Random Wednesday About A Random New Year

DON’T FUCK THIS UP 2017!

Looking back at 2016:

Well…it wasn’t my most productive year. I skipped a healthy amount of posts and my WIP is still a WIP. It will forever be a WIP at this point. But I’ve learned more about what works and what doesn’t for me. What type of writing I enjoy and what type I don’t. I also was gifted my first romance book and I don’t know what to do with it. I haven’t put it away yet and I told my husband I will read it. He doesn’t believe me. I don’t believe me either. I’m most certain based on my Netflix suggested movie list that Netflix thinks I’m a middle aged white man. My book choices also tend to lead that way too. Perhaps in 2017 we’ll address this issue and I’ll try to expand, a little. I promise to read more than kids books at least. But here are my two favorites from 2016:

and

Image result for drew daywalt books

Looking forward to 2017:

might read a romance book. If not, some lucky person is going to be re-gifted a next to new romance book. But my goals do involve writing more and getting back on track. The older the kids get the more spare time I have. That’s relative. As in, they mostly sleep through the night and have graduated to independent play. Except when music is involved, family jam sessions still happen.

I just feel a little less guilty opening a book when they are occupied by  building towers just to knock them down or using their toy vacuum to get that stubborn thread off the rug that just never seems to go away. One thing for me personally, is reading helps writing. That’s advice you’ll hear time and time again. “Read, read, read.” And it’s true for many reasons. For me, one reason is motivation. If I don’t have the time to read, I most likely don’t have time to write. Finding time to read after a year of maybe picking up 4-5 books, that’s a pretty big deal.

It’s going to be a good year, that’s how I feel. 2016 wasn’t a productive year, wasn’t a great year on many accounts but it might have actually done me a favor in regards to distractions. I have a feeling I’ll spend a lot less time reading the news, find social media less tempting, and have an easier time closing down to focus. I always knew my introvert skills would come in handy and based on how 2016 is ending, my introvert skills of avoiding media is going to be Olympic level.

Setting the bar high by setting one bar low. That’s how this girl is going to start 2017!

Happy New Year!

Bronwyn Green

Gwendolyn Cease 

 

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Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned

That little blinking cursor of an asshole was staring at me and I was a loss. I’ve taken such a hiatus from writing, I’m not even sure where to start but yet, I’m eager to write something. I couldn’t decide what though. Should I be clever, witty, truthful, inspirational? How do I break the ice?

Then my email chimes and this was the picture someone (Jim, it was Jim) sent me:

xcm

Perfect timing and one hell of a segue to…

PROMPTLY PENNED! YAY! SHORT STORY TIME! As you might recall, for the promptly penned entries I’ve done once or twice before, we are given a prompt and must use this to create a short story.

If you want to read more qualified authors please visit Bronwyn Green and Kris Norris. Otherwise, just keep reading and I hope you enjoy.

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It’s odd how life is rarely about those big important choices, but hinges on the small stupid choices you didn’t even realize were choices until it was too late.”

Liz dug through her center console and found a few bills, enough for a coffee without having to use her debit card. It’s not like Grandma wouldn’t have coffee at her house, Liz knew she would, but she only drank decaf. And who in their right damn mind drinks decaf?

Liz’s mother often told her, “You need to visit your grandmother more. She isn’t going to be around forever.”

Perhaps that was the first sign of her graceful fall from power. “Defcon 4. Grandma’s on decaf only. Suit up and stay alert to stay on the will.” Liz had joked. Her mother had not laughed. Dad did. Yet, she agreed to visit. At minimum, she could make sure her side walk was clear of the recent snow fall.

The car in front of her slowly rolled forward and she followed behind, trying to make her money look a little less crinkled when an overly cheerful voice spoke louder than expected over the speaker.

“Good morning! And what can I get started for you today?”

“Just a mocha please. Grande.”

“Extra shot of espresso?”

“No thank you.”

“Hot, iced, or frozen?”

“Hot.” Liz looked around at the size of the snow banks left by a snowplow lining the streets and considered the idea of a cold beverage on a day like to day foolish. Not as foolish as decaf but still…

“And what kind of bagel would you like?”

“Just the drink! Please, thank you.”

“And would you like whipped topping.”

Liz was starting to lose her patience. “No. I do not want whipped topping. And you said ‘whipped topping’ very carefully instead of whipped cream which makes me question a few things. No whipped topping. Thank you.”

“One grande mocha, hot, no whipped topping. We’ll have your total at the window.”

The line moved painfully slow but after fifteen minutes Liz was drink in hand and on her way. She turned on the radio and listened to all the school closings, church event cancellations, and postponed sports games. Local colleges were never on the list but that didn’t stop the professors from emailing the night before telling her and her classmates not to bother coming in. She wasn’t complaining about a day off from lectures though the roads didn’t seem that bad to her. Traffic was light and cautiously moving but moving none the less. The plows had been out and it was just warm enough for the salt and sand to be effective on the ice. Even if the roads had been impassible, Grandma would still be fine. She had more than enough non-perishable food and Sudoku books to last her until spring. The worst of the roads were only small patches of slush that pulled at the tires from time to time.

Grandma’s house was a small but picturesque 1950’s ranch in an older subdivision. The plows had already visited and it appeared a neighbor must have taken care of the sidewalk and the driveway before her early morning visit. Almost every house was dug out but for one or two. Grandma’s looked welcoming as always. She had her oversize wreath on the door and the Christmas tree lit up and decorated to perfection front and center in her living room picture window. Liz parked in the driveway but walked down to the street and checked Grandma’s mail box for good measure.  Inside she found a few mailer advertisements with coupons printed on them and a couple high quality envelopes. Liz recognized the sender addresses as distant relatives. The types that visited during family reunions, told the same stories, said they should visit more, and disappeared into the sunset until the next reunion five to ten years later.

Liz had only taken a few steps onto the walkway when the wreath on the door jingled with movement. “Oh, hi honey!” Grandma peeked her head around the door.

“Hi Grandma. I got your mail.”

“Oh yes, thank you. You look lovely. Did you color your hair again?”

Liz touched the top of her head instinctively. She hadn’t washed in days and she was badly overdue to visit to the salon, her highlights grown out by several inches. She had placed her hair in a knot on her head because it was easy and out of the way. Now she became aware that her dirty hair, workout pants, and boots with the separating soles were not the most presentable choices. Especially to Grandma who looked, without a doubt, classy in her festive green and red dress paired with sensible house shoes.

“No, I haven’t colored my hair.”

“Oh, well. It looks very stylish. I see a lot of the young ladies in the style magazines with hair like yours.”

She meant tabloids and unflattering paparazzi pictures of celebrities, Liz let it slide.

Grandma held the door open for her. Liz stepped in and removed her boots quickly. The fireplace had been lit some time before Liz arrived and the front sitting room was warm and inviting with the smell of burning wood and the sound of it crackling under the heat. Grandma took Liz’s coat and shuffled to a nearby closet.

“It looks like you got some Christmas cards in the mail. One from your cousin Tony out in Washington. That’s pretty far away from Michigan. When’s the last time he’s been out this way? Are there any Donahue’s even around here anymore?”

Grandma stiffened briefly and then she took down a hanger to hang Liz’s coat though she was sloppy and a shoulder slipped off. Liz thought she heard a muffled swear but once the coat was hung, Grandma closed the door and gave a smile that was a little too forced.

“Oh, I’m not sure anymore. I see you have a drink there. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll bring you out some cookies I made.” Grandma disappeared into the kitchen but kept talking. “I don’t make as many as I used to anymore. Not as many people come over to eat them and I was never one for a sweet tooth. I only enjoy them once in a while. But I do enjoy baking. Now I make them for church and the neighbors and save a few for when people visit from time to time.”

On her return she presented Liz with a tray of assorted cookies from sugar cookies with a little bit of green and red sprinkles on top to Liz’s personal favorite, peanut butter blossoms. But, Grandma did not sit down. On her hand she had a few pieces of tape stuck to her fingertips. She took the cards from Liz, opened them, and taped them to the arch separating the sitting room from the dinning room.

Liz already had half a cookie in her mouth. “Aren’t you going to read them first?”

“What was that dear?”

“Sorry, these cookies are really good.” Liz finished chewing and asked again. “Aren’t you going to read them first?”

“Oh. Well. I’ll read them later.”

“Grandma, I don’t mean to be rude but, I have a feeling you’re not going to read them later. So, why are you even putting them up?”

She took a step back from the cards and studied them for a moment. “It’s just tradition.”

“Do you read any of the cards?”

“Some of them. Some of them are very pretty to look at.”

“And the one from cousin Tony?”

Grandma didn’t answer. She only put her hands on her hips while she again looked at the huge arraignment of hanging cards. There had to be at least fifty Liz guessed. While Grandma scanned all of them, her eyes always ended on the same one.

“Grandma?”

“I sure do have a lot of cards. Do you send out Christmas cards?”

“No. Mom and Dad do but only a few and they don’t get as many as you do. I think they have maybe only four or five. But that’s not saying much. One of them is from the dentist.” The card from the dentist made Liz laugh. It had been a picture of Santa smiling, the front of the card diecut so when you opened it you realized the teeth were actually snowmen wishing you a Merry Christmas. Brush twice a day to keep those teeth white as snow. It was simple and clever.

Grandma sighed. “I shouldn’t be telling you this but, I think my cousin Tony is, well, needy. High maintenance. Perhaps a little arrogant. I don’t particularly have much to say to him but he always sends a card which is very nice. And in kind, I should really send one back. It would be rude not to.”

“But you don’t want to?”

“I’m getting old and tired. There are many other things I would like to do with my time than keep track of Christmas cards. It cost a lot of money to send out so many and I don’t enjoy it. However, I feel I should. It would be rude not to. There are just – ”

“So many? Can I tell you something I shouldn’t?”

“Yes?”

“I only remember who Tony is because on the rare occasion I see him he is always a self righteous dick. I don’t think he is worth your time or a Christmas card.”

“Liz! Oh! I mean. He is what you said, but it’s not nice to say that word in that manner.”

Liz stood up from her chair and walked over to the Christmas cards and removed Tony’s from the wall and handed it to Grandma. Linking arms together, Liz walked her Grandma to the fireplace. “You can like who you like, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want. You always have a choice. You’re old enough, and maybe, oh I don’t know, cousin Tony’s card got lost in the mail.”

Grandma’s eyes lit up with life as she looked at the dancing flames and squeezed the card in her hand. She let out a small giggle. “Oh what the hell. Lost in the mail sounds about right to me too.” With a little toss, the card fell into the fire and was quickly consumed, twisting and turning until it was out of sight.

Before Liz registered Grandma had let go of her arm, she was back at the arch pulling off more cards.

“Grandma! What are you doing?”

“Aunt Linda is a, how did you put it, a dick too. And so is this fellow from church…”

“Grandma!”

“Winters are tough in Michigan. A lot of cards are going to get lost this year.” She turned and looked at Liz with a smile.

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned Nursery Rhyme Addition

This month’s Promptly Penned is to take the first line of a nursery rhyme and make it your first line in a dark narrative.

I have small children and many of the nursery rhymes we learn and sing are pretty warm and fuzzy. We have a few books with rhymes but we also frequent Super Simple Songs and Mother Goose Club on YouTube. I don’t encounter many dark nursery rhymes now and I don’t remember too many from when I was a kid other than the fictional story behind Ring Around the Rosie. And no, Ring Around the Rosie is not about the plague.  (Edit for Jim: I’m talking about Ring a Ring o’Roses you weird Brit.) However, when talking about this blog assignment with Bronwyn – holy hell weird ass nursery rhymes! I never knew so many existed. The worst I knew was the maid in Sing a Song of Six Pence having her nose pecked off by a black bird. Well, Bronwyn showed me it gets a whole heck of a lot weirder when it comes to nursery rhymes. She texted me the lyrics to Goosey Goosey Gander and titled it “Bronwyn’s Childhood’s Greatest Hits.”

And this, blog readers, is why I never ask Bronwyn to babysit.

Here is my attempt at nursery rhyme darkness, enjoy.

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Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.

The water splashed against the hull of the boat with a thud and pulled away in waves with a sucking sound, releasing the boat and rocking it gently side to side. The rocking is what makes people sick but I found it relaxing and dreamy. We couldn’t see the land anymore. Well, I couldn’t. Audrey was down below and she wasn’t seeing much those days. It didn’t take us too long to get into the bay with a casual speed and once there, I opened the Sea Ray up a little more. The wake behind us turned from a turning bubble to smooth defined waves as the boat cut through the water. Aubrey bumped below and this is when I realized I had not secured our belongings before heading out. A few books would fall of the table and the lamp in the upper berth would be on the floor. That lamp never stayed where it was suppose to anyway, even when it was secured. Aubrey had picked out that lamp and most of the decor of the boat. I picked out the boat myself. Paid for it with my money. Worked long days, spent weekends away from home in stuffy hotel rooms, shook hands with greasy clients, who would finally sign contracts after we negotiated almost all of our profit away. But still, I did it for Aubrey and she was the one who always got what she wanted. I picked up the speed of the boat even more and heard Aubrey roll again which made me smile.

Row, row, row your boat gently on the tide. Merrily, merrily, merrily to the other side.

The sailboats were the last to go out of sight. It was a beautiful afternoon and the breeze on the water was light and fresh. I slowed the boat down to a stop and I let her drift. The smell of the water was wonderful, not like the dead fish or musty water dreaded up in the marinas and river to allow big freighters to pass through. This was the smell of water, pure and clean. Exactly how I wanted to feel on that day and have felt every day since. I opened the doors to go below and saw the mess that had been made. One of the cabinets popped open and cans of vegetables were rolling with the waves on the floor. I picked them up and placed them back on the shelf, securing the cabinet knobs with an extra rubber band to keep it from opening again. Surprisingly, the books were still on the table where I had left them but not surprisingly, the berth lamp was on the floor. I left the lamp and the books were they were. Instead I focused on my dear Aubrey. She had fallen off the sofa and had rolled back and forth during our cruise out to open water. The plastic tarp was still secured tightly but she was only unconscious. I didn’t know if I let her be if she would recover or not. Asphyxiation is mysterious in that way. When I was angry I felt like I could crush her. Her, with all of her wants, needs, constant complaining, constant bickering, and telling me I’m no longer good enough? I felt I had to strength to rip her head off of her petite body but no. I waited. I planned. When the time was right, I no longer had the strength. She fought me but her legs weren’t strong and her arms were not long enough. I stopped when she went limp but I didn’t realize until later she was still alive. Getting her to the boat was no trouble at all in the early morning hours. My dock neighbors were accustomed to seeing me at the boat before they arrived in the morning for their weekend visit. While Aubrey laid on the sofa with shallow breaths they offered me breakfast of eggs and toast. For all they knew she had kicked me out of the house again, always fighting, always about money and her over spending. Now in the bay, I removed the tarp and brought Aubrey up and onto the swim platform. I didn’t make a ceremony of it. I simply untied the tarp and let her body roll into the water. She barely made a splash.

Row, row, row your boat gently back to shore. Merrily, merrily, merrily home for tea at four.

I didn’t bother to watch what happened to my Aubrey. I dragged the tarp on to the boat and folded it neatly, placing it in one of the storage areas under the seats. It was simple, more simple than I thought it was going to be. I imagined the water flooding into her nose and throat, seeping into her lungs, swallowing her body and weighing it down to the bottom feeders. There Aubrey can rest with her own kind. I loved her once and I did it all for her. I brushed my hand over the steering wheel and felt the smooth leather under my skin. This water was my freedom. This boat was my escape. From stress, from work, from anxiety, from anger. This boat is my escape from it all. Aubrey wanted to take it all away from me. Everything I worked hard for, she wanted it for herself and wanted to cut me out of it. Take me for every penny I earned and this boat, this freedom. I never thought the open water I loved so much would provide the happiest moment in my life, an escape from her. The water drifted the boat for some time but it was still early in the day when I decided to turn home. I had a full day head of me and it was just after noon.

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Please visit the other writers today:

Bronwyn Green and her weird ass nursery rhymes

Deelylah Mullin

 

 

 

 

 

A Random Wednesday Spent Boning Celebs

There are so many ways I can take this. (No pun intended)

The topic is to list our top 5 celebrities we would like to have sex with. Banging celebrities doesn’t count as cheating as I’ve been told. Not sure that matters. I’m still being asked to provide a list of people I’d explain away to my husband with, “Hon, I’m really sorry but, he got to sit at a table with Julia Louis – Dreyfus at the Golden Globes. This makes me that much closer to Seinfeld! Plus, it was either this guy or Jason Alexander.”

It will be a short post because, I don’t have that many clever things to say about banging celebrities.  Here are my five:

#1

not-giant-enough-letter-a

#2

woman

#3

w1

#4

untitled

#5

c05f1b10-8023-4e75-94a9-40b570ee440f

…Or maybe Ryan Reynolds dressed as Deadpool synchronizing our movements to a soundtrack sung by Bernadette Peters while lying underneath a poster of Betty White. No substitutions. It’s all or nothing for this #5.

Horny ladies assemble!

Torrance Sené

Bronwyn Green

Deelylah Mullins (The new chick)

Jessica Jarman

Gwendolyn Cease

 

Random Wednesday: What I hate about writing.

What do I hate about writing? That’s easy.

I hate writing.

CHILL THE FUCK OUT FOR A SECOND! THERE IS A TOTALLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION!

Ask yourself, do you like to exercise?

Yes. Everyone enjoys some level of activity once in a while. After I’ve been behind a desk for a few hours, I like to get up and walk around. Lately I’ve been taking all the baby gates down around the house and chasing after my toddler for fun in the evenings. I assure you he doesn’t stop moving and it’s tiring for both of us, mostly me. Every so often I also like to swim and do yoga with my daughter or see if I can muscle my husband off the bed just because I’m in a jerkish mood and I’ve randomly decided the middle is my claimed resting area.

Now, do you like cardio?

No. No person in their right damn mind likes cardio. If you say you do, you’re lying. It’s an activity that isn’t fun in any way shape or form but if you are trying to become healthier or maintain a level of health, cardio is one way to say, “I….:breaths heavy:…fucking….:wipes sweat off face:….did it.” And then you take your pony tail holder out and your greasy wet hair stays in a pony tail shaped form. Cardio is also something you can’t do just once. You have to exercise regularly for there to be a benefit. Anyone can tell you, if you want to live a healthy lifestyle – you have to do cardio!

Writing can feel exactly the same way. It’s a good activity. An idea comes to mind and you jot a few things down. Maybe a turns into a short story, maybe a clever email to a friend, or a blog post that seems to be going no where. But when you actually write for the sake of real accomplishment, it’s hard. It can even feel a little painful. And truth is, not everyone enjoys writing during every moment that they are writing. When I sit down on my lunch break to write down a few words I can tell you, there are other interesting things I rather be looking at online plus a book I’ve been meaning to read. But no. I’m committed to writing and this is the moment I have to do it, whether I like or not.

This why I say the hardest part about writing is writing and why at times I hate it. It’s the cardio exercise of creativity. You can’t just write once in a while. You can’t just write what sounds fun on days that are convenient. You have to write:

-Several days a week (try at least 3, move up to 5, take the weekends off).
-At least 30 minutes a day.
-Or-
-Set a word count and write until you get that word count whether it takes an hour or two hours. (This is how Nanowrimo works and why I use this method.)
-Write even when you don’t have an idea. You don’t need one. As soon as you start writing, they will come. Even if the first sentence you wrote was, “I should not have put hand sanitizer on before I ate my cookie.”

If I hate writing, why write? Well, there is that accomplishment factor that is pretty important. I don’t like writing, I’m not exactly sure if I am good at it, and my spelling is horrific. My vocabulary is pretty shitty, too. Don’t get me started on grammar. (note: I spelled grammar incorrectly ending it in -er until spellcheck highlighted my error, emphasizing my point.) But I write because I like to tell stories and I really enjoy the opportunity to use my imagination. I chose the avenue of writing because I enjoy reading. I appreciate anyone who can write a good story because they are incredibly talented and I am in awe of what some authors can do. They also remind me there are a lot of skills I need to sharpen, no denying that at all, but I can’t accomplish my goals if I don’t push myself to do something I don’t exactly enjoy all the time. I can’t wish I could run the Boston Marathon if I won’t get off my ass and try to run a mile.

It might have taken me several years to finish my first manuscript. But it took me less than a year to finish the second but I still have a lot of beta reading and editing ahead. Maybe next year I can write, beta read, and edit all in under a year.  I can promise you, I’m very happy reading what I have written and receiving the positive feedback I have received. It’s been a great motivation and it’s wonderful. But writing is hard, very hard. I can’t just wish a story to magically appear on paper. I’m going to have to write it even if I sometimes hate it.

That’s my take. Let’s read what some of the other authors have to bitch about:

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Torrance Sené

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: Promptly Penned

School is now in session and my quiet morning drive has turned into whole lot of fuckery.

As is my daily ritual, I email my husband to let him know that I made it to my destination unscathed. Today was titled “Traffic Report: WITNESS ME!” and I attached the following picture.

image
Back to school indeed.

And as it happens, today’s prompt for Promptly Penned is somewhat schooled inspired. Let’s see where this prompt takes us. It will be a surprise. Like the “proud trucker wife” decal toting, Jesus fish clad, truck I followed into town this morning that used a blinker a total of zero times.

________________________________________________________________

In school tests started with a class bell and ended with a “pencils down”, outside of school things weren’t so well defined. At least not when it came to drivers training. And I suppose I shouldn’t say things weren’t well defined. The lines painted on the black top of the back school parking lot were pretty well defined in bright yellow. If the lines weren’t enough to give a hint or two, a few well placed orange cones were pretty in your face. For most of us at least. There was the quiet kid who decided to punch the gas straight for the fence. He forced his driving partner to slam on the passenger side brake all the drivers training cars were equipped with. The car stopped in time however, only one of the kids in that car moved on to the next drivers training session. One very much did not. But downfall of obtaining a drivers license is not the test, written or driving. It’s not even the parallel parking or trying not to drive through fences. It’s having a hot mom and a Ford Tempo.

I drove a ’93 gray Ford Tempo and in the passenger seat logging the required driving hours was a short blonde with the greenest eyes you’ve ever seen. To say Mom was excited for me was an understatement. So much so, she was sitting next to me fudging my numbers and turning the 35 hours I did drive into the even 50 required to get a license.

“Think of it. Now, whenever we need milk you can drive to the grocery store for me! And you don’t have to worry about getting a ride home after school. You can drive yourself.”

“Yup.” I answered. Though I was more focused on the fact I could pick up fast food whenever I wanted but sure, I would occasionally pick up a gallon of milk when asked. I like milk.

By the time we arrived at the local college where the drivers test was to begin, a very large burly man was already standing by a setup of cones with a clipboard. As I pulled the car up, he signaled us to park and walked to the drivers side.

“Hi, I’m Phil. I’m going to be your tester today. First, I’m going to ask you to step out of the car and keep it running. I have to do a vehicle check.”

I got out of the car and he reached in to activate the turn signal, walked around the outside of the car to make sure all the lights were blinking. At that moment, he noticed her. Burly man meet hot Mom.

“And who are you?”

“I’m her mother.”

“What? No. How old are you? You can’t be past 30!”

My Mom blushed and shrugged in her own little cute way. I stood there observing in my tall skinny awkward teenage kind of way.

Phil gave the car a pass though technically there was a single light out in the middle brake light located in the back window. It wasn’t a major brake light and it was still semi-functioning. Good enough to get in the car with a hot blonde and her gangly child. There was a slight problem. While Mom had no problem sliding into a back seat of a two door compact car (and I’m sure there is a joke in that statement) our flirtatious Phil was a tall, thick, “before” picture of a weight loss commercial. He hesitated only for a brief moment before climbing in one arm and leg at a time. From here on our adventure began with the car listing slightly on the right.

“I want you to take a left out of the parking lot. I also want you to physically move your head when you are checking your mirrors so I can see your checking them. I know you are probably checking them with your eyes but I can’t see where your eyes are looking so I’m going to ask you to make it obvious for me when you look at your mirrors.” Phil rolled his body to a very uncomfortable looking position to face the back seat as best as he can. My Mom sat in the middle seat unbuckled, but Phil didn’t seem to notice or care. “This has to be your oldest.”

“No. She is actually my middle. I have two older and two younger yet.”

I stopped at a stop sign. No one was coming though I turn my head dramatically to make sure Phil knew that I’m looking. He didn’t tell me to turn so I assumed we’re going straight.

“Five kids! Get out of here! You do not look like you have five kids. I don’t have any myself but I do like kids. I’m actually a truck driver as a full time job. I just like doing this on the side. I think it’s fun.”

“Oh that’s interesting and very kind of you to help kids with driving. Especially since you are so experienced.”

For the record, I’m actually a good driver. I didn’t need my Mom to help me with the test. And she wasn’t. She was just being polite but man – was Phil laying it on thick.

“You have a really nice shade of blonde hair. Not many woman can pull off such a beautiful color like you can.”

“It’s highlighted but I am a natural blonde.”

See Phil, the carpet matches the drapes and you didn’t even have to go there to find out. Keep that mental image for later. Which is probably exactly what he does because he seemed mostly satisfied with where this conversation with my Mom is going and spends a little more time telling me were to turn and what to do. We go through a couple of back roads, jump on the highway for a few, exit to get some city driving in, and about thirty minutes later we’re back in the parking lot of the college.

Phil announces that I had passed my test and did a wonderful job. He only said, “You should use your mirrors more but then again, I tell almost everyone that. I’m sure you were using them and just not turning your head enough for me to see.”

Teenage self wanted to yell at him. “If you weren’t facing the back seat the entire time you would have seen I was using my goddamn mirrors!” I didn’t. Rather I thanked him for the note, promised to do better, and once more thanked him for driving with me.

On the way home my Mom seemed in a good mood. She rehashed how well I did on my test and how proud she was. Then she listed off all the documents we would need to get before we head to the DMV to finally get my license. While I’m sure my Mom was still on Phil’s mind, Phil was only briefly on my Mom’s. “That tester of yours was sure chatty. Very nice though. I think you were lucky to have such a nice one. Oh, before I forget. Swing by the store. We need milk.”

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Thank you for reading my flash fiction today!

Here are the other participants:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Kris Norris

 

 

Random Wednesday: Note to My Future Self

Dear Future Jessica,

How exactly do you write to your future self? No clue. I’m not sure who came up with this prompt. At this point I’m not even sure if you are still writing with the same people I am writing with now. And you can’t blame anyone other than yourself, you never suggest any prompts. Work on that. As you already know, and I am still learning, the group grows, people get busy, stop blogging as much, lose interest, and then a new round of fresh faces joins in. Maybe in the future, I won’t be the only non-romance/erotica author in this blogging group. Doubtful. People do like their healthy dose of long lost love and dicks.Who knows, maybe you should get into writing romance or erotica and join the crowd?

Everything she was saying felt right but his fleshy turkey neck tucked under his belt to hide his erection from pitching a tent for four felt so wrong. 

Okay. Writing sexy things is not for me. But, if this letter is really for future me, I hope my future self doesn’t forget my past self.

Why did I write for this prompt? Why did I join the blog group? Why do I write at all?

Well, future you, I wrote this letter as a reminder to keep writing. I also hope you are still reading, too. I hope you are still enjoying the art of written words with others. And I hope you are educated and experienced enough by the time you read this, you are helping other young writers discover their love for writing.

One more thing, do more yoga. That’s just a general reminder. It makes you less fussy and no adult likes to be called “fussy”.

~Past Jessica

P.S. Remember on twitter when Bronwyn referred to spiders as “Satan’s snowflakes”? That was freaking hilarious.

P.P.S. Don’t forget these people:

Jessica Jarman

Bronwyn Green

Gwendolyn Cease

 

 

Random Wednesday: How I Create/Build My Characters

-Looks at title-

-Scratches head-

I don’t know exactly know what to talk about when it comes to how I create/build my characters.

I just create them because, to be honest, character building is one of the easiest parts of writing.

First, I create a spreadsheet and just brain storm different people. Give them a name, an age, and a purpose. “He feels stuck in his career and often too pessimistic enough to notice positive changes in his surroundings.” or “She is a gogetter but also thinks this other character is a total asshole and enjoys making his life miserable for her own amusement.”

Developing characters can  be a lot of fun and as I have found, can lead to a story just in itself. Character A is unhappy, why? Who made this person unhappy? Why did they do that action? What is character A going to do to fix it?

Also, google is your friend. There are a ton of character sheets out there to help build a character from, what is their favorite color to – if they went to college, what would they have studied?

Recently I’ve watched my husband assist people in building D&D characters. I noticed this is the same process. SPOILER: Titty Sprinkles from my “How to Name Characters” post and my song prompt serial is making an appearance. My offer to cosplay by wearing leather heart shape pasties was met with mixed reviews.

Here is the most difficult part of character building in writing: CONSISTENCY!

What ever you name your character, what ever they look like, they must be consistent through the story. Yes, characters can grow and change but it must be gradual and the reader must be able to follow along with these emotional changes. Happiness, anger, depression, hope – these are normal emotions and your character should show emotions through the story as the story unfolds. But your character should not go from wallflower to life of the party for no explained reason. Also if they have a talking pattern, they need to keep this pattern throughout the story. No, “I always enjoyed the theatre.” in chapter 1 to “Yup, love them shows.” in chapter 10.

Recently I read a series and one of the characters changed suddenly. From the last book to the newest installment, the character all of a sudden began cracking jokes while others commented how this was normal with an “oh, you” slap on the knee, “aren’t they funny?” But, this character isn’t funny in the previous books. I don’t think this person cracked a single joke. To be told in chapter 1 as characters are reintroduced “remember, this guy is funny!” it was jarring. I wanted to reach through the book and smack the author upside the head with their previous. Did you forget? You created this character, he was never funny.

In summary, characters are fun and easy to create. Have fun, be free, and make them however you want. But, when it comes to the story, stick with the character you created and don’t change them. When you edit, ask yourself “Should my character act this way in this situation? Is this consistent from earlier chapters?” If someone read a paragraph or dialogue to you omitting the names, could you pick out which character is which just by their actions and the words they said? If the characters are consistent, you should be able to.

Thanks for reading as always. Check in with the ladies to see their take on this topic:

Bronwyn Green

Torrance Sené

 

 

 

 

Random Wednesday: Behind The Scenes…

I’ve been working on my second manuscript and if you are a regular reader of my blog, this really isn’t news. However, this week’s topic is “behind the scenes of my current project” which brings us to, well, my current project.

Let’s reel it in a bit more and answer the question, what goes into inventing a story?

Answer: A BILLION THINGS!

For one, no one’s full time job is writing. Okay, I can think of a few lucky bugs but those people are not living posh lives using mother of pearl spoons to serve caviar on ritzy crackers. No. They just sit around eating store brand Ritz crackers. Or, a pound of peanut M&M’s with a suspicious amount of M&M’s missing peanuts. That writer knows who she is. But realistically, we all have a lot to juggle to make this writing thing happen. And even when we have a good thing going, it doesn’t take much to fall off the wagon. Before you know it, a month has passed and you have missed more than one scheduled blog. Forget working on your manuscript, you probably haven’t even looked at it.

But you thought about it.

And that’s a start.

And that’s exactly how mine started. I thought about the characters and I started to outline them and build dynamics between them. Even with characters as a start I had to build a story around them. What were they doing? What were they going to do? Most importantly, what happened to them to make them who they are?

This is where I searched, not “researched” but just simply searched. What did I find while working through my day that caught my attention and held it? Why? How can I use this in a story?

For example, I had in my possession a VHS tape from my Dad. The tape was titled “Challenger.” Back in the day my Dad would set our VHS player to record events whether it be a sports game he didn’t want to miss or copying a movie off TV to watch again later. On this day he decided to record the Challenger lift off and caught the explosion. The rest of the tape were clips of news reports from that evening and any report he could catch the following days, weeks, and even months. He had hours of footage. Many news anchors and so many mustaches. I watched it all again recently, sitting in front of my TV, like a little kid watching the Saturday morning cartoons. I could not get enough of it. Of course, we know now what happened but after watching the hours and hours of footage my Dad had captured, they still only speculated. The tape ends as the news reports get shorter and shorter. Leaving off with more questions than answers. 

I wanted so much to incorporate this into my story but, I couldn’t find a way to fit this with my characters that made it feel right. I moved on to the next thing that caught my attention. Just ends up this was story I went with…

Sue Klebold. Sue Klebold is the mother of one of the Columbine shooters and I read an article about her and her life after Columbine. This gave me an idea…

My current story which is work-in-progress titled The Guilty Ones is about a sister and brother living their life in the shadow of their older sister who died, but not before she attacked her own high school. The story takes place several years later when the siblings are now adults. They begin to question their feelings of guilt, their life choices, and who their sister was and why they feel she did the things she did. What they discover about her, and their family, is more than what they expect.

At this point I’m about 75% through and I’ll be honest with you…I killed off a few people when I got bored and I have zero clue where this story is going. It’s a rough draft. Those people might live in the final edit. Or they might not exist at all by then. This is the fun thing about writing.

While I like my first manuscript, I see so many mistakes now once I’ve started to work on a new story. I realize I have grown as a writer but at the same time, this is only my second attempt and I’m still finding my personal formula for what works and what doesn’t. This is where many writers would say “read.” Read to learn what you like and want to write. Read to get ideas for a story. Read and educate yourself on writing techniques and editing. Then read more, just to take a break and fall into another world for a little while.

Behind the scenes of any writer is a laptop and a mess.  Piles of crap everywhere. But our goal is by the time it gets to you, our crap makes sense and most of all…you enjoy it.

Thank you for reading. We, and I personally, hope you enjoy the work we do. Because while it’s for our happiness and feeling of fulfillment to create something new, we do it for you and your entertainment.

You, the reader, are always on our mind.

Thank you.

TO THE LADIES!

Bronwyn Green

Jessica Jarman

Kayleigh Jones

Gwendolyn Cease

Kris Norris

Paige Prince

And our newest blog group member…

Torrance Sené