Friday, April 30, 2010

Two 'fests a-blogging


Did you know that May 1 is the deadline for *two* blogests? Charity Bradford's baking one is the first one I heard of, so that one gets to be put here above the other. Check out her blog; she's got some cool stuff to say. And hey, she's a marathon runner! Way to go!

Read the other entries and enjoy!

Then second is Lilah Pierce's last lines blogfest...a toughie! I love last lines, but how can I just give them away? I think I have a few, some rather nebulous (which is often how I like 'em), even more so because I am not going to offer much explanation.

Check out the other entrants, and again, enjoy!

~~Baking Blogfest~~

She cracked the eggs open so hard, the white spattered onto her hand, and the yolk broke before it left the shell. She didn’t care. Nor did she care that a piece had broken off the shell. It wouldn’t kill him.

She stirred and scraped, turning up the heat, turning it down, turning it up again. She watched as the eggs scrambled, the white blending with the yellow. As they began to turn brown.

She swore, and pulled the pan off the burner, almost dropping it—she swore again, under her breath, so he wouldn’t hear her. Damn him. That she still cared she might wake him, when she was busy trying to serve him.

The eggs were done. She popped some bread into a toaster, and bit her thumb as she waited. It popped, and she gathered the slices, burning her hand. She slathered butter on, and the first piece split in half. The second was more sturdy, and she continued on, toasting more, buttering them.

She dumped the eggs into a bowl, put two rows of toast out on a plate, put it all on a tray. She looked at the clock. It was eight. In the morning. On a weekend.

She hated him.

She carried the tray upstairs. Had it been before, she would have picked out fresh flowers in a vase. The eggs would have been creamy and delicious.

But that had been before, and this was now. So she marched down to where he was, sleeping in the bedroom. She cleared her throat loudly. He didn’t move.

“Wake up!”

He jumped, and she stood over him, threatening, the tray firm in her hands.

“I was sleeping.” And now he was whining.

“I was, too.” The tray was heavy. Didn’t he understand?

He looked like he was about to roll over. "I didn’t tell you to get up.”

She rolled her eyes. “Sit up.”

"Yes, sir."

"I didn't tell you to talk."

He chuckled a little. She dumped his food down in front of him, burnt eggs, bits of breaded butter, a sad little empty cup she had forgotten to fill with orange juice.

“Happy Anniversary. Now eat your damn breakfast.”

~~~~~~Last lines-1~~~~~~~~~~

There was a lot to say, but Sallie didn’t, and neither did he. They sat, mere inches away, and stared at the sky, and breathed together.

For just a few minutes.


That night, there was still no bread or eggs in the house, and Liz told Derek that she was breaking up with him. She didn’t give him a reason, and he didn’t ask for one. He packed up his belongings, whistling as he did so, and he moved out the next day.

Liz wondered what it was like to be in love and to have someone be in love with you.

It was Monday.

She was the other woman.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Body Language blogfest

A quick draft of a short story I thought up years ago..this gave me a chance to work a bit on something new! Anyway--here it is, rough and tumble, and ready for Harley D. Palmer's body language blogfest! Go check out the other entrants!

(Update to add link!)


Amy had been talking to someone, but she turned, her skirt swirling, and then she saw him. She stared, and he did, too.

She cocked an eyebrow, tilted her head in that way he used to like. Like she was issuing a challenge.

Okay, so maybe he had stared too long. He nodded, and took a step toward her. Maybe he should say something. Or not. It was all so awkward. He lifted his hand in a sort of wave, then let it drop back.

She looked amused. She twisted back and forth, crossing her arms behind her back, gripping her elbows. Just like always.

An elder woman pushed past Tyler, shoving him further even more. He glanced over at Amy; she grinned, and stepped forward as well, opening her mouth.

A wrinkly-faced man interceded, and she turned toward him, dropped her hands, and twitched her skirt back and forth.

“Hey, Ty?” No one called him Ty. He glanced at her; the girl, her cousin’s daughter’s friend’s whatever who was patiently serving her term as attendant, chuckled nervously. “Lana said to forget the sandwich, she’s not hungry anymore. Too nervous.” He nodded mutely.

"She wants you to go and fix the flowers on the pews, though. She’s very nervous about them, I guess. She hasn’t stopped talking about them yet!”

“I got ‘em. Tell her not to worry.” The girl smiled, and he took three steps back, then entered the sanctuary—away from Amy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

I was reading Jon Paul's blog yesterday, about famous author's favorite books, and started to post an essay in response to his question: What are your favorite books?

As I told him, I have a list of favorite colors, and I keep adding to it--so there's no way that I could choose just one favorite book!!! No way! But the question has come up before, and there are a few I remember, off the top of my head, that I almost always think of, when I think of favorites. Some are best categorized by author, some are not. But here are some of my faves.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee--I don't know what it is about this book, but I think it has me in its spell, even though it's been years since I read it. I loved it then, and without remembering why, I love it now.

"Harry Potter" series, by J.K. Rowling--I've loved Harry Potter for a long time. I think sometimes that she has given me inspiration, actually.

"Stardust," by Neil Gaiman, and incidentally, "The Graveyard Book" ... oh, and let's just toss in "Anansi Boys." Probably my very favorite ones of his many books, though I enjoy and love everything he's written. Talk about inspiration!

Agatha Christie--she is pretty much the only mystery writer I read. She's so prolific, too! I have loved everything of hers that I've read. Especially the stand-alones--those are really my favorites, of hers.

O. Henry--the first story I read of his was "The Gift of the Magi," and as much as I like that one, I think it gets overdone. He is a really fun writer, though, and I love all of his short story collections.

Isaac Asimov--let me clarify this by saying, not everything! But I do enjoy his short stories--and have you read the Norby the Robot series? *Love* that!

"Mary Poppins" by P.L. Travers, and "Mr. Popper's Penguins" by Richard and Florence Atwater, are books that my dad used to read to me at night, and have always been really special to me. On the same note, he also read all three of the original trilogy of Star Wars books (based on the movies, of course, with pictures from the movie). While I can't claim them as favorites, they were also special.

"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Robert C. O'Brien. OK--have you read this book? Seriously. Read it. It won a newberry award in the 70s. I should preface this with a statement that I was in love with mice when I was little. But even if you aren't, this is absolutely fantastic.

"Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad--So, I like a wide variety of books. Have you ever seen Apocalypse Now? I haven't, but from what I understand, this is what it was based on. Most of my classmates hated reading this book, and I can't say I blame them...but the symbolism was so exciting, and the ideas so dark and twisted, that I spent a lot of time enjoying it. Go figure.

"The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell. What a twisted concept! But I love these off the wall ideas that make it in literature. This deserves its spot here.

Which leads me into works by Shirley Jackson. (The Lottery among them.) My aunt thought these were twisted, as well--and they are. But such strange ideas! At least they're only words, here.

There are more--ones I'm not remembering off hand--but these are the first ones that pop into my head when trying to make that "favorite" determination.

So, what about you? What are your favorite stories/authors/books?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sweet, sweet sunshine!

It's a deliciously beautiful day, today. I want so badly to go running outside--literally, with my arms wide open and my head tilted back to feel the sun, like I did when I was little, alone in our backyard. It would be so bright that, with my eyes closed, I could see dark red, no black, and I could see spots when I opened my eyes.

I want to go out right now, but I am a working gal, now. (Four jobs, technically, though three are part time. Oh, and I tutor Latin once a week, as well.) And tonight, I teach a class at our local YMCA, so that will cut into the evening hours, as well.

I love to be doing things, and to be busy, but it's days like this that make me want to play hooky. I looked ahead at the weather for the week, and lined up everything I'm doing alongside the schedule. When can I go ride my bike again? (I took it for a spin the other day, and even got to ring the bell! I love my bike.) When will I have time to go for that once-a-week jog I'm trying to make myself keep up with?

It cuts into writing time, too, when you get so busy. That's what happens to me, every so often. Then I wish I didn't have to work; that I could spend every day doing what I want, reading, studying languages, writing, jogging, dancing, gardening, cooking, and I suppose even some deep cleaning, because *someone* would have to...

That sounds busy, too, doesn't it? And then I remember--but wait! What about choir? And what about--

Some people have gambling problems. Perhaps I have a busy-ness problem. But I seriously have a hard time imagining not doing much for more than a day at a time...if that much. Even with the sun shining.

I can still run around outside over my break, I suppose. I can still find time to enjoy the sun. Even if it means sitting on my front step to eat my supper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jamie love

It's official. I'm in love with Jamie Oliver.

Yes, the Food Revolution guy. Here are my main reasons as to why:

He's British, and so has one of the most fantastic accents in the world. IMO.
He's British, and he calls the girls on the show "Sweetheart" and "Love" and all sorts of terms of endearment.
He's British, and so when he calls the guys "Brother," it sounds like he's saying "Brotha."
Have I mentioned that he's British?
He can cook, and thanks to his cookbooks, I am becoming a slight/light/working at it gourmand. I think.

So, I have two of his cookbooks, and I'm so impressed. Never before would I have dreamed of touching fish with my bare hands. Fresh(ish) fish. And rubbing anything into the flesh was a no no. Nor would I have thought of putting broccoli or cauliflower into my mac and cheese (made with feta and cheddar, and rice noodles). Nor would I have thought of making lemon dressing, and mixing and matching salad toppings.

Jamie, you totally rock.

I think that when the baking blogfest rears its head, I will have to dedicate it to Jamie.

Edit: Picture added to appease Amalia.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bar scene blogfest

OK, I don't do a lot of writing about bars, but this is from a WIP I happened to have sitting around, where I happened to actually write about a bar. There's a bit in the middle (where the ellipsis is) where I cut part of a scene, but the whole bit in the bar is there. If that makes sense.

I got my two scenes for the 10th up really late, so take a look at them, too, if you're interested--Murder 'Fest and First Kiss Blogfest, yesterday. This one, I wanted to make sure to get up ASAP! Then check out Tara's page for links to more.


The bar was like a trip back in time; it had a Hawaiian theme, and apparently it was “Fifties night,” part of the bar’s special. Lindsey rolled her eyes at him and grinned, as if to say, “Isn’t this all chintzy and cheap? But for a free beer, may as well take part,” and he felt again like she was someone a little different, this time, someone he could maybe talk to and think about safely.

Together, they separated from the rest of the group and sat down at the bar. There was a sad-looking paper palm tree wilting on the countertop next to a display of three empty, fake coconut cups. Austen drummed his knuckles on the counter while Lindsey made small talk, played with her hair, and brushed against his arm four or five times.

When the barkeeper came over, “Sex on the Rocks, please,” Lindsey said, and she giggled.

The man nodded. His arms were thicker than his neck, and he had “Mom” tattooed on his arm. He looked at Austen expectantly.

“I’ll have the special,” he said.

He turned around and started filling cups as others took up the stools and tables around them. Austen thought it seemed awfully full for 5:30 on a Tuesday at a crappy little bar full of fake pineapples, but then, he didn’t know what the norm was.

“I hope this doesn’t sound stupid,” Lindsey said. “I was just wondering if you’d mind telling me a bit about yourself. I mean, I know we work together—”

“But we don’t know each other?” he said, and he smiled.

“Yes, exactly,” she said.

“Not much to say, really,” he said. “Grew up near here. Went to school near here. Now I work here.”

“Are your parents still living nearby?” she asked. “My parents are miles away. It can be nice, but sometimes it’s nicer to have them close.”

The barkeeper turned back, then, with her drink and a beer for him, and slipped the glasses toward them, before moving down the bar to customers more interested in heavier drinks.

“Actually,” he said, “My parents both passed on when I was young.”

She paused, her cup halfway to her lips, and she looked over at him uncertainly. “They both died?”

He shrugged.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. Then, apparently at a loss for words, she took a big gulp of her drink.


They sat at the bar in an awkward silence, each sipping from their cup. His beer tasted sweet, too sweet, and he felt it trickle down into his stomach. He didn’t much like beer. He didn’t much like this bar.

He drained his glass, and looked over at Lindsey, who was taking small sips and looking very uncomfortable.

“Want to get out of here?” he asked.

Eep! Murder scene blogfest/first kiss blogfest!

So, not realizing what day it was, I only just now got onto the blog. Checked to make sure that murder scene day was tomorrow.

I discovered it was today. My reaction?

"Nooooooo!" Fall to my knees shock! Hands outstretched, in the classic Hero-desperation mode! How did I lose track of days? And how did April pass me by so quickly?

So, today is murder scene day. And that means it's also First Kiss blogfest day. And I still have--well--a *little* bit of time.

*Murder Scene*
So, this is a WIP that I posted a teensy bit of, the other day. I want to give a bit of background; the mc is a lawyer involved with a murder trial. His POV changes, but this is his re-imagining of the ordeal--he becoming the murderer, himself. It's the only thing I have prepared to toss your way, at the moment, although it needs some work. And, it's actually quite short! Here it is.

In his mind, he saw Mrs. Haroldson. This time, she was wearing a red dress. He saw her with the neighbor, the two of them sitting together on a couch, her neck bent back in laughter at something funny he had said. The ringing noise in his ears screamed at him. He knew what to do. He went to his house, got a gun, and returned. The neighbor was afraid of him, but Emerson didn’t hear a thing. He shot him five times, though he was dead after three. Mrs. Haroldson looked, then. She screamed at him, but he couldn’t hear. He squeezed his eyes shut. He could see it. He could feel it. White, smooth skin, and this time, it was cold.


OK, now go read the other entries at Anne Riley's page--she's the one who started that 'fest.

*First Kiss*
Again, a little background.When I write stories, I usually feel like the major players are receiving the first kisses (or at least the first ones that count). In this case, this is the first kiss that counts, to the mc. And, it's with an escaped convict. So that should fit in with both 'fests, right? I hope this will satisfy (and be short):

“I’m not changing the rules,” he said. He took a step toward her. “I can’t.”

“Just stay back, okay?” she said.

“You still don’t believe me,” he said, and she thought he seemed insulted.

“I don’t believe you,” she said. She leaned back. “I think you’re going to kill me.”

He stepped toward her, and she stiffened against the refrigerator. He stood and stared at her for a moment, and then he grabbed her arms, pulled her forward, gently tipped her head back, and he kissed her.

He tasted of peanut butter and bitterness, of iron and of steel. He kissed her, and she knew, she knew, that he needed something, and it wasn’t to kill her.

He stepped away, then, and she stared at him, all too aware that her breathing was shallow and that her shirt was all wrinkled.

“I didn’t do it,” he said. “What they want me for.” She stared at him, and flinched, and knocked one of the magnets against the floor. She was sweaty all over, she realized. She was too hot.

And now, go read others at Melissa's blog. And see you tomorrow for some bar-hopping stories....hopefully...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And oh, once writ...

So, hello, there!

I feel like it's been some time since I've posted anything other than a blogfest entry. I am really sorry. Honest! I've been busy outside of blogdom. Not that that's as important as you all, of course...but the deadlines are more pressing.

So, when did I hit 42 followers? I can't believe I've come this far, or that that many of you actually think I'm follow-worthy! It's an honor to watch that number rise, however fast or slow.

So, I just thought I'd pop on, and say hello. Let you know about more upcoming blogfests. I'm starting to worry that I'm going to forget them! Charity Bradford is doing a baking one; Melissa @ The Guardian is doing a First Kiss one (on the same day as murder blogfest day, so that could be interesting); there's one I just signed up for today, through Harley Palmer, in which MCs use body language instead of actually talking. I totally just signed up for a Deleted Scenes blogfest through My Literary Jam and Toast (tres exciting--Amalia T., this one's for you!) Oh, I'm addicted to blogfests, and it seems that even more of them are popping up all month! Am I missing any?

Oh, which reminds me--thanks to everyone who gave their advice and their opinion for the first page blogfest, hosted by Kelly--you all helped me so much. I got great feedback. I'm still going through and reading other posts for that blogfest, actually. Hopefully I'll get a little further tomorrow.

So anyway, I guess I just wanted to write this post for a specific reason, which I'm sort of hemming and hawing about. One of my goals this year was not to try and publish my novel--no, that needs way more work--but to try and submit a short story (or more than one) to literary magazines, to see if I could get it published. So, I did. And I haven't heard back, and I'm not expecting anything...but...I did it. Hey, it's worth a shot, right? And it's a step forward toward a goal. So, I'll try to keep you all up to date with that. I almost don't care what happens (but I do, totally)--I'm just proud I took this step.

Which reminds me of one last thing: my truths and lies. You were supposed to guess--four of each. I never quite did tell you which were true, did I? No. Check out the original post here.


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. FALSE--but sneakily so. We've been to 47 states.
2. One of the states I haven't been to is Louisiana. Another is Hawaii. TRUE! And the third is Alaska.
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! FALSE--I do want to have a pet pig, though. But I'd probably name him Hammie. Or her Porcia. I am allergic, though, and we did have a tarantula...but that's another story.
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. True, but when I say briefly considered, don't take me too seriously--I just wished I could.
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. Ha. True. I did want to be all of those things. Even the Barbie Doll!
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! FALSE! I kind of feel mean. I love to color...with markers. I can't stand crayons most of the time. I only use them if they're Crayola, actually. Then it's...okay. But they've got nothing on the markers!
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. True! I almost died when I found out. Seriously. Couldn't someone have told me?
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. False. I have an older brother, and though we are close, we are complete opposites, people say, and absolutely not like that. And we are both glad for it.

So, that's that. Peace out, and sweet dreams till morrow...or, if it's morrow, sweet daydreams till night.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First page...*sigh*

Well, I've mentioned before that I can't seem to refuse a challenge, but today's blogfest, brought to us by Kelly @ Kelly's Compositions, is a challenge I really believe I need to take part in. Because, as so many people do, I hate the first chapter of my WIP. I can't seem to get it right. This is the latest incarnation of probably at the very least, twelve different versions...yikes. So, if you enjoy ripping apart people's work, rip away...I'll take any and all comments.

Thanks for hosting, Kelly--and please, readers, be sure to check out the other posters.

And if you're here for yesterday's Alternate Version blogfest, well, look at the post directly below this one!

Sallie Kingston sank down onto her knees in the dirt, and put her fingers over the words, to feel the engraving as she had when she was younger. Helena, 1851. Death knows life’s secrets.

It was one of the few markers in the graveyard still inscribed with a name, one of the fewer marked by a date; it was engraved so deeply that, centuries later, Helena still lived on. At least for Sallie.

She folded herself against the stone to read it over again, one last time before going home, before her mother started to wonder, and then she stood. Yellow leaves fell from her lap like rain. Her knees were sodden, and she tried to wipe them down, but only made it look worse. She looked out beyond the front of the graveyard, to the small house she shared with her mother; it was a bit less than a mile away, but there was nothing in the way, and she could see it clearly, the windows lighting up as the sky darkened. As long as her mother wasn’t waiting for her at the door, Sallie could clean herself up, and she wouldn’t know.

Unless she asked. Sallie wasn’t exactly the world's greatest liar.

She should have gone straight home, probably, but sometimes she stayed after to study, so her mother would probably assume that’s where she was now. Maybe she would have been, too. But that had been before Trina Smithson had tormented her at school, before she had gotten in trouble in one of her classes for dozing off. Before the others had whispered about her as she walked through the halls. She was tired out, and now she was waiting for—well, just waiting to forget, a little. To not think about the day—but more to forget about the night.

Nights had never been easy, but they were mostly manageable. Her mother was overly concerned when something like this came up, and it made Sallie uncomfortable. It wasn’t anything, really. Sometimes, she just worried. Or her dreams woke her, sometimes—something just wasn’t right about them. They were nonsensical and gray.

It was much easier to forget, here and now, in her sanctuary.