Saturday, October 24, 2020

WEP: Grave Mistake

As usual, I'm a day late for this posting. I missed the deadline to add my entry to the WEP/IWSG flash fiction linky. Oh well; at least I finally finished a story. Wasn't sure I had it in me any more. The last Windows 10 update practically wiped my computer, and I've had a rough time getting my Word program re-installed. I almost had to purchase it again. Long story I don't have time to relate just now.

Lets get to the fun stuff.


I wrote a flash fiction! Yay! I started this a week ago, but had computer problems, and work, and family issues. Wow, who knew writing 1,000 words could take so long? But here it is. I don't have a creative title so you're stuck with the blogfest title. And I'm too tired to give proper introduction to this month's WEP Flash Fiction event: Grave Mistake.

Feel free to browse the WEP website for full posting criteria, as well as visit other participants.


GRAVE MISTAKE

943 words

Full critique acceptable

Hump’s feet ran faster than his thoughts. Not unusual; at 28 he still retained his long, gangly limbs and the slim runners body that made him Coach’s pride all the way through high school. Too bad his brain was a bit slower than his distance runners feet or he may have attained a scholarship.

A cacophony of sirens and shouts followed behind him. Ahead, the general populace hadn’t yet caught on that the clammer of the next block was approaching. Quickly, relentlessly, noisily.

God! Why can’t they just give up? Its been 10 blocks already.

The satchel of money cleared the confused market crowd before him. His eyes darted everywhere, not registering anything he saw until –

A darkly clad shape bending into the rear seat of a car. A kid screaming a protest from within.

Escape! Finally. If he could just get in before the cops caught up.

He pounded to the parked car, shoved the being aside, slid into the back seat, and placed the .45 against the screaming kid’s chest. The grounded figure screeched curses and seemed to levitate to its feet. Her feet, he realized, as long nailed fingers clawed at his shoulder in an attempt to pull him out.

Hump ignored her ranting and yelled, “get in the car and drive. I swear, I’ll shoot you both and boost the car if you don’t hurry.”

“Mommy?” the said in a quiet rasp

Mom stared at him for a half a second, and he felt his head filling with a rush of blood and dizziness. Suddenly he felt caught, exposed. Like a deer waiting for the car to swerve into him. Then she slammed the car door on his foot. He groaned, blinked in pain and surprise, pulled his foot all the way into the car, and forcefully latched the door. They were moving almost before he’d realized Mom was in the drivers seat.

Traffic was starting to back up the intersection as the sirens grew more intense. Still, they were three blocks away from the hijacking point before he thought to ask where she was taking him.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Uhm,” he said, trying to think past the sudden headache. Adrenaline, he thought. The crash after the runners high. It happened frequently after after a long, grueling competition. The race is over, he thought. Just need to eat and get settled somewhere.

“Home,” he said, the wondered why he would want to go there. “Your home. Where do you live?”

“OK,” Mom said, not taking her eyes off the traffic.

The kid seemed to nod agreement. Hump looked at the child closely, a girl. Like the mom, she wore a dark hoodie pulled over her head, patched jeans shorts, and nothing but dirt on her tiny feet. Dark eyes drooped in a pale, nearly luminescent face. 

He looked up to see that same creepy looking face gazing at him in the rear-view mirror.

“Hey, eyes on the road,” he yelled, and lifted his hands to massage his temples.

Headaches after competition had kept him out of classes too often, but he had never experienced one this intense, or this sudden. Migraines his doctor had called them. He sat back in the seat to rest his throbbing eyes.

The gun! Was his first thought when the sound of the car door woke him. And then “Where are we?

“Home,” Mom said. She turned her back on him and followed the kid to the front door of a run=down mobile home.

Hump blinked to clear his eyes and head. He was dreaming about his family, his home. The memories were so vivid he was disoriented for a moment. Then he remembered. He looked frantically for the gun, found it on the floor, then scrambled out of the car to catch up with his hostages as they entered the dark home.

He wondered how it got so late; it was late morning when he’d robbed the Loomis van, surely they could not have driven through the afternoon, into evening. He checked his cell phone for the time but it was dead.

Loomis van! He turned suddenly to the car, a wave of dizziness nearly knocking him off his feet. But there it was, the money satchel, in the front seat. He grabbed it, held the gun out in front of himself and raced for the house.

Glowing orbs of movement made his eyes and head throb. “Got any food? Juice?”

“We were out food shopping when you interrupted us,” one of the glows said. It sounded like Mom.

Hump shielded his eyes with his gun hand. “Turn on the lights.”

“No power,” Mom replied.

The smaller glow glided to a back door and opened it. There was still enough daylight to dampen her glow, and Hump realized one of his hostages was making a break for it.

“Hey, get back here,” he called, pointing the gun at her back.

“Grandpa needs fed too,” the girl replied.

She kept moving, so Hump followed. IF there was another person on the property he needed to know.

“Yes,” Mom said, gesturing for Hump to follow them out the door.

They hadn’t gone far into the woods, Hump struggling to keep up, before they entered a mausoleum like cave. The two glows nearly merged, blinding him with their brilliance.

An explosive pain knocked him to his knees. Hump felt himself passing out. Another light appeared behind him as he was passing out.

“Thanks,” nearly echoed through his skull.

“Can we go home now Grandpa?”

“Not for a while Little One. We need more power.”

“He has people, family, nearby,” Mom said.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

IWSG: Working Writer

Hello.

Yay for October - Fall is my favorite season. Love the cooling days and warm soil. I just wish I had grass (meaning a lawn) in the back yard. One day . . .

So many things going on in the world its hard to know what one day to the next will bring. Being the ultimate pessimist, I'm not seeing an end to this pandemic. I don't know exactly where the large numbers are coming from, at least not in my area, but it sure is fueling controversy and fear. Should make it easier to write a horror store this month at W E P. 

Is anyone out there forced to work from home? I'd like to work from  home. Would certainly help me do some actual writing - I think. Which brings us to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group optional question:

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?


I'm sorry I missed last's months IWSG post, I really wanted to answer that question, something about the author to meet or emulate. But that also ties into the concept of "what a working writer looks like." Stephen King is the author I choose to be like. I know he put in his time as an aspiring author, and worked a day job while waiting to be discovered. He wrote short stories, published in all kinds of magazines and contests, and eventually was able to quit everything except writing. Awesome.

I consider him brilliantly talented, even though he has written what I consider some epic fail stories and novels. But I like how he just shrugs it off and keeps going. Proving that just because you make it to "working writer" doesn't mean you'll never see a rejection, or bad review. I'm also a character driven writer, and I think I learned that love of ordinary characters in extra-ordinary situations from reading Stephen King novels. There are plenty of other authors who are my idols, but King is the ultimate fan crush.

Personally, I'm a hobby writer. I don't have the s kill or dedication to put in the time and effort of "working writer." But I enjoy writing stories, and its been gratifying to see some of my stories published. Its a hobby though, much like people who joint pool teams, bowling, display quilts at fair's,  You don't have to earn a living at something to enjoy doing it.

Although I'm not blogging much, or writing for publication at this time, I still sit once in a while and work on some of the ideas in my head. I've even finished a few short items, but no editing. Just having fun. One day maybe people will not be allowed outside their homes for travel or shopping. Then my employment will end, and I might take a stab at "aspiring" to be a "working writer" again.

I hope everyone is staying safe and taking care of themselves and their families.

Be sure to thank (by visiting) our IWSG host Alex J Cavanaugh, and his co-hosts Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe-McClure, and Gwen Gardner. Check out the IWSG linky for posts, and to sign up if you haven't already.

Oh, P.S: I didn't have any trouble creating a blog post since the Google changes, but I do have issues posting on Word Press blogs. Sorry, still trying to get my Disquis and Word Press ID's to work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

IWSG: Unplanned Writing Genre

Hello all;

August is here - oh my oh my! And boy, its hot in my area. Made even hotter and more uncomfortable while working with the face covering requirements. Uck. But, we are all suffering - unless you are working from your home, in which case I have no sympathy for you. Envy abounds though.

This post might be a bit of a mess cuz I'm writing from my Samsung tablet and not used to the small screen and one finger tapping. How do people live without full screen, a mouse and external keyboard. 



Since I'm not working from home, I'm picking up slack from all the in-store workers who are at home due to Corona-virus lay-offs, and not getting any writing time. So, I have no writing insecurities - except perhaps that I'm still struggling with considering myself a "writer" since I haven't written much even before the pandemic. I'll try to answer this months question. Its quite unusual, that's for sure.
August 5 question - Quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

I think most of my writing sort of "found me." I don't think I knew much about genres and story classification before writing my first real novel. A short story that begged to be longer and became a book. I thought I was writing something in fiction that Nobody ever wrote outside of nonfiction/biography. 

It wasn't poetry, mystery, romance, horror, historical, sci-fi, or fantasy. Definitely not porn, children's or Christian.  So it had to be new, never seen before. I was a creative genius! The next Great American Novelist. After submitting to several publishers and getting my first vanity agent, I figured out my genre was Women's Fiction,  still haven't entirely settled into a subgenre, and the field is overflowing with aspiring authors just like me.

On the plus side I discovered a new realm of books to read and authors to envy, emulate, and treasure.

With the discovery of blogging (recommended through an offline writing group) I was introduced to even more writing forms and genres.  I credit blogging, and several writers groups both on and offline,  with the majority of my knowledge and experience.

"Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be." This quote truly summarizes my writing experiences since I started blogging (2007?2009?). I get story ideas, usually a specific character thumps on my forehead with a specific scene, setting, or issue, and I just write it. The characters choose which form or genre the storyline follows, and I don't worry about pigeonholing such minor details until the second rewrite/editing pass.

Gotta know what genre to adher to for submission, even if you are self publishing.

And for a blog post on the busiest Wednesday of the month this is getting rather long. Time to thank our host Alex J Cavanaugh, the IWSG team, and this month's co-hosts: Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes, Chemist Ken, Chrys Fey.

Have a good one y'all; see ya 'round the blogverse.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG - Industry Changes

Hey Everyone!

Well, its Wednesday July 1, 2020. Time for the monthly first Wednesday of the month IWSG post. I missed last month's post. And I'm late this month. Not doing well at keeping a schedule, lol. This month's co-hosts: Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, Sandra Cox.

 The July 1 question is very interesting, but I could not really answer it. There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I guess I'm too stressed over the state of the world right now to hope for much good change. And I'm thinking my of MY WORLD - meaning in America, California, my employment and family. I have been working through all the "shelter at home" orders, traveling state to state, always in the public. Now everyone is allowed out, but has to wear a face covering (unless you fall into a ton of exceptions). And yes, I'm protesting because breathing my own toxic respiration is NOT keeping me healthy.

Then there is all the rioting, protests against police and demands to de-fund and discontinue police departments, the destruction of monuments and statutes, and people taking over public facilities so they live off handouts from the system they vilifying.

Yep, lots to write about. But that "industry changes" question still haunts me. What types of story will  be acceptable in the near future? Historical and Classic books are already being destroyed or rewritten to reflect today's politically correct society, not the era they were written in. Soon, I can see the criteria for publication being a bean count of diversity, not the description of the story.

Every time I read this post, I'm sure its offensive to someone, or everyone. That is certainly not my intention. I delete and rewrite and rethink what I want to say.  Nothing is making any sense. So I'll stop here before I work myself into an unintended, politically incorrect rant.

Be safe out there everyone. The world has gone insane.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG: Getting into the Z O N E

Hi Everyone,

The first Wednesday of the month has snuck up on me - so much going on in my world. Sadly, its not writing. And being on-line is just about the last thing on my mind - well except to check my bank account and see how close to the red zone I am.

I'm going to jump right into the IWSG question of the month because its very late, I'm tired, and my brain is fuzzier than the Outer Limits beginning credits.




This month's fabulous co-hosts: Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken.

May 6 question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

Like, oh boy do I!!! Not all are productive - I've been known to let the "getting into the zone" become procrastination and distraction.

If I'm creating a new project, I usually do a bit of research on names (name meanings can be a source of personality traits for characters) and location/setting. Sometimes I have to look up a monster, hero, legend, ethnic group and the like to make the story authentic. I have problems with "voice" and tone, so frequently I have to just free-write a while to settle into the world and character. If that fails, I occasionally need to watch movie/TV snippets to get a certain voice in my head, or read some passages from my favorite books.

Its harder to get into the "zone" with a continuing project. At the start of a session I read several pages of previous writing to remind myself where I am, but also to get into the mood of the story. Sometimes I put on music to fit the over all mood or world setting. If I get REALLY stumped on wording, or the next scene, or how to type the video playing in my head into into a word document I will free write a bunch of nonsense, read a thesaurus, talk to myself, or clean house.

Yep, you read that right: clean house, or other mundane, mindless chores that take my mind off the immediate frustration. The tactic actually does help, unless I get too involved with the cleaning project and forget all the insights I gathered before I get the computer turned on and the story so far loaded with blinking curser announcing its all ready get back into the Zone.

Happy Wednesday Y'all. I'll be around to visit your blogs over the weekend mostly; this is my busy week of long driving and almost no time for sleep or anything else. Stay safe out there, and remember to remain six blogs away from where you really want to be to practice social media distancing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG: How are things in your world?

This month's Insecure Writers Support Group meeting is on April 1 - April Fools Day. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling like I'm not getting the joke. Sad, sad times all over the world. And I appreciate the IWSG crew for acknowledging that sentiment in this months optional question.



April 1 question - The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

Well, as much as I hate to admit it to those out there suffering, I'm doing pretty much the same as before. I still have my job, my home, my paycheck, and me and all my family are fine. Wish I could work from home!

Anybody out there working from home on decent COVID-19 apocalypse stories?

Happy April Fools Day - just kidding :)

Friday, March 13, 2020

Warrior Muse Blog Hop for BRUISED SOULS release

Friday the 13th! Pretty cool, yeah? A great day for a horror writer to have a blog tour for her Indi published Short Story collection. Shannon Lawrence at Warrior Muse is celebrating the release of her second Short Story compiliation BRUISED SOULS with a blog hop.

For this Blog Hop, Shannon requests we post one of the following, followed by her book info:
1. Your favorite urban legend
2. Your favorite old wives' tale
3. Something scary that occurred in real life and taught you an important lesson

I don't know much about old wives tales - they usually have some moral lesson involved (boring); and I've had lots of scary situations that did not result in a learned life lesson. Unless that life lesson is "I'm lucky, I survived!) But I do have a favorite urban legend.

Since childhood, anything about Sasquatch interests me - but not in a scary way. I live in Northern California, in the mountains and forests. Recently I moved to the actual foothills, outside the populated urban areas, and so my chances of seeing a Big Foot should have increased from less-than-nil to a-definite-possibility.

According to this historical article, The California version of the Bigfoot Legend has its origins in 1958, with a letter sent to Andrew Genzoli of the Humboldt Times, from several Redding CA loggers who discovered " mysteriously large footprints." The article states "Genzoli said that he’d simply thought the mysterious footprints “made a good Sunday morning story.” But it caught the interest of locals, then the National Media, and finally Hollywood. Ever seen the 1987 movie HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS?

Well, my quasi-belief in the huge, shaggy, Wild Man is not so environmentally friendly - I do like horror stories after all. I see him (them) as tricksters, vandals, and predators; but not sexual predators. Unless they have a taste for beer or whiskey, I don't see the Sasquatch race being attracted to us puny, hairless humans. Except as food. Even a bear will chase, catch, play with, and eat a human if they are hungry or angry enough. I've scientific articles that state humans are not tasty to eat. I wouldn't know as I've never been hungry enough to eat human flesh. With the Corona Virus, and the potential for pandemic death, and the end of civilization as we know it, the Zombie Apocalypse could change my menu preferences. Ya just never know, ya know?

As recently as July 2014, Zoologist Dan Brown was guest speaker at the Lake Oroville, CA, Visitor's Center, drawing a crowd of 160 locals (source), and claims to have personally witnessed, and collected evidence of a Big Foot sighting in the area. In his speech he says "I have actually spotted the animal outside of Oroville with my own eyes." In his speech he goes on to say; "You know, in 1969 on Table Mountain, 11 people saw Bigfoot," he said. "And off of Black Bart Road also. Some people on the lake had sighting, while they're on the lake, seeing it on the shore." Brown also brought with him alleged castings of the elusive animal's feet.

Well, I'm convinced. My husband is an avid watcher of the program on Discovery or AMC or some such, that deals with Mountain Monsters. The Dudes spent some time in NorCal, Redding and Siskiyou County, and it was fun to watch these guys chasing a Thing they called a Big Foot. They had infrared blips, obscure tree knocking sounds, and blury distance views of a being they considered Sasquatch. They even had an episode (though not in NorCal) of some rednecks that claim they shot, killed, and buried a Big Foot. Sadly, none of them remembered exactly where they buried the evidence of their kill; they were drunk and high on the hunt, and scared shitless they'd be arrested for murder, so nobody can pinpoint exactly where the Boys hid the body.

Big Foot, aka Sasquatch, is not to be confused by the other, older legend of The Dark Watchers known to haunt the Central/Coastal Valley along the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Sightings of The Dark Watchers date back to "Spanish explorers making their way to the California Coast." (source) The Dark Watchers are described as:
very tall humanoid entities ranging in height from 7 feet tall all the way up to around 15 feet tall, dressed all in black and wearing flowing cloaks and wide brimmed hats, with many sightings also mentioning some sort of staves or sticks in the beings’ hands. Facial features are not typically seen, and they are almost always silent, enigmatic figures usually seen at a distance up on ridges silhouetted against the darkening twilight sky, always at around dusk or dawn, quietly looking over and surveying their domain with unknowable purpose and often vanishing in the blink of an eye, especially if one is to try and draw closer.
 I live in Oroville, under part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range - a few miles south of South Table Mountain. (Table Mountain, and the cascading Buttes to the south east coast line, were formed by the giant Paul Bunyan sitting down to lunch. He chopped off the top of a mountain to form his table, and his blue ox Babe formed the Sacramento Valley while snuggling out a nitch for a nap.) any local legends and tragedies abound in the local bookstores. I think if I were to write them in an anthology it could look a lot like Stephen King's fictional town of Castle Rock, Main. Someday, maybe . . when I'm not working 60 hours a week. But Big Foot is my favorite; and our plan is to set up a digital camera pointing at the downhill creek area of our property in hopes of catching our own distant, blury, mobile figure of Sasquatch to sell to the tabloids for our 15 seconds of fame.

Don't laugh; it could happen!

Thanks Shannon for giving me this opportunity to expose my favorite Urban Legend in my home town. I wish you luck in your book launch.



Title: Bruised Souls & Other Torments: Short Stories
Author: Shannon Lawrence

Amazon pre-order link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085N7YCZ3


The Kindle e-book will be live Friday. The paperback *should* be. It will hit Smashwords and everywhere they distribute within the next week.

Blurb:

Fear resides in the soul.

A welcoming widow with a twisted appetite; a war-time evil lurking behind the face of a child; a father’s love gone horribly wrong; a deadly government solution; a new job with a demonic pay scale; a woman trapped in a mysterious house with no memory of who she is or how she got there. These are a mere glimpse of the terrors that lie in wait in this collection of horror short stories, sure to grip the psyche and torment the soul.


My website and social media links:
website: www.thewarriormuse.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewarriormuse/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewarriormuse
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thewarriormuse/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewarriormuse/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/shannon-lawrence
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13836289.Shannon_Lawrence
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Shannon-Lawrence/e/B00TDKPOAO/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_5