Susan Sleggs

Reflective observations to inspire conversation

Carrot Cake – Flash Fiction

“Girl, you dare put a piece of carrot cake in front of me that’s got bugs in it?”

“Grams, you know those raisins aren’t bugs.”

“Well they look just like the weevils that got in our flour when I was a girl and I ain’t eatin’ that.

“Grams, you taught me to make that cake, pick the raisins out and try it.”

After a tentative taste Grams old face wrinkles. “This ain’t my recipe it’s got hooch in it.”

“It’s not hooch, it’s Jamaican Rum I soaked the fruit in.”

“I guess them bugs are good and dead then.”

March 16, 2018, prompt from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about carrot cake. It can be classic or unusual. Why is there cake? How does it feature in the story. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by March 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published March 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Quilting is a huge part of my life. When I am not writing, I am quilting in one form or another. That means I might be shopping for fabric, or cutting the pieces for a new quilt, or sewing those pieces together (actually called piecing), or sewing the top-batting-backing layers together which is the quilting process. There is a quilt in every room of my home, yes, one even hangs in the kitchen. Continue reading

Trees in My Life – memoir

Irene Waters asked writers to share memoir about trees. Following is the link if you want to join the fun. She asks for our generation and location so we can compare differences.

Trees: Times Past

Baby Boomer from rural western New York State.
Currently I look out our family room window and delight at the action of many different kinds of birds that visit the feeders. The Niger seeds and suet hang from a crabapple tree. There is a “fake tree” everyone perches on made from large branches stuck into the hole in a patio table (where the umbrella would go) and a large cedar that wiggles constantly because there are so many sparrows and other birds perched in/on it. Keeping the feeders full is a daily job, but the entertainment is worth every penny the seed costs.
In the 1950’s and 60’s my parents owned an acre of pine trees that my grandfather had planted to sell for Christmas trees. As the youngest of four girls I can remember going “out to the woods” to cut our Christmas tree. They were not trimmed like today so looked a bit scraggly and were soon to big to be used. Then the trees became the play area for the town children. Both boys and girls had separate forts. Our mother’s would scold us for getting pine pitch on our clothes.
From my sister Paula… “I think Tilley (our cat) would spy on me when I climbed trees and checked on bird nests. Then they would get robbed!!
Joanne and I played, for hours, out in the back left corner. There was a pussy willow tree there we cut branches from each year.
I knew the whole area very well and ventured farther out back, across fields (don’t know who owned them) and on into Uncle Louie’s woods where he had an old sugar shack. On one of my walks I saw a beautiful Snowy Owl. Dee (Our dachshund) would go with me and dig up baby mice and voles, and eat them!
One warm afternoon, Joanne came looking for me and asked, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?’ I was lying on the ground, watching the clouds float by and listening to birds and bugs singing…… near a pile of fence row trees that had been bulldozed up to make more space for growing crops. Dee loved snooping all through the brush and would chase rabbits, howling as they scooted away, because she couldn’t keep up.”
Trees have always been an important part of my life, like good friends.
Thank you Irene for the walk down memory lane.

Who? Me?

Yes, by all means, you! I can hear you thinking, I’m not famous, why would I write my story? I used to think that too until I started blogging. We all have a story to tell and what may seem boring every day happenings to you are not to someone else who lives in another hemisphere. Yesterday I wrote about earmuffs because it was their special day. A friend in South Africa had never heard of them. By sharing our personal information, via blogs or books, we are learning from each other. It makes the puddle we call our life more interesting and larger. Continue reading “Who? Me?”

Protect Your Ears

After a day of ice skating in the cold, 15-year-old Chester Greenwood came up with an idea to keep his big ears warm. Partnering with his grandmother who sewed tufts of fur between loops of wire, Chester soon had a working model of earmuffs. On March 13, 1877, he was awarded a patent. He was a prolific inventor, but this is the invention he is most known for. For almost 60 years, Greenwood manufactured these ear protectors, which provided jobs for the people in the Farmington, Maine area which is now known as the “Earmuff Capital of the World.” [courtesy National Day of Calendar] Continue reading “Protect Your Ears”

Be Prepared

The Girl Scout motto is “Be Prepared,” and their slogan is “Do a Good Turn Daily.” With ideals like that how can you not want your daughter involved. I have read that boys and girls learn differently because of the way they think and organize in their brains, so a group of girls learning together is more advantageous to them than when in mixed company.  (I’m sure some will disagree.) Continue reading “Be Prepared”

Hot Air Balloon Ride – Flash Fiction

My boyfriend glumly watched it storm. Why was he so upset we had to reschedule our hot air balloon ride over Letchworth. We had the whole summer. Even our parents called to commiserate.

Finally, two months later the brilliant sun made spray from the water falls sparkle and bend with rainbow colors visible. The reflection from the gorge rocks glinted so bright we had to shade our eyes. Suddenly others in the basket turned their backs. My boyfriend presented a dazzling diamond ring brighter than the sunshine. Oh my. Yes!

Our parents treated us to dinner after we landed.


Note: Letchworth State Park in western New York state is known as the Grand Canyon of the east.

 March 8, 2018, prompt from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features a balloon. It can be a party balloon or a hot air balloon. How does it add to your story? Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by March 13, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published March 14). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Rewrite: Again and Again

A repeat from last year, and as true as ever….

Susan Sleggs

I’m slowly learning the art of proofreading, or should I say rewriting, and rewriting again. There is a difference between writing something and making sure all the punctuation and spelling is correct, and writing something to show action, grasp the reader, and not use any exclamation points. I had no idea; until I decided to write a fiction novel.

I’ll give you an example. “Millie was mad because her husband was late and dinner was drying out, then the dog peed on the rug!”         OR         “Millie looked at the clock one more time wondering if her husband had been in an accident. She tried adding some more milk to the dried-out casserole, but ended up throwing the mixing spoon into the sink when she spotted the puppy peeing on the rug.”

The first example has no misspelled words and has correct punctuation, but leaves the reader with a ‘who cares’ attitude. The second example shows the reader Millie’s frustration without…

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I haven’t mentioned lately that the name of the day confused me, but this one did. The National Day of calendar says this day is dedicated to the over 145 million small businesses in the United States. It is the time for these small businesses to “be heard” and break through the big-business dominated times. There are many ways for this to be done, be it through creative marketing, smart publicity tactics, strong visual appearance or any of the other inventive ways of making their presence known. Continue reading

Big Temptation

Cheese Doodles, Cheese Puffs, Cheesies, whatever you call them, are one of my biggest temptations. I can walk through the snack isle at the grocery store and ignore most of the bags, but the cheese doodle bag has a power the others don’t. They are on my personal list of “don’t buy or you will eat them” along with M&M’s and potato chips. Continue reading “Big Temptation”

Feeding the Ravens – Flash Fiction

When visiting Grandma, I asked, “May I feed your friendly ravens?”

“Boy, you stay away from those evil birds. They’ll peck your eyes out!” my father snapped.

My mother disagreed. “I’ve fed those birds all my life. Only mythology and superstition say they are evil.”

Grandma settled the argument when she handed Dad her I-pad open to a fact page about ravens; they mate for life, use tools, can learn human speech, play in the snow, fly upside down, recognize human faces, voices and kindness.

Dad stomped up the stairs.

Grandma, Mom and I went out the back door.


In response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Literary March 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a raven. It can be in nature or used to describe humanity as a metaphor. Follow the bird. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by March 6, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published March 7). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Celebrate Reading

What child doesn’t like Dr. Seuss, or adult for that matter? National read across America Day is celebrated on Dr. Seuss birthday. It was specifically planned for children to raise awareness about reading and to motivate them to do it. I happen to believe if an adult reads to a child when they are little, they will be more likely to read themselves. The adage monkey see, monkey do comes to mind.

I read Winnie the Pooh to my children when they were small and characterized all the voices. It was our special time to share closeness and life’s lessons. One of the few times in their day when they sat still. Now they are both so busy they rarely take time to read.

Knowing it’s adults that read this page I want to introduce you to flash fiction. A genre you will always have time to read because the stories are very short. At you can click on the blog button on Thursdays then scroll down to read the 99 word stories submitted for the prompt word that Charli Mills has given for the week. There are usually between 40 and 50  submissions and they are as varied as the authors that write them. In fact, they are so varied, it’s fascinating to think about how many different subjects come from the same prompt. I post my own submissions on this page, so you have had a taste of what I write.

Authors tend to write what they know so I commend Dr. Seuss for being able to write about green eggs and ham, and other fanciful things. My mind doesn’t work in such a way that imaginary things become real because the words rhyme. It’s his gift to all of us, and I wager an awful lot of people who inhabit this earth know his characters and their habits. We are all richer for the interaction and if you can read these books aloud to your little one, you will enrich their lives too.


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