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Sunday Round Up: Second Annual Flash Fiction Blog Fest and The Lucky 7 Meme

Just coming off of the Second Annual Flash Fiction Blog Fest, and I get hit with The Lucky 7 Meme. Thanks to Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic.

First the blog fest:  Thanks everyone for stopping by, actually reading my entry, and leaving such wonderful comments.  I-like a lot of you I'm guessing-am really insecure about my writing.  I often don't feel like it's any good and/or no one with any good taste would actually read it.  Now, I'm not saying all of you have good taste, but I'm sure there are a couple of you out there.  Sadly, I was not a finalist, but that's OK.  Many awesome stories didn't make the cut, so I'm just going to assume we're all just too awesome, and our awesomeness dazzled our dear host to the point that she just couldn't decide. So she printed out all the stories and put them up on a wall, threw 6 darts and where they landed so followed the finalists.  That's the story I'm telling myself.

Kidding aside, it was great and I look forward to more blog fests in the future.  Cherie's actual process and the list of finalists are here.

Now on to The Lucky 7 Meme:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as written.
  4. Tag 7 other writers.
  5. Let them know.
OK.  Great.  Just one problem.  I have nothing 77 pages long.  So I'm going to cheat a little and just go to page 7 of my current WIP.  Also line 7 just starts in the middle of a sentence, so I just started on the next full sentence, and then line 13 stopped in the middle of a sentence so I just finished that thought for you:

"Sorry, that won't work." he said.
"What...?"  She grasped around and found that so many possibilities had turned negative, or at least very neutral to her case.
"Oh, you're really bad at this."  He got a slightly glazed look in his eyes for a second and then laughed.  "Where did you learn to Chance?"
"What?"  She was out of words and out of lines to play.  At that moment she realized that he was the reason she couldn't escape.

Now the hard part.  7 people.  Blogger hates me and only shows the list of blogs I follow every other day, so at the time of this writing I can't get a hold of my favorite/deserving blogs.  I want to get this out on Sunday, so if I've posted it without names it's because I couldn't get a hold of them.

Flash Fiction Blogfest



Time for a Blog Fest. 

This blog fest is the creation of Cherie Reich.  There are a few rules and PRIZES!

Rules are:

  1. Entries must begin with two words: Lightning flashed (I'm guessing "It was a dark and stormy night" doesn't cut it).
  2. Entries must be 300 words or less and be in prose, (she's not versed enough in poetry to judge it properly-I feel you there Cherie).
  3. Entries must be posted on your blog between May 21st and 23rd.
  4. You must be signed up on the linky list to be counted.
So here is my entry, and OMG it was hard to stay under 300 words:

Lightning flashed, illuminating the muddy street. Kat was hidden in the shadow of a doorway, but shadows didn't keep her dry. Rain soaked through her gray cloak, and her feet squished in her boots when she wiggled her toes. She wasn't dressed for the weather. She had been in too much of a hurry.

She watched the tavern across the road. He was in there, hunting. She had caught sight of him outside of the rooming house where she was staying. At first she had dismissed him as a normal man with lank brown hair flapping around his shoulders as he strode past, until he lifted his head, sniffed the air and snarled. He never broke stride, but she saw his face change, the features shifting, the mask slipping just a little. Then he was a man again.

She shifted, her legs aching from standing in one place for so long. He must be taking his time choosing his victim tonight. Or maybe he just didn't like getting wet. She wrapped her cloak tighter against the chill.

The tavern door opened spilling yellow light into the night. Out stumbled a woman, her skirts dragging in the muck, a shawl sliding off of her shoulders. She was drunk, and the man that came with her wrapped his arm around her thick waist. Kat stiffened, watching him. He moved too smoothly, was too sure-footed in the slippery mud. He pulled the woman close and said something in her ear. Her laugh sounded like a scream. They started walking away from Kat, the man guiding the slattern into the dark.

Kat reached beneath her cloak touching the dagger in her belt. The hilt was cold despite being so close to her body. She slipped from the doorway and followed, a shadow among shadows.

Belated Sunday Post

This was supposed to post on Sunday, but I guess I forgot to schedule it.  Sounds about right for me.

I plan to post bits and pieces of writing here, so I feel like I should give you some fair warning:  it's likely going to be a lot of horror/fantasy/speculative fiction (fancy words for sci-fi).  I don't think I'm capable of writing anything else.

I might try to write something "serious", but someone will be eaten by a monster by the end of the story.

So, if it's not your cup of tea, I understand.  You know what's not my cup of tea?  Supernatural Romance.  I once threw a book across the room when I realized 2 chapters in that someone was trying to sneak some romance into my ghost story.  No Thank You.  HOWEVER, I understand that is right up some peoples' alleys so you just keep on writing/reading about your sexy ghosts, and I'll just keep on with my decidedly unsexy ghouls.

Next week, new story.  See ya.
Here is an excerpt from a short story I've been working on.  I got about 5000 words in and had to stop because the characters weren't behaving the way they I wanted to. I'll finish it eventually.  It's kind of long for a blog post, so please bear with me on this.


He was an old man, bent and trembling slightly. His hair was pure white, sparse, and parted directly down the middle. On either side of his head two large ears stuck out like handles with drooping lobes quivering in the air. His face was wrinkled and spotted with age, and his watery blue eyes glistened weakly in the bright light thrown by the arc light overhead. Christ he must be a hundred years old, John thought. Ms. Walker led the old man towards the shack. He didn't shuffle as John expected, but he lifted each foot slowly and deliberately placed it ahead of the other.

“We didn't expect to see you here, Mr. Smith,” Carl hurried ahead of the couple to open the door to the guard shack.

“Mr. Smith believed it was time for him to visit the property,” Ms. Walker responded. “It has been far too long since he was last here.”

“Oh yes,” Carl held the door open and stepped to the side to let them through. “It's been quite a while.”

Inside the shack, an area designed for 2 was woefully overcrowded with the 4 of them. Carl managed to maneuver a chair into position for Mr. Smith to sit in. The old man lowered himself slowly grasping Ms. Walker's arm with one hand and his cane with the other as Carl held the swivel chair steady. To John the whole exercise seemed to take a painfully long time, though it could not have been longer than a few seconds. He tried to stay out of the way of the others, it seemed they knew what they were doing. Carl managed to bustle about in the cramped space, shuffling papers into some semblance of neatness, tossing the boxes that contained the remnants of their take-out dinner into the round trash can beneath the counter. The whole time their employer sat still, his veined hands now both resting, shaking, on the head of his cane. Neither he nor Ms. Walker said a word. The only sound was Carl muttering to himself as he tidied up.

After a few moments, the old man spoke: “Mr. Nelson. I would like to speak with Mr. Coe privately.” The voice was high pitched and just as shaky as his hands.

Carl stopped his busy work, but his hands still fidgeted as if they continued to find papers to shuffle in mid air. “Sir, is there anything I can do for you? John hasn't been here that long. I'm sure I can answer any questions you have.”

“No, no, Mr. Nelson,” Smith's eyes wandered about, taking a leisurely tour of the room before landing on John. “I would just like to get to know you Mr. Coe. We haven't met properly yet.”

“No, Sir,” John said. “I am happy to finally make your acquaintance.”

Poor Carl hesitated, a worried look on his face.

“Mr. Smith wishes to speak to your colleague in private,” Ms. Walker said. She rested a hand gently, but firmly on his arm. Carl had no choice but to follow her direction as she led him out of the guard shack. As he left, he shot John a look, as if he was trying to send a message to him telepathically. John could only guess at what the message might be, but he thought it was Don't say anything about the door.

Once they were alone, Mr. Smith motioned to the other chair in the room. “Please have a seat Mr. Coe.” John settled himself in the chair, sitting up straight, hands on his knees. “I have been very derelict in my duty as an employer. What kind of man does not make himself known to the people who work for him?”

“No worries, Sir. I figured you were a man who liked his privacy.”

“Yes, yes. That I am. But still, it's rude.” He shifted in his seat, and stroked the head of his cane. “How are you getting on? Are you content in your work?”

“Ah, sure. It's pleasant enough.” John had never worked anywhere where his boss asked how he liked his job. He was a little unsure of what the right answer would be.

“And Mr. Nelson, has he been helpful to you in learning your duties?”

“Oh yeah. Carl got me squared away pretty quick.”

“Oh good, good. It's always good to have a team that works well together.” He paused. “Your background check shows you are unmarried. Do you have any family. Anyone you're close too?”

“Not really. There's my mom, but she's in Arizona now. Couldn't take the winters anymore.”

“Oh yes.” Mr. Smith said, his shaking voice pepping up a little. “The southwest. I spent some time there when I was a young man. New Mexico actually. It wasn't a state then, but beautiful nonetheless. Ms. Walker thinks I should move south, better for the old bones, but I love the winters, the cold. You don't hear that often from an old man!” He cackled in a way that made John uneasy, but he chuckled along with him.

“No Sir. You don't hear it from the young very much either.” John mulled over the information. Before New Mexico was a state? How long ago was that?

“Everyone wants to be warm, Mr. Coe. From the smallest infant to the old man on his deathbed. They all search for it and they will find it, but in the end the cold wins out. I like being on the side of the winner.”

John decided his best response was to nod in agreement. It was a strange thing to say. His own hands began to fidgit on his lap. They sat in silence for a moment until Mr. Smith's quavering voice peeped up.

“How is the building? All secure?”

“Yes Sir. Every night the same thing. Nothing comes in or out, except me and the other guards.”

“I had heard that you have been having problems with animals?”

“Some coyotes dug under the fence and were wandering around the yard, but we filled in the hole and they haven't come back in yet. They have been hanging around though. You can hear them howling and yipping.”

“Not good to have animals about. Coyotes are dangerous creatures.”

“I know. Luckily nobody has run into any of them in person. We just saw them on the cameras.”

“Nothing else out of the ordinary?” Mr. Smith's eyes were fixed on John's face. They had lost their weak and watery appearance and were now shrewd and sharp as ice.

John acted as if he was trying to recollect anything. He shook his head. “No. Nothing else. Everything else is the same every night.”

Mr. Smith sat up straight in his chair. He still looked like a centenarian, but his body language had changed from doddering old grandpa to that of a man 50 years younger who sensed he was not hearing what he wanted to. He stared at John as if he could see the truth in him. John tried but lost the staring contest. Mr. Smith continued to watch him after he found something less threatening to look at.


Welcome to A Creative Exercise

I started this blog with the purpose of improving my writing skills and to learn from other writers out there. I started blogging at Completely Unoriginal Thoughts (please visit sometime), my first blog. I started off really slowly, but with the discovery of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, it really took off and I remembered that I really wanted to write.

I have always liked to write stories, ever since I could put together a sentence. My family likes to remind me of my first series of short stories (written in 2nd grade I think) about the family dog. They chronicled his adventures, going to the vet, falling in love, getting a flea dip, stuff like that.

I continued writing stories through elementary school, middle school and high school. I filled notebooks, note pads and journals with half finished short stories and attempts at novels.
I stopped writing in my early 20's. Things got busy. I didn't put pen to paper unless it was to take notes or fill out forms. I still read like it was going out of style, but I was done writing. When I tried to start again several years later, I couldn't bring any ideas to the party. I could barely compose a comprehensive sentence. It was like learning to walk again.

Now I'm in my 30's, a mother, working a job that may not be there next month, and ready to write. I understand now what I have to do. Practice, practice, practice.

Some things I hope to overcome:
  1. Paralyzing fear of rejection-Part of the reason this is a blog and not a real live real-world writing support group is so that I don't have to see the disdain on the reader's face as they peruse my pathetic scribblings. I only have to see it in the comments.
  2. Find my voice-Probably my greatest failing as a writer is how I think a writer should sound. My favorite author is Stephen King. Many a book snob may turn their noses up at him, but he knows how to set a scene and create a character that you care about before he kills them in some gruesome manner. He also spends several chapters just explaining a character's motivations without actually forwarding the plot. I do not have the time, money, talent or name brand to waste on such, and when I reread something I've written in the style of Stephen King it's just terrible. So, as this bullet point makes plainly clear, I need to learn to get more bang for my word count buck.
  3. Time Management-I have to make myself find time to write.
  4. Write for me, not an audience-If I can just pretend that no one will ever read what I write, I might be able to get past the first 3 points.
If you stick around I hope to work through the writing process, starting with some short stories and general grumblings. My plan is to write something at least once a week, and post every Sunday if not more often.

For anyone who followed me here from Completely Unoriginal Thoughts and prefer general light randomness, I'm keeping that site open as well.  I might not post consistently for a few weeks, but I'm sure there is plenty of stuff in my head to keep both blogs going.