#IWSG November 2017: No #NaNoWriMo for me ‘cause I’m stuck in a rut.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve never attempted NaNo simply because I know it’s not a format that suits me, though I’ve heard it’s done wonders for other writers. The idea of trying to force 50k words in 30 days stresses me out. That’s not to say I haven’t done it before, but when it just happens, naturally, over a weekend with little sleep and lots of caffeine, it’s great. Outside of that, I’ll stick with my meager word counts and finish when I finish.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I think I’m stuck in a rut. Not sure how I got here or how to get out. I feel so… blah. I’m behind on writing book reviews and updating my vlog, though I’ve had time to do both. I think a lot of it has to do with the dissatisfaction of my day job and my growing desire to stop sharing my writing. I absolutely do not want to stop writing, I just don’t know if I want to keep sharing what I write. I don’t think anyone would really miss my words if they were no longer there, and I’d be content to just write them for myself. IDK. Perhaps if I had a few close friends who enjoyed reading and or writing it would be different, but since I don’t, all my writing feels like a solitary act. So, why not just keep it to myself?

Then there’s blogging. Not sure about this at the moment either, at least where to do it that is. I still enjoy blogging even if it does take up a lot of my time. Right now, I’m challenged with how often I should blog here, at The ToiBox of Words. Since I’ve started contributing to A Small Gang of Authors, and might start contributing to another blog (assuming I ever submit something they actually like), I been wondering if and how much of my presence is still desired here? Again, IDK. No matter what, I’ll always do this hop here and The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, as long as they are running.

In any case, if you’re up for it, check out this Halloween post that went up yesterday and this part 2 of my Angel Lore series that went up today.

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Are you doing NaNo? Why?
Are you stuck in a rut? Any ideas on how to get out?
Should I continue posting once a week or stick with my two hops only?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tonja Drecker,
Diane Burton,
MJ Fifield, and
Rebecca Douglass!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #58).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Bridges #WEPFF Challenge No. 5 featuring unknown title #amwriting #flashfiction

So, I’m on vacation and totally forgot to schedule this post. Also, I started working on it a few days ago and then forgot about it being too busy celebrating birthday month and working on a new blog project. This piece is unfinished and unpolished. My plan is to turn the segments into journal entries, but as you can see, I have a long way to go.

Well, all in all, I don’t think this is my worst work, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I look forward to seeing the other entries and thank Denise Covey and Yolanda Renée for yet, another, great challenge.

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Unknown Title

Figie’s all the time going on about things as if he knows what he’s saying, but everyone knows he just hears things and repeats’em. I guess this time around, Figie heard something that no one wanted him to go around repeat’n.

So, here we are, running for our lives. Well, he’s running for his life and I’m trying to help’em, but as soon as others realize I’m help’n em, I’ll too be on the run. Been traveling by night and hold’n up during the day. Too many folks round here so dependent on solar power that life pretty much comes to a standstill come night fall. Sure folks use lunar power a bit, but none bother much to go out when everything inside is all lit up like it’s still daytime.

I hoarded a bunch of portable recharging batteries a few years back in case I ever decided to leave town and do some adventure walk’n. Folks just don’t adventure walk like they used to. I member people laughing at me for wasting space on old tech that probably wouldn’t work, but who’s laugh’n now?

I’m pretty much doing everything on my own to keep me and Figie alive. He’s a complete wreck; shake’n and twitch’n all the time. Spect’n someone to come punch’n out of the dark and kill’em in his tracks. Crazy thing is, after explain’n the situation, Figie hasn’t said another word. I have no idea what he heard that’s got folks com’n after’em.

Soon well be reach’n Pillar Peak. I figure, we could hold up there for a good while. One way up, no way down, and too cold for most to live. With us charging our batteries during the day and keeping a fire going all the time, we should be able to get by.

Food shouldn’t be a problem wit the way the fowls dip and dive all around. Most times you can’t even see the exact point of Pillar Peak ‘cause of all the swarm’n fowl. Wit the collapsible dome we been using for shelter and my skills with a sling, we’ll be just fine for a while.

Well, it’s been a full Lunar since we bunkered at Pillar Peak and not a soul’s come look’n for us. I’m thinking maybe Figie’s done lost it. It was fun for a while. Got to go on that adventure walk I always been talk’n bout, but now what. Just catch’n fowl, keep’n the fire, and sleep’n. Tonight Figie’s gonna tell me what this is all about or I’m break’n camp and head’n back wit or wit out’em.

Holy walk’n spirits are we in a terrible mash. No one’s come look’n yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Stupid Figie, hang’n around gathering other folks knowledge instead of learn’n his own. What a fool. To think he once had me believe’n you didn’t need to bother wit read’n and learn’n if you just pay attention to other folk. “Other folk,” he’d say, “they’ll teach ya e’er thing ya need to know, if ya just listen and be patient.” So, what happens when you learn something you don’t want to know… I’ll tell ya. You run for your life.

Stupid Figie. Hanging around the High Lord Scholars, all the time trying to sound smarter than anybody would believe him to be, found out where the Bridge is. Heck, he found out that it’s actually real. I mean, no one goes looking for the Bridge no matter how much wonder and power might be instore, ‘cause no one actually thinks it’s real. But foo on me, it’s real and Figie knows where it is. And they know he knows.

Now I’m twitch’n day and night just like Figie. He’s at least come back to his senses a bit and his help’n out. We’re alternating sentry duties. I’m still hunting all the grub, but he’s cook’n it and clean’n up after. Don’t really matter. Our nerves are so on edge, every pound we put on, we shake off in nerves. We won’t make it to the frost season; not up here. We gonna have to leave, but that’ll probably get us caught and killed. Seems no matter what we do or don’t do, we’re head’n to the Endless Ferry.

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714 WIP- unkown title 2017 Copyright © Toinette J. Thomas
Seeking full critique.



Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Back of the Drawer #WEPFF Challenge No. 4 featuring “He Knew It; I Knew It” #amwriting #flashfiction

Surprise, surprise, I waited to the last minute, but here it is. Hope you like it.

He Knew It; I Knew It

No one saw what happened, but I did.

He knows I saw, but he doesn’t care. He knows I have no voice and he knows about my spells. He knows no one would believe me even if they did take the time read my handwritten statement with is childlike lettering.

I can’t help being what I am. I was born this way. I can’t help that sleep doesn’t always come so easy for me. And I can’t help that I was out digging for worms to put in my tank the night Larry turned dangerous.

It had just stopped raining and the ground was soft and sponging. The perfect time to pluck out worms, causing them little harm, and the perfect time to drag a body around. One sweep of the garden hose and the evidence would disappear with all the other mud and leaves that the rain washed away.

I tried to hide myself as he passed by, huffing and straining against the heft of the body. He never would have seen me had I remained behind the bush, but something caught my eye and I could ignore it. I ran out and scooped it up. That’s when he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me to my feet.

Tears ran down my face and my fists clenched in agony. When looked into my eyes and saw my silent scream, he dared to chuckle, but quickly silenced himself. He dropped me to the ground. “No one can hear your scream, stupid mute girl. No one will come to your rescue if I end you right here.”

I curled in the fetal position and protected my jar of worms from the point of his boot. Vomit spewed from my mouth when the blow hit my stomach. He ran for the hose and sprayed the evidence away, dousing me just for fun.

He walked to put the hose away as I rocked in my cradle of protection, hoping this was the end of my pain. Hoping that he’d simply kill me or leave me there to pass out. When I heard birds chirping and sensed a brightness behind my lids, I knew he’d spared me.

I opened my eyes to let the sun burn away my sleepiness. I could hear the morning nurse, Samone, screaming for help as her heavy feet thudded toward me. “Oh Clara. Oh Clara, what are you doing out here? Are you hurt? You’ll catch your death.”

She tossed a blanket over me and rubbed my head. Soon Terence followed and scooped me up. “What happened Miss Samone?”

“I don’t know. Looks like she was collecting worms again.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t on duty last night.” Terence winked at me and slowed his pace as he turned a corner, so as not to bang my head. “I never would have let this happened if I had been.”

Samone was livid. “Don’t know if you could have stopped her. This one is stubborn. Seems the harder I try to keep her safe, the more harm she causes herself.”

Terence placed me down on a cot and two more nurses rushed in to tend to my cleaning and injuries. One of them called out, “Go get her note pad. See if she can tell us what happened.”

Terence began to step out of the room, but I kicked my feet and shook my head. I stared at him, willing him to look my way. He paused a moment, leaning his head as if baffled by my sudden outburst. Then he looked me in the eyes.

I blinked as fast as I could and extended the jar still wrapped in my arms. Terence smiled at me and stepped forward. “It’s okay Clara. I’ll put them in your room.” He slid the jar out of my hand and I exhaled. “Get better so you can take care of these little guys.”

After Terence left, a note pad was shoved into my hands as my soiled clothes were ripped away and warm soapy water washed across my skin. Samone grasped my hand, “Clara, tell us what happened.” Despite her strict rules and military-like marching about, Samone really did care about each and every one of her patients. I hated to see her so worried over me. I was happy to tell her exactly what had happened, but then he walked past the exam room.

He stood there, outside the window, with a broom in his hand pretending to clean the floors. I couldn’t stop myself from reacting. I flinched and kicked my feet again. Samone became agitated with not having the answers she sought. Leaving the other nurses to finish my clean up, she ran out the room and retuned shortly with a needle. It was time for me to calm down whether I want to or not.

After I was calm and fully treated, Samone asked me again what happened. Again he was there, outside the window of my room. Surely his shift was over. Did no one else wonder why the Larry, the night custodian was still hanging around? Under his scrutiny, I couldn’t tell the truth.

I wrote slowly, “I fell on the ground and hit a rock.”

Samone rubbed my head, clearly blinking to hold back tears. “You were collecting worms, weren’t you?”

I shook my head.

“Why, why do that alone in the middle of the night? What if you had an episode and suffocated in the mud?”

I nodded my head, “I couldn’t sleep. I’m sorry.”

After a while, Samone left me to attend to other patients. Larry walked by my room few more times that day before finally heading home. A week went by and Larry was starting to act smug, no doubt thinking no one would ever find out. None of the other nurses or staff could explain why Gail had stopped coming to work, but she was new and they all agreed that this wasn’t the right job for every nurse.

One Saturday afternoon I convinced Terence to play cards with me in the kitchen. We programmed my communication board to say ‘go fish’ and “you got any…”, then all I had to do is hold up the card I wanted. Terence and I had played the game a lot and figured a single suit of cards for me to use as choice options was the best way to go.

As we played, Ron the handy man came through to fix one of the drawers that had gotten stuck at some point during the week. It held all the specialty utensils for grilling, and with family day coming up, we’d surely need those.

Only partially paying attention to my game, I watched Ron out the corner of the eyes as he banged on the drawer trying to loosen it. Finally, the drawer snapped out and fell to the floor with a crash. Then Ron yelp.

“Oh my God!”

Terence was already on his feet, standing in front of me protectively. “What it is Ron?”

“Look what’s in the back of the drawer.”

Terence patted my shoulder and then stepped toward the drawer. Just then Samone and Larry came rushing in from the hallway, each just starting their evening shift. There it was; even with the sparkly new engagement ring missing, the moon shaped birthmark gave it away.

Terence yelled, “I think it’s Gail’s finger. Gail’s finger is in the back of the drawer.”

Samone covered her mouth and gasped. She blinked a few times and then pulled out her cell phone. “I’m calling the cops. I hope no one here has anything to hide.”

Larry stared daggers into the back of my head, but I didn’t bother turning around to look at him. He knew I’d done it; just like I knew he’d done it.

1306 words – He Knew It; I Knew It © Toinette J. Thomas 2017



Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG February 2017: “Being a writer changes how you read” & my #YouTube channel.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

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Being a writer has turned me into a hungry reader. I used to just read to escape and or enjoy a good story. Now when I read, I want more. I want to be inspired. I want to learn. I want to see what does and doesn’t work. I want to experience the stories, good or bad, to better my own writing.

I still read for pure enjoyment, but now I also read for review and critique. I find that while I’m more critical over plot, character, and world development, I’ve become more compassionate about all the technical stuff. I don’t ignore or make excuses for outright bad writing and poor editing, but I recognize how difficult it is to find good, reliable, and affordable editing services as an indie; and don’t get me started on critique partners and support groups. Anyone can call him or herself a writer, but to be a good writer- to be an author- it takes determination and creativity that not everyone has.

Being a writer has made me truly respect all the books I’ve always loved. If you’d like to know more about my thoughts on reading, please consider following this blog (I post reviews twice a month) and checking out my You Tube channel.

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Has being a writer changed your reading experience?
Live in or near Hampton Roads? Please check out my giveaway on the side panel.

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Misha Gericke,
LK Hill,
Juneta Key,
Christy, and
Joylene Buter!!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #69).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#Question of the Month: a #bloghop to think about. No. 18- “What does retirement look like for you?”

A little while ago, Michael D’Agostino, of A Life Examined, brought up the idea of a new blog hop called Question of the Month. He thinks blog readers would like to know a little more about us, the bloggers. So we’re all gathering to show you guys who we are by taking part in the Question of the Month blog hop. On the first Monday of each month, we answer the question that gets posted here.

This month’s question is: ““What does retirement look like for you?”

In many ways this is a simple question for me to answer, but then there two different ideas of retirement I hold dear, so…

First, I’d like to retire from a traditional day job and be able to write and or create full-time. I dream of being able to wake up some time after 7:00 am and walk my dog. I’d have a light breakfast and a quick shower before putting on sweatpants and a t-shirt as I sit to write or work on other creative projects. The entirety of my day would be a combination of dog-walking and food breaks as I create. I’d travel and create without the stress of knowing that I have a job to get back to.

Second, I imagine a time when a few smart investments would allow me to have a hobby farm. All the animals on the farm would have jobs to do, whether farm labor or therapy animal, none of them would need to work too hard. I’d bake and make preserves to sell at farmers’ markets and then give the proceeds to whatever cause is most dear to my heart at the moment.

So, not sure if that’s much of a retirement for some, but it’s what I’ve got in mind.

If you’re up for it, please check out my blog tour where hosts get to praise teachers and promote books that have made a difference in their lives.

Please visit the other participants in this hop and even join in if you’d like. I wonder what cool things others have in mind.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords
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