Random Wednesday: Goals for 2016

“Not become a douchebag.” – Ke$ha – New Years Rockin Eve 2011

That is the last time I watched New Years Rockin Eve with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest though Dick Clark still going strong warms heart like the glowing fake tan he sports every winter.

Well, this is awkward.

I just googled to find an overly tan picture of Dick Clark and found out he is dead.

Um…er…ah…moving on I guess.

Goal #1: Work on my pop culture knowledge (watching New Years Rockin Eve is not required)

Goal #2: Grand Rapids Region Writer’s Group Nano. The writers group I meet with monthly does their own Nano. Nano is short for NaNoWriMo which is short for, National Novel Writing Month, an annual event every November. Our group changes the rules a bit with 25,000 words instead of the standard 50,000 and it’s more of an honor system. I plan on participating this year to kick of my next work in progress.

I’m a working mom and while I don’t want this to be perceived as a scapegoat for why I haven’t started my next novel, it’s more of a logistics issue. There are simply not enough hours in the day. Trust me, I’m tired as fuck right now and I have a very unhealthy coffee habit I’m trying to fight back.

Goal #3: Actually participate in Nano – the big one – in November. I skipped this year and it eats away at my soul. I “won” by completing 50,000 words last year within the month of November. However, this year life just wasn’t going to allow me to devote the time. 2016 I plan to make it right and compete again.

Goal #4: I’m hoping between goal #2 and goal #3 I will have a completed novel ready for beta readers. And why not goal #1 too. I mean, at this point I am planning my novel for the 80’s – 90’s but sure, current pop culture could help me with past references.

Goal #5: Complete all blogging requirements set forth from the powers that be…

Goal #6: Appreciate the optimism of goal #5.

Goal #7: Break goal #5 because let’s be real, I know I’m going to break goal #5.

Click below for the other bloggers. They are go-getters and goal-setters so GRAB A STAR AND BRING IT DOWN!

yes_napoleon_dynamite

Bronwyn Green

Paige Prince

Kris Norris

Kayleigh Jones

Jessica Jarman

Gwendolyn Cease

Random Wednesday: How do I name my peoples?

Character naming.

Nothing turns me off to a story quicker than a stupid character name. Is that fair? Probably not. But if your main character sounds like a stripper, no amount of glitter is going to convince me your story is going to accomplish much.

I’m also one of those special kind of people who, if I can’t pronounce the name, my mind just kind of makes something up and I skim over it.

Like Hermione.

It’s been confirmed by many of my personal friends, except Jim but he is British so for the sake of this post he doesn’t count, if it weren’t for the movie: no one had any idea how to pronounce Hermione. At this moment my spell check is giving me the angry red underline. Hermione isn’t a word. Heh, muggle spell check.

And this would be “the dragon chick.” As I was reading Game of Thrones (I’m a terrible reader who doesn’t bother remembering what the actual book titles are and refers to all of them as “Game of Thrones”) my husband was reading them at the same time and would ask me “What part are you at?” And I would respond with “Well, the dragon chick…” Eventually he sat me down and explained “It’s Dan-air-ease Tar-gary-en”

We settled on Dany.

And speaking of Game of Thrones…

Catelyn Stark. CATE IS NOT PRONOUNCED “CAT.” Gate is not pronounce “gat” and hate is not pronounce “hat.” But someone out there wants to watch the world burn and it pisses me off so hard. Her name is CATElyn Stark. This is my rant.

But when it comes to naming characters in my writing I am not one to make up names. There is a time (future) and a place (fantasy) where making up names seem to be acceptable. Otherwise I stick with the familiar. What time period is your piece? What location? Look at popular names during that time period and depending on location, look at the demographic. Dutch, Polish, German? Talsma, Szcezpanski, Fahrvergnugen? I often refer back to my school years and think of familiar names which is where I came up with the main characters of my manuscript, Whitney and Evan. Their last names, Vanderveen and Murphy were from the almighty Google.

I would only warn that it would not be wise to name characters after real people and model them in a similar fashion. Your old high school friend named Kelly with blond hair and a little heavy set who was caught banging her boyfriend during her lunch hour in his car might find it curious if she were to read a story you wrote about an old high school friend named Kelly with blond hair and a little heavy set getting caught banging her boyfriend in a minivan at a movie theater parking lot.

You get my point.

Unless you are writing a biography – and if that’s your thing, I’m not exactly sure why you’ve made it this far in this post – and unless you are pulling a Tom Marvolo Riddle/Lord Voldemort maneuver, don’t over think names. It’s easy to obsess over but really, it’s the story you should worry about telling well. Or just skip the name in general. “Who is your character?” “I don’t know. He is a doctor of sorts, just not that kind of doctor. I plan on just calling him ‘The Doctor.'”

Yeah, I get he isn’t the most recent Doctor but I haven’t binged watched the most recent season on Netflix yet.

As always, the ladies…

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Kellie St. James

Flash Fiction Photo: Deckle My Edge, Look At These Old Ass Books

Last photo prompt flash fiction of the year! And just got an email from author Kris Norris saying she might get her submission in after hockey. To some that might indicate, “Yup, it’s December.” For other’s that just simply, “Yup… Canada.”

At any rate, below are the participating ladies. Don’t forget to pay them a visit and enjoy the last photo prompt flash fiction of 2015.

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Kris Norris

12-2015 - LanternBooks (1)

The employee entrance still smelled like cigarettes from the night shift breaks. It was against company policy to smoke on the property but when you work nights, no one really cares. As long as you are smart enough not to leave your butts right next to the door. After a few warnings and write ups, people learn. Not to stop smoking, no, just to better hide the physical evidence. Inside the building the machines were roaring. The web presses with their slow, steady hums. Book binders clunking loudly as workers load logs of signatures onto the collator belts. The first shift people were slowly arriving and adding a new sense of life to the building while the night shift was covered in paper dust and wore heavy faces. Everyone bearing the weight of dissatisfaction and routine.

The coffee cup brigade was already making their rounds this morning. They always arrived early, ties tucked in their shirts to avoid any lose clothing around the equipment. Each carrying a coffee mug with a vendor logo emblazoned on the side. Most likely received as Christmas gifts with a bag of caramel corn and a generic “Happy Holidays” thank you for your business, seasonal greeting card signed in haste by a busy salesman. They  were the “Erry’s” as we called them. Jerry, Kerry, and Terry. There was also Gary, Larry, and a sister, Mary. Brothers, cousins, in-laws, you name it. And it didn’t stop there either. Pressman married bindery woman who gave birth to the summer student help. Everyone knew every one, whether they liked it or not. In the case of the coffee cup brigade, they were the owners, and of course, the brothers. All of them looked alike with large sloping foreheads and no muscle mass to speak of, thin and wiry in expensive, dry cleaner pressed shirts. It wasn’t worth the time to learn which one was which. Just say “Hi, Erry” with a slight slur and no mater who you are talking to, they will answer.

On this faithful morning, the coffee cup brigade is right in my path. “Morning, Erry, Erry, and Erry.”

“Morning.”
“Mornin’.”
“Mornin’.”

“Quick question while I’ve got you guys here. Customer called me last night before close looking for some deckle edge book samples. I know we’ve been outsourcing that for years now but, do you know if we keep any vendor samples around?” I decide to ask right then and there. Might as well take advantage of the situation. It could be the only real work related moment the Erry’s address all day.

“Hmm.” Erry number one sips his coffee with a pensive frown.

Erry number two looks at Erry number one mouth open as if the answer is on the tip of his tongue but, no sound emerges.

“Try the mezzanine.” Answers Erry number three who I’m pretty sure is actually Gary but at this point, I’m too afraid to ask. “There are a lot of book samples up there. Most are unorganized but I’m sure you can dig up something.”

“Thank you. I’ll head up there on my way to the front office.” Because every morning I am so excited to be part of a sea of cubicles. A thought I keep to myself of course. Lucky to have a job in this economy. The Erry’s carry on, sipping coffee, and muttering about who knows what while making their way through the plant. I erry on.

A few more feet ahead and I spot the metal stair case to the mezzanine. Up top is a mess of boxes, metal adjustable shelving units that every single business seems to own, and a few pieces of old office furniture. Wood desks designed and purchased before the rise of the computer age rendered them too small to be a useful work space. Accompanying the desks are a few office chairs with broken backs or missing wheels. I set my bag down on one of the chairs and begin to move through the mess, digging through any box labeled “samples” as well as poking around in old filing cabinets and scanning the shelves as I pass by.

I would say the books “called to me” but really they fell in top of me while digging through some shelving I probably wasn’t suppose to be digging through. Initial reaction was to swear loudly and push the books aside because hell or high water, I was going to find a godforsaken deckle edge sample. Then I took a closer look at them. No, they still weren’t what I was looking for but, they had a sense that no one was really looking for them or had been for quite a long time. Three books of varying size and aging but all were from the same author. Fairy Tales by the Garden, Fairy Tales by the Mountain, and Fairy Tales by the Sea all written by Irene Godspeed. A closer look at the Fairy Tales by the Sea and the cover was embossed with different items and animals all relevant to water. Ships, birds, fish, seals, and a line of interlacing sailors knots creating a decorative boarder. I let my fingers walk over the pages until they settled on a story.

Princess and the Waves

On an island lived a young maiden who only knew the island and nothing more. She knew the smell of the salt, the taste of the sea creatures, and the breath of the wind. With her on her island lived an old crone. The crone helped maintain their home but she did not speak more words than necessary and had no stories to tell. Lost to her thoughts, the young maiden dreamed of leaving the island to discover what was beyond. Whenever the young maiden asked the old crone what was pass the sea the crone would only say, “We will never leave.” 

One day the young maiden stole away to a secret part of the island where she had built a small boat from pieces of palm. As she parted away on her voyage, the wind picked up and crashed her back to shore. The young maiden was not harmed but while searching the beach for the wreckage of her boat she found hidden in the pieces of palm a hair pin. On her return to her dwelling, the crone asked no questions and the young maiden hid the hair pin under her bed. 

Several more moons had passed and the young maiden had repaired her boat. She tried once more to cross the sea but again, the wind picked up and she was crashed to shore. Again, the maiden was not harmed but while searching her wreckage, she discovered a wooden chest, bound by rope. With the chest in hand, the young maiden hid under the cover of a palm and carefully worked free the rope only to discover the chest was empty. At her dwelling, she hid the chest under her bed but while doing so, was discovered by the old crone. “We will never leave.” The crones weathered voice cracked with her words. But the young maiden would not be convinced. 

Time passed and once more, with her boat repaired, the maiden entered the water. She fought the wind as best she could but, without success, the waves crashed her to shore. In the wreckage a small cry could be heard and the young maiden searched wildly to discover a basket and inside, swaddled tightly, was a small child. Basket in hand, the young maiden ran to the dwelling. The old crone however, could not be found. That night the young maiden held the child in her arms and hugged it tightly and whispered, “We will never leave,” knowing, she could not risk the safety of a small child with an unforgiving sea. Her fate had been sealed.

The child grew and became herself, a young maiden while her caregiver turned into nothing more than a dweller keeper and an old crone. Just as the crone had once been young, she understood when the day had come for the grown child she had cared for, returned looking worse for wear holding in her hand something small and silver. Wordlessly the crone took the young maidens hand and opened it to find a hair pin, much like the one she had found many years before. In disbelief she closed the maidens hand and turned away but not before catching a glimpse of the maiden hiding the hair pin under her bed. The same bed that had once hid the crones treasures. 

Just as before, days later the maiden returned with a chest bound in rope. The crone stopped the grown child and heard the words in her past repeat themselves in her mind. But those words never passed her lips. Rather, the crone pulled the maiden toward the bed and began to pull. Hidden under the bed was a door and with great strength, the maiden and the crone together were able to open it. To the surprise of both, was a great storage of pins, chests, ropes, baskets, and blankets. The crone then understood and turned to the maiden, telling her, “You will leave.” 

Together a vessel was build from pins, wood and rope from the chests, and a sail was fashioned from the blankets. The crone packed the baskets with what she could for the maidens journey with confidence. One last time she stood on the edge of the island smelling the salt, remembering the taste of the sea, and feeling the breath of the wind as it filled the maiden’s sails. With the wind, the maiden was pushed over the waves and out to the sea, the curse broken of the princess and the waves.

The production bell rang, bringing me back to reality, and first shift was now officially on the clock. Hastily, and without question, I took the books and put them in my bag. Stealing isn’t normally my thing but, today just felt like a new day and perhaps I could find these books a good home. At my desk, I hurried into my seat and began stuffing my bag into my drawer when I heard a throat clear behind me.

“Excuse me but what do you think you are doing?” I froze with my bag half in and half out of my drawer to the sound of Mary’s voice.

“Eh…”

“You’re late.”

“Oh, well, actually I’m not. I was up looking for a deckle edge sample. Gary…” I really hope that’s right “can confirm. I ran into him in production and told me where I might find some.”

Mary took a sip from a cup she had in her hand, displaying the red and orange logo of Source One Paper, “Regardless. I need you at your desk and ready to be on the phones by 8:00.”

“Yes, no problem.” I held on for a moment until Mary rounded the corner and shoved my bag with the books inside out of sight. And though it was officially time to work, Mary had already come by and most likely would not be returning right away. I quickly pulled up the internet with curiosity getting the best of me and typed in the search:

Irene Godspeed