Friday, September 30, 2011

TCE 39--Brat with a Soul

I still haven't finished the previous week's story, and this one (as per usual) isn't quite where I want it yet, but there you go. lol. The prompt was:  "This is the short version of my story, the simplest way I can possibly tell it."

And here's the story!

A Brat with a Soul

Donald’s littlest cousin was born into brathood. He supposed it was better than being born into hatred or something else serious, because a person could simply outgrow being a brat, eventually. Maybe by the time thirty hit. To go on, it made large family get-togethers tedious and daunting, having this young, thoroughly bratty child hanging about him. For some unfathomable reason, she liked him. Her name was Lizzie. Lizzie B, the family called her, because she talked so much she sounded like a bee, and a lot of times the words stung.

Once, just because she could, Lizzie B went without eating a thing but non-chocolate candy. It started at the Christmas dinner, this “once,” and it lasted for three straight years. Luckily, she’d passed that stage and was eating real food again (cookies, cake, cupcakes, cheesecakes, pastries, and so on and so forth). Another time she stole Loretta’s credit cards, because “Loretta wadn’t gonna buy good presents for Christmas anyway, because she didn’t know how, so of course she needed the credit cards,” and only returned them after buying the entire Dora sleep set off an internet site. She’d apologized after her mother and father convinced her to do so.

But she was still a brat.

Lizzie B sat at the dining room table of their great, great Aunt Loretta’s, right next to Donald. They were the only ones inside the house; it was a fine bright day outside, late summer. She swung her feet back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Donald pretended to continue checking his email.

“Whacha doing?”

“Checking my email.” Donald tried to keep his tone mild.

“No you’re not. You’re a liar. Probably a cheat, too. Liars always cheat.”

“You cheat, Lizzie B. You cheat all the time. That’s why nobody plays cards or Candyland with you anymore.”

“I don’t cheat, Donnie,” she said sweetly, blinking at his immobile inbox screen. “I only make sure I win. I always win. That’s what I do.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Punch them with your words...and always mismatch your socks

Today I was thinking about fabulous quotes, and who's words do you imagine came to mind? Einstein? Churchill? Carrol? Whitman? Ginsberg?


no, my old wacky friend ____, whom I shall call "Kelso." He once said, in complete seriousness, "Dude, I totally punched him with my words."

If my friends and I were That 70s Show, he would have been Kelso, hence the name. Just to give you an idea. In fact, we were kind of That 70s Show. Only, you know, not. 

Anyway, whether or not "Kelso" captured a praying mantis, a raccoon and a squirrel to keep as pets in a closet (luring them with unwashed dishes sitting open on the back porch for nights on end, no doubt--no, I'm not joking), and whether or not he once pulled me into his room, which was set up to be viewed "Only under blacklight, man," while asking me if I thought it would scare cute girls away, I know in my heart of hearts, that this quote contains wisdom by which all writers should live:

Punch them with your words.

Because you can't get any better than that. Period.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Gave the old blog yet another dose of Botox, you know, to freshen her up for autumn (YAY!). Whadya think, too puffy?

Just kidding.

Please let me know if any legibility issues crop up...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Today's tease comes from another young adult book. Though I don't care for the movie, I'm quite pleased with the read. What can I say? I'm backwards. When I was the technical young-reader age I was reading all the big bad heavy books. Guess I thought I was too cool, lol. You know, like when you're a kid and you go through the "I'm too cool for cartoons" phase, even though ten years later you'll plunk your ass down every week/night/whatever and geek out on the latest Adult Swim nonsensical toontherapy. Anyway...

So yeah, I like kid books. Fantasies, adventures, princess stories, all that.

Today's tease:

"I don't know how she managed to pour the words out while smiling so hard, revealing the largest teeth I've ever seen. She must be excellent at cracking nuts." --Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

To clarify, I still read big bad heavy books. Just never seems to happen on Tuesdays, lol.

Monday, September 26, 2011

World Without Imagoes: Platform Challenge 2

It's that time again ... the Platform Building Campaign's second challenge! Here were the guidelines for this one:

"Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
  • If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!"

And we're off!

World Without Imagoes

Waves of reality ebbed and flowed over the young woman, subtly, until finally she left her world and entered another.



She stood. Tried to call. She had no voice.

There. The grasses of the sunlit savanna parted.

Greetings. But this wasn’t spoken either. She merely saw it — a svelte mass of muscles and height, like a horse. It…thought…at her. Its mouth didn’t oscitate in any way.

What is this place? Mirages waved over the sunlit savannah.

A place of newness. Make home here.

But what of my own world? But there was no sign of the way through which she’d entered.

Crimson rivers. Miasma. Death hatred split atoms. Good to leave. Live here die there. Its thoughts were disjointed, chaotic. Tongue flicked over lips.

What do I do here? In her memory, bubbling lacunae of knowledge burst…her mind blanked. She too licked her lips, mirroring the creature.


Of what?

Of the newness. Its synchronicity. Of all of us, and more. Behind the creature now stood hundreds, thousands of others. Her kind. It’s kind. Others. Just…others.

Oh. She felt very small. I’m Grace.

Come. We have much to do. Make home here, it said again.

And they all smiled.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

So today I'm rereading an oldie but a goodie (for me, at least) .. I admit I should probably be reading up for NANO instead, but...err.. *sigh* I just love Arthuriana. And a retelling from a powerful female perspective? Gotta love that! Several liberties may have been taken with the tale, but I tire of all the damsels-in-distress of the Vulgate cycle, what can I say?


"Things were not always as they seemed, it might be that the reel went around the thread, as the thread went round itself, over and over, spinning like a a dragon in the sky...if she were a man and could ride out with the Caerleon legion, at least she need not sit and spin, spin, spin, round and round...but even the Caerleon legion went round the Saxons, and the Saxons went round them, round and round, as the blood went round in their veins, red blood flooding, flooding...spilling over the hearth--

Morgaine heard her own shriek only aftyer it shattered the silence in the room. She dropped the spindle, which rolled away into the blood which flooded crimson, spilling, spurting over the hearth... ."  Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Saturday, September 17, 2011

TCE prompt 37--Fair Fraulein, Pt 4

...and the last bit is done! Errr, yeah. *smile*

Click the following to read part 1, part 2 or part 3

Fair Fraulein
part 4

The apples tumbled through the snow melt, rolling elegantly pale along the white slush. I opened the door, a woman stooped, not seeing me come out the door to help, or Donar’s watchful visage in the doorway, and began frantically pattering after them. Suddenly, we were face to face.

“Apple for your trouble, my lady,” she said demurely, dropping to a shallow curtsy.

“No thank you,” I said firmly. I’d had quite enough of strange women and their strange gifts. “I wished to but see you caught them all before they bruised.”

She rose.

“Are you sure?”

“Wherever did you get apples, this time of year?” I asked her.

“Oh, if you please, my lady, these are special apples. Apples of winter, which grow white and blush red…just like your pretty cheeks.” Smiling, an apple appeared at my right cheek. I could only just make out the crimson blush that graced one side.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Fave

I'd first thought of posting something uber-helpful and geared towards writing, but I'm afraid I simply can't. Why? Because it's lovely and cool (50s--woow-hooray-zip-zam-zowee!) and damp and the maples are turning their leaf tips yellow and I've baked every day this week and... I'm just feelin' the autumnal love!

Anyway, today's fave is the scent of cold damp concrete, like that of the sidewalk outside the window. It's a complete harmony between a natural phenomena and man made. I don't mean this in the sense of freshly poured cement, but the way concrete gets on days when it's not quite raining and not quite cold, but close on both accounts. Clean, and rich, and deep. *big breath* It's a bit distracting.

 I can smell it through the walls on days like this, I swear. Mmm...

What about you? What are your favorite cool weather thingymabobs?

Fair Fraulein, Pt 3

Numero tres! Read part 1 here and part 2 here. The final section will be up tomorrow for the Chrysalis Experiment prompt...By that time, hopefuly I'll have a proper title. Err, yeah. Promise. Scouts honor.

Fair Fraulein
part 3

Wrap wrap, wrap. The tea cups, thick cream sticky in their bottoms, slipped into the wash sink. I walked to the door, rubbing my palms on my apron. Through the crack between the door and door-frame I saw a hunched old woman…she looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place her. Perhaps she had news from the northern nobles.

“Yes?” I asked through the door crack. It was a lovely gold and brown autumn day; dust clung to the folds of her cloak, leaves and bramble to her hems. Her hood was up.

“Ehhh, pretty child, good day, good day.”

“Good day to you,” I said cautiously.

“Eeehh, we shall see, shan’t we? Ehhh, I have good things to sell you, if you’d but have them. Handsome, sturdy things, trinkets and cloths of all shapes and sizes.”

“Oh?” I said.

“Eeeh, yes, pretty child. Would you like to look at them?”

I hesitated. We’d been avoiding strangers, but I was sure I’d seen this old one somewhere before … somewhere … I just couldn’t remember.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fair Fraulein, Pt 2

The second installment of my latest longish short story. To read Pt 1, click here.

Fair Fraulein
part 2

“Can we keep her? Please? P--lease?”

“Shhh, be quiet. You want her to wake and see us?”

“But I—”

“Quiet, I said!”

I opened my eyes slowly. Faces hovered above me, and a roof above them. A roof. I was indoors. When had that happened? I tried to speak, but the pain in my head---I put my hand to my face.

“She’s awake,” said the second voice. I couldn’t match it to a face. Struggling, I pulled myself to my elbows.

“Careful; careful now,” warned the eldest of the faces. His was a queer, heavy-jowled head, squarish and with short white beard yellowed with dirt. “You’ve hit your head, and been too cold for too long. Be easy, Princess.”

Princess. They know who I am. She’ll find me. She’ll find me and kill me!

“Easy; easy,” continued White Beard. “No need to worry. You’re among friends.” The second voice from earlier snorted. It belonged to a little man at the food of the bed they’d laid me upon. Dwarves, I thought. The last time I’d seen a dwarf, he’d played acted from a wooden cart when one of the French lords came visiting. It thought he’d been the only one.

“I know,” said the first voice excitedly. “She can run the house for us while we sneak into the mines!” The first-voice dwarf walked around the others, and came to stand at my left, near my head. His smiled was lopsided but kindly, his chin bare.

“Pretty little princess, scrubbing our floors?” said the dwarf at the end of the bed. “I think not. Most likely she doesn’t know how. Most likely she doesn’t know how to do anything at all.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fair Fraulein, Pt. 1

This is a slightly longer fiction peice I've been writing; I'll post some each day until Friday, when I'll tie in the Chrysalis Experiment prompt.

And so...

Fair Fraulein
part 1

Every night before my seventh birthday, I climbed atop the settee in my stepmother’s room, curled like a cat, and watched her prepare for bed until I drifted into sleep. Sitting in front of her mirror, whispering bits of song to herself, she uncoiled her braids and brushed them, pulling her long hair out from her body with a sleek horn comb. Every handful that dropped from the comb fell about her like a golden drape; she was this pale, high, shining thing, colored like the sparkling mead my father was so fond of drinking as we supped.

In short, she was nothing like me.

My days were tedious; Father — the servants whispered my mother’s untimely death had left him shaken at the fate of his kingdom — insisted I not only learn the womanly tasks of song, dance, embroidery, lace and language, but also the tasks to which he had long since grown accustomed. I sat beside him as the nobles paraded their so-called problems before him, having practically crawled to get into position, a pile of pillows balanced on a heavy chair next to Father. It was what he wanted. So every day, beginning before the dawn even, I poured over maps, listened to gray-faced men dictate accounts of the treasury, went for rides in the country with visiting dignitaries who thought the woods better for gossip than stuffy palace chambers, and sang, and danced, and sewed till my fingers bled, and mixed my Latin preterits with my Spanish, and

Then I watched my beautiful young almost-mother comb her hair at her mirror, until sleep carried me — or perhaps it was one of my ladies — to my bed.

As I watched her the night after my birthday, I realized her mouth, always curved in a petulant little smile, had suddenly focused on my reflection in the glass, and turned into a snarl. Half asleep, I ran from the room.

The next day, the lessons with my father ceased. I thought I was to double up on my womanly duties; I swear my fingers cried angry tears at the thought of more embroidery, long before my eyes did. But no. My stepmother, standing at the window of our aviary, had said to me, “A princess — even an ugly one such as you--must be seen in grace and repose, not in work.” She spoke with her face to the window, on the kingdom. My father, busy with the doings of running a land, grew to be a stranger to me. By the time I was ten, I was kept from my embroidery and my dancing. Suddenly my days were empty. My father died that winter.

Then my stepmother ascended the throne as regent, while thick snow fell from the sky.

Tuesday Teaser

And now, for your friendly weekly tease! I'm still reading the Atwood book, but I did pull out another for this morning's coffee, as a refresher course. I'm betting many of you will recognize it.

Here's the tease:

"Thank heaven that we have found our dear child!" and he told his wife to keep the scythe out of the way, lest Tom Thumb should be hurt with it. Then he drew near and struck the wolf such a blow on the head that he
fell down dead; and then he fetched a knife and a pair of scissors, slit up the wolf's body, and let out the little fellow."  --"Tom Thumb," from the Household Stirues by the Brothers Grimm.

For anyone wondering what a Tuesday Teaser is, check here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I was usually the last kid picked in gym...

...except for dodgeball, 'cuz I was lightning fast for a little girl comprised entirely of elbows, knees and forehead.  In fact, I was a dodgeball bada$s.  *laugh*

Now that I've piqued your interest with my random blurb (have I? Are you there, eating sherbet or writing some brilliant monologue with a fancy ink pen or font? Hello?), I'll let you in on the real reason for the post:

I've been tagged!

Daina Rustin, over at Mystic Treehouse passed this along to me. She's one of the fab writers I've met during the Platform Building Campaign. I'm thrilled to be "it;" I never lasted very long in gym class. With the exception of dodgeball. Oh yeah, and that little scuttle-on-your-butt-on-the-roley-platform game--I don't know if other schools had that game, because from what I remember it wasn't much of a game at all. Just really fun and accident-causing mayhem.

Back to the tag. I'm to list ten things about myself, and then pass to five of my new blogging buddies. Ready?

The List
1.) I like to drink Jello. Yup. I admit it; I'm a weirdo. But don't knock it till you try it; it's delicious. Nom nom nom. The trick is to put just enough extra water in to keep it from setting, but not so much you lose the flavor. Nom nom nom.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vampires Anonymous--TCE 36, I think

It's as comfortable today as it was in late April *happy sigh*. It went from 105-plus to 70 with light rain in one week. Cancel that light rain bit-- I think we're getting some of that tropical storm rain. It's kind of yellow outside, and the cars are going really fast (I imagine the yellow sky is the cause) but the rain is falling straight down and the curtains--they're white and sheer and very girly, lol, are billowing all pretty in the wind. What a beautiful Friday.

Okay, onto my story. I must warn you, this is really crass, maybe the crassest (is that even truly a word?) I've ever written. I.f you don't like cursing or, err, somewhat-funnies about peeing and whatnot, don't read it. Defer, instead, to one of my more grown-up-friendly short stories.

That being said, here was the TCE prompt: "I know all the best places to hide. But there are certain precautions you need to take if you don't want them to smell you."

Vampires Anonymous

High above the two of them, the slowly baring trees stretched the black sky. The trees, thick with Spanish moss, crept close to the cliff’s edge, but not close enough for the light of the bonfire to brighten their branches. Still though, it was a vivid night, the kind with plenty of stars and a halo around the moon, so that even though the stars were small and the moon, thin, the usual gray tones of night took on tints of green and brown.

“Will they see us?”

“Of course not. They’re only human, and these ones are tourists from the city anyway. Can’t see much of anything in the dark.”

Malice pulled the younger vampire deeper into the trees, just the same. Right on schedule, the group of drinkers laughed as a frizzing blonde climbed atop the cooler and began yodeling “Black Velvet,” using a whiskey bottle as a microphone. She was clumsy and inarticulate atop the orange plastic, but no amount of slurring could hide her voice as she sang. Try as he could , Malice couldn’t remember ever hearing anyone yodel in real life, let alone a song that wasn’t meant to be yodeled. Humans. You loved them or you ate them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Teaser

Well, I've only just started the book; I'm still on the first page even, but I liked it from the very first line. Am I going to tell you the first line? Nope. 'Cuz I'm mean like that.

Instead, you get a random teaser, somewhere mid-bookish:

"Snowman has a clear image of his mother – of Jimmy’s mother – sitting at the kitchen table, still in her bathrobe when he came home from school for his lunch. She would have a cup of coffee in front of her, untouched; she would be looking out the window and smoking."--Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake.

Happy reading, everyone!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pearly Whites--Campaign Challenge 1

Hooray, the first Campaign challenge! Today's task was to create a quick post of 200 words which began with the words "The door swung open." Additional challenges were to use exactly 200 words, which I did, and to end with the words "The door swung shut." Which...I almost did.

So... here's my post, and now it's back to the grindstone for me...

Pearly Whites

The door swung open to the park’s Children Center. Along the right wall there stretched a encased habitat of forearm-sized baby alligators. They chirped at Erika as she wandered in, fluorescent lights shining eerily down upon work tables strewn with broken crayons and tipped-over juice boxes. But no children.

“Hello?” Silly really, since the room was obviously empty, save for her. And the chirping alligators. Who knew alligators chirped?

Erika pulled out her phone. Leanne being on time for their nature walk was unlikely, considering her little Janice was still a toddler, but she always called if she was going to be late. Nope; no missed messages. Erika began to pace the the room, running her fingers over the displays, all happily labelled for the children, neon yellow smiley faces dotting their surfaces.

It seemed odd for it to be so quiet here; childless. She scanned the room carefully. Chairs were tipped over. Papers, ripped. Then she heard it—a sound that was certainly not a chirp. Eika turned. A mama alligator brandished its teeth at her. In its mouth there shined a single pearl, from the necklace Leanne always wore. As the chomping began, the door finally swung shut.

TCE-35 After

Well, shiznit. Every have one of those weekends you expect to be long and relaxing, with plenty of time for everything, and then WAH-BAM! all hell breaks loose and you're swamped but still in lazy-dazy mode?


So my TCE story remains at the same exact point it was on, like, Tuesday or Wednesday, I think, when I was sure I'd have plenty of time to finish. Phooey. I apologize for any typos and whatnot. *hangs head* And for the lateness... And for the whole being unfinished thing...

EDIT: I've finished, basically! Don't care for the title, but ahh well, I usually don't. This was my first foray into this genre, by the way. Happy to take crits!

Here was the prompt: "This could all be over in a matter of seconds... Should I or shouldn't I?"


I never had thought of myself as old, even through the last wars, when I lost my husband to the bombs. I didn’t even think myself old when, during the meteorite shower that killed half the western hemisphere and covered the rest with a winter of dustclouds, I noticed my skin was a wrinkled dead color that matched what little sky could be seen through the dirty window panes of "home."  So far, I’d sheltered myself inside some strangers' house, now little more than a hovel, just off the the 101 on the way up to Santa Barbara where my daughter and her children lived, now dead, probably. Been there since the meteors began to fall. 

As the first thundering sizzles of the meteors dropped into the ocean to my west, I wondered if maybe the kids were right and I shouldn’t be driving any more, since I couldn’t possibly be seeing clearly. But I was, and I got myself right out the car and wandered into the nearest house's unlocked front door. Who lives on the beach and doesn’t lock their doors, especially in this day and age, after the wars? There was no one home, and when the debris crushed the back half of the house and buried part of the front door, I stayed where I was.

The day I ate the last of the Cisneros’ canned goods—after it became clear I couldn’t leave, I tried to discover at least the name of the people who had lived in that house—was the day I decided to venture out of doors. When I finally managed to open the front door, the crack of light that fell through the opening wasn’t really light at all, it was merely air that wasn’t necessarily dark.

It was gray. Chilled, but acrid with the smell of salty burning, and thick. Who knew the sea could catch fire? I never; it had all been over in a matter of minutes, of seconds; the sea a roar of flames. There wasn’t much seeing to be done in it. I walked out into it, going slow, crawling over the burned bits of lawn furniture and metal car doors that had slammed into the thin yard. I moved even slower than I remembered as habit—I suppose all the months of moving so little had a greater impact on my body than I was willing to admit.

“Hello,” I called when I finally reached the other side of the 101 and stood on what should have been beach. No one answered. There wasn’t even the cry of seagulls.The air was thick, and gray, and utterly silent. The tides were wrong, and lapped near my feet. Should have been way out, unless I had my time all mixed up. Much of it is wrong; the muted tones, the acrid smell, the quietness of space between breaths. I paced up the shoreline, in search of someone alive, someone like me.


I am become a creature of the in-between. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Fave

image courtesy of

So we all already know I'm a dork, but I am about to bring that realization to a new level. I luuuurve index cards for writing.

*happy sigh*

Actually, I pretty much love them for everything; they're just the absolute perfect size!

Whenever I'm working on a longer project, I like to use index cards to help organize. I do use yWriter for the actual computer writing-and-organizing part, but at the earlier stages in the writing process, it really helps for me to have a visual aide.

I break the book into acts--this time around I'm going with a five-act structure. At the top of five index cards, in big, pretty scribble, I mark the number and the name of the act. Each card gets a different color of marker. I use Sharpies--another office supply love.You do not want to let me loose in a Staples or Office Depot unattended. Believe it or not, I'm totally serious about this.

On those ACT cards, I mark the following, in their respective Sharpie colors: "Status," "Chapters," "Scenes," "Descript" and "Outcome."  I fill in the blanks as I organize, but using pencil. "Status" doesn't get filled in until I begin actual typing, the "Chapters" and "Scenes" headings are to keep track [by tally marks] of how many of each I have in any given act, and the "Descript" and "Outcome" are self-explanatory.

Then I begin organizing each act, by chapter. At this point, I'm in the pencil-only stage. Each new index card will get its own chapter, but those chapters will remain unordered and relatively blank, save for a one-or-two line description. I move from act to act, creating chapters and rearranging index cards until everything flows well from one thing to the next. Once I have everything squared away, those chapter cards will become official, with big pretty color-coded Sharpie markings to match the act in which they belong. While I'm making these official, I usually refer back to the ACT cards to make adjustments.