Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Spare Time Projects and Sneak Peek Of My New Story

In between finishing my new novella about my Uncle Frank Miller (Almost Finished!), I've been conquering bouts of writer's block by colorizing old black and white family photos. There is something exciting about seeing a dull, boring photo suddenly spring to life with an airbrush in Gimp 2.

My first photo was actually of Frank. In 1924-1925 he traveled to San Francisco with a few friends. They took their photo next to a fake trolley car. He is the tall one in the center.


After cropping him out, I started to color him in with bright mismatched clothing. I hope he approves.


After that, I found my grandfather's Sophomore high school photo, and tweaked it.


Finally, my favorite. I just finished the wedding photo of my Great Grandparents.


In other news, my book isn't even finished yet, and already receiving reviews. Here is one:


And, it's time for a new sneak peek of chapter three, I once again wish to thank everyone that has read and reviewed my book so far. This novella means a lot to me since it's based on a true story. I know for a fact that Uncle Frank approves.

IN SEARCH OF FRANK MILLER: a semi-true ghost story
Chapter Two
THE NEW SITUATION
Woodville, Oklahoma
1926



I completed my first week at the service station laboring through menial tasks in the scorching Oklahoma sun where nightfall seemed distant, teasing, and out of reach. I honestly detested my new found job, but at the end of the week, Clinton reluctantly revealed both of his secrets to me, and I ended up escorting him on a dangerous journey across the Red River to Texas. We both needed the money that this mission would bring. Looking back over it, I should have seen the warning signs. But, when you're only twenty-one, and male at that, you think you're invincible. If I could go back and do it over again, and change a few things, would I? Of course not! I did the right thing. I made the right choice... even though it cost me my life.

When I arrived home from my first night at the service station, Mama grew extremely overjoyed when I told her the news of my sudden employment. In celebration she baked me a chocolate pie. Papa grunted his approval, and cut himself a large piece. He didn't say much after that. I guess he felt bad for that morning's lecture, but he would never tell me. All throughout his life, Papa kept quiet. He rarely spoke about anything. I don't know if it ran in the family. I never met my grandfather, him haven kicked Papa out of the family after I came along in 1905. Papa did allow me, and my siblings to be on speaking terms with my cousins, who happen to be the children of Grandpa's favorite child, Papa's older brother. I heard that one of them agreed to be pallbearer at my funeral. What a strange way to say goodbye to a person you grew up with.








Monday, August 26, 2013

IN SEARCH OF FRANK MILLER-Chapter One

Yesterday, I sat down to write chapter one of my new novel. The clock on my computer read 5:00 P.M., and in only a short time the VMA's would be on. I figure I could type half of chapter one by 8...I was wrong. So many distractions came my way: lunch, getting ready for work, applying for a second job online, and finally the VMA's started. After GaGa's bizarre opening act, Taylor Swift's immature rant against Harry Styles (Did you see his face? He so gave zero fucks.), and finally Miley's porn-esq dance moves, I decided to turn the TV off, and return to my writing. Having realized that I could have been writing instead of watching that trash (The only thing worth watching was the Smith Family's reaction to Lady GaGa prancing around in a sea shell bikini.), I opened Word back up, and continued to write. I finally hit a final save around midnight, and uploaded to Wattpad. The below chapter does need a few edits, but only my rough drafts go online. The finished chapters that will eventually make it to my book are only seen by me, and my editor...and my Nana. Enjoy!

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And, look! Combing the service station, a photo of Lake Texoma, and Frank's 1926 obituary, I created a little book cover using Gimp. Still not satisfied. I will work on it later.




IN SEARCH OF FRANK MILLER: a semi true ghost story
Chapter One:
The OPPORTUNITY
March 1926



I still remember the day when fate presented me with the opportunity that would eventually lead to my murder. We were living in a three bedroom house that Papa and his friends built in less than a month. Each man happened to be skilled in the fine art of carpentry, and architecture. Despite the fact that they were each drinking four to six beers a day, the house rose swiftly from the ground up. A mixture of the detailed, ornate layout, and Mama’s beautiful flower and vegetable garden caused plenty of envy among the residents of Woodville. Pity it’s now decomposing under the murky waters of Lake Texoma.

I awoke the morning of my journey, to the mid-morning sun pouring through the homemade linen curtains in the bedroom I shared with my younger brother. I could smell the lingering aroma of fried bacon, and freshly brewed coffee. My siblings had awoken earlier, and left for school. As usual, I overslept by an hour. A soft rain pelted the window, and I would have loved to pull the blankets over my head, and sleep until noon. Instead, I heard Papa’s voice yelling from downstairs:

“Boy! Get down here now! Your Mama fixed breakfast, and your lazy self is still in bed!”

    

Saturday, August 24, 2013

IN SEARCH OF FRANK MILLER: a semi true ghost story

I started writing the prologue to my new story. Like I said in a previous post, I only know about 30% of my Great Grand Uncle's life. I have to make up the other 70%. I quickly came up with a short prologue while brushing my teeth. At exactly 3 A.M., I sat down and wrote it out. The next morning, I edited it, and added a few more paragraphs. It's not 100% finished, but it's already received a few views on Wattpad, DeviantART, and Writing. Here is the first three paragraphs, with a link to the rest of the story.

At first I titled my book, Finding Frank, but after searching, I learned that there are already three books in print with that title. I renamed it, In Search of Frank Miller: a semi true ghost story. I like that title much better, and I am redoing the artwork.

Story and photos are copyright to Katrina Dawn Miller.

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Prologue

Lake Texoma-Present Day

They say when a person passes on their spirit is given two portals that connect them to the world of the living: the place where their soul left their body, and their grave. I chose the first.

The old town of Woodville, Oklahoma once stood in between Texas, and Oklahoma. My parents moved us there after I graduated high school from Kentucky Town, Texas. Papa went to work on the railroad, and demanded I get a job as well. I would be turning twenty-one in only a few months. Papa also liked to remind me that I was lazy, and when he was my age he had already married my Mama, and she had me. Oh, and he happened to be one of the most profitable farmers in our small town. That seemed nice, but I didn’t care for a farming lifestyle.


Read More Click Here


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Great Grand Uncle's Life Story Would Make A Fantastic Movie

* I'm not trying to exploit the man's life, but he has a tragic story that needs to be told. Senseless gun violence is still going on, and his story happened 87 years ago.

Hollywood are you listening? I know you've had a rocky summer with nothing but remakes that bombed (I kinda liked The Lone Ranger though) and terrible sequels. In the future I can totally see, The Avengers Part XX! I would watch that though, as long as the original cast is still on for it.

But, back to my story. I was at The Cannon Cemetery yesterday, putting flowers on my ancestor's graves, when I realized I have a tragic true story about my Great Grand Uncle that would make a pretty good movie. I've already posted about this on my Tumblr page, so I'm just going to copy and paste it here.

The Cannon Cemetery is located 5 miles east of the country town of Van Alstyne, TX on HWY 121. You follow the road a good while, and it will be on your right. The cemetery is a circle, with nothing but a narrow gravel road. At the entrance, under the faded iron sign, take a right, and walk for a minute or two. To your left, you will see an old tombstone that says: Jacob W. Miller. This is my 3rd Great-Grandfather, he was also Frank's grandfather, and the 2nd largest landowner in the town of Cannon, TX in the late 1800's.




He is also on Find A Grave:



If you continue down the circle, walk around the curve toward the back, you will see a giant pecan tree on your left. Beside the tree, and right off the gravel road, you will see a couple headstone that reads: Delia and James Miller. These are my 2nd Great-Grandparents, James is Jacob's son, and these are Frank Miller's parents. My grandfather (who passed away recently) called them, "Mammie and Pappie," all of his life, even when he was elderly. 


They're also on Find A Grave:




Directly beside Delia is my Great Grand Uncle's tombstone, Frank Miller. Frank was born: Otto Franklin Miller in 1905 in the small town of Cannon, TX., which has now merged with Van Alstyne. According to my dad, right after Frank was born, James (his dad) got into a fight with his father (Jacob). No one knows what the fight was about, not even my dad knew when I interviewed him for this story. All we know is that James was cut out of Jacob's will, and he moved his wife and newborn son (Frank) to Kentucky Town, TX (which is now White Wright, TX) about 5 miles from Cannon, TX.

When Frank was a teenager, the family finally settled down in Woodville, Oklahoma. Woodville is no longer on the map. In the 1930's Oklahoma flooded the town, and it is now (what is left of it) submerged 20-30 feet underwater at Lake Texoma. Even the service station where Frank was senselessly killed. Hold on, I'm getting to that part. 

At the age of twenty, Frank went to work as a service station attendant at the local Mobile Station. Back in the day, service station attendants would fill your car up with gas, put air in your tires, wash your windows, and put oil in your car for free. I kid you not. We need to bring this back.

Frank was friends with another man his age who worked with him. Both of the boys were always in trouble. Frank's friend even dated the daughter of a police officer; which was incredibly stupid. 

One night, Frank was asked to close the service station. He did, and since he had a long way to drive home (today it would have taken him 15 minutes, but back then over an hour), he decided to sleep in his car at the service station overnight since he had to be at work the next morning.

Later on, that irate police officer came looking for the delinquent boy who was dating his daughter. He spied Frank asleep in his car, and shot and killed him mistaking him for the other boy. The officer later confessed to his crime, and spent 25 years in an Oklahoma prison.


Frank is also on Find A Grave:



I've always been fascinated by my uncle that I never knew. He died before my grandfather was even born. No one in the family liked to talk about his death, which believes me to think that there is more to it. What if Frank really was dating that girl? What if the family blamed it on his friend? Since a lot of the people who were around during that time have since passed away, I have conducted research on my own about Frank. I have decided to write a fiction book about him. The reason why it is fiction is because I only know 30% of his life. The other 70% I have to make up. It will be an actual story, not a biography. I will write an author's note telling which parts are fiction, and which parts are fact.

Sounds good? Oh, in 2011 that lake dried up. The town of Woodville began to emerge after almost 80 years underwater. And, so did the remains of the service station. I saw the picture online but since it is copyrighted to a professional photographer, I cannot post it here. The lake is now full of water, and Woodville is once again buried. I would so have loved to go to the remains of that Mobile Station to do my own research. 

Note-If any of my family finds this blog post, and believes the above story to be false, just to let you know that this is the exact same story that three of my relatives (one being my dad) has told me. If you know more about the story, please tell me. I would love to know more about him. Or, if you lived in Woodville, Oklahoma around that time, and knew my uncle, please email me stories about him. I doubt anyone is still alive from that time, but it's worth a shot. 




Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Love Cooking Desserts

Recently, I stumbled across the website for Joe's Stone Crabs in Miami, Florida. Their two famous pies: Key Lime and Apple with Pecan Crust, looked really good and the recipes were on their homepage. I cannot copy the recipe, but I can add a link:

Joe's Stone Crabs Official Website

First I bought the ingredients for Key Lime Pie.

Key Lime Pie

The only thing I did different is that I added two spoonfuls of honey to the pie crust. The reason why I did this is because I had an almost empty jar of honey in the cabinet, and this looked like a good recipe to use it all up.

The pie turned out really good! Here is a photo right before I pulled it out of the oven:



A week after I made the Key Lime Pie, I bought all the ingredients for the Apple Pie with Pecan Crust. FYI-pecans are not in season and they're expensive! We have a pecan tree in our backyard, and too bad all the pecans that have fallen were rotten. 


Here is the pie right before I put it in the oven to bake:


Here is the pie after I added the pecan crust (top layer). This pie is really good, especially with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream:


After sampling both pies, I will say that I prefer the Key Lime Pie the best. It has more calories than the apple, but it tastes so much better!

Last, but not least, I baked homemade cookies! This recipe can be found on the back of baking chocolate chips. But, I do something different. My Nana gave me her version of the recipe, and she added two new ingredients, and substituted one ingredient for something else. Her version has a lot more calories and I don't suggest you eat all of the cookies in one day unless you want to gain a few pounds. Since this is her version, I cannot tell you what she does different. Sorry. But, I will tell you that for this batch, I replaced the chocolate chips for M & Ms, and they were delicious!







Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cheddar Biscuits



I found this recipe on Tumblr and decided to make it myself.


Ingredients:

1.) 4 cups of baking mix
2.) 1 1/3 cups of water
3.) 4 oz. shredded cheese
4.) melted butter
5.) spices: pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder


Directions:

1.) Mix baking mix, water and cheese until firm.
2.) Cut dough into balls, place evenly on tray,
3.) Cook 400 degrees for 8-11 minutes
4.) While biscuits are cooking, mix melted butter with spices.
5.) When biscuits are done cooking, take out of oven and spread butter mixture on top.
6.) Enjoy

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vegan Pasta

Ingredients:

1.) 1 stalk of broccoli cut in medium sized pieces. Or, you can buy them this way. 
2.) Olive oil
3.) Pasta sauce of your choice
4.) Noodles
5.) Fresh cut mushrooms
6.) Spices (salt, pepper, Oregano, ect.)

Directions:

1.) Place broccoli in medium size sauce pan. Fill halfway with water, add 2 tablespoons of Olive oil. Cook on stove top on medium high heat.

2.) Let broccoli cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add egg noodles. Cook until tender. Add mushroom slices and cook 3-5 minutes. Add chopped onion if desired.

3.) Take sauce pan off burner, and drain noodles. I usually place a strainer in the kitchen sink, and let the noodles drain that way.

4.) Leaving noodles in strainer, heat a plastic bowl full of pasta sauce in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir liquid, then cook another 3 minutes.

5.) Transfer noodles to bowl. Add pasta sauce and spices.