Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writers Bucket List

Awhile back I wrote a blog entry talking about making a writer's bucket list.  And then I never did it.  So today, with nothing else to do, I completed it.  Here it is, in all it's glory: 

Writer’s Bucket List

-To be published in The First Line
-To be published in One Story
-To create Art books and other writing related art on etsy
-To finish my set of eleven novels on Jonas and Vincent (more on this later)
-To be nominated for a Pushcart Prize
-To win a Pushcart Prize
-To finish my book, Almost Midnight
-To have my book, Almost Midnight, available as an e-book for purchase
-To be interviewed in Bust magazine about my writing and art
-To be interviewed by People magazine about my book
-To make enough money from my writing to support my family

Do you set goals as a writer?  I feel it is important to aim big, so some of these goals seem off the wall. 

Switching topics, I have two annoucments to make.  First, I updated my art work section of the blog.  It's still a small selection of all the work I've made, but it's a great start.  Second, I am now going to be regularly posting three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  That way, if you are reading my blog, you know exactly when to tune in for a new post.  I hope this helps.

Happy writing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Bracelet in the Bush

                 I saw her for the first time when I was four years old.  The morning started out peaceful.  Daddy hummed as he fixed my bowl of cereal and poured his coffee.  After breakfast, we moved to the living room.  For once, Daddy didn’t seem to mind I was hanging around.  I entertained myself playing with my dolls.  The coffee table made a perfect dance floor.  Daddy sprawled out on the couch, reading a paperback novel.  The golden writing on the front cover caught the sunlight and made little rainbows on the walls of the living room.

                Daddy looked up from his paperback and warned me not to spill his coffee.  Moving the book caused the rainbows to flutter away.  I reassured him I would be careful.  Daddy nodded and went back to reading.  The rainbows returned to the walls. 

I heard Daddy’s warning, but his words escaped my mind.  Making my dolls dance turned into making my dolls fly.  I didn’t mean to hit it.  Jagged blue edges stood sharp where a coffee mug had been moments before.  When Daddy saw the puddle of liquid slowing making its way to the carpet, he hurled his book away and grabbed me.  The rainbows disappeared for good.  He screamed for my mother to come clean up this awful mess and get me out of his sight.  I sobbed as he screamed at me.  I never did anything right.

                My mother hurried in from the kitchen.  She separated us and ushered me out into the backyard to play.  Although I was distressed, I realized I was getting outside earlier in the day than normal.  Usually I wasn’t allowed in the grass until the dew had dried.  This was a special treat, even if it was supposed to be a punishment.   I ran away from our house, away from Daddy’s anger, down to the garden.

                She was standing in the middle of the strawberry patch.

                I said the only thing I could think of at the time.  “Hey, you better get out of there.  Mommy don’t want anybody hurtin’ the berries.”

                It didn’t dawn on me until I was older what a girl would be doing in our backyard.  She was taller than me, so that must have meant she was older too.  I liked how she looked, thin with long blond hair.  She wore a yellow tank top and light yellow shorts.  The only thing ugly was her bruises.  She had many of them, up and down her arms and even a few on her neck.  My own arms would be covered in bruises tomorrow.  Daddy had grabbed me hard.

                She studied me.  “You’re wearing my dress,” she said when she finally spoke. 

                “No!” I replied.  “It’s mine.”  I was wearing an old, second hand play dress.  I hated it, but Mommy made me wear it a lot.  I wrapped my arms around my body.

                “What is your name?” She asked.

                “Rayelle Elizabeth.”

“Really?  Your parents named you Rayelle?”

“It’s a pretty name.”  I stuck out my tongue at her. 

“My name is Rachel Elizabeth.  We have the same middle name. ” Rachel looked towards the house and frowned.  “Your daddy is mad, isn’t he?”

I lowered my head.  “I broke his coffee mug.”

“I know.”  She stepped out of the strawberry patch.  I was afraid she was going to hurt the berries but I didn’t see any squished.  She reached her hand out to me.  “Why don’t you come with me, Ray-Ray?”

I took her hand and squeezed it.  “How did you know my Mommy and Daddy called me Ray-Ray?”

“I just had a feeling.”  She took my hand and we walked. 

She led me to the end of our property, right to the edge of a forest.  The forest belonged to our neighbors, The McGees.  They owned just about everything on this road, except for our little plot of property.  Their trees spilled out of their forest and threatened to take over our lawn.  Mommy told me that someday Daddy was going to build a fence along the tree line, but he wasn’t ready to do it yet. 

Rachel started to lead me into the woods, but I dug my heels into the soft soil.  “No,” I said.  “Not allowed.”

“Come on,” she said.  “I have a present for you.” 

After about thirty seconds, I nodded and went with her into the darkness of the trees. 

“When I was little, I walked this way so much there was a path right to this special spot.  You will have to make your own path, ok, Ray-Ray?”

I nodded.  She moved some trees and walked forward.  There was a clearing in the woods.  The area was big enough for a patch of sunlight to shine down on the ground.  Where the sun was shining a pink rose bush was growing on a mound, reaching up with its giant branches. 

Although the rose bush was pretty, it wasn’t the main attraction of the place.  It was obvious the area used to be somebody’s personal dump, but it had been arranged.  An old, white porcelain sink was resting on a tree stump.  Rusty pots and pans were stacked neatly on a broken bookcase.  Three mismatched chairs sat placed around a wooden barrel. 

“This was my playhouse, a long time ago,” Rachel told me.  “You can have it now, if you want.” 

“I love it,” I said.   I hugged the girl around her waist.  She was solid, like stone.  I wondered if she had the ability to tell when I was lying, like Daddy had.  Although this place was amazing, it scared me.   Something bad had happened here. 

Rachel and I stayed there for a bit.  The sun was reaching the middle of the sky when she suggested we head back.  I didn’t want to, but I knew Mommy would be looking for me soon.  Rachel took my hand and we left.

 “Just don’t tell your parents about this place, ok?  Especially Daddy.  It’s dangerous for you to be here, with the rust and stuff, ok, Ray-Ray?  You gotta absolutely listen to me!”  She crouched down and looked me in the eye. 

“I understand.”  She looked like Mommy did when she was trying to explain stuff to me.  I smiled at her. “I really, really understand.”

Rachel kissed me on the forehead and told me she heard Mommy calling.  I panicked, Mommy always got really upset when she couldn’t find me right away.  I ran into the house.  Mommy, although happy to see me, had not been looking for me.  

Although I wished for it to happen, I didn’t see Rachel again.  I wanted her to come to my backyard, where it was sunny and happy.  I had a feeling I might see her if I went to the forest, yet I stayed away.  The place gave me a vague feeling of being sick.  Years passed, and the junk yard-forest-playhouse faded into the back of my mind. 

* * * * *

It was Mother’s Day, six years later.  I was ten and lying on my bed, wondering how I could go to the store and get Mommy pink roses.  Daddy had already left for work and he wasn’t the type to do something like that anyway.  Pink roses were Mommy’s favorite.  I wanted to surprise her.  

I sat up.  I knew where I could get Mommy pink roses.  I ran out of the house, letting the screen door slam behind me.  I was surprised how easy it was to find the clearing in the woods.  The bush was still there.  I hacked off a few stems, and ran back home as fast as I could.  As I left, I thought I saw a flash of yellow.

Mommy loved the roses.  She kissed me and nuzzled my neck.  “They’re beautiful, Ray-Ray,” she said.   Daddy walked into the kitchen.  She pulled away from me and looked at the floor.

Daddy didn’t say much.  He looked at the flowers, nodded, and grabbed a beer out of the fridge.  When he left, Mommy’s smile returned. 

She visited me that night.  She accused in the dark, “You gave Mommy my roses.”

I rubbed my eyes.  “Rachel?”  She was sitting on my bed.  Last time I saw her she was older than me, but now we were the same age.  Her long hair was messy, and her eyes were red and puffy.  Her bruises looked fresh as ever.

“Isn’t it enough you have Mommy to yourself?  Isn’t it enough Daddy learned his lesson?  Isn’t it enough you have my nickname and wear my dresses? ”

“Rachel…” I started to say, but she was already gone.

The next day, I gathered my courage.  I went to the forest.  There had to be some evidence of who Rachel was.  My search turned up empty.  No lost diaries or clues; nothing you would find in mystery stories like the ones I loved to read,  just some trash and a rosebush.  The only thing I found remotely interesting was a gold bracelet with a heart charm.  I clasped the bracelet to my wrist and went home.

I wore the bracelet constantly.  At first, nobody saw it.  Daddy was the first one to notice. 

“Where did you get that?” He asked me.  He turned to my mother with cold, murderous eyes.   She shook her head and looked terrified.

I never lied to my father.  The result was always worse if he caught you.  “I found it in McGee’s woods,” I said quickly.  “Near a rosebush.”

He slapped me across the face and sent me flying into the refrigerator.  That night, I cried myself to sleep.  As I was sobbing in my semi-conscious state, I felt a cold hand push my hair back from my tear drenched skin.  When I dreamed that night, I saw Rachel’s face. 

The bracelet came off my wrist and into the back of my jewelry box.   I never went to the forest again.  It was something to be avoided.  Even when Mr. McGee started clearing the trees behind our home, I resisted my curiosity and stayed away.  I heard he was building his daughter a house right where Rachel’s playhouse once stood.  He was going to find the rose bush and once he did, everything would come out.  I could only brace myself for the storm.

* * * * *

It happened when I was sixteen.  I came home to police cars in the driveway and an ambulance pulling away.  I burst in the house and found Mommy in the kitchen, surrounded by cops. 

Mommy wrapped her arms around me.  “I have so much to explain,” she cried.  “Daddy is dead.  He shot himself this afternoon.”

I felt nothing.

“There’s more,” she said.  “Mr. McGee found something today.  Under a rose bush in the forest.  He found the bones of…”  She couldn’t get it out.  “Daddy couldn’t take it.  He loved her so much.  You had a…”

I stepped back from my mother.  “I know.  I had a sister.  My father—our father—didn’t kill himself over sadness.  He killed himself because he did it.  Daddy killed Rachel.  And you know it.”

I turned away from my mother and walked out into the backyard.  Rachel was standing in the strawberry patch.  She was a little girl now.  Or rather, she had always been a little girl.  It was me who had grown up.  Rachel gave me a wave before she faded away.

* * * * *

I purchased another heart charm.  The two gold hearts hung together, sharing a closeness that two sisters never got a chance to know in life.  I asked the funeral director to put it in the casket with Rachel.  I really liked the bracelet, but I knew Rachel wanted it back.  Besides, I wasn’t planning on wearing it.  I didn’t want to anger Daddy anymore than I already had. 

He would be watching, just as Rachel had been watching.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coming to a blog near you...

I am pondering uploading my unpublished short stories to my blog.  I have been very lucky—since I started my writing career, I’ve had six short stories published.  This makes me feel accomplished and has given me the boost I need to take the next step.  I feel it is time to seriously start working on my as a novelist.
 For the last few weeks I have been working on a novel.  This would be my first (completed) one.  I finished a novelette last year around this time.  When I was writing, I had the full intention of fleshing it out and creating a full length book.  That hasn’t happened, although it might happen sometime in the future.  I have started writing a different novel; based on an idea I had years ago.  I am excited.  As I write this blog entry, I am 27 pages into the story.  I feel great!
You might be asking what this has to do with publishing stories to my blog.  To be honest, I don’t want to be thinking about submitting short stories while I’m hard at work on my book.  Besides, I’ve wanted to share examples my work with my blog reading audience for awhile.   So this kills two birds with one stone.   It also gives me a clean slate to start submitting for the New Year. Anything I submit in 2012 will be a new piece of fiction.
The only stories I will not be publishing on the blog are the ones from my fiction collection, Almost Midnight.  I am hoping to release it someday as an independent e-book.
On a more personal note, we have started the official count down until Christmas!  I’ve been working on my story Christmas cards and I made cookies.  I want to savior every moment of this holiday season, but I have a feeling it is going to fly!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

100 words or 150 words??

                I’ve been hard at work making my Christmas cards for this holiday season.  I have finished a few short- shorts.  I have even illustrated one of the stories.  I’ve made my list of people I have to send cards to.  I’m already way ahead of the last few years!
I had a few good ideas for writing Christmas narratives.  I was trying to make the stories 100 words each, but I haven’t been able to achieve this goal.    One of them is 100 words, one of them is 150 words, and one of them was 300 words.  All short, but I really have a soft spot in my heart for 100 word stories.  I call them “story potato chips.” 
So what is the difference between 100 words and 150 words?  See for yourself.  Here is one of my stories I rejected.  It’s called “The Vow.”  I felt like it was too dark to be on a Christmas card.  I really like the idea behind it, so I’m posting it on the blog.   See for yourself the difference 50 words can make:

The Vow (150 words)
“I’m sorry.  This can’t be my life anymore.  I’ve moved on.”
                My hands shook.  Lives change every day, but when it’s your own, it rips your heart apart.  I tried to look at him, but I found myself staring at his shoes.
                “How can you make this decision so lightly?  After all these years…”
                “But I’m not, not really.  I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.  There is so much in the world I need to see.  I don’t want to be stuck here anymore.  I lost my enchantment with this a long time ago. 
                 I knew what I had to do. 
                “I, Santa Clause, release this elf before me from his duties at the North Pole.”
                I continued to watch his shoes.  No longer were they a pair of green velvet slippers decorated with jingle bells.  Instead, his feet now had on a pair of sneakers.

The Vow (100 words)
“I’m sorry.  I’ve moved on.”
                My hands shook.  I tried to look at him, but I found myself staring at his shoes.
                “How can you make this decision so lightly?  After all these years…”
                “I’m not.  I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time.  I lost my enchantment with this awhile ago. 
                 I knew what I had to do. 
                “I, Santa Clause, release this elf before me from his duties at the North Pole.”
                I continued to watch his shoes.  No longer were they a pair of velvet slippers.  Instead, he was wearing a pair of sneakers. 

                There are three big things I see in the 50 word difference.  First, lack of filler.  I say what my characters mean, and that’s it.  In conversation, we say a lot of fillers. In 100 word stories, that goes right out the window.  Second, no description.  You don’t have room to describe what things look like when you are working with so few words.   Third, I have to change words.  In the 150 word version I wrote, “I lost my enchantment with this a long time ago.” (Ten words)  In the 100 word version I wrote, “I lost my enchantment with this awhile ago.  ” (Eight words)   It’s not much, but it is a difference.
                I guess what I am trying to say is that story potato chips are not always easy to write, but they are fun and help improve editing skills.  So unlike real potato chips, which are fun but do not help you “edit” your waist line at all!
                Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The ideas keep floating.... like snowflakes

I always try to make hand drawn holiday cards for my family and a few friends.  Since my day job is being an artist, people expect handmade cards.  I admit, I would love to do this for everyone I know, but if I did, I would be making Christmas cards ALL YEAR LONG.  It’s become a tiring task, and frankly, the last few years I have abandoned the Christmas card tradition.  I just don’t feel like drawing that much during the holiday season.
This year I got a great idea.  I’m just going to draw the cards, scan the images into the computer, and then print them off.  I can “hand color” the images at night, when I am watching Star Trek or something.  (Yes, I am a Trekkie.)  Maybe I’ll make my Editor color too.  Hehehe.  (For those who do not know, I am married to my editor.  We share the same family and friends.)  For the first time in many years, I am sending out cards. 
Now, I have this second idea.  What if I wrote a short-short to include with my cards?  I know they always have greetings and well wishes  included on the inside, but to me, that is so dull!  Of course I wish you well!  If I hated you, I wouldn’t be sending you a card.  Duh.  I think a neat little piece of short fiction would be so much better. I think this will be great. It won't take up too much time away from my novel, yet it will be a welcome break. 
So, that’s my project for the weekend.  I’m going to get started on these cards, ASAP!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Plenty of Reading Material around this House Tonight

I had a very good day today. 
In the mail I received not one, but two, magazines that contained my work!  The first one was Nuthouse magazine.  The second one was The Nocturnal Lyric. 
The Nocturnal Lyric published my story, "The Subsequent Existence Corporation."  Nuthouse published "One,"
which is part of my short story collection, Almost Midnight.  It is a very surreal experience to re-read your work in the printed form.  I can't wait to someday hold a book in my hands that I wrote.  Short stories are great, but a novel would be so much sweeter.  But I am not complaining.  In this moment, I will enjoy this success.   

Because, right now, I am feeling very proud and accomplished!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The First Line

One of my favorite literary journals to read is The First Line.  It is on my writing bucket list to be published by this journal.  I have submitted five times, give or take a submission.   Each story has been rejected, but I have no hard feelings towards the magazine.  The editors have always included feedback with their rejections, which I feel is kind.  Anytime someone puts in the effort to help me with my writing, I appreciate it.
Anyway, the entire point of this journal is to write a story with the “first line” they give you.  There are four lines given per year.  Each line has its own due date.  If you want to write a four part story, all four parts are due by the first deadline.   
The new lines for 2012 are out.  I have started my story for the first deadline, February 1st.  I might even write a four part story if I can find the time between now and the first of February.  I encourage you guys to check it out.  Even if you don’t end up writing your own story, supporting a literary journal by purchasing a copy always is appreciated—not only by the editors, but by us writers.  If there were no literary journals, who would publish our work?
On that note, have a great week everyone!  Happy writing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazing News!

Today I got the biggest thrill any writer could ever want.  Another acceptance letter!  My short story, "One" is being published in Nuthouse Magazine.  I am THRILLED!!!!  "One" is part of my short story collection, Almost Midnight.  This is a really special event for me because I wrote this collection for my husband, and it is my goal to get all eleven stories published in the next five years.  Why the time frame? Because in five years it will be out eleventh wedding anniversary, and we plan to renew our vows.    So, when I get one of these stories published, I am happy. 


On the writing front, it's ok.... not great, but not bad either.  September is such a busy month for me, writing always takes a backseat.  The studio opens and our kids go back to school.  And just because we like to make it FUN at my house, one of our children is home schooled and the other attends public school (and one is still in diapers), plus we have family that is getting married this year... so... yeah.  I'm busy.

But.. shhhh... I'm working on a poetry project.  Don't tell anyone!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


While today is rainy and yucky, I shall commit myself to admin work.  You know the drill: looking up places to send my work, typing out letters, printing stories, and stamping envelopes.  You stuff it all together and--bam!--you have a submission.  My goal is to have 17 submission done by the end of the day.  I completed 3 last night.  20 submissions will equal a productive weekend.

My home is safe from the hurricane.  I know several of my readers are not so lucky,  Please be safe in this time of horrid weather!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I have been on the short list for this amazing, super cool anthology for a few months.  I was so proud to be "short listed".  I felt brilliant and creative.  I have been waiting for an acceptance letter for confirmation of my brilliance and creativity.  Well, it never came.  And that letter is never coming.

Rejection today.  Sigh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It was a dilemma tonight.  Should I tackle a few house keeping chores around my blog or around my house?  The blog won.  (Just don't eat off my kitchen floor.)  I fixed my "current work" section, my "publications" section, and my list on the right side of the blog for "publications around the web."  Why, you ask?  "Cause I've been published again!  I have two short shorts published in the second issue of 5x5 Fiction.  Yippee!!!!  Check them out, and tell me what you think.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's been one week... (Also titled Very, Very)

I have been missing in action for the last week.  I am very, very sorry.  I wish I could tell great tales of how I've been working on the Great American Novel.  Alas, I haven't.  I've been pulling wicked mad over time.  We had an art show last week, and guess who is in charge of 1/3 of it.  ME!  Writing has been mostly on hold.
But now I'm back into it.  I've submitted three stories for the Memory Eater tonight.  Starting tomorrow, I'm working on a horror story that's been on the back burner.  It's time to get back into the game.
I missed you all and I will be out there commenting again.  Very, very soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

50th post!

It was a dark and stormy night (seriously, it is) and Rebecca was just sitting down to get some writing submissions ready to send out when... she opened blogger and facebook!  Ahhhh!!!

Joking aside, this is my 50th post.  Once I saw that, I had to write.  The fact I haven't given up on my blog is amazing. 

One rejection today through snail mail.  When I'm done scribbling on here, I am getting four more submissions ready to go out.  Then I'm going to go fall asleep on a pile of clean laundry.

House cleaning tip for my writing buddies:  1.) Put A &E Hoarders on TV.  2.) Watch for a few minutes.  3.) Get up and look around.  4.) Instantly you have a much cleaner house than you realized!  :D

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Blooger? Are you messing with me?

My last blog post had 4 comments and now they've disappeared.  Unless I'm crazy, I think blogger deleted my comments.  I suppose it could have been me by accident, but I don't think I would have done it without knowing it... Hmmm, note to self:  lay off the hard liquor while posting. 

(Just kidding.  I don't drink.)

This weekend will be great for writing.  It's raining AGAIN so we aren't putting in the garden.  I wasn't kidding when I said I like to grow pumpkins. 

I've been rejected from The First Line for my story "The Present".  This makes 3 rejections from this magazine. I will not give up!  I have convinced myself I will get into this journal.  It's the goal I'm working towards.  It was the first literary journal I found when searching to publish, so I have this soft spot in my heart for it.  Getting into The First Line is at the top of my writing bucket list. 

When I wrote that last sentence I never realized I even had a writing bucket list.  What a great concept.  I have the subject of my next post: My Writing Bucket List.  I'm sure every writer has one.  What is yours?

If you haven't signed up for A Story for Every Season, there is still time!  As of now, I have 43 people on the list to receive their exclusive story about one month from now.  June 21st will be a great day: the start of summer and new fiction to read! 


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm not even going to think about it

                About a month ago, I found this fiction magazine I wanted to submit to.  I went to their website, read their material, and was completely enthralled with their stuff.  It excited me so much because the values of their work matched my own.  I had just written a story I thought would be a perfect fit with the magazine.  It was a little longer than what they wanted. (I wrote a story that was 7,000 words, they were looking for about 4,000.)  So I said, fine, someday I will edited the story down and send it in. 

                May is a busy month for me.  I have a million other things on my mind, but I could not stop thinking about that magazine.  I had to send my story in!  They would love it!  It would be another publishing credit!  I think we all know where this is going, but I will finish my tale anyway…

                So, I took one night and really worked on it.  I whittled it down to 4,000 words.  Anyone who edits knows that cutting a story in half can be a big job.  But, I did it.  Next, Editor sat down and went over every single word with me.  (He corrects.  I fold laundry until he has a question, comment, or suggestion on the piece.)  We spent two hours working.  I was so excited about finishing it; I e-mailed it out right away. 

                I get up from the computer.  I put folded laundry away.  We get some food.  We take turns kicking each other’s butt in Tetris for Wii.  It’s just about bedtime.  I go to shut down the hatches for the night.  Oh… the computer’s still on…

                I have an e-mail waiting for me.  “Thank you.  Although I enjoyed your writing, we only take stories about ….., and this story was about ….., not exactly what we have in mind.  If you have other work, I would love to see it.” 

                I was heartbroken.  All that work just for the editor not to understand what I was writing about!  I feel like he didn’t even think about my story, just rejected it.  Now I know the drill before anyone can tell me.  If he didn’t get what I was saying, I must have said it wrong.  He’s the editor, and he’ll print what he wants to.  Don’t take it personally.  I’m still feeling defeated.  Hours of work… for an hour of anticipation and then a big fat rejection!  GRAHHHH!  I don’t usually get that worked up over rejections, but GRAHHHH!

                It’s time to move on.  On the bright side of this, I now have a story that’s 100% ready to fly.  I just have to find other places for that story to go.  It will find a home, it’s just a matter of time.  You hear me, writing buddies?  Positive thinking works.

                I’m waiting for my story to come back from The First Line. This is my golden ticket, the one I’m really hoping to make it into.  I’m trying very hard to get published in this magazine.   The wait continues.

                On a personal note, we set up the pool yesterday.    Yee haw!  We also had two pipes burst in the basement, but lucky for me Editor is not only an editor, he’s also a plumber too.  J

Monday, May 9, 2011

Something new!

                I’m starting something new today and I think it’s a nifty idea.  It’s a cross between a gift and a one-person magazine.  I call it “A Story for Every Season.”  I’m putting a link on the top of my blog with the complete description.  See it here.  I hope you all join and enjoy every story I send your way.

                If you would like to sign up, do so, and I’ll send you some stories.  They will be fantastic and you’ll love each and every one of them.  J 

                Here’s your daily dose of cuteness.  Last night, when I was writing late at night, something fell on my hand.  It was a ladybug!  Super cute!  It crawled off my hand and sat on my keyboard for two hours while I typed away. 

I named him Charlie and felt a little less lonely while working.

I’ve updated my “Publications” page at the top of the blog.  This is my complete publication resume.  Check it out. 

Last blurb for today: I got another “well, we’re not going to publish your story” letter, but it wasn’t quite a rejection.  The magazine is taking a break from printing for “at least a year.”  Oh well.  I try to research this information before I send my work out, but a few still slip through my detection.  Plus, two rejection letters came in the mail this morning.  One was for “Eleven,” which is fine by me because it’s been published elsewhere.

                Until tomorrow! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Joseph's Sailboat

                “This your sailboat?”

                “Yeah,” Joseph said.  “I know she’s not great…”

                “Is she even legal?” Paul laughed. 

                “Wear these,” Joseph replied, throwing them lifejackets.  “I’ve taken it out before.  Erin, we’ve gone, remember?”

                “You took me for my birthday.  We were on your parent’s pond.  Not the lake.  I don’t even think the boat was finished.”

                Joseph’s fiancĂ©e, Kim, snapped the buckle of her lifejacket.  “You’re just a chicken.  Get in the boat!”

                The sail flapped viciously in the sun.  More ropes hung from the top of the sail than wires hung from the back of Paul’s computer.  Paul eyed it.  Erin reached over and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.

                Joseph was in his element.  He worked the sail with exaggerated movements.  The lake around them was rough.  Little sprays of water reached up and slapped the boaters the in the face. 

“You have no sense of adventure,” Joseph declared.  “This is great sailing weather.”

“How did you make the boat?” Paul asked. 

“Junkyard parts,” Erin said.  “When we were dating, he drove me around for hours, looking for stuff.  He’s been working on it since high school.”

Kim rubbed sunscreen on her legs.  “When Joseph and I get married, we’re going sailing every day.  I’m excited.  We’re saving for a real boat.”

“Hey!” Joseph said, “This is a real boat!”

They all laughed.  Then, a strong gust hit the sail.

Nobody saw it coming.  They heard a loud smack when the boom struck Joseph’s head.  It swung around wildly.  Paul felt Erin’s fingers rip from his own hand.

Silence.  Erin heard nothing around her.

When she surfaced, the boat was tipped over, like a child’s toy in the bathtub.  Kim screamed in the background.  Paul was tangled in the sail, but was above water. 

Erin didn’t see Joseph.

Kim’s scream made sense now.  The ropes, Erin thought.  He’s caught in them.

Paul disappeared under the water, looking for Joseph. 

Suddenly, the boat flipped over, slamming down on the water.  Both Paul and Joseph surfaced behind it. 

“Get in the boat, Erin!” Joseph screamed. 

“What?” Erin was confused.

“Into the boat!” He screamed again.  Joseph pushed Erin into the vessel.  He scrambled in behind her. 

The water reached her calves inside the boat.  Kim and Paul treaded water outside the craft.

“Start bailing!”  Joseph cried.   He cupped his hands and frantically tossed water over the side.  Kim and Paul were forgotten in the lake. 

A sputtering noise rose out of the breeze.  A motorboat came over the horizon.  It dwarfed Joseph’s creation.

The driver grinned at them.  “You guys need help?” he asked, throwing them a hitch.  “Come on, you two, get out of the water.” 

Kim and Paul climbed aboard the man’s boat.  Joseph and Erin stayed where they were.

Traveling to shore, Erin sat beside Joseph.  “They look drier than we do,” she remarked.  “Let’s wave to them.” 

Joseph and Erin waved.  Paul waved back.

Kim stood stoic.  She stared out, somewhere beyond the broken sail boat. 

I wrote this story for the May 2011 Flash Fiction Blogfest.  I hope you enjoy!  On another note, I've update my Current Work section at the top of my page.  Check it out!  
Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Talk about a major plot hole!

               So yesterday’s post had a glaring omission—I was published twice during the month of April!!!  Squeeeee!  Talk about an oversight!  My story, Eleven, is featured in the May edition of the on-line journal Foliate Oak.  I wrote this as part of my short story book called Almost Midnight.  I’m hoping to have this book out by this summer.  (This was the short romantic story I talked about here and here.) 

                The other story I had published is titled The Subsequent Existence Corporation and will be published in issue #71 of The Nocturnal Lyric, coming out in late November 2011.  And, no, I do not have a link to their website.  I don’t think they have one. 

                The odd thing about this—I got both acceptance letters on the same day.  It was a wonderful, surreal day for me as an author.  I kept walking around saying, Hey, I might have a chance at this!  This was the boost I needed.  The last time I had gotten anything accepted was back in January, so I was feeling pretty low.  This was a super-duper boost.

                Now, looking forward.  I finished two stories for this call to submissions.  Editor has corrected one of them and has to look at the other.  There is no limit to how many stories you can submit, so I’m pretty excited.  I like the concept and I have four solid ideas, so I’m going to write them all!!!  Two down, two to go.

                I also started working on something very cool today.  I don’t want to go into it too much, but I’m thinking about having a contest on my blog very shortly, as in mid-June.  I started making the prize today, but I can’t say what it is just yet.  It’s a secret.  Shhhh!

                So, to all my writing buddies out there… happy writing!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So what else happened in April???

·         I made my blog pretty.  I drew the picture above with colored pencils and then scanned it.  I am in love with this picture!  I wished I wrote in a place that looked like that.  I usually write in my living room, with a pile of unfolded laundry at my feet and something sticky on the keyboard.  I also added several pages to the top of my blog.  Now I just have to fill them in.

·         I wrote a 17 page story about working class women.  I had an idea kicking around for a few months, and when I sat down to finally write it, I got this monster.  It is so long, I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  I also wrote it two endings for it: one happy, the other, not so much.  When I decide what to do with it, I’ll let you know.  I think I might send it to a journal called The Long Story.    I’m also thinking about cutting several thousand words off it and submit it to Struggle.

·         I got eight rejection letters in the mail. 

·         I wrote for “Write to win!”  I submitted a 1,497 word story titled, “The House at the End of the Road.”

·         I wrote and submitted to The First Line.  The story was called “The Present.”

·         I sent out 15 submissions to different journals.  Always exciting!

·         I made business cards.  So now, whenever people ask me, “What do you do?”  I can hand them a business card, complete with my website address.  Free advertising!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review of the A to Z challenge

           Greetings!  We survived the A to Z challenge.  Wipe the sweat off your brow.  I, for one, am very proud of what I accomplished in a month.  I wasn’t going to do this at first.  I wasn’t really sure what it was.  Then I saw over a thousand people were doing it, so the conformist in me said, “I want to do that too!”  I signed up to do it at 7:00 PM, March 31st.

I now have 26 flash fiction pieces (plus a few extra) to add to my ever growing writing portfolio.  I’m not going to lie—some of these stories were a struggle to write.  Some of them are not that good.  There were nights where I was up until 11:30, posting my story at 11:57.  But I did it.  I made sure I posted for each day, even if I was a few days late.

                Through the struggles came real insights for my writing.  I learned how to tell a story in short, concise sentences.  I got rid of all the fluff.  I had to think about each and every word I put down on paper.  By day six, the process was easier.  Now at the end, I feel I’ve learned way more than I would have taking a flash fiction writing class.  Practice (especially daily practice) is the only thing that makes your writing better.  Plus, there were some real gems in this story collection.  My personal favorites (T, V, S, G, and A) are a fun look into my work.  I’m hoping it will spark some interest for my longer pieces. 

                I also enjoyed connecting with new writing peers.  I found several people who have the same interests as me.  It was fun to find more like minded people out there.  I visited over 160 blogs, and I wish I would have had time to visit more!  Several people visited me too.  My blog followers went from eleven to a hundred and five.  I also found several places which I want to write for, like the 5x5 magazine and the Memory Eaters Anthology.  So many possibilities are out there in the blogosphere for a writer.  It was very exciting to have the opportunity to learn about some of them.  I have the A to Z challenge to thank for it.

On a way over ambitious note, I’m totally excited to write for the A to Z challenge next year.  I think in 2012, I will do 26 character profiles.  Or maybe I’ll write a serial story.  Can I drag out a story into 26 parts?  Why not?  The soap operas can!

But for now, it’s back to regular scheduled blog posts.  I’m thinking about setting up days, like a post every Tuesday and Thursday.  I’m not sure yet.  I know the month of May will be sparse for postings.  It is the last few weeks of work for me (and I have lots of overtime on the calendar), I have a garden to put in, and quite a bit of writing I want to work on.  But, I’ll be around!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zebra

“What is it?” she asked.

                “I don’t know.  It looks like a zebra,” her brother replied.

                “Do zebras bite?”

                “Don’t be stupid!”

                “I’m not a zebra expert!” she exclaimed.

                Henry and Taylor approached the creature standing in their backyard.  It was in the middle of the vegetable garden, chewing on the tomato plants. 

                Henry approached the zebra and petted it.  It didn’t seem to notice.

                “He’s friendly.”

                A truck pulled into the driveway.  A man got out.

                “That’s my zebra.”

                Henry looked at his fur coat.  It was spotted.

                “I’m sorry.  This zebra is ours.  He has been for years.”