Max Tales Mysteries

Max Tales Mysteries

Bolivar Point Light

Boliver Point Light

My Writing Journey - Part 2 The Story Must Be Told, No Matter The Cost!

March 16, 2015

Pixar Animation Studio’s motto is, “Story is King.” I believe that philosophy wholeheartedly. Why? I thought you’d never ask! It goes back to when I was a small child. I remember it well…queue the dream sequence music, (I like doing that, tee hee!)
Without completely giving away my age, I’ll say that during the time period of my childhood there were no video games, no computers, no internet and no cable TV, at least not in my house anyway. 


Once we’d watched afternoon reruns of The Munster’s and Gilligan’s Island there wasn’t much left to do. Getting through the rest of the day required a good imagination. Woe to the poor kids who didn’t have one because telling mom you’re bored meant doing chores.Thank goodness my brother Paul and I both had healthy imaginations. Another bit of luck on our behalf was living across the street from five acres of heavily wooded property. We named it…Devil’s Island!


There were two rival factions vying for control of the island. The first one consisted of two brothers from down the street, Cameron and Kevin and their maul, a cousin; I forget her name. They were called Cameron’s Gang. Then there was my posse, The Funky Four.


The leader of the Funky Four was Gerald, our friend from the bowling alley. He had everything it takes to be a leader. Foul language, cigarettes he’d filched from his dad, hair he could flip to the side and emerald green Chuck Taylors. Then there was Buster, a nastier kid I’ve never known. His real name was Ronald, but you don’t get to be bad to the bone with a name like Ronald. Buster had the potential to be the leader had he not been four years our junior. It was his job to do anything we told him to. Any smart eight year old knew better than to argue with eleven and twelve year olds. We gave my brother Paul the nickname Tank. Equipped with a dull machete from our garage it was his job to clear new paths through the island. And last but not least was me. I was responsible for coming up with ideas to overthrow Cameron’s Gang.


As I’ve mentioned, story is king and that statement held true on the island.
It was a hot day in Houston, just like every other summer day in Texas. Both gangs were holed up in opposing forts. I immediately realized the vulnerability of Cameron’s fort since it consisted of a small clearing between some trees, surrounded by a line of brush we weren’t allowed to cross. Cameron had left the fort with their maul on a recon mission. They left Kevin behind to stand guard—their first mistake. Kevin was good, but he was no Cameron and he didn’t stand a chance against Tank.
Even to this day I’m not ashamed to say that we kidnapped the poor kid, tied him to a tree with a couple belts and claimed Devil’s Island in the name of the Funky Four. The sad part is when we left Kevin in the woods and went home for dinner. And...we never saw him again...
Of course that last part isn’t true, but you can see my love of story has seen me through many significant stages of life.
The moral of the story is: be careful who you make war with, they might in turn seize your heart. Yes, I ended up having a huge crush on Cameron until he moved away after six months. What can I say? I’m a sucker for any guy that could cook a Denver omelet. In the words of the great Paul Harvey…and that’s the rest of the story!

My Writing Journey - Part 1 How It All Began

February 12, 2015

This week has been filled with lots and lots of editing on my contracted historical novel, Northern Light. It's been a fun experience going through the suggestions provided by my editor and making those changes. I don't have a release date yet, but things are moving along as planned. 

Last week was the release of the anthology, Out of the Storm by Chalfont House Publishing. My story, Tempest Tossed placed fourth in the contest and earned a place in the book. The great thing about the anthology is that a portion of the proceeds go toward scholarships to the ACFW national conference in Dallas this year. I hope you'll order a copy and support this great organization. Get your copy here.
How It All Began…
I suppose you could say that my love of writing goes all the way back to when I was a small child. I remember it well…queue the dream sequence music.My first writings came in the form of poetry I’d lovingly write for my mama. I remember one particular poem that went something like this.
Roses are red.
Violets are purple.
I love you more than,
Pancakes with maple surple.
Okay, now be nice…remember, I was just a little kid. Yes, my poetry was always a big hit with Mom. Bless her heart, she always has been and always will be my biggest fan.
My love of verse grew even more when Mama let each of us three kids purchase a book through the Scholastic Book Club program. The one I chose was a book of poetry meant to appeal to young people. I can attest to the fact that it did and it still does today. The book is titled, Reflections On A Gift Of Watermelon Pickle And Other Modern Verse. The work of poetry the book is named for is the one I fell in love with. It’s the one that sang to me. It became the theme of my pre-teen years. It still speaks to me and to my generation.
Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity
During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
   (Hollowed out
    Fitted with straws
    Crammed with tobacco
    Stolen from butts
    In family ashtrays)

Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
Of civilization;
During that summer--
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was--
Watermelons ruled.
Thick imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;
And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.
The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
Swallowed reluctantly.
But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.

John Tobias

Happy Bones Devotional By: Becky Jacoby

 This week on Puppy Dog Tales, I welcome author, Becky Jacoby. This multi-talented and creative writer has combined her love of dogs with her love of Jesus to come up with an amazing devotional called Happy Bones: Not Just a Dog’s Love! I’m pleased to have you read this interview with her!

First of all, I would like to point out that an estimated 70-80 million dogs make their homes with approximately 45% of the households in the United States. That’s a lot of doggie love. And doggie stories. I invite you to continue reading this interview with Becky Jacoby Happy Bones: Not Just a Dog’s Love, a 31-day Dog-themed Devotional.

Why a devotional instead of some other type of book about dogs?

Why not a devotional? There are already hundreds of other dog books and dog rescue stories. To me, dogs are an excellent representation of God’s love. Their faith, devotion, loyalty and forgiveness shine as examples of God’s attributes.

Each story in the devotional illustrates aspects of God’s character as well as life in this world and hopefully leads us to the Cross in prayer.

How did you come up with the idea?

I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference a few years ago and spoke with an acquisitions editor of a Christian publisher. Originally, my idea was for 365-days on many subjects. He told me he was looking for thematic 30-day devotionals. When I was ready to publish, though, I chose the independent route.

Since Happy Bones, I’ve also published Creative Comforts: Artful Hands and Hearts. It is a 30-day devotional for crafters, writers, artists, photographers…everyone who works unto the Lord. I have another Christian book underway tentatively entitled Loved No Matter What, as well as my first suspense novel, Shoot the Moon.

Q.  What makes writing a devotional different from other nonfiction?

More similar than different, I think. There has to be a hook that grabs the reader, engaging and well-written content that leads the reader on an emotionally connected journey, and a conclusion that satisfies and prompts the reader to pray or at least consider feelings about what was read or learned. I hope Happy Bones leaves paw prints across reader’s hearts.

Q. Let’s see. Happy you have dogs. Creative Comforts…you’re a writer. It makes sense.

Yes, my husband Bob and I have two rescued dogs, Lehigh, a lab/border collie mix, and Abigail, a boxer mix. However, Happy Bones has stories of other dogs, not just our current two girls. About Creative Comforts, I’ve been a corporate communications and copywriter for many years, I’m also certified in graphic design, I’ve participated in art shows with drawing and painting, I quilt, and have more hobbies, too. Creating is part of who I am.

Actually, creativity is a power given to us by God. We all have it, we merely use it differently.

Thanks for allowing me to join you today.

Bio: Becky Jacoby has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer, ghostwriter, project director and consultant. She is also a fine artist and illustrator, graphic artist, avid crafter and quilter. Her nonfiction and fiction work has appeared in numerous print, online, trade and specialty publications. She runs the Words with Wings blog, and her website features occasional free short stories, and books, as well as recent artwork for sale. She is completing a debut suspense novel which includes a widowed former Marine and her trained military dogs.

Past activities include teaching graphic design, writing and marketing. She has also mentored at-risk children and assisted abused women. A long-time resident of York, then Philadelphia area, Pennsylvania, home now is coastal North Carolina with hubby Bob and the dogs, who insist on resting behind her chair or across her toes as she writes, paints or quilts.

Becky loves hearing from readers. Connect with her at her:

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