Friday, January 6, 2012

Meet Romance Novelist Denise J.B. Morrow

I learned a long ago that with challenges come opportunities, and opportunities often lead one down new and exciting roads. I met Denise a few months ago at the newly formed a Fidalgo Island Writers Guild. A short time later, she signed up for my writing class, which is designed to jump-start beginning writers who need that extra push. I soon discovered that Denise's writing engine had been humming along for sometime, having written several romance novels. What she found instead, was a new outlet to her writing.  

Denise Morrow, an Anacortes native, has lived on Fidalgo Island all her life. After college she married her husband Brent, and here they raised two daughters, Leah and Linnea. For decades Denise’s job has been in Mini Storage development and operation in Anacortes and Oak Harbor. Finally figuring out what she wanted to do when she grew up, she began writing romance novels. Fast-forward two year, and four books are ready for editing. Denise has now found a new love, the short story.                       
The Crush
By Denise J. B. Morrow 
              I expected him to evoke a stronger feeling inside of me. I had been so captivated by the mere thought of him decades earlier. In fact, he dominated my thoughts in the early 70’s.  It was a painful longing with no chance of requital, and yet the feeling had persisted. 
              On a warm summer day a lifetime ago, I stood perusing the magazine counter at Citizens Pharmacy. I was ecstatic to see, nestled between the pages of the latest edition of Tiger Beat, a mega poster of his smiling face. In living color, a giant head and shoulder shot that would take up half the wall above my bed.
              The strong yearnings grew as I listened to his treble timbre emitting from the 33 spinning on my portable, plastic record player. Surrounded by the lavender walls of my bedroom, imagining him singing directly to me, I rolled over on a loud purple floral bedspread to gaze at his glossy image. His signature colored shirt matched my room and his soft brown eyes and feathered hair generated a sweet fervency in my adolescent heart. I sighed deeply and fantasized about what I was sure would be our fated meeting someday. 
              As long as I could keep my little brother from surreptitiously penciling in a mustache above the shiny white teeth of my dreamy, would be lover, life was good.
My feelings cooled along with the weather that fall as I began my Jr. High years. All my energies were now taken up trying to fit in and interact with real life boys, some with interesting potential. The poster was eventually taken down, carefully folded, and stored away. I never could bring myself to toss it.
             Three and a half decades later the harsh lights of sin city reflected off the hotel walls. Part of nostalgic, old Las Vegas, hot pink and orange dominated the decor of this establishment. I wondered where the time had gone. This trip was a pilgrimage of sorts. On the verge of a significant birthday, I was hopeful to recreate the mood and sensibilities of my youth. I ran headlong into the past with the expectation of fulfilling an antiquated fantasy.
              Now here I stood, at long last, inches away from him, time had been kind to his countenance; he was still a strikingly handsome man. We were both dressed completely in black. My 5-inch patent leather platform sandals put us at eye level. I mumbled something about his poster hanging on my bedroom wall in the 70’s as he put his arm around me and smiled for a photo. But too much time had passed. No longer did I feel the deep, burning hunger of a pubescent preteen. His touch did not create in me the thrilling sensation that I had anticipated. He turned towards me and I looked expectantly into his brown eyes, as he opened his mouth to speak. His only words, “Sorry I’m so sweaty.” 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mystery Trivia Tuesday: More Nero Wolfe

        Not much ever changed in Nero Wolfe’s life. His daily schedule, sedentary habits, attitudes, opinions, outlooks, eccentricities were all predictable, yet for more than nine decades readers have continued to turn the pages of Rex Stout’s mysteries. Do you know the following Wolfe trivia facts mentioned in the very first Nero Wolfe mystery Fer-de-Lance?
1.  What was the name of Nero Wolfe’s bank?
2.  What was Wolfe’s phone number?
3.  What was the name of his favorite radio program?
4.  How much did Wolfe weight?
5.  Archie Goodwin referred to the occasional changes in Wolf's behavior as "relapses." What were these and why did they occur?  
Here are the answers to my first Nero Wolfe trivia quiz.

1.  What is the title of Rex Stout's first Nero Wolfe mystery? Fer-de-Lance
2.  What is the British title of the 1952 Nero Wolfe mystery Prisoner's Base? Out Goes She
3.  A victim is murdered by a cyanide soft-drink cocktail—a puzzle that proved difficult even for Wolfe to solve. What is the name of this Nero Wolfe mystery? And Be A Villian
4.  What is the title of the Nero Wolfe mystery in which a wealthy woman claims she is being stalked by the FBI? This book is considered one of Rex Stout's best. The Doorbell Rang

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday's for the Birds

Meet the Youngest #12-11!

        I'm not sure which birth order is the most advantageous. Being the oldest of four girls, I often attempted to dazzle my three younger sisters with my wisdom only to be taken down a notch by theirs. Over the years, I've come to regard them as my role models for various reason. The moral of this story? Don't underestimate the young.
        With Christmas falling on Sunday, I ran out of Sundays in 2011 with one whooping crane chick left to report on. Number 12-11 entered the world with difficulty, requiring assistance during her hatching—not a good sign. Described as weak and puny, she was closely observed for the first several days until she gained strength and vigor. Early during flight training, this youngster showed signs of courage by standing up to the older chicks who attempted to throw their weight around. Then she grew submissive and let the others steal her grapes. Once migration began, she proved to be a strong and eager flyer—sometimes. So the jury is still out on this little girl. However, when I look at her baby picture, I see determination in those big, dark eyes and feel certain that she will develop into a role model for chicks in years to come. Operation Migration makes it easy to keep track of all the cranes' progress by going to their website and searching under Whooping Crane Photos and Bios.
        Right now the Class of 2011 has been in Franklin County, Alabama since December 11, waiting out bad weather and the holidays. This information and the chick's photo came from the OM website. 

Read more about the Class of 2011 by going to "In the Field," then "Site Map," and scrolling down until you see the bios for the various classes. You can also purchase whooping crane merchandize on the website: jewelry, T-shirts, greeting cards, etc (great for Christmas gifts), or sponsor migration miles. There are more than 500 left for this year. 
        Tune in next week for migration progress on the entire flock.