Monday, October 4, 2021

Oh, October!

October is one of my favorite months! We finally get cooler weather here in Florida. Our household celebrates birthdays. And all things spooky take center stage. 


I do read, write and watch scary stuff all year long, but I like to ramp it up in October, binge on stories of things that go bump in the night. I've got stacks of books to choose from and jotted notes of movies and TV shows, but I'd love to hear your recommendations.


*** What books and/or stories had you checking under the bed before going to sleep? What movies and/or TV shows had you turning on every light in the house? What was it that made your skin crawl? ***


Wishing you all a wonderful month and a Happy Halloween! 


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Oddly Compelling

Lately, I'm finding a number of things oddly compelling. I can't seem to stop focusing on them, and I'm not exactly sure why. 


For instance, I'm drawn to the phrase oddly compelling. 😁


Here are some more examples: 


* September. This month always makes me think of school supplies and cooler weather, fresh notebooks and sweaters, even though I've been out of school for many – many! – years, and I won't feel a cool breeze here in Florida until October. 


* My flash fiction story, "Oh, Brother." I have no idea where this one came from, but the main character's voice spoke up loud and clear. It's also a time-travel type story, something I don't believe I've ever written before, and the whole thing is structured as a letter to someone. I totally enjoyed writing it, and since it made the cut as a finalist for a contest, I guess it didn't turn out too badly. 


* A longer writing project. An idea has been ducking and hiding at the edges of my creative playground for some time now. The problem is, I can't quite see or hear it. I know it's there and I know it's something, but I don't know what – a novel, a novella, a story collection? I'm trying to give it space for it to show me, to see if it wants to slip down the slide or hang from the monkey bars. I'm trying to be patient, but I want to play already!


* Samantha Downing's novel, For Your Own Good. It is so much fun in a totally bizarre, insane way. I can't stop thinking about it! 


* Walking. If I did the math correctly - and that's a huge if - I don't think I'm going to complete the 500 miles for the walking challenge. It's possible, but I'm not sure I have it in me to put that much pressure on myself. I am going to keep at it though, and whatever miles I end up walking will still be more miles than I walked last year. I don't know if this is pure determination or pure stubbornness on my part, but either way, I have to finish, no matter what it looks like. 



Have you found anything oddly compelling lately? What is your September/Fall looking like? 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Frog Moments

As I write this post, it's raining outside and two baby frogs are hanging out on my office window. They startled me at first because, as you all know by now, when I see something moving at the window, my first thought is monster/psycho/zombie. But now I'm enjoying watching them, enjoying their company. (And as long as they stay outside, they're adorable.


I mention this moment because it made me smile. I've been kind of "meh" about stuff lately, everything from reading to writing. There are some reasons and there are no reasons, if that makes sense. I've struggled with this before, but this time around, I'm having trouble shaking it. So I'm trying to focus on positivity, on things that make me happy, laugh, bring me joy, and I thought I'd share a few recent examples in case you all also need a "frog moment" or two.



Here are three posts that should - hopefully! - shake off any writing blues:

Advice for the Demoralized Writer by James Scott Bell 

Stay in the Fight by John Gilstrap

The Most Significant Choice of Your Writing Career by Jessica Conoley






How about a feel good read that includes books, libraries and a cast of quirky characters you'll love to root for? Then make a note to pick up The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson! (I got my hands on an ARC – it's out 8/31/21.)






We went old school and thoroughly enjoyed re-watching "Jaws" and "Jurassic Park." We're also re-watching "Seinfeld" from Season 1 – still hilarious! 


I have fallen hard for "Firefly Lane" (Netflix.) It's not my usual thing, and I'm not exactly sure why I enjoy it so much, but hey, not everything needs to be analyzed to death, right? Unfortunately for me, I thought it was a self-contained show, so when the last episode ended on a cliffhanger you can probably imagine the angst and drama in my house when I realized what was happening. And yet, I am so in if there's a Season 2!






I'm really struggling with the walking challenge, but I'm determined to keep going, to make at least some progress this summer. 


Miles walked as of 7/30/2021 = 187/500 (Click here for what this craziness is all about.)


Seen on a walk . . . around the house to the patio - 

Photo by Madeline Mora-Summonte 7/2021

Hibiscus -
Photo by Madeline Mora-Summonte 7/2021




If/When you feel "meh" what do you do? Do you have any recent "frog moments" you'd like to share? Any suggestions for feel good books/movies/TV?


Monday, July 5, 2021

Hello, July!

Whooosh! That's the sound of summer flying by. (And believe me, that's the fastest moving thing around here. If the tortoises and I had a race, I would not put money on me to win.) Still feeling behind and overwhelmed, but I'm working on having a more positive and grateful mindset overall and that's definitely helping. 



My story, "Twisted," is out now in INFECTION: DRABBLES 1 (LEGENDS OF THE NIGHT). If you like your apocalyptic zombie fiction bite-sized (ha! get it?!), give it a try! 





The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker is chilling, compelling and heartbreaking. The author does an amazing job of humanizing a horrifying character. With a few simple lines, she makes you re-examine everything you thought you knew, making you not necessarily forgive the character but feel for them. 





Movies – We really liked "Awake" on Netflix. 





We participated in a virtual 5K that raised money for sea turtle conservation and research. During this sweat-soaked stroll, we saw so many turtles - crossing roads, sunning on banks, sticking their little heads out of lakes. They were totally cheering us on! 


Miles walked as of 6/30/2021 = 166.5/500 (Click here for what this craziness is all about.) 



How's your summer going so far? Made progress on any projects? Have you read or watched anything you'd recommend?  

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Starting Fresh with Follow.It

As someone who barely knows how to work this blog, switching from Feedburner to Follow.It - a way to subscribe to posts via email - was not easy. 

But, wait! What's that? Over on the left sidebar? Scroll down a little . . . keep going . . .  there! I do believe it's the Follow.It sign up thingy! Whoo-hoo! 

So, if you'd like to subscribe to The Shellshank Redemption, please sign up using the shiny new Follow.It widget. 

*** Since my old subscriber list was mostly bots, and I don't want to make a mess of anything privacy-wise or tech-wise, I'm asking all my previous human subscribers - only if you want to, of course! -  to please sign up again. 

It feels good to start fresh.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Hunkering Down

The plan for this summer is to pretty much hunker down and Get. Things. Done. Somehow, life – and that includes everything from health to writing to cleaning - has gotten away from me. Keeping things on track is like herding tortoises back inside the house from the patio (believe me, it's harder than you think.) Time to start moving in a positive direction again!



In publication news, my flash fiction story, "The Perfect Match", is in Shallow Waters Vol. 7: A Flash Fiction Anthology, and I have two drabbles coming out this summer in anthologies from Black Ink Fiction. 


I actually "attended" my first StokerCon – the big conference for horror writers - from the comfort of my own home. I watched panel after panel and learned so much. I took pages and pages of handwritten notes, all of which I'm hoping I will be able to decipher. 




We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker is a little more of a slower paced book than I usually read but the writing! The characters! The revelations toward the end! The ending! The book just blew me away. 




Movies – "Rent-A-Pal" was creepy, sad, and unsettling.


TV – We finally finished watching "Justified" and overall absolutely LOVED it! The last episode was excellent and the very last scene was just perfect. 




Larry and Mrs. Larry are now 12 years old! They celebrated by having one of their favorite treats – banana!  The rest of us had cake.




Seriously, what was I thinking? Why did I let my husband convince me to do this 500 miles walk? Why didn't we just do the 100 miles? We'd be done already! Why did I think I could do this? (Okay, whiny rant over. For now.)


Miles walked as of 5/31/2021 = 137.2/500 (Click here for what this craziness is all about.)




Any projects – creative or otherwise – you plan to tackle this summer? Have you read or watched anything great lately? How about a pep talk, a butt kick, or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup . . . or two? I need all the help I can get!

Monday, May 3, 2021

The Perfect Match - Shallow Waters Vol. 7: A Flash Fiction Anthology

What happens when a car and driver find that the middle of nowhere might actually be the end of the road?


Find out . . . in my story "The Perfect Match."

From the publisher - 


Take a Deep Breath and Dive Beneath the Surface of Shallow Waters—Where Nothing Stays Buried.

With 23 Dark Fiction & Horror tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the mystery that lies beneath. 

Volume seven includes suspenseful stories with themes of isolation, the drive-in, cars, love, tragedy and loss, post-apocalypse, and camp horror.