RETURN OF THE RED TAILS

They are back and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Easter season, Spring and the rebirth it brings.

cigarman501

I heard a shrill whistle from above and looked up into a late January sky. It was a beautiful January day, warmer than normal although the day felt cooler with a gusty breeze blowing from the northwest. The sky was cloudless and of a deep blue color poems are written about. Circling in the middle of the blue expanse was my red-tailed hawk.

I know she’s not mine any more that I’m hers but it’s the way I think of her…if she is a “her.” I believe she is a her because of her size. She and I met several years ago when I got too near her nest and was dive bombed by either “herself”or her mate. A bright reddish-brown flash had me ducking low to the ground while uttering several expletives as I scurried to safety. For several days, I searched with binoculars until I found her nest…

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Spring….

She came back with two friends.

cigarman501

Spring is finally here in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge.  A high of seventy-one today if the weather liars are to be believed…and a high of forty-eight tomorrow.  Thunderstorms with copious lightning and rainfall moved through the area on the last night of winter.  Three to five inches of snow is expected in the mountains above us on the first night of Spring.  Come on Mother Nature…I have a therapist I can suggest who might help you with your dysfunction.

I awoke this morning with a tremendous pressure…on my bladder.  Five a.m. and like every morning I had to go drain the lizard.  I stepped out my back door…I live in the country, if I want to relieve myself out my backdoor it’s okay and I am conserving water.

The light from my hallway displayed scraps of fog, torn and driven by the light morning breeze.  It had been almost…

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Trippin’…Over a Root

 

At exactly one point three-three miles into my workout, according to my GPS app, I kicked a freakin’ root.  I wasn’t paying attention to the rock and root strewed path…I was paying attention to a half-dozen Canadian geese who were stopping by from…Canada?  When they landed I watched and tripped over the root banging my arthritic toe.  The geese didn’t stay long, instead, they took off to another part of the lake.  It might have been the loud cursing erupting from my mouth.

As I hobbled on and gazed heavenward contemplating my pain and the distance my expletives might have traveled heavenward, I kicked another root.  Same foot, same big toe…the big toe I’m trying put off surgery on until winter comes around again and I am worthless…ah, more worthless.

The second kick was even more solid than the first.  Mortar Forker!  This time I bent over, hands on knees, in agony and stood still, waiting for the pain exploding from my toe to ebb along with the tears the pain had brought.  I’m still waiting…sorta.  The neurons responsible for pain have abated from the torrent exiting through the top of my head to a trickle of electrical charges radiating outward and surrounding my forefoot.  Four hours later, the pain is still there letting me know…it is still there!

Did I mention, it’s cold.  Late March, less than a week from Easter.  A moist, northeastern wind makes it seem colder…not tongue stuck to a flagpole cold but it’s not helping the throbbing in my toe or the way I’m reacting to it.  No, I am not going to put an ice pack on it.  I just shivered.

Earlier in the story, just after I had kicked the second root, I finally straightened up and again looked heavenward.  I found myself peering, jaw slack and agape, at a hornet’s nest the size of a medium watermelon less than three feet from my face.  You might guess where this is going and it ain’t a good trip.

Despite knowing it was too cold for hornets, I backed up quickly…tripping over the initial root I had banged my toe on.  This time I went down hard on my butt, jarring my teeth, and decided to stay there.   As I sat, I contemplated…how badly was I injured and “Help I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up!” briefly ran through my mind.

Mainly, I contemplated, how had the nest survived the winter and how had I not seen it?  What?  I’ve walked this trail a hundred times since last spring…why am I just now seeing this thing?  It’s hugeeeeeee!

I pondered on the pain the little suckers could have wreaked…and the providence that kept them from causing pain to me or the hundreds of kids attending the camp at Lookup Lodge.  Maybe I should have paid more attention to the name of the camp instead of looking down at my feet…then that hadn’t worked out well when I watched the geese.  My thoughts didn’t help the pain in my foot but did take me down a pig trail memory.

On a very cool, late fall day during my early teaching career, I was startled when an entire class exited their room as if the devil himself were after them.  Kids yelling and screaming, slapping at themselves and each other.  Seems a “Little Johnny” had found a hornet’s nest and brought it to school for show and tell.  Probably should have waited until the hornets died.  As the room heated up so did they.  Ouch.  Some students were treated for stings, others for bruises caused by over exuberant classmates.  I laughed and laughed and laughed…until my toe reminded me of why I was sitting on my butt having the memory.  Fother Muck!

Image from http://goalorientedrunner.blogspot.com/2017/02/blog-post.html

For more of ravings from a mad Southerner https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

 

 

“Warm Biscuits on a Sunday….”

 

I absolutely love Kelly Clarkson, her voice, her sass, and her sense of humor.  If I were younger…and unmarried, I’d go to Nashville and camp out on her front doorstep…wait, she’s married?  To Reba McEntire’s son, you say?  Well, I’m not going to break up her marriage over something she said.

Southern and brazen,  with a voice as rich as Tennessee whiskey and biting as corn likker, Kelly likened a singer’s voice to “warm biscuits on a Sunday with butter drizzlin’ off of em’?”  How Southern is that!

An inner voice asked, “What does it mean?”

Another inner voice attempted to clarify, “Well…I guess…um…well…butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I don’t have a clue.”

I never heard that exclamation of surprise until I was an adult and I am not sure how authentic it is.  It does sound Southern.  “Buttah mah butt and call me ah biscuit.”  Yeah, rolls off of the tongue Southern but why would you wish your biscuit to fall out of your mouth?  That question came from the crazier of the voices in my head.  It does get crowded in there but never boring.

I’m not totally sure what Kelly meant.  I think it probably means “damn good” because biscuits drizzled in butter on a Sunday are “damn good” and, at least for me, a little bit poignant.

I love homemade biscuits and can’t think of anything better than a buttered, homemade biscuit on a Sunday…or any other day of the week for that matter.  Light, flaky, golden brown on the outside, light and soft on the inside.  Runnin’ in REAL butter, not the oleo stuff.  Just add a side of eggs for breakfast.  Slathered in King Syrup or honey for a dessert.  Stuffed with a slab of Neese’s liver mush for lunch.  Smothered with sawmill gravy for…heaven on a plate.  I assure you, biscuits and sawmill gravy are a heavenly meal unto themselves.  Never allow anyone to try and convince you otherwise.

We have several sayings from below the Mason Dixon involving biscuits…unless we stole em’ from somebody above it.  “A cat can have kittens in an oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.”  Yankees may understand a derivation, “Just because you live in a garage, don’t make you a car.”  Here in the South, it might mean, just cause you’ve lived here for five generations and say Y’all don’t make you Southern.

We even express our undying affection with affirmations of love such as, “I could put you on a plate and sop you up with a biscuit.”  This is making me hungry and missin’ my grand momma.

I associate biscuits and love to my grandmother. Nannie was a somewhat stoic woman who had trouble overtly expressing her love.  I’m not sure I remember a time when I got an “I love you,” from my Nannie.  I was much more likely to get a whack on the ass than a pat on the back.  She did not abide foolishness.

I knew she loved me and the rest of the grandkids.  I knew it as well as I knew Nannie’s biscuits would be light and flaky.  Love was displayed by example, not expression.  Examples like buttered biscuits on a Wednesday…for lunch.  Her greatest expression of love was, “Donnie you’ve been a good boy, want another biscuit?”  This also explains why I have fought a war with my weight for most of my life…food was the language of love and of positive reinforcement.  She was the same with her peanut butter cookies…I loved them too.

As a small child, I remember watching her as she went about making her biscuits in the tiny kitchen of her home.  Standing in front of her window to the world, watching the birds in their domain,  she made her biscuits.  With me playing on the linoleum floor, she would be cutting in the lard and adding buttermilk to give it a bit of a tang.  She was careful not to overwork the dough to keep it light and flaky, before rolling it out and cutting rounds with her red handled biscuit cutter.  Rolling up the scraps into mini-biscuits, nothing was wasted, before painting the tops with melted butter.  She only glanced at her efforts and relied on feel as she watched “her” birds cavorting around her bird feeder.

Late in her life, I asked about her recipe.  She didn’t have one.  It was a little of this and a lot of that until it all came together, nothing exact.  You learn to make biscuits by making biscuits.  I must not make them enough.  Mine are not light and flaky, some so hard the puppies won’t eat them.  As I said in another essay, maybe it’s the lard…or the love.

Thank you, Kelly, for sending me down a lovely rabbit hole.

Coming soon “Cornfields and Cow Patties.”  Until then, check out Don at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

Spring….

 

Spring is finally here in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge.  A high of seventy-one today if the weather liars are to be believed…and a high of forty-eight tomorrow.  Thunderstorms with copious lightning and rainfall moved through the area on the last night of winter.  Three to five inches of snow is expected in the mountains above us on the first night of Spring.  Come on Mother Nature…I have a therapist I can suggest who might help you with your dysfunction.

I awoke this morning with a tremendous pressure…on my bladder.  Five a.m. and like every morning I had to go drain the lizard.  I stepped out my back door…I live in the country, if I want to relieve myself out my backdoor it’s okay and I am conserving water.

The light from my hallway displayed scraps of fog, torn and driven by the light morning breeze.  It had been almost tropical the night before, before the storms.  This morning it was just a pea soup fog being rendered by the wind.  The fog was ghostly as it slid by in the reflected light.  The specter didn’t scare me, nor did it scare the big doe staring at me from across the fence.  I must not have been too terrifying either as I hosed the ground between us.

She stood facing me as if thinking, “Son…please cover yourself.”  Slowly I did, and she still didn’t move.  “No, not very impressed, are we?”  She just stood there showing me those beautiful brown eyes and “big ole ears” standing at attention.  She was as beautiful as anything I had seen since first seeing my granddaughter.

I decided to take a step toward her and she held her ground.  She let me move within a yard before her tail stood up and she leaped into the darkness.  A deer’s tail disappearing into the darkness may be one of the most delightful sights I’ve ever seen.  How in the world can you shoot one of these animals for sport?

I walk, daily, for exercise since my knees and feet have worn out.  As soon as it was light enough I went out for my five-mile commune with nature.  There she was again, this time across the road on my walking path.  Again, she stood as if to say, “What took you so long, come on, just follow me.”  I did.  I followed her beautiful tail until it disappeared.

The doe started me thinking about Native American “spirit guides.”  I know I run a chance of being called “Pocahontas” or rather “Walking Bear” by our Name Caller in Chief, but according to family lore, Native Americans blood courses in my veins…no, I haven’t had a DNA test, but Pocahontas may be a distant relative.  My thoughts caused me to wonder.  If I rate a “spirit guide,” I think I want it to be that doe.  Somehow, we seemed to connect.  We’ll see if she returns and if she does, where she might lead me.

Happy Spring Days and Nights.

Image from https://tsfphotoscartoons.com/2016/06/07/woods-in-the-fog/

Please stop by and visit Don Miller’s writer’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM  or his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cigarman501/

Not Real Neighborly

 

It’s mid-March and it’s cold.  I know, I know, I know.  You Yankee types pull out lounge chairs and sunblock whenever the temperature gets above thirty.  According to my new Dollar Store thermometer, it’s twenty-nine this morning so don’t you bring out the bikinis yet…well, the thermometer only cost a dollar.  It could be off just a bit.

March cold in the foothills of the Blue Ridge is a different kind of cold from the rest of the winter.  The cold is driven by the March winds coming in like a lion and the moisture it collects.  It’s not a dry cold just like in the summer it’s not a dry heat.  The wind is heavy with moisture this morning.  Why we’ve been known to get late March snowstorms that totally shut down the area with its half-inch deposit.  The dairy and bakery businesses revel in their collusion with Mother Nature’s late-season lessons in capitalism.  (If you don’t know what that means message me, I’ll explain.)

Today was clear, no late season snow, and I felt good…really, really good after a winter of arthritic pains, Afib, and seasonal affective disorder.  Good enough to walk the old logging road that connects my home on the Scenic Highway with the more scenic sounding Chicora Road a mile and a quarter to the north.  I walk it when I feel good and when it’s not hunting season.  I walk it when I feel good because I need the strength.  The road begins with a third of a mile thigh and hamstring hammering trek up the side of a small mountain…or steep hill.

I don’t walk it during hunting season for obvious reasons.  One of those crazy AR-15 toting hunters might mistake me for a Buck or a Tom and turn me into a sieve.  My name is Don anyway.  Today I had no excuse.  I felt good and it’s not hunting season.

The old road meanders through a mixed forest.  I was almost immediately greeted by a Pileated woodpecker working the top of a hollowed-out hardwood.  He must have thought I was funny huffin’ and puffin’ as I was.  He laughed and laughed as he flew away.  They are beautiful birds and I do love their distinctive call.

I’ve walked this old road for thirty years now…when I’ve felt good.  It’s changed little.  I’ve got a few more downed trees I need to remove so I can get the tractor or the jeep through.  One of these days…maybe…they’re easy to step over.

What has changed is the ownership of the road.  I don’t own the whole road, there are three of us whose land it runs through.  On the Chicora end, old Vessy has leased his seventy some odd acres out to hunters.  They have turned ole Vessy’s cabin into “a hunting lodge” complete with a new burning pit.  It’s right nice for a hunting lodge…but I wouldn’t like to live there.  There must be a slew of them because the road is now marked with deer stands reminding me of watchtowers.  I actually thought of Jimi Hendrix singing “All Along the Watchtower.”  Understand now why I don’t walk here during hunting season?

Seems they might be doing something else during their offseason.  I smelled the tangy fragrance from a quarter mile away.  Snatches of the sour aroma of fermented corn being carried by the March wind.  I should have turned around then but curiosity got the best of the old geezer.

I saw the smoke wafting above the chimney and they saw me before I saw them.  Three ‘good ole boys’ of ample girth, in camouflage and baseball caps…all carrying hunting rifles.  I should have been afraid…and I was.  Chills chased each other up and down my spine.

Maybe I can disarm them with my smile and winning personality.  Cheerfully I greeted them with a “Morning!  How y’all this fine March morning?”

“We’s good.  You’re trespassin’.”  Not a “How are you?” or so much a “La-di-da.”  I decided not to ask any more questions myself and realized my smile and personality meant nothing to them.

“I’m Don.  I live at the other end of the old logging road.  I’ve been walkin’ it for thirty years and always check on Vessy’s cabin when I come by.”

“Well, we check on it now and with us huntin’, it might be safer if you stay on your land.”  The speaker jutted his chin out and nodded.  His two friends followed suit and jutted out their chins and we all became a cluster of bobbleheads.

Continuing to nod, I decided not to point out, “I ain’t huntin’ season.”  They weren’t very neighborly at all.

The leader of the pack continued, “Yeah, iffin I wuz you I’d probably just stay on your land,” and without so much as a “by your leave” or an offer to taste their homebrew, turned and headed toward the cabin with his two companions in pursuit.

“Well bless your heart.”

Addendum-two days later

It’s not as cool in the foothills of the Blue Ridge this morning.  A bit of warmin’…and pre-April showers on the way.   I feel good but I’m not walking the old logging road today.  Seems like we had a bit of a commotion on the upper end of Chicora yesterday.  Zane, from across the road called me to let me know, telling me a story that brought a smile to my face.

“Revenuers breakin’ up a still you say?”  Yes, I know we don’t call ‘um revenuers anymore.

Hum.  Believe I’ll call ole Vessy and see if it’s safe to walk tomorrow.  Wonder how they found out ‘bout that still?  Maybe those ole boys learned a lesson ‘bout bein’ neighborly.

Names and location were changed to protect the innocent.

Image from http://www.hotel-r.net/us/moonshine-cabin

Give a little love and follow Don Miller’s writer’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM or his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cigarman501/

 

Tide Pods and Heroes

 

I wasn’t going to react…I really tried hard but the “daddy” teacher in me has reared its ugly head and I will not sit on the sidelines while thousands of young people exercise their First Amendment Rights…and get ridiculed and called names for doing it.  My inner child of the Sixties has stood up and grabbed me by the ass and shook me.  I was young once and so were you…and if you didn’t do stupid things, you should probably head to the doctor and find out what is wrong with your memory.

Yes, some of these youngsters are stupid…no not stupid.  Some are immature and do stupid things.  Like, take the Tide Pod challenge.  Stupid things like goldfish swallowing contests, flagpole sitting, telephone booth stuffing, pet rocks, flappers, zoot suits, platform shoes, lily-white Irishmen in Afros and lime green leisure suits.  Abuses like beer drinking, smoking marijuana and premarital sex with the wrong woman.  Stupid things that immature young people from previous generations did (I know this for a fact)…and went on to do great things.  Before you say that I’m advocating for beer drinking, marijuana use, and premarital sex…JUST STOP IT!  That is not my point.

Growing up is being taught by caring people if you are lucky enough to have them: parents, teachers, family members, the clergy of your choice…the village.  Unfortunately, or maybe, fortunately, it’s also about ignoring what you were taught, striking out on your own path, and somehow managing to survive it…and learning from it.  I was lucky…I survived.  I didn’t learn much, but I hope the newest generation survives and learns.  I believe the will and that they will go on and do great things too…but they won’t do it our way.

I saw plenty of heroic young people, not one of them had a Tide Pod in their hands…or mouth.  We focus on all the immature actions and fail to recognize that they have a voice that echoes their pain, their concern, and their fear…whether they are high school students or not. They don’t have the life experiences.  Tell that to a kid whose mother works two jobs and leaves him to care for a little brother…no don’t.  You don’t have the right.

Sure, some left just to get out of class and there were, as my brother pointed out, some knuckleheads.  There would have been knuckleheads fifty years ago during YOUR or my generation, and after.

Others knelt in hallways when they weren’t allowed outside.  Peace signs were created by elementary school kids.  Shoes were placed in protest near the capital. Chicago students marched for mental illness awareness, equal educational opportunities, safety in their OWN communities and THE PARKLAND, FLORIDA, DEAD, and SURVIVORS.  I watched one young man march and stand silently…the only person in his march.  I think it was pretty goddammed heroic.

For you deflectors and detractors, sure the problem is more than JUST about gun control.  I don’t want your gun, I have one.  But their march…their conversation was about guns and dying in a school.  Organize your own march…I’ll march with you.

The PROBLEMS are about a failure in a law enforcement and background system that allows a mentally ill youngster to obtain a legal weapon that can kill thirty people in a minute.

It is about bullying, something some people still blame on the victim not being tough enough.

It’s about something being wrong with men of my race and gender who have a need to shoot up things with weapons only one or two steps down from a battlefield…and call it huntin’.

It is about violence in certain cities and the double, the national norm, unemployment figures that go with it…and the inequality in the education they receive.

It’s about prisons for profit that robs families of men who have minor brushes with the law when other men get a slap on the hand and community service.  But that’s something some of us don’t want to hear or even entertain.

It’s about a judicial system that seems to punish, more severely, one group over another.

It’s about moral depredation, Christ follower or Athiest, that must be someone else’s fault cause it ain’t mine.

And, it’s also about smart and consistent gun control, even if it means JUST enforcing the laws already on the books.

There are plenty of facets to the problem…just pick a cause…or not.  But that will be YOUR CAUSE, not theirs.  Or just sit back and denigrate young people who want to start a conversation…one we can’t seem to have without yelling.  I’d say you failed at quieting them and I think that is a good thing.

To quote Buffalo Springfield:

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

Don Miller is a multi-genre writer who may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

The featured image was taken by Amber Nelson Wagner

Video from YouTube

 

 

Don’t Let The Old Man In….

 

I didn’t recognize the face in the mirror.  It sorta looks like me.  Five in the morning is not the best time to look into the mirror but at my age, it’s better than seeing myself in the harsh sunlight.  The face wasn’t “the brown-eyed handsome man” that Chuck Berry sang about sixty-one years ago.  This face is cut by crevasses covered by a wild beard.  The brown eyes sit above “steamer trunks,” not bags.  What hair there is, is now more silver than brown…as is a beard that was once redder than white.  My eyes are still brown and, in my mind, behind those eyes, somewhere, is a young, “brown-eyed handsome man.”

I’m looking down the barrel at another birthday.  Can you tell?  One month from today.  Another year older.  The grim reaper another year closer.  Can it be another year already?  As I look back…into the mirror and the old gentleman looking back at me, I realize a time versus age graph would show a steeper line after the age of fifty than before.  Time flies when you are having fun…and growing old.  Yes, I know there is another alternative.

Looking back into the mirror I realize, “that old geezer wants to get at me.”  He wants to be me…or rather, he wants me to be him.  I refuse to invite him to do so.

I have always been a people watcher…particularly attractive female people, a kink in my sterling armor.  Recently I’ve begun to look at older people I know, OLD people my age.  I always think, “I don’t look that old do I?”  I even asked my best friend Hawk, “Do we look that old?”  He said no…but then he’s just a year younger than me.  Would he lie?

I hear a tap, tap, tap.  Is it the hot water line that needs to be tightened or the old man in the mirror?  He wants me to invite him in.  No, no, no!  I’m going to keep dancing badly until I die…even if it is dancing from the seat of a chair.  Maybe I won’t be able to run, but then I’ll walk, or I’ll crawl or do invisible snow angels in the middle of the floor….  Too many people die because they are afraid to live.  I will not invite that old coot in.

I awoke to the groans my father made, so many years ago…except they are coming from me.  Snap, crackle, pop go my joints as I try to get out of bed.  Once I get moving I do okay.  Is that the lesson from my ruminations this morning?

The “brown eyed handsome man” in my head thinks he can still do anything.  I’m listening to him.  I’m going to keep doing my thing…just a bit more slowly.  Like a wind-up toy, the spring will wind down or break sometimes, but sometime could be a long way off.

I just learned that a friend’s cancer has returned and invaded his esophagus. He has battled cancer for years, battled it with a joyous heart and a cheerful and exuberant attitude.   I hope and pray he is able to beat it but the cards are stacked against him. He has never let the old man in…for eighty-five years.

A piano player, he always reminded me of Hoagy Carmichael’s Cricket in “To Have and Have Not.”  I’ll bet Charlie will be playing the piano, cracking jokes, dancing or doing snow angels on the floor until they carry him out. I’ll miss him when he goes but I won’t mourn for him because he kept the old man out of his life.  Maybe I can get him to play “Am I Blue” one more time.

Yessir!  I’m going to be like Charlie.  I will never let that old man I see in the mirror in.

Video credit: YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1vJ2Z8aI0

Photo credit:  Hoagy Carmichael and  Lauren Bacall                    https://indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow/rainbow-hits-ground-hoagy-carmichael-hollywood/

Don Miller’s writer’s page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

Don Miller, writing as Kena Christenson, may be found at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD19

“Nom de Guerre” or “Nom de Plume”?  Whichever, it might have been a mistake.

 

Struggling writer…that’s me.  I really enjoy, metaphorically, taking pen in hand and putting my thoughts to paper.  Well, taking fingers to keyboard…I even have sounds imitating the old Royal I used in Mrs. Leopart’s typing class way back in the day.  Good thing I have a retirement to fall back on because while I am writing, I’m not selling…a thought, which caused my literary train to begin to run off my tracks.

A year or so ago, I decided I would use what had once been a fertile imagination to write historical fiction.  I wrote, I published, but I’m still not selling…much.  While I write for me, I WOULD like to sell occasionally just to know “There are people out there” and maybe that my writing ain’t that bad.  On a day I was feeling particularly vulnerable, I mentioned this to a friend and former student, Lynn Cooper.  She is also a writer…an author who began as a writer of children’s books and transitioned to erotic romance literature.

Erotic romance is not an easy subject to discuss with a former, female student…one I remember as a pretty, well put together brunette who sat in the front right of my classroom.  She was quite memorable.  I also haven’t seen her in twenty-five years so it’s all I have to go on.

I asked her, “You write quite well whatever your genre, but why the move to erotic literature?”

She answered simply, “I’m trying to make a living.”  Hum, it seems smut sells and hers is high-quality smut, well-written smut…it is actually well written, blazing hot romance literature. I admit  I have read her novellas…for educational value, wink, wink.

She suggested I might give it a try…writing romance.  “Maybe you should try to express your romantic side.”  I imagined her dark brown eyes, lashes fluttering…and a mocking grin on her face.

It was an interesting thought, one I almost immediately dismissed…almost dismissed.  Then I didn’t.  I wrote a contemporary romance with just a bit of…(gulp) eroticism.  A novella with not one but two sultry heroines, both of whom, I fell in love with.  A bit of adventure, a little of the paranormal and some  moments of “dirty mommy porn.”  Is that redundant? I was proud of my accomplishment…until my wife commented.  “What in the hell do you know about romance?”  I gotta do better on the home front.

Olivia sorta sold, a few here, a few there.  Some very good comments from those who read it until one reader pointed out, “An old, balding guy with a beard writing mommy porn?  Creepy.”  Was I creepy?  Please imagine a metallic rattle as my locomotive begins to derail.  I should have simply replied, “Creepy? You bought it.”

I will not be deterred!  If writing porn was good enough for Stephen King, it is good enough for me!  But I decided to create a nom de plume…nom de guerre…I don’t know which.  A pseudonym, an alter-ego.  BUT I HAD TO GO THE WHOLE HOG!  This was despite a suggestion of caution from my mentor, Lynn.  The rattles of my locomotive have been joined by bangs and clanks.

Why not create a whole new persona.?  One that is not creepy.  A young female, blond and beautiful.  A transplant from President Trump’s favorite country, Norway, now living somewhere on the Gulf Coast.  Lusty and sultry. herself, with cornsilk hair and sky blue eyes..its a completely fake author bio.  Maybe I am creepy.

I created social media pages…even an author’s page.  Remember, Don must devour the whole hog.  I  purchased the copyright for a picture of a sweet and pouty young woman to grace her different media sites and book covers.  I gave her a name.  Then I really went to work.  Rattle, rattle, bang, bang went the train.  I rewrote and rereleased Olivia under the name of Lena Christenson, my new pen name.   My new feminine side.

I HAVEN’T SOLD A COPY SINCE I DID IT!  “Hold her Newt, we’re headed for the pea patch.”

No, I haven’t sold a copy, but I have received three messages requesting “hook-ups” and today received a message from an Eastern European gentleman by the name of Yusif Tunar professing undying love and a proposal of matrimony…if I wire him airfare and traveling money.  The attached photograph shows he is quite dashing looking.  Dark and robust, six-pack abs covered in thick curly hair and Popeye forearms.  Biceps that can crack walnuts. What’s next? Penis pictures?  I don’t know whether to end the charade or “continue” to play them along.  Hum…If I play them along I may learn something.  Rattle, bang, crash!

If you are interested you can find Lena’s books at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD19

If you are really interested in good “mommy porn”, you can find Lynn’s books at https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-Cooper-Writes-Romances-386005534933638/

Oh, I almost forgot. Don Miller’s books may be accessed at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM. They are downloadable or available in paperback.

[Photo Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images]