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Welcome to the June 2020 edition of
Micki's Latest Gossip

Showers & Flowers

A centuries old poem taught us April showers bring May flowers. This year the rain came in May. This year, we change the narrative

But then, we've gotten adept at changing the narrative in 2020, haven't we?

At our house, May showers over-filled the pool. Hubby has had to drain water regularly since opening it in late April. May showers overly saturated the yard and pushed water into the basement.

But May showers also gave us lush, full tomato, cucumber, and basil plants. And as a result of the May showers, our water bill has been low, because we're not adding water to the pool after hot days or watering the container garden. May showers kept the power bill down, too. We haven't been running the air-conditioning all that much. 

So which "changed" narrative do I choose? May showers bring June lush container gardens and lower utility bills.

This year, I'm working diligently (and it has not been easy) to change the narrative and focus on the positive. As a writer, I can assure you that the narrative can always be changed, because we are in charge of both writing and editing it.


From the beginning of May through May 29, anyone who signed up for this newsletter was put in a random drawing to win a set of Thurston T. Turtle books and a copy of Relative Expressions.

As I was filtering out those who signed up in May, I realized I wasn't being fair to those who graciously signed up prior to this campaign—those of you who have been here since the beginning. So I decided to change (or add to, if you will) the narrative.

In addition to randomly selecting a winner from the list of new subscribers, I decided to also randomly select a winner from the original list of subscribers. Therefore, I have two randomly selected winners to announce!


And the winners are:
New subscriber: Welcome Barbara G. and congratulations!
Original subscriber: Thank you Donna E. and congratulations!

Subscribers were downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet and assigned numbers. Winners were randomly selected using The winners will be notified individually by email. 


This month, I'm thrilled to announce that Piedmont Authors Network is publishing an anthology dubbed Writers Crushing COVID-19 to raise money for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. The anthology includes fiction and non-fiction short stories and essays from more than 30 authors, including Barry Lancet, Jonas Saul, Brendan DuBois, Bruce Robert Coffin, Zoë Sharp, Lynn Chandler Willis, Karen Fritz, Lawrence Kelter, and even yours truly! Pre-sales begin today (click the photo). 

Work In Progress

Zahra is frustrated with me at the moment. She's not getting any attention. During May, my creative time was pulled in other directions. 

The Piedmont Authors Network anthology project was the WIP of the month. I wrote my short story (very short) and submitted it. It wasn't a children's story like my Thurston T. Turtle series. It also wasn't a middle grades low-fantasy novel (sorry, Zahra). Rather, I ventured into the realm of young adult fiction for this story. And it's a dark one—a complete 180-degree turn from my other projects.

Once again, I changed the narrative. This time, it was the one that defines me as a writer. Or maybe it's more accurate to say I expanded the narrative to include the challenge of writing in another genre. Yes, I like that better, because rather than changing who I am as a writer, I simply added more depth by tackling this project.

Writing my short, short story didn't take up all my creative time last month. I also did a lot of editing for the anthology. I had the privilege of reading many of the other submissions, and I have to say I was impressed. The stories and essays cross genres and styles in an impressive show of talent. I'm proud to be part of it.

Earth-Friendly Tip from Zahra

Including Earth-friendly tips as a regular feature in my newsletter has me constantly thinking about my carbon footprint.

The voice in my head questioning my actions ...

Is that going to decompose any time soon?
Why don't you compost that?
What's the fastest way to get there? (assuming you really have to drive instead of walk)

... used to be my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Brennan, who taught us all about recycle, reuse, reduce.

Lately it's been Zahra, my middle-grades works-in-progress 11-year-old protagonist.

And over the past few months, lack of paper resources pushed us into making changes we needed to make. 

We've changed the narrative in a few ways. "Add paper towels, napkins, and tissues to the grocery list," has changed to, "We need to do a load of towel, napkins, and handkerchiefs."

The irony here is that the narrative isn't new. We've recycled it from our grandparents and great grandparents. When my nose ran at my grandparents' house, Pop Pop handed me his handkerchief. When we helped set the table in Granny's apartment, we placed utensils on neatly folded cloth napkins.


Zahra's Earth-friendly tip for June is:
Go "old-school" and use cloth towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs. And find a place outside to compost food scraps!

It can be fun, too. Here's a VIDEO (with jazzy music) on how to fold cloth napkins. The photo is from the video. 

My Personal Gossip

Three years ago, Hubby purchased a beautiful digital camera for me. I was thrilled with the gift. At the time, I was still doing a lot of writing for our local paper. Ruby—that's what I named the dark red piece of complex photographic equipment—was to be my creative sidekick. 

I grew up in the era of film photography. My father's hobby was taking and developing photos. He taught me how to take pictures with a 35mm film camera. I have the photo albums to prove it. 

Then came the smartphone era. The world of photography was morphing to digital as phones that fit in our pockets became cameras for the general population. I did well with my smartphones. I have the external drives and cloud storage to prove it.

Then came Ruby. What a joy. I spent the first few months snapping away with my two lenses, filling up my micro-SD card.

Unfortunately, my photos were not clear. They were not well composed. They were awful! 

I took better photos with my cell phone.

So Ruby was packed up and placed on the shelf in my closet. Every now and again, I'd get ribbed for not using the amazing piece of equipment on which Hubby spent his hard-earned money.

Then 2020 happened. And, during our weekly Zoom meetings, my boss asked us to ask ourselves, "What would I love to do now that I have more time?"

My answer was, "Learn how to take great pictures with Ruby."

So I changed the narrative. It wasn't that I couldn't take quality photos with Ruby, it was that I needed to learn more about her and about digital photography. 

The photo above was taken with Ruby while I was watching a YouTube video on how to take pictures with her. I watched several videos. And I changed a few settings on Ruby. And low and behold, the photos I took came out great!

I would have shared more of them with you in this newsletter, but the micro-SD card somehow got corrupted. I'm not surprised (it's 2020, after all). I'm also not deterred. Expect a photo blog on my website sometime in June!
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