Thursday, January 30, 2014

Flash Fiction Thursday!!!

Every Thursday I attempt to write a short (250 words or less) story for a contest offered by fellow author and blogger, Siobhan Muir.  Some weeks it comes easy to me, the story writes itself. Other weeks I struggle and sometimes the story is so awful (in my opinion) that I don't offer it up. I usually do write something, however, whether I post it or not is another matter.

This week I wrote a little story, it started silly and turned into something else, as my work often does. I can't seem to write a straight romantic piece to save my soul and honestly, I have pretty much stopped trying. 

Without further ado...following is the link to my Flash Fiction for today where you can see it HERE in its abbreviated  form. 

And here is the whole story and nothing but the whole story...the expanded version of my Thursday Flash Fiction....Enjoy!!!  

Okay, so it was a blind date. Technically. I mean, it wasn't in the sense that I had met him on one of those freebie dating sites and therefore knew all his likes and dislikes, what his ideal First Date was, that he worked nights, and that he lived outside of Boston in one of the old neighborhoods. 

On the other hand it was a blind date in the sense that his online profile had not included a photograph and I was therefore walking into a situation that might require me to either endure a very long evening staring at my dinner plate until I could politely vamoose or (heaven forbid) excuse myself to the ladies room and attempt an escape out the door before he noticed. 

Luckily, I was not forced into either situation because Mason (DARK STRANGER) Elleridge was amazing looking and very easy on the eyes. Not to mention that he had taken over the entire restaurant for the evening and vanishing without a trace would have been quite impossible for me to do in the near vacant building.

Plus, there were roses...dozens of red and white  roses in clear crystal vases and thick white pillar candles...everywhere...and I do mean everywhere. If he was trying  to impress me on our first date, he was doing a helluva job. 

"Are you trying to seduce me, Mr. Robinson?"

I watched Mason's face twist slightly as if he were trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about. Seriously? What man over the age of fifty hadn't seen "The Graduate"? Had he been living under a rock?

I shook my head as the joke shot above his handsome head and disappeared into the darkness of the night sky. At six foot, thick black hair with just a smidgen of gray, and eyes like clear gray pools you could easily drown in, the man was definitely good-looking but not too quick on the uptake. 

"Just a joke, Mason. Don't look so panicky."

His gaze softened a little  and I caught a flash of pearly whites for the first time that evening. Wow, what bright teeth you have, Grandma...I thought it, but didn't say it. One joke bomb this evening was quite enough, thank you.

"So, do you come into the city very often?"

His voice, deep and rich with a heavy Irish brogue that made my knees weak and other parts of my anatomy tingle, whispered into my ear, "Only when I'm hunting."

I shuddered a bit, even his scrumptious accent couldn't  disguise the edge to his voice. What guy hunts in the city? What can they hunt in the city? I didn't think I really wanted to know but I couldn't manage to stop myself from asking.

"How do you manage that? I didn't think they allowed weapons inside city limits."

Mason leaned in closer and brushed his lips against my neck. I shuddered once again, this time for a different reason however, and felt myself slipping into his arms. I was unable to focus suddenly, my mind began to spin in a kaleidoscope of reds as the room around us disappeared from sight.  Desire rose in a deep blush across my skin and I felt the delicious sensation of warmth as he tore into the delicate flesh of my throat.

"It's easier than you would think, my darling, Emily... You simply have to bring the right tool for the kill."

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Snippet...

I thought I would post a little snippet of a story that I recently wrote...At the moment it lingers on the pages as a short story but it may turn into a novelette in the future.

A heaviness settled over the inn as it does on these evenings when the darkness comes early and lasts an eternity. There was no one else in the tavern spare the four of us and the blazing fire warmed the room so that the traveler's eyelids soon became heavy in the heat. I thought that perhaps the couple would retire to their room once their bellies were full but instead of taking their leave, the young man turned to Clara, his eyes heavy with exhaustion, and asked her about the portrait that hung above the heavy oak mantle of the fireplace.

Clara smiled as she always did when asked about the Woman in White. It was a tale she liked to share and a cold winter's night such as this one was perfect for the telling of it. Perfect for a ghost story.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Daydream Believer...

No, I am not talking about the classic song made famous by The Monkees...although I do like it, I never understood exactly what it was about...and who the hell is Sleepy Jean anyway??

I have always been a believer in daydreams...

Maybe it's because I am a writer or perhaps it's the other way around. My mind drifts off into other worlds from ours as I wander among friends of the oddest sort. That is when things come into focus.

My dreams and nightmares are one pool of inspiration for me, the creative type of inspiration that brings the darkest stories forth.

The daydreams, however, are what keep me going back to the chair in front of the keyboard and writing when I feel like doing any thing but.

I have three places I can run and hide on any given Morning Pages when I need to get shit off my WIP when I feel the need to become creative, and my blog when I have something I want to share. 

Not to mention Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest which all play a part in getting IT done. 

My daydreams keep me coming back, dear Readers, when nothing else can and things are at their darkest.  

And I don't think I could survive as a writer without them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Refill Your Empty Well...

There is a lot of talk about inspiration and muse-writer collaboration but getting our work done is mostly just a lot of hard work and putting our butts in the chair and pushing out those words when we would rather be doing anything else that day. There is however, a time to fill our creative well.

I read the "Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron several years ago and participated in an online study group. For some I think it was an exercise in futility but for me it really made me aware of the need to fill my soul with inspiration of the more spiritual kind as opposed to the writing kind.

I learned about two very important concepts, daily Morning Pages and a weekly Artist's Date.

These are not complicated or time consuming theories and those of us living on borrowed time when it comes to our writing, know our free time is at a premium and we don't want to waste it. These two things however, are more of a necessity than a luxury.

Your Morning Pages consist of  writing three pages of mind dump every single morning. I just write whatever comes to mind, sometimes I even write my blog posts in there among the rubble. I complain and cry and vent about whatever is going on in my life and then I go on with my day. That's it. Three pages of inner babble that gets it all out there for no one to see, not even yourself. You can go back and read it later if you wish, I never do. There will always be more babble tomorrow.

Now the Artist's Date involves finding out what floats your creative boat and doing it at least once a week for a couple of hours. Doesn't have to be anything fancy although some people do get pretty elaborate. There are a couple of ways I like to spend my weekly date with myself, either sitting in a hot tub with a glass of wine and just my imagination to keep me company (I get through many writer's road blocks in there - must be the heat going to my head) and hanging out a book store or library. I am fortunate that at the front of my local library, they have a place where they sell used books, usually for twenty-five or fifty cents and they change all the time. I can roam around in there for hours, picking up this book or that, skimming pages and wondering where their life began. I don't have to spend any money, and frequently don't, but it always leaves me with a sense of something bigger at work.

I do one other thing, my guilty pleasure, but as far as I am concerned, you can't write without it.

I read...books, magazines, newspaper articles. Every single day. When I have the time, I inhale an entire book either just for fun or for research or somewhere in between. I have two Kindles, an iPad and an iPhone so I am never more than an arms reach away from something to fill my soul with a little creative juice...

And I wouldn't have it any other way...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vacations..Can't Write With Them...Can't Live Without Them...

I've been on a quasi-vacation this week, nothing elaborate..just a couple of day trips and a whole lot of goofing off. But now it's Friday and it's time to pay the piper, so to speak.

I look over my word count for the week which has been bleak and I try to come to terms, in my head, with getting very little done. Am I okay with that? Do I wish I did more?

First, I always wish I did more, whether I've managed to squeak out a thousand words or ten thousand, enough is never enough. My work in progress (WIP) is not where I would like it to be but it is coming along. I have several projects I am working on all at the same time but none of them are where I would like them to be at the moment. But instead of pouring over them in my mind during my seven hours, give or take, in the car this week, I looked at the beautiful scenery, talked to my significant other, and occasionally napped. I didn't think much about it at the time, I was not riddled with guilt that I wasn't writing, I was just enjoying my getaway to parts previously unseen.

Maybe I should have been poking at my plot bunnies and ruffling their fuzzy tails when I was lying on beach or maybe I should have been killing off one of my characters in a blizzard while visiting the ski slopes but I did neither of these things. I just enjoyed where I was and lived life for a little while.

I don't know what other writer's do in these situations, do you sneak off to write when no one is looking? Do you rise from your bed to get that elusive daily word goal in before anyone else is out of bed?

I put writing ahead of nearly everything else in my life, but not everything...and I usually don't feel guilty about it...

But when I look at my work and it's not where I want it to be, I can fill an ocean with all the what ifs....but I would rather just lie beside it and sleep...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Home Sweet Haunted Home...

I was doing some research for my book yesterday (which means browsing the net) and did a Google Search on New Canaan Connecticut murder. I have moved my story location to this area as it is close to the New York border where my Protagonist's father works but it is a relatively small town in Connecticut, a bedroom community we used to call it. For some reason, the town name caught my eye. It seemed I remembered a murder happening there once upon a time plus I am familiar with that area in Connecticut. Well, I was in for a little bit of a shock when my search results included a serial killer that was responsible for the deaths of four young children, a teenager who killed his entire family one December morning a week before Christmas, a murder/suicide of a husband and wife and one attempted murder and suicide of a husband and wife.  Now, remember, this is a town with a population of less than  twenty thousand NOW and one of the wealthiest in the nation.

After reading this I have to ask, what the hell is in the water there? What is going on? Is this all just a coincidence?

I might mention that there was also a demon-like idol removed from the woods in Sandy Hook, CT a couple of years before the tragic school shooting.  I have no idea if one had anything to do with the other but when I saw the video about the idol and realized the date it was made and uploaded was several years ago, it did give me pause, I will say that.  

I also came across a website during my "research" called ~ It's filled with all kinds of juicy tidbits about my home state and definitely worth a look if you are interested.

I have to admit it is interesting to know all these interesting facts about my home sweet haunted home as  I, myself, once lived in a haunted house in the small coastal town of Waterford, CT many years ago. I believe it was the ghost of a young man that committed suicide in the house but trust me, I didn't live there long enough to find out one way or another.

Someday I might write the tale of the Ouija board and my hasty retreat thereafter but it has never felt right to do so...but perhaps someday...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Devil is in the Details!!!

When it comes to writing, how much detail is too much? As writers, we struggle with this question every time we put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

We had a lively discussion on Facebook the other day, some authors like to write to rich details, others like me, prefer to give the basics and move along with character driven stories. Not that the others aren't character driven as well, but when it comes to description, do we really need to know what the room looks like unless it is essential to the story? If a character has a messy room or a very tidy abode, that would of course give you some insight into who they are and what makes them tick. But unfortunately for us, as writers, the readers out there will have their own opinion of what that little fact might suggest. To some people a tidy room might suggest someone is uptight or compulsive, I, on the other hand, would believe that they were well adjusted and have their ducks all in a row. So how much is too much? When does it become more than you need? 

Perhaps that is just one of the differences in readers preferences. As an avid reader, I don't enjoy every writer. It wouldn't make sense too but even the ones that I really enjoy, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and Terry Pratchett, when they get a little long in the verse, I tend to fast read through it. Not that it isn't beautifully written, Anne Rice's descriptive passages regarding New Orleans can put you right there with the vampires and witches in the Big Easy. You can feel the oppressive heat and humidity of the city and smell the scent of the bougainvillea and suffocating wisteria as it grows untamed around the old southern plantation homes. And yes, I do love knowing that, once. And then my mind can take it from there. After that, I skim over it when the passages fall into the same descriptive mode.  (Plus, having lived in the Deep South I am very aware of the heat and humidity of the area and don't particularly enjoy being reminded of it.)

We all have our different ways of getting our point across and our stories told. Whether a reader or a writer, you simply have to find the place that you fit in the best.

Friday, January 10, 2014


Thank God it's Friday!!

Another Friday has rolled around and here we are, staring at the weekend right in the face. Without blinking an eye, we make our plans, sucking every possible minute of those precious and irreplaceable forty eight hours. We plan to stay the course and stay on our diets or we plan two days of drinking and eating debauchery. Either way, we know how we want our weekend to pan out. And how often doesn't it work out the way we were hoping? An unexpected illness, a power outage, a snow storm!

Simple things, common things...Aren't they?  All these things that can keep you from your course, do you ever wonder if there are outside influences when these things happen?

My current work delves into the world of demon oppression and infestation, and perhaps possession. My research lately lead me in this direction along with my general train of thought. I don't know how it happened or why, but I found myself re-reading The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist again after many decades.. I was much much younger when I read these books the first time and I have a completely different mind set when I read them now and take something different away with each one. I don't second guess what lead me back to these books and my current fascination with this topic, I just accept it for what it is and go with the flow.

Another thing I am doing differently this time, I am searching for my first beta readers with this book, something I have never done before. I want to know how it is perceived  before I even get it published. I also want to know if it is good enough to follow it up with a second book and third book or not, although sometimes the second and third are better than the first, sometimes they fall flat. Does it make you sleep with the light on? Maybe you can't sleep at all? Ahhhh...then I've done my job perfectly!

Till next time one and all, I'll keep the light on for ya.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Down, Fifty-One to Go...

Happy end of first week of January, 2014!

Okay, so we are nearly one week down, how is everyone doing with their resolutions so far?

I must admit, I am a little behind. I didn't start my healthier eating plan until yesterday so my body hasn't wandered into the fields of Nirvana yet. I have been walking more so far this year, but even I have to confess, I could be doing a little bit better on that score.

Now, the reason I am here, and the reason most of you are here is to see how the books are progressing this first week. Well, I am about a thousand words into the new novel, cautiously titled, "Of Angels." I was going to go with Of Angels and Demons but I keep running into Dan Brown's shirttails on that one so I decided to shorten it a bit. I might change it, in fact, I probably will change it when I see how it is all playing out. You never know where the trail is gonna lead you.

Linda Blair ~ The Exorcist
My main character, tentatively named Hope Kearny,  is about to be born.  No, you won't have to go through all twenty-five years of her life to get to the good stuff but her birth is important for a couple of reasons, plus this idea came to me one night when I was trying to fall asleep and I found myself suddenly wide awake and writing it all down on my iPad right then. Some things can't wait and when it speaks to me loud enough that I will venture out of my warm bed, I listen.

The Exorcist
Her birth scene is nearly complete and there will be one or two more chapters before she gets to adulthood but I promise, Hope is NOT the little girl next door. But if she is? It is possible you might want to move.

Everyone enjoy your second week of January, 2014 and I will see you back here with another whisper or two, soon.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

When a Dedicated Panster Tries to Change...

Plotter or Panster? That is the question.

As a die-hard Panster from the very beginning, I've written my first outline for a novel and I can say it went pretty well all in all. I've never written a book in this fashion, I have  always been a Panster when it came to writing my novels. The characters always change and evolve from where they started out so I've always wondered, why bother giving them a whole lot of attributes that will more than likely change? Sometimes the answer is here is simply, because.

I like writing as a Panster, there is freedom there I suppose but there is a whole lot of rewriting in the end. Point in fact, I am about to undertake a major rewriting of one of my books as now that the sequel is nearly complete, I realized, there are several gaping plot holes that must be repaired with my Protagonist before continuing on. Had I outlined the entire series ahead of time I may have realized it. MAY have, I don't know for sure. I am not sure my mind works in a linear fashion at all. (Which is one of the main reasons I never became an attorney).

But now I am writing a whole new series and I decided I would outline and plot before ever typing a word. Well, that is not quite true, I started the book and then realized it was getting bigger than I could handle, characters started popping up out of the woodwork and I realized I was in trouble, only a couple of chapters in. It took me about four days to get the entire thing down in black and white all the while a part of me just wanted to write the damn story.

I think it worked out in the end. I did however, have to keep going back and adding, "I want to add this in before (this) chapter" Maybe that is a good thing. My thoughts all written down in somewhat of an orderly fashion. It gave me a full story and believe I know where it is going at least.

I guess I will see how it all turns out. Maybe someone else will get possessed, maybe someone will die. Maybe I won't follow the outline at all and end up writing something even better than I have imagined. Who knows?

Once a Panster, always a Pantser? Perhaps.

I wanted to add one more thing here that might be of interest to those writer types out there. As many of you know, Ruth Ann Nordin is one of the biggest inspirations in my writing world as a self-published author. I soak up her advise like a sponge. She published an article on this topic and I thought I would share it with you. Here it is ~ Enjoy! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's Off to Work I Go...

So, here it is. The first REAL day of the new year. I don't count yesterday for a couple of reasons, first, it's a holiday and therefore there is no mail. That is like a license to take the day off in my opinion. (I did do my Morning Pages yesterday however, let's not get crazy) And second, most of us were up until the early hours of the morning anyway so the day was spent simply trying to recover from drinks and lack of shut eye. Yesterday consisted of a couple of naps, too much food, the Rose Parade and a hockey game played in the snow of Michigan and a football game. So all in all, I can't really count it as a working day and therefore I shouldn't feel guilty about not writing. I do a little bit anyway, that is just me.

Writing should come first and most of the time it does. I have to admit I write better after a good night's sleep and a decent workout first thing in the morning but I can muddle through if I have to without either one. I don't know how good the writing is then, I do know it is harder going, like walking uphill in a foot of snow sometimes, but I can manage when I have to.

But now it is the second and it is time to begin work on my 2014 goals and aspirations for the coming year. The Christmas cookies are not quite gone so my goal of eating healthier this year may have to wait a couple more days. I can however, eat them when I am writing so there is no excuse that they will slow me down in that regard. 

As I look around I notice that the bathroom is looking pretty dirty and the dishes are piling up...I should clean just a little... focused, Cindy...remember what you were put here for...

To write...