28 November 2010

*Happy Thanksgiving

I spent this week with family and catching up on NaNoWriMo. I am happy to say that I completed my 50,000 word novel but I didn't get a flash story written this week. Happy Thanksgiving.

24 November 2010

Winter Driving

Considering that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I would like to say I’m very thankful for my life. Five years ago if someone were to ask me where I saw myself in five years, the current me would not have been the answer. I have far exceeded my expectations. Life is incredibly good albeit incredibly busy.

Winter seems to be here early this year. I don’t remember having this much snow on the ground for Thanksgiving before. Though I have lived in snowy areas all of my adult life, I have managed to avoid driving in snowstorms before. I have been in vehicles going through some intense storms, but never have I been behind the wheel, until Monday. I drive a mid-sized sedan. When we bought it a couple of years ago I told my husband I want a manual transmission. I didn’t have too much experience at the time but I liked the idea of owning one because it would force me to become even better.

Monday night, driving through the dark canyon on snow packed roads, I was incredibly grateful for that manual transmission. My husband always says that it is much easier to control the car when using a manual transmission. I now understand. Hopefully with all of the blizzard warnings I will be able to drive safely if not home, at least to my parents’ house which is less than half the distance and doesn’t involve driving through a canyon.

21 November 2010


Intro: I wasn’t sure I was going to write anything this week. I have added responsibilities as of Thursday and some very short deadlines. So it is a little rough. I also had my cat clawing her way around my lap while I was trying to type. Rather distracting. This story is loosely based on an experience I had when I was younger.

“A dark future. An uncertain past.” I read off the case excitement tingeing my voice.

“Well, that’s dumb. How can the past be uncertain? I think they got it backwards.” My friend Peggy said shifting on the chair next to the computer.

My mind raced with all of the explanations into the game but I knew that once Peggy set her mind, there was nothing I could do to change it. “Yeah, I guess it is pretty foolish.”

“So, Jen, why did you want me to come over? You said you had something cool to show me.”

I hastily put the game away and tried to think of another reason to call her over at nine on a Saturday. “I wanted to show you the new movie my mom bought last night.”

The movie was greeted with an “I saw this in the theater months ago. Is that all you have.”

I nodded mutely and followed her to my room where she sat on the bed and read my books. Though we’d only moved in two months ago, I was pleased to already have a friend. School would start in another two weeks and I couldn’t wait.

“Jen, can you come here for a moment?” Mom called from the kitchen. I slid off the bed and walked out while Peggy went through my comic book collection. I stood in the doorway to the kitchen while Mom worked on cookies. It smelled delicious.

“What did you need?”

“How are things going with Peggy today?”

“Fine.” I turned around but Mom kept talking.

“Do you want to know what one of the responsibilities of a parent are?”

“What?” I asked.

“To take blame. If you are ever in an uncomfortable situation you can use your father or myself as an excuse to get out of it.”

I turned back around and looked at her but she still had her back to me. “I’m not sure—”

“Say someone asks you to do something you don’t want to and keep pestering you about it even when you say no. Use us as an excuse.”

I thought of Peggy in the back room and nodded slowly. “I think I understand.”

“But there’s one more catch. You can only do it once. After that you have to stand on your own.”

“Only once.”

“You have to learn eventually to stand up for yourself.” She turned around, holding a scoop full of cookie dough. “I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

“Thanks, Mom” I said and walked back towards my room. My brain was filled with what Mom told me.

“Oh, Jen.” Peggy said when I walked back in. “Could you get me a glass of water?” She rubbed her stomach. “How about you bring some cookies too?”

“We aren’t suppose to eat in our bedrooms.”

“It isn’t food, it’s a snack. Come on, Jen.” She thumbed through a couple more pages of a comic and snorted. “I can’t believe you would actually spend good money on some of these. They are ridiculous.”

“Peggy, you need to leave.” I said as firmly as I could.

“Why? I just got here.”

I paused, my breath catching in my throat. “Mom has more chores for me to do. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that when I called.”

Peggy dropped the comic on the floor and stood up. “Okay. Let me know when you’re done. “

I walked Peggy to the door and breathed a sigh of relief when I shut it behind her. I went into the kitchen and shuffled my feet.

“So Peggy had to leave?”


“Since you have nothing else to do, why don’t you help me wash the dishes.”

I hedged for a moment, thinking of my game then walked to the sink and filled it with soapy water.

“Hey, Mom?”


“Do you think I’ll find other friends when school starts?”

17 November 2010

Name Game

All of my siblings and me have traditional names. For example: my name is Emily. (My last name is a completely different story. I actually didn’t know about Yonkers, NY until I married my husband.) When I was younger I didn’t necessarily like my name. There were always plenty of Emilys (or is that Emilies) to go around. Now that I am older I’ve grown to appreciate the tradition. No one ever wonders how to spell it or pronounce it. There also seem to be fewer Emilys running around then I remember. Then again I associate with fewer people now that I am out of school. My father likes calling people by their full names. Ben is always Benjamin. Nate is always Nathan. Jen is always Jennifer. (Sometimes he does it even when the person’s name isn’t actually any longer.)

With the future forever looming in the distance and the knowledge that eventually I will have children, names are always on my mind. Since I’m an author I worry about naming characters, having the novel become a huge success, and my child having the same name as the hero or villain. What will people think then? Or what if I name a child and the child hates the name? Maybe I’m just worrying too much but to be on the safe side I will refrain from using my favorite names on characters.

The other problem I have is overusing names in my stories. I realized this was a problem when in three different stories I had characters named Fae, Faye and Fey. I now use a program that helps me keep track of exactly which names I have used. My other philosophy is I can’t have main characters whose names start with the same letter, unless there is a darn good reason. As a kid I got so confused with Sauron and Saruman yet I had a story with three main characters whose names were Cael, Chaun, and Chay. That was fixed quickly.

14 November 2010

*Catching Fireflies

Published April 2012

Intro:I really am not sure why I wrote this story. I came up with the title first and then the rest kind of flowed after it.


10 November 2010


This is the first year I’m attempting NaNoWriMo. In the couple of years I’ve been writing seriously, I’ve actually completed a novel in a month but we’ll just say I didn’t have a long commute eating up my time. So far I am happy to say I’m a little ahead of schedule and if all else fails, I can write when I’m off work for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I’ve been really lucky in that I have never experienced writer’s block when it comes to novels. (My flash fiction stories are a completely different kettle of fish.) But as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, my stories never come out how I expect them to. This story is no different.

Nowhere Left
Deep in the future a large city is divided by an old abandoned rail road no one crosses. The north side consists of Tones: people who use music (vibrations) to power their technologies. The south side are Gears: people who use blood (biology) to power things. Someone has crossed the tracks which brings the two sides of the city crashing together. While all this is happening, an assassin is on the loose. The bullets he uses are made from the blood of his target enabling a tracking system that guarantees a perfect kill. (Except I don’t have his motive yet so he hasn’t made any kind of appearance and there is currently no connection between the victims. He’ll be flushed out in the revisions.)

07 November 2010


Intro: I wrote this story as an exercise in writing second person. I have heard second person done very well and other times they are just choose your own adventure novels. So hopefully you don’t feel as if you should be turning to page twelve at the end of this story.

Flowers, when cut, slowly wilt over time, from about the second day you receive them. When the balloon bouquet wilts, you’ve stayed in the hospital too long. Balloons shrink for days, sometimes weeks, before showing age lines. When you have a bouquet of crusty diseased plastic spheres hope is sucked out of you when you look at them. You’ve never understood why people give flowers or balloons to sick people. Is something dying a slow painful death despite all you do suppose to bring you joy? Flowers, balloons, and hospitals just don’t mix.

So there you are, for some reason—known yet still shrouded in mystery—sitting in a hospital bed with a gown that doesn’t even pretend to offer modesty, tubes in and out your arms, numerous doctors and nurses explaining why or why not something doesn’t work, and the flowers sitting in the corner, the petals perky in the artificial light. The next day, you feel as wilted as the flowers. Day one of no one knows how many, but they’ll pretend to know. This is suppose to make you feel better about your situation. Do you?

More tests, more pokes, more prods. The flowers are dead, the balloons are headed there, and you just sit in your room and cry. You stop when you hear someone at your door and put on a brave face. They smile, wave, and set on the table, a new vase of flowers and tie a balloon to the end of your bed. You thank them, admire the gifts and, for the day, feel better about your situation.

The next day, the balloon sinks a little lower, the flowers aren’t quite so perky, and you learn the tumor has grown even more.

03 November 2010


This last week I had the opportunity to go to a writing conference geared especially for Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction. I’ve never been to a writing conference like this before. It was really amazing. I learned a lot about writing, not only as art but as commerce, but I also learned a lot about myself.

The conference started in late mornings and I was always up fairly early. I get up at five during the week to go to work so even with a two hour time difference, I was still up early enough to have a couple of hours of nothing to do after breakfast before things started. With so much time on my hands I was able to volunteer for various projects, mainly manual labor since I can do that without causing problems. I also helped out at the registration desk as a person of information. I could direct people where they needed to go or answer their questions. I also had the opportunity to offer my services to others who needed help with other situations. Overall I talked to a lot of people.

I was raised on the firm belief that I need to help out when I can. It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with. If I see someone in need, I had better offer my services. While I’m sure there are opportunities I missed, I’m glad I helped when I did. I met some really neat people I wouldn’t have talked to otherwise. Though I didn’t get any editor, agent, or publisher asking about my current writing project or wanting a sample, I will treasure the memories of the people I did spend time with.