The writing prompt was to write about guessing who is outside your door and finding out who it really was…a mystery or a comedy. For instance, you were expecting your sister and her boyfriend to be outside the door, but and instead, you found a cow.
So exciting. Thank you to the 4 writers who submitted their stories. They are listed below in ABC order. I gave each of them a Blue Ribbon award after their stories.
“Who Is Outside the Door?” by David Parle pen name Roger Rapel
It was one of those stormy nights, where ominous clouds began to roll-in, which complimented the earlier forecast. Sandra just made it home before the heavy drops of rain began to fall.
Sandra rubbed her hands together as she entered her apartment. The heating had just clicked-on, So she kept her coat on until it warmed-up.
She made a nice hot instant soup, sitting on the sofa she wrapped her fingers around the mug keeping them warm. The remote was clicked on, she found the news channel.
Sandra sat watching all the bad news that was being reeled off by the news readers. Then the weather report was read out, but she could hear the driving rain being pounded against the windows so didn’t need the report.
The heating had warmed up the apartment allowing Sandra to remove her coat. Just as she slipped it off she heard the news reader saying, ‘and now for a news flash.’ Sandra was half listening, when she heard the name of the town where she lived, and the possibility of a dangerous escaped criminal who maybe heading towards the town.
Sandra sat down watching the report, there was a picture of a hard-faced looking man who was on the run. She shook herself muttering something about how evil he looked. The report said not to approach him but call the police immediately if seen.
There was a ring of the doorbell, she all of a sudden went into hyper mode, who was at the door, she wasn’t expecting anyone. Sheepishly she looked through the spyhole, but could see no one, she reached for the door handle as she heard a 1,000 violin’s strike up as fear overtook her, who was at the door, was it the escaped prisoner???
Wrong Door Made Right by Joan B. Reid
Who could be at my door at 8AM on such a snowy morning? Unexpected, unknown. I grabbed my fuzzy pink robe, took a glimpse in the mirror. I wasn’t expecting anyone.
“Lady, this is not a knock-knock joke.” A gruff male voice responded.
“I know and that’s why I’m asking. Who are you?”
“Oh, a philosopher here. Who am I?”
“OK, then what do you want?”
I heard an impatient sigh. Oh dear, this was no joke, nor philosophical, nothing but frightening. Meanwhile, my kitty-cat, Jerome, began weaving around my ankles, a sure sign he was hungry.
“I have to feed my cat.”
“I don’t have all day, lady.”
He called me lady, he’s a respectful unexpected visitor. Still unwilling to open the door, I called my neighbor. Thank goodness she was home. In fact, she was almost at my front door when she answered her mobile phone.
“Hi, Bonnie, do you see someone at my front door?”
“Yes, I’m here by you. He’s the repair man to fix my dishwasher.”
I flung the door open to see Bonnie and a man in work clothes. He had the bluest eyes and a sheepish expression.
“Oh boy, wrong door. I’m sorry lady.” My eye lashes fluttered.
“It’s okay,” I replied. But it wasn’t really okay. It was better than okay. I fed my cat and hastily joined Bonnie for morning coffee while the repair man, Teddy, fixed her dishwasher.
The next evening there was a knock at my door. I wore an off-the-shoulder dress with gold earrings and necklace.
“It’s me, Teddy.”
“I’ll be right there!”
Who’s Pounding On My Door? by Joan Leotta
In the middle of the night, I heard a pounding on our front door. I hopped out of bed, not even waiting to put on my slippers, I ran across the tile hallway. Who’s there, I called loudly. No answer. I turned on the porchlight and peered out the side window panels. No one on the porch. Who had pounded on the door? A neighbor in need? An animal?
No one was expected at three in the morning. My husband was still asleep. I woke him–“Didn’t you hear the door? he replied he had not and I began to wonder what was going on –was it a dream? But the pounding had continued as I ran to the door, stopping only when I arrived.
I tried to go back to sleep but could not. I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of herbal tea to help me at least relax, rest for the two hours remaining before my alarm would propel me into the day’s tasks.
As I reached across our gas stove to the microwave, I saw the red light that meant the oven was on and I noticed that the temperature had reached the highest point and the indicator was blinking. Quickly I pressed off. At eight I called the repairman who told me he would come right out and to not use the stove or oven since the oven was likely ready to explode.
Who had pounded on my front door in the middle of the night? I am sure it was an angel.
Who Is Outside the Door? by Maureen Crites
Who is outside the door?
When I heard I hit the floor
Yesterday, my daughter’s neighbor rang the bell
It was his effort to tell
He had smashed my car
Tried to open the driver’s door and I did not get far
This is my sad effort to tell
Who was outside the door and rang the bell
My poor car will never be the same
And climbing over the passenger seat is a pain!
David Parle – Blue Ribbon for Good Description
Joan B. Reid – Blue Ribbon for Good Dialogue
Joan Leotta – Blue Ribbon for Good Mystery
Maureen Crites – Blue Ribbon for Good Surprise
I appreciate your sharing your stories with us.
Please let us know how you liked the stories. Would you like for me to do another writing exercise?
I am excited to have David Parle, Author and Artist visiting on my blog for an interview today. Hello, David. It’s great to have you here.
I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to take part in your blog and answer your questions.
It is a pleasure to share your story and hints for writers and artists. It’s fascinating to me to learn about others and their journeys.
Let’s get started
Where were you born? Scotland UK
Where was your favorite place to live as a child? My father was Irish and mother Scottish as a child spent many school holidays on a farm in Ireland, Great fun driving a tractor and milking cows; plus all the other farm duties, such as hay making.
Did you read a lot of books as a child? I wasn’t a book reader really, but enjoyed magazines and comics.
Did you draw and paint as a child? I loved to draw and paint, but was never any good.
5. How do you keep yourself physically fit? I love to swim. In my younger days I did martial arts and was very fit.
6. You were a policeman for 30 years. Thank you for doing that. What kept you going? Phew! Hard question. Like most jobs and careers it’s difficult to provide for the family and support them while you work. Sometimes, even when you do your best, you’re still criticized. That’s when the adage is true; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I see pictures these days on news reels that only tell one side of the story. Sensationalism seems to sell newspapers and news. They only use pictures that show the angle they want to emphasize. But hey-ho the public gets the press they want.
7. What was the hardest thing about being a policeman? The hardest thing? Too many to answer, but here goes. Long arduous hours. Leaving home never knowing what time you’d be back home. The expectation that as soon as you go to work no matter about your own home life, they expect 100%. The public expects you to deal with them as if they were the only person that mattered. The list goes on.
8. What was the most fulfilling thing about being a policeman? The most fulfilling? Again many answers but here goes: Obtaining a confession from a hard criminal. Trying to be empathetic to victims of crime. But one of the most fulfilling was the comradery with colleagues and of course the humour. Some would say sick humour, but that was the only way to overcome and live with the everyday scenes you witnessed and dealt with. All of the emergency services use it as a means to stay focused, for without it you would crumble.
I always remember delivering my first death message to a family as a young officer of a few months, I was told: “Get in and get out, Do not get involved because you have to finish your shift and deal with lots of other situations.”
I knocked on the door and a woman answered. In hindsight, I should have asked a neighbor or a relative to come a couple of minutes after I went in, but I didn’t.
“Hello, are you Mrs. Jones..”
“Yes, oh no, please no.”
“I’m sorry to tell you that your son has been killed in a road accident.”
Tears flooded as she looked at me. I let her cry on my shoulder. That was it. I had a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball. I finished the rest of my shift, and dealt with the people who needed my attention. I felt awful. That is why after that day when I delivered a death message, I got in and out, as callous as it may seem. That had to be the way.
9. You give great advice to people who have lost a loved one. What helped you find ways to comfort others. Over the years I have witnessed and been involved in family bereavements. You build up a shield around you and look at life from within that shield. In that way you don’t become personally involved but you can see the grief and sorrow that people are feeling. Death is never an easy matter to deal with especially if it is a close relative or friend. But over the years of dealing with victims of crime you tend to build an expertise on how to handle people. They are skills learned over many years. Trying to say the right thing at the right time; there is no easy answer. I think many of the emergency service members have their own way of dealing with it.
One of the best ways to help someone is to get them to talk, and you listen, or get someone to write down their feelings. There has to be an expression a release to allow emotions to come out. As a Detective Sgt for many years the main skill of any investigator is to look and listen. Allowing a grieving person to talk and cry is a great release for them.
10. What do you do when you think about giving up?Sometimes I just sit and think. But there are times when it all comes on top, I sometimes say that’s it; no more. I give up. I walk away and talk to myself for a couple of hours, sometimes days. When the cloud of self-doubt has gone, I get on with whatever it was that I packed up. It’s never easy. We all go through it; the day when it all goes wrong and you feel like kicking the door or the cat (not really, but you know what I mean) sometimes shouting. After a coffee or a swim, I calm down and on I go. But no easy answer, I’m no expert.
11. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why? Not really I tend to consider the outcome before jumping. Although as a young dad, my two girls would drag me on the fastest scariest rides in Disney and Busch Gardens in Florida. Although great fun, but now my kids are older, at the age I was then. They say they wouldn’t go on those rides now.
12. If you go to an amusement park, what do you ride first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? I think I would go on a scary ride, but, you never know I might back out.
About David and His Writing
13. When did you decide to become an author? As a police detective you had to compose long and chronological case reports for the prosecutor. When an investigation is being conducted, the information never arrives chronologically. What seems unimportant at first could be vital later.
It was after I retired that I began to think about writing, and used the skills I learned writing those reports to help me.
14. Which authors and artists inspire you? Why? I like James Patterson, also Chris Ryan. I like authors that don’t use unnecessary embellishment just to make the pages longer and the books thicker.
What does his auntie’s Australian cousin who wears a green dress have to do with the story set in London? I have to admit that I stop reading books when they become boring with over embellishment.
15. What is your favorite genre to write? My obvious genre is crime.
16. Why did you choose to write under a pen name? I used a pen name so as it wasn’t associated with me, personally. My pen name is Roger Rapel. Rapel is an anagram of my surname and Roger for Roger and Out when using the radio on a police call.
17. Do you set goals for yourself for your writing? No, I don’t.
18. Who has been the most help to you as a writer and an artist? My partner, Anna, has been a great asset with my writing and as an artist. She has read and loves all my books.
19. Are you writing another book? I am currently writing a short thriller/horror story entitled “The Headless Horseman.” It is about a woman who is researching ghost stories in the UK. While in a secondhand bookshop, she buys The HeadlessHorseman and begins to read it. She finds herself being drawn into the medieval times of feudal England. She is captured by the headless horseman and held captive. She sees another woman getting her head cut off by the headless horseman. It doesn’t look good for her.
20. What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?The biggest challenge was finding a publisher.
21. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? Being published.
22. Do you outline and plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Some stories just fall into place others meander. I thought Giftor Curse was going to be a murder mystery but ended up as a spy thriller. It involved a Tarot Card reader.
One day while in a bank in Spain, I met a woman who spoke English. She was a Tarot Card reader. To help me with my research for my book, she gave me a reading.
“When turning over one of the cards, she said, “Ooh, there’s a woman coming into your life from abroad.”’
I didn’t pay any notice. I was skeptical.
The next week whilst in the community pool where I live, a new Dutch woman was there. We talked in the pool and exchanged email addresses. That was Anna. She is now my partner and has been for four years. Indeed a woman from abroad came into my life!
23. Here are a few tips for writers:
I have rushed to get manuscripts out and have been horrified at the mistakes that I found. Read the manuscript once. Re-read. Read again.
Give to a proof reader to read for you and mark the errors he finds. Now read it again. You will be surprised what mistakes you pick up. Put the manuscript down. Leave for a week then read it again. After this break you will see with “new eyes.” You’ll catch the things that are missing and get rid of the things that shouldn’t be there.
Research your subject.
Ask yourself are you interested in what you’re writing and more importantly will others also be interested in it.
Don’t expect to be an overnight success; it can take years. I chose to write in order to keep my mind active when I moved to Spain.
Select your characters real or fictitious and mold them. I chose the central character for my crime books (Jim Broadbent) from my colleagues I had worked with and created his persona from three or four of them. Jim Broadbent is not a knight in shining armour; he is a womanizer and likes his drink, but he is a good hard working no nonsense detective. His downfall was a nice looking woman to the detriment of his marriage. I didn’t want to create another super hero; I wanted someone true to life who has personal problems like we all do. Asked if I’m in the character, I plead the fifth-amendment on that one.
About David and His Painting
Here are a few of David’s paintings:
24. How did you get interested in painting? Painting, good question. Until I met Anna, I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush other than decorating since I left school. Anna and I went on a long road trip, from Spain through France and Belgium to Holland, Anna brought back loads of paint brushes and arty things she had collected while going to art school in Amsterdam.
I watched Bob Ross, American artist, on UK TV and on YouTube. With paintbrush and paint in hand, I followed his instructions and tried to emulate his style. I painted what I called “rubbish.” Slowly, I improved after many paint-overs and start overs. I’ve learned to adapt a style of my own.
I use Acrylic. I love landscapes and seascapes but have begun to push myself out of my comfort zone to try my hand at still life.
I want to try portraits but will need to go to lessons for that.
I never reward myself. I’m never satisfied. Like being back at school, I could always do better, ha ha.
25. I think it’s fascinating that you and your partner are both artists. Do you help encourage each other?
Anna and I use separate rooms for our projects but always show each other our work and make hints to each other on various aspects to improve.
26. Do you have any tips for artists? I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to answer that, I’m still learning and class myself as an infant in the adult world of art.
Art as they say is in the eye of the beholder, some I like, some I don’t. Not everyone will like yours.
Don’t feel a failure because it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it.
Don’t be afraid to start again.
Practice, practice and practice.
If it doesn’t work, go make a coffee and come back to try again.
26. Who designed your book covers? They are exceptional. I would also like to thank my daughter, Amy who produces all my book covers. www.amyparledesign.co.uk
Cindy, Where Are You? Bad Feeling Who Is She? Gift or Curse My Caroline Seat 3F Abducted Missing Wallet Retribution
David, thank you for being here with me on my blog today. You are an intriguing person.
Please feel free to ask David questions or leave comments for him.
Auto-Biography of David Parle
I was born very young, in Scotland. I lived most of my life in Oxford, UK. I went to a local school, leaving at 15 with no formal qualifications.
I was born shortly after World War II, in the years of having very little. Those were the days of make-do and mend rather than throw away as now.
To be fair I hated school and couldn’t wait to leave. I always wanted to be a mechanic but my father persuaded me to work in an office. I hated it. I was good with my hands and wanted to use them.
Anyway after a couple of more jobs I joined the Merchant Navy, sailing with P&O on passenger liners as a steward in the restaurant on the SS Oriana. I sailed to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Canada sailed the west coast of the states to Frisco, LA and Acapulco. Then through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean Islands. Florida then back home. I was 18 and it was a great life for a young man (say no more)
I joined the UK Police and stayed for 30 years spending most of my time as a detective sergeant. I investigated murders, rapes, child abuse, serious assaults and many others. I also served as a tactical firearms officer and worked with the drug and crime squads
I married and had two lovely girls and now one grandson. My wife and I separated after our kids left home. We wanted different things from life so separated on good terms and still talk.
I now live in Spain in the sun with my partner, Anna.