Close Calls of the Past

(Eighty Drops of Rain)
By Earl Chinnici

Beautiful dawn…
amazing reds…
I pray silently
thankful to see this day
Close calls of the past
warn me destruction draws near.

Outwardly brave…
inwardly weak…
this war in my mind,
threatens my sanity.
Close calls of the past
remind me I must trust.

Distant rumbles
drawing closer;
eighty drops of rain
hit a torn metal roof.
Close calls of the past
feed anxiety today.

Flashes of light
each time brighter;
moments between them
darker than day should be.
Close calls of the past
feed the fears within me.

An eerie calm…
strong gusts of wind…
seems they’re taking turns.
I pray there is more calm.
Close calls of the past
remind me to stay down.

Relentless rain…
pulses of light…
I ask forgiveness
and that I overcome.
Close calls of the past
feed today’s revival.

Deafening now…
my home trembles.
The breath escapes me.
Old trees slammed to the ground.
Close calls of the past
feed the terror within

Incessant prayers…
my soul trembles;
powerless I am.
Without HIM, I am naught.
Close calls of the past
remind me of HIS grace.

Suddenly deaf…
no… loud ringing…
turmoil around me,
but there’s now calm within.
Close calls of the past
remind me I am HIS.

Thankfully, HIS…
the great I AM.
I give thanks again—
for all of life’s moments.
Close calls of the past
feed me every day.

Something Scary

We asked authors who write on the clean end of the spectrum to tell us something scary whether from a work-in-progress, a published book, or a personal moment.

Photo by Frank Winkler on Pixabay

Jessica L. Elliott – This may come as a shock from the girl who writes sweet romance and generally light-hearted fantasy, but I love a good scare. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite authors ever, and I’m the weird person who will watch scary movies alone at night because a) I have kids who shouldn’t be watching them yet and b) my Prince Charming doesn’t enjoy them.

My very first attempt at writing a novel back for NaNoWriMo of 2005 was a haunted library story. Unfortunately, my college computer crashed shortly after graduation and I lost everything (which as an author is horrifying). Someday I might go back to that idea and try again. For now, the spookiest my writing has gotten is in the Through the Rainbow series where Irish legends are real, and not always pleasant.

Katy Huth Jones – I have a medieval fantasy series with battles and executions, but I’ve tried to keep them PG-13 at most. The third book was written during an excruciating cancer recurrence, and I figured out why it has more scary stuff–since I was dealing with a monster in real life, my antagonist became a monster, too. It does have some scary stuff in it, as the Vandals he takes up with like blood and decorate with skulls (just like I found in the Czech Republic).

Laurean Brooks –  From my WIP: Speaking of train fare, Emily felt a guilty tug at her heart. She should repay Clemons for the train ticket, since she refused to keep their agreement. She owed him that much. But repaying him meant confessing she was his intended mail order bride. Emily inhaled a ragged breath. What if Clemons already knew and was only biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to expose her?

Patricia Snelling – In my novel Unshakable, Ruby get’s lost on Dartmoor in England when pea soup fog came down It happened to me once near Dartmoor prison. That’s real scary.


Patricia, I have to agree with you about the pea soup fog. It is real scary. Twice over the years this has happened to me, the fog suddenly reducing visibility to zero. I might only include one of those times in a current WIP called Fifty Close Calls (or I might rename the final product).

At the time, I had a job waxing floors for a nationwide clothing store. My route included the Southeastern US and Texas so I spent a lot of time on the road. One particular night—or early morning if you prefer—I’d been driving many hours already after completing my work at a store in Memphis, Tennessee around midnight and scheduled to arrive at the next store a couple hours before it opened early the next day. I began to drive into small and thin patches of fog as I approached Lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans, Louisiana.

But once I was over the water, the fog began to thicken. Since I was on an Interstate highway crossing a huge lake, I decided it would probably be best to just stop at the next exit rather than on the bridge. Within only about five minutes time, visibility went from about three hundred feet to about fifty and it started to get scary. But then, within a second, it was as though a sheet had been stuck to the windshield of the truck, visibility was zero. A second later, I could see about thirty feet then another second only the hood of the vehicle. I let off the accelerator and began to reconsider the emergency lane as this pattern continued many more moments. This was bad.

But the motorhome parked on the Interstate was much worse. I saw it, I swerved to the lane to my left and missed it by mere inches and somehow did not completely lose control of the vehicle and crash through the railing into the fog-covered Lake Pontchartrain. And incredibly, that one patch about a hundred feet wide was the thickest I would hit before I did finally make my way to the next exit.

As I mentioned above, this is for my WIP Fifty Close Calls or I might call the book at least my WRITING is clean. ~ Earl Chinnici


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

Photo by George Alexandru (slightly altered for use here)

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain

Lightning would be so romantic if it would just keep its distance from everything important, including all living creatures. Of course we all know it doesn’t. All too often lightning ignites fires, damages homes and other structures, destroys appliances… sometimes it even kills.
The earliest scary lightning story I can think of happened when I was perhaps ten years old. While swimming in an in-ground pool, lightning struck close enough that I felt a slight tingle in the water similar to the sensation of sticking a 9-volt battery to one’s own tongue. (Wasn’t everyone their older brother’s battery tester? No? Hmm.)
I recall another close call in my early to mid teens. It was much closer, actually. I was watching TV with my dad while Mom was at the kitchen sink when all of a sudden and with a loud blended crackle and pop, a bolt of blue came from an outlet directly behind the television and struck the sink just as Mom took one step back from it.
I know there were many other times lightning was closer than I like it to be. I live in Florida. Some have called it the lightning capital of the world though the age of the Internet has shown everything—including this claim—is debatable.
Undoubtedly, the strangest lightning occurrences I’ve witnessed were during tornadoes. I’ve been in and near many, especially since February of 1999. I didn’t move. Perhaps they did.
Only some of the tornadoes arrived with lightning, but the lighting that came with those that did was unlike any lightning I’ve ever experienced outside of a tornado. Instead of booms of thunder, there were only extremely fast clicks and crackles; the flashes were like flashes of a strobe light at a dance party or the local disco. (Give it time. Disco music will make a comeback, I can feel it.)
This article seems it might tolerate one lightning fast tale. This occurred only a half-dozen years ago and it was among the most scary—holding its own with those during the tornadoes.
Boom! (Scared yet? No?) About three seconds later, another boom, this one louder and undeniably much closer than the first. I begin to count. One Mississ—BOOM! Shaken, I begin to count again. One—BOOM! And another. BOOM! I lie flat on the floor on my belly, now considering how soldiers must feel when in a war zone under fire by heavy artillery. A final approaching BOOM, quite deafening and then about two seconds later a BOOM further away, but obviously following the same line of travel.
I lie flat another couple minutes and finally get the nerve to get up. About twenty minutes later, I hear sirens of fire trucks and getting louder with each passing second. Roughly a minute later, they’re slowing in front of my home then turning onto the small private road at the edge of my yard. Turns out the final approaching BOOM struck a cousin’s barn less than a thousand feet from me and had pretty well burned it down before it became apparent to other neighbors what had happened.
But it sure seemed closer.

By Earl Chinnici
Today’s lightning theme seemed a great reason to work on my first draft of a work-in-progress currently titled “Fifty Close Calls.” If these collaborative articles have also helped motivate you to add words to a work-in-progress, I’d love to hear from you. Check the contact page for the latest info.

February 22, 2014 – Lightning exploded the side of a tree and propelled several shards of wood into the ground in multiple places, the farthest discovered piece being about fifty feet away from the base of the struck tree. The sticks forming the V (an X when viewed closer) in the background of this photo are also two pieces of the same tree. Others nearby were not photographed.

Keys to Life

By Earl Chinnici

Have you ever wondered how transformed your life could be if one small detail of your past had happened a little differently? It seems everyone occasionally entertains such thoughts. I suppose it is human nature. And isn’t it funny that we often blindly envision how life could be better, not considering how it could be worse? Sometimes, however, our eyes are forced wide open—even if only for a moment. What you are about to read is my unadulterated recollection of one such time. Where I was going I cannot recall, but the trip was unforgettable.

Checking my watch to verify I was running late, I rushed to grab my keys from a hook on the wall just inside the front door of my home. Apparently, I was in too much of a hurry. I fumbled and gravity took over. “ Great, ” I thought, “what’s two seconds when I’m already running late?” I knelt to retrieve the keys then persevered, locking the door behind me. The next six and a half miles of my journey were utterly uneventful.

“Please turn green,” I said aloud as I approached the first of two busy intersections between my home and my destination. Nearly stopping about fifteen feet short of the crosswalk, I was glad to see the traffic signal mercifully comply. As I accelerated and started through the intersection, a four-door sedan from days gone by passed immediately in front of me like a whirlwind, missing my car by mere inches. Shocked and trembling, I stared at the green light I had abruptly stopped under as my mind replayed the dropped keys and the close encounter. A loud and persistent horn soon sounded behind me, urging me to get it in gear. Wiser and more cautiously, I continued along my path. — Life isn’t a race, you see. You don’t need to be in a hurry to cross the finish line.

Connect with the author: Earl Chinnici