Sunday, January 31, 2010

Synopsis for NaNoWriMo Novel

I left a synopsis for my November novel challenge, "Into the Glow, Aborning" on my NaNoWriMo account page and I wanted to share it here:

Into the Glow, Aborning

A young boy hears a sound that wakes him up in the night. He goes outside to investigate. The next day he falls into a strange life-threatening coma. When he awakens, his parents notice he is not the same...

Nether Stowey and his new wife Clemetia are entertaining Clemetia's parents. They are visiting from the terraformed planet Caeladon, affectionately called "Greener World." Nether and Clemetia are enjoying being newlyweds, but life as they know it is about to change. For all of us.

People begin acting strangely. Some seem to be capable of telepathy. Some can heal themselves of nearly every wound or illness. A bizarre transformation is taking place among the humankind of Earth. We are becoming superhuman. But at what price?

We are infected, it seems.

The Nano-aliens have come to earth. They are fighting a war for supremacy and they have picked Earth as their battleground and humans as their weapons.

How can we stop beings so small that they can only be seen by the highest powered electron microscopes? How can we fight against our brothers and sisters who are in favor of superhuman transcendence and the increased life-span it offers?

Somewhere out there, is the weapon we need to fight back. If only we can discover it in time...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo Introduction

I thought it was about time to introduce myself on the 'Newbie' forum at NaNoWriMo, so I wrote this little piece:

I'm brand new to the NaNoWrimo scene in 2010, but I've wanted to do this for quite some time.

It's going to be difficult for me as I have just enrolled in college to pursue my BA in English. I will begin my freshman AA degree classes at St. Petersburg College on 2/8. This decision came on the tailwind of my getting laid off from my job in January. I feel it's time for a change of direction.

I'm going to try not to lose my mind in November as I struggle with classes and 1667 a day Wrimo word counts. But I made up my mind that this would be my NaNoWriMo year, and nothing is going to stop me.

I've had poetry published recently in the e-zine market, and I've submitted one flash fiction story. I hope to submit another short story before the end of February.

This will be my first attempt to 'complete' a novel. I have several novels in progress in various stages of life. Some are deceased, but I'm just too stubborn to completely bury them, so they're rotting away on my hard drive. I have a lot of trouble trying to write a novel so I hope that this first Wrimo experience helps me to get over that hump. I'm not expecting to write a great Hemmingway masterpiece, I just want to get a novel written.

Finally, I hope to make some new friends, both Newbies who are just as terrified as I am, and Seasoned Veterans who can give us a helpful hint or a kick in the ass along the way, whichever is needed. I'm looking forward to the adventure.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Full Moon with a Halo and Dreaming of a Macbook

I wanted to get a post on this blog tonight before I go to bed.

Went to Walmart with my friend Carl earlier and we happened to notice how big and bright the moon was. It also had a large halo surrounding it. I'd always heard that a halo around the moon meant rain, so I checked my Weather Widget (at the bottom of this blog page) when I got home and sure enough it's supposed to rain tomorrow. Interesting. Maybe there is something to that old myth.

Speaking of moon myths, my sister-in-law Rose commented on Facebook that this particular moon (first one of the new year) is called a "Wolf Moon" in Native American culture. Thus the wolf/moon graphic.

I went to Walmart to purchase the new H & R Block tax software, so I can hurry up and file my taxes. Then, I can submit the FAFSA for the 2010/2011 school year. They say the sooner you get it done, the better your chances of getting the grant. I hope to do this tomorrow morning, in between loads of laundry.

I saved a shopping cart on the Apple Store website. I hope I'm able to put the purchase through. It really all hangs on what kind of part time work I can find and how soon. Unemployment is not going to cut it for long with me. I have far too many bills.

I really do need a new Mac for school and it so happens that the education discount on the Macbook is a better deal than any other Mac and makes it cheaper than some PC's. I've wanted a Macbook for so very long, and this may be my best shot to get it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Reluctant Prince, Chapter 3: Grondo and the Lady Darla

 Chapter 3: Grondo and the Lady Darla 

One fine and happy evening, the king of the Kindred called at the residence of Bolim Dram, the father of Darla Dram. When the Kindred began badgering him to marry, King Grondo had only one lady in mind. The Lady Darla. She was the only female of the Kindred whom he wanted to share his life with.

She was beautiful, but most importantly she was kind. She had the sort of loving sweetness that the Kindred wanted in their queens, and he knew she would be a perfect match for him. Moreover, she would be a good Queen in his absence, as he was soon to be called away from the kingdom to attend a High Meet with the Shaman of the Redskins.

But he did not know if she loved him as he loved her.

That would not matter, though. As king, all he had to do was convince her father. If her father said 'yes', then that was that. Darla would marry him. And she would, someday he hoped, grow to love him. He hoped that would not take too long. He prayed most earnestly that she already loved him. The anxiety of these thoughts weighed heavily on the king and caused great knots to form in his stomach. He was sick at heart with worry as he waited in Bolim's den, Darla's mother having gone to go fetch her husband.

The door opened and Bolim Dram entered.

"Ahhhhh....Your Kingship," Bolim began, genuflecting before Grondo. "What a pleasant surprise and the highest honor you pay me." He rose and gestured for Grondo to take a seat near the fireplace. Bolim seated himself opposite and reached for the poker, prodding the coals in the fireplace about. "What brings you to my humble abode?"

Grondo steeled himself and waited until Bolim was finished stirring the fire. When the elder sat back in the chair and regarded him, Grondo began to speak.

"I...umm...I...want to...umm...ask you..."

"Oh, come, come...Your Highness, you can be frank with me. Is this concerning my daughter?" Bolim Dram was no fool. He had seen the king pausing in his daily walks to chat with Darla. He had noticed with a father's attentive eye how the king admired his daughter.

Grondo fidgeted in the chair and began twisting his fingers, then realized that this might not be a very kingly thing to do, and so he stopped.

"Umm....yes, sir. I wondered if she had any offers? Of marriage, I mean?"

"Of course that's what you mean. What other kinds of offers are there? She doesn't." The Dram leaned back, a slight smile playing on his lips. "Have any offers, that is."

The king leaned forward and closed his eyes, concentrating on each word and hoping against hope. "Ummm...I'd... like to ask you... for her hand, then."

There, He'd said it. And he discovered that once he'd said it, it wasn't so very frightening after all.

"Sire," Bolim said, reaching out and clasping Grondo's shoulder. "Who am I to refuse my king or my daughter what makes them both happy?"

"Me, certainly," Grondo said, relaxing. "I'm not so sure about her."

Bolim grinned. "Are you not?" Grondo shook his head. "Why, then, don't you ask her? She is in the garden."

So it was that Grondo found himself strolling the Dram gardens and finding the Lady Darla sitting on a rock. When he got down on one knee, the lady began to weep as she whispered "Oh, yes, my king. I will be your wife."

She then swatted him on the top of the head in mock anger and jibed: "It took you long enough, fool!" They laughed, embracing each other and shared a brief but loving kiss before returning to her father, who performed the marriage ceremony right then and there, as is the custom of the Kindred.

Grondo and the queen Darla went to their castle that evening and celebrated their nuptials with the whole household and the stewards with a grand feast of purple dragon and biters for dessert.

But in the back of Grondo's mind, the meeting with the Red Shaman overshadowed even this happy event.

End of Chapter Three

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I was thinking about ways to celebrate the occasion when I finally sell my first story.

The thought occurred to me that if my friends were to take me out and we celebrated just enough, I might be persuaded to get a tattoo. Something cute and Celtic. And in an out-of-the-way spot. I kind of like the idea, actually, after having been opposed to it for many years.

If anyone has a tattoo and wants to relate their experience, good or bad, I would love to know what you think. Drop me a comment.

I was thinking something along the lines of this, but with some smaller shamrocks flowing out of each side of this main design, perhaps on the lower back...


by Maria Kelly  (published by Soft Whispers on 1/26/10)

I promised forever.
Though your love slipped from my finger as
quietly as you slipped from the world.
Still, forever I will wear it;
closer now to my heart than ever.
It is engraved there.
It whispers there.

Another Poem Published!

Yesterday, I visited the website of the e-zine "Soft Whispers" which gave me the bragging rights for my first ever published piece last week. See "painting the sky."

They had posted a picture of a golden wedding band suspended from a golden neck chain. Jim Wisneski, founder and editor of the e-zine, issued a challenge. Post a comment on the picture, a few words, a poem, anything.

I wrote an eight-line bit of free-form verse on the spot. The picture (you can view it here) reminded me of when my husband Shawn passed away and how I wore his wedding band around my neck on a chain for the first few years afterwards. And how I eventually took it (and my own wedding ring) off, as I began to heal and look forward to the future and possibly finding another mate. Still looking. Every so often it feels like the ring is still on my finger (although it has been years since I've worn it). I think that feeling must be akin to when someone loses a limb and can still feel it's presence. A ghost-like bond of the soul.

I can still feel the bond that held us tightly together, even though it was broken a long time ago. It made me feel that even if I find a new mate, Shawn will still be a part of me. Forever. Love never dies.

I will post the poem here in a little while.

You can also read it here, along with another poem submitted by a fellow poet (Cynthia Schuerr) about the same picture. I think Cynthia's poem rocks. She is a really great, great poet. All of the poets on that site give this verse dabbler incredible inspiration.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Instructions for Adding Comments

Some of my friends have asked me how they can add comments to my posts. A few have had some difficulty.

I have written details on how to add comments in a section labeled "Commenting on Posts" on the side-bar of the blog. Let me know if this helps.

Also, please let me know if you have any other problems with posting comments, so that I can update those instructions, if necessary. I have included a link to my email address, below my Facebook badge.

I appreciate and enjoy your feedback and suggestions.

Rain, Rain...

Been sitting here listening to the wind shake this little one bedroom mobile home and thinking to myself, "I wonder what's going on with the weather."

It's been raining on and off over the weekend. Apparently, we're in for a whole lot more. I just went to Bay News 9 weather page and they say we are going to have heavy downpours overnight possibly into Tuesday.

Great sleeping weather. Not so great driving weather for the commuters this morning. I'm almost glad I'm not one of them. And I'm glad I got air in the tires in case I do have to go out in it.

I'll need to, of course, confirm this all with NOAA, and make sure that the mesoscale analysis looks okay.

Don't want to end up in Oz.  Or Miami.

Here is the graphic for Tampa Bay from NOAA:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blogger Random Question: Forks Evolved from Spoons? Geesh!

Do you believe that forks are evolved from spoons?

Forks were always forks.

They are much too complex in structure to have sprung from the evolutionary loins of the simple spoon.

Contrary to popular opinion, I believe that spoons evolved from forks as the hideously deformed and misbegotten offspring resulting from the illicit matings between forks and knives. It makes me cringe to think of it.

See the photos of the bizarre mating dance of the knife and fork below, which was captured by a very brave cinematographer, if you need further evidence of this.

This is what the offspring of spoons and forks looks like (the rare and ghastly "spork"):

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm So Raven

painting the sky - PUBLISHED!

The following poem is my first ever published work. It was published in the online e-zine "Soft Whispers" on January 21st, 2010. 

the sky
is too blue
and too bright
for me
it is far too blue
and far too bright
to reflect my despair
and pain
i’d like to
reach up
and seize hold of it
by its corners
and drag it down
to earth
where i would
splatter it all over
with shades
of rainy gray
and melancholy black
and dirty brown
then throw it back up
so you would see it
and know
what you’ve done to me

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Very Sweet Smell of Success

Today is not like other days.

Today I woke up a broke, out of work, former Billing Clerk feeling anxious and worried about the future.

Tonight, I go to bed a PUBLISHED WRITER!

My poem, "painting the sky," which is the first poem that I have submitted to any market (and the first piece that I submitted in the new year), was published by the e-zine "Soft Whispers."

I know this may sound a bit odd for a writer, but I do not have the words to express what this moment means to me.

I may have to post about this another time, once I've gotten control of my emotions.

Today is a great day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Hero" by Skillet

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When God Closes a Door...He Opens a Window!

It's more than just a worn-out cliché. It's true.

Today I went to take the placement test at St. Petersburg College as part of my dream of returning to school to seek my Bachelors Degree in English.

I needed to take the placement test in order to get enrolled in some classes toward AA degree for transfer to a higher institution since SPC is rather limited in its choices of Bachelor degrees.

All this after being laid off from my job two weeks ago.

I am not one to waste time when I get an idea.

I thought I would do badly on the math and algebra portions of the test, and I was not wrong. I have to take three (YIKES) remedial algebra classes before I can even begin to take the two required college mathematics courses for the AA. Having not done any serious algebra work in over twenty years, the results of the math tests did not surprise me. Somehow I will find the strength I need to get through all these blasted math classes. If I've had a hard time trying to pray lately (and I have!) then maybe it's time to start trying harder.

There was a silver lining, however.

I scored high enough on the reading and sentence skills portions of the test to be eligible to take Honors Composition.

This has led me to believe that God gave me this writing talent for a reason and it would simply be a waste of His precious love for me and a waste on my own part, not to pursue this.

So, I'm jumping through this window. Head first...feet first. Doesn't matter. As long as I land where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taking a Test in the Morning

I'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning, consuming as much coffee as possible, before jaunting off to St. Petersburg College to take the Computerized Placement Test as part of the entrance to the A.A. degree transfer program.

Am I worried?

A little. I haven't taken a test of any kind in many years. I'm confident that I should do fairly well on the Reading and Sentence Comprehension part of the test. If not, I've got no business calling myself a writer and I will come home and mortify myself with a coat-hanger while channeling the spirit of Joan Crawford!

For the math and algebra part of the test I'm not going to do so well. I haven't needed to use much more than simple computation skills since I left high school. And three days was not much time to prepare for this. I have, therefore, resigned myself to having to take a preparatory course in mathematics before I can move on to the harder college level stuff. Oh joy, oh joy! :-<

But, the whole point of these placement tests is, I am told, to see what areas you need to review so that you have the best advantage possible when you begin attending classes and start to do butt-aching homework.

So, whatever the outcome, I am focused and determined to succeed.

Goodnight, everyone. Keep me in your prayers or if you don't pray, at least think well-wishing thoughts for me as I undertake this grand adventure.

A Thought on Martin Luther King Day

Jesus undercut the basis for all violent, exclusionary and punitive behavior. He became the forgiving victim, so we would stop creating victims ourselves. He became the falsely accused one, so we would be careful whom we accuse.

~Fr. Richard Rohr

One of my Facebook friends posted this on FB and I wanted to share it.

Maria Kelly 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Frog Editor by Inkygirl

I kind of thought this one goes along with my serial fantasy.  :-)

Inkygirl: Daily Diversions for Writers

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Reluctant Prince, Chapter 2: Grondo and the Trespassers

Chapter 2: Grondo and the Trespassers 

When Grondo was King of the Kindred, there was peace between us and the red-skins. There hasn't always been peace between our two, very different tribes. But when Grondo was king, he made the peace between us and he kept the peace for a very long time.

There was a moment, though, when Grondo first came to his throne, when it looked as if there were going to be hostilities between us and the red-skins. Foraging parties on both sides raided and plundered resources in each others territories. It was a very serious matter. By doing so, they broke the treaty that was made after the Battle of the Long Leaf. In that treaty, both tribes promised they would only hunt and forage in the others domain if permission was asked and granted at the High Meet, when both tribes came together to communicate and work out any grievances we might have. And, oh, boy did we have them!

The incident happened one day in late Bright Shining Time.

Some red-skins were caught wandering in our territory by some of our border patrollers. They were brought before King Grondo's throne at the Royal Castle, whose Outer Gates were situated in a knothole high on the crown of a particularly fine oak tree.

King Grondo was having a rough day.

For you see, the tribe had been pestering him ever since his coronation about getting himself a Queen. He was the only King since time out of mind to ascend to the throne without already having a wife and the Kindred could not remember a time when they did not have both a King and a Queen ruling over them.

Sure, a King was good enough for economic, justice, political and military matters. But when you needed mercy and compassion to balance out the affairs of state, nothing was better than the tender heart of a Queen for that. Plus, they were just as capable in the political arena as a King. So, quite understandably, the King's mind was preoccupied with thoughts of possible mates, when the soldiers entered the throne room with the red-skinned interlopers.

"Your Highness, Grondo the Great." said Merby, chief of the border patrol. "We've caught these reds inside our boundaries."

King Grondo remained seated in his throne and did not even look at his visitors. He sat with his head in his hands and mumbled to himself. " one but her. It can't be anyone but her...I won't...But I can't ask her...she won't agree..."

"Your HIGHNESS!" Merby interrupted, a little more loudly.

The king jerked his head up suddenly, as if surprised to find that he was no longer alone. "Yes?" he asked wearily.

"These red-skins were caught encroaching on our lands," continued Merby. "What would you like done with them?"

The king's eyes moved from Merby to the reds in question. There were two of them. "Not much of a hunting party," the king replied.

"Nevertheless, my liege" said Merby. "They refused to tell the patrol what they were doing in our territory and said they were told to speak only to you."

King Grondo perked up at that, leaning back in his throne to display what he hoped was an air of confidence toward the two alien tribesmen. "Is that so? Messengers, then?"

The larger of the reds stepped forward and bowed on one knee before the throne. "Yes, Your Majesty. I am Lorwag, the kin-brother of Lumac. He seeks a High Meet with you and your tribe. On the next long-shadow time." Lorwag rose to his feet and stepped back after delivering the message.

"Lumac..."said the king thoughtfully.

So, the Red Shaman calls a High Meet with us. Outside of the schedule, the king reflected. "What does he seek to discourse with me about at this Meet?" the king asked.

Lorwag stepped forward again. "I only know it pertains to a prophesy he intends to give concerning Your Kingship."

King Grondo nearly fell out of his throne. "He means to prophesy? About me?" He asked.

"Yes," replied Lorwag. "He has had a vision concerning you and it concerns all of us, as well. Both tribes of the Kindred."

Grondo blinked. Whatever prophesy the Red Shaman could possibly have concerning him, it was sure to be bad. Still... Grondo straightened high in his throne again in an effort to appear unaffected by this news. He cast an unblinking stare down at the messenger, who had not yet moved back into formation with the other red-skin under guard, as if he had something more to say to the king. "Is that all?" Grondo asked, although he knew it wasn't.

"No, Your Majesty. Lumac also seeks a personal counsel with you after the Meet is concluded." Lorwag finished, then stepped back alongside his silent red counterpart.

What could the old red devil want to see me privately about? the king wondered, his mind deeply disturbed by this news.

"Very well. We will come together on the next long shadow." the king said, then turning to the patrol captain. "Merby, see that these messengers return to their own territory safely, and that they do not linger near the border."

"Yes, Your Highness," Merby said. The patrol then marched the two messengers out of the throne room.

When the door was closed, Grondo sank back into his chair and frowned. "What does the old trickser want with me?" he asked himself.

Well, whatever the prophesy and whatever the outcome of the meet, it would not do for the kindred to be left without a ruler, in any case.

He knew then what he had to do.

End of Chapter Two. 
(a link for Chapter Three will be provided once it has been posted)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Research, Coffee & a Visit with an Academic Advisor

Tomorrow morning I might head out for some breakfast, at least go someplace where I can get a decent cup of joe, and go over some of the research I've been needing to continue for my upcoming NaNoWriMo project.

I've just finished printing off some Internet research on extra-solar planets and terraforming. I'd like to start a general creation of the world my protagonists' in-laws come from, the terraformed planet with the strange "love plants." I don't need to spend a whole lot of time on creating this world, since most of the action in the book will still take place on Earth.

I'm also taking a copy of a book I found at the PARC thrift store awhile back called "Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life" by David Grinspoon. It will form part of my research for the novel. It is a look at the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

After doing this, I've decided I need to go see an Academic Advisor and possibly someone in Financial Aid at St. Petersburg College so that I can get more information on my options for changing my college status to degree-seeking and what I need to do to get started on my A.A. Also, how do I pay for it since I am now without a job? I'm hoping to get an answer to a few of the questions that I have concerning my quest for a B.A. in English.

I finished and submitted a flash fiction piece to an e-zine sponsoring a monthly flash fiction writing contest based on a picture. The story is a fantasy with religious overtones called "The Archangel of Downward Spiral."

The same e-zine has a Valentine Horror flash fic or poetry contest. I have started a Lovecraftian love story called "With Teeth that Tear Flesh," but like most of Lovecraft's own work, I'm afraid it won't be confined to a thousand words. I'm having way too much fun with it.

And I thought that "Medicine Makes You Sicker" was going to be my first foray into the Cthulhu Mythos. :)

Slice of Life Tonight

I'm looking forward to attending my second FWA meeting tonight.

The guest speaker is Margo Hammond, the former book editor for The St. Petersburg Times. She is going to talk about "Slice of Life" writing.

What might a writer of speculative fiction hope to learn from this particular talk?

Every piece of writing has some "real life" attributes. Even science fiction, fantasy and horror.

I hope to learn a great deal about how to incorporate the elements of everyday living into my writing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awesome Cat

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Submitted First Piece of Work for 2010

I managed to keep one of my New Years Resolutions and I was able to do it within two weeks of the start of 2010.

One of my goals was to start submitting my writing for publishing consideration. It's one of the major reasons I signed up with Duotrope's Digest. They have amazing tools for keeping track of the work you have submitted. And they have an amazing search engine of publishing markets. Plus, it is FREE! No monthly subscription fees. They do solicit for donations, though. They have to have money to do this and I'm going to chuck them some greenbacks as soon as I can. I highly recommend this website.

They send a weekly email newsletter about which markets have closed and which are new. I started poking around and found a e-zine that just re-opened its doors for business that looked very interesting. They want both poetry and short stories. They are a non-paying market, but the idea right now is just to break into print. Then I can begin to build a writing "resume."

Yesterday I submitted a poem to them called "painting the sky."

They also have a monthly short story contest where they post a picture and the writers job is to write a 1000 word story based on the photo. I downloaded this months picture and finished writing the story yesterday, although I'm still tweaking it. I hope to submit it later this week, as the deadline on it is the 25th. My story is called "The Archangel of Downward Spiral."

Posting a Serial Story Online

As I look toward the horizon, to a future so bright that I must squint even while wearing sunglasses, I've made a major decision about posting my work on this little 'ol blog.

As I writer, if I post my work online anywhere, it usually takes that piece out of contention for any print or electronic publication from other sources. Print publishing houses and e-zine sites view this as a "reprint," and many of them are against it. I learned this after I submitted a piece to a forum I belong to and then submitted the same piece for an anthology contest. I had to have the anthology people pull my story. After all, you can't give a publisher the "First North American" rights to a story if they're not "first" to publish it, and publishing on forums and posting on blogs are considered the same as publishing in their eyes.

It makes sense, really.

So, in light of that, the decision I had to make was whether or not to go ahead and post certain pieces of my work online.

I made the decision last week, that in order to get a following of readers (or even, dare I dream it?--fans) I'd post some of my work, beginning with a children's fantasy tale, "The Reluctant Prince." I posted Chapter 1 on Friday.

Doing this serves several purpose for me.

First, it gets my work the exposure it needs. This might not be the greatest frog story ever written, but it allows me to grow as a writer. Especially if my friends and wise readers comment on it and let me know their feelings about it. They can hit the email post button (the little envelope at the bottom of each post) if they wish their comments to be private. But by all means, I want your opinions. Even if you hate it and you think I ought to be burned at the stake for writing such stupid crap.

Secondly, this is an incomplete story at present. Meaning, I'm not finished with it, yet. I know...I know...I'm taking a hell of a risk posting a story that I've not even finished writing, but I believe that by posting it now and serializing it, it gives me the motivation to get my ass moving and complete it. It also gives me time to do so, since I'll only upload a chapter when it is ready to be read.

So, I will continue to post some of my work on here. Once I get a story or two published out there in the real world, though, I should be able to post snippets of those and maybe even whole stories or poems.

I really need to learn a whole lot more about the legal side of writing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Reluctant Prince, Chapter 1: Story Time

1. Story Time

"Once upon a time..." Grandfather began.

"No! No! No! NO! NO!" Grandmother interrupted, shaking her dishtowel at Grandfather in a somewhat violent manner. "You NEVER begin a story with 'Once Upon a Time.'" She heaved a loud sigh. She had entered the living room from the kitchen moments earlier, having just finished washing up the breakfast dishes. “That's been done to death."

Grandfather merely rolled his eyes and the children--Kenny (the older) and Kaitlyn (the younger) laughed until they were fit to burst. Nothing was funnier in the whole world than their grandparents phony bickering for their amusement.

"That's not the way to tell a proper fairy tale at all," Grandmother continued. "Don't you know how to do anything except sit in that chair and snore like a gibbering groundhog all day?" This provoked more guffaws from the children, who were now rolling about on the floor, suffering from their own separate but equally wild cases of hysterics.

"A man needs his rest, woman!" Grandfather griped. He reached up a spindly hand, dotted in a random pattern of age spots, and pulled at his wrinkled chin. Kenny sat up alertly, adjusting the thin circlet of gold across his forehead, which had started to slip down over his eyes -- it being of a slightly larger size than his head. He was expecting Grandfather to spout off another ripe retort. But all that he said was:

"If you think you're such a hot horsefly, YOU can tell the story." Grandfather threw up his arms in exasperation, then leaning back in his chair he reached for his pipe on the end table next to him. Grandmother hurriedly hobbled over and smacked his hand away.

"No smoking when the kids are over, dear," she said, rather softly. "You know the rule about that."

"Hmmph...what? Oh...yeah. I'm sorry, love. I forgot." They looked at each other for a second, and for that one fleeting moment their true feelings for one another rose to the surface of their crinkled faces. Kenny saw it and stuck out his tongue in disgust. Kaitlyn saw it and smiled, hugging herself as she too, sat up and looked at each of her grandparents in turn. She could see so much of her father's compassion in her grandmother's eyes and a great deal more of his tomfoolery in her grandfather.

Grandfather reached out and patted Grandmother's hip affectionately.

"Do you want to tell the story then, my love?" he asked.

She smiled and blushed, just like the young damsel she used to be. "No, dear. You really are much better at telling stories than I am. Just leave off with that 'Once Upon a Time' rubbish." She threw the dishtowel over her shoulder and sat down in the comfortably over-stuffed chair next to Grandfather.

"Oh yes," said Kenny. "Tell us the tale about King Grondo and the Giants!"

"No!" Kaitlyn cried, "the one about The Lady Darla, please. Or The Shaman's Curse. Those are my favorites."

Grandfather raised a hand for silence. "All right now, younglets. There's no need to fight. We have all day long to sit here and waste time. I'll tell you all the Grondo stories I know. Starting with the tale of the Trespassers."

"Ooh. That's a good one, Grandfather," said Kenny.

"Very well...ahem. Begin at the beginning, I always say. Right, then. Here is the story of Grondo and the Trespassers," said the old man. Leaning forward, he bewitched the youngsters with his most serious story-telling face.

The children ceased fidgeting at once. They crossed their legs and folded their hands on their laps, getting comfortable. They angled their heads in Grandfather's direction, rapt attention stamped across their small, freckled faces.

End of Chapter One.  
Go to Chapter Two. 
(a link for Chapter Two will be provided once it has been posted) 

Blogger Random Question: My Cat? Scared?

Foxes are clever and tigers are cunning. So, what's your cat's safety school?

My cat is bored by a question so obviously simplistic. BratCat would shred them both into tiny, bloody bits and then eat them with some cheese melted on top for breakfast. My cat would then eat the writer of such a question for lunch. And then hack it all up in a hairball.

My cat is my safety school.

My Drabblecast forum avatar (this is not my cat, but funny nevertheless):

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Trick to Living Life as Usual Even When it's Not

There is a trick to all of this, waking up every day and attempting to carry on carrying on. Right now, I'm trying to figure out just what that magical trick might be.

Recently deceased job. Puttering about trying to determine "what next?" Considering how to edit the resumé. Tentative web searches of job engine sites like Monster, Career Builder and such. Nothing much out there.

I'm seeing lots of ads that say "Obama Wants You To Get A Degree." Good. I hope he can help me pay for my rent and my car while he's at it. I'd like nothing more than to use this time to retrain myself. Maybe as an English teacher who teaches the language to new Americans. Something that would allow me to stretch my wings and be more of a social advocate. Maybe as a Technical Writer who collaborates on projects involving training materials. I did not realize this until I researched the job description, but I have already done technical writing in the past. I helped collaborate and did the writing for a training manual of the software at the answering service I worked for many, many years ago. That was my first computer job and my very first writing assignment, now that I think on it. Too bad I did not save any copies of that. I get zero points for the naiveté of my youth.

Today, I'm carrying on. Have to go make a car payment. Don't feel much like flirting with the loan associate (the mild mannered guy who has sung "I Just Met a Girl Named Maria" to me in the past). Perhaps, I'll bat an eyelash or two at him, though. I'm not dead, just unemployed. 8-)

I need to go get a little gas in the car. Then, I've decided to go to Office Depot and invest in wrist rests for both the keyboard and mouse. I anticipate doing a lot of typing in the future, while working on both my resumé and filling out forms for unemployment and FAFSA. I have decided to try and get a PEL grant. I may finally have to take those God awful entrance exams somewhere, Geez, oh well. If I can manage to have Uncle Sam help me to jump start a new career, I will do whatever it takes to get it done. I didn't know until now but the folks that have those English degrees have a diverse range of job opportunities, from Marketing and Communication Consultants to Public Relations. Very interesting, that.

Many years ago, I wanted to go to school for Journalism. A tragic circumstance in my life prevented that from happening.  Now....

Now I consider with mind opened wide, "what next?"

And learn to carry on carrying on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Voice of Truth: A Little Inspiration

Reinventing the Wheel...Again

In my last post I lamented that I did not take any time during the holidays to do much writing or even any research on my various projects.

Be careful what you groan about.

I joined the ranks of the unemployed yesterday.  I was laid off from my job after working there for nearly six years.

As you might imagine, I am not too pleased by this sudden increase in free time, particularly since I have not hit the lottery yet. I hold no grudges, of course, these things happen to everyone. I am always grateful for any opportunity to learn something. I learned more about two of my favorite sciences, the sciences of the mind (psychology and psychiatry) that will no doubt be a great benefit to my writing and I made some friendships and acquaintances that I hope will stand the test of time.

This is going to be a very scary time for me. Going "on the dole" is hard, but I've been there before and I'll be joining the hundreds of thousands of others who are already there. I wish I could say that I find a little comfort in that. But, I am becoming increasingly aware that this could be an opportunity for me to reinvent myself again. Perhaps I could go to school and take classes in something I really like, maybe creative writing? I've also thought of the skills I have amassed over the years and I've wondered if teaching others (adult education?) might be a rewarding experience, mentally, spiritually and (most importantly) financially. I have tentatively looked into freelance writing. Maybe I can do that while I wait for something more permanent to come along.

Another thing I will be doing is incorporating the Adsense feature on my blogs. I will make a few cents with every click of someone's mouse and over time it will add up. It will be a nice $20 addition to the bank account every six months or so, maybe. I didn't really want to put ads on my blogs, but I need to rid myself of this dislike and look at the fiscal side of things.

I am scared, but I'm also aware that God has a plan for me and that as of right now the plan has changed. Here is a trial, He says. It will make you a stronger and better person. I must have faith.

I went to Walmart after I left work yesterday. I was in a daze, in shock from the news. There is a church on one of the streets I drive down that has a marquee in front. The sign said, "Be confident in chaos." I believe that was God sending me a message to hang in there: The world will always let you down, but I never will. Trust in Me. Everything will be all right.  

On the plus side, I have some time to write.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lazy Days and Holidays

I had the perfect opportunity to do lots of writerly things for the past 3 1/2 days.

I could have written. That would have been ideal. Lots of time with no bedtime curfews for a couple of days. I could have pounded out another couple thousand words on "The Coffee Wars" to prepare me for the upcoming NaNoWriMo, but I thought to myself: That's all still many months away, I don't have to worry about that now. 

Research. I still have a ton of it to do. Some to print and file in my story notebook for "Tiny Dragon" and some stuff to Google and Wikipedia about exoplanets and terraforming for "Into the Glow, Aborning." Again, the excuses began running rampant.

I hate to say it, but the excuses won out over every good inclination I had to actually use this time off from the stress of the workaday world to accomplish something toward my goal of getting published in 2010. I must have caught a holiday meme that got into my head and screamed: "Everyone else is lazing about and relaxing for the New Year, so should you."

Excuses, excuses.

It's been so damned cold I haven't felt like typing much. My fingers are frozen to the keyboard. Yet, it's colder now as I am typing this. Excuses are like opinions, everyone's got at least one. I have found several to keep me from the tasks at hand, namely the writer's acronyms: BIC - HOK - TAM;
  • BIC = Butt In Chair
  • HOK = Hands on Keyboard
  • TAM = Typing Away Madly 
So, maybe it was time for me to relax and chill a little. Maybe once I get back to work, I'll settle into a comfortable rhythm of really looking forward to coming home from the stress of work to the relaxation of character fleshing and world building.

I have to. November will be here before I know it and I want nothing to keep me from the beautiful and fulfilling goal of writing and finishing a novel.

No excuses.

Alien SASE Comic by Inky Girl

Inky Girl: Daily Diversions for Writers