The Other Side of the New Year

Last time we spoke was in 2018.  Now, we’re a week into the new year.  Has it been good to you so far?  I hope so.  Here’s a picture of what mine has looked like:

The snow always makes me happy and now that the kids are back in school, I have more time to work on my book and of course blog!  But even if your new year has started off on the wrong foot, I hope you’re not without hope for the rest of the year.  It is also my hope that you’ll enjoy keeping up with my little writing/reading blog.  

This year, I’ll be posting at least twice a month.  The first one will contain a short story of mine, and the second post of the month will be our Book Club (we should come up with a name for it. . .  Any ideas?  Leave a comment below!)  It’s not too late to join in this month’s discussion.  Just pick up your copy of Shadows Beneath: A Writing Excuses Anthology and start reading!  

I started reading it  this last week and am loving it!  I’m already to the 4th short story and ready to dive into the inner workings of the stories themselves.  I may be a little biased, considering I simply love all the authors already from their Writing Excuses podcast, but seriously, these are awesome short stories!  I can’t wait to discuss them with you all.  

As a reminder, you have till the end of the month to read the book!  On January 31st, I’ll post my thoughts on the book along with some discussion questions.  That’s where you come in.  You can post your answers in the comments below or if you have a blog of your own you can post them there and put your link in the comments!
But since this is my first post for January, I did say I would let you read one of my short stories.  This one is based on a true event that happened to me in my early years.

The Hole
by J. L. Guyer
     A gray and black cat leaped on top of the ripped armchair then up to the trash can and finally to the tall gray cement walls that connected all the houses. She continued to follow the wall to the pecan tree, passing the sweet blend of smells from all the citrus trees, being sure to stay away from the heavy scent of chlorine just a few feet away. From here she jumped down to the red pavers and headed to the garage. 
     The door was shut. Behind it stood a little confused girl. She had no idea her cat was just outside the door. What had woken her up? Did she come out here to get something out of the fridge or to go down the stairs to the basement? The minutes ticked by. She descended the wooden stairs to try and jog her memory. Good thing there was a railing there to catch her fall. It never occurred to her to turn on the light.
     A few hours remained before the sun would peek up over the middle school down the street. A car pulled onto the street, looking for that house, the one where he lived. The houses on this street were too nice. It didn’t take much to keep up the cactus and rock filled yards and the ones that actually had grass were mown and weeded. And even though the temperatures had not yet scorched the grass to that ugly brown look they usually had during summer, the boy in the car was hot with rage. Why would she abandon him? He needed her. That punk kid was going to pay for stealing his girlfriend.
     The light pole showed the address. There it was. He rolled down his window. Aimed. Bang!
     The bullet whizzed through the air punching a hole in the metal garage door, the basement door, and dented the cement wall before landing on the third stair down. The little girl was standing in the dark at the bottom of the stairs when the bullet hit, too far away to hear the gun shot. She climbed the stairs to go back to bed. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, she turned to go back in the house. That’s when she saw the faint light coming through a small hole in the garage. It was just at her eye level. Turning around she saw the hole in the open basement door, it was just where she’d been standing a few minutes before. She knew, then, that she would have had a hole in her head just like the one she saw in the garage door, if she hadn’t gone down the stairs.
How about you?  Have you had any near death experiences?  I’d love to hear your story! No, seriously, I’m sure you all have either a story or your own or of someone you know.  Tell me about it. 
“Now if you two don’t mind, I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed – or worse, expelled.”
-Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)


  1. Oh my goodness!! How scary! I’m so glad God protected you! ❤ And this is SO well written! I am looking forward to being able to read more of your short stories each month. 🙂 I just finished Mary’s story and am starting Dan’s. They’re all so good! I can’t wait for our discussion later this month. 🙂 -Caylene


  2. Thanks, Caylene! I'm so glad you like it 🙂 I mean after staring at the same words for so long, one begins to wonder if they are the right ones.I'm so glad you're joining me for the Book Club! I still need to come up with a name. . . Happy Reading!


  3. Okay, so I have a few books to suggest for the month of February: The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (I've never read it, but have heard it time and time again from others who say it was a great book), Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (because it's a great book and I haven't read it in awhile), Calculating the Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Haven't read it yet), or A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (one of the best fantasy books, well written, I've ever read). If one of these sound good to you, I'm taking a vote.


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