Saylor's Goodreads Bookshelf

Saylor's books

Animal Farm
Where the Sidewalk Ends
The Great Gatsby
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Slaughterhouse-Five
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Little Women
Frankenstein
A Tale of Two Cities
The Count of Monte Cristo
Les Misérables
Moby-Dick or, The Whale
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter


Saylor's favorite books »
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Margaret and Grandma


            Margaret looked at her watch again, the heat of the day had broke but it was still a sweltering 92 degrees according to the pink flamingo thermometer that stuck out of the rocks that lined the driveway of her Grandma’s car port.  She heard the air conditioner kick on inside the trailer as she stared at the cat, “Cat”, inside the kitchen window.   Cat licked his paw and rubbed it against his nose.   Margaret felt both pity and envy toward Cat.  She generally felt pity for the beast but in 98 degrees the envy won out and she began to secretly loathe him, sitting in the cool air conditioning so smugly.
     After two hours of waiting Margaret had enough and was opening her car door to leave when she saw the white PT Cruiser that swayed along the narrow lane, sauntering past the other car ports and swung it’s wide girth into the car port and smack the back wall where Margaret had folded the lawn chair.  The car was put into reverse and made a jerking motion backward.  After a moment her Grandma flung open the driver side door and swung her legs out.  Grasping the inside door handle to balance herself she pulled herself out of the car. 
     “Why’d you put the chair in my way?”  Margaret’s grandma blamed her for the incident.
     “I put it back where I got it from.”  Margaret answered.
     “Are you saying I put that chair in the middle of the car port?  How’d I do that when I had parked the car here?”
     “I have to go Grandma, I’ve been waiting here for two hours for you in this heat.”
     “Well that was stupid.  Why didn’t you leave?  Clearly I wasn’t home.”  Her grandma laughed at her.
     “Why didn’t you answer your cell phone?  I called you three times.”
     “I know that, Dummy.  I got the phone right here.  But they won’t let you use your phone in the church.”
     Margaret paused with the car door open and one leg poised on the drivers side floorboard.  Church?  She did say church.  She looked back at her grandma who was smiling and waving a fanned out wad of cash at her doing a little side-to-side dance sway.  She robbed the church, Margaret thought.  Margaret slammed the car door shut and looked around at the other trailers as she hurried over to her Grandma and pulled her cash waving arm down.
     “Did you rob a church?”  She whispered between paranoid clenched teeth.  “Did you take money from their collection offering?”
     “No you dummy, I beat them at their own game.  Bingo.  The jackpot too, they thought they were going to take my twenty dollars but I showed them!”
     Margaret sighed, the heat had gotten to her and she felt a little dizzy.  Her grandma pulled her arm from Margaret’s grip.
     “I’m going inside, it’s hot as hell out here.”
Margaret looked back at her own car.
     “Are you coming in or should we go out to eat?  I’ll pay.”  Grandma was making her way inside the trailer as Cat scrambled out of the window.  Margaret followed her reluctantly, she was angry about something and it was making her dizzy, she needed to sit down and have some water in the air conditioning and she was a little, if not a lot, curious.
     “Do you go to play bingo a lot now?”  She asked wanting to get the story.
     “No.  Just today.  Of course they want you to stick around and pay for their crappy dinner and then pray with them or some such shit and then give the money all back.  But I said to hell with that - take the money and run.”  Grandma slammed the refrigerator door and gave a yelp of mirth and popped open a can of beer.
     Margaret put her face between her hands and said, “May I have a glass of water?”
     “You want a beer?”
     “No, just some water from the tap is fine.”  Margaret said calmly.
     “Where do you want to eat? Let’s really do it up, how about Applebee’s?  We’ll get appetizers.”  Grandma schemed as she slid the water glass to Margaret.
     “Grandma, I don’t think they’ll let you back in there...” Margaret stopped short and backed away from that can of worms she just unleashed.  “I’d rather go to the steak house.  I mean if you’re going to really do it up let’s do it right.”
     Grandma’s eyes became slits behind her thick glasses.  She paused, probably thinking of the Applebee’s incident, Margaret thought.
     “Yes.  But let me put some lipstick on and pee.”  Grandma said as she turned to go back to the bathroom.  Cat came out from behind the couch and Margaret fed the beast. 
     “So how much did you win?”  She called out as she stroked Cat.
     “Five hundred smackarooons!”  Grandma yelled back.
     “Are you going back?”  Margaret asked.
     “Hell no! That’s how they get ‘ya.  What’s that song?  You got to know when to fold ‘em.” 
     “Grandma’s a card shark.”  Margaret quietly said to Cat.
     “What?”
     “I’m glad you had a good day.”  Margaret called back as Grandma reappeared into the room.
     “No your not.  You’re mad because you stuck around here while I was cooling my heels getting free money.  And now you’re going to make me pay by making me take you to the steak house. ”
     “No, Grandma, I’m really glad you won.  Next time I’ll just know not to stick around and wait for you.  That’s all.  Where did you say you won it, which church?”
     “Those fish eaters off of the main drag there.”
     “You mean the Catholic church, Saint John’s?”
     “The one with those do gooder nun’s.  The one’s that are always trying to convert those Indians.”
     “Saint Catherines.”
     “Yeah.  Their probably just trying to get into the casino business.”
     Margaret put her head down to suppress a laugh and inhaled deeply.  As she moved to the door she added, “You may be right, Catholics are trying to take the Indians casino business.”
     “Ever hear of the Spanish Inquisition smart ass?”  Grandma added as she made her way down the steps.
     “I’ll drive.”  Margaret said as she closed the trailer door behind her.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fear of Food Touching


I’ve been outlining some character ideas for a new novel and something, as ‘something’ always does, sidetracked me.  Character quirks.  Everybody has their own character quirks and it’s funny to see them reflected back to us in a story.  Character is the motivational force of how I work through plots.  And for the upcoming story I’m hashing out here the quirks are essential to the story. But for so long I have kept silent about my own and what I now found out to be a relatively harmless character quirk. But let me just say at the outset here, if you have this same quirk or issue and it is disrupting your life in an unproductive manner you should seek professional help from a licensed mental health professional.

I have Brumotactillophobia, fear of food touching.  I don’t think the world is going to end if my chicken touches my broccoli but, honestly, I may not eat my meal if they do.  It’s not that I’d rather go hungry but I physically can’t put those foods in my mouth without my gag reflex involuntarily kicking into high gear.  This truth has been with me for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always gone to great lengths to hide this faulty wiring thing in my brain.  Generally, if I’m a guest at someone’s house and am offered a plate of food I would simply eat the top portion of what was on my plate or I’d eat the outside facing parts.  When I’d have guests over I’d carefully load my plate, instead of eating off a separate plate for each food group or hauling out my adult sized separator plate. I’m very careful about not making other people uncomfortable about this weirdness.  That is my issue, not theirs. 

For a long time I thought it was just me with this quirky brain bend.  I did not grow up with weird food rules from my parents.  My family loves to eat -- the more people, the more food, the more good times were had.  Both my parents were good cooks and bakers.  My father was making homemade breads and cinnamon rolls decades before it became a fashionable thing to do.  I wasn’t abused by or with food so this is all on me.  So, what’s with my mild OCD with touching food?  Is this a gateway psychological defect?  Am I going to end up with severe food disorder?

No.  I talked this over with a couple of friends, one of whom just happens to be a psychiatrist.  The other one is a systems analyst, for the record.  Turns out this ‘no food touching’ thing is very common, and happens on a sliding scale of severity.  There are a variety of reasons and/or inciting incidents and/or brain chemistry causes for not wanting your food to touch.  Mine is taste and tactile.  I can’t eat boiled eggs, but I like egg salad sandwiches. I can’t eat raw tomatoes but I like spaghetti sauce. I don’t eat soup. I don’t eat ice cream, but I like malted shakes and fruit in yogurt.  The list goes on. But it doesn’t cripple my daily food intake. I don’t find myself under duress if I order a salad and a boiled egg comes with it. (Well okay, I generally take out the egg and the pieces of lettuce it has touched.) I don’t freak out and run away screaming if someone offers me soup. But if it’s a soup with raisins in it, I really might. Why would anyone in their right mind offer up a bowl of soggy food with Satan’s testicles in it?

But I digress.  I was glad to find out I didn’t need to be hospitalized or medicated.  So now I can continue exploring mild OCD brain blips and add them to my story characters.