When Friday afternoon comes around, I’m ready to play a little. Lately that means hopping over to JD Mader’s website and “posting my two” as we’ve started calling it. Grab a timer – mine’s been failing me lately – write for two minutes (usually) and post it in the comments. Even if you’re not into writing exercises, check out all the great writers who are just killing this thing week after week. Anyway, I’m not sure what caught me by the tail this time—a little nostalgia, or wondering what happened to Aunt Sylvie and her cats, perhaps?—but when I started, these three pieces popped out. [Edited just a tad for spelling and eye-rolling grammar errors.] Continue reading
When I’m jittery and the words pile up in my head, sometimes I need a little focus. A little prompt. A little card from the magic box of possibilities. I have such a box, which I bought a long time ago from a woman at a writers conference. Sometimes I pluck a card and it speaks to me. This one spoke to me today. Probably because I’ve been staring at this book cover for the last week or so. Today’s prompt is: “As quickly as you can, make a list beginning with the line I remember falling…”
Step off the ledge with me? I can’t promise it will all be good, because I don’t dare call myself a poet, but you might like the way the wind rushes through your hair. Continue reading
I entered Indies Unlimited’s Flash Fiction Challenge this week because the topic, put up on Mother’s Day weekend, spoke to me: Write a story about your mother. This bit immediately came to mind. And it won, which means the story gets to be in the 2014 Flash Fiction Anthology. You can find the link to the IU page and KS Brooks’ lovely photo here.
My mother owned Thanksgiving. She shooed us from the kitchen to watch the Macy’s Parade, waved off our offers to help, busied our small, sticky hands with gingerbread man production. Her children happily entertained by the Bullwinkle blimp, she made everything from scratch, her mouth growing tense as the oven timer counted down to Norman Rockwell Judgment Day.
Finally a grown woman with my own household, I wanted to ease her burden. Could I take over something? Maybe…cranberries? Several times she denied me. I kept asking. She would allow me to pick up cream on the way to her house. Wash dishes afterward. It wasn’t enough, though. One year, overwhelmed perhaps with stepsons, grandchildren, and family illnesses, she hesitated after I begged for cranberry detail.
“Please. Tell me how you do it.” I thought her magical, how she conjured up the tangy orange cranberry relish. And the sauce! Sparkling in her cut-glass bowls—ruby red and tart-sweet. Surely her cleverness knew no bounds if she could design concoctions so wonderful from a humble bog fruit.
She shrugged. “It’s nothing. I can do it.”
“Seriously. Nothing.” I whipped out pen and paper, prepared to atone for all that I had not learned at my mother’s knee. It had to have been complicated, this secret sauce, possibly requiring exotic ingredients or kitchen gadgetry I had yet to master, but I would do it. “What do I need to buy?”
“And follow the recipes on the bag.”
Sweet! Brand new trailer for The Picture of Cool. If only writing were as easy as making Animoto videos.
The short novella is available from Amazon.com.
I hate genres. No, put down the torches and pitchforks; I don’t mean genre fiction. Genre fiction is fabulous. But fitting into one of those slots? I’m having a harder time there. It’s been a problem ever since I finished my first novel and someone asked, “What’s it about?” Oh, I could have told her all day long (and I may have) about the hero’s quest to find his biological father, the inconvenient romantic entanglements, things he learns about himself along the way. Then, as the silence drew out, she finally asked, “No, I mean…is it a romance? A mystery? A comedy? A thriller?”
“Yes,” I answered. Continue reading
Happy Monday! I’ve been invited to join the “My Writing Process” blog tour by the wise and witty Lynne Cantwell, an author with a background in journalism and a compelling interest in Native American cultures, mythology, and knitting cool things that look like star maps. If you don’t know Lynne, you should. Please visit her website to learn more about her and her books. Continue reading
When my routine gets, well, too routine, I have to challenge myself to get away from my computer and do something big and scary. Not bucket list scary, necessarily, so you’re not going to find me ziplining over a flowing lava field any time soon. (Maybe next year.) I just need something that gets me out of my comfortable little space.
Usually that involves talking in front of strangers. I figure that if I do enough of it, I’ll get better at it, or at least I’ll feel less like a small hippopotamus is sitting on my chest. One of the good things about publishing books and promoting them is that it gives you chances to stand in front of people (on purpose!) and say things they might find entertaining. Continue reading