Category Archives: Dorelai Chronicles

The Lavender in Bloom with Honeybees and a Comment About Short Stories

It feels great to have the media files on this website working. The lavender is in full bloom here in New Mexico, so here’s a picture of lavender in the back yard.

Close up picture of lavender blossoms and a honeybeeThere are honeybees all over the lavender right now, so I took an up close photo of a honeybee. This second picture has the honeybee hidden in the photo.

In other news, it turns out the short stories Parallels and A Maze of Cubicles will be reissued in 2nd edition e-books under the Lynn Kilmore name, but all the other short stories and novelettes will not.  They will be taken off sale instead. However, the short story collection Tales from the Threshold will be made available as a Lynn Kilmore 2nd edition, and will have every short story and novelette published so far.

But if there’s a particular short story you want to buy on its own, you’ll need to do it before Fall 2014 (except for Parallels and A Maze of Cubicles). Writer’s Flight has already been taken off sale, but it’s still available to read in the Parallels short story e-book and in Tales from the Threshold.

I hope you all have a peaceful week.

Cheers, Lynn

My pen name is changing from L. M. May to Lynn Kilmore

Parallels 2nd edition by Lynn Kilmore book coverBack in 2007,  I picked out a pen name for my short stories and novels that I was going to submit to editors. I chose “L. M. May.”

I picked “L. M. May” at a time in my life when I had a lousy understanding of the publishing industry, and absolutely no understanding at all of my personality as a writer … and then I got published in a magazine under that name, and I felt I was permanently stuck with it.

Turns out I was wrong.

I just finished up two online classes through Skillshare with Seth Godin, and taking those classes of his challenged my all assumptions of what was possible. Also, a friend pointed out to me Dean Koontz’s blog post about killing off his pen name Owen West. Another friend pointed out that Katy Hudson changed her stage name to Katy Perry.

I finally realized that it wasn’t too late to change my pen name. I just had to be willing to go through the difficulties of doing so.

So I’m going ahead and changing  it to “Lynn Kilmore.” The behind-the-scenes aspects of changing the name will take years and years of work. The public work has the highest priority, so that stuff will change as quickly as possible.

There will be publishing headaches involved with the move of my ebooks and print editions to the new pen name. Everything published under “L. M. May” is going to be reissued in second editions under “Lynn Kilmore” over the next eight months.

However, one short story, Writer’s Flight, is being taken off sale permanently, instead of being revised, because it is included in the e-book of Parallels.

Unfortunately, the name change does mean two challenges going forward:

1) Links are going to break as the second editions come out. There will be temporary confusion as e-books are transitioned to the new name.

2) There have been delays in the print editions of two books, and the sequel to Cubicles is going to run late due to the changes being made in my name. However, all three books should be out in print before 2014 ends, and I’ll post when pre-orders become possible.

But once the main part of the transition is over, there’ll be some really fun stuff happening. I learned a huge amount in Seth Godin’s classes, and there’s been a lot of writing I’ve been holding back from being published as my unhappiness with my pen name grew worse.

I honestly feel as if I’ve been let out of a cage. You have no idea how standoffish and stifling I’ve found it these past seven years to be called “L.M.” instead of a read first name like “Lynn.”

Cheers, Lynn

For Reference. All E-Books published under “L. M. May”…

2 Novels: Soul Cages; Cubicles, Blood, and Magic.

1 Collection: Tales from the Threshold.

3 Novelettes: The Enchantment of Coyotes; Green Grow the Rushes; Shade Town.

5 Short Stories: Parallels; Writer’s Flight (will not be reissued under new name); Just One Date; King of All He Surveyed; A Maze of Cubicles.

All but Writer’s Flight will be transitioned to the new pen name.

Soul Cages – Part One. Dreams in the Desert. 21.

We’re approaching the end of Part One of  Soul Cages (PG-13). Just a few more chapters, and then it’s on to Part Two.

Soul Cages

 Lynn Kilmore

Second edition copyright © 2014 by Lynn Kilmore

Published by Osuna Publishing

This story is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogue, and locales are either drawn from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, and locales is entirely coincidental.

Part One. Dreams in the Desert

21

I spent the morning helping Henry unpack his boxes and hanging up his white boards (one used for his daily schedule, the other for his monthly calendar). But the overstimulation of the last few days had taken its toll on him. Henry began to repetitively flick his legs, arms, and face after lunch.

“Hey,” I said, “do you need a deep pressure session?”

Henry ran for the white couch and got the seat cushions pulled off before I caught up with him. He flopped onto the carpet and lay on his stomach.

I piled the cushions on his back and legs. He preferred that I start with his back, so I placed both hands on the cushion, which rose and fell with Henry’s breathing, and pushed down as hard as I could.

Henry gave a happy sigh.

Then the blasted doorbell rang. I let Mom answer the door since I had no keys to unlock it. I was relieved to hear only John’s voice in answer to Mom’s greeting as I kept up the pressure on Henry’s back.

John’s toolbox rattled as he said, “I’ll start with the main bathroom faucets you told me about. Then I’ll look over the irrigation system.” He caught sight of Henry and me in the living room, and paused, bemused.

“Marian is helping Henry to calm down,” Mom said.

John put down his toolbox and came into the living room. He had fresh grass stains on his jeans and T-shirt. “Can I help?”

I leaned forward to whisper in Henry’s ear, “Is it okay if John pushes the leg cushion?”

“Yeah,” Henry said.

“Go ahead and push down on the cushion on his legs,” I told John. “Henry will say ‘more’ or ‘less’ if he needs you to push harder or relax.”

On his first attempt, John pressed gingerly on the cushion, and Henry said “More.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “You can’t hurt him with that cushion.”

John studied how much weight I was putting on mine, and adjusted his arms accordingly.

Henry gave a pleased grunt.

“Now you’ve got it,” I said.

“How long do you apply pressure?” John asked.

“You don’t have to keep doing this,” Mom interjected. “Marian’s got it under control.”

“No, it’s all right,” John said to Mom. “Like I said, I want to understand Asperger’s better.”

Mom fiddled with her keys. I could tell Mom was embarrassed about John seeing Henry like this.

I said, “I usually do this for ten to fifteen minutes per cushion. Feel free to get up whenever you’ve had enough.”

But John stayed the entire time, asking questions. I ended up giving a rather detailed lecture about the nervous system difficulties of kids with autism. At some point Mom wandered off to unpack boxes in the kitchen.

Once done, Henry followed John to the main bathroom to watch him work on the faucets and clogged sinks.

I went back to work on Henry’s boxes. But I could hear bangs and clangs from the main bathroom, and the muffled rise and fall of Henry’s voice asking questions.

Then I overheard Mom go into the main bedroom and scold Henry for bothering John. Which shut Henry up. But the clatter of tools and hammering went on. I was impressed that Henry didn’t come running into his bedroom with his hands over his ears. The lure of a toolbox had proved to be strong enough to overcome Henry’s noise sensitivity.

I’d gotten to unpacking Henry’s CDs of animal recordings— whales, frogs, and wolves were his favorites—when the racket stopped.

Henry said in the hall, “Here’s my dead bug collection.” He dragged John by the hand into his bedroom.

John caught sight of Sydney’s closet, and paled.

“Henry, let me get the collection for you.” I rushed for the shoebox on top of his short bookcase. “You can take it out to the backyard where the light is better.” I put the box in Henry’s free hand, and he whirled around and tried to drag John out of the room.

But John resisted, his gaze fixated on the closet. The raw pain on his face made me look away.

Henry tugged harder at John’s hand.

John snapped out of his thoughts. “It’s okay. There’s enough light for you to show me the collection here.”

I watched him struggle to listen to Henry as my brother pointed out the various dead insects and spiders he’d gathered.

When it became clear Henry was stuck in a monologue, I said to him, “Henry, how about you take your box outside and add those dead spiders we found near the apple tree?”

Henry raced out of the room. I made to follow, but John reached out toward me and said, “Stay, please.”

We both stared at the closet.

“There’s something I need to do,” John said. “If you would warn me if you hear your mother.”

I moved over to the bedroom door and listened. “Mom’s in the kitchen,” I whispered.

John walked over to the closet door slowly, as if he moved underwater, and gently grasped it to pull it all the way open. He took a sharp breath when the scent of roses hit him, and then flicked on the closet light.

The grimy interior was just as depressing as I remembered it. John stepped inside, kneeled, made the sign of the cross, and bowed his head.

He began to pray, too softly for me to hear.

My ears strained to place Mom’s movements. A faint sound of ripping cardboard; Mom tearing open a box.

John finished his prayer, made the sign of the cross upon the floor, and then stood up and proceeded to say the Lord’s Prayer while making the sign of the cross on the walls, closet door, and into the air.

Then he came out, flicking off the light. He said, sorrow in his voice, “I’ve done what I can.”

I was unable to hide my confusion.

He touched the cross around his neck. “Some say the souls of suicides are lost or damned.”

I thought of Sydney and shivered. “What does your father believe?”

“He believes they’re damned.”

“And you?”

“I’m pinning my hopes on grace.”

“You were praying for her soul, weren’t you? Praying she finds her way if she’s lost.”

John nodded.

Henry’s room felt too dark and damp. I needed sunlight. “Let’s take a break and join Henry in the backyard.”

I headed for the kitchen, John following. Mom was busy putting fine china in high cabinets where Henry couldn’t reach.

Mom caught sight of John. “How’s the faucets?”

“Fixed,” John said. “I’m going to look at the back irrigation system.”

I hurried into the backyard.

“I’ll bring out lemonade in a few minutes,” Mom called after us.

Henry sat in the house’s shadow watching anthills. The bright sunlight was welcome after Syd—no, Henry’s—room, but the gusts of dirt-filled wind were annoying.

John moved past me, and kneeled next to a plastic cover in the ground. “Stay back. May be black widows.” He flipped the cover up and over, and studied the interior. “All clear.”

Henry and I peered over John’s shoulder into the moist graveled pit in which the line valves for the irrigation system were laid.

Henry said, “Found two dead wolf spiders, and one dead daddy longlegs to put in my collection. I want any dead black widows.”

No,” John and I said in unison.

Henry groaned “Jinkies” in protest, and went back to watching anthills.

Mom came out, handed around plastic cups of lemonade, took a look at the valves, and then retreated back into the house complaining of the dust and heat.

John said in an undertone, “I’m going to check the irrigation sprinklers before I flip this system on. Come with me.”

His tone hinted that I wouldn’t like what he had to tell me. Something about Matthew or his parents, no doubt. “Okay.”

He went around the side of the house to the apple tree—out of earshot of Mom if the kitchen window was open. He studied the ground, and nudged a broken irrigation head near the tree. “Cracked,” he said to himself. “The ‘official’ reason I’ve been sent over here is that your parents need help getting this place fixed up.”

I tugged a leaf off the tree and crumpled it in my fist. “What’s the other reason?”

“Your mom told my parents about you demanding to go to a different church, and about the screaming match in the street between you and Matt.” John looked impressed. “That must have been some fight, because Matt swears he never wants to speak to you again. My mom’s given up on you two going out. I was supposed to help.”

“Yeah, I got to watch you stomp your brother’s toes and kick his heel.”

“Glad it’s over.” He shook his head. “My new commission is to change your mind about Youth Group and First Beginnings. But I think you should go where you want.”

“What happens if you fail in changing my mind?”

“That’s not your problem.”

“My feelings aren’t your responsibility!”

“They’ve now made it so. I’ll cope.” He pulled out a screwdriver to poke around the cracked irrigation head.

John acted like it was no big deal, but I sensed he was under intense pressure to get me in line. Anger simmered in me but I couldn’t think of an immediate solution. If I confronted Pastor Andervender, he’d figure out John was talking about things he was supposed to keep quiet.

There’s time, I told myself. I don’t have to have an answer now. Dad’s commitment to First Beginnings is weakening, and soon Mom’s will as well. I just need to be patient.

************** End of Part One. 21. *****************

Have a great week! L.M.

Soul Cages – Part One. Dreams in the Desert. 14.

We have now reached Part One. 14. of Soul Cages. This is a YA novel with a Gothic streak, which is why it’s PG-13. When we last left off, Marian had finished talking to her friend Nicole before going to bed.

Soul Cages

 Lynn Kilmore

Second edition copyright © 2014 by Lynn Kilmore

Published by Osuna Publishing

This story is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogue, and locales are either drawn from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, and locales is entirely coincidental.

Part One. Dreams in the Desert

14

In the dream I was in the reception area outside the cruise ship dining hall; gold-gilt mirrors covered the pale blue walls. Weeping Jewish men and women stood in a crowd around me.

A waiter threw open the dining hall doors, and stepped back. I entered amidst the crowd. The dining hall was filled with piles and piles and piles of shoes on the blue plush of the carpet. A woman, her hair teased into gray curls, stopped at a waist-high mound of decaying shoes to grab hold of a man’s brown loafer, clutching it to her chest while crying.

The woman said to me, “When you’re young, you think it will last forever. Then the end comes.”

I saw in the mound black patent girls’ shoes, green rain boots, work boots with tar stains, hiking boots, dress shoes, and sneakers.

I wandered among the piles, feeling dazed, and then drawn toward the flickering candles of quiet alcove.

Within the alcove was an elderly Jewish man, in skullcap and business suit, standing next to human-high menorahs with all the candles flaming. He said to me in an Eastern European accent, “Remember the dead,” and handed me a piece of cracker like cardboard, which had on top a thin layer of ashes.

He said, “Eat, and remember the dead, carry it within you.”

I placed it in my mouth, and swallowed it without chewing. It had no taste.

“Marian, wake up!” Dad rattled my locked doorknob.

“All right, all right already,” I called out. My mind felt blurred. I looked for my alarm clock, then realized it was packed away, so I pulled out my cell phone from underneath a pillow. 7:51 a.m.—no time for a run.

The intensity of the dream shook me. I could almost imagine I could hear weeping.

Get a hold of yourself. Talking to Ben triggered that dream.

I dug out jeans and a white blouse, yanked my hair back into my usual ponytail, smeared on a thick layer of cherry lip balm, slathered on skin lotion—the air is so incredibly dry here—and slipped out into the kitchen.

Dad took one look at me and said, “Nope. Go change.”

I glanced at Mom, who was wearing a blue dress, microwaving frozen pancakes. My dresses were hidden deep in one of the boxes. I’d have to waste time digging them out. And then there would be the hassle of wearing pantyhose. “It’ll take too long. We’ll be late for church.”

Dad scowled. “You should have gotten ready last night. You had plenty of time to do so.”

“I passed out instead of unpacking.”

Dad tapped his fork against his plate. “That’s too bad. Go change.” He’d put on a blazer, tie, and slacks.

I retreated to my room, cursing under my breath. I hated wearing dresses and pantyhose, except for dances.

It took too long for my taste, but I finally found a creamy long-sleeve dress with tiny violets. Mom had bought it for me two months ago, despite my protests.

“Time to go,” Dad called out.

I raced for the kitchen, grabbed two pancakes, rolled a sausage into them, and took quick bites.

Henry sat before an empty syrup-coated plate. He was wearing khakis and a button-down shirt, but no tie (ties triggered his gag reflex).

We trooped into the two-car garage, which had one side piled high with boxes. Mom and Dad chatted about unpacking. I asked if I could take Henry for a walk in the afternoon.

“Do it,” Dad said, “the fresh air will do him good.”

Mom opened her mouth as if to object, then closed it, and instead tapped her glossy fingernails on the car window in a tap, tap-tap, tap rhythm.

The drive to First Beginnings took about fifteen minutes. We pulled into the parking lot of a small shopping center gone to seed. Most of the storefronts had empty windows. In the center was a retail space with its windows covered over with white paper decorated with cross paintings.

“They just moved here,” said Mom. “They got too big for their old space.” She pointed eagerly at a sign that hung above the entrance. “Gena said they got the sign up two weeks ago.”

The storefront sign read FIRST BEGINNINGS OF THE GODLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH in gold letters.

The parking lot in front of the church was filling up with cars and trucks. Most of the people, all white, were over forty. Some had children, and one man pulled an oxygen tank on wheels behind him. A tube wound its way up from the tank to his nose.

“That’s Mr. Rickmand,” Mom whispered, pointing at the man with the tank.

To me he looked to be in only middling health, despite his miracle healing.

My doubt must have shown, for Mom added, “He was bed-ridden six months ago. Now the cancer is in remission, and he can go out and drive himself places.”

As we got closer to Mr. Rickmand, I heard his oxygen tank make a hissing noise every couple of seconds, like a balloon being deflated. He held the glass door open with his body so that we could enter.

Inside I found the store shelves had been removed, but there were faint impressions in the linoleum where they had been. The front of the empty space had been filled with polished wooden benches.

I’d guess there were over a hundred people. Mom had said something about the First Beginnings congregation nearly doubling as word of Pastor Andervender’s healing gift got around.

The benches faced a lectern which stood before blue velvet curtains hung across from wall to wall. It reminded me of the stage curtains at East Alexandria High. Certain curtains were closer than others, so people could walk “backstage” easily.

Next to the lectern was an American flag on a pole. A huge silver satin cross had been sewn onto the curtain fabric behind the lectern.

Dad chose a bench close to the exit, despite an usher trying to coax us to sit closer to the lectern—a smart choice in case Henry couldn’t handle the scents or crowd. Henry was wedged between Mom and Dad, while I sat between Mom and an elderly lady with frayed sleeves.

Various strangers came up to greet us, and it did not end until the Andervender family filed in from behind a curtain to take their reserved places in the first row. Luke and Mark were missing. There must be a Sunday school for younger kids. John’s head was down in contemplation, but Matthew looked around and waved at my Mom and Dad. Gena made a tiny wave with a gloved hand as well.

An usher near the lectern made a motion for all to rise. Pastor Andervender came from behind a curtain wearing a black robe and ascended the lectern.

Andervender fiddled with the microphone pinned to his robe, then started a long prayer. Flashbacks of Henry struggling under his hands made it hard for me to listen. My hands trembled, so I squeezed them into fists at my sides.

Then we were allowed to sit. Andervender read various verses from a big leather Bible on the lectern. But all I caught were fragments that floated up to my consciousness like corks bobbing to the surface: kingdomdarknessweepinggnashing.

I checked on Henry, to find him zoned out, eyes closed, rocking slightly, his hand covering his nose.

Andervender’s eyes flicked around, studying the faces, and he launched into his sermon. “We have been given the gift of spiritual truth, a truth rejected by the Jews, and lost by many of our Christian brethren. So few grains winnowed from the chaff, and it pains me to see it. I see before me those righteous few who—”

My breaths came faster. I put my hands over my ears, rubbing at my temples so that it would look like I had a headache.

His voice muffled, I watched Andervender’s face contort with breaking waves of pride. Underneath, like oceanic depths under a crust of ice, was abiding anger and fear. He described with relish what hell would do to all the unrighteous ones.

To me it felt as if a sly awareness seeped into the store with each word out of Andervender’s mouth. I looked around in a panic.

There were engrossed faces, tiny nods of agreement. Henry was oblivious. Dad shifted in discomfort, but Mom was drawn in, as well as Matthew and Gena. John looked as if he’d left his body behind to play dutiful pastor’s son while his mind escaped.

I dug my thumbs into my ears, trying to block Andervender out.

Mom poked my elbow and said close to my ear, “Are you all right?”

I shook my head.

So Mom grabbed hold of my arm, helped me to stumble past Henry and Dad, and took me outside.

I placed a hand against the pitted glass window to steady myself as the dizziness faded. The glass vibrated with Andervender’s microphone-enhanced words.

Mom held out a handkerchief. “Are you going to be sick?”

I took deep breaths of the dry fume-scented air. A blaring of horns could be heard from down the street at the intersection. I had to try twice before I could get any words out. “Just dizzy.”

“They say the thin air can sneak up on you. How about we go around to the back door, and get you some juice from the church kitchen?”

“Could we sit in the car for a few minutes? I’d like to put my head between my legs. That would look weird in the kitchen.”

“Fine.”

I plodded to the car. Mom put a hand on my shoulder—it felt like having a bird alight there.

After Mom unlocked our car remotely, I fumbled my way into the front passenger seat, pushed it back, and tucked my head close to my knees. Mom got in the driver’s seat to turn on the air conditioning.

With the car doors closed I couldn’t hear Andervender’s voice anymore. The tight coil of my muscles loosened.

Mom said, “Stomach bug?”

“No. Tired, and the thin air.”

Mom tapped the steering wheel. “I know this move has been hard on you and Henry. It’ll take time to adjust.”

There’s an understatement. “Uh-huh.”

I heard Mom relax back into her seat with a squeak of leather.

My breathing was almost back to normal, and the shakes were gone. What the heck am I going to do? I can’t stand Andervender’s voice. The thought of having to spend months, let alone years, listening to Andervender every Sunday brought the quivers back.

“Oh dear, you look green again. You sure you’re not getting the flu?” Mom reached over and opened the glove compartment, taking out a plastic bag. “Here, throw up in this if you need to. Or maybe we should open the car doors. It’s so hot in here even with the air conditioning.”

There was a knock on Mom’s window. I peered up to see Barbara studying us.

Mom lowered her window. “Oh, hi Barbara. I think the thin air has gotten to Marian.”

Barbara said, “Would it help if I brought a cup of water?”

“Oh, could you?” Mom said.

“I’ll be right back.” Barbara disappeared.

I racked my brain for a good excuse to stay in the car. But all the excuses I could think of sounded lame, so unless I could make myself throw up I’d have to go back in.

Barbara brought back a Styrofoam cup filled with water. I drank it in small sips. I saw Barbara point at the gold watch on her wrist.

Mom said, “Marian, I promised to help in the dining area after the service.”

The two women herded me out of the car, and around the side of the shopping center to the back entrance. Barbara reassured Mom that many people had trouble with the thin air the first few weeks in Albuquerque, and that it would pass.

Barbara led us past splotches of broken glass amongst the concrete, and yanked open a steel door. The back entrance opened onto a narrow corridor with one door on either side, and another in front of us. The right door had a glass window embedded with mesh wire, and SUNDAY SCHOOL painted on it. I could hear kids giggling from inside.

The door on the left had a wooden plaque with PASTOR ANDERVENDER’S OFFICE scrolled in gold letters.

Barbara took us through the door at the end of the corridor. I found myself in a makeshift break area curtained off from the sanctuary where the church service was still going on.

Two long tables were against the wall, and on one were carafes of water or orange juice amongst plugged-in urns for coffee or hot water. The other table had Danishes in bakery boxes, and orange and pineapple slices piled high on platters.

There were no walls to block out Andervender’s booming voice as he led the congregation in prayer.

Try to ignore him. Pretend it’s the surf.

“Sit here,” Mom said to me, pulling out a folding chair from one of the scattered dining tables.

I muttered “Thanks” and sank into the chair. The air-conditioned metal chilled the back of my knees.

Barbara double-checked the urns and carafes, while Mom rearranged the paper plates and plastic forks into smaller piles on the food table.

I heard Andervender call out, “Anyone who wishes to ask for God’s healing, please come forward.” The congregation became silent in expectancy. Andervender said the same healing prayer for each person, six in all. I noticed he had none of the fierceness he’d shown with Henry. And not once did he say “affliction” or “spirits.” At the end, there were faint sighs of disappointment. No miracle healings today.

One last prayer, then a roar of “Amen.” The service was over.

************** End of Part One. 14. *****************

Have a great week! L.M.

June Update

Well, I’ve gone and changed the Writer’s Flight post, so now it’s an excerpt instead of the entire short story. Hope you all enjoyed it!

I’m happy to report that print editions of Soul Cages and Cubicles, Blood, and Magic will be coming out this fall for certain.

Also, there’s more new short stories to come, as well as the short story collection. My serious illness back during mid-April through May set back the editing schedule on the stories, which is why they and the short story collection have not been released yet. But unless I get sick again (knock on wood), everything should be finally on the path to being published.

Until next week, L.M.