Thursday, June 28, 2012

Twisted Ballerina

I created this short flash piece based on a writing prompt on FSO. The prompt was to take a classified ad and then write the story of the people and the situation revolving around the ad. I found an ad in my local paper and then was off. This was fun actually!


LAWNMOWER, reel type push mower. $35. Call 555-2291.

I picked up the phone and called the number. The reel would work perfectly for my current project. Usually I just went to the junkyard but I was looking for something pretty specific and hadn't been able to find anything that would work. I couldn't believe I'd actually found something this cool in the paper.


"Hello, my name is Nick. I saw your ad for the mower. I hope it is still available."

The guy on the other side of the phone laughed. "Yeah, dude. Not too many people interested in one of those these days."

I sat back in my chair. "Great! Can I come by and take a look at it sometime today?"

"Yeah, I don't have any plans this morning. I've got the mower at my place; I'm over on Tidel Street, number two oh four."

"Great, I'll be over in an hour," I said. I hung up the phone and got dressed quickly. The door on the entrance to the warehouse squealed as I opened it. "Need to get some grease for those hinges," I muttered. My car was pretty beat up too, but I didn't really care. It got me where I was going, which was to the perfect part. It was a good thing I'd decided to look at the paper that morning.

A young guy answered the door at the address I'd been given. He had a cigarette in his hand and I stepped into the wonderful smelling cloud of acrid smoke. "Those will kill you, you know," I said.

He shrugged. "Not today." He flicked the cigarette into an ashtray on a table by the door.

I laughed. "Probably not. I'm here to look at the mower."

That got me a skeptical look. I guessed a woman in a skirt and the day-glow yellow tank top wasn't what he was expecting. My voice was super deep but having a name like Nick tended to confuse some people. I just smiled at him and pushed my large brown bag up on my shoulder. "I'm Nick, I'm an artist." I held out my hand to him, unembarrassed by the smiley face band aids that covered several fingers.

He hesitated and then shook my hand. "Terry." He led me through the house. "I've been keeping it on the back porch since Gramps moved. I couldn't believe it when I saw he was still using that old thing to mow his grass."

I smiled. I liked it when the objects I found were really used. It gave them a lot more character.

"Well, here it is." Terry pointed to an old mower propped in the corner. The reel was dark with age and the metal on the handle was a bit bent. "It's not much to look at, I guess. I thought $35 was fair. I know I could get that at the scrap yard for the metal."

I nodded. I got a lot of metal at the scrap yard for my projects too. "You sure you want to get rid of this, since it was your grandpa's? I'm going to take it apart and stuff."

Terry laughed. "Sure, it's not like I need it to remember him by. The old coot just moved into that senior village over by the golf course."

I picked up the mower and looked at the reel. The blades looked like they were still pretty sharp. I tested the spin by pushing down on a blade and nicked my finger.

"Careful!" Terry leaned forward and grabbed my hand away from the mower's blades.

I shrugged one shoulder. "No big deal. I do that a lot. Careless of me, I know." I put the mower down and dug into my brown bag, finally coming up with a new band aid. This one was bright pink. Terry was still holding my hand so I just wrapped the band aid around it. He finally let go with a sheepish smile when I finished and he still hadn't let go.

"I'm all current on my tetanus shots," I promised him. "I'm making this huge metal statue I'm calling Twisted Ballerina. This reel would work perfect for the fake music box I'm building for the ballerina to dance on like an old jewelry box I had as a kid."

"Huh," Terry said. "Sounds kinda cool."

I grinned at him. "Yeah, the ballerina is this old mannequin I found without a head. I twisted up a metal colander and put Mr. Potato head parts on it to make the face. Then I put it on the torso on backwards."

"So you want this mower then?"

I dug around in my purse and came up with some crumpled bills. "Yeah."

He took the money, his fingers slow to pull away from mine. "I'll carry it out for you, if you like."

"Great, thanks."

Terry helped me wedge the mower in the trunk of my old car. He paused for a second as I tied it down with a rope I kept handy. I took home a lot of scrap sometimes. "You can come see it sometime, if you want. It's for an exhibit at an art show at the college." He hadn't said a whole lot, but Terry seemed like a nice guy. He hadn't looked at me like I was a total freak, just a bit weird.

Which was okay. I was weird. It made life fun.

I pulled a flier out of my purse before I tossed it in my window. "Here. See, this is the exhibit."

He took it from me and looked at it. "Saturday?"

I nodded. "Yep. Maybe if you want we can go get a drink afterward." I pushed my hair behind my ear. I could almost see his surprise. Maybe he just was being polite and concerned when I cut my finger.

"Or not." I shrugged. "No big deal." I knew I was kinda out there for some people.

"No, I was just . . . .” He ran his fingers through his dark hair.

"Taken aback by my awesomeness?" I grinned at him. Being bold got me a lot of things, and it looked like it was going to get me a date for Saturday this time.

Terry laughed. I liked the rough sound. "I was wondering if you'd still be there around nine. I have dinner with my grandpa that night, but I'd like to see your sculpture and have that drink afterward."

I waved my hand. "Nine is early. The show doesn't end til eleven."

Terry's grin was huge. "Great! How about you give me your number, since you already have mine?"

I was really glad I'd decided to read the paper that morning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To Brighten Your Day and Heat Up Your Night

Being as this blog is read internationally I thought I'd showcase a bit of art for whatever part of the day you're in!

To Brighten Your Day


To Heat Up Your Night
That look. Those lips. mmmmm

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recent Riveting Reads

Hi Folks! Long time no post, right? I'm finished with the first edit on Pricolici but summer activities and my kids are keeping me busy! I am plotting out and starting Benny's story, the next installment in the world of The Experiment, and working on a few stories for GA. So, yep, I'm pretty busy and you will have more to read from me soon!

In the meantime, I thought I'd point to a few stories that I've been reading and enjoying lately. These are all free.

TMcCallahan's Dust & Ash. I'm linking to the GA page with the story but you can find other stories at Literotica under the pen name "WickedWendyDru".  This modern romance is full of hot men, music, and more! Status: In Progress

Robcub32's The Degan Incident. One of my fav online authors, Rob has just started this new story, but I hear that it will post consistently. I love hot aliens lately and I think this story is a great example, even if I've only been able to read Ch. 1 so far! Status: In Progress

Sonny Nothing and Ais' Evenfall. Part 1 of a series, In the Company of Shadows, this story was huge! At over 600k, it took me the last 3 days to read and I loved most of it. I found that the timeline was a bit dragged out, but I so enjoyed reading the interaction of the main characters, Boyd and Sin, that I didn't really mind. This is a dystopian secret agent type of story, another genre that has been catching my eye lately. I've actually forced myself NOT to move to book 2 simply because once I started reading Evenfall I had a hard time stopping for anything, including sleeping and eating, lol. I've linked you to the Goodreads page for this book, simply to give you the most information and access to a better description and the reviews of the story. The url is available for the author's webpage there. Status: Complete

A few authors I love on GA you might want check out are linked below. These list all their stories and the wonderful story listing style on GA gives you just about every detail you could want to decide if you'd like to check out their stories!

Renee Stevens
Hamen Cheese
Don Hanratty

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For Your Reading Pleasure

Nope, sorry, not one of my serial stories! I just got the first edit back from the publisher's editor for Pricolici and boy was it informative! It'll take me a few more days of smoothing things out, rephrasing, removing, adding, pasting, coloring in the lines . . . You get the picture, lol!

However, in the meantime I do still have a few pieces of flash fiction you haven't seen. This one was from an exercise in a private writing group I'm part of. I picked 4 numbers and that gave me my main character, situation, conflict... and all that fun stuff! I ended up with this little piece.

Open Mouth, Insert . . .
 My elements were: A new mom in a library after a big meal, and someone has had their pride injured.

Heather rubbed her eyes but the words on the pages stayed a blurred mess. She pushed the psychology book away and rested her head on the worn table. Her hands dangled at her sides; her body heavy and limp. She felt like an overcooked noodle.

A hand on her shoulder startled Heather from the light doze she'd fallen into.

"Hey sis, what are you doing here so late?"

Heather rubbed at her eyes. "Why not? Jake kept me up most of last night; I figured tonight would be the same. Who knew a two month old could be that loud?"

Zeke laughed and they both looked at the baby sleeping peacefully in the car seat. His shock of black hair stood straight up and he kept sucking his little lips in a soft flutter.

"He looks pretty happy to me," Zeke said.

Heather rolled her eyes and then covered a big yawn. "Of course he does. We're out in public where I can't sleep. I just needed to get some studying done, so I gave him a big bottle and he zonked right out. Last night at home I fed him and he got gas. He screamed forever until he finally fell asleep."

Zeke snorted. "Well, give him those gas drops. They worked wonders for Shay."

"I did. I'm not completely inept you know. That's what finally got him to sleep." She stared up at Zeke, taking in his jeans and hoodie. "I still can't believe my little brother, who happens to be gay, is giving me advice on how to take care of my baby."

Zeke's body stiffened, and his hands clenched into fists. "Being gay doesn't mean I never wanted kids. I love Shay, and I'm a good daddy." He ran his hands through his hair. "Look, I just came to get a new toddler food cookbook and then I was going to head home to watch a movie with Carey. I guess I'll see you around."

Heather clapped a hand over her mouth and then jumped up. "Oh god, Zeke, that's not what I meant." Before he could walk away, she reached out and pulled him into a tight hug. She kept her arms around him as she leaned back to stare up into his dark blue eyes. His lips were still tight, and he wasn't hugging her back.

"I know you're a good daddy. I guess I didn't expect you to fall in love with a guy that had a little girl and suddenly become a family man when you were only twenty. You're my little brother; I'm supposed to be the one giving you advice."

"I didn't expect to fall for someone who was just as confused as I was and expecting a little girl to boot. I was scared, but I loved Carey more. When I got to hold Shay for the first time, I just knew she was supposed to be ours and we were a family. I know that sounds corny, but it's true. I know it was weird for everyone. Mom and Dad don't really accept it, but I thought you were different."

Shay buried her face in his chest. "I am, I swear. I don't care that you and Carey are together and Shay's mom lives in the apartment next door. It works for you guys and you're happy. I like seeing you happy. You really weren't as a teenager."

Zeke's arms closed around Heather. "I am happy now, because Carey and I learned we had to be okay with ourselves, and our life, before anyone else could. I'm sorry I got upset with you; I know you didn't mean to say that how it sounded. I guess I'm just a bit sensitive since Christmas."

Heather shuddered. She'd just had had Jake and their parents had fawned over him and basically ignored Shay. As much as she loved them, Heather had backed up Zeke when he'd taken them aside and told them that they could either treat both kids the same or not see Shay at all. She hadn't  hesitated to chime in that it went for Jake too. The babies might not notice it at their age but Shay was almost a toddler. It wasn't fair to the kids to be stuck in the middle of their grandparent's intolerance.

"Since Mom and Dad moved to Arizona you're my only family here. You know I don't care if you're gay or have a baby with your boyfriend; it's just weird to get advice from you. I wouldn't have said it like that if I had gotten any sleep at all and I wasn't so stressed." Heather let Zeke go and sat back down at the table. He leaned against the edge with one hip.

"When does your hubby get home from his convention?"

"Not until Friday." She rubbed her eyes again and yawned. "My test is on Tuesday though," she sighed. "My last final. I can't believe it's finally time to graduate, but I need a good score on this test first."

"You're going to be a great counselor."

She smiled up at him. "Yeah, as long as I get a lot of sleep before any appointments so I don't say the wrong thing."

Zeke snorted. "No kidding." Whatever he would have said next was interrupted when Jake stretched and let out a godawful sound . . . and smell. His little nose wrinkled and Heather and Zeke burst out laughing.

When his chuckles slowed down, Zeke leaned down and started stuffing her books and pens into her backpack. "Look, why don't you go clean him up while I'm getting my book. Then you can come over to our place. Shay's in a toddler bed but we still have the travel bassinet in her room. You can stay over to study, and I'll corral the little stink pot."

"You sure that'll be okay with Carey?"

"Sure, he likes you and he loves babies. Shay seems so big nowadays; it'll be a treat to snuggle a little baby for a while. Besides, we both have tomorrow off."

Heather stood up and hugged him again. "Thanks Zeke. I love you."

"Love you too, sis."

Ha! Bet you thought I'd do something dirty with that title, right? I do so love twisting things a little. Hope you liked it! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Little Fun-Carthera Trilogy Tales

So I recently decided that with a story accepted by a publisher that I should try to expand my readership even farther. Hopefully I'll pick up new fans that will be impressed enough with my writing to actually pay for a story I've written too. So, in order to do that, I've been working on my Carthera Trilogy. I created covers for them, and starting with Bonds Unbroken, I've been re-editing them. I plan to convert them myself, or find sites where I can do that. Right now I can do epub and mobi.

I'm researching putting the ebooks on Smashwords and Amazon, though I'm leery of doing Smashwords as no one I know has done it personally. Maybe if you read this, and you have done a Smashwords submission you can comment at the end and let me know how satisfied you are with it.

The best part of all of this? I'm not charging for the ebooks! That's right, the Carthera stories will continue to be free (so don't worry that you will suddenly have to pay to read Benny's story). I plan to continue to try to get my stories accepted at publishers, or if the stories aren't picked up by anyone, continue to self-publish and format the books like I have already done.

Right now the covers on my blog lead you to Gay Authors, my 'home' online fiction site, but that will change once I have them formatted. Okay, time to get back to writing!

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Coming!

Up tomorrow . . . another part to the Experiment. I just wanted to give you all a quick heads up to peek back. My head is like a swirling vortex at the moment, darn headaches, but the guys are clamoring for me to finish up, so I shall focus on that in the morning.

My brain on migraine meds . . . weeee, look at all the pretty colors!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Story Inspiration: Yuril

Hi guys! I thought I'd share a little treat. Sometimes, when I see a picture, it flashes into a story idea or a character for me. I was perusing a few things and this one jumped out at me. To me this image embodies how I see Yuril, at least at the beginning of the story. Of course he's not a total match, Yuril and Benny did bond so they have their tiger characteristics, but the emotion evoked from this pose is unmistakably his spirit. The title is especially apt.

 Going Through Some Changes

If you care see more of this artist's work, please check out the above link to his deviant art profile page.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My 12 Step Program

No, I'm not a lush! LOL. Okay ... well, sometimes I can be one, but not nearly often enough to need a 12 step program for that. This is my 12 step program for fiction writing, actually. This is what I've found works for me as writer, most of the time. (Forgive me the typos and flow problems when I skimp on the work part, sometimes I'm just too damn lazy)

Anyway, I thought I'd share my 12 Steps to Writing Fiction here. When I first got the idea to write a story, I was completely intimidated. I'd wondered for years if I had the creativity to create a story at all, much less brand new worlds and people to inhabit it. It turns out, I'm not half bad at it. Sometimes, though, a story doesn't flow, or I get stuck in a morass of muse killing muck for whatever reason, which is when I turn to my 12 steps to get back on track.

Maybe it will help someone else, so here you go!

  1. Get an idea. This sounds hard right? But it is easier than you might think. Just keep a pen and notepad handy because you never know when an idea might strike!
  2. Let the idea build. Start imagining who your characters might be. Look at online model pics maybe or write out character bios-maybe do an interview with them. You can keep a list of questions for your characters to use each time if it helps you. If you aren't sure about your setting, try looking at landscape photos from around the world. Try drawing your 'world/city' maybe.
  3. Research! Let the idea grow as you gather details you might need. Go to the library, employ Bing or Google ... make sure you get your facts straight!
  4. If you like outlining, now is the time to do that. There are a lot of online programs you can use to do bubble charts, or timelines, or just do a few paragraphs for each chapter on what is going to happen.
  5. Start writing!! Woohoo, the work... I mean, the fun now begins. Get that story out, silence those voices in your head, write write write!
  6. Stop working! Take a break. Leave that finished story alone, mistakes, bumps and all! Try to give it at least 3 days, a week if you can.
  7. Now is the time to go back and just read your story. At this point I read it aloud. It helps me find flow issues, sentences that don't work well, mistakes in the syntax. Mark up any questions you have about the character's actions or the plot holes, so that you can go back and fix them. If it is easier for you, print out the story and mark it with a red pen.
  8. Revise, revise, revise. Go through all the comments you made and refine your story.
  9. Copy-edit. Okay, this is the REAL work. Go through and find all the mistakes in punctuation, spelling, misued words ... For this I usually start at the end and work backwards one paragraph at a time. You can also do this in a printed version if it is easier.
  10. Send the story on to impartial readers! Or your friends, whatever works. Just someone with fresh eyes who will be able to see the characters outside of the vision in your head. Sometimes we know the story we want to tell so well that we don't realize the reader is missing parts of that story. Betas and/or editors are an invaluable resource!
  11. Submit your story wherever you plan to send it. Make sure it fits the guidelines of any site/publisher format wise, and then let it go. This is one of the most nervewracking parts of creating any piece of fiction, but you have to do it. Also, learn to take your critiques and compliments in equal good humor and apply that to future writing.
  12. Start ALL over again with something new. There are endless worlds, stories, and ideas to be had, if you just keep your eyes and mind open!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Things I Will See!

So... I'm off to dig in the mud, find bugs, go on a canoe ride and generally get dirty and wet! My daughter's class is going on a field trip to a fresh water wildlife preservation area where we will be doing all sorts of FUN stuff. In the rain, cause it is Washington, don't you know! This is one of our fav walk destinations though, so I have some pictures already I thought I'd share.

As for my writing, don't worry, I've been working on The Experiment. The good news is that I should have a new part up tonight! Come back later to check that out.

Today's Targets... Oh the things we shall see!