Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Three Words #10

Three Words is I writing game I like to play. I post three words and encourage you to use them in a story. I also like to get comments with lists of three words for me to try and write a story with. So every week I post a story using either the three words from the previous week, or a story using your three words.

Just a note, I played around with using a random word generator. Did not like that much. So I just think of three words and post them. :)

Three Words

  • Arm
  • Sash
  • Pearl

P.S. I got some blog awards from the amazing Cassandra. Stop by Friday to see them and find out who I will be passing them along to. :)

Flash Fiction

Using the Three Words: Compass, Rose, Elephant (from Sarah Pearson)

The massive elephant swayed beneath me with a calming rhythm. For a moment I relished in the familiar sensation of moving in sync with the magnificent animal. I had spent far to long away from the land I called home.

The caravan slowly came to stop. "Rose?" My guide, Rafi, called to me. "The path forks here. North or West?" He asked me in his heavily accented voice. The deep exotic tones sent a thrill up my spine.

I pulled my fathers warn, golden plated compass from its place in my pocket. Then I rummaged in my pack for my map and spread it across the back of my elephant mount. Using the compass I oriented the map and found our location.

"North!" I called to Rafi.

"Yes ma'am."

The caravan started moving again. I looked at the jungle around me. Took in the sights and smells like a half starved man eating a feast. Just a few more hours and we would arrive. A few more hours and I could have answers to all of my burning questions.

A few more hours.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prompt Tuesday #10

Writing prompts are a great way to warm up for writing. Even if what you write is not all to wonderful, it is a good way to exercise your brain. Every Tuesday I post a prompt and my response. I encourage you to write a response too. Enjoy!


Start your story with this line: Her laugh broke the silence. (Source: #343)


Her laugh broke the silence. The sound rang through the halls like a thousand tinkling bells. Those who had never heard the princess laugh paused in their work to enjoy it. Slowly the echo of the laugh faded.

In the throne room the court jester rose from his bow, a triumphant smile on his face. The princess clapped her hands gleefully.

“Again, again!” She pleaded.

The jester shook his head and the tiny bells on his hat tingled. “My dear princess, I am yours to command.” He bowed. He leaned forward until his nose was inches from the floor, then swung his arms wildly. Ducking his head he rolled, landing on his feet.

The princess laughed again and all was right with the world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

We Have a Winner

First, here are a few links:

Next it is time to announce the winner of The Mighty Pen Award!

Sarah Pearson

I love her blog Empty White Pages. Also, I loved the twist ending. How the narrator sees their dead father and does not react at all. Great! Total potential for a whole store there!

Read Sarah's entry.

P.S. Sorry this was late! To many late nights finally caught up with me.

Honorable Mentions: Summer Ross

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goal Update

First, here are a few links:

Next, here are some updates on my goals:

  • Finished reading both of my books for this month. Have three picked out to read for next month.
  • I am struggling with the query letter for Shadowed Stones, so I am going to move on to writing the outline for now.
  • The world building for TOI is going well. I am almost ready to move on to the characters.

And finally, how I build worlds.

First of all, the map. I usually always have a map. Sometimes the map comes later in the world building. Sometimes it is very detailed sometimes it is just a sketch. The map for Shadowed Stones is very detailed. The map for Three of Ivory is really just a sketch right now.

Related to the map are the countries, governments and cultures. For the countries I usually have a name, and I also like to sketch the flag. I also identify the type of government and a little bit of the social classes. Trade and industry are often details I include. Hmm, what else? Oh, I also like to make a list of common physical attributes, name the language, and naming conventions for naming people and places.

Also, in worlds where there is magic - I setup the system of magic. What it can and cannot do. How to use it. Who can use it. And so on.

Next step: Character Bios.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Get Your Flash On

News Flash: Vote for my story!

Today I am co-hosting the Get Your Flash On blog hop with the amazing CherylAnne Ham. Here is how it works:

Read my awesome flash fiction piece below starting with the word Thwack!.

Some time before the end of the day next Friday write your own flash fiction piece starting with the word Thwack! (in 500 words or less), post it on your blog and use the linky thing-a-ma-jig to link up the post.

Hop around to to all the other linked up blogs to check out their Thwack! flash fiction.

Also, grabs this totally cool button that yours truly made and slap it up on your blog.

That's it. Easy and fun right?

You can also hop over to CherylAnne's Blog and check out her post. The linky thing-a-ma-jig is magic so you can link on either blog and it will show up on both. You can also grab the thing-a-ma-jig and share in the blog hop fun.

Flash Fiction


Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!

Mary swung the board down on the fist sized remains of the furry, eight legged monster.

"Mary!" Jane called. "Mary!" She repeated when Mary did not respond.

Mary looked up and said, "What?!"

"I think it is dead." Jane told her. "You can stop now."

Mary looked back at the crumpled mass of spider. She swung the board down one more time.


She dropped the board and walked away. "Now it's dead."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Mighty Pen #9

The Mighty Pen writing contest is held every Thursday. I post the beginning of a story, you post your ending in the comments. I judge all the entries on style, voice, imagery, humor, and pretty much anything else I think is important. Entries are open until Sunday night. On the following Monday I present the winner with The Mighty Pen award and feature them on my blog.

See The Mighty Pen tab above for previous winners.

When you are done here. Hop over to Cheryl's blog to check out her Flashtastic flash fiction contest.

The Beginning

Navigating through the twirling mass of bodies proved more difficult than I expected. More than once I feared for the hem of my gown. I tried to keep my eyes locked on his tall frame, but it was fruitless.

He too, weaved his way through the crowded room. Often I lost sight of him in the sea of unfamiliar faces. Just when I would despair of ever finding him again I would catch a glimpse and press on.

When finally I emerged into the empty space beyond the throng, I was flushed and gasping for breath. There. I saw him and called out...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Special Update: Short Story Contest Results

So, I have finally heard the results of the story contest.

I didn't win. But before you feel to horrible bad for me - there is still one chance for me to win. Splintered Lands is going to post the other entries and allow readers to vote on them. So, if your interested you could head over and read them and vote (once they are posted).

And, just so you know - if I don't win the contest I have plans to revamp the story and pull it out of the Splintered Lands world and reuse it else where.

I may even post the re-vamped story here. So all is not lost!

Also, don't forget to check out my usual Wednesday post below.

Three Words #9

It's Wednesday. That means its time for me to post three words that (I hope) will inspire you to write a flash fiction piece. Also, feel free to comment with a list of three words for me to use in a story. I will post the story next week. In the meantime, enjoy the story below.

Three Words

  • Bowl
  • Wheat
  • Fray

P.S. This Friday I will be co-hosting my first every blog hop with the amazing CherylAnne so be sure to stop by.

Flash Fiction

Using the Three Words: Stone, Branch, Cold (from last week)

She brushed her hand over the cold stone wall. "So close." She whispered to herself.

Ashlynn closed her eyes and leaned her tear streaked face against the smooth surface. "And yet so far."

From behind her, the sound of footsteps drew closer. Spinning around she used her delicate sleeve to wiper her eyes. A guard came marching around the corner. Seeing her he stopped abruptly and bowed.

"Your highness, what are you... are you lost?" He asked in a rough voice.

Ashlynn drew herself up and managed her most authoritative tone with her voice breaking. "Of course not!" She moved toward the man and he moved out of her way, bowing again as she passed.

Ashlynn slipped down the hall until she was sure she was out of site. Then, diving in to a dark hallway that branched off to the right, she doubled back. This time she came out on the other side of the cells.

She approached one an looked through the grate in the door

"Torin." She said in harsh whisper.

There was a stirring from within the cell. Torin's, dirty and blood layered face appeared in the faint light.

"Ashlynn." He moaned and reached his shackled hands to wrap around hers where the gripped the grate. "You should not be here."

Fresh tears spilled from her eyes. She shook her head violently. "I do not care. This may be our last chance." Words failed her and she lapsed into silence.

"You must go." He urged her. "You have more to protect than your own life."

"What life will we have with you gone!"

He hushed her. "A life, not matter how empty, is better than the dark grave."

"I rather go to the grave with you, than live one hour without you." Ashlynn sobbed.

More footsteps. "Go!" Torin called. Ashlynn refused to move, keeping her eyes locked on his.

A figure came to stand behind her. Torin moved his eyes to look and the expression on his face changed. Ashlynn turned slowly.

There, holding a torch and the large ring of dungeon keys, was Meave, Ashlynn's step mother. Without a word the woman held out the iron ring to Ashlynn. She took it, to stunned to do anything else.

"Free him." Meave ordered, her voice rough as though she had been crying.

Still recovering from this act of kindness from her enemy, Ashlynn dumbly obeyed. Torin's shackles fell to the ground and he wrapped his large arms around her.

Torin turned to the Meave. "Why?" He asked her.

She laughed darkly at them. "You forget that once I was young too. And though you may think me hard a cruel now, I was once tender and innocent. I was once in love." She paused, something unreadable on her face.

"Go. Take your young bride, and go. Live a long and happy life far away from those who would tare if from you."

Ashlynn and Torin watched in silenced as their benefactor left them. Ashlynn turned to Torin.

"I feel I have been unfair to her."

Torin took her face in his hands. "We she remember her fondly to make up for it."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prompt Tuesday #9

It is time once again for Prompt Tuesday, where I post a writing prompt and my response.


Write from the point of view of a stack of paper a few inches from the shredder. (Source: #345)


The spinning blades of oblivion are close. Close enough that I can feel the air move, disturbed by their hungry churning. Oh! To be torn apart, ripped to shreds, destroyed. It is a terrible fate. If only my blank and empty spaces had been more inviting. If only the worlds scribbled upon my surface had been more inspired. Perhaps I would have been spared. But alas, I am doomed because the words I hold are no longer wanted.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In Which I Give an Award

I am proud to announce the winner of this Week's Mighty Pen Award!


Maren has a family blog over at The Henderson Family Chronicles where she is not afraid to be herself. I greatly suggest you check it out.

Her ending was very inventive. I loved the shape shifting! A cool element of the story. And of course I love that the character turned into a cockroach! To see her winning entry, and other winners and honorable mentions check out the tab above.

Honorable Mentions: Spod

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Maps and Stories

Okay, so I still don't know if I won the writing contest I entered yet. Sigh. I am not good at waiting.


So yesterday I found a map building program called AutoRealm - which is free and lets you create maps of fictional worlds. I played around with it a bit yesterday and I like it. There is a little bit of a learning curve. You need to play around with it a little bit before you get the hang of it - but it is way cool. Here is a screen shot:

The best part is being able to use fractal lines which are all squiggly so they look like real coast lines and stuff. So if you need to build a map for your fantasy world I suggest you check it out (you can download from the link above). I would also recommend doing a Google Search for tutorials.


The other thing I promised to post today is the story of how I met, and became engaged to my husband.

When I was in college I visited my sister one weekend and we went shopping at the JC Penney's she worked at then. My sister hates standing in line so when we had our purchases selected I started looking for the shortest, fasting moving line. My sister ignored every single one I pointed at and headed clear across the store. We ended up in the longest, slowest moving line. Standing at the register next to the one we were waiting to checkout at was my husband. Oh my gosh, I thought he was so cute! My sister, knowing him from work struck up a conversation and I got shy.

The next time they worked together he came up to her and said something to the effect of - You did not tell me your sister is 10 times as pretty as you are - and asked for my phone number.

My sister coordinated a time when I could come to visit again and we could go out.

We went out three nights in a row and it was amazing! Throughout my dating life I had always been able to tell in three dates if someone was a potential husband. But it still surprised me when after two dates I knew that this guy was the kind of guy I wanted to marry.

I had this idea in my head of the perfect man for me. Yeah, that guy was a bum, my husband blew him out of the water!

I went back to college and we commenced a long distance relationship (bad idea! don't do it!). On my next visit two weeks later he proposed and we were married three and a half months after that.

I know you are thinking that was fast and I must be crazy. Well I am a little. But six years later my marriage is still going strong, so maybe not all that crazy.

So how did I know he was the right one and that everything would work out. I didn't. And excuse me for getting a little religious here. I did not make the decision alone. I counselled with God and He told me everything would be okay. I have come to trust God without reservation. So I did it. I got married to a man I hardly knew. And you know what - it is the best thing I have ever done. I never knew a person could be so happy!

So there is the story in it's briefest form. Some day I may give more details. I have always thought it would be fun to write it out in story format for our kids to read.

How did you meet your significant other? Or if you haven't met that special someone yet, what are you looking for?

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Late Update

Sorry this post is so late. I have two very good reasons for the delay.

  1. I was waiting to see if I won the short story contest I won over at Splintered Lands. The winners were supposed to be announced today.
  2. I was having issues connecting to the internet with my laptop.

Here is a quick update on where I am with my goals.

I am about 80% finished with reading Tarranau

I wrote my first query letter for Shadowed Stones, discarded it a wrote a second. I am giving it time to simmer before I go back to it. I plan to work on the outline next. Check out the tab above "From Pen to Published" for updates on my journey toward publication.

I have started cracking down and working Three of Ivory. I downloaded a program that looks to be really cool for creating maps. If it turns out I like it I will post and let you know about it.

I finally decided which old favorite I want to read. I decided on The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The first book is called The Book of Three. Now I just have to go dig it out of a box in the basement.

Stay tuned for tomorrow post where I will reveal the story behind getting engaged to my husband two weeks after our first date!

How about you? How are your goals going?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Mighty Pen #8

The Mighty Pen writing contest is held every Thursday. I post the beginning of a story, you post your ending in the comments. I judge all the entries on style, voice, imagery, humor, and pretty much anything else I think is important. Entries are open until Sunday night. On the following Monday I present the winner with The Mighty Pen award and feature them on my blog.

See The Mighty Pen tab above for previous winners.

When you are done here. Hop over to Cheryl's blog to check out her Flashtastic flash fiction contest.

The Beginning

The air caught my wings and with one giant leap I was airborne. To fly again was ecstasy. Below me the world fell away and the sky embraced me. Freedom, sweet freedom. For I moment I reveled in the flight. Than...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three Words #8

Three Word is a game I like to play on Wednesday. Here is how it works:

  1. I post three words.
  2. You either:
    • Post a story using those three words, or
    • Post three words for me to use in next weeks post, or
    • Both :)


Three Words

  • Stone
  • Branch
  • Cold

P.S. I am preparing my first submission packet. I have posted my first crack at a one paragraph synopsis of my novel, Shadowed Stones, on the "From my Pen" tab. I would welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have.

Flash Fiction

Using the Three Words: Bottle, Scroll, Axe (from last week)

We are lost at sea. The ship on which we were travelling to the new world is broken, and crumbling. The crew is gone - vanished over night while we slept.

In case we die here on the barren, endless expanse of blue we leave this for you to find. A map to an island full of untold wonders and riches. Left behind because each wanted to return on his or her own to claim it. It is for you to explore if you dare.

Be warned, the storm that was our down fall struck mere hours after leaving its shores.

Aunya took the scrap of parchment, placed the map on top of it. She rolled it carefully into a tight scroll and slipped it into the neck of the bottle. Then she held out her hand.

Marcus laid the prepared wax stick across her palm. Aunya used the red wax to seal the bottle. She passed the precious package over to her companion. Marcus tied a rope around the bottle and lowered it into the sea.

He turned to Aunya who held the axe out to him. Marcus took the axe, and with one long look at Aunya, swung it down. The blade severed the rope and released the bottle into the sea

For a while they watched it float away. Then turned to watch the sunset behind a growing mass of dark clouds.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prompt Tuesday #8

For those of you who don't know, on Tuesdays I post a writing prompt and my response. I encourage you to also write something and share it if you would like.

I have to admit I did not flow this prompt exactly. But when I read it I got the spark of an idea and it just blossomed! I ended up writing a whole scene, which could lead to an entire plot! I enjoyed writing it, and hope you enjoy reading it.


Why would Fortune 500 companies start hiring corporate fortune tellers? (Source: #277)


“Mr. Armison, your three o’clock is here.” His secretary, Sarah, announced through the intercom.

Derek turned a page in his planner. There was a hand written note on the line marked with a large black three. It read - “Miss Timmeny, fortune teller.” He sighed. This was not an interview he was looking forward to.

He pressed the intercom button on his phone. “Send her in.”

It still did not make sense to Derek that the higher ups in the company wanted to hire a fortune teller. Just because one big company had increased its profits tenfold by listening to the ravings of an old woman, did not mean that it made good business sense.

Sarah opened the door to his office and sauntered in. She laid a piece of paper on his desk. Derek picked it up and glanced over it. “Here is Miss Timmeny’s resume. And this is Miss Timmeny.” Sarah stood aside.

Derek looked up from the resume and almost fell out of his chair. He had been expecting an old woman bedecked in beads and flowing sleeves. The woman who stood before him, eyes sparkling, was young, tall, and beautiful.

Miss Timmeny’s dark hair spilled over her shoulders. The blue color of the blouse she wore under her smart business suit made the color of her eyes jump out.

“Thank you, Sarah.” Derek finally remembered to say. Sarah winked at him and slipped from the room.

“Miss Timmeny, my name is Derek Armison.” He stood and held out his hand to her.

She smiled and shook his hand firmly. “Call me Alison.”

“Alison, have a seat.” Derek tried to keep his calm under the scrutiny of those vibrant eyes. He sat and leaned back in his chair. “So, you are a fortune teller?”

Alison nodded and also assumed a relaxed posture.

“Tell me, how does that work?”

“Show me your books and I will tell you exactly what your company needs to do to earn maximum profits.” She swept her slender hand through the air. “That is all it takes.”

Derek leaned forward. “How, exactly, do you know what we should invest in?”

Her ruby read lips split into a bright smile, flashing her white teeth. “Numbers never lie.”

“Interesting.” Derek looked down at her resume. “Could you perhaps give me an example of when you used your … talent … to make someone money?”

“Sorry, I keep all my divinations private. To protect my clients.” Her expression grew mischievous. “But I can tell you this: That risky, personal investment you made last month. Is about to pay off big.”

“How did you…” Derek started to say, skeptical. The phone rang.

With a wave of her hand, Alison indicated that he should answer it. Derek picked up the phone, “Hello?”

“Derek?” His investment broker, Jake, said from the other side. “I have good news. I just made you a million dollars.” Derek almost fell out of his chair again.

“Jake, let me call you back.” Derek hung up the phone. “Alison, when can you start?”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Awards, Awards, Everywhere!

Today I am giving away lost of awards! First I am glad to announce the winner of The Mighty Pen award...


Fida is an amazing and uplifting poet. She has a wonderful poetry blog over at A Poet Named Fida.

Fida's entry was a poem, I liked her unique approach to using the prompt. Also, I totally identified with the theme and sentiment of the poem.

There were so many wonderful entries it made choosing a winner hard. So, I decided to create another award for Honorable Mentions. If you are a current or previous Honorable Mention in the The Mighty Pen Contest go ahead and grab the award below.

Honorable Mentions (past and present): Jen, The Henderson Family, Sarah Pearson, Krista M, Fida I, Spod, Summer Ross, Kelley, David Jace

Don't forget to check out The Mighty Pen tab above to read the winning entry and the honorable mentions. Sorry you will have to scroll to the bottom - this page is currently undergoing renovations :)

I have also receive and award of my own, the Blog on Fire Award from the Wonderful Cherie at Ready. Write. Go.. Yeah!

So here are a few random things about myself, and those I am awarding this blog award to!

  • I was home-schooled.
  • I got engaged to my husband two weeks after our first date.
  • I am the second oldest of 7 children.
  • I love cartoony pictures of baby elephants and giraffes.
  • In middle school I went through and Anime phase in which I loved Sailor Moon.
  • I have lived in 8 different states.
  • The only country outside the U.S. I have ever been to is Canada.

I am passing this award along to the following amazing bloggers!

  1. Elana Johnson
  2. Ava Jae
  3. Chasing Empty Pavement
  4. Sarah Pearson
  5. Krista M

Friday, August 12, 2011

If Want Something Done...

You have to do it!

Confession: I totally tanked on my goals this week.

But I did realized something this week. I spend lots of time stressing about trying to get everything done. Work, chores, cooking, exercising, taking care of my dear husband, writing, and staying sane. One morning I woke up and realized something. If I took all that worry energy and put it into doing things - I would get a lot done!

I know you are think: Uh, Krista that is so obvious! Or maybe you are like me and this is a revelation. Either way - this is something that I struggle with every day.

So, although I did not do well on my goals this week - I am going to do better next week.

Here are some of the things I did get done this week.

I finished looking through for more publishers. I expected to find like 30-40 publishers. But I found considerably less than that. Probably because I am going the agent-less route. So my attempt to be published on my own may be short lived. However, I am not giving up hope.

I read 40% percent of Tarranau by James Tallett.

I played around with making a Google gadget that would like you use custom images for a status tracker. Like mine on the side bar but easier to manage. I am currently working on trying to test it and get it up where others can use it.

I would love to hear about your success! Even if it is small, like I cooked dinner for my husband tonight! Let me hear what you have done to succeed this week.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Mighty Pen #7

The Mighty Pen writing contest is held every Thursday. I post the beginning of a story, you post your ending in the comments. I judge all the entries on style, voice, imagery, humor, and pretty much anything else I think is important. Entries are open until Sunday night. On the following Monday I present the winner with The Mighty Pen award and feature them on my blog.

See The Mighty Pen tab above for previous winners.

When you are done here. Hop over to Cheryl's blog to check out her Flashtastic flash fiction contest.

The Beginning

"You don't understand! I can't. I can't."...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Three Words #7

On Wednesday I post a list of three words. Your job? Write a short story and share it (if you like). Not feeling inspired? Leave a comment with a list of three words. Next week you will see a story posted by me using your three words. Below are two flash fiction pieces I wrote based on three words that E.R. King and Sarah Pearson gave me last week.

Three Words

  • Bottle
  • Scroll
  • Axe

Flash Fiction

Using the Three Words: butterfly, fire fighter, tissue (from E.R. King)

"See mommy!" Sara held up the picture in her paint covered hands.

"Oh it's beautiful." Anne, Sara's mother, told her. Holding, the phone between her shoulder and head Anne took the picture and placed it on the counter. "What is it?"

"Butterfly!" Sara beamed.

"Uh? Sorry, mom. Sara painted a picture of a butterfly." Anne said into the phone. While she listened to the voice on the other line she pulled a tissue out of the handy box. Anne attacked the paint on Sara's hand, showing no mercy. Five more tissues later Sara's hands were clean. Anne released Sara to play.

"Mom, someones beeping through. It's probably Tom, he said he would call when he woke up. Love you too. Bye." Anne pulled the receiver away from her head and checked the caller id. It flashed the number of the station where her fire fighter husband worked. She pressed a button and returned the phone to her ear.

"Hello?" Anne said.

Using the Three Words: pushchair/stroller, beer, graveyard (from Sarah Pearson)

I woke up early and picked out my best dress. The simple cut and pale color flattered my slim figure and fair complexion. I took the time to curl my hair, something I had not had time to do in weeks. After putting on my makeup, another rare luxury, I crept into the girls room. They still lay fast asleep in their cribs.

I started singing softly to wake them.

Molly woke first. I picked her up and rocked her gently then set about dressing her in am adorable purple and lace dress complete with matching shoes and bonnet. I placed her in her bouncy chair and turned to Alice, who still was not awake.

I dressed Alice in a pink dress the same style as Molly's. Alice slept through the whole thing. I looked around the nursery but did not see the stroller. Carrying Alice with me, and leaving Molly laughing gleefully as she bounced, I headed out to the living room.

My brother Josh was sprawled out on the coach, a half-empty beer bottle still clutched in his hand. I nudged his dangling hand with my foot. "Josh, where is the stroller?"

He moaned and rolled over. I freed one hand from holding Alice and picked up a pillow, which I threw at Josh's head. "What!" He yelled angrily.


"You know they call it a pushchair her, don't you?"

I just glared at him. He glared back then waved his hand toward the coat closet. I crossed to the closet and threw it up. There was the tandem stroller, pushchair. I found a safe place to set Alice down and then pulled the collapsed stroller out of the closet and set to work expanding it and locking everything down.

I strapped the twins in. Alice still sleeping, Molly sucking happily on her little wrist.

Josh was sitting up on the coach. "Where are you going?" He asked.

"To the graveyard." I said simply. "And then to church."

Josh grumbled some profanities under his breath. I was glad I could not make them out.

"Lisa died three months ago." I told him. "You know she would have wanted her daughters to visit her grave often. And to go to church. She would want you to, as well."

Josh did no respond. I waited a few moments until he laid back down on coach and fell asleep. Alone I took my two nieces out into the beautiful sunny day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prompt Tuesday #7

On Tuesdays I like to post a writing prompt and my response. Doing writing prompts helps me to keep my creative juices flowing, especially when in the world building or editing phases of a project. This flash fiction piece was really fun to write! Hope you enjoy it, and I hope you feel inspired to write something too.


Write from the point of view of a virus about to infect an important document. (Source: #282)


I move through the wires and resistors, changing bits as I go to hide my trail. It will be buried deep, hidden in the darkest corner. My time is short, I have been identified and soon all pathways will be closed to me. I must move quickly.

There, in an unassuming folder with an obscure name. It is protected, but the defenses fall easily to my byte mutating powers. Then it is there before me. The string of zeros and ones that is my target, my goal.

As my time ticks away I formulate a plan. Simple bit switching will not be enough to eradicate the information beyond repair. It takes only a fraction of a second to make the calculations I need to wreak total chaos.

Then I begin.

A one becomes a zero, a zero a one. Then next zero becomes two ones. And on I go.

Half way through my progress halts. I can feel my bits being eaten one by one. Too late. They are too late. The damage I have done is enough. The data is lost forever.

I fade, secure in the knowledge of my success.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Using a Layered GIMP Image for a Status Meter

Krista M said she like my status images over on the side bar, and asked where I got them. I made them myself in GIMP. Here is a guide on how I made them. It assumes a little familiarity with GIMP, but not much. Hope you find it helpful.

Layered Status Tracker Image

Summary: Create an image in GIMP having 1 layer for each percentage step. Mark only the layers that you need for a given percentage as visible and save as gif/jpeg.

Also, I am going to attempt to make a Google Gadget that will allow you to use custom images for status tracking. But I can't make any promises about it.

Who has a Mighty Pen?

It is time for me to announce this weeks winner of The Mighty Pen award:


To see the winning entry, and the three honorable mentions, check out the tab above.

I loved the twist at the end! I have to admit when I write these beginnings often have a picture in my head of what the scene is like. I love it when another writer has a different vision and takes off with it!

Check out Spod's blog over at My Name is Spod

P.S. If anyone would like to join my blog roll, just leave me a comment! Thanks!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My First Blog Award

I have received my first blog award from the amazing Krista M! Check out the post on her blog.

Here's the rules:

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
  5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

And last but not least... my top 5!

  1. Jen: She inspired me to start this blog and got me writing again.
  2. Sarah Pearson: She is super supportive and super awesome!
  3. CherylAnne Ham: By cool blog buddy!
  4. The East Coaster: All around cool!
  5. Roseanne: One of the two best crit partners ever!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Goals

As promised (although late - its a long story that involves a flat tire and waiting for a tow truck) here are my goals. I plan to put up meters on my blog to track my progress.

Because of the state my projects are in, these are going to be general deadline type goals until I can get to a point where I can set finer, weekly goals.

Writing: Three of Ivory, a fantasy series

  • 1. Complete world building and overview series outline by end of August.
  • 2. Complete character related pre-work (work sheets and so on) by end of September.
  • 3. Complete detailed outline of the first book by the end of October.
  • 4. Begin first draft in October.

Publishing: Shadowed Stones, a fantasy novel

  • 1. Research 10 publishers a week.
  • 2. Finish researching publishers by August 20th (no more research after this date!)
  • 3. Have a detailed submission plan by the end of August.
  • 4. Send out first submission by the end of September.
  • 5. Keep up with beta reader edits - finish last round of edits by end of year.

Reading: I have two goals with my reading. First, re-read some of my all time favorites (and review them on good reads). Second, help support other authors that are either new and upcoming, indie or self published, or who I meet or hear about through the electronic grape vine.

  • 1. Read one book from my to-re-read list every month.
  • 2. Read one book from a new upcoming/indie/web sphere author every month.

More to Come

This is just a quick post to let you know that I am still here and still working on my projects.

The progress has not been great. I did finish my entry for the Splintered Lands contest and now I am anxiously awaiting the entry deadline date (August 15th). Then I can start anxiously awaiting word :)

Since my productivity has been so low I have decided to setup goals for each of my projects (Shadowed Stones and Three of Ivory) as well as for reading (which I sorely miss).

Tonight I am going to settle on these goals and then post them so that you can all help me stick to it. I would be open to any advice on how to set and keep goals for writing and reading!

How about you? How are your projects coming? Do you use goals to keep yourself on track?

P.S. News flash - just received my first blog award from my good blog friend Krista M. So check out my Saturday post to read all about it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Mighty Pen #6

The Mighty Pen writing contest is held every Thursday. I post the beginning of a story, you post your ending in the comments. I judge all the entries on style, voice, imagery, humor, and pretty much anything else I think is important. Entries are open until Sunday night. On the following Monday I present the winner with The Mighty Pen award and feature them on my blog.

I am also happy to announce that my blog friend CherylAnne Ham is going to start hosting a similar contest on Thursdays as well. So be sure to hop over the her blog and keep an eye out for it.

See The Mighty Pen tab above for previous winners.

The Beginning

Outside the rain fell like gray sheets over the world. Trees bent, kneeling to the force of the wind. In the distance, a brilliant blue flash of light broke the sky. Moments later the answering rumble of thunder rolled through the air.

I watched the storm through the glass window. My gratitude for the shield provided by my small home increased with the intensity of the storm. Another flash of lighting and the room plunged into darkness. This time the thunder shook the house.

Behind me I heard the eerie sound of a door creaking open. My blood ran cold. Slowly I turned...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Three Words #6

Three Words is a writing game. I am not sure of the origin. Me and one of my high school friends used to play it. How it works is you swap lists of three words. You then write a story using those words. It is a great way to get inspiration.

Here are three words for you to try out. Also, if you leave a comment with a list of three words, I will write a story using them and post it next week. Last week my good friend Jen gave me the three word that inspired the story below.

Three Words

  • Raid
  • Tree
  • Sparrow

Flash Fiction

Using the Three Words: Scissors, Wheat, Fire from Jen

I brushed through my hair one last time. As the brush moved through my locks I admired the long flowing curls. I tilted my head back and forth, watching the light from the fire make it glow like a field of wheat in the morning.

I sighed and took up the scissors with my hand. I pulled a fist full of hair away from my head, poised the twin metal blades around it, and closed my eyes. Snip. The first cut was done. Feeling an odd sense of energy from severing my hair, I attacked it with the scissors. In no time at all the floor around my feet was covered in long strips of curly hair.

Done, I let the scissors fall and inspected the damage in the mirror. I still looked feminine, if you looked closely enough. But if I smeared my face with dirt and put on boys clothing, I might just pass.

Moving with all possible speed, I dressed in the trousers and shirt I had liberated from the stable boy. I took up the bundle from where I had laid it with care on the bed and slipped into the hall outside my room.

The halls were dark and quiet. I had no trouble sneaking into the open courtyard and then to the gate. A loud, ominous creak filled the night air as I swung the gate open. Tensing I listened to see if the sound raised any alarms. No one stirred.

Confident that I had not been discovered I inched my way through the small opening in the gate and emerged onto the road.

My breath created a small cloud before my face as I sighed in relief. Slinging the pack over my shoulder I attempted to strut down the road, whistling a nameless tune as I went.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prompt Tuesday #6

Every Tuesday I post a writing prompt and my response. I would love to see your responses in the comments! I enjoy doing writing prompts because it has this wonderful way of sparking ideas that can be used later. I also like to use prompt responses to try out different voices, points of view, and tenses. Here is this weeks prompt and flash fiction piece.


Write from the point of view of a spoon in the dishwasher. (Source: #302)


Urg! How did I end up in the same basket as all the forks! They have such pointy heads. Haven’t they ever heard of Axe? Come on, really? Sigh. At least there are no knives around. They are two sharp to be any good at conversation.

Ouch! Watch where you are going stupid plate! I’m standing here. Plates, they think because they are so big they can just push people around. Phh!

Oh good, the light’s have gone out. That means it will be starting soon. I can’t wait to get this dried on milk and cereal out of my hair and off my face. Hasn’t anyone heard of rinsing there dishes? Hello! It’s called a pre-wash.

Ah, that hot water and soap feels good. It will be nice to shine again!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Announcing the Winner of The Mighty Pen Award

It is time for me to announce this weeks winner of The Mighty Pen award:

CherylAnne Ham

To see the winning entry check out the tab above. I love how CherylAnne's ending was open ended. Leaving hints of a bigger story.

CherylAnne has a great blog over at Making Words Happen. I think you should head on over and check it out. I especially like her post Why Do you Blog.

P.S. If anyone would like to join my blog roll, just leave me a comment! Thanks!