Song Stuck in My Head

Story about a song stuck in someone’s head.


Oh man, cried Jerry. I wish that stupid song would take a long hike up a short mountain
It has been in my head for days and will NOT shut up!
It’s worse than the Energizer Bunny”

“What one this time?” asked Bernie.

“ I don’t know” Jerry moaned. “All I can get is that it’s something about a damned bull frog named Jeri…..can’t get the rest of his name but the song is older than dirt. It is kind of catchy though. I just  wish that I had more of the lyrics.”


Every week with my writers group we have a writing prompt.


The song is, of course……. “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night an American rock band formed in 1967.


Critiquing is not Criticizing

Definition of Critique
To evaluate in a detailed and analytical way

Writers love to write but not always to share.

Why? Well, when we share we allow others to see into our soul and the souls of our characters.

That tends to make us uncomfortable because the characters are our babies and friends.

We have to share eventually or no one will ever know we’ve written anything.

For some of us that’s ok, but, if you want to publish…… you need to share long before the book is finished

Why a Critique is so Important

  • To open up the story and ourselves to the world
  • To allow feedback both positive and so called negative
  • Helps us as authors to understand the story on a new level
  • Shows us where we’ve led our characters astray or that they have led us astray
  • Fixes issues of continuity or even character description…. Susie needs to have green eyes all the way through the story and not change to blue when she’s batting her eyelids at the hero or scowling at the villain.
  • To give fresh eyes to the book.
  • We know what is supposed to be happening, after all, we wrote it.
  • Not so fast, a lot of the time what’s in our heads doesn’t make it to the paper or the computer screen.
  • It’s way too easy to leave out a paragraph. When the poor reader tries to read through the sections around it they can’t make heads or tails out of it.
  • We also tend to repeat a word when we’ve been typing along merrily and then take break. If we simply pick up where we left off that can spell trouble.


Time Passengers

She takes his soft, wrinkled hand in hers. She closes her eyes. Suddenly it is yesterday, their wedding day so long ago.

She is walking down the aisle arm in arm with her father. They reach the alter, he gives her a kiss on the cheek and then withdraws to sit with her mother.

She takes the hand of her handsome young man with the pale blue eyes.

Blink. A soon to be mother. The excitement builds every day until finally a tiny son is born with the same pale blue eyes as his father.

Blink. A mother once more. This time a blonde curly haired daughter. Her big brother rushes through the front door letting it slam behind him. He just spent his first day at kindergarten.

Blink. Two teenagers.

Blink. Two weddings.

Blink. Now she and her handsome young man with the pale blue eyes are grandparents.

A soft voice brings her back to the present.

She opens her eyes and gazes into the pale blue eyes of the handsome young man she fell in love with so many years ago.

Does he know?

Val Rainey


I  wrote this in 2013 for a local Alzheimer’s fundraiser. Please support Alzheimer’s research.

George the Barn

George is one of  the stories in my upcoming book “Down on the Farm”.

“Hi there! Yes, it’s me, George. What? You’ve never heard of a talking barn?

Come on in and let me give you the tour. I was built in the late 1800’s by Sarah’s 4xG grandfather Peter Howell. My base is made of fieldstones to keep my walls from becoming rotted at the bottom.

I am 200 feet long and 75 feet wide with a peaked roof. When I was built I was the biggest barn in Wentworth County.
Do you know where the word ‘barn’ comes from? It means barley house. Barley is an ancient grain first grown in almost all of Europe and Asia or what we sometimes call Eurasia. It has been cultivated for over 13,000 years. That’s even before the end of the last Ice Age. It must be hardy stuff. It is still used today for feeding animals and making beer.

Many critters live inside me. There’s Millie and Herbert and their six kittens, Oscar the horse, Walter the donkey, Trudy the mouse and her brood. Even the ducks and geese like to come inside when the weather is nasty.

I almost forgot Winston and Beatrice my owl friends up in the rafters. They are so quiet during the day that it’s easy to forget that they are home.

I also store the garden equipment like rakes, shovels, hoes and wheelbarrows.

If you look way up high you will see windows at each end. They are for ventilation. It gets awfully stuffy in a barn and without the windows it would get too hot in here for my friends.

They can also be closed with long poles that grab onto window handles when the weather gets too cold. When that happens there is another vent on my roof. It’s the funny square in the middle that looks like a small house.

I really appreciate it when Sarah’s dad Terry leaves the long doors on my east side open during the day. When I was built I just had two small doors that opened up in the middle but Terry made a brand new track that has big sliding doors that open up almost the entire east side.

I can see out across the whole barnyard and watch the ducks and geese splashing around in their pond though I can’t always see the frogs because I’m too far away but I can always hear them. I like the songs they sing on hot summer nights.

You are probably wondering why we have mice, owls, frogs and so many other animals all living together her at Howell Farms.

We have a very strict rule here. Everyone on the farm is safe from the animals that would normally be predators. When Winston and Beatrice, for example go hunting, they must go at least a one-minute flight in any direction.

Have you ever wondered why old barns are usually red?

When you build a wooden barn it must be sealed to protect it from rotting away.

Before modern paints famers used linseed oil, which is made from a grain called Flax. They would add crazy ingredients like milk and lime…not the fruit…the mineral. Next they would stir in rust flakes from machinery and anything else metal that was left outside.

The rust flakes killed fungi (like mushrooms) and mosses that tried to grow in the wood.

Many people still use red paint in honour of tradition.