Monday, July 24, 2017

When Amphibians Attack: A What If? Scenario

Picture it: Sunday Night. Game of Thrones is over. The hard shelled members of the family are sleeping, the rest of us getting ready for bed. Suddenly, my husband calls out from the bathroom, his tone of voice not 911-emergency-urgent but tense enough to concern me. I hurry to him. Crawling up the wall is the biggest frog we. have. ever. seen.

What if . . . this frog is the beginning of some apocalyptic plague? What if it's a harbinger of doom? 

What if . . . a genie - instead of a prince or princess - was turned into a frog by someone disgruntled with the three-wish-making process? What if the next person who kisses the frog turns it back into a genie and gets a swamp-load of wishes?

What if . . . the tortoises invited their friend the frog over for a sleepover and forgot to tell us? 

Your turn! Is the frog a warning, a magically-cursed critter, or a playdate? Something else entirely? What would you do if you saw a big old frog crawling around your bathroom? (In case you're wondering, I ran away screaming - big surprise - while my husband scooped it into a cup then released it outside.)  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Library Luck, or Books Everywhere

Although right now the heat where I live makes my brain melt, it also does something amazing - it chases almost everyone else away. Mwahahaha! 

No, seriously. Come summertime all the snowbirds fly on back to wherever they live when it's not covered in snow. For full time residents here, this means all kinds of things, like less traffic on the roads and discounts to restaurants and . . . way less waiting for books at the library!

Yes, I am letting my geek girl flag fly because few things makes me happier than coming home with an armload of books from the library. New books that normally would've been plucked up by those pesky snowbirds are just sitting on the shelf as if waiting for me. Bestsellers and big to-do books I'd request then have to wait forever for, I now get the week they come out. (Who needs a vacation? This is my vacation. No sunscreen or bug spray required!)

I am fortunate that I can - and do! - buy lots of books. (The Barnes and Noble Cafe should name a drink after me.) But the library is a fantastic place to try out the work of new-to-you authors and explore different genres. As you can see from the tower on my nightstand:



This does not include the other stack of library books on a different bookshelf. Or the stack of books I recently bought. Or . . . Never mind.

How often do you go to your library? (I'm there once a week, pretty much.) How many books do you have right now sitting on your nightstand or on your Kindle? Does the population where you live change with the seasons or is it pretty much the same all year round?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Winter is Coming . . . .

Okay, not here in FL, where it is melt-your-face hot.

But it is on Game of Thrones and I. Cannot. Wait.

Even if it means this guy shows up -


From HBO.com

In preparation for Season 7 - starting July 16th! - my husband and I have been re-watching GoT from the very first season, and I am still blown away by how amazing it is.

One of my favorite things about the show is how no character is safe. No one. Anyone from a butcher's boy to a king is fair game. You only have to watch the end of the very first episode to see that. It drives the suspense so far up I watch every episode on the edge of my seat - even though I already know what's coming!

This brings me to the characters. Characters I love to hate - Cersei! Joffrey! Ramsay! - and ones I love to love - Brienne! Samwell! Davos! I know what all of them are about to do. I know the horrible decisions they're about to make and yet I sit on the couch yelling at the TV, begging them to do something, anything, differently this time. (Sansa, you're killing me! And Theon, please don't go back to the Iron Islands!)

And the dialogue! The clever quips! The names! My husband and I walk around quoting lines from the show, and in our house I am known as Mother of Tortoises. (It doesn't have the same ring as Mother of Dragons, I know, but I make it work.)

Yes, I am an adult (supposedly) but stories of all kinds - GoT, movies, books, my own creepy ideas  - make me feel like a kid at Christmas. It's like opening a wonderfully wrapped, giant box full of dragons and detectives and old women who see ghost children. People I know in "real life" often don't understand that but you all do.

It is known.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Do you have a favorite character? Line? Scene? Episode? (Just be careful of spoilers, please!) And if GoT isn't your thing, what is? I can always use more stories in my life. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG: The Long and the Short of It


Click here for more information

This summer, I'm considering working on a longer project, most likely either a horror novella or a collection of linked scary stories. This in itself is a challenge for me since my work tends to be on the shorter side. But I want to push myself. I want to set another goal AND achieve it.

That being said, I have a second goal - to take this new project and either self-publish it or submit it to smaller, niche publishers. Even though I self-published my two flash fiction collections, it was only in ebook form and it was more years ago than I care to think about. The publishing and reading world has since changed.

This is where you all come in. The depth and breadth of publishing and reading experience in this group is amazing, so I would love to hear your thoughts: Novella or linked stories? Self-publish or traditional? Ebook only or ebook plus?

Your advice, recommendations, suggestions, thoughts are all appreciated!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Perception - 101 Fiction


The little girl's a sweetie.

The old lady's crazy.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Depends on how you look at it.

And if you head over to 101 Fiction's June issue, you can read my story, Perception, and judge for yourself.

After all, the devil is in the details.


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I'm taking a blogging break for the rest of June. I'll still be around but won't be posting anything new (probably) until July's IWSG. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: And . . . Done!


For more information

Last month, I participated in the Story A Day challenge, where I set myself the goal of writing a story every Monday-Friday during May, hopefully ending up with a total of 23 stories.

I did it!

I set myself the task, and I saw it through to the end. I pushed myself creatively, emotionally and mentally, and I came out the other side stronger and more confident in my writing and in myself.

That is what I hope and want for you all!

Whether you try Story A Day, Camp NaNo, NaNo or a challenge you set for your writing and/or for yourself, go for it! You can do it. You are creative and persistent, smart and strong, and your IWSG family has your back. We are cheering you on!

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Please show my fellow co-hosts - JH Moncrieff, Jen ChandlerMegan MorganHeather Gardner - some IWSG love!

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Click here for more information
about the IWSG's new anthology

Monday, May 29, 2017

When the Snake Slithers In

The other day, literary agent Janet Reid wrote a fantastic post advising someone who'd received destructive feedback on their work AND on themselves as a writer. Even though Ms. Reid's words are geared toward the writing life, I think they work on a personal level as well.

Ms. Reid, referring to the beta reader, says, "She's quite clearly someone who takes great satisfaction in making people feel small . . . It's the behavior of a third grade bully. Again, not the conduct of a self-actualized adult . . . ."

Have you ever dealt with someone like that? I have, and I admit, I was gobsmacked (love that word!) by the incident. But as time went on, I became more upset with myself than the person because I continued to let the words hurt me. They would slither into my brain, a snake sinking its venomous fangs into my spirit, poisoning all that was creative and good and wacky in my mind. I struggled with how to stop it from happening, but I didn't have the antidote.

Until now. 

"There is no way her words won't continue to cut at you. Words do that. It will take a while to stop thinking about what she said. One way to do that (and you do need to stop that) is give yourself a mantra to say every time you think of her, and a specific thing to divert your mind to instead. (I use the rosary for this; when I think of something that is unsettling me I recite one Hail Mary and then turn my mind to something else. It takes practice but it works.)"

I probably won't use the Hail Mary (much to my maternal grandmother's chagrin) so I'm open to suggestions. I've got lots of affirming and positive quotes I can fish through but I'm turning to you all first. What's your antidote for that darn snake, your go-to mantra, your action plan? How do you keep the bullies from winning?