Mission of Mercenary

The month of October has been designated OctPoWriMo, or October Poetry Writing Month. According to my friend and poet, Beth Camp, the idea is to write a poem every day for the month of October.

I don’t know much about writing poetry. I love Shakespeare’s plays, and I know what iambic pentameter is. I admire many of the poets I’ve had the pleasure to get to know, either through their works or in person.

Now for the caveat: unless you count winning a spot reading at Auntie’s for the Spokesman-Review limerick contest, my poetry writing is non-existent. Until today. This poem, which I chose to call “Mission of Mercenary,” is a feeble attempt to participate for one day in OctPoWriMo (please don’t tell my poet friends) and to finally enter the blog battle Rachael Ritchie hosts on her blog every month. By the way, this month’s blog battle word is “clone.” So here goes.

Mission of Mercenary

Commando clones,
Faded facsimiles of the
Original individual who is
Forever forgotten,

Employ disappearing drones,
Disruptive duplicates
Destined to decimate

A colony in the
Constellation Cassiopeia.

Teetering thrones,
Tenanted by a
Special species,

Divided by their differences
And doomed to die,
They pause to plead for

The attackers advance,
Determined to destroy
The indigenous inhabitants,
Whose fatal flaw is that
They are not identical.

Advocates for the adoption
Of the doctrine of diversity
Unintentionally create more clones.

Posted in Blog Battle, Clones, Poetry, Science Fiction, Short Stories, Sue Eller, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Huge correction needed!!!

I think I must have been half asleep when I typed my last post. The class I’m teaching at Frankie Doodles is NEXT WEEK, Wednesday, October 16th, beginning at 6 p.m. You may come as early as 5:00 for dinner or a snack or just to say hello if you like.

Sorry if there is any confusion from the former post.

Posted in Events, Inland Northwest Writers' Guild, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Sue Eller, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Events this week in Spokane

It will be a busy week for me, but an exciting one as well.

Wednesday evening I will be teaching a class on formatting your document in Microsoft Word. I’ve used Word for many years, in versions beginning with Word 3.0 and continuing to the version I’m using now, which is Word 16.

The annual NaNoWriMo event, in which some writers commit to writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November, is fast approaching. Linda Bond, head of the Inland Northwest Writers’ Guild, has asked me to share my knowledge in the hope it will help not only those who participate in NaNoWriMo but also those who are working on a novel on their own.

The event is free of charge and takes place at Frankie Doodles’ Restaurant on 3rd Avenue in Spokane, Washington, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Thursday evening I am pleased to be a member of a Radio Theatre production of Treasure Island, presented by Spark Central, 1214 West Summit Parkway, also in Spokane. A live performance will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.


Posted in Events, Inland Northwest Writers' Guild, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Workshop, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post by Elinor Young – July 31, 2019

Have you noticed that it was just a week ago that the crickets started chirping? The first time this summer. I love hearing their weather reports and was so glad the morning I heard they are finally back.

So what does that have to do with writing? Sue asked me to contribute a post for her blog, so I write about … crickets?!

No, not about crickets but about observing all – even the little things — that your senses tell you all the time. Have you noticed that the hotter it is outside, the higher and faster the crickets chirp? That’s their weather report. Have you noticed that in winter, popcorn clouds signal the approach of snow?

Whether you write fiction as Sue does, or non-fiction as I do, adding these sensory details can be the difference between writing that falls flat or writing that sparkles. A piece or a book that is rich and full.

So, now, get away from your writing spot, go outside, and notice. What do you feel in the breeze? What are the scents that this spot sends to your nose? Are there any so strong you can almost taste them? What do you see about how the plants and insects react to what the breeze brings? Can you hear the small things among the loud? – The buzz of insects, the flap of bird wings, or the soft landing of a leaf when it hits the ground? What can you tell from the footfalls of someone passing by? One day you’ll want to add details like those to your piece of writing. It will go from blah to fantastic.

When Elinor was five, polio nearly killed her. At thirteen, though profoundly disabled in a limited-access world, she declared that she would work overseas one day. Few except her parents supported the wild goal that eventually led Elinor to improbable places and adventures. Now retired, Elinor writes, speaks, mentors, and anticipates the day her memoir will be published.

Here is a short trailer of a YouTube video of Elinor “Bad Legs.”

You may contact Elinor at elinor@elinor-young.info

Note: Elinor was the guest speaker at the July 11 meeting of SASP (Spokane Authors & Self-Publishers), and is an amazing lady with whom I reconnected after many years .

Posted in Memoirs, Overcoming disabilities, Overseas missions, Videos, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review – Beyond the Ocean’s Edge: A Stone Island Sea Story by D. Andrew McChesney

Author D. Andrew McChesney instantaneously transports the reader back in space and time to the deck of the Theadora, a British sailing ship about to do battle with the French. It is the year 1802, and hero Edward Pierce leads a boarding crew to victory.

McChesney’s use of nautical terms soon creeps into your own vocabulary, and his descriptions can draw you into the belief that you can smell the salt air and feel the ship roll with the waves beneath your feet. Then the real story begins.

After a short stint on land, newly commissioned Captain Pierce and his excellent crew set off with a group of would-be colonists in search of the uncharted Stone Island. The quest takes them further from home than they could have imagined, and Pierce even more distant from Evangeline, the woman he loves.

The first of a series, Beyond the Ocean’s Edge will sail you beyond the charted seas and into a fantastic adventure.

Beyond the Ocean’s Edge is available on Amazon and Kindle. Click on the book’s cover below:

Beyond the Ocean's Edge: A Stone Island Sea Story

and please be sure to write a review when you finish the book. Thanks.



Posted in Book Reviews, Book Series, fantasy, Science Fiction | Leave a comment


Word pairs (sometimes triplets) which sound the same but have different meanings and are spelled differently are most often called homophones. They wreak havoc with writers, editors, and proofreaders for two main reasons: spellcheck doesn’t recognize them as mistakes since they are real words that are just misused and the autocorrect function on phones and computers often tries to “correct” them incorrectly. I call this phenomenon Homophonia.

Why should writers care? If the words you choose are misspelled or misused, they reflect on your ability as a writer. They can say to the reader, “This is a masterpiece of word art!” If the errors are glaring, they can shout, “A first grader could have been more coherent!”

I believe it’s essential to pay attention to usage, punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I learned what I know because I read a lot of books. If the books I had read had been full of errors, how would I have known the difference between (for example) peel and peal?

No, the English language is not perfect, and it is evolving, which is one more reason to be diligent in its usage. If the next generation can’t define and use correctly the homophones listed below, how will they ever know enough to talk about the properties of an ice floe, or the flow rate of a river approaching flood stage?

Here is an exercise for anyone who wishes to take the challenge. Write a sentence using both words (or all three) from a row on the Homophones Chart in one sentence. I gave an example earlier, using floe and flow.

The list is not all-inclusive, and I had help from my husband, Ray, and our waitress, Mavis as I attempted to think of examples. Here are some homophones on which you can practice.

Homophone Chart
1 Past Passed  
2 Your You’re Yore
3 They’re There Their
4 Peel Peal  
5 It’s Its  
6 Brake Break  
7 Peek Peak Pique
8 Stake Steak  
9 You Ewe Yew
10 Hair Hare  
11 Die Dye  
12 Pie Pi  
13 Eye Aye I
14 Scent Sent  
15 Purl Pearl  
16 Sore Soar  
17 Bore Boar Boor
18 Board Bored  
19 Pail Pale  
20 Hale Hail  
21 Hart Heart  
22 Male Mail  
23 Tail Tale  
24 Two Too To
25 Toe Tow  
26 Oar Or Ore
27 War Wore  
28 Pore Pour Poor
29 Do Dew  
30 Err Ere Air
31 Awl All  
32 Ail Ale  
33 Aide Ade Aid
34 Crewed Crude  
35 Brewed Brood  
36 Week Weak  
37 Wrest Rest  
38 Made Maid  
39 Grate Great  
40 Plain Plane  
41 Sac Sack  
42 Minor Miner  
43 Sheer Shear  
44 Who’s Whose  
45 Whole Hole  
46 Sail Sale  
47 Hew Hue  
48 Prey Pray  
49 Blue Blew  
50 Shoe Shoo  
51 Beet Beat  
52 Ah Awe  
53 Hall Haul  
54 Maul Mall  
55 Mite Might  
56 Write Right Rite
57 Meet Meat  
58 Flee Flea  
59 For Four Fore
60 Wants Once  
61 Bawl Ball  
62 Knows Nose Noes (plural of no)

You may also submit a homophone pair (or triplet) which isn’t on this list. Let’s have some fun. Who knows? We might even learn something.

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Kindle ebook price changes

A note to all my followers:

A new price for all of my ebook titles on Amazon — Return from Armageddon, Meadowlark Madness, Taming of the T-Bird, and the latest, Send in the Drones — will be $2.99 each beginning in the next 72 hours.

They will be available at this price on Amazon for the rest of the summer.

Thank you to all my followers and readers. Please leave a review once you’ve finished reading.

Posted in Book Series, Coming soon, ebook, Emily Trace Mysteries, Science Fiction, Special promotion, Sue Eller | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Corn Dog Continuum

by Sue Eller

Note: this story is based on a real life experience. However, reality became bogged down in a vat of grease and frittered itself away.

Stuck in a crack in space-time, fate doomed me to slave in a corn dog factory for infinity.

My name is Geraldine, and after weeks of searching for gainful employment, I finally found my niche. Or so I thought. Desperation, hunger, and a desire to continue to sleep indoors clouded my vision and visited me with the delusion that the phrase “factory worker” described the ideal dream job. I mean, how hard could it be to make corn dogs?

How little I knew.

I rolled into work my first day about five minutes early. My supervisor gave me a timecard and showed me how to operate the time clock. We waited as the incessant ticks brought us closer to the hour. When the minute hand moved to the proper mark, and a loud whistle emanated from somewhere in the back of the factory, I inserted my timecard, and the machine stamped 0800 in the designated box.

Next stop: the locker room, where another stranger handed me a grease-stained coverall and a mesh cap. (Health department standard protective gear.) A pair of heavy-duty rubber gloves to protect my hands from the hot grease and rubber covers for my shoes completed the dorky chic look.

Thus outfitted, I entered a doorway into the bowels of the factory. My supervisor had to shout to be heard over the clanking machines, even though she stood right beside me. She pointed to handles with hooks on the ends, joined together by a sturdy iron crossbar. A hinge attached a second bar with perpendicular slots to the rest of the assembly. I grasped one of the handles of the oversized, inverted “U” in each hand and wondered briefly what function the hooks served.

As I watched, one of the workers skewered hot dogs with long wooden sticks and passed them to the next guy, who opened the long bar at the base of the U and placed a wooden stick in each of the eight depressions. He clamped it shut with a snap, and a conveyer belt carried the bars to the next station, which was my assigned place.

My job was to dip each bar full of hot dogs in a vat of batter directly in front of me and hook it on another conveyor belt, which carried the contraption through a long trough bubbling with hot grease. At the other end, a worker would unhook the bar and release the dogs onto another conveyor belt which whisked them away to parts unknown. Slick operation, wouldn’t you think? Prophetic words. Literally.

After a brief demonstration, I grasped both handles of the bar, dunked the dogs in the batter, swirled them around, pulled them out and hooked the handles on the continuously moving belt. I watched as it traversed the narrow vat of grease, bubbling and popping on its merry way to the other side.

“You didn’t get them covered well enough,” the boss lady shouted at me. She demonstrated one more time and watched me until she was satisfied. The crack in space-time widened, and I stepped into it as I took my station in front of the vat of batter and the trough of grease.

Enthusiastic, I grabbed the handles of the bar to my right, dipped and swirled the suspended dogs in the batter and sent them on their frying way. Before she left, the boss gave me instructions on timing the grease submersion step.

“If you get them too close together, the guy at the other end won’t be able to get them off and empty them. But if you get them too far apart, it slows production down. Keep a steady pace, and don’t mess up the battering part.” She shook her head and walked away. I was determined to disprove her low opinion of my abilities.

It didn’t take me long to develop a rhythm. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t dip too soon or the batter will slide off the hot dogs before they dive into the deep fryer. Be precise and get a good swirl on each dog. Every bar is a work of art. The Corn Dog Continuum sucked out my brain and threatened to hold it captive for eternity. Every trip through the vat fried more brain cells.

Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. I looked around for a clock and found none. Almost got out of the rhythm with that move. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

The crack in time was closing in around me. Grease saturated every pore of my face and pooled at the tip of my nose. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

I reached up and rubbed against an itch on my cheek. I left more grease on my face than I rubbed off. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

Each completed task sucked me further into the void of fryer grease. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

No music. No conversation. Both were impossible because of the clatter of the many machines. Nothing could penetrate the monotony. Not even my thoughts. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

My eyes stared out through a coating of cooking oil, and my eyelashes stuck together. The aroma of rancid grease permeated my nasal passages. The rack of bars loaded with future corn dogs clanked each time my co-worker hung another at my station. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

In my light-headed state of mind, I envisioned each molecule of oxygen coated in a droplet of grease. Unable to breathe, I fell into a time vortex from which there was no escape. I almost dropped the next bar. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

A thin layer of grease covered my gloves and made grasping the bars more difficult. I had to concentrate and grip hard to keep from dropping them. My hands and forearms and back ached. Grasp. Dip. Swirl. Lift. Hook. Turn to my right and pick up another bar. Don’t get behind. Keep up, but don’t hook them too close together.

Suddenly all was silent. The conveyor belts had come to a halt. I turned to my right to retrieve another bar and found none in the queue. I watched as the last of my handiwork was unhooked and processed. As I wondered what was happening, a loud whistle sounded, and all the workers trudged like a group of automatons toward the lunchroom.

I turned to follow them and slid across the greasy floor like an ice skater on a foul-smelling rink. Cautiously I picked my way to the lunch area and through it into the locker room. I shed the coverall, mesh hat, rubber gloves, and shoe protectors, and left them lying on the floor. I never looked back as I walked out the front door and climbed into the safety of my car. I had escaped the crack in space-time and ended my career as a factory worker.

I will never eat another corn dog.

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Book Review – Drummer Loves Dancer by Fred Jessett

It is the 1950s in Seattle, Washington, a simpler and more innocent time. Lad MacAdam, a drummer in the Puget Sound Scots Pipe Band, is involved in an outdoor stage production of Brigadoon. He becomes involved romantically with one of the dancers in the production, Ginger De Forest, a displaced New Yorker whose life has been anything but simple and innocent.

Jessett weaves a tale of young love, conflict, family, and religion, and brings together lives so different that the odds are stacked against them. Drummer Loves Dancer, but is it enough to make Dancer love Drummer in return?

Drummer Loves Dancer is available on Amazon and Kindle. Click the picture below:


and please write a review for the author when you’ve finished reading the book. Thanks.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novel, Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review – Waxing is Useless by M. J. Hudon

A nameless evil lurks in the side streets and back alleys of Spokane, Washington. Unseen, but felt by the more sensitive human residents and smelled by the Guardians of the mid-sized metropolis, it hunts the sweet taste of its next victim, a vulnerable soul.

Hudon contrasts the horror of the hunter’s depravity and destruction with the tale of a bumbling housewife as she discovers her very own superpower. Creative cusswords are not only G-rated but hilarious. Humor and hope are interwoven skillfully with terror and trepidation as the author reveals the true nature of the Guardians and the reader discovers that, at least for some, Waxing is Useless.

Waxing is Useless is available on Amazon and Kindle. Click on the book’s cover below:


and be sure to write a review for the author when you’re finished. Thanks.

Posted in Book Reviews, fantasy, humor, Novel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment