Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why WallyWorld will be a book

      So, in my “truth is stranger than fiction” folder, I have a whole separate section for that big box store out of Arkansas…because in my redneck area- we do seem to attract some winners. Yesterday I ventured that way because I’m a lazy shopper and figured I could get everything needed for our excursion on Sunday in one stop.(Fail) For as long as I can remember I have had an issue with low blood sugar and yesterday it decided to rear its smarmy head and be a real pest. I knew I was a bit shaky when I left, but I figured, ‘hey, I’ve eaten- good stuff for a change, I’ll be fine’ and getting to the store- I was. I even scored double gold in finding a parking spot close to the door & in the shade.
  As I’m walking in, that little voice in the back of your head pipes up…(you know- the one you know you should listen to, but because you believe you’re a genius-you don’t.) I look up and see what is either a bird skimming the floor or a big mouse running for cover. I stopped- right in the doorway, head turning every which way like a demented over size parrot as I tell me, “self…you have never hallucinated with crappy sugar levels.” Which is when I noticed Ding & Dong stocking the shelves, I’m sure there were names on their big smiley face tags, but they earned the titles, Ding & Dong. I look their way and say, “Ya know, either that was a really big mouse running across the floor- or a bird was chasing something to the shelves.” To which Dong replies, “Dunno, I didn’t see anything.”
    Call me crazy, but I would almost expect that from some 18 yr old, but not from some 40-ish yr old man. Dong chimed in to giggle like someone just took a whole chicken’s worth of feathers to his ticklish zones. They got the mom eye roll and I moved on- list clutched tightly in my sweaty hand. About half way through this trip I realized I was talking myself through each turn and section and I knew- yep, this is officially bad. Sweat is pouring off my face to the point I decided to add a wash cloth to my list so I could wipe off my face. I’m heading for the same garden center check out that I had entered through when I spotted Ding & Dong. I had some smart mouth retort to their behavior, but I was side tracked by this cute little old lady that began to shriek like a banshee.
About every third word came out in Puerto Rican, she’s accenting them with more ear vibrating screams and punctuating it by throwing anything and everything she could reach at the mystery critter…which was a very fat mouse. She was double fist throwing bottles of tiki torch oil and containers of fertilizer (hello? EPA…)which some dim-wit stocked side by side. As she is doing this, she is trying to get into the back of the cart, so she has one leg in the basket, one on the floor, hopping along and this poor mouse... Don’t get me wrong- I hate mice. I would grab a gun and go out in the dark to shag away cougars and coyotes and a bear or two in Michigan- a mouse & I am yelling for Ed to save me. This poor thing would run a foot or two one way, and then something would bounce next to it and it would race the other and all I could think of was “This would be a twist on Duck Hunt.”  
Ding & Dong are pointing at the woman, the manager is running down the main aisle of the store with this Fat Albert look alike store security guard…he stopped and flopped into a chair as soon as he got there. The woman is now slinging the contents of her cart at the mouse and still screeching. At least the world knows she has healthy lungs. This is where the phrase “Not my circus, not my monkeys” runs through my head closely followed by a prayer that the drink coolers had something I could get down and not be empty- for a change. I start to walk off and Ding says “Hey, wait” and he’s pointing at the banshee. I smiled and shook my head and said, “Dunno what to say dude. I don’t see anything.” And walked on.
I did sit in the parking lot talking to Julie, drinking my Coke and waiting for everything to even out, as well as giving her a play by play on a shirtless cowboy who chose to clean his truck in the wallyworld parking lot when there’s a car wash at the end of the row, as I pulled out, a fire truck was pulling in.
Three weeks ago I was waiting on my son to come out of the store when I saw two old men- using canes on each other. I’m not sure what started it, I had been reading when the gathering crowd caused more than one horn blower to emerge. They were gasping and leaning on the cars as their wives walked up within seconds of each other. The question was “what are you doing you crazy old fool?” They shook hands, and then pulled their cars down into that clown-y burger joint at the end of the lot. As we pulled out, they were at an umbrella table out front.  Before that we watched some kid race out of the store and dive onto the hood of a parked car, kind of like a belly flop, only to get this really odd look on his face and then start to apologize to the occupant, followed by “I thought it was my mom’s car.” And some cheesy laughter…it stopped when the cop pulled in.

This is why I have pretty much decided to write a book on the wonders of this place.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Excerpt from "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber!"


Hello everyone, I'm Lisa Orchard the author of the bestselling Super Spies series and I thought I'd share with you an excerpt from my second book, "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber."





Chapter One

A whoosh of roiling hot air lifted Sarah Cole and flung her against the kitchen wall like a fumbled football. At the same time, the windows burst into millions of pieces, showering everything with tiny shards of glass. Sarah crumpled to the floor, still clutching the phone. She lay there stunned, unable to inhale or exhale.
“Sarah! Sarah!” her younger sister, Lacey, screamed from the bathroom, where she’d been drying her hair.
The ringing in her ears was so intense, Sarah could barely hear her. Groaning, she opened her eyes and saw only red through her right one. Dread rippled through her body.
“Sarah! Sarah!” Lacey cried again.
Sarah dropped the phone, and put her hand up to her eye. She fingered the area gently before pulling her hand away. Blood.
“Lacey,” she croaked, unable to manage more than that.
“Sarah! Where are you?”
“The kitchen,” Sarah said, finally able to breathe. She blinked her eyes twice and her vision cleared. Relief flooded her body and she wilted against the floor.
“Holy Moley!” Lacey shrieked.
Sarah jumped at the sound of her voice. She didn’t realize Lacey had come up the stairs and into the kitchen. The ringing in her ears was almost gone.
“You’re bleeding!”
“No kidding,” Sarah said, covering her right eye with her hand and glaring at Lacey with her uncovered one. She brushed her shoulder length blonde hair away from her face and gasped at the blood running down her arm.
“We’ve got to get you to the hospital!” Lacey screamed in a voice edged with hysteria.
“Stop freaking out!” Sarah gave Lacey the old one-eyed glare again.
“Sarah, there’s blood everywhere,” her sister whimpered as she wrung her hands. She gazed around her. “What happened? Did our furnace blow up or something?”
“I don’t think so.” Sarah shook her head, dust particles and slivers of glass cascaded to the floor. She furrowed her brow and absentmindedly brushed off her clothes. “I think something exploded outside. Help me up.”
Lacey held out her hand to Sarah and pulled her into a sitting position.
Blinking, Sarah gazed around the kitchen. On most days it was a sunny room with pineapple wallpaper and pine cabinets. It was the most popular room in the house—everyone congregated there during the holidays.
Sarah blinked again. Dust floated through the air and glass littered the yellow linoleum floor. She groaned and turned her attention to her arm.
As she examined the blood running down it, another wave of panic flooded through her body. Sarah’s legs wobbled when she stood and she stumbled as she reached for a kitchen towel that lay on the counter. She used it to blot her eye. When she pulled the towel away, she was shocked to see the amount of blood that had soaked into it. Sarah gulped, trying to swallow her fear as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.
With unsteady feet, Sarah stumbled into the hall where a mirror hung.
She was afraid to look. Taking some deep breaths, she  stared into the cracked mirror and noticed a cut in her eyebrow. The amount of blood that seeped from the cut was enormous compared to its small size.
Lacey walked past Sarah on her way to the den. The crunch of glass under her sister’s feet caught Sarah’s attention, and she sighed.
Thank goodness we had our shoes on. A wave of relief washed over her body and she exhaled another deep sigh. The girls had been getting ready for school when the windows exploded and covered everything with glass.
“Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.
Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.
“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”
Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”
She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.
“What in the world happened?”
Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”
The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.
“Hello?”
“Sarah?”
“Jackie?”
“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.
Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.
“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.
“There was an explosion at the high school.”
“There was an explosion?”
“Yep.”
“How do you know? Was it a bomb?” Sarah brushed her hair away from her face and watched as more dust cascaded to the floor.
“I heard it on the police scanner.”
“Was it a bomb?” Sarah asked again.
“They don’t know, but what else causes an explosion?” Jackie said with a voice edged with apprehension.
“Crap,” Sarah gasped, as the energy seemed to drain from her body, replaced with heavy dread. Sagging against the kitchen wall, she clutched the phone as if it were a lifeline. “Uncle Walt.” She choked, and then turned toward Lacey and stared.
 “Sarah? Are you there? Are you all right?” Jackie yelled from the phone.
“Sarah?” Lacey’s lip quivered.
Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes as she spoke to Lacey. “There’s been an explosion at the high school.”
“What? No way!” Lacey shook her head and swung away.
“Sarah, I’m coming over!” Jackie screamed.
 Sarah nodded numbly as she watched Lacey. Her sister’s breathing was labored and her face turned pale.
“I feel like I’m going to faint.” Lacey’s knees buckled and she reached for the kitchen chair.
“Put your head between your knees!” Sarah dropped the phone, grabbed Lacey and helped her to the floor. She gently pushed Lacey’s head down between her knees. Her sister’s face and knees disappeared behind the curtain of her long blonde hair.
“Now, take deep breaths.”
Lacey inhaled deeply and let her breath out slowly. The two girls sat like that for a few minutes, Sarah holding her sister’s head down and Lacey breathing.
“Thanks. You can let go now.” Lacey raised her head and smiled at Sarah.
Sarah nodded and peered into her sister’s green eyes that were so much like her own. “Better?”
“Yeah.” Lacey let out a long shudder. She sat back on the floor. “I’m not ready to get up yet.”
“Jackie’s coming over.” Sarah picked up the phone and pushed buttons with a shaky hand.
“Who’re you calling?” Lacey whimpered.
“Uncle Walt’s cell.”
Sarah listened to the phone ring, as her stomach tightened into a knot. “It went right into voicemail.” She gulped as the enormity of the situation hit her. Fear ate away at her self-control and her stomach clenched tighter. Taking some deep breaths, she wondered what she should do next. Without a doubt, Sarah knew that Lacey was going to lose it at any moment, and someone needed to take charge. “We have to call Aunt June.” The quiver in her voice betrayed the fear she tried to hide.
“I hope he’s okay,” Lacey whimpered and then sobbed as she sagged against the cabinets. Rocking back and forth, she tried to calm herself.
“I’m sure he wasn’t near the explosion.” Sarah cast a sideways glance toward her sister, hoping to reassure Lacey, but her words rang false in her own ears.
“He went to school early today,” Lacey whimpered as she rocked. She rubbed her hands together as if they were cold.
Sarah dialed her aunt’s office and waited for Beatrice, the receptionist, to answer. Pacing, she chewed on her nail. What was taking Bea so long? While Sarah waited, the wails of police sirens and the blare of fire truck horns filled the air as they rushed past. Panic gnawed at her gut. She fought to keep it at bay and won for the moment.
Beatrice answered the phone and informed Sarah that her aunt was with a patient.
“Bea, this is an emergency.” Sarah’s voice cracked. “I really need to talk to her.”
“I’m sorry Sarah. I didn’t recognize your voice. Just a second. I’ll interrupt her session.”
Sarah waited on hold, listening to the elevator music filtering through the phone. She paced and chewed her nails. “Let’s go in the den.”
 Lacey, still wobbly from her near faint, stood and clung to Sarah, as Sarah guided her into the den.
“Turn the TV on and see if there’s anything on the news,” Sarah instructed.
She paced back and forth while her sister stumbled toward the TV. Lacey walked hunched over and slow. With a trembling hand, she finally pushed the power button on the television.
Stifling an irritated sigh, Sarah peered at the TV and caught a glimpse of a scroll at the bottom of the screen. It said Harrisburg High School and Jr. High School closed today due to faculty meeting. Please stay away from the High School. There has been an explosion and emergency personnel need to be able to get to the scene.
Sarah stifled a growl of frustration. That’s it? That’s all they’re going to tell us? She continued her pacing, growing more agitated by the minute.
Sarah chewed on her lip as frantic thoughts ran through her mind. It was her first day at her new school and it explodes? What is going on?
Her aunt’s voice came through the phone. “Sarah? What’s wrong?”
Sarah let out a strangled sob. The sound of concern in her aunt’s voice was enough for her to lose control of her emotions. “It’s Uncle Walt. There’s been an explosion at the high school and all of our windows exploded!” Sarah sobbed. Her best efforts to keep it together were unsuccessful.
 “An explosion? What kind of explosion?”
“I don’t know,” Sarah cried. “I just know there was some kind of explosion.”

A low moan escaped her aunt’s lips. “Oh, no. Walt!”


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Monday, June 16, 2014

Counting our Blessings

With all the bad news recently, Isla Vista, Tony Gwynn's passing (he was geninuely a nice person) and the dust ups in the Middle East, I thought I'd share something a friend of mine has started doing.
It's called the "Good News Channel". What he's doing is asking all his Facebook friends and family to share just one little piece of good news with him that he can share via a YouTube video. Every morning he gets up early, powers on his webcam and reads the good news from his friends and family.

We get to hear all the good news like kids graduating high school or college or getting amazing grades. Friends who just landed new jobs after months (or years) of unemployment. Baby announcements, wedding announcements, and engagements. First jobs being landed by new graduates or teens who just got their driver's licenses.

And then there's the little things like, "I got up this morning" (for those suffering from depression) and "Yay I found coffee!". Or the puppy made it through the night without needing a trip outside to go potty. Or the baby finally slept through the night. One of my favorites is about getting out of the shower to find a nice clean, warm towel fresh from the dryer.

He's announced that my cookbook is done and that his prized SUV was getting detailed. Things like "so-and-so's making jam today, anybody want some?" and details of fresh hauls from the veggie garden get tacked on as well.

What I've noticed since he's started this is that my day starts out better too. It reminds me that the little things deserve to be celebrated too. So today, for my good news it's "Yay, I found coffee!". Because I really, really needed that today.

What's your good news today?