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dava stewart

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I haven't participated in #SaturdayScenes from a story with the working title Slipping

Eyes open wide, fast, heart trying to jump out of her chest, Amila woke up fast and knew immediately that something was wrong. She forced her breath to be slow and silent and didn’t move. Perfectly still, listening with every inch, she heard voices. At the house. Her mind raced. Had she left anything out yesterday?
The space where she was currently hidden was relatively safe. Unless the soldiers did a search involving ripping up floorboards in the barn, which wasn’t completely out of the question, they wouldn’t likely find her. There were other dangers of course: they could decide to set the buildings on fire, including the barn, or they could start tearing it apart to use for firewood -- and it wasn’t so sturdy to start with -- or they could set up camp and she would effectively be trapped in a 5x7 foot hole under the floor of the barn.
If they noticed anything at the house that made them think a person was around, though, the dangers increased exponentially. Amila ran through everything she had done yesterday in her mind. She had been picking green beans from the hidden vines. Her garden, if it could be called that, was scattered all over the property. The beans were growing up the side of an old, broken fence, along with some vinca and even a little poison ivy for cover. She had a few squash plants mixed with some burdock at the end of one field, and there were a few tomato plants sprawling among some carefully placed ragweed. It was all to camouflage Amila’s existence, and so far, it had worked pretty well.
Harvesting her meagre food and storing it was a little more complicated. When she snapped beans she had to remember to scatter then ends and strings where no one would see them. Her solar panels weren’t strong enough for using the pressure cooker and the freezer had stopped working months ago. Salt was precious, but in the end, layering the beans with salt in a bucket was her best bet. She had never tried that particular preservation method, but there were instructions a Foxfire book in the farm’s library.
In a near panic, Amila tried to remember if she’d left the book out. She couldn’t remember. Breathe in. Exhale. Think. She remembered getting it out and sitting behind the old house, reading the instructions for the hundredth time, munching on a raw green bean. Then, finding an appropriate bucket and rigging the stove to heat water in it and sterilize it. Ah. Yes. While the bucket dried in the sun she had carried the book back to the library.
The library, as her aunt May had called it, was another underground room, and there were more than books there. It was sort of the command center, or maybe underground bunker was a better description. It was built into the side of a hill, and cleverly disguised. Unlike the space under the barn floor where Amila was sleeping, the library was completely dry -- that’s why the precious books were stored there. May and her husband Trent had built the bunker way back before the war, before things got so out of hand. When all of Amila’s family had been alive and present.
Feeling tears of loneliness pricking her eyes, Amila chastised herself. You gonna lay here and cry while soldiers raid what little stores you have put by? At least listen to what’s going on around you.
The voices were still audible, though individual words were not. They were definitely moving. She tried to determine how many of them there were, and thought maybe three or four. Could they be scouts? She doubted it. Most likely it was a troop of rebels, looking for food. Or they could be government, looking for stray rebels. Either way, Amila didn’t want to be found.
Her family had supported the rebel cause early in the conflict, which of course brought the wrath of the government down on them later. May and Trent had warned the rest of the family to lay low and stay out of it, and Amila had them to thank for her current relatively comfortable circumstances -- as far as laying in a hole under the floor of a decrepit barn might be considered comfortable.
You have fresh food to eat, clean water to drink, and you aren’t being used like a toy by those soldiers, Amila chided herself. Lonely is better than raped or dead.
May and Trent had started building hidden storage as soon as Hendricks was elected president. Amila remembered her father asking Trent if they were in touch with other “preppers,” in a half-joking way. May had answered without a hint of laughter in her voice: “No. We are not in touch with anyone about anything, and you shouldn’t be either.”
There were caches all over the farm, but the library was the driest, and the one where the family had kept everything important. There was a file cabinet with birth certificates, deeds, and other paperwork that Amila doubted would ever be important again, plus the books they had hoarded so carefully, and the medical box her cousin Allie had put together.
The voices were coming closer. Three. She heard their boots on the path, heard one of them come to the entrance of the barn.
“Looks cleared out.”
And a different voice: “And like it might fall any second.”
Third: “Let’s go see if there is anything growing in that garden spot.”
Amila was just about to breath a sigh of relief when she heard a much quieter set of boots come all the way into the barn. There was almost no sound as the fourth soldier walked all through the barn. Amila was afraid to even breathe.
The barn was in a traditional style, tall in the middle with a loft, three stalls on one side, an open area on the other. The small tack room at one end was the only part with a wooden floor. At one time, the room had served as an office, where the family kept track of how much feed their animals ate, dates of vaccinations, and all sorts of things. The file cabinet and desk had long since been knocked around and dented up and every scrap of paper used for fires. Amila desperately hoped the silent soldier wouldn’t investigate the room too closely. The hole she was hiding in was hidden, but if he walked over it he might notice a difference in the sound of his footsteps.
After what felt like a day, she heard him leaving and slowly exhaled. She decided it would be a good day to sleep in for awhile. Maybe the rebels would be far gone when she woke up again.
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Thursday already. How does this keep happening? At the beginning of the week, I look at my list of assignments and tasks and think, "No problem, I can do this in a week, easy." Then suddenly, it's Thursday and I'm freaking out.

I'm trying to limit the freaking out though. There really isn't any reason to freak out. It's just a matter of doing the work. And I can do the work.

Dinner will be BBQ chicken stuffed baked potatoes. The chicken and potatoes are already in the crockpot. YUM. I'll probably sauté some kale to go on the side and to consume some kind of vegetable.

What will you be having for dinner?

Here's the list:

work stuff
set up interview 1
send questions for interview 1
set up interview 2
respond to emails from PR folks
work on blog post 1
write service 1
write service 2
figure out how many services per day need done to meet deadline (2 is how many)
work on big article draft

household stuff
cook breakfast
put dinner in crockpot
wash dishes
put away some clothes!
clean bathroom sink
wash load of white clothes

self stuff
have stern talk with self about over-doing it
track calories
short, easy workout

Photo is Eliza and her best bud, Ripley. Ripley has taught Eliza how to bark at cars going down the road from the window.

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I haven't read any of the others, but Derelict is fantastic. I very rarely read series before all of the books are available, but I buy each new installment of this series as soon as it is out.

Good stories let you escape from the dumpster fire of reality!
Do you like to read science fiction?

Checkout this curated SciFi bundle via +StoryBundle. And hey, what's that book in the lower right hand corner? Why, it's #DERELICT, in wonderful company.

You can buy the 4 main books for just $5, of if you're interested in even more scifi goodness, pay just $15 to get all 12 books (that's an additional 8 bonus books, including DERELICT).

This bundle is available for a limited time - through February 1st, so go take a look and please spread the word.
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This is one I'm looking forward to!
Guys - it's HAPPENING. After months of deliberation on the idea, anxiety about it, and researching ways to pull it off on a shoestring budget, gathering and organizing every stinkin' post in this collection for consideration on which to publish, promises to you guys about when it will be done, etc... I bring you this announcement.

The ebook is finally taking shape - the page numbers are wrong, but this is a sneak peek at the inside as it's being worked on.
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Are you an author? Do you ever wish you could afford a virtual assistant? Now's your chance! +Adriel Wiggins does fantastic work, and is currently running a sale:
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Karen is an excellent editor. If you are looking for someone professional and communicative, you should hit her up!
Because humans are human, things change.

NOVEMBER IS OPEN as of this writing. (Aside from continuing an ongoing project, which is coming in a chapter at a time, that is. And another that's gotten stalled at the "acceptance" phase because of the client's day job. C'est la guerre.)

I have had projects penciled in to November and December, but the November one just slipped back a month, and the December one ... might not be happening at all, it seems.

Book a slot

Tell your friends.

My calendar is very much open.
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First of all, +Rick Wayne is an excellent storyteller. If you don't already have his books, you should go and buy them now.

Second, his and Orine's love story is beautiful. I don't know that I've ever rooted for an unlikely couple as much as I have for them. I hope with every fiber of my being that they find a way to be together.

If you are sick of terrible news, and would prefer to spend some time thinking about a love story, here is an opportunity. Please consider contributing a dollar or two to help Rick get back to Orine.
Well, she's in Minneapolis about to get on a flight to Tokyo. She cried the whole way through security (which was oddly long for Wichita). I held out until the car ride home! But the boys came along, so that helped.

Right now we have no hard plans to see each other again. I need to start looking for a job soon. Marriage and everything long term depends on that. I think I can hold off -- meaning: keep writing -- until after the first of the year, which means I could squeeze in one final working trip to Tokyo if I went over the holidays.

I have enough miles to get me to LA. From there, I can get a flight for $650. As of now, I can probably swing half that -- maybe a little more -- depending on other expenses. (For example, I need a new phone. :( Mine is a little over three years old now and is dying. Half the time it won't charge.)

If anyone has the desire to throw some money in the virtual tip jar, you can do so here:

I'm not really asking so much as giving those who want to contribute the opportunity to do so.
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Get yourself something gorgeous for your space.
I have 8 x 10 prints (matted to 11 x 14) of the photos in the attached album available. All are matted in white/off-white except where noted (I have one print of "Les Reflets" matted in black). These are $40 plus shipping ($5 USA, $7 Canada). I'm still cleaning house.

Note: some of the images in the album have my old watermark, but none of the physical prints are watermarked.
Matted 8 x 10 prints
Matted 8 x 10 prints
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I don't think I've shown you guys what D2 traded her Corvette for - a 1979 El Camino. Straight pipes all the way back - loud and proud.
2 Photos - View album
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My bruvver's current hot rod. I really like the paint.
3 Photos - View album
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