Backward

The #CleanWIP theme for January 31, 2021 is BACKWARD. [More info]

Photo by Elen Lackner

Earl Chinnici ~
(I’ve yet to release the name of this novel-in-progress.)
Dana excitedly told us how much she loved the book already and that she’d just picked it up the day before, hoping to find a way to handle the stress from an awful predicament she and her husband Mark were dealing with at the time.
“It started early Friday morning about three weeks ago. We woke to a horrific sound. Our dog Rocky must’ve reckoned it was after his food. I thought he was going to scratch a hole through the door. We worried he’d jump the fence if we let him out.”
“What happened next, Dana?” I asked.
“Well, I thought it might be a delivery truck at first, but it sounded more like a tank. Mark said he didn’t see any reason someone would have a tank out there, but he wrapped himself up appropriately and said if he wasn’t back in ten minutes, I should call the police and let them know we’re under attack.”
“What,” I interjected.
Dana continued. “That’s exactly what I said. Then he told me he’s just kidding but ensured me that one look at Rocky would send even the worst of enemies trucking. Mark growled and then added ‘I’ll be back before you can spell onomatopoeia backwards.’ ‘I hope that horrible noise is gone long before then,’ I tell him. ‘I love you, baby cakes.’ Oh wow. Are you going to edit this?”
Dana has such a soothing voice. It’s ideal for radio. I reminded her the show is aired live, then urged her to continue.
“Oh my.” She chuckled, obviously a little embarrassed. “Well, Mark returned about fifteen minutes later…

Relaxed Friday 69

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Abhay Bharadwaj

Block

The #CleanWIP theme for January 28, 2020 is BLOCK. [More info]

Photo by Ondřej Šponiar

Earl Chinnici ~
The following excerpt is from a currently abandoned manuscript, When Jimmy Quit Smoking. I was going for a crazy but clean coming of age story with a terribly morbid ending, but a friend talked me out of writing it soon after I began. Such is one common hurdle in the life of a writer.
Jimmy moved into the apartment next door when I was twelve. Five years my elder, he seemed quite sophisticated as he took a break from unloading the moving van. He sat on the couch he was unloading to light a cigarette. I am certain I was twelve because after learning my name is Steve, “How old are you?” is the second thing I remember him asking. My reply sticks with me as though it was only yesterday, however it was fourteen years ago. “I’m between eleven and thirteen,” I said. In retrospect, it seems silly but that’s who I was back then, the silly kid on the block. Now, I’m CEO of the popular electronic toy firm Digiwhats.
Usually when I replied to that question with that answer, the asker responded with rolling eyes or feigned ignorance. Jimmy just nodded his head, letting me know he understood. It threw me off guard, but I recovered quickly and asked what he was doing. At that, he rolled his eyes in such a goofy way I could not resist laughing.
“Well, I like to move my furniture sometimes so the dust doesn’t get too deep.”
Of course, since I was twelve, it took time to digest. Once Jimmy knew that I caught on, we both laughed. In fact, I laughed so much it was hard to form words. “I mean, why are you smoking? Cigarettes are bad for you.”
“You wouldn’t understand” was his reply.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but Jimmy was right. I’m twenty-six now and I still don’t understand why people smoke. Even fourteen years ago, the toxicity of cigarette smoke was no secret. Besides, how can people not realize how horrible it makes them smell? I cringe to think about it.
“So what brings you to Crandon?”

Survive

The #CleanWIP theme for January 27, 2021 is SURVIVE. [More info]

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Earl Chinnici ~
Here’s a little from a special chapter of MAYBE… titled “Tips, Tricks, and Dramatic Visualizations.” The chapter summarizes much of what I learned from myself as I overcame cigarette addiction, from others I helped while writing the book, and from everyone who shared with me both locally and online about their own struggles with tobacco. I should probably mention before you read this, the book is littered with puns for the reader’s entertainment—or for mine.
If you make a few mistakes or “slip up” and smoke after you have told yourself that you do not want any more cigarettes, take a step back and revise your plans until you can achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Never forget. To breathe air is human.
It is no great secret that humans require air, water, and food to survive. It is likely you will feel thirsty less often if you stop inhaling hot smoke into your mouth, but be sure to drink enough water to stay fully hydrated. Since nicotine often suppresses a smoker’s appetite, it is common for people to gain weight after they quit inhaling cigarette smoke.
It is important to pay attention to the way that you look and feel each day. You should not just shrug it off if the person in the mirror seems a bit pale or has a sunken in face that seems to spell out P-O-I-S-O-N. Signals such as these from your body and your mind should help you decide exactly how much air, food, and water is right for you.

Brittle

The #CleanWIP theme for January 26, 2021 is BRITTLE. [More info]

Photo by Hans Braxmeier

Earl Chinnici ~
These are a couple paragraphs from a rough draft of a non-fiction work-in-progress—or maybe from two. I’m considering publishing two separate works, a short story or novelette and a novel. Irma Survivor is the working title of the former; the latter is Fifty Close Calls.
Because of the disturbing angle and twist of the entertainment center leaning against the enormous tree now in my bedroom and because of the broken faux wood lower cabinet door, I was surprised to see its glass door still intact as bent down to search for recoverable belongings. Since I could see through this cabinet’s door, I had aesthetically arranged things inside that were special to me but not likely valuable monetarily. Most had been spilled onto the floor, including the adorable stuffed bear and crocheted by Mom “bear blanket” she had given me just outside the door of my apartment the day I first left home. It was partly covered by mud and wet leaves, but I could tell it would clean up easily. I was glad, of course. We’ve been through more than thirty years together and this wasn’t our first tornado.
I was also surprised to see a few items remained inside the cabinet, despite its strange angle and the violent forces that had ripped through this room hours earlier and the strong sustained winds still rushing through. The roof teetered precariously so I knew I should hurry. As I quickly reached in to retrieve two old bibles, the pages of both so brittle I rarely touched them, I heard another tree fall in a neighbor’s yard about a quarter mile to the south.
I screamed. Maybe I screamed, “No!” Perhaps it was, “We’ve got to go!” I only remember screaming something then scrambling to get out from under the entertainment center to safer ground. But where? Was anywhere reachable safe? At the time, I could not be convinced of it.

Wrap

The #CleanWIP theme for January 25, 2021 is WRAP. [More info]

Photo by Nazish Saba

Earl Chinnici ~
(I’ve yet to release the name of this novel-in-progress.)

Dana excitedly told us how much she loved the book already and that she’d just picked it up the day before, hoping to find a way to handle the stress from an awful predicament she and her husband Mark were dealing with at the time.
“It started early Friday morning about three weeks ago. We woke to a horrific sound. Our dog Rocky must’ve reckoned it was after his food. I thought he was about to scratch a hole through the door. We worried he’d jump the fence if we let him out.”
“What happened next, Dana?” I asked.
“Well, I thought it might be a delivery truck at first, but it sounded more like a tank. Mark said he didn’t see any reason someone would have a tank out there, but he wrapped himself up appropriately and said if he wasn’t back in ten minutes, I should call the police and let them know we’re under attack.”
“What,” I interjected.
Dana continued. “That’s exactly what I said. Then he told me he’s just kidding but ensured me that one look at Rocky would send even the worst of enemies trucking. Mark growled and then added ‘I’ll be back before you can spell onomatopoeia backwards.’ ‘I hope that horrible noise is gone long before then,’ I tell him. ‘I love you, baby cakes.’ Oh wow. Are you going to edit this?”
Dana has such a soothing voice. It’s ideal for radio. I reminded her the show is aired live, then urged her to continue.
“Oh my.” She chuckled, obviously a little embarrassed. “Well, Mark returned about fifteen minutes later…

Praise

The #CleanWIP theme for January 24, 2021 is PRAISE. [More info]

Photo by Barbara Jackson

New Release
I Praise Your Name by Ulysses Villamin released yesterday and is available on both Spotify and Apple Music.

Relaxed Friday 68

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Alex Prykhodko

Hug

The #CleanWIP theme for January 21, 2021 is HUG. [More info]

Photo by James Fernandes Silva

~ Laurean Brooks ~
(from Beneath A Macon Moon)
“Born with a silver spoon in her mouth” described Jaela’s life to a tee; but if her mother’s behavior was any indication, Jaela’s perfect world was about to shatter. The late afternoon sun slanted through half-closed blinds, glinting off the ballerina atop the music box. As a child, Jaela found comfort in the melody. The music box had not been wound since Dad died. The compulsion to hear it grew until it overcame Jaela’s fear of invoking bittersweet memories.
She picked up the box and wound it. Beautiful music flooded the room. Jaela hugged it close and waltzed around the room, soaking in the tinkling melody of “You’ll Be In My Heart.” 
When the music died, she dropped the lid. But it would not close. An envelope, folded to fit the interior, was wedged in the music box, preventing it from closing.
Who had put it there, and what did the message say?

~ Katy Huth Jones ~
“Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Mathairia’s great eye twinkled.
“We are indeed.” Mercy leaned in and hugged the great dragon. “And you are fearfully and wonderfully generous.”

Lea Carter ~
(from Silver Princess)
“He is like a wild butterfly. Beautiful and strong, but born free. They shrivel and die in captivity.”
My father hugged me and stepped back. Brushing the last of the tears from my face, he smiled & said something very strange.

~ Katy Huth Jones ~
Fiona came over and balled her fists on her hips. “Auntie Gwen, Papa is not a rascal.”
Gwendolyn put her arm around the girl and hugged her. “I was teasing your Papa. You know I like to tease him.”

Cheese

The #CleanWIP theme for January 20, 2021 is CHEESE. [More info]

Photo by Arkadiusz Förster

Earl Chinnici ~
Over the years, I’ve heard many people express concern about gaining weight if they quit smoking. Although it usually comes across to others as just one more excuse, this worry is definitely not without merit. Cigarette smoke is poisonous and, generally speaking, when people quit ingesting these poisons, their appetite returns—often with a vengeance. The trick seems to be finding balance then establishing a personalized set of rules that help maintain that balance. Though it seemed I had this conquered prior to publishing, I later surpassed the weight I had mentioned in the book and it is still an everyday struggle.
Here’s a peek deep inside MAYBE….
I would often wake up with numbness affecting the vast majority of my body. This seems to have stopped when I quit smoking. My appetite also continued to improve. In March of 2011, I weighed only 129 pounds. By the end of November that year, my weight fluctuated between 150 to 155 pounds. I sincerely hoped my weight would level off at 155 pounds, since this felt right to me. It didn’t.
I reached 170 pounds at one point in 2012, but as I finalize this in December of 2013, it seems with a little effort I have been able to maintain a comfortable 155 to 160 pounds. I just have to reply “No. Thank you.” to dessert sometimes and I have to keep active as much as possible. I also have to avoid certain cheesy snacks that always seem to seduce me into eating much more than a reasonable portion.

Pop

The #CleanWIP theme for January 19, 2021 is POP.

Photo by Alexa

Earl Chinnici ~
(I couldn’t find today’s theme in any of my works-in-progress so I’m sharing a little from MAYBE… about my dad.)
I first began to toss around the idea of writing this book while I was yet smoking cigarettes and writing time entries and notes within my composition book. Somewhere or some time along my journey to be nicotine-free, I began to consider that I might be able to use my handwritten notes from my composition book to get ideas for writing an actual book. One day when Mom asked, “How are you coming along with writing the times” I smirked, maybe even chuckled, and then I replied, “Writing the times? I’m writing a book.” Although I expected my mom to laugh at such a silly notion, I could tell by the expression on her face she was going to hold me to it. Just for the fun of it, I repeated this statement to Dad about fifteen minutes later. I do wish I could have included in this book side-by-side photos of both of their expressions.

Similar

The #CleanWIP theme for January 18, 2021 is Similar. It’s National Thesaurus Day here in the US and a great time to remind the authors who often join in the CleanWIP fun that an exact match to our theme is never necessary. We love synonyms and we love to share writers’ words with readers.

Photo by Bodobe

Lea Carter ~
(excerpt from A Country Mile)
Lowering her passenger side window a bit, she hummed along with an old song on the radio. In an unusual bit of luck, the radio station kept up a steady stream of similar, hummable songs all the way home.

Earl Chinnici ~
(from a work-in-progress with a secret title)
He closed my door and in a flourishing maneuver similar to a cowboy mounting a horse, hopped into the bed of the truck. By then, I was seriously questioning his motives and his ear-to-ear grin didn’t help ease my suspicious mind. From beneath a loose spare tire, he carefully removed a large cardboard sign and held it for me to read.
I was impressed. I could tell he’d spent a lot of time preparing it and I was more than a little ashamed for doubting his motives. He had glued rhinestones and glitter of various colors to make pictures on the sign. Small hearts and horseshoes he’d placed pseudo-randomly around a large horse, rider, and barrel at the center. Artistically forming the glitter into huge rustic letters, he had written “Cowgirl up, Kinsley. Turn & burn!”

Ditch

The #CleanWIP theme for January 17, 2021 is DITCH. [More info]

Photo by Mabel Amber

Lea Carter ~
(excerpt from Food for Thought)
“I see how it is,” a man’s voice called out. “You think just because you own the place you get to ditch work for a pretty girl.”
Noella was laughing before she even saw the man the voice belonged to. “You must be Chuck.”

Earl Chinnici ~
I began writing while overcoming cigarette addiction gradually. As I started to believe success was possible, I also started to believe perhaps my journal and story could help others. So I wrote and published  Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You, a memoir of how I quit smoking and became an author. I included in it the journal, nearly in its entirety, and a special tips and tricks section for those who might be facing their own addiction. A single entry in the relatively mundane journal portion of the book obviously isn’t a great selling point, but it includes today’s theme and is slightly comical this was the first thing I wrote after I smoked that last cigarette—two hours earlier.
It is now 1:39 PM – so far, so good. I stocked up on peppermints for those last ditch efforts to avoid “you-know-what”. I also purchased a bag of almonds. I read in more than one place that almonds can help reduce cravings, so I thought it would be worth trying.

Relaxed Friday 67

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Gundula Vogel

All morning I’ve been thinking about working out, adding new content to this magazine, creating a list of questions for the upcoming character interviews, designing new products for the CleanWIP store, connecting with new authors, reading a couple dozen emails, and creating a proper business plan. ~ Sigh. ~ I’ve been thinking about these things all morning. I believe I may need to take off the remainder of the day and relax.

Sandwich

Today’s #CleanWIP theme is Sandwich. [More info]

Photo by Silvia

~ Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You)
I took several short bike rides during this day to pass some time and to get further away from my cigarettes. During one such ride, I stopped by to visit my parents. Their home is not too far from mine and the view along the way is nice. The private dirt drive that leads to their home separates a hay field from a wooded area. There is not much traffic either.
Mom was watering her garden when I arrived. While visiting, I nibbled on some raw spearmint, peppermint, and rosemary. These edible plants have strong flavors and I got the notion that they might help curb a craving. I filled a plastic sandwich bag with leaves from each of these three herbs. When I returned home, I put my bag of herbs in the refrigerator to help keep them fresh.
Over the next few days, I would sometimes use these herbs as a substitute for smoking. I would crave a cigarette, but I would instead get a pinch of herbs from the bag and slowly chew them. A couple of times, I tried placing the entire pinch of herbs into my mouth between my gums and cheek similar to the way smokeless tobacco (snuff) is used. It was not too awful, but maybe it would have been better to cut the herbs into much smaller pieces.
It is likely that the strong taste of these herbs lessened a few of my cravings over the next few days. Perhaps even more importantly, the presence of this bag of herbs gave me something to consider other than a cigarette when I experienced a craving. Surely, I was able to prolong the time between a few cigarettes by doing this.

Duck

The #CleanWIP theme for January 13, 2021 is DUCK. [More info]

Photo by Katja

All jokes aside, we recently left Facebook and Twitter and we’re very happy about the decision. We hope you’ll join us on MeWe where we intend to focus on improving our social skills.

Public page: https://mewe.com/p/cleanwipmagazine
Private collaboration group: https://mewe.com/join/cleanwip
Friends of the owner: https://mewe.com/i/chinnici

Youth

Our #CleanWIP theme for January 12, 2021 is YOUTH. [More info]

Photo by Jill Wellington

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. ~ I Timothy 4:12 ~

Cherry Christensen ~
(excerpt from Love’s Full Circle)
“That’s a good sign, huh?”
“Indeed. It means you’re going to be fine. Even if he is the sneaky young man I disliked.”
Kayden gasped as her hand flew to her mouth.
“That’s right. I did some investigating of my own and found out all about Liam from your mom. However, I believe people can change, and it’s foolish to base an opinion of someone on their actions from fifteen years ago. Like I said. Pray about it.”

Lea Carter ~
(excerpt from A Country Mile)
The usual suspects were there—the soup kitchen; handmade items by a local artisan; the ad offering firewood ‘cheep.’ She had to squint to read the faded flyer for the summer youth baseball program. And yet, nothing about the annual charity play.

Scott R. Rezer ~ 
(from The Haberdasher’s Wife)
I draw the worn beads of my mother’s rosary through my fingers and shake my head. Too often have I whispered to the long night of my dotage that youth is wasted on those too foolish to appreciate it. Had I bothered to learn anything from those patient friars who sought to discipline me in the faith of my father, perhaps so many things might have turned out differently, not that I regret my life, only the foolish mistakes I made, things I can never undo. But then, the depth of one’s character is measured by the mistakes we make, and the wisdom we learn from them…

Earl Chinnici ~
(from a WIP with a female author/mechanic/hero protagonist—book’s title not yet public)
One day while I was working and the bosses were off having lunch, a handsome young man pulled up to one of the open bay doors. I recognized the parking decal in the windshield immediately; we attended the same college. I also recognized a sound coming from his truck indicating the engine wasn’t firing on all eight cylinders. In the engine repair business, we commonly refer to this telltale noise as a “miss” or we’ll say it is “missing on one of the cylinders,” so I didn’t give it a second thought as I welcomed him with a smile and said “Something seems to be missing.”
“Not any more,” he replied with a slow side-to-side shaking of his head as though he had discovered one of the universe’s best-kept secrets. “Not any more.”

Milk

The #CleanWIP theme for Monday, January 11, 2020 is MILK. [More info]

Photo by Couleur

~ Lea Carter ~
(excerpt from A Country Mile)
“I’ll get them,” he volunteered. Retrieving the milk, he relocated it to near their place settings. By the time he’d made it back around to what had officially become his place at the island, she’d added bacon, butter, and syrup to the spread.

Growing on MeWe
(Hope you’ll join us.)

Public page: https://mewe.com/p/cleanwipmagazine
Private collaboration group: https://mewe.com/join/cleanwip
Friends of the owner: https://mewe.com/i/chinnici

Appreciate

Thank you and announcement by Earl Chinnici.

Photo by Andrea Candraja

Whether you are a reader, a writer, or both, I greatly appreciate your interest in CleanWIP Magazine and the #CleanWIP cross-platform hashtag exercise. I have some great plans and as you surely know, great plans don’t always fly. Nonetheless, I’m rolling up my proverbial sleeves and making a few adjustments, determined to push forward with those plans and continue to create fun articles that highlight those who choose to write on the less vulgar and less gory end of the writing spectrum.

I announced in our CleanWIP collaboration group back in November that I was leaving Facebook and Twitter. The move from Facebook was swift and I quickly started networking and reconnecting with authors and readers via MeWe. For various reasons, I have been slower to leave Twitter. One hurdle I’m facing is the Twitter-embedded animated theme announcements. Deleting my account as I did with Facebook will distort every previous article here. But, let’s face it, several years ago Twitter left those who wish to immerse in decency and common courtesy each day. The constant hatred and vulgarities promoted via the manipulated What’s happening section surely can’t be healthy nor can the targeted advertising directly in the feed. Alas. I choose to shift my focus away from all of that to instead focus on the encouraging… the comical… the beautiful… the inspirational… and continue to bring you great content from people who also prefer the clean end of the spectrum.

So, whether you’re a reader, a writer, or both, thank you. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join us as we connect and reconnect on MeWe—where I also intend to work much harder on my social skills.

😉

Public page: https://mewe.com/p/cleanwipmagazine
Private collaboration group: https://mewe.com/join/cleanwip
Friends of the owner: https://mewe.com/i/chinnici

Relaxed Friday 66

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Sean Griffin

Cuddle

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Cuddle. [More info]

Photo by Mikey Campling

Bird

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Bird. [More info]

Photo by Frank Winkler

~ Earl Chinnici ~
I began writing in a composition book in 2011 as I quit smoking gradually then later published a memoir about the journey. After much consideration, I decided to include in the book the notes I had written, in nearly raw form so as not to leave out something that might help somebody else overcome tobacco cigarette addiction. Reading this short passage from the morning of my third day without a cigarette still makes me feel good—despite the many tragedies that have since occurred. Can you imagine if I had been smoking a cigarette when the tornado destroyed my home around me? It’s strange this moment is the first time that thought crossed my mind.

The sun is just beginning to rise, relatively speaking. It is 6:20 and I feel good, as I sit here on the steps just outside of my front door and enjoy a cup of dark roasted coffee and a symphony of birds and other animals. This just keeps getting better.

Trivia

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaboration is Trivia. [More info]

Photo by Sean Benesh

Bang

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Bang. [More info]

Photo by Jill Wellington

Coming Soon!

* exciting character interviews
* more teases from clean reads, both works-in-progress and published books
* more specialty products (and more nature) in our Zazzle storefront
* more original word search puzzles based on books written by authors who often join in the CleanWIP fun

Relaxed Friday 65

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Jan Alexander