Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alternate Version Blogfest--Happy April Fools Day!

So, it's been some time. I've left my poor followers hanging out there in blogdom. I can see you were all busy...I was, too. But it kept me away from the blog.

However, Blogfests always pull me back, whether I'm prepared for them or not. Today, very last-minute, I signed up for two more, bringing the total of April 'fests I'm taking part in up to four--Tara @ Secret Story's bar scene blogfest (Eep, I have no idea what to share, for that); Anne Riley's murder scene blogfest! (Is saying hurray acceptable? I do know what I want to post for this, I think); and Kelly @ Kelly's Compositions' First Page blogfest (ugh...I hate my first pages!); and at last, tomorrow's, the Alternate Version Blogfest, hosted by Livia Blackburne, in which she tells us to write a small scene in a different style. OK. As usual, I'm not prepared, but not about to be left below it the beginning of a short story I wrote which I realize needs some work, and the alternate form(s) it has taken. Really a lot of fun, though mine are sort of off the wall...I feel like I cheated, really.

Happy April Fools Day, everyone!

*The original version*

Skin. That was all he could see. A wide expanse of skin, smooth and creamy and untouched. He imagined himself reaching out, pressing his warmth to the cold. It was so white.

Emerson Talbot Fredericks, Esq. looked away and turned back to his work as she flitted around. She knew what she was doing, he was sure. She dressed just the right way, wearing clothes that curved where she did. He shook his head. “Annie, can you leave or stay quiet? I’m trying to concentrate.”

“Sorry,” she said, turning. The expanse of skin was covered as she straightened. He tried not to stare at her lip while she bit it. “I didn’t think I was making that much noise.”

The *Rulebook* version

To improve interoffice relationships, please be mindful of your coworkers.
*Men/women must wear non-distracting, office dress.
*Men/women should respect each other in regards to how they wish to be treated.
*Men/women must maintain appropriate noise levels in office.
*Men/women must not solicit each other.

And, for good measure, the *Zombie version* (FYI, I know little to nothing about Zombies. Feel free to point out errors!)

Skin. That was all he could see. A wide expanse of skin, smooth and creamy and untouched. He imagined himself reaching out, pressing his warmth to the cold. It was so white. And he was so hungry.

Emerson Talbot Fredericks, Esq., tried to look away. He fought against himself. He turned back to his work, trying to remember that he had liked her once, had known her once, before he became what he was now. They had walked the streets together, carrying their axes, ready to swing them into the others.

But now, she was under his possession, and he freshly changed, freshly bitten himself. Now, she looked like a meal, and her bare skin didn't help. He shook his head. “Annie, can you leave?”

“Sorry,” she said, turning. The expanse of skin was covered as she straightened. He tried not to stare at her lip while she bit it. Beauty and brains, and all he wanted was...braaains. She would make a lot of noise.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drunk at first sight blogfest

Hello, again! Two days after Simon's PG/MG blogfest challenge, (you can read mine here if you're looking for that), it's time for another blogfest--this one, Drunk at first sight.

I have to admit, I found this to be more of a challenge for me than the previous one. You see...I don't really have much that fits for this, pre-written. drink alcoholic beverages. I did have one story, but it's not ready, and the scene I could have used was too *short*, if you can believe that. Also, I tend not to really write about drinking. I tend not to drink! And so I feel a bit like a fish out of water.

So I thought I'd write something new for Jon Paul's challenge (check out the other entrants!)...and instead I feel like, right now, it's an endless scene of nothing. But I think I love the characters. The only other thing is that it's horribly long. I'm sorry about that. You have my permission to skim (if you needed it).

So, here it is: my post about alcohol and relationships and such. Thanks for reading...


Green foil shamrocks were everywhere—cropping out of the corners, growing up the walls, hanging from the ceilings. It was a good thing the lights were dimmed, because if they had been on full, the green glare would have run everyone out of the bar. Except that the place was so packed, the light wouldn’t have been able to get far enough to bounce back.

Dan sat at a corner table, where he was able to view the crowd, but was still close enough to the bar to catch the bartender’s attention, if he needed another drink. He sipped his beer—his regular, pale and golden, and definitely not green. He never could force himself to down any green beer, even if it was St. Patrick’s Day—and he watched the bodies moving. Forward, backward, colliding with each other, pulling apart. Dancing. One girl spilled her drink all over her shirt, cheered, and then pulled it off; she was wearing a little tank top underneath, so tight it showed everything. Someone covered her with a sweater and steered her out of his view, while two men followed. She was drunk. Happy and drunk.

He took another sip.

It was hard to see anything, hard to hear anything. He wondered why he had come. Why he came every year. Why it was so important to him to see humanity rolling and reeling. Maybe because of Karen—his Karen. Because she had enjoyed it, and now she was gone.

"There’s nothing like watching people.” Hard lemonade was her favorite, but on St. Patrick’s Day, she always had a glass of green beer on the side. She had a sip of it, asked him to try it. When he refused, she pushed it aside, and they both forgot it until the end of the evening. “Except for talking to them.”

“Not always.” He could feel the smile pulling at the corners of his lips. 

She wore a triumphant look on her face--she knew she had him. “No. Always. Even the crazies. The crazier, the better.”

“Maybe not.” He leaned forward here, took her hand.

"You know, maybe we’re the crazy ones,” she said. She was starting to get tipsy. “Crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy—” 

He was bumped from behind, knocked out of his reverie. A girl with short blonde hair fell into the chair beside him. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry.”

"It’s okay.” He kept his tone short, so that she’d get the hint and leave him alone.

She didn’t. Instead, she settled herself down. “I’m knocking into everyone, tonight.”

"It happens.” He tried to create some distance between them, while he tried to get back into his head. Back to Karen. He took a sip of his beer. It wasn’t even all that good.

“Do you mind if I sit here? I mean, since I’m here already?” She had a shot in her hand—one of the night’s specials. Small, and green. He grunted.

“Thanks, so much. It’s a mad house.” She set it down. “Oh, I’m so ready for this to be over.”
“For what to be over?”

She smiled, and lifted the drink. “It’s my first time.”

“Oh?” She looked older than 21. Still young. Too young. He glanced around, and wished vainly that he had dyed the gray out of his hair.

Not gray. White. He had to realize that by his age, hair couldn’t be called distinguished or gray—only white.

She didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she was sitting with the oldest man in the room. “My first time getting drunk, I mean. I really didn’t want to, unless it was worth it.”

Now he was interested. Karen would have wanted to know. “You found something that made it worth it?”

“Yeah, no, I didn’t. Not one thing.” She smiled at him. “A bunch. My family. I have a horrible family, you know? Just awful. And my boyfriend. He’s an idiot. And I think I’m about to be laid off. Company’s trying to save some money.” She lifted the drink. “Cheers!”

He tapped his beer cautiously against her small glass, and then watched as she drained it. She sucked in her cheeks as she set it down, and leaned back.


“Terrible. Just wretched. And it did nothing for me.” She frowned. “How many do you think I’ll have to have?”

“More than one,” he said. “Obviously. How many have you had?”

She looked up toward the ceiling, obviously counting in her mind. “Like, five. Two shots, a martini, a glass of wine and a margarita.”

He took another sip. “Either you’re drunk already, or this is the reason you’ve never been drunk before.”

She sighed. “I guess I’ll just get a beer. Green, maybe. So at least I’ll get that awful dye into my system. Maybe that’ll do something. I just felt like being a little destructive, you know?” She began to dig through her purse. “Do you want one?”

He shook his head, and watched as she waved the barkeeper over. He brought her a clear mug of green liquid, foaming over. She thanked him, paid him. “This is my last one,” she told him.

“That might be a good idea,” Dan said, as the barkeeper walked away. “Getting drunk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ides of March! - Middle Reader love scene blogfest

Welcome to the Ides of March! Today is the day Simon C. Larter picked to host his Middle reader love scene. You can read more about this and see rules and who all signed up here; in the meantime, I wrote this scene (just now, as per my usual), and I'm just going to post it right now, because I'm too anxious about it. (I've still got a bit of time, but oh, well.) So skip down to below the line to read it, if you are in a hurry.

But if not, for those of you who don't know anything about the Ides of March, here's a fun little fact.

In the days of the ancient Romans, calendar dates were could be told by three set dates in a month. The Kalends were the first of the month, the Nones were the 5th, and the the Ides fall on...the 13th.

Are you asking yourself, what happened to the 15th of March?

Well, in March, May, July and October, the Nones and Ides fall on different dates. The Nones fall on the 7th day of the month, and the Ides fall on the 15th...and thank goodness, too. Because now we have a way of remembering that July is one of those special months that takes the Ides on a different day. And if we read something that says the Ides of a different month, say, August or January, is the 15th, we can revel in the fact that we know better.

Good ol' Romans. If you're interested in more of this, I found this article that seems to be pretty informative. 

Without further ado: here is my entry for the blogfest!

Their parents had to work late, and Dustin and his brother Craig were on their own. But that night, Craig had a friend over. A girl. She wasn’t like the girls in Dustin’s class. She was what their father would have called “over the top,” which seemed to be just the way Craig liked girls. She had long dangly earrings and very curly, long hair, and she smiled at Dustin when she walked in the door.

“Hi, Champ.”

No one ever called Dustin anything but his full name. Not even his parents.

She was wearing a plaid jacket with fur around the collar, zipped tightly over her chest. She had on a short skirt over plaid leggings.

“Stop staring, Dustin,” Craig hissed.

The girl heard. “Craig, it’s fine. Really.” She smiled at Dustin, and his stomach felt funny. “It’s okay, Champ.” She leaned over and whispered loudly. “I like plaid.”

Her name was Erica, and she stayed for dinner, which Craig took care of—they ordered pizza, because that was easiest, he said, and fastest. Erica giggled.

After dinner, Craig told Dustin that they would be up in his room for a while, studying, and that afterward, he would take care of “the dishes.” He made bunny ears with both hands when he said it, and Erica laughed again, but Dustin just rolled his eyes. There were no dishes—just the pizza box. And Dustin was pretty sure he’d end up having to throw that out himself.

“Stay here, Dustin,” Craig said.

They went up the stairs, and Dustin stayed at the kitchen table. He had a little math to do, but that was it. He pulled it out, finished the problems in his text book. He threw away the pizza box, as he had thought would happen. Craig and Erica were still upstairs.

She looked nothing like the girls in his class. He liked the way she called him Champ. And he liked her hair. The curls looked light and fluffy. He wondered, if he had been older, would she have come over to see him, instead? What if she were still sitting at the table, with Dustin, while Craig was wondering what was going on?

It was quiet. Their parents wouldn’t be home for another few hours, probably. Dustin went upstairs, to his own bedroom.

The door to Craig’s room was partially closed, but he could hear something, like a snuffling. He looked in, quietly.

Craig and Erica were on Craig’s bed, under the sheets. Her curls were everywhere, spilling over them both. It was awkward, and both of them were moving in strange ways, all legs and arms.

Dustin couldn’t look away at first. Then he realized that there were plaid leggings and a plaid vest on the floor, mixed in with his brother’s blue jeans.

The funny feeling in his stomach grew, and he walked away, to his room, and carefully closed the door. He sat down on the edge of his bed. He couldn’t hear them, anymore. But he could hear her.

“It’s okay, Champ.”

Fulfilling a promise: rewards before blogfest week

Hey! I'm here! I really am!

I promised in my last post, before I had a fairly long break, that I would give awards, tell some truths, and tell some lies. I didn't lie! Almost, but not quite! Because, of course, tomorrow is Simon C. Larter's PG Love scene blogfest. And if that had been my next post, then I wouldn't have done all of this. And then I would have lied. But since I didn't, no lies were spoken.

Do you follow? I hope so.

OK, so to start it off, all of my awards are on the side, or will be soon. If they aren't on the side, then they're in the previous few posts. First of all, I want to open up the Circle of Friends reward to all of my followers--I really am just so excited at the number of people who have added me to their reading list, and it's just so are all lovely and friendly, and deserve it!

I actually have been stressing about who and how I want to award the rest to, so I want to give a shout out and re-award the other four ribbons (Creative Writer award, Sugar Doll award, One Lovely Blog award and Lesa's Bald Faced Liar Creative Writer award) first of all to the four lovely people who gave them to me--whichever you so choose to take, gals, because I think you're all wonderful, talented and fun to follow:

Elle Straus
Amalia T.
Karen Amanda Hooper and
Stephanie Thornton

Sorry that I don't have more to hand out--I'd love to give back more, but I'm afraid I only have the five for you to gather and choose from, although I think you mostly all have all of them.

Then, I want to also especially *hug* and hand out the Sugar Doll award to some especially sweet blogging buddies. This goes to Jon Paul, who made me smile with his comments, Tricia @ Tailspinning, who is so wonderful and welcoming in her blogging ways, Shannon Messenger, who was one of the first to add me, and who makes me laugh with her Shannon shame, and Laura Canon, whose blog has a quiet quality, but is interesting.

Now, as for my truths/lies, the only thing I remember I'm supposed to do. I've sort of shortened it, because I need all the time I can get to prepare for the two upcoming blogfests this week (one hosted by Jon Paul on St. Patty's Day, when I perform the Highland Fling at work): here are my four lies and four truths. Which is which?

1. We traveled a lot when I was younger, and so I have been to 48 of the United States, as well as several other countries.
2. One of the states I haven't been to is Louisiana. Another is Hawaii.
3. I am allergic to fur, but I have had some very interesting pets...among them, a snake, several frogs (Hoppy, Junior, Carla and Sadie), at least a dozen goldfish, and now I have a pet pig, Wilbur. I know, kind of unimaginative, but he really looked like a Wilbur!
4. If I could, I would ballroom dance professionally for the rest of my life. I teach some, though I'm by no means like the professionals. I briefly considered trying to get on a soap opera so ABC would contact me to go on Dancing With the Stars.
5. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn't know for sure, usually. I had several ideas throughout my life: I wanted to be an angel, a Barbie doll, a mermaid, an artist, a marine biologist (for about a week), and then by the time I turned 13, I knew I wanted to write. Who knows which of these is most attainable.
6. I love to color--especially with crayons. The look of the wax, they way they smell, the way they write on paper--it's magical!
7. Kirsten Dunst walked right by me at work one day, and though I smiled at her and saw her, I had no idea it was her until later, when one of my coworkers started to talk about how nice she was.
8. I have a twin brother. We're really close, and finish each other's sentences and all that behavior people think is typical of twins (it's not always). But we don't look anything alike, so most people get really confused when we're around, and we always have to convince them that we're related. Oh, well.

So! Which is true, and which is false? There are four of each. Have fun....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A few loose ends, which aren't completely tied

Hello! It's been a while!

I think everyone has been posting such lovely exciting stuff. Contests, like Elle Strauss' new agent contest (congrats!), Amber Murphy hosting a B-Day giveaway (Happy Birthday!), and Sara McClung's March Madness thing-a-ma-bob (Hooray?)! (I think this is all of the ongoing ones I know of, right now.) Tons of award-giving and lying and truth telling. Lots of discussion. And many upcoming Blogfests!

And I haven't even thanked the very sweet Stephanie Thornton @ Hatshepsut for giving me such a tres awesome award:

Thanks, ever so! I can't tell you how excited I was to receive this! Really! It made my day. :)

And, I still haven't passed on any of my awards...not one. I'm starting to feel guilty. I think, gosh, everyone already has one! my next post...I will go through and gift all of my awards. All five, I should say. And too bad if you already have it! I'm giving it again. :) And I'll do some lies and some truths and will try to remember other such things. So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, one little shout-out to a pretty interesting blog post I read today: Amalia T.'s post is on heroes. And it's awesome. And I want to talk about heroes till I'm blue in the face right now, because I get all worked up about the whole concept, the idea of them, how they work in narrative and all that. Yep. I believe the term is geek out?

So check everything out...and have fun in blogland. (Blogdom?)

Happy Tuesday, all.