Wednesday, May 2, 2018

IWSG: Spring Inspiration

Hello Peoples:

I've been out all the month of April. I did not visit anyone cuz I really needed the break. I don't participate in A to Z as most of my online friends do; and I just find it easier to not post or visit at all during April. Congrats to all the A-Z winners.



I suppose that is my answer to this month's IWSG question: It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

If we are talking "write more" when it it comes to blogging, then I guess my answer is NO. I am not inspired to write  a lot of posts so I can comment on a lot of posts. Hmm, not that I'm opposed to commenting; I really do visit about 100 or so posts every month for the IWSG. Except April. I take a break.

But I think the IWSG administrators want to know if I write more in general during Spring (this year March 20 to June 21). And that answer is also, NO.

I'm a white white girl. The sun and I are not friends. I don't pink up and tan; I burn as soon as I'm exposed more than 15 minutes and my skin never acclimates to the sun with a beautiful shade of brown. Which doesn't take spring or summer to burn me. Despite my sensitive skin, every moment I can be out walking, destroying my yard, or just sitting under an umbrella in my yard, I'm there. If you've ever taken your computer, cell phone, kindle, iPad outside, you know the screen and the sun just isn't compatible.

And when I go inside? Well, over the last couple of years I've gotten out of the habit of writing in the evenings. Most of the programs I especially like during the fall and winter are taking season breaks, and I've made a blog goal to write more during 2018. The need to rewrite two complete novels should get that goal accomplished, lol.

I went to a writers workshop this last weekend, and did learn a few things. Got some insights, and inspiration. I'm hoping completing "writerly things" also counts as writing. I've been researching a couple characters for new stories, making a plotline (I know, weird for a pantster!)

I'm getting there - slowly.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be hopping around the Insecure Writers Support Group linky and visiting as many participants as I can. Be sure to visit/thank your host Alex J Cavanaugh, and co hosts: EMA Timar, J Q Rose, C Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant.



And: hot off the Dancing Lemure Press, the third IWSG Anthology: TICK TOCK, A STICH IN CRIME is now available in print and e-book. Check out the IWSG books page for details.

Monday, April 2, 2018

SPRING BREAK

Spring has definitely sprung here in Northern California. Time to make my big purchases of Benadryl so I can enjoy the beautiful outdoors! Heater in the morning, cooler in the afternoons. Beautiful!!

I will not be posting during April. Gonna take a break and not feel guilty at all, lol.

Good luck to all the A-Zers. See y'all for May IWSG.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

IWSG: FINISH LINE

Hello;



Welcome to the March edition of Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). I'm on the road and will be slow in visiting blogs until this weekend, so I apologize in advance for being super late.

If you are here, you likely already know the IWSG posting details. Its been long and longer since I visited anyone new on the linky list. Sorry.

My insecurity this month? I've lost two books in my trilogy. Yeah, this sucks. I hope I find them on a missing flash drive. I don't see myself rewriting two entire books. Losing the trilogy - even though I'm not sure the books will ever sell - has me questioning if I want to continue writing. I know I have other books, stories, in me to write. But, that trilogy was my beginning, Ya know?

This months optional IWSG question: How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/ finish a story?
  Wine. Happy Dance. Lots of positive self talk and pats on the back. I don't currently have any crit partners, but in the past it was send off to the critique group, integrating suggested revisions, then submitting off to the publication the story was written for.
  I have several short story publications, most published by the anthologies they were submitted to; but the women's fiction trilogy still sits in the computer. I have re-written the first chapter of Book 1, and fulfilled a New Year's resolution/goal (and in the process noted that I've lost the other two books); and completed some of my Finish Line rituals; but now I need to revise some to integrate the changes into the continuing work. And then, query/submit. Its been a good five years since my last round of submissions for this novel; probably two years since I last opened the documents.
  I consider submitting the ultimate Finish Line ritual. I love writing, but I also love acceptance and publication. I will share with you that I intend to submit to Morrigan Books (if I locate the other two books in the series), and I hope YOU might have something also to submit also. Morrigan books is looking to expand into e-books:

Areas that Morrigan Books are very keen to see submissions from would be Horror, Dark Fantasy, Crime, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Steampunk, Urban Fantasy and Young Adult.
Areas not likely to generate interest are: Paranormal Romance (although Paranormal itself will be considered), Dark Comedy and Erotica.
If you think you have a book that is well-suited to our catalogue (please visit our homepage for further details) please send a mail to our query department
query[at]morriganbooks[dot]com with a full plot synopsis, first three chapters and cover letter, explaining who you are and your writing to date.
We are interested in submissions from both unpublished and published authors.
 That's my March IWSG post. Be sure to visit our host/creator, Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardner.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WEP: IN TOO DEEP


This writing might stretch the concept of Write..Edit..Publish.. flash fiction prompt, IN TOO DEEP. Whew! I got the concept from reading DEADLY MESSENGERS, by Susan May. I wrote this as sort of a prologue for a short story - one of three horror/thriller stories on my resolutions/goal list for 2018. Although February is the month of romance, and by common assumption the story should involve Venus, Eros, Cupid, Aphrodite, Min, Bastet, Nuwa, Kamadeva, Freya; it does not.

Full critique acceptable as I am hoping to expand this into a thriller type short story. Click here to visit the Write..Edit..Publish web site and check out the other participants for this month's theme IN TOO DEEP, and to hank the WEP administrators Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee for inspiring my story start and structure. Regardless of whether it fits the WEP concept, I hope it captivates you as a reader.

Ok, here we go .. . . .  . .

Title: LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR
Word Count: 960

“LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR” the headline read, and James tapped onto the link to bring up the video report.

He pushed the up- volume button on the back of his LG then set it on the bar to listen as he sipped an early afternoon beer.

“It was a usual Tuesday night,” the bartender told the microphone. The teletype identified the brown haired, Caucasian, lack-luster man as Ian Kirkland, owner/manager of Kirk’s Quirks, a bar and grille on South 100th Street West.

The camera panned back to show a corner street establishment, parking in the rear sign the most distinguished logo looming above a reddish neon that was nearly washed out in the blue backdrop of a stormy sky. James grunted his opinion of the air time the bar shooting would garner in the public eye given its seedy locale.

“How so,” the pretty, Barbie Doll type asked Kirkland as she flashed a smile towards the viewing audience.

James did not recognize her, so assumed she was a hungry intern the station had promoted when the other reporters refused to venture into this part of town.

Kirkland rolled his eyes skyward as the camera zoomed in, then looked directly into the camera. The average, busy viewer might have mistaken the gleam in Kirkland’s eyes as tears, but James knew it as the excitement of notoriety; even if only for this 15 minutes of fame. He'd witnessed it often.

“He was a regular,” Kirkland admitted. “Shy guy, not so good looking the Gals flocked to him. But, everyone who met him – including me – liked him. Paid cash for his beers, occasionally bought a round for the house, kept the Juke rockin’. Never went out with a Lady, but bought their drinks, treated them with respect. Sherman – ah that’s the shooter’s name,” and here the gleam dimmed and Kirkland looked nearly embarrassed to know the perp’s name. “Uhm, Sherman Hahn, yep, a regular. Well, he ordered his usual Bud Light, knocks his name on the pool line up, though its just a formality, ya know, there’s never a waiting line on a Tuesday – we only have tournaments on Thursdays and its three weeks to the first match of the season . . .”

Kirkland was silent a moment, as if pondering when the first match would happen, who the teams were. Barbie smiled her rehearsed smile, then prodded Kirkland with: “A typical Tuesday, nothing unusual  . . .”

“Right,” Kirkland quipped, back on the media trac. “Around ten this Yuppie type comes in –“

“Yuppie?” The Barbie asks.

Kirkland looks a bit confused. Then he seems to recall the age he is currently living in as he strokes his politically correct chin hair. “Ya know, investor/lawyer type. All arrogance and flashing cash. Musta got lost, GPS in the Prius out of whack.” He laughs nervously.

Yuppie wasn’t a modern word, and few people outside a select 80’s culture would even recognize the term. Techies and Geeks described today's young, ambitious, techno-hybrid entrepreneurs; but James knew that whatever they called themselves now, his brother’s associates – and possibly murderers- were highly sophisticated, well informed, cautious to the point of paranoid, intelligent, influential, and financially secure. Not to mention bold, unconscionable, and connected.

“Hmm,” the Barbie prompted.

“Well,” Kirkland said as the camera zoomed in on his neon lighted face. “Dude did not belong, though we all tried to ignore the fact. Cash is King, blah blah blah. But, there was just something off about the guy, and not just his clothing or speech. And he seemed to target Sherman with every . . . comment. I don’t know how to explain it. There just seemed to be a connection between the two, though they did not seem to be in the same worlds. Hard ta explain, ‘less you was there to witness.”

James exited the feed and took a shallow drink of his beer. He would have lit a cigarette, if it was still legal to smoke in the bar, and if he had not quit years ago. He knew the rest of the story: four dead, including the Yuppie, and the shooter disappeared. Same MO as his brother's shooting.

Robin Walton, several years younger and seemingly more than a generation's difference in world philosophy, had consistently impressed James with his exhaustive connections. James loved Robin, and never missed an opportunity for a casual meeting. Days before Robin's death, he texted and invited James to a luncheon at a downtown Bistro. James eagerly accepted- the two rarely met outside of family gatherings – but they barely had opportunity to catch up as several well dressed patrons stopped by their table to say “hello” and “thanks.”

When James asked who his co-horts were, Robin shrugged and said “people I’ve upgraded security systems.”

Then Robin was killed in an upscale bar by a regular patron. The investigators labeled the shooting random; Robin a victim of stranger psychosis. James’ investigation turned up two previous such shootings in a six month period. This made four. No one would listen to him: the Yuppie/Techie was the key to all these murders. Lunatic walks into a bar, and for no discernible reason kills a random number of usual patrons, and one unknown stranger that happens to be a Silicon Valley Yuppie.

Robin’s cell phone bleeped with a text. “Dude; thought you was dead.”

James stared at the message, unsure how to respond. He never really understood his brother, couldn't pretend to speak the same language. How was he to fit in Robin's world? But who else would solve Robin's murder? Not the police obviously. KCVN was turning deaf ear, had even fired James for asking too many questions. The text on his brother's phone had to lead somewhere.

He just needed a way in. One final step off the deep end.

***
Captivating? Engaging? Boring? Meet the IN TOO DEEP criteria? Toss it or write on?
Your feedback matters in the comments. Oh and Yes, I did accidentally publish a version of this two weeks ago.
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

IWSG: Genre writing

Luckily, this is not titled 'HOW YA DOING ON NEW YEARS GOALS/RESOLUTIONS.'

Cuz, ya know; I suck at it. Several times I logged on to post book reviews, read blog followers posts, just do stuff. Yeah, well .  . . . . .

And now its Febuary. Already?? Sheesh ..

I at least have a story start for February WEP, IN TOO DEEP. Lets hope I finish and post. Uh huh.



I do have some book reviews in my scheduled posts. Just got to get those starts (drafts) finished and published.

I have unlimited internet access in my car; yeah, just need to pull out the computer and get writing....



February 7 IWSG question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

  Sort of an easy answer!! Well, I kinda write in three genre's: women's fiction, fantasy, and thriller/horror. Sometimes I think all three are the same concepts.

 - I like Women's Fic because it deals with everyday issues the social worker in me deals with -family, work, relationships.
- I'm the Stephen King, John Grisham, Dean Koontz type thriller/horror/suspense writer cuz they give today's modern hero's (every day people thrown into the freaky/weird) an opportunity to rise above
- I like epic fantasy cuz it explores alternate universe's/realities so outside the everyday norm its like a day-dream I can indulge in when my real life is intolerable and without hope. And all human issues are today's issues, despite the year or reality . .

What all these genre's have in common when I'm writing is that I can create a universe, write the characters, give them issues, and resolve everything within a virtual world. Everything is adaptable, within my own imagination. Hey, I'm a social worker by profession, and I love it when I can fix everything, everybody.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!


Hope y'all are doing better at keeping New Years Resolutions/Goals than I am.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Scheduling

HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone!!

Do you feel like you are living in the future? It occurs to me that  we are now living in  "the future" that so many movies were set that I watched as a kid. Or at least young person. Not 2018 necessarily, but we are entering the era. I'm thinking of the movie Soylent Green, the first post-apocalyptic story I was exposed to. It aired April 19, 1973, a futuristic crime mystery, and depicted life in New York City in 2022 where overpopulation and the Green House effect has led to overpopulation and starvation. I was eleven years old, and very likely saw this movie at the Drive In Theater.

Not that I'm eager to live in any of the post- or pre-apocalypse worlds that consumed my reading or viewing time in my younger years. Or any that I have written myself recently. I can't even imagine a STAR WARS type future though.

We have already passed the 2015 date of the still popular BACK TO THE FUTURE II setting. I don't know about you, but I'm highly disappointed that flying cars are not an every day purchase. Time, and the years, do not seem to be flying by for me; its more like its standing still. Technology seems to have reached the same point as Hollywood: consistently remaking the same merchandise, calling it "improved" without stepping too far away from developments within the last 20 years. Before we know it, it will be 2089 and no closer to colonization of planets within our solar system than we were at the 1990 release of TOTAL RECALL.

One of the more realistic events I'd like to see in my near future involves publication. Lots of it! To obtain that, of course, I need to write and submit more. There's a unique idea for January's Insecure Writers Support Group post. Right?!?



Not only is this my first post for 2018, but its also the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. This month's question is appropriate for the New Year, and actually got me seriously thinking about my writing schedule as well as goals for 2018.

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I've very good at making and keeping a work schedule. Its how I get paid. Scheduling writing time though, nah. I only disappoint myself when I fail. Now, if I had a literary agent, a publisher that has given me a deadline, then you bet I can write to their schedule.

For many years I've not put any pressure on myself to stick to any kind of writing or blogging schedule. I'm determined to change that in 2018. Not with "resolutions" but with goals, just as Michelle Wallace suggests in the Dec 2017 IWSG Newsletter:
So when you sit down to plan for next year, instead of making writing resolutions, why not create a few specific, attainable, and measurable goals?
I've thought long and hard (through many long, boring hours of driving) about some reasonable writing goals for myself for this year, and this is what I came up with:

 - write three new horror short stories to submit to random anthologies between August and December
 - FINISH, edit, and submit three of the incomplete short stories in My Documents
 - rewrite chapter 1 of my novel NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE
 - revise and submit query and synopsis for FATE
 - write and schedule six book review posts

And yes, reviewing the above list, I'm already feeling anxious about how I'm to accomplish all that. I do have a plan, a sort of writing schedule. Writing on the road is not easy for me; I mostly "camp in my car" and it uncomfortable to juggle a computer in the car or even at road stops (never know what the environment will be like). But I should be home every weekend, and at least one week (up to nine days) each month. Weekends are good for blog posts (and comments), and that solid week is excellent for actual writing - including revision.

The incentive to stick to this schedule - lax as it is? Well, I do love being published! And starting 2018 with a publication is an awesome ego boost.

My short story LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES, an Urban Fantasy, is scheduled to publish on January 8 in issue 744 of the ezine Bewildering Stories.

offers a home and an audience
to speculative writing.
All genres are welcome
in prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction.

Thank you all for stopping by today. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's 2018 goals and scheduling triumphs. This month the IWSG crew is announcing the winners of 2017 Anthology contest. Be sure to stop by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanuagh and his co-horts: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen the Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane and Rachna Chhabria.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

WEP: THE END IS THE BEGINNING



Today I'm posting an original writing for Write..Edit..Publish (WEP) bloghop. This months prompt is  THE END IS THE BEGINNING.

DETAILS: Can be written as a flashback – or as a cascading change, any branching off point can be an end and a beginning.

It’s also the end of the year and next month allows for a new start.

So, the last WEP prompt in October was DARK PLACES, and I was kinda working on a concept, but I did not have time to fully develop it. What I've posted below is the finished and tweaked version for December's prompt. I'm hoping I've satisfied the concept for THE END IS THE BEGINNING. If not; well, at least I wrote something, lol.

Check out the prompt details HERE, and click on the linky list to read more interpretations of the end of year prompt.


 TITLE: NANCY
word count: 1014
Full Critique Acceptable: note that this is an original writing for WEP and not intended as a prologue, excerpt, or other publication.

Jerome leaned close over the chest of the linen wrapped body. The first he had been allowed to fully tend to on his own. 

“This one is nearly ready, Master.”

Down in the crypt below the mortuary, Dr. Khalid preferred his students call him Master. There were three others besides Jerome; though none had progressed in their training beyond the cleansing and embalming rituals. The oldest Brother had taken the initiative to impregnate one of the chosen girls without permission last year. Jerome had been granted the pleasure of drugging the errant youth and burying him alive.

“I believe you are correct,” Master said over Jerome’s shoulder. He finished buttoning his tuxedo jacket then glanced at the monitors around the table.

Jerome was shaking, he could hardly contain his excitement. The next steps would be the most important to preserve the physical self for afterlife for both the girl – Nancy – and his offspring. He stroked Nancy’s dehydrated fingers with a gloved hand. Tears stood in his eyes, and he wiped them away on the sleeve of his lab coat so the moisture would not drip onto her body.

“She’s so perfect,” Jerome said.

Master put a hand on Jerome’s shoulder and smiled. After a silent moment he sighed, straightened, and strode to the mirror before the crypt door. “I am sorry, Jerome, but you need to prepare Mrs. Daughtry for viewing tomorrow. The family will be in at 8am sharp to insure she is presentable.”

“But –“ Jerome stuttered, gesturing to Nancy. “I should witness her final breath. And I still have to paint her death mask.”

“I know. But the grieving family did pay a ghastly amount to have the funeral expedited.” His face took on a shrewd look; mouth pinched to a line that made his cheeks puff and pulse. “Their haste paid for the casket for Nancy.”

Jerome’s shoulders stiffened. An expense he could not afford as yet, which would have drawn out the eternal process for Nancy and his child. Had he not agreed to the demands of the family, his beloved would have a much longer between-time than necessary.

“I thank you for the reminder, Master,” Jerome said. “I shall attend to Mrs. Daughtry immediately.”

Master placed his palm on the keypad then entered his pass code.  The door chimed to proclaim access granted to the elevator that would take him up to the preparation rooms of the mortuary.

“So close,” he mumbled to himself, not sure if he meant Nancy’s final breath; or his defiance that would make him Master over his remaining Brothers.

After kissing Nancy’s shriveled, dry lips and replacing the resin tea infusion, Jerome headed to the shower alcove to wash the stink of death off his own body. He bathed with the same sodium carbonate, cedar oil, and cinnamon elixir he used to cleanse the cadavers, then dressed in green scrubs and a fresh white lab coat.

Upstairs, he immersed himself into the work of painting Mrs. Daughtry’s purple face into a semblance of the young woman in the provided portrait. Even in his distraction, no other artist could rival Jerome’s lifelike, death makeovers. His skills were in high demand, and more than offset the exorbitant mortuary fees.

Nancy was still breathing when Jerome returned to the crypt. He sat vigil for two days before her chest fell for the last time. He was pleased with her endurance. She had fought for survival every step of the way; from abduction by Dr. Khalid, to rape and torture and final impregnation by Jerome. The rapes and torture had ended on the day Nancy had a positive EPT; but the next phase of starvation and the diet of nuts, berries, tree bark, pine needles, and a resin tea to cleanse the body of decaying bacteria had been as much a battle of wills as the rapes.

Swiftly he started the embalming, adeptly inserted the hook through her nose to liquefy her brain, poured out the contents of her skull, then expertly sliced her left side and removed all her vital organs, except her heart, and filled her empty cavity with sand and rags.

He loved Nancy, and the embryo that would accompany her into the afterlife. Jerome’s immortal legacy was assured with this offering to Ament: lady of the underworld who restored the bodies of the dead so they could live with Osiris in his Kingdom.

The final leg of Nancy’s journey was witnessed by Master and Jerome’s two Brothers as he wheeled her into the chamber under the incinerator. His brothers were dressed in the traditional colors of Osiris; green with white stockings, holding ceremonial hook and flail. Jerome distrusted the dedication of his twin brothers, but dared not brooch the subject with his Master. At least not tonight, as Master slit the beeswax from Nancy’s mouth and eyes, and beseeched Anubis to watch over Nancy and her unborn child, and speed their passage into the afterlife.

Jerome, secretly, prayed to Ament. He hoped the Goddess would see his sigil branded into Nancy’s left foot and reward him for his sacrifice.

“You have done well,” Master told Jerome after the interment was over.

“Thank you,” Jerome acknowledged with a bow of his head. He was so giddy he wanted to happy dance; but restrained his urges to gloat. Master had imbedded within him the lessons of control, and Nancy was his testament to success.

“Your next offering should be a woman of your own choosing,” Master stated without preamble. “You have progressed far within our ranks, and you are ready for your next step in the succession. Brother Ahmed is in need of a dedicated tutor, and I’d like you to take over his tutelage.”

Jerome stopped walking and considered for a moment. Ahmed was impetuous, disorganized, a brut of a man who considered women beneath his attention. Ahmed was more likely to bed a man than implant his seed into a woman. Yet, he had his uses when it came to brutality.

“As you wish,” Jerome agreed, already contemplating the demise of his Master.

******
Well, tell me what you think in the comments. And if you'd like to read the interpretations of other participants, please click here.