Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Fling! And yet another blogfest!

Well, I took part in the Whoops! Blogfest, hosted by Laurel, and I think that it was a lot of fun! I enjoyed reading the other entries and also (quickly) writing my own.

And now, I have yet another blogfest to admit to have joining! (I sure hope I remember all of the ones I've signed up for, now.) Jon Paul is hosting a Drunk at First Sight Blogfest! And I signed up! And, of course, I have nothing to enter...

From his blog, here are suggestions for taking part.
2)  Write a new scene or short story, or dust off an old one, about a love/relationship situation that also includes one or more of the following elements:
     ---St. Paddy's Day as important event or setting
     ---Use of Ireland or anything Irish as a setting or prop
     ---An alcohol related event (party, hangover, cocktails, AA meeting, etc.)

You know, I just had a thought of something I could use a scene from...

Anyway, the other big news in my life right now is that I will be learning part of the Highland Fling. Seriously. Via Youtube. Oh, dear.

You see, it started because a gal at work and a guy at work made a deal with each other that one would do the Fling if the other would play the bagpipes...and I got sucked right in. Because they know it's easy to suck me in, I guess. And because I love to dance. And to learn new dances, thank heavens! Because I certainly don't know how to do any Flinging, other than of my arms up into the air and sometimes, of small, harmless objects at other people. Only occasionally, mind you.

But hey--if I can belly dance, ballroom dance, and teach a hip-hop exercise class (though it's been a while, and I had some help with the choreography), I can totally learn to do a Highland Fling...right?

So, I guess we are all set up to do a SCOTTISH Highland Fling for St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Whoops-blogfest, or "Poor little MCs"

Well, I signed up at the last hour for Laurel's Whoops! blogfest...and totally had nothing. My characters may do dumb things, but like their creator, they just roll with the punches. Except, they sometimes roll with the punches better than I do. For this reason, my story is based on true events. It's not too, too, too funny for this 2-22 blogfest...by the way, 2 is my favorite number! But it's pretty sad, awkward, and at least a tiny bit true.

And yes, I did just write this... in the last twenty minutes or so, here.


Do you ever get into a sort of stupor, you're thinking so hard? That's how it felt for Sierra. She was completely lost in thought, to that point, and that's when it all began. The whole episode, which she would so rather just forget.

It's just that she was so confused as to what to do about him... she just had to walk. So put on her favorite sandals, and she grabbed her keys, and she ran out the door. The air was still cool, and her toes turned numb almost instantly, and she began to walk faster, thinking that would take care of their numbness. She thought about her toes, about the number of steps she took in a sidewalk block, and then about him. Always, it came back to him. And then she started to obsess, because she was such an idiot around him, when all she wanted was to be cool.

She didn't notice it at the first step, or maybe even the second. But she definitely noticed it by the third. She wasn't moving well, for some reason. She looked down.

She was walking through a large block of freshly-laid, wet cement.

At that revelation, she stopped, confused, and sank a little more. She repressed the urge to swear.

Ahead of her, the block was dry. She could see, now that she was paying attention, that it looked solid. She just had to get on it. She swung her leg out, and her foot escaped from her favorite sandal. She looked at it and sighed--it was half-buried in the gray muck. And her feet were a little bit gray. And the cement was still cold, too, of course. Wonderful.

She was still half-way stuck, her legs sprawled, so she carefully lifted her other foot out of the gunk. The sandal stayed on, this time, but her foot had submerged beneath the cement more than the other foot had. She reached back, and pulled it out, sending curses toward the men who had poured the cement. Surely they could have put up that stupid yellow tape in time, so she wouldn't make such a complete fool of herself?

She reached back out and grabbed the sandal, pulled at the strap...but it was stuck worse than she had realized, and it threw her off-balance. She slipped, and fell back in, submerging her jeans, too, this time. She sighed, thankful that she was alone, and dreading what the men who had poured this cement would say, after they noticed her handy work. If they noticed. Oh, what if they didn't notice? What would she do? She'd never be able to show her face again, and Brian--

"Hey--Sierra? Are you okay?"

Oh, God. She didn't need to turn to see his face. To know it was him. She felt her cheeks turn red as she twisted back, and pasted a fake grin on her face. She turned to face him, slipped once. Brian was looking at her, kind of in shock, like he didn't know what to do.

She burbled, when she spoke. "Oh, yeah. Totally. Hi!" 

She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, and hoped she didn't just rub more cement into it. Really cool.

Things I'm thankful for

I know it's not Thanksgiving right now, but I find that I am suddenly thankful for many things. So, I made a list for your viewing enjoyment. 

1. First of all, I am thankful for the fact that I have some (several) things to post about! First of all is a great big thanks to Karen Amanda Hooper for giving me two, count 'em, two awards (with some other swell bloggers). Squee! I felt all warm and toasty inside.

Thanks, Karen! Which means I will have to pass them on. And I haven't passed on any awards, yet, because I just haven't been sure to whom and how I want to do so! Especially so new to the blogging world, really. I know, if you look at my blog, you'll see it was established in 2007 or so...but sincerely, I blogged three times and decided to give up. And then I just changed my mind. So really, I am new. Thanks to you--and to all my followers. And yes, I'll pass these awards on soon...I swear!

2. I am very thankful that Simon C. Larter got himself into the situation where he is ever so slightly grudgingly hosting a PG love scene blogfest! To air March 15. Because, as he said, that worked well for Caesar. I'm a little bit concerned as to how he thinks this blogfest will turn out, comparatively.

3. I am thankful he pointed me to Laurel's upcoming Whoops! Blogfest. Whoops! I have to find something to post for it ASAP!

4. I am thankful for Peanut Butter, unless I eat too much of it, which has happened in the past. It's just so good! Especially the Smuckers variety.

5. I am thankful for...my friends...and family...and other things one would normally be thankful for.

6. I am thankful to join a community of writers online!

7. Finally, I am thankful that it is starting to be springtime, and that soon I can wear skirts and not worry about freezing my legs off!

That's my list. I'm thankful about many other things as well, but of course, those are the main things.

What are you all thankful for?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Odi et amo

Odi et amo. I hate and I love.

If you haven't read Catullus in the original Latin before, you should. At least, you should read this little couplet he penned back when time was BC. So many penned isn't the most accurate of words...anyway. It's a great little poem.

"Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior."

It's well-constructed, is simple yet complex. Seriously. It's very common, actually. A well-known piece of his work. It means, "I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask, why I do it? I don't know, but I feel it happening and it is excruciating to me." (Not all of that is an exact translation over, but that's it, basically.)

Now, Catullus wrote this to his girlfriend Lesbia. I am writing this to my computer. Specifically, to the internet.

Internet, how I love and hate thee! Why do you distract me when I should be busy? Why do you allow me to access such web sites as Hulu.com, Farmville.com, Facebook.com, all of my email accounts, and youtube, when I should be writing, cleaning, and living in the real world? Why do I feel my addiction? Perhaps I should have given you up for Lent, after all!

Except, dear internet, that you connect me to everyone; you keep me up to date on the news (and on my TV shows); you allow me to write alongside others.

Internet, I love and hate you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A V-Day and Fat Tuesday Par-tay!

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!

I am sort of suffering from a sugar headache after pigging out a bit at our Valentine-oriented party celebrating our volunteers at work. My friend and I made paper heart chains, and I folded up paper origami frogs (the kind with two legs, that actually hop!), and we made little heart puddles with lily pads on them. Needless to say, the decor rocked. :) At least, that's what we said. I think some of our volunteers were confused by the frogs, but our boss (bless him) went around and showed all the little old ladies how to make them hop.

Oh, there was other stuff, too. But nothing quite like our paper decorations. (If I told you how much time we spent making it...good gravy! But totally worth it.)

So, today is Fat Tuesday. I can't believe it's already here. Tomorrow, I am giving up most forms of sugar (kind of a blessing, after today), so I partook today without guilt. Not without consequences, though! I had homemade ice cream, and candy-coated popcorn, and more ice cream, and punch with ice cream...there was chocolate, too, which I am pleased to say I avoided very well. And then there were cheese and meat trays, fruits, so much more--punch, made with sherbet--oh. We know how to throw a party.

Speaking of partying, welcome to my new readers! I'm pleased to have you all following me. I was grinning ear to ear after I saw my new followers count. Yay! Welcome, welcome. Thanks for the comments, and thanks for those who read my new entry and my old one. (I'm apparently horrible at using Mr. Linky. I keep linking people to my Kissing Day post.)

OK. So now I have just barely taken part in four blogfests:

Kissing Day
Almost-Kissing Day
Fight Scene Day
Love at First Sight Day

Yeah, I really need to work on shorter posts, for these.

We do seem to have a bit of a thing going, eh? We're all giant romantics, or something. Who enjoy a good fight.

Anywho...I'm off to crash after my sugar rush. Until next time--good luck with the writing, friends!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love at First Sight Blogfest

Oh, my goodness! Where did the time go? I thought that I would have several posts written in the meantime since my last one and this one, but...I didn't.

So...here is my quickly pumped out love-at-first-sight entry for this Valentine's Day Blogfest! Sorry--it's a bit long. And sorry--I finished this scene just minutes ago. Seriously. I have been busier than I expected I'd be!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


Although he was 69, if he hunched over, he could make himself look 84. Put on the reading glasses he carried with him, smudged as they were, round his back, slow his walk. He could change himself completely, could put on a personality as easily as he could put on another shirt.

It was an art he had perfected over the years—changing who he was. It was the Game, the Big Game, the only Game he knew. How to survive. And he was the best at it.

Oh, there were others who played. Granted, they were not without their victories. He knew plenty, in fact; they frequented the same bars and restaurants and hotels that he did. They passed on the street, from time to time. The regulars. The others called him Con. It came partly from his name, which was Ray Conners, and it came partly from what he did.

“Hey, Con, what’d you get, this time?” they said, their greed for his success glowing in their eyes.

It was always something—whatever he wanted. His touch was light, his fortune fair; his memory for numbers and names served him well, and he could pick and pluck whatever he wanted.

After all, he was the Robin Hood of his realm. That’s what he figured. He took from the rich, the well-off. Most of the time. The middle class, occasionally. Only if they deserved it. If they gave off attitude, had a smug glance that proved they needed to be taken down a notch.

You had to be an observer to play Con’s game, and that is exactly what Con was. He took the time to get to know his next move. That was why he enjoyed his walks so much. He liked to walk downtown, along the busy fronts of the offices and stores. He liked to watch people interact with each other. They were awful, mostly; yelling and swearing, trying to get ahead of each other by standing on each other’s shoulders, grinding them into the floor.

It was especially good near holidays.

Con watched people, and he judged people. Who was an easy mark, and how, and why. How he could make his mark count. He was always on the lookout, and he paid attention to every detail.

That was just what he was doing on this particular Wednesday. He was noticing, allowing all movement, all noise, all facets of this new area to dissolve and assimilate into his mind.

That was when Con spied the young boy. The boy had a different look to him; his face was scrunched up in concentration, his baseball cap shoved on his head, his backpack dirty and thin. He was about 12, pushing between some people at a bus stop.

Typical latch-key kid. He looked off—like he had been cared for carefully, but yet like he was neglected. That he didn’t want to be noticed was obvious. Con paused, pretended to be interested in some flower arrangement in barrels that someone had thought would look interesting on the corners of the streets of this particular city. He looked down, and peered across the street.

Someone elbowed the boy—apologized by raising his eyebrows, his suit coat stretched tightly across the breadth of his shoulders and the bulk of his person.

The boy didn’t say anything, and Con squinted. He was confused—had he just seen what he thought he saw?

Then the boy glanced up, and looked at him, and Con smiled jauntily, pretending to be a bumbling old 84-year-old, nonthreatening and non-existent. He walked on, around the corner, continued, rounded the corner again, walked some more, and suddenly walked into someone.

The boy.

He was a soft little thing, and he glanced up at Con and walked around him.

Con felt in his pockets immediately—and smiled. He turned to follow; the little boy hurried forward. As he walked, he reached up, pulled off the cap, and wispy blond shoulder-length hair fell down against his neck. He pulled his backpack off, and he looked like he could blend into the wall. He stopped slouching, and ducked into an empty alley.

Con, whistling, followed. And stopped.

A girl, a plain girl, but her eyes sparkling, a smile playing upon her lips, leaned against a wall. The boy’s backpack was on the ground, and she had set her foot on top of it. She looked like she was about 20. They stared at each other, for a moment. Then she reached into her pocket and held out a dilapidated old wallet—Con’s wallet.

“You’re the great Con.” She wasn’t asking so much as she was telling.

He felt his chest swell, his breath catch. His mind worked. And though he was 69, he realized that he was in love. Truly, dumb-struck, turned around in love. He had never felt it before, and it hurt, just as much it intoxicated him.

Drunken with emotion, he leaned forward, took the wallet from her soft white hand.

“Yes,” he said, standing straight and dropping all pretense. “I’m Con.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yikes! It's fight scene day!

Thanks to my friend Amalia T., who always updates me on these exciting and wondrous days, I discovered just before the end of it that today is Fight Scene Day. So, I decided to pick out one of the fight scenes in my WIP...one that was there from the first ideas that were laid out in this never-ending piece of work.

You know, I really do have trouble with fight scenes. And now that I'm thinking of it, this book is full of them. So totally let me know if something is off.

Yay for themed days! I hope you get some enjoyment out of it...


“What is it, Sallie?” Amity asked, and Sallie could hear the nervousness in her voice.

She couldn’t explain it, but she knew it was true: “Something’s wrong,” Sallie said. She glanced down at Amity.

“What do you mean?” Amity asked, her eyes round. This unnerved Sallie. She didn’t know how she knew—she could feel it, across her neck and back and shoulders. She noticed Amity tensed, and pulled out a knife.

Evan stopped walking, and he put his hand on the hilt of his dagger.

They all glanced around. Sallie awkwardly pulled her leg over Ramey’s back and slid down, falling onto the ground. The horse whinnied, this time, nervously, and she thought of the vines from the day before. She looked up at the trees, but they didn’t look or sound like the trees from the day before.

And then suddenly, a large creature leapt out of the darkness in front of them. It was blacker than the sky and tall as a tree. It was covered in fur, thick as a building, and blacker than its black eyes. She was reminded of a bear…but something about its head didn’t seem right, to be a bear…

Ramey screamed and cantered back, and they all traveled with him, yelling and screaming as well.

The thing raised its arm and lumbered forward toward Sallie, and she watched, helpless, as its arm descended toward her. She felt a tugging at the back of her trousers, and moved backward as Amity pulled her behind a large boulder.

The thing moved toward Amity, faster than its size showed. “Watch out!” Sallie cried, but Amity already had hurled her knife at it.

The knife stuck fast in its side, and it roared, and swiped at them with long claws.

Evan leaped in front of them, his dagger out and in his hand. “You two stay back,” Evan yelled over his shoulder to the girls.

“And let you get killed?” Amity yelled. She grabbed a stick the size of a bat and ran toward the creature.

“Amity, get out of here!” Evan yelled. He ran after her. Amity glanced back, and swung with her whole body. The stick connected with its arm and broke in two. The creature hardly seemed to notice, but Sallie held her breath.

Amity ran back and clutched her hand, but now that she was safe, Sallie wasn’t paying any attention to her. She watched as Evan thrust and parried with the short blade.

The creature grunted, and raised its hand to swipe at Evan. He deflected it with his dagger, and it roared and reared, dripping tar.

“Stay focused!” Amity called. Her voice was shrill in Sallie’s ear. “He might hit you!”

“Oh, yes, I’m trying to get killed,” Evan shouted back, all attention on the beast. “Thanks for that!”

The beast snarled and advanced.

“Quick, get something to throw at it,” Amity said, and she released Sallie’s hand and scrabbled around on the ground.

Sallie fell to the dirt and ducked behind a boulder, trying to think around her headache. Trying to come up with something, to think of something she could do.

Her hands fell upon a thick and heavy branch, and she lifted it and threw it as far as possible. It just missed Evan, to which he swore, and bounced against the thing. It snarled and rumbled as a much more effective barrage of pebbles assaulted it from Amity’s cover.

“Great, guys, make it mad,” Evan said.

“It’s already mad,” Amity yelled. “You’re the one with the dagger, you get rid of it!”

“I’m working on it!” Sallie watched in horror as he flung a rock into the creature’s face. The thing reared, and Evan rushed forward, his dagger extended, but it easily knocked Evan out of the way with one balled-up fist. Out of the corner of her eye, Sallie saw Amity leave her and race forward.

He tried to stand, but tripped, but then Amity was there, and she grabbed his dagger and heaved it at the thing, already covered with sticky black.

She could hear Evan yelling something, but her mind was too numb to understand.

The thing seemed to grow as it swept its hand across the way, and it hit both Amity and Evan. Evan fell to the ground and stayed there. Amity and the dagger flew across the clearing and into a clump of trees, then fell to the ground. Sallie could hear the sickening thunk from her spot behind the boulder.

“No!” Sallie screamed. And she didn’t think, this time, but barreled forward, her bare hands extended.

The creature, bellowing in pain, reached out and suddenly she was plowing through the dirt. She slowed to a stop in a clump of trees, and rolled over. The trees began to make the hissing, slithering noises she knew all too well, now, and she felt the beginnings of vines as they crawled up her legs. She stared at the thing, her mind somehow clear through the pounding in her head and in her chest.

It came closer, huffing heavily as it approached.

And then, the creature’s rumble began to make sense. “Sah…llleee…”

Sallie felt all the blood drain from her face. “Evan…” she whispered, rooted to her spot.

The sun was glinting off the tarry muck that was the creature, and her head felt like it might explode…

It was reaching for her, and she could smell its disgusting smell, could feel the tar burning her skin…she clenched her teeth at the hurt…

She was sitting by a river. The trees moved gently in time to the soft wind that came across the body of water in the summer. The gentle breeze played with her hair, gently moving it, whispering secrets she couldn’t quite hear. Sallie giggled, dipping her feet into the water. The wind caressed some flowers near her, and their sweet scents rose into the air. The wind continued in its journey, rustling the leaves on the trees around her.

She didn’t even notice it, at first.

Then the wind howled around Sallie, tearing the chains of brown vine from her body. The trees bent in the fierce gale, and their tendrils wrapped around the thing. It was leaking a darker tar, and she watched as the branches tore at its breast, ripped it open, and smoky tendrils of black tore away from its body.

The wind tore clumps of dust from the ground and buffeted the trees and the creature. It roared, ripping at the branches that surrounded it, but the wind was relentless.

Sallie was standing tall in the fierce wind. Now, she stepped toward the beast. She was in charge, now. The wind blew harder, ruffling the entire Forest. She wanted to kill this beast, she wanted the wind to kill this thing, and she watched as it fell onto his back and began to dissolve into a tarry smoke, carried away in the wind. In the meantime, the broken brown vines were snatched about and torn apart, breaking into stunted sticks. She was focused, unmoving…

“Sallie!” Evan shouted. He was beside her, bent against the gale, his short hair flying in the wind, but his eyes focused and golden and burning.

“Your ankle,” she said.

“It’s fine,” he assured her. He was staring at her.

The wind blew, but she did not feel its force, and yet, she was too tired to understand, too suddenly exhausted. “Where’s Amity?”

Behind them, Ramey whinnied. Amity was sitting up near the horse, leaning against a rock, gingerly reaching toward her leg. The air swirled around them, swirled vines and smoke and dirt and dust.

“I can’t stand,” Amity said, looking up at them. Evan hurried to her side, limping slightly. He looked worried.

“We have to get out of here,” Sallie said. The wind faltered.

“We have to get out of here now,” Evan agreed. He picked up Amity carefully and stood.

Sallie moved forward, and her foot connected with something hard. It was Evan’s dagger, covered in tarry guck. She picked it up.

Then together, they stepped through the stubs that had been vines, through the flattened trees, out of the clearing and into the thick of the forest. Writhing, withering trees formed a dark, cloudy wave outside her vision, and she closed her eyes as they left the clearing in the dark forest behind them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sad face

I couldn't teach my exercise class tonight, and I accomplished very little today. Why? Because I have achieved my first-ever sprain, that I know of, anyway. Well, it was a sprain/strain, I guess. I went to the doctor and everything. Had it X-rayed. Showed my very, very swollen ankle (last night, it was like three times the size of the other one. The bones looked bulbous. It was so gross!). Now I'm following the rules of RICE, as everyone keeps telling me to: Rest, Ice (when I remember), Compress and Elevate.

I know in part it's probably from navigating over the snow and ice and general clutter of winter; but in part, it's because I'm a bit dumb about some things. Do you ever find that you think things just won't happen to you? Without any reason to think things like that? So, here is the major reason I think I hurt myself: I was teaching exercise classes while wearing running shoes when I should have worn cross trainers. I'm not even kidding. I mean, it was the other stuff, too. But it was because I figured, heck, why have a different sort of shoe when I already have one? What could happen? And then I taught in those running shoes, three days in a row, jumping forward and back and side to side and turning.

I should have guessed it when they didn't give me any leeway during that Zumba class I took.

So, it seems that I am forced to take a break from my regular schedule. Including teaching some of my classes. So now I'm just sitting at home, like a lump on a log. And it's just about killing me.