via email.

During their quilting sessions as The Six gather around the crazy quilt in its frame at Agnes’s house, Rita takes her seat at one corner closest to a end table where an ashtray is provided for her. She reeks of smoke, fried food and body odor, but so Agnes is careful to seat her next to an open window. Her culinary skills are equaled by her quilting abilities, which is her saving grace. Her offensive aroma competes with Agnes’s overuse of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew to the point that the combination forms an almost visible haze over the seated quilters.



Where did that 2nd space go?

Having just returned from a meeting of the Western Maryland Writers Meet-Up Group, my head is throbbing. This afternoon’s topic was formatting. 

The assembled authors looked surprised when I didn’t know formatting.

Our group leader Sharon did a helpful presentation on that very subject but I didn’t even know what to make notes on. She had handouts which I intend to study (she’s good like that). When did we stop leaving 2 spaces after a period at the end of a sentence? That’s what I was taught in typing class. Back during the Carter administration.

Now, there is only 1 space after a period at the end of a sentence.


And apparently I’m not supposed to indent with my tab key. I have to set the tab in my Word program. And there’s these things called Headers (not to be confused with Headings) and Footers (but no mention of Footings?).

After I have written a scene, I need to replace ^p (Paragraph Marks) with ^l (Manual Line Breaks). I don’t really understand why, but it’s something one of my editors told me when I was working on Puritan Witch.

Again, I ask you, WHY?

Makes me ever so glad for my kindly editor, although I don’t think she realizes just how ignorant I am of formatting. 

I wish computers didn’t intimidate me so much. When I was in school, computers were considered geeky. Now they are everywhere, the size of a deck of playing cards or smaller.

So now I’m in the comforting setting of my own home in my jammies with my glass o’ wine, reminding myself that 2018’s theme is EXPAND.

So I gotta expand my knowledge of formatting– Set that default tab (if only I could remember what Sharon said to set it at) and remember a period, in the 21st century, is followed by only 1 space, because 2 spaces went the way of the CB radio and the 8-track tape–left in the 20th century.

Makes me wonder, as I often do, where technology will take us at the end of THIS century.  But I do know one thing for certain ; I need to take a class on formatting.

Dangle a Gold Medal in front of the Muses and see what happens!

The Muses are chattering once again since Raid On Cochecho  won its first award last week.  Musta been just the incentive for the stubborn little buggers to pull out of their winter slump.

So this month I’ve been happily writing. I had been struggling with CONFLICT and CRISIS which are necessary for a good story), and I’ve got the beginnings to a fun little novel, I like to think!


This early in the game, the manuscript is not even embryonic, but formulating like a gaseous cloud, swirling and indecisive as to where it wants to flow.  Being the author, it’s my job to wrangle this amorphic critter into something tangible and enticing for my readers. I was born for this mission!

One issue I have with my writing style is, I get impatient with my own work. I suffer from a decidedly short attention span and it shows in my writing. I struggle to slow down and relax with my storytelling. So as I write Book #4, I try to keep in mind my theme for 2018–EXPAND.  As in Expand the scene. Don’t rush. Let the story develop.

So here I’ve been sitting,  candle lit, tiara perched on my head, listening to subliminal creativity meditations, and voila!– sentence by sentence, page by page, scene by scene, Book #4 is emerging!