Sunday~

Often, we are so caught up in our day-to-day activities and our thoughts that we do not recognize one of the most precious gifts HE gave us. Our senses –

To see the tall oak and watch the leaves and limbs sway against the gentle breeze – cool and delicate when it touches our skin or lifts our hair; the smell of the earth- rich soil tilled in the garden, the mossy spots around the Crepe Myrtle – the delicate decay of leaves, damp at the base of the stately oak; the sounds of birds with birdsong dancing from verdant brush and limb; the exquisite taste of a perfect cappuccino!

Be still. Be silent. Give that time to yourself and HIM each day.

Ashamedly, I admit, I am guilty too.

ElizabethMozley

AlabamaAuthor

WeShareTheSameSky

You can find Elizabeth’s books on Amazon: Elizabeth Mozley 

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

Signed copies available!

Signed copies of DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE – CENTIPEDE- WE SHARE THE SAME SKY – & FROM HERE TO THERE, THE LONG WAY HOME —— available in Gadsden, Alabama at The Stone Market!

And Available on Amazon ~ https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor #WeShareTheSameSky

SOMETIMES BEING BAD is JUST SO… GOOD!

DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE is Southern Gothic through and through.

A subgenre of Gothic fiction in American literature, the story takes place in the American South. The elements of deeply flawed, disturbing & eccentric characters, hoodoo, decayed & derelict settings, grotesque situations, & sinister events stemming from poverty, alienation, crime & violence are knitted like a finely spun web.

Join me in reading Dancing Along THE FRINGES To The Sign Of Silence! (A whole lot of Southern & more than a little wicked.)

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT, MURDER; DEPLORABLE LANGUAGE.

Available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

REVIEW:

“Put down that Harlan Coben or James Patterson book you’re reading and instead pick up this novel by Elizabeth Mozley.

Why? We read to escape, but we also read to connect with characters who are a little bit like us. The distance that words written on a page provide allow us to experience excitement and danger vicariously.

There is plenty of treachery in this novel, and there is an abundance of love. There is something about stories set in the American South like this one is.

Like any good Southern Gothic there are graveyards and bastard children and nostalgia for the past. Through the five women around which this story unfolds, Mozley examines the values of the South such as loyalty and deeply ingrained decorum.

That is not to say that all is well in Memphis. With the mix of strong women and coarse men, violence is never far away and the bonds of loyalty fray. There are entanglements aplenty with the usual culprit at the center…money and sex.

The passages of dialogue ring true and the pacing of the story keeps you turning the pages. There is even travel to a place far away from Tennessee–both distance and culturally–that came as a surprise.

If the old adage to write what you know is true, Mozley knows a thing or two…

I think this book is worth your time reading…compelling dialogue makes an interesting movie.

So what are you waiting for Hollywood? Option this book.

It will be a hit on Netflix…

Seriously, order it today.”

Don Jacobson @BigSurfDon

#THEFRINGES

#ElizabethMozley

#AlabamaAuthor

#WeShareTheSameSky

Dancing along THE FRINGES to the Sign of Silence!

DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE is now available on AMAZON in paperback & Kindle editions: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Dancing along THE FRINGES to the Sign of Silence is an adult, Southern novel.

The novel opens in Memphis, Tennessee. Marilyn’s husband, Hudson Donati – born of old money and a powerful name- has died. In an attempt to retain the family estate, Marilyn has become a keeper of many men. She and her loyal friend Odessa Barnes are set to experience a passage they never expected.

THE FRINGES is the collective story of five women – white, biracial, and Creole -and the loyalty between them, a bond which allows strength against an often heinous and brutal world. Together, they move against the expectations of society.

How much disappointment and hardship does it take to get to the truth of who a person is? What is salvation without sin?

A Southern spring is a capricious thing. Cerulean skies darken quickly, mottle like variant hues of paint spilled onto slick glass. Surreal, warm winds suddenly chill, then growing in strength lift the skirt, steal away a hat; pull new tulips from the stem, dogwood blossoms from tender trees to toss them about like a child on the verge of a tantrum. Often arriving unheralded, sinister storms reveal a vein of indifference found in most Southerners, whom overly accustomed to foreboding go about paying no heed. And yet, unpredictable as the storm, these same unconcerned people may turn callous at a moments notice, thus revealing a commonality found among the inhabitants of an area where the untamable blood of its earliest settlers -English, Scotch-Irish, German, French, Spanish and African -continues to concentrate, coagulate as passions of the heart, or desire for retaliation. Like those in nature, personal storms surprise the careless. But, only because people act without thought of repercussion and those who take, and take, and take suddenly turn.

For some, life is the result of a preconceived plan, objectives set and attainment contrived. For others -such as Marilyn Abbot Donati -life was revealed, born perhaps, like unpredictable seasons.

And yet, Marilyn chose.

The theme of the novel is the satisfaction of loyalty and the suffering born of it.

The novel is harsh. It is meant to make one uncomfortable, and begs the reader to question ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’

I hope you will join me in ~Dancing along THE FRINGES to the Sign of Silence.

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

THEFRINGES

ElizabethMozley

When the mail brings a smile ~

Joe Wood & Susan Stone Evans guess what came in today~ the proof! “Dancing along THE FRINGES to the Sign of Silence” is in hand. Thank you, Joe for the gorgeous cover & Susan, thank you for interior layout.

I couldn’t have done it without you.

After a final proofing, the novel will be available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

#ElizabethMozley

#TheFringes

CENTIPEDE ~Chapter 1, No Beer on Sunday

CENTIPEDE is the story of an eleven year old child, who when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, survives and succeeds in obtaining the life every child deserves.

Willa Cather Jennings, who detests her given name and therefore goes by Willie, is the lone survivor of her family’s harrowing murder. Consumed with emotion, she finds herself traveling with Thomas, the manic depressive stranger, who stepped in to save her.

The two travel together through North Alabama, the Appalachia to the Outer Banks in North Carolina before arriving in Savannah, Georgia where they join his sister Jane. Along the way, Willie’s dependency on Thomas turns to trust; he, in turn, finds new meaning in life through his friendship with the child.

In Savannah, Willie -who grew up in a fragmented and impoverished family -finds comfort, happiness and belonging. But, just as she comes to terms with her past and embraces her future, Thomas returns to Alabama seeking vengeance and Detective Nicholas Cox, an old friend of Willie’s mother who has been searching for the missing child, pieces the past and present together.

~Several years ago, my students asked why I had not written a book for them; it was then that the idea for Centipede was born.

As a teacher, the majority of my time is spent with children. At the end of the day, many return home to ideal family settings; many more do not. There are some who rarely see their parent or guardian and so they’ve learned to fend for themselves. Willie is one of those children. You know the kind -the kid who is self-resilient, who harnesses the magical power of imagination to make it through the especially rough times.

Many children live in a low socio-economic area; the poor are quietly poor. When I read parts of Centipede to my students, I saw recognition as they acknowledged the similarities between the heroine’s life and theirs, and how her indomitable spirit mirrors their own.

I hope you enjoy the novel!

Elizabeth Mozley https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

CENTIPEDE

For my dearest Anderson, the darling daughter who complains so loudly, stirring praise of CENTIPEDE as she scolds her mother for never mentioning her favored book.

CENTIPEDE is dedicated to my sweet granddaughters~ Bug, Goose & Duck-duck. I pray they are always as fierce and loving as they are now.

Please join me in the introduction!
CENTIPEDE is available in both paperback & Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Elizabeth Mozley

There is ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’ but what about ‘FOOD FOR MEMORIES’?

This morning, I dropped my granddaughter, Bug, off in Gadsden.  She was with me for two evenings and a day. I am specific about the time, because the time is so precious –Every Minute Counts.

 

Our first evening, as we sat on the front porch together, I asked: “What do you want to talk about?”

 

“Well, let’s listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and talk about what we are gonna cook tomorrow!”

 

I listened.  And realized that when Bug said she wanted to cook dinner, and wanted to bake a pumpkin pie that that was exactly what she meant.  It was really how she wanted to spend our time together.

 

Though we have often baked together, we have never prepared and cooked an entire meal. So, I explained it would take up a great deal of our day.  Bug said she didn’t care and got busy creating the menu: BBQ chicken, (No surprise there. I remember when she was four and decided it was to be breakfast; and it was.), mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and garlic/cheese biscuits.  And, let’s not forget the pumpkin pie.

 

And you see, it was with the pumpkin pie that I almost messed up.  I almost acted like an adult and suggest a more seasonally appropriate dessert. You know –lemon icebox, key lime or a cobbler.  Thank goodness I paused and realized this was not about food, this was all about her –and she had suggested pumpkin because it was what she had set her heart on!

 

The kid knocked dinner out of the park! It was amazing. But, it was the time we spent together snapping the beans, peeling the potatoes, and baking the pie that I will never forget.  I hope she doesn’t either.  It was simple, and it was sweet -a summer memory wrapped up in preparing and enjoying a meal together.

 

***

 

The second part of the Romania lecture on WE SHARE THE SAME SKY was to expound how WE tie our memories to emotions; emotions that are most often linked to people, places and food.  Because I’ve opened by sharing the recent cooking experience with Bug, I will skip the introduction and jump to the excerpt.

 

 

From WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir NYC 2007

 

Last year, when I began planning this trip, I purchased three guide books of the city. While mapping out Chinatown, I was surprised to find that there are almost 300 restaurants within the neighborhood’s boundaries. Some sounded better than others, and although I had my list of wants written out well before I left home, I have found that once I get into an area several things tend to dictate choice. The first two are my mood, and the prolific bragging of locals. Often as not, however, I choose a place to dine based on nothing more than the way a place feels.

 

 

Today, I am looking for an eatery called Sweet-n-Tart Cafe. My new friend Karen suggested I try the congee, a type of rice porridge. In the South, there is a particular fondness for a dessert that is also considered a staple. In our home that staple was rice pudding. It ranked right up there with the various biscuit topped cobblers: blackberry, peach or sweet potato. Rice pudding even held its own at the table when presented along with butter pound cake. All these family recipes were handed down over the years. Along the way, others crept in. Some were come across accidently and yet others long searched for -like the recipe for Lillian Carter’s Peanut Butter Pound Cake.

 

 

Rice pudding back home is a buttery, dense pudding loaded with vanilla, sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. The overall consistency can be described as velvety. Usually it arrives at the table crusted with a browned sugar and butter topping. It is wonderful hot from the oven, at room temperature and even straight from the fridge, ice cold. Like banana nut bread, rice pudding is a staple breakfast food as often as it is dessert.

 

 

During my childhood, rice pudding appeared most often when times were lean. Those were the days when a summer evening meal consisted of fresh scrubbed vegetables from the garden and fish from the trotline. Lean dinners in the winter were often bowls of pintos and cornbread or skillet fried potatoes with onions. As the seasons changed, fish gave way to game: fried dove or quail with gravy, braised rabbit, smoked turkey or venison. All of these could be taken within a five-mile radius of our home. The variety may not have been great, but there was usually plenty. Biscuits with butter, cornbread with sorghum, molasses or honey -these were present at almost every meal. Other times, they were the meal. More staples. How often I sat at the kitchen table during the late evening with Grandpa, feasting on only this and black coffee. I wish I could remember the things we talked about and the stories he told as clearly as I remember the food. Just as there was always Grace before dinner in one grandparent’s house, there were always stories in the other. Rice pudding, however, was common at both dinner tables.

 

 

Cash Only is posted on the door to the tiny restaurant. As of yet, this has been the hardest adjustment I’ve had to make in the city. Thank goodness the guidebooks warn tourist up-front. If not, it would probably be as close as you could get to having a Southern woman in true distress. At the counter, I order the Congee with Hong Dou. “Good for you,” says the man nodding his approval and making a circular motion with his hand around the stomach.

 

 

“Thank you,” I tell him. It is all I know to say.

 

 

Congee is made by cooking rice with water until it breaks down into a porridge- like consistency. It is usually flavored one of two ways: salty and robust with flavorful meat, or glutinous and sweet with red beans, dates and palm sugar. I am in want of the latter.

 

 

The congee arrives and the serving is more than I anticipated. It is a meal and has the wet consistency of porridge rather than the thickness I associate with rice or bread pudding which, when scooped, holds together. I have to admit to being somewhat put-off by the addition of beans. Trying it though, I am pleased and notice a chewiness that regular rice pudding does not have. It is warm, sweet and heavy, very much a comfort food. Admittedly, it is probably healthier than the rice pudding I grew up on because it is cooked without butter and cream.

 

 

 

Mule Skinner Blues

 

I knew when I wrote the scene in CENTIPEDE where Willie runs through the tall grass along the waters of Muscle Shoals that this would be the song the air carried!

 

 

Excerpt from CENTIPEDE:

In the following weeks, Willie found there was something mystical about Florence and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Here, further north, she found the mountains more craggy, the Tennessee River powerful and strong, streams teamed with wildlife. Green grasses grew in clumps along the river banks; in the surrounding fields the grass blades were so fat they had to be double the size of any she had ever seen. And, the breeze that lifted, drifted out across the river brought back strange exotic smells that played rich upon the nose, an odd scent that smelled both dirty and clean at the same time.

Willie paused in her walk, noticing that she felt something similar to how she had felt before losing her family. At first she couldn’t put her finger on it. But, as she moved through the tall grasses and raised her face to the gentle breeze, she understood it was the feeling of being part of nature. For this, she was thankful. She knew she would never be the same again but at least she didn’t feel as broken. Just lonesome and sorry that she no longer had Cotton and her mother. Missing them was the hardest part. But the deep, restless worry that had plagued her was losing its hold on her mind and she was learning to once again see the things around her, appreciate nature and the comfort it contained.

Slowing, she tilted her head, listening intently. The low melodic winds blowing across the river blended with the sound of its gurgling urgency; together they seemed to sing. Willie took flight, running through the woods before her, beneath the tall pines and evergreens, over the mounds of deep, tall grass, trailing her fingers against the blades. The faster she ran, the louder the music and enchanted singing hummed against her ears.

There is magic here, she realized.

At the middle of the field almost hidden from the tall razor edged grass, Willie came to a sudden halt and squatted down on her haunches. She gazed steadily toward the wood line and listened intently to the katydids clattering in the distance. They seemed to rise and draw closer as if they were moving toward her. She closed her eyes and heard them draw nearer. Opening her eyes she noticed the dense growth of trees around her. They too had come closer! A sly smile spread across her face. Indians are here, shiftin’ on quiet feet behind the trees as they watch me, the blonde girl, interloper in their woods!

A gathering of crows, their dark bodies frenetically moving, flying among the uppermost branches suddenly lit and began their raucous squawking. She stood very still and sniffed the air, sucking in the clean freshness of it. Like fuel, it lit her from within and she set off running again, her movement liquid like a too-full creek, like water forced between smooth stones, movement tunneled too long and then freed to rush up and outward, directionless.

Run! Run! Run!  The shoals called across the fields. So Willie did, and the shoals rewarded her with a song…

“Well, good moooornin’, Captain. Good moornin’ to you, Sir –Hey heeey yeaah. Oh, do you need another mule skinner, Down on your new mud run? Hey heeey yeah. Yodel –a-eeeee-he-he, He-he-he-he-he-he…”

Willie reached out and grabbed the song as she ran, made it her own. She might not know about mule skinning but she knew all about running free.

 

Dolly Parton, “Mule Skinner Blues”. https://youtu.be/Fwc1FkkWulc