Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Twelve Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #7

Many of the words I chose are from The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. ~ Pslam 111:10 (NIV)

  1. apothegm – a) saying; b) growth on throat;  c) respiratory condition; d) architectural detail
  2. codswallop – a) British fish and chips; b) backhand; c) nonsense; d) swallow whole
  3. deflagration – a) slander; b) explosion; c) mass migration; d) corporal punishment
  4. harpocracy – a) berating; b) silence c) glad-handing; d) fear of harps
  5. keelhaul – a) rebuke; b) drill a doorknob hole; c) climb aboard; d) shuck shellfish
  6. mobocracy – a) agility; b) political control by a mob;) of robotic limbs; d) type of poem
  7. neoteric – a) lighthearted; b) self-centered; c) genius; d) recent
  8. ostreal – a) of or relating to oysters; b) night sky; c) of or relating to ostriches; d) unfathonable
  9. pleonasm – a) stinginess; b) type of political lobby; c) legal pleadings; d) redundancy
  10. rataplan – a) caste system; b) zuchini and tomatoe sidedish; c) repeating noise; d) type of roof shingle
  11. smellfungas – a) wine taster; b) faultfinder; c) mushroom tester; d) person with huge nose
  12. ulracrepidarian – a) presumptuous; b) liberal; c) delusional; d) unkempt

thinking capHave you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. ~ Proverbs 3:13-20 (NIV)

Here are the correct answers.

  1. a) saying
  2. c) nonsense
  3. b) explosion
  4. b) silence
  5. a) rebuke
  6. b) political control by a mob
  7. d) recent
  8. a) of or relating to oysters
  9. d) redundancy
  10. c) repeating noise
  11. b) faultfinder
  12. a) presumptuous

Jumping for joy over your score?

10-12  So, I see you enjoy being an introvert and book worm.

07-09  People only pretend to know what you’re talking about.

04-06  You might not want to try out for Jeopardy.

00-03  If I were you, I’d stick with Word Search puzzles.


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Eleven Lousy Excuses

Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help. If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.  ~ Proverbs 24:11-12 (MSG)

  1. The brief definition of the sentence “My husband will understand” is “rationalization.” The expanded definition is “I better start praying for a real good reason before I get home.”
  2. If I find myself repeatedly saying– “Laugh, that was a joke” –it doesn’t necessarily mean the people to whom I’m speaking are dense. It could be my jokes aren’t that funny.
  3. When I preface a sentence with, “I shouldn’t say this but—” then I shouldn’t say this—period.
  4. If my main reason for not going to the doctor’s is because I don’t want to get weighed, it means I’m overweight and vain and in denial and not too bright.
  5. Since the little I have to offer won’t make a big difference, I’ll wait until I have more before I give.   Bored audeince
  6. If three or more people yawn (or fall asleep) while I’m speaking, it’s not them or the heat or their lack of sleep, it’s me . . . being boring.
  7. If I have to defend my friend’s words and actions over and over with this sentence: “You know, she’s really quite smart,” chances are my friend has to work harder to prove my hypothesis.
  8. When my fellow writers don’t “get” a scene I’ve written now, a rewrite is always better than a long-winded explanation that my readers won’t put up with later.
  9. I’m able to watch all the TV shows and movies I want by skipping over the offensive parts.
  10. Why should I tell them how Jesus changed my life? They won’t listen anyway.
  11. I cannot vote for one presidential candidate and don’t want to vote for the other, so that means I’m not obligated to vote.

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?  ~  Galatians 5:13-15 (MSG)

 

 


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Linda Brooks Davis: An Inspiration

Ella McFarlandFor all you wannabe writers out there who think your AUTHOR date of expiration has come and gone, Linda Brooks Davis is the inspiration you need to see that your dream is not dead, just waiting on God’s timing.

ME:  Linda, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

LINDA: In high school I learned there was a spot inside me, somewhere around the heart, that came to life when I wrote. Later, at a local college, a quirky English professor asked me if I’d ever considered creative writing for a career. I was astounded. 

Expose my inner self to the world? Horrors!

It wasn’t until I went away to college that I discovered letter writing brought that spot to life. I wrote copious letters home. I remember hurrying back to the dorm between classes to start a letter or add to one, imagining my loved ones’ faces as they read and laughed and cried—experiencing college vicariously. (Think “The Waltons.”) Believe it or not, my mother saved every single letter. When she died in 1995, I discovered reams of them. I’ve organized them as a history for my offspring.

After college, life got in the way, and my writing pen remained in a drawer.

Fast forward to 2004. My daughter called me at work with news: Our first grandchild would arrive—in triplicate form. Not only was the news astounding, but so was my reaction. People in offices on the first floor came up to see what all the racket on second floor was all about.

My daughter’s at-risk pregnancy, mainly in the hospital, was indeed something to write home about. Her physician urged her to abort one baby, painting a landscape of dire predictions, but she refused.

When the babies were born at 28 weeks at just over 2 pounds each—and survived and thrived—you can bet that spot around my heart that comes to life when I write shifted into overdrive.

That’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. I would leave a legacy of faith in writing. Pow!

ME: You mentioned your work place, what did you do before you became a writer?

LINDA: In 1968, I began a 40-year career working with individuals with special needs. I was a speech pathologist in public schools and in clinical settings. The last ten years were as an administrator of special programs. I retired in 2008.

When not writing, my husband and I dote on our six grandchildren.

ME: How did you get involved in writing for publication? 

LINDA:  Ready for another story? Remember my dream of leaving a legacy of faith in writing? That 2005 goal took me to the internet where I stumbled across an essay contest sponsored by the host of a local talk show. (One of the program sponsors was Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.) For fun, I wrote an essay entitled “Why I Should Attend the Writing for the Soul Conference.” I didn’t know what the conference was, but it sounded like a grand event. It was at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, after all.

I didn’t tell anyone I entered. Actually, I forgot all about it.

Weeks later, I received a call at work. I recognized the voice … the host of the radio show … calling me … I’m one of three finalists … and I’m to read my essay on air … in forty-five minutes.

What? I didn’t remember where I put the essay. Was it still on my computer? Could I even find it?  Yikes.

Whew! Found it. Printed it. And caught my breath. I read, and with the clock ticking down to the last seconds of the show, the announcement was finally made. The host had made his decision . . . What? I won?

That’s how it happened. My husband and I were treated to the Broadmoor and the conference and all that went with it. I was open-mouthed and uninformed and naive. But I soldiered on.

Ten years later came the Operation First Novel win and publication of THE CALLING OF ELLA McFARLAND, a novel based in my family’s stories about hardship and faith and grit—a legacy of faith in writing.

God is so faithful, even to a ditzy woman like me who prayed for something and then was astounded when it happened. Will I ever learn?

My advice: Get the story down, no matter the form or quality. Keep learning. And don’t quit.

 

Linda-Brooks-DavisLinda Brooks Davis, first-place winner of the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel award, has lived in multiple states and outside the U.S, but she speaks Texan. 

Set in 1905 pre-statehood Oklahoma, THE CALLING OF ELLA McFARLAND, an inspirational historical with a strong romantic thread, debuted on December 1, 2015.

When not writing, Linda enjoys teaching 4-year-olds at church, reading, and researching genealogy. She and her husband dote on six grandchildren.

 


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As Rusty As the Spokes On My First Tricycle

tricycleMy memory is as rusty as the spokes on my first tricycle. Unused for years, many words are long gone or have morphed into variations never heard before. Who knows if I ever had them right to begin with?

Is it tact or tack? Further or farther? Affect or effect? Moot or mute?

Don’t get me started on biological or medical terms. More than once, I’ve said, “I fell prostate before the Lord” when I meant prostrate.

Speaking of prostates, I’ve told people I take Flomax instead of Flonase for nasal congestion. Flomax is an alpha-blocker that relaxes the muscles in the prostate and bladder neck, making it easier for men to urinate. Instead of Zantac, I raved how well Xanax works to relieve heartburn, when Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.

Hm. Perhaps, it is Xanax I need.

For those of you like me struggling with recall and vocabulary, I’ve made this easy-peasy quiz by giving you the definition. All you have to do is circle the word it goes with. May the farce be with you! 

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, ~ 2 Peter 1:13 (NIV)

  1. a sieve, especially a very fine one – a) carse; b) farce; c) sarse; d) parse
  2. lacking a tail or tail-like appendage – a) masticate; b) flagellate; c) castigate; d) acaudate
  3. put an end to, put a stop to, nip in the bud, put the lid on — a) scotch; b) botch; c) swatch; d) splotch
  4. the method of beginning play in which the forwards of each team crouch side by side with locked arms; play starts when the ball thrown in between them and the two sides compete for possession – a) plumb; b) scrum; c) bumb; d) rhumb
  5. a small stream; especially one that dries up in summer– a) dyke; b) sike; c) shrike; d) pike
  6. (of horses, dogs, and other animals) shortish and thickset; stocky – a) dobby; b) cobby; c) nobby; d) knobby
  7. have legs that curve outward at the knees; bowlegged – a) bandy; b) chandi; c) grandee; d) shandy
  8. turn or hold (a hand, foot, or limb) so that the palm or sole is facing downward or inward – a) rotate; b) pronate; c) probate; d) notate
  9. the pulpy acidic fluid that passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food — a) clime; b) chyme; c) slime; d) rhime
  10. subject to prolonged examination, discussion, or deliberation rip-rap – a) hex; b) aix; c) vex; d) sphex
  11. to cause the infliction of (vengeance or punishment) – a) wreaking; b) tweaking; c) cheeking; d) piquing
  12. a small locomotive used to move cars around but not to make trips – a) bunter; b) shunter; c) punter; d) blunter

    Have you found the words to go with the definitions? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

    Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. ~ Proverbs 9:9 (NIV)

    memory-loss_1024

    Here are the correct answers.

    1. c) sarse
    2. d) acaudate
    3. a) scotch
    4. b) scrum
    5. b) sike
    6. b) cobby
    7. a) bandy
    8. b) pronate
    9. d) chyme
    10. c) vex
    11. a) wreaking
    12. b) shunter

      How do you feel about your score?

      10-12  Did you cheat? Come on, you can tell me.

      07-09  You must be young and still in AP English.

      04-06  You guessed better than most.

      00-03  You’re not losing it; you’ve lost it.

      Want to know what the other words mean? As my father would say, “Then look ’em up!”


      14 Comments

      Dating and the Half-Blood Prince

      Nine years ago, I remarried after being widowed for eight years. I found a great guy who understands meyet, amazingly, has never tried to run off.

      That I know of.

      Because I found happiness again, single women often ask me how I met my husband. As if how I met David would work the same way for them.

      My advice to them is to pray and wait. Do things you enjoy, learn something new, help someone less fortunate, and spend time with your family and friends. If God has someone for you, He is more than able to bring you two together—without your help.

      I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lordbe strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. ~ Proverbs 27-13-14 (NIV)

      Why am I qualified to give this advice? Because I did everything wrong.

      Most of my seeking was on faith-based, online dating sites. Though I found a number of men in my age-bracket, our other brackets didn’t line up. I know “wacko” isn’t a nice word, but let’s just say, I had family and friends who would’ve chased these men off with a stick.hoFleischmannRapidRiseYeast (2)

      • The man who took turns doing jail time with his fourth wife on domestic abuse charges. He told me, “Don’t worry, we’re getting a divorce.”
      • The man who refused to date a woman who had ever had a yeast infection.
      • The man who lived in the woods while waiting on the Lord to give him a trailer.
      • The man who lived in a trailer while waiting on the Lord for the right time to downsize.

      To be clear, I didn’t date many men at all during those years. Sometimes just reading their profiles was enough (or should have been). However, I did communicate with a number of them via the websites, email, or phone.

      I often asked myself why. Why did I respond to every inquiry? Why did I continue after the initial exchange? Why did I agree to speak by phone?

      The answer is complicated. Since I was lonely, bored, and insecure, empathy played a big part. I felt bad for them. I didn’t want to be mean or rude and make them feel worse. Sometimes it was the writer in me, rubbernecking from a safe distance. Their lives were so different from mine; I wanted to get up close, but not too personal.

      I knew my curiosity wasn’t healthy. It got the best of me the night I agreed to meet one of the online bachelors at a Borders bookstore. I knew we weren’t a good fit the moment I saw him. Yet fascination drew me in. And there was the whole not wanting to be mean thing.

      We ordered coffee and found a table. He sat facing the window; I sat facing him and the store. Since my interest had peaked prior to the date, when he told me that he and his older brother lived with their mother [Did I mention they were in their fifties?], what little interest that remained waned.

      Trying to salvage the conversation, I asked, “So what do you do for a living?”

      His face lit up. “I mow lawns. My brother has a paper route.” [Did I mention they were in their fifties?]

      tumblr_kzb0vfjtHR1qbrupjo1_400 (2)Pretending to pay attention is a lot like lying. And I’m not good at it; I felt guilty. So when an eerie pale-faced, bald man dressed in black slithered through my peripheral vision, I thought I was being chastised.

      I recovered my composure and changed the subject. Since his profile had been on a Christian website, I asked, “So what church do you attend?”

      “We attended a great church in New Jersey, but we haven’t found one we like here yet.”

      “Oh. How long have you lived here?”

      “Eighteen years.”

      I tried to morph my “you’re kidding me” face into a calm “I see” expression. My disingenuous reaction only stirred up an even more ominous-looking apparition, which skulked back and forth behind my date’s chair.

      I remember thinking, “If I keep my eyes straight ahead and try to be kind and truthful, maybe the hallucinations will go away.”half-blood

      It didn’t work. I started seeing witch hats and broomsticks between the books shelves. And it was June.

      But when Harry Potter himself sat down nearby for a chai latte with Professor Dumbledore, I had to ask my date if he saw them, too.

      “Sure. J.K. Rowling’s latest book. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out today. Most of the staff and customers are in costume.”

      I scanned my date for the umpteenth time. Was he dressed up, too? Did I dare ask?  I considered his two possible answers. Neither would brighten our future.        

      The very next day I surrendered my will and my search and deleted all my online dating accounts. As I was doing one final click-through, Yahoo Personals popped up–a site I had not joined. Or had I? I did a quick look to be sure.

      And—yahoo!—I found David.

      You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. ~ Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)


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      But That’s Okay. We’re Boomers. We’ll Figure Something Out

      Welcome My Guest Blogger Kathleen D. Bailey!

      KBailey-2015 - Small

      Kathleen is a freelance and staff writer with a lifetime devotion to the printed, and now the digital page. Born in 1951, she was a child in the 50s, a teen in the 60s and 70s and a young mom in the 80s. Kathleen says, “It was a turbulent, colorful time to come of age. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and written about most of it. I share some of that on my website Kathleen D. Bailey, along with book reviews and snippets from my fiction writing. Join me in the wonderful world of words!”

      Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. ~ Pr 16:31 (NIV)

      I’m so happy to be asked to blog with Clarice! I’ve enjoyed getting to know her this past year. We have a lot in common, from Catholic childhoods, don’t get me started, to home decorating, to, of course, writing.

      I’ve been able to cheer her on in the process of getting Double Header between covers and on to bookstore shelves. But I was dismayed to learn recently that an editor rejected her first book, Party of One, because stories about older women don’t sell. I’m not blaming them, they don’t control the market, but sheesh. As an older woman, I didn’t like hearing that I’m not all that interesting.

      But wait, it’s about to get worse.

      Intrigued by the promos for TV Land’s new series Younger, I decided to give it a try. I lasted about 20 minutes. I’m from the three-dot school and I thought Fifty Shades of Grey was about hair coloring. I left these 20-somethings to their courting of Chlamydia and escaped. But like Lot’s wife I looked back, not at the sexual content but at the premise.

      Younger tells the story of Liza, a suburban divorcee of 40 who can’t get a job in New York Publishing because of her age. This is the same New York Publishing (capital letters intentional) where Anne Hathaway has trouble being true to herself in The Devil Wears Prada, and the stakes are higher for Liza. She’s in pretty good shape for 40 and her best friend urges her to “pass” for 26, whereupon– bingo–she lands the job.

      7--year-old Dame Helen Lydia Mirren in the movie RED.

      70-year-old Dame Helen Mirren in the movie RED. “But that’s okay. We’ll figure something out. We’re Boomers.”

      There is so much wrong here I don’t know where to begin and I guess I’ll start with the perception of 40 as “old.” Forty was supposed to be the new 30 and if it isn’t, what is 30 not the “new” of?

      I’d love to have my 40-year-old body back. The mind, not so much. I’d like to have my 40-year-old memory and sharpness, but not the judgmental spirit and bad decisions. I wouldn’t want to give up what I’ve learned, sometimes through dark places, in order to be “young” again. But I don’t need to worry. According to the TV show, 40 isn’t young.

      I cringed to see “Liza” adopting her co-workers’ slang and hanging out with them. I watched long enough to see her acquire a 26-year-old boyfriend. Whatever did they talk about? Oh, right, these people don’t talk.

      What were the first 40 years of her life worth? Apparently not enough when placed against the grander scheme of New York Publishing.

      It’s also significant to me that the producers didn’t go for a 50-or 60-something pretending to be 40 or 30. Was it simply too impossible to make a 50-or 60-year-old hot enough? Or was it too impossible to imagine them in New York Publishing? Or was it too impossible to imagine a REALLY OLD PERSON doing something that dumb?

      This isn’t resume tweaking, people. It’s a denial of who “Liza” is, who she’s spent 40 years becoming. No job is worth that.

      And it’s a denial of what older people, seniors, elders, whatever, have been working toward since the Boomers began to age. The right to age with dignity, to be respected for what we’ve done and who we are. To love and learn and take risks, to keep our minds and bodies as sharp as we can for the next adventure. To matter.

      Except for Betty White, who’s not typical, we’re not going to see a lot of women on the small screen who look like us. And unless some people publish independently, we’re not going to read about them. Nobody’s going to validate us unless we do it ourselves. But that’s okay. We’re Boomers. We’ll figure something out.

      And Clarice will get her book between covers somehow, some time.

      Because our stories need to be told.

      Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~ Isa 46:4 (NIV)

      More About Kathleen:  This year, Kathleen semi-finaled in American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis, finaled in Lone Star, and won in her category in TARA. She’s an active member of Journey Church, teaching the children’s mission program and working in its homeless ministry. She also enjoys baking for college students, service people, and community events. She and her husband David live in Derry, NH. Find Kathleen on Facebook and LinkedIn. [She does kind of a lot for an “old” Baby Boomer, don’t you think? – CJ]

      image001Readers (and Publishers?): Please check out these novels which feature older protagonists.

      STAND-ALONE BOOKS:

      SERIES:

       


      3 Comments

      Twelve Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #6

      Marsha-Thinking-Cap-200Many of the words I chose are from The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

      For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. ~ Proverbs 2:10-11 (NIV)

      1. alexia – a) automated procedure; b) written material;  c) respiratory condition; d) architectural detail
      2. clerestory – a) type of window; b) cleric’s quarters; c) talkative; d) clearing house
      3. echopraxia – a) practice of echocardiograms; b) uncontrollable mimicking; c) art of yodeling; d) military maneuver
      4. glaciate – a) freeze; b) sink; c) glad-handing; d) make wide at the bottom
      5. lentiginous – a) contentious; b) freckled or speckled; c) liable; d) originating in a certain region
      6. maculate – a) impure; b) manly; c) eye condition; d) sterile or clean
      7. nobby – a) light-hearted; b) boney; c) pimple-faced; d) fashionable
      8. osculate – a) rotate; b) kiss; c) debate; d) insert breathing tube
      9. potable — a) able to be transported; b) plants that grow best in pots; c) type of Irish potato; d) fit or suitable for drinking
      10. rip-rap – a) lower class; b) material used to protect a slope; c) type of sail; d) brand of of bubble wrap
      11. salariat – a) employees; b) a lasso expert; c) toastmaster; d) dental suction tool
      12. tuft-hunter – a) upholsterer; b) furrier; c) hanger-on; d) hound dog

        thinking capHave you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

        The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. ~ Proverbs 16:21-24 (NIV)

        Here are the correct answers.

        1. b) written material
        2. a) type of window
        3. b) uncontrollable mimicking
        4. a) freeze
        5. b) freckled or speckled
        6. a) impure
        7. d) fashionable
        8. b) kiss
        9. d) fit or suitable for drinking
        10. b) material used to protect a slope
        11. a) employees
        12. c) hanger-on

          Jumping for joy over your score?

          10-12  Did you spend your entire childhood alone in your room reading the Oxford English Dictionary?

          07-09  Many of your friends just pretend to know what you’re talking about.

          04-06  You’re a better guesser than most.

          00-03  You are monosyllabic like me.