Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hobbling Toward Z

I think I'm so far behind I can't catch up, there just aren't enough days left in the month. April is an unfriendly month for me health wise. I did too much and ended up pretty much unable to walk more than a few minutes. Sleep is too important for me to be staying up till 4 am trying to get a post out. People keep telling me if I really want to be a writer I'll make the time, but I really enjoy doing the walking thing so yes it is a greater priority.

ROW80 Rundown

Make the check-ins on Sundays and Wednesdays - Success, goal 1 accomplished.

Visit 5 fellow ROW80 bloggers each check-in - I didn't get around at all this time. Going down instead of up makes me sad.

Write 667 words every day to keep up with my Camp NaNo goal - I wrote on Wednesday, but haven't since. I'm not sure I'll make my Camp NaNo finish. I would look and see how far behind I am, but I don't wanna know right now.

Post every day in April for ROW80, A to Z or both - Yep, no writing equals no posting.

Visit the other ROW80 bloggers here.


From A to Z

I don't really know how it works and if they remove you from the list after you go a few days without posting, but I am going to try and write more of the flash for the letters. I'm not going to try and catch up, but jump back in where everyone else is. I will not combine them next year. I plan to write those posts ahead of time and schedule.

What do you find gets on the way of your writing goals most often? Let me know in the comments.

Pics by Pixabay.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

J is for Juvenile Fiction

Hello all I am still chugging along and planning to catch up on Sunday. Hopefully nothing too exciting will happen this weekend.


From A to Z

I wrote this Juvenile Fiction for my son because we were having a problem exactly like this and the fable flash fiction seemed to help get the point across to him the other day. I printed up the fable and asked him to help illustrate it for me. He had to read it and think about what it meant to be able to create an appropriate picture. I hope you enjoy it.

“Mom may I use my own money to buy some LEGO?” asked Levi.

“I thought you were saving up for the new Pokemon game coming out next month,” his mother said as she put new sheets in the cart.

“I am, but I really need new LEGO for the city I’m building,” Levi said as he followed his mother to the next aisle. He was beginning to feel impatient as they moved closer to the toy section because his mother had almost scratched everything off her list.

His mother stopped, bent down and looked at him. “Well, if you need them and you are willing to spend your money, I suppose we'd better go look at them,” she said.

“Yay,” he said bouncing up and down while his mom grabbed the last few items on her list and headed to the toy section.

Levi sped up and his mom let him lead the way to the LEGO aisle. Levi knew exactly what set he wanted and ran right to it. “Mom, this is the one I need,” he said stressing the last word.

“I see,” said his mother. “How much does that one cost?”

“It is twenty-nine dollars,” Levi said beaming at his mother.

His mother took a small manilla envelope out of her purse that had LEVI written on the front and handed it to him. “How much is left in the Levi envelope?” she asked.

“Levi quickly opened the envelope and pulled out a ten and six ones. He took a moment to count twice and looked up sadly. “Mom, there are only sixteen dollars here. I got forty for my birthday and it’s only been five days, what happened to it?” He asked.

“How much did you spend on games at the fair Sunday?” She asked.

“I only spent ten. I should still have thirty and that’s enough to buy the set I need, right mom?”

“You’re correct it would be, but how much did you spend on your extra books that came with a minifigure when you and daddy went to the bookstore?”

Levi scrunched his face up and said, “They were each seven dollars, so fourteen.” He looked down at the LEGO set in his hand and said, “I think I spent most of my money. How will I get this set?”

“I am sorry Levi, you can’t afford that LEGO set,” his mother said bending down again and hugging him.

“But mom I have to have it, I need it,” he said pouting and feeling really upset he wouldn’t be able to finish his city this weekend.

His mother pulled back a bit to look at his face and asked, “Need? Do you need or want this toy?”

“I need it,” Levi answered quickly. “Without it my city will never be built.”

“What will happen if you don’t build your city?” His mother asked with a kind smile.

His eyes widened and he leaned forward, “A whole world will never exist,” he said shaking the LEGO slightly with every word.

“No matter how badly you want that LEGO set it is still a want, not a need. Needs are food, shelter, clothing, love,” she said as she gave Levi another hug. “Needs are things people can’t function well without. If you want this toy, or anything else, badly enough you can choose to save your money instead of buying something every time you go out. It takes a lot of practice and self-control, but I know you can do it if you choose to.”

Levi looked down at the LEGO set one last time and placed it back on the shelf. He turned to his mom and said, "I guess I will have to save for it. Can I wash the dog when we get home?"

There seems to be some disagreement as to what is considered Juvenile Fiction. Some places were lumping it in with Young Adult and some saying it is a synonym for Middle Grade. While others are saying it is 2nd through 6th grades. Much confusion was caused, but this was written for my son who is in 2nd grade. I think that leaves it about as clear as mud.

Levi's story turned into another moral of the story flash, but I think most of Juvenile Fiction has a moral at the end of the story anyway. I was originally going to go with Jiangshi Fiction, which is about a Chinese hopping vampire/zombie hybrid thing. Unfortunately, I am not really feeling the horror at the moment. Though the comedic value of a hopping zombie thing might have been worth tapping into. I already had a vampire in G’s Gothic Romance. Then V and Z are earmarked for vampires and zombies respectively. Making Jiangshi feel repetitive and redundant.


Which author of Juvenile Fiction should I be sure to check out with my son? We are always looking for new books to read. Let me know in the comments.

ROW80 Rundown

Make the check-ins on Sundays and Wednesdays - So far so good, but I think I was a bit tardy last check-in.

Visit 5 fellow ROW80 bloggers each check-in - I only hit 3, but I am not ready to reel the number back yet. I really want to see what you all are up to and love the supportive feel of the ROW80 community.

Write 667 words every day to keep up with my Camp NaNo goal - Sunday - 633 Monday - 873 Tuesday - 634 So I missed my goal more days than I hit it. Must work on that.

Post every day in April for ROW80, A to Z or both - Still a letter behind, but haven’t missed one since the last check-in. (PSA: Unless you are looking for photos of butts don't search behind on Pixabay. Late is a much better choice. Yes, go ahead and laugh that butt off.)

I can't find the Linky code this check-in again. Maybe she stopped making the code available. If you want to see what the other ROW80 Bloggers are up to check them out here.

Camp Nano Update

I am at 7,345 and should be at 8,666. My average words per day are going down which is making me feel a bit panicky. I guess I need to have a bit of a sprint. Camp NaNo is doing sprints on Twitter at @NaNoWordSprints I am following, but haven't sprinted yet. I am adding this to my catch up plan.

Photos by Pixabay.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I is for Imaginary Voyage

Still scrambling at the last minute to get a post out, but we did manage to do the shopping and scrub the kitchen. How many words is that worth?


From A to Z

Imaginary voyage was difficult. I didn’t even know what it was when I found it on a list of genres and subgenres. A quick Google led me to the sad realization that it was more popular genre when there were still many uncharted areas of the globe. Making my story fit either meant making up a fake land and “putting” in our world or imagining how it would have been when people didn’t know what really was further than current maps where the cartographer had placed the sea monsters. I am not sure I did it correctly, but it was fun after I finally found inspiration.

The long journey across the seven seas was coming to an end. As I looked out over the railing I could see fish swimming along the boat. Before us was a castle in the distance along with many other mismatched buildings. When we docked there were horn cleats to tie our vessel to like they were visited often.

We disembarked and headed toward the castle. The people in this land were friendly and appeared similar to us, except many of them near the entrance had one giant white hand with only 4 digits on it. As we made our way through the land it was like they were herding us toward the castle. I felt distinctly like cattle being tended. There were flowers and shaped topiaries placed every few feet offering some shade from the intense sun and something pretty to look at.

We moved forward and passed by enormous pillars with a small stone road that couldn’t be much wider than 2 feet, suspended in the air. We were herded under it and separated into lines. The people searched our things all while smiling and making polite conversation. We moved forward and there were several trees in cages with stone benches around them.

A large clock tower was the main focal point with two tunnels on either side leading into the main street of the kingdom. We were moving toward the castle, but no one seemed to really know what was going on. So many things were going on around us that trying to take it all in was overwhelming. There was music that appeared to come from nowhere. Could the rocks sing in this strange place? On the other side of the tunnel we wandered into the city hall and spoke to a lovely and helpful woman who arranged a meeting with the nobility of this kingdom for us. The only times left for the day were close to our arrival, but it was what we had come here to do so that fit our desires well. It would be unwise to travel to a kingdom as grand as this and not make ourselves known to the local nobility.

There was quite a commotion in the center of the town square. People seemed to be lining up to meet or maybe worship a giant yellow dog that walked on it's two hind legs and a white cat almost the same size. The crowd in line looked excited and possibly hypnotized.

Choosing to avoid the throng as well as worshiping the strange animals we headed down the main street. This kingdom had a bustling trade going. The shoppers scurried in and out of the many stores that all had open doors. The smells drifting from some of them were amazing. Incredible confections stacked to the ceiling in one and royal garb in another, with everything in between. Traveling performers stopped to entertain us. My favorite was the striped quartet of singing men.

There were rail tracks embedded in the roads, but all traffic in the kingdom gates I had seen were on foot or tiny blue carts for children. I only had a short time to wonder how they could safely move a train through the thickness of bodies packed on the street when a team of horses came slowly through the streets drawing a trolley on the tracks. The trolley was full of smiling and waving young people. It was drawing a lot of attention so we paused to see what was going on. Right in the middle of the road the trolley stopped and the everyone clambered out and began singing and dancing. The inhabitants of this place were a joyful and vocally talented lot, but we had a goal and the castle was close now.

Before us was a central plaza with an elevated statue of a man and a rodent of unusual size holding hands and surveying the street in the center. The large anthropomorphic animal theme was beginning to worry me, but I seemed to be the only person who looked concerned in the least. Our guide reminded us we had an appointment at the royal table and we certainly didn’t want to keep the royalty waiting. They generally had little patience for such things.

Just before the castle there was an immense stage probably for addressing the populace. Two sweeping inclined bridges formed twin ramps over a stream and up to the castle’s tunnel entrance. The ramps were packed with people coming and going. We walked up to the castle and found a sign for the royal table. We were ushered inside they said the princess was awaiting our arrival.

The first step into the impressive grand hall stopped me in my tracks. The reception room was filled with plush rugs, fine draperies and the crafting on the carvings were gorgeous. However, the most breathtaking feature of this room was the stunning princess awaiting us. She stood regally in her light blue dress with her golden hair done up in a loose bun exposing her elegant neck. Her eyes sparkled with warmth and kindness. Her smile was captivating, she had my devotion and she hadn’t even asked for it yet. This truly is a magic kingdom.

Thomas More's Utopia is a classic example of imaginary voyage, along with Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. I am not finding any modern examples because imaginary voyage has greatly fallen out of favor while science fiction has taken it’s place. Space being the final frontier and all. Do you know of any more modern imaginary voyage books? Let me know in the comments.

Camp Nano Update

I am at 6,711 and should be at 8,000. I am 1,289 words behind and only averaging 559 words per day. Though I did over 800 for the I story.

Photos by Pixabay.

Monday, April 11, 2016

H is for Horror

Posted on Sunday and now posting on Monday, but I am staying up way too late and it is catching up with me. Must post and go to bed.


From A to Z

The first part of the story came to me in a flash from something my daughter said, but wrapping a story around it was difficult and took me a very long time. I also learned my ability to spell, or maybe type, is dramatically reduced when I am tired and that is saying something because the red squiggly lines are my stated nemesis. On to the H story.

She was standing in the middle of a clearing with an enormous tree at the far side behind her giving an impassioned speech. She looked around up in the branches and said, “He doesn't control you. Your hatchlings should be safe. You shouldn't have to live in fear anymore,” There was a twittering and the trees seemed to sway though there was no wind. “He has cut down your trees and it's destroying our home. If he isn't stopped he will cut down Geamur’s tree and set him free,” as she said that the birds in the trees exploded with screeching and flapping. They were listening to her, they understood what must be done. The girl appeared to have stopped her speech and be observing the birds. Their wee voices wove together to form a tapestry of mounting fury.

A big black raven came flying through the trees and landed on the girl's shoulder and cawed as soft as a raven can. She spun around and screamed, “ No, you can not be here. You do not have the right!” She raised her arms and screeched like the most monstrous bird that had ever been heard. Her brigade rose into the air as one. Darting and barely missing each other they focused their attentions on the man standing opposite the ancient tree. The hoard acted more like a swarm of angry bees than any birds ever witnessed. He threw himself to the ground with his hands over his head for what little protection they offered as the dive bombing became more vigorous. The birds began to draw blood and one after another they pecked off the biggest chunks of him they could take.

Finally this menace will be dead and our family can rest. She whirls around as she hears a thudding behind her. The same man whose demise she had just ordered was standing before her chopping at the sacred enclosure. Her jaw dropped and she looks from one to the other losing valuable moments in her confusion. “How could you betray us? You are supposed to be one of us,” she bellowed the rest of her body suspended by her rage.

“I haven’t been one of you freaks for over a century. Stuck in the past is why you will fail,” he said while not missing a stroke.

She threw her hands in the air and again came the monstrous screech that spurred the birds into terrible action. They turned on the identical man still chopping away at the ancient tree.

They pecked and scratched showing no mercy and still he chopped as best he could. “I have a debt to pay,” he shrieked.

“And I have a job to do,’” she said evenly, but her eyes were focused and squinted in anger.

He made his last feeble chop planting the axe in the trunk and fell toward the ground landing on top of the axe handle. His weight knocked the axe out of the tree with a huge chunk flying into the forest. Acid green light shone from the hole and black ichor dripped to the forest floor.

“Fly you fools!” She screams at the birds. They obeyed instantly, but before they could get far a bright and terrible green light burst from the tree in a ring and incinerated every last bird in the clearing. “My babies,” she whispers and took a deep breath. She ripped a gold acorn necklace from her neck and yelled, “et confortabitur anima mea,” while running at the tree. She threw her body at the wound in the tree. Another tree sprang up alongside the huge tree where her body landed. The light faded as the new tree grew into the old and became a hundred year old tree in a matter of seconds.

I am not really sure if I did the horror genre justice. Book Country says that, in horror stories, the evil force lives on at the end and I am not sure the true evil force was enough of a threat or that it is clear it survives in the tree. What do you think?

It is strange I would have so much trouble with horror because the first time I ever really read a book for pleasure was Stephen King’s It during the summer between 6th and 7th grade. Before that I read slowly and would lose interest because I hated almost every book that was available at the elementary school library. My father took us the the huge library in downtown Orlando several times a week, but I spent most of my time there reading news clippings on microfiche. Does anyone even remember those? What was the first book you remember reading purely for your own pleasure? Let me know in
the comments.

Camp Nano Update

I am at 5,878 words written and should be at 7,333. I am sitting at 29% of my goal. My plans for later today were canceled so I am hoping to get a bit more than the bare minimum writing done. I hope you all are on target with your writing goals.

Photos by Pixabay.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

G is for Gothic Romance

Saturday I managed to do nothing. Actually, I worked on the flash fiction most of the day, but writing or generally thinking when people are making more noise than a roller coaster full of screaming teenagers is hard for me. Also, I am still without a computer so when someone needs their computer back I am working on my phone. I swear the person who invented Swype and Autocorrect are some cruel bastards. Though often humorous results occur, when you are trying to get something done it can be a son of a birch.

Blogging From A to Z

Still a letter behind, but not giving up. Just means I don’t rest next Sunday either, but hey I have been told Robert De Niro said I’ll have time to rest when I’m dead. I saw it on the interwebs so it must be true. Now on to the flashing.

“Do you really think this castle is haunted Angela? I mean seriously do you believe in paranormal stuff? This stop is a beautiful example of a well kept historical treasure, nothing more,” Sam said.

“I don’t know. Are all the people who wrote letters about the curse and who gave testimony about seeing and feeling things making it up? You know Tracy and Rebecca. Do you think they made up the flashing lights and orbs when they ran back up to the Landseer suit before dinner last night as well the hands on their arms guiding them to the door?” Angela asked feeling irritated. There were two trustworthy people together experiencing the same thing. How could he really deny something was going on. Sam was cute, but so close minded? She heard footsteps and jumped as she watched Sam’s face pale.

“All houses in which men have lived and died
Are haunted houses: Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sounds upon the floors,” a gravelly voice said from behind her.

“Longfellow?” She asked turning to see who was speaking and hoping it was a real person, but they were standing by the entrance to the museum and it wasn’t that big with nowhere she could see to hide. Just because she believed her friends didn’t mean she was ready for an encounter of her own. Her eyes met his startling blue and she felt stunned, frozen.

“Correct good lady,” he said as he continued to walk deliberately toward her. He seemed unable or unwilling to break eye contact and she was not complaining.

She started to feel dazed and wobbly. He looked at Sam and she was able to take a deep steadying breath. Sam moved forward slightly as if to get between them. She hadn’t realized she was holding her breath until oxygen flooded her brain. Now she took in his long, dark hair and old fashioned clothes. The stunning man was regarding Sam as an erring attendant who should have already noiselessly excused himself from their presence.

The man looked back at Angela and asked, “How are you enjoying your stay here at Chillingham Castle?”

“I, um, we are, um,” she stammered.

“The place is great. Historical with good food. What more can you ask for in a castle?” Sam said.

Not bothering to look as Sam he said, “Oh, there are many things I have asked for in this castle that I have not been able to attain, but it appears the fates have smiled on me this day.”

Angela giggled and blushed.

“That’s nice,” Sam said a bit loudly for how close they were standing. “Well, I think we should get back to the group Angela. They will be starting dinner and then we are heading to the grounds for something haunted.” He put his hand on Angela’s arm and tried to pull her toward the exit of the Museum. “I don’t really think we were supposed to be in here without a guide anyway.” The man looked fiercely at Sam and he let go of Angela as though he'd been stung.

The man looked back at Angela to him Sam was no longer worth notice if he wasn't tugging on her arm. He stepped forward closing the gap between them and easily moving around Sam’s attempt of a body guard. He reached for Angela’s hand bringing it to his mouth and kissing it. “Emrik Young at your service,” he said not taking his eyes off her’s.

“Angela Cunningham, glad to…” she paused and looked at Sam. His eyes were narrowed at her hand in Emrik's. She started to pull it back because that was what she thought would be expected of her, but then saw something in his eyes begging her not to and gripped him tighter. “Oh Sam, go ahead and catch up with the group so you don’t miss dinner. I want to look a bit more.” She looked back and caught her breath again, Emrik’s smile was astonishing and it filled her with elation that it was directed at her.

Sam looked determined to stay and Angela was about to say something when Emrik said, “Go now. She is in good hands. I will keep her safe from harm.”

Sam’s eyes looked out of focus, but he nodded and left the Museum. Angela wanted to make sure he was alright, but when she turned to ask Emrik if they could all just go find the group she gazed into his beautiful blue eyes and forgot all about following Sam. She shook her head slightly. “I thought the castle didn’t open to the public until later for the ghost vigil. Are you staying in one of the suits as well? I'm sure I would have noticed you at breakfast,” she said.

“No good lady, I am not the public and the grounds are always open to me,” he said smiling. “I saw you as you toured yesterday and I felt compelled to speak to you. I feel like I know you. That must sound strange to one so young as you.”

“Not at all,” she said just glad to be in his company. He raised his eyebrow and his face looked unconvinced. “Alright, it does sound weird, but I feel sure I know you, too.”

He drew back a step and she moved with him desperate not to let him put distance between them. He stopped, with his eyebrows knitted together and said, “I can’t do this. You should go after that Sam. I can tell he cares for you, go make him happy before I do something we’ll both regret,” he said and pulled his hand out of hers.

Angela’s face contorted. Her eyes reduced to slits, her mouth a gaping frown like the tragedy mask and her chin quivered. “No, no,” he said and put his head in his hands. “I have waited here for you. I have served countless kings, faked countless deaths, bided my time, waiting for you. You seem that of an angel, so beautiful so innocent. You are not heaven, you are a hell and that is why I sin,”

He moved at her so fast she didn’t even know he was coming until she was in his arms. He leaned in much slower and she thought he was going to kiss her, but he bit her neck. His teeth hurt, but she didn’t want to move. She wanted to be in his arms forever and was terrified that was exactly what she was getting.

The genre of Gothic Romance was very popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is considered a forerunner of this genre. There was a Gothic novel revival in the 1960’s, but there aren’t many published per year in this genre. The poem quoted at the beginning of the flash Haunted Houses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Read by Tom O'Bedlam who has an amazing voice.)

Do you read Gothic or Gothic romance? Who do you really enjoy that people check out? Let me know in the comments.

ROW80 Rundown

To make the check-ins on Sundays and Wednesdays - First Sunday check-in so far so good.

To visit 5 fellow ROW80 bloggers each check-in - I was able to get to 3, almost as good of odds as Meatloaf.

To write 667 words every day to keep up with my Camp NaNo goal - Wednesday - 540 Thursday 904 - Friday - 481 Saturday - 1,083 That would be 50% I must work harder.

To post every additional day in April for A to Z - I missed Saturday. I think I will make a new drinking game. Get your alcoholic beverage of choice and take a drink every time I say I got too busy or any variant. Also, take a drink when I miss a goal, write about Medieval or Renaissance stuff. I will have to make up more rules because the Hurricane Drinking Game that it’s based on has lots more opportunities to drink. If you don’t know what the Hurricane Drinking Game is follow the link. Yeah, Floridians are weird. The Magic seeping from X(A/N)th ‘s sleeping body is too much to remain mundane. I suppose I should add any Piers Anthony reference to the list of things you must drink for.

I can't find the Linky code this week either. If you want to see what the other ROW80 Bloggers are up to check them out here.

Camp Nano Update

I am at 5,215 and should be at 6,666.

Chillingham Castle by Glen Bowman from Newcastle, England - My Best of 2005 29-08-2005 16-11-39, CC BY 2.0,
Other photos by Pixabay.

Friday, April 8, 2016

F is for Fable

I couldn't think of anything else besides Fable for F, so I wrote this flash Fable for my son who has been having a little trouble playing with his friends and keeping his cool.

One day three friends were playing ball in a meadow. Puppy, Chicken and Skunk loved to play ball in the meadow every afternoon until they were called for dinner. They would kick the ball from one to the next in a circle then reverse directions over and over until they lost track of time.

On this particular day Skunk called to reverse the ball before Puppy could get a turn. Puppy showed self-control even though he was sad that he didn't get a turn that round. The ball will come around the other way in a minute and I'll have a turn thought Puppy.

Just as it was about to be his turn Skunk called for a reverse again and kicked it back to Chicken. “That's not fair, I didn't get a turn,” Puppy said feeling unhappy that he had been skipped again.

“It is fair. I called for a reverse first,” Skunk said.

“You can't call for that many reverses in a row. It's not fun of we all don't get a turn,” Chicken said.

“I am having fun,” said Skunk.

“It has to be fun for everyone and everyone needs a turn,” Chicken said.

“Puppy is just being a spoil sport and that makes me mad!” Skunk yelled.

“There's no need to get angry. We just need to work together to find a solution,” Puppy said to Skunk.

“I don't want to work together and you're not being a good friend!” Skunk yelled again and he raised himself up on his legs as tall as he could. His friends watched in horror as Skunk threw a temper tantrum and sprayed them. They ran off home, both upset.

Two days later Skunk came to the meadow to find Puppy and Chicken playing ball without him. “Why did you come to the meadow without me?” Skunk asked feeling hurt.

“We don't want to play if you're going to get mad every time you don't get what you want,” said Chicken.

“It's fun to play together, but not if you're going to throw a temper tantrum and hurt us,” said Puppy.

Skunk felt sad because he didn't want his friends to play without him. “Can we play together again if I promise to take turns and keep my cool?” He asked.

“Of course we can play together,” said Puppy and Chicken together. They were so happy to have their friend back and they played for a long while. They had a wonderful time passing the ball around and around. Then Chicken accidentally kicked the ball straight past Skunk and off into the far side of meadow. Skunk looked sad and a little bit upset, but he took a deep breath and said, “It's okay Chicken, I know it was an accident. I'll run and get the ball and we can start again."

They happily played together for the rest of the day.

The moral of the story: 
 Be self-controlled

Master your thoughts and control your emotions, speech and actions – especially in times of stress, anger, emotional upheaval or fear.

What Fables do you like the most? I love Aesop's Fables. The Dog and The Bone is my favorite. I found lots of different versions, but really like the BBC Radio versions.

Camp Nano Update

I'm not really keeping up with my Camp Nano. I have 4,130 words written and should be at 5,333. I'm 21% of the way to my goal of 20,000 words. Use #CampNaNo to find other campers.

You can read other Blogging From A to Z participants here.

Photos by Pixabay.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

E is for Espionage Fiction

Espionage has pretty much kicked my butt. I don't usually read this genre and I couldn't think of anything. After wasting a lot of time I finally began searching Pinterest for a suitable prompt. Most of them were about terrorist plots and various wars. I was honestly way out of my league and very confused. I think James Bond, preferably Connery, is about all I know about espionage things. Then I stumbled across a prompt that got me going. Of course it took me all day, but I like how it turned out and hope you enjoy it.

Finally the chance I've been waiting all night for thought Alice as she was led onto the dance floor by a kind gentleman with her conveniently weighted handkerchief in hand. The Handkerchief Chase would be a good excuse to dance with Mr. Sterling without appearing too forward and drawing attention to herself.

The ladies waited in a circle with backs together waving their handkerchiefs as the men circle them. A loud note from the flute was the signal to release handkerchiefs. Alice’s practice with aiming her handkerchief paid off as it sailed easily toward Mr. Sterling and he caught it deftly. If he noticed the weight of it he gave no notice and he stepped forward to claim his dance.

“Are you enjoying the ball Miss Cadman?” Mr. Sterling asked as they danced around the floor.

“Quite, it’s not so often I have the privilege of being a guest at such an elegant and well attended ball as your aunt puts on,” said Alice.

“Yes, Aunt Clarissa commands a considerable turnout.”

“A commanding presence does seem to run in your family,” she said and quickly averted her eyes blushing at her own forwardness. He didn't say anything and she started to worry, but when she looked back up he was smirking and almost seemed like he was standing taller.

The music ended and Aunt Clarissa signaled for the orchestra to wait as she began to address her guests. Mr. Sterling walked her back to her table as she silently cursed Aunt Clarissa.

Mr. Sterling’s attentions seemed to be in demand, but every time she stole a peek at him he was looking at her. Finally the majority of the ladies began to head to bed, the men retired to the library for a brandy and Alice felt she could excuse herself without being rude.

Alice found an out of the way niche and waited for Mr. Sterling to leave the library. Luck was on her side and he left alone. She pulled out that handkerchief and strolled toward him seeming not to notice him. She purposely dropped the handkerchief and continued walking toward the French doors that look out onto the patio and the beautifully sculpted garden beyond. She heard him hurry after her and jumped for joy on the inside while not acknowledging his presence on the outside, not an easy thing for a young lady to do, but a skill that must be mastered in today’s polite society.

“Miss Cadman,” he called after her. “I believe I am in the possession of your handkerchief yet again this evening.”

She stopped just before the doors and turned smiling kindly. “Then suppose I owe you another dance Mr. Sterling,” she said.

He caught up with her and handed her the handkerchief back, “A fine position to find myself in. May I ask what has you out so late?”

“I presume you can, because you just did,” she responded turning her head slightly and feigning surprise, but rushing on before he could think better of his inquiry. “I would like to walk in the lovely garden and get a bit of fresh air.”

“I hope the room is not unsatisfactory,” he said frowning slightly.

“Not at all Mr. Sterling. I was simply still stimulated from all the excitement at the ball and thought a peaceful walk would sooth.”

“Quite right,” he agreed as he inclined his head. “Perhaps I would settle for an invitation to join you on your peaceful walk in lieu of a dance.”

“I was hoping you might and would be most grateful for the company,” she said.

He moved to the door and held it open for her. She smiled and proceeded out onto the patio gazing up at the full moon. “What an exquisite night,” she said and sighed.

He held out his arm and she took it. They wandered through the garden until they came to a large gazebo. She stopped just before they entered it. “Oh my, tonight has been such a perfect night. I adore dancing, there could never be enough balls for my taste. You are truly a strong partner and made my part effortless. I do hope we shall have a chance to dance again,” she said slightly breathless and feeling her face burn with the heat of embarrassment. She was glad he couldn’t see her face.

He came around in front of her and backed a few paces into the gazebo extending his hand. “I think I will claim that dance now,” he said with a wide smile on his face.

“I thought you traded your dance for a peaceful moonlit stroll,” she said with a small smile and turning to look down before glancing at him through her lashes.

“I said perhaps and I am not sure that was a good trade. Will you honor me with another dance?” He said with his hand still out waiting for her to take it.

Alice smiled more broadly. She made a curtsy in ascent and as she did she flung a knife into his throat rendering him unable to call out and dying. “You Mr. Sterling are orally gifted and must not be allowed to deliver your speech to the Queen tomorrow. It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time," she said and turned and walked off into the night.

Do you like espionage fiction? Who should I be sure to check out in this genre? Let me know in the comments.

The ending came from the prompt I found on Pinterest.

The Handkerchief Chase I found a demonstration of on a YouTube video at 2:46 and it was exactly what I was looking for.


You can visit other Blogging From A to Z writers here.

Photos by Pixabay.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

D WAS for Dystopian Fiction

Now D is for Dreadful Doughnut Drive

Oh yes, I think this will take a bit of explaining. I was visiting 2 hours from my home when I had a flat tire. Luckily I was near my brother’s house and he was able to come and change it because no matter how much I jumped on the tire iron I couldn’t get my nuts off. By the time he was able to get there and change it for me it was rush hour and I was NOT in the mood to try and get home through that. I stopped at another friend’s house and stayed for dinner before I headed home. The trip that would normally, over highways, take 2 hours took much longer. My doughnut is only rated for 40 MPH and the straight shot roads have a minimum speed of 55. So the long way it was. I can’t actually tell you how long it took because if I looked I am sure I would start crying. Needless to say I was unable to get my D post out because of my Dreadful Doughnut Drive.

Blogging From A to Z

The plan to save my A to Z is to add an extra day, probably on sunday or if one of the flash fictions are particularly short. I really want to share my dystopian fiction with you so I am not skipping it. Even though it made me uncomfortable to write and reread.

Dystopian Flash Fiction

“Emily are you excited to participate in Black Friday this year?” Asked her mother Alexandra.

“Yes mama, I like to stay up late and I want to go to the mall,” said Emily as she got out of the car.

“Now dear, don't get her all worked up. Black Friday can be intense,” said her father. “I'll go grab a cart.”

“Oh, I'm so glad they have carts at the mall now. It makes moving the stuff so much easier,” said Alexandra.

“Come on, let's get in line fast. I wanna be through the gate first,” Emily said pulling her father's arm.

“Alright, alright, we're coming,” he said as they walked through the empty parking garage toward the mall entrance.

The family lined up behind the roped off area outside the mall and settled in to wait for the doors to open and the pandemonium to begin. They talked, laughed and joked as the hours ticked away. It seemed like a wonderful bonding experience, but Emily knew they would have their work cut out for them when the doors were thrown open.

Opening time of five a.m. was almost at hand. The line was around the corner and out of Emily’s sight. People who had been lounging on the ground or leaning against walls a mere half hour before were now standing tall as they looked over each other's heads and scooched as close to the threshold of the mall as they could. They were all enthralled in a frenzy that was building and seeking the maelstrom that is Black Friday.

An employee clicked the lock and it seemed unusually loud, almost like a starting gun had been fired. Two other employees pushed open the doors while trying to scurry out of the way with frightened, but determined faces. This was it, we are first. Emily and her mother ran for the woman’s department. The news reports had been saying all week it was supposed to have the most action this year and it had always been her mother’s favorite anyway.

Emily pushed her cart around the corner and stopped by the edge of the counter. She excitedly looked back at her mother as she pulled an exquisite cashmere coat out and held it up. She looked down into the pit. The woman waiting there were already shoving each other and jockeying for position under the hanging coat. Emily shook it and they responded like ravenous dogs. The lady directly in front of Emily punched the lady to her left in the face causing blood to pour from her nose, but not stopping the bloody woman from jumping for the coat. Emily tossed the coat into the bedlam and was delighted at the squealing and screaming her trinket had brought.

Emily turned back to her mother who was smiling and handed her a pair of Gucci heels and said, “We have spared no expense here on your first Black Friday. I want you to really enjoy what this event means. Make sure you throw them way into the center so the poor girls who got here later have a chance to enter the fray and get some goodies as well.”

“Yes mama,” Emily said as she took the beautiful shoes.

Dystopian fiction is a very popular genre at the moment, but I remember reading George Orwell's 1984 in high school so it has been around a long time. Let me just say that book scared the crap out of me. Are you a fan of Dystopian fiction? What books would you recommend in this genre?

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

I am worried I bit off WAY more than I can chew. Though perhaps if I stop chewing on the computer it would work better. I LOVE writing challenges, but rarely get through to the end with a victory. I need to figure out how to set better priorities and stick to goals. I am also having a bit of a problem with that life thing getting in the way constantly, but it seems to happen often to me. I am not entirely sure if it just happens to everyone a lot and I am busy putting out proverbial fires and don’t notice or if the Fates have placed some sort of kick me sign on my back. Hey, be a friend and pull it off my back if you see it there, thanks. I also worry about the quality of my work. I read so many awesome blog posts, excerpts and flash fictions during these writing challenges that I feel woefully inadequate. What do you do to stay on task? How do you feel when you share your work?

ROW80 Rundown

I missed stating my round 2 goals on Monday the 4th so I am playing catch up here, too. My goals are mostly the same as last round. Wish me luck.

To make the check-ins on Sundays and Wednesdays - This is the first Wednesday so YAY I made it.
To visit 5 fellow ROW80 bloggers each check-in - Didn’t manage to visit anyone since Monday.
To write 667 words every day to keep up with my Camp NaNo goal - I hit this goal on Monday, but not on Tuesday. I fell short by less than 200 words on my flash.
To post every additional day in April for A to Z - I barely made it Monday and missed Tuesday, but have high hopes for the next check in period.

Orange Prompt Type Winner

Orange prompt: Sensory Prompt a prompt that makes you use one of your five senses. A smell, a taste, a sound, touch, something visual

Thanks to those who helped me by participating. I like this suggestion, there were 4 really good choices and I am happy to start making new prompts. The first Orange Sensory Prompt was created by my daughter. I really need to do a LOT more research before I try another contest because I didn’t get much participation, but that is a post that will need to wait until April is over. Do you have any tips for running contests to get me started thinking about what to do better next time?

What do you do when you have bitten off too much? Do you spit some of it out or try and choke it down even though it may cause the quality of tasks accomplished to diminish?

For some reason I couldn't find the ROW80 code to add the linky list to my post so click here to see the others who posted today.

Photos by Pixabay.

Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Comic Fantasy

There is only a little under an hour to vote if you want to hop over to my sidebar and cast a vote for the new Orange Prompt Type. Don't know what I am talking about read the original post here.

Camp NaNo Update: I stand at 2,204 putting me 464 behind. Not bad for not writing on Sunday. The Robots are trying to steal my victory.

The thought behind a comic fantasy is really, well funny. It is often referred to as low fantasy because it sits opposite High Fantasy. Some well known comic fantasy writers are Terry Pratchett and Piers Anthony. I love Piers Anthony's Xanth series as well as the Incarnations of Immortality. I haven't read Terry Pratchett, but my husband is a huge fan. My execution of this story is severely lacking. So maybe CRAPPY fantasy would probably be a better name for what awaits you in the second half of this post. It took a long time and I am not really happy with how it turned out, but I can't spend another second looking at this story so here it is.

Zatla and Julius followed the directions on the scroll that was delivered to their door by a funny little gnome messenger to the Elliptical Lute Tavern. It looked clean, but rustic and generally had a more lively crowd than their usual place. It seemed like every time they were back in town someone needed them to find or do something. Almost like there was an advertisement notice for adventurers seeking quests in the square or something. As they approached the large wooden door a hooded cloaked someone stepped out of the shadows.

“Lovely to see you here Taredd, how do you always know where we are?”

“Because I’ve got you bugged,” he said matter of factly.

Julius squinted his eyes and looked in Zetla’s hair and said, “I thought I saw something black and shiny in there.” He reached forward and pulled out a little black bug and held it up for the others to inspect.

She took it from Julius and scowled at Taredd. “You better come if I ever need you wizard,” she threatened then she tossed the bug back on her head and it scuttled down into her blond hair.

“Let’s get this done,” Taredd said as he pulled open the door and they were greeted by joyful music and aromas of roasted meats.“ After you, fearless leader.” Then she heard him add, “Always send the tank in first.”

Zatla scowled at the wizard again as Julius chuckled, but she walked in first. The round bartender was engaged with another patron, but still managed to welcome the party with a wave. The tavern was packed with what looked like mostly passing merchants, which often means great company. The crowd was dancing, singing and clapping. Except for two well dressed men bent over a map in the far corner.

“We've been doing this long enough to know it must be those guys In the corner who are looking to hire, ”Julius said nodding to the men and the group headed around the merriment to greet them.

“We heard you need some help,” Zatla said as she laid the scroll on the table.

“A fighter, a wizard and a cleric walked into a bar.” the guy in purple said.

“Too bad they didn't duck,” Taredd responded laughing. Julius nudged him to remind him that his sense of humor has gotten them into far too many scrapes in the past. Zatla rolled her eyes at the wizard before she sat down across from the men and the others followed suit.

“We have encountered a delicate situation and require a certain type of skilled assistance,” said the more pomposity dressed man in emerald-green.

Zatla glanced at Taredd silently ordering him to be serious, but mostly just quiet. “Your note mentioned an item that needs to be retrieved,” she said.

“Yes, The Guild has recently acquired a hoard that included many scroll cases containing some maps and prophecies,” the pompous man said.

“We believe we have discovered the exact location of the greatest of all treasures, the MacGuffin. As well as how it was intended to be used.”

“The MacGuffin? It was lost long ago. Mentions of it vaguely sprinkles Elvin myths,” Taredd said sitting up with interest and forgetting he usually made it his mission to harass Zatla though these kinds of meetings.

“What is this MacGuffin you are talking about? I make it my job to know treasure and I haven’t heard of it,” said Zatla.

“Of course you haven’t heard of it. Only the races with the longest memories keep this kind of knowledge,” the man in purple said with a sneer.

“Moving right along,” said the pompous man. “It is currently located in The Great Erected Obelisk. It was placed there where it was prophesied it would be used as an energy source. The glass top of the obelisk is supposed to project powered rays of destruction when the stars align and the strongest sun of the year bares down.”

“I’m having Deja Moo,” Taredd said to his companions. “You know, the feeling I’ve heard this bull before.”

“Naturally you've heard of it before. Every great myth has a kernel of truth and many have stolen from this myth,” said the purple clad man. “The point is…”

“At the top of the obelisk,” Taredd interrupted.

“Yes, and we need you to go retrieve the MacGuffin from it.”

“You make it sound simple.” Julius said.

“No, it is far from simple. The Great Erected Obelisk sits on the edge of Cessation Sea. Getting there will be an ordeal and then you have to fight your way through the puzzles in the obelisk. This will be no easy task, but it will pay well. You might want to armor up that wizard,” said the pompous man in emerald pointing at Taredd.

“I don't know how to put on a helmet. The whole thing goes right over my head,” said Taredd and even Zatla chuckled this time.

“Who will we come looking for upon our return?” Asked Julius.

“Name? What's in a name? You can call me PP,” the man in purple said and he tossed a sack on the table. The resulting thud made the party jump slightly.

Zalta reached out to see what was in the pouch. “Platinum pieces? This bag full of platinum without delivering, what's the catch?”

“That's half. I don't need adventurers that are sleeping on the job. We have a deadline of a fortnight so require you to work quickly, but discretely.”

“But sleeping comes so naturally to me, I could do it with my eyes closed,” Taredd said. He was promptly elbowed by both of his companions.

“What happens if we can't make it back in that time frame?” Asked Julius.
The pompous man raised his eyebrow watching her carefully and asked, “Are you implying you're not up to the job?”

“We're not implying anything, but these kind of missions always come with risks and unless you can tell us exactly what's awaiting in that erection there’s always a small chance it could out match us.” Zatla said with her eyes narrowed on the pompous man.

“Not to worry about the money. If you fail everyone from the obelisk to well past this city will be dead. We'll just assume you aren't going to pay it back or deliver and it won't do us much good anyway,” the man in purple said in a curt tone.

“That sounds like quite an apocalyptic situation,” Julius said frowning slightly.

“It’s ok we’ll survive it,” Taredd said with an upbeat wink.

Everyone stared at the wizard for a moment in disbelief then Zatla said, “Do you know what apocalyptic means?”

“So what if I don't know what apocalyptic means! It's not the end of the world!” Taredd said with a completely straight face. Zatla shoved him off his chair and didn't even look even he hit the floor.

Do you like Comic Fantasy? Who do you like to read in that genre? Let me know in the comments.

Photos by Pixabay.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

B is for Biographical Fiction

Day two and we’re still here, that is good news. Please look over in the right sidebar and vote for the best Orange Prompt Type, even if you entered a suggestion. If you aren’t sure what the Orange Prompt Type is check out the original post here.

Biographical fiction also ended up doing a ton of research and I would love to expand this story, too. The concept is biographical elements are intertwined with fictitious elements. A currently popular example is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now on to our regularly scheduled flashing.

“What are you doing now Ben?” Said a voice behind him.

Ben let out a sigh and closed his eyes to try to master is irritation. “Go away, I am busy,” he said to the voice behind him.

“You always say that,” complained the voice.

“And it’s always true,” Ben replied. “Thomas, run along and find something else to do.”

“Oh, if I could run,” Thomas lamented. “Ben, you know how it’s raining?”

“You mean did I notice the loud crashing thundering outside the house, yes Thomas I observed it was raining.”

“Good. I have been thinking about electricity.”

“You are always thinking about electrical fluid these days Thomas,” Ben replied and continued tinkering with the metal parts on his work desk without turning around.

“That is true, but so are you. It’s why we make a good pair,” Thomas said happily.

“We make a team because you will not leave me in peace. Why do you pester me so?”

“You know why I come here to talk to you. I come because you are the only person who can hear me,” Thomas said in frustration. “Don’t think I haven’t tried, but you are the only scientist who can hear me. How can I continue my work without a scientist. Yes, Mr. Franklin you are a medium.”

Ben whipped around in his chair and stared at Thomas. He was average height, rather thin, had long curly brown hair, brown eyes and the terribly annoying habit of refusing to appear solid. “A medium what? Of height and weight, perhaps. How many times have I told you not to say that?”

“Medium weight? Honestly man. Why would you want me not to say that? If you’re not a medium then what am I?” Thomas asked sure he had just achieved the upper hand.

“You are evidence that I have been awake far too many hours this day.”

“That is disappointing, but I need to talk to you about the lightning.” He said quickly waving the thought of sleep away like a gnat.

Ben sighed resigned to let Thomas tell him about the lightning, knowing he would not allow rest until his idea had been shared, expounded upon or refuted and then discussed. The night was late, but sleep would not come easily in either case and this seemed the path of least resistance. “Tell me about the lightning Thomas.”

“I think it may be electricity.” Thomas looked expectantly at Ben.

“I see, can you support that hypothesis?”

A spark ignited in Thomas’s eyes again, “I think I can. I noticed that lightning creates light, like electricity. It also makes quite a loud crash when it explodes, like the parlor tricks and entertaining sparks people are doing with rubber glass globes.”

Ben raised a hand, “How are you seeing parlor tricks?”

“I can go where I please. I am not following you around all day.” Thomas said and waved this thought away again.

Ben narrowed his eyes on Thomas’s hand and it stopped waving. “That’s comforting, continue.”

“Last week when lightning hit the Smith’s weather vane and set the place ablaze. I thought it must make tremendous heat,”

“Just like electrical fluid,” Ben interrupted leaning forward resting his elbow on his knee and chin in his hand.

“You know it has been many decades since I christened the word electricity. Why do you refuse to use it?” Thomas scrunched up his face pouting slightly.

“Because you aren’t Shakespeare Thomas. Everyone can’t just go around making up new words. It will get confusing.”

“It will become popular. Mark my words,” Thomas said flashing Ben a smile.

Ben looked up at the ceiling as if trying to chase down a memory that was eluding him. “The smell, you know the smell when the lightning strikes? It’s the same as electrical fluid, only much stronger.”

“Yes, smells. I miss smelling.”

“Concentrate Thomas. Lightning seems to hit metal objects more often and electrical fluid is attracted to metal. I must test this, but how?” Ben got up from his chair and crossed to the door looking up at the storm frowning slightly. “I need a tall hill or building.” He stepped out and looked around expecting one to spring into existence.

“Why? What are you thinking? I can tell you are planning something because you are frowning and looking about like a trapped rat searching for an escape route.”

“I will thank you very much not to liken me to vermin. There isn’t a site tall enough in the whole of Pennsylvania. I must think on this. Another answer is probably in plain sight.” Ben sighed, walked back in the house and pulled out his silk handkerchief to wipe the rain off his face. “You have given me much to think on this night Thomas Browne. I must retire, but tomorrow is another day.”

“What would you do without me?”

“Be well rested,” Ben grumbled as he headed toward his bed.

History is one of my favorite things and I know I get a bit carried away when it comes to the Revolutionary time period. One day I will make it to Williamsburg. While I was researching I came across this amazing documentation of a late 1700s frictional static electric machine. There are also photos of a 1757 Philosophical Transactions article on "The effects of electricity in Paralytick cases" by Benjamin Franklin all the way at the bottom. Yes, I know my geek flag is officially flying, but it happens to the best of us.

Do you have a geek flag? Do you ever incorporate your geek loves in your writing? Let me know in the comments and please feel free to leave your blog address as well so I can follow you back and see what you're up to.

Photos by Pixabay.

Friday, April 1, 2016

A is for Alternative History

Apparently A is also for April Fool's Day. Happy April Fool's, the one day of year people critically evaluates every piece of news posted to social media sites. I meant to have everything done and ready to go very, very early this morning, but that did not happen. However, I have the poll for the suggestions in the contest that ended yesterday, deciding the Orange Prompt Type, up on the right side bar. Be sure to vote, I need your opinion! Sadly there were only 4 entries, but happily they're all really interesting options. Good luck to each of the contestants.

Now to flash you all.

Makoy stood watching the newsreader in the shop window flashing to scenes of the hurricane that was currently ravaging West Florida. He had been keeping a close watch on the situation because hurricanes don't usually start this early in the year and he was heading to East Florida in a few days after spring break ended. Makoy looked up and noticed a bloke walking toward him as he hurried down Benedict Arnold Park Way. Usually he would not have missed a person staring at him this intently, but he was distracted the newsreader.

Now that Makoy looked more closely at the bloke he had a look on his face just screamed his little brain was working hard to figure out who he was looking at. Come to think of it he looked familiar in the face, but the West Point students all looked the same in their uniform and standard hair cut. The bloke’s eyes bugged out and he turned to cross the street hastily. Makoy recognized him as Arthur, a primary school bully whose arse he had finally kicked in early high school.

“Oi! Arthur stop,” Makoy yelled as Arthur moved closer to the edge of the footpath.

Arthur sped up and terror swept over his face. He stepped into the busy road and a horn blared. He whipped his head around as a bus slammed into him.

My story is based on the alternate history of the rebellious Colonists not winning the war they started. In Our Time Line on September 23, 1780 plans were discovered indicating Benedict Arnold intends to turn traitor and surrender West Point. He got word of the Patriots coming to arrest him and fled. He joined the British and his name became synonymous with traitor. The Point of Divergence is the plans were never discovered and Benedict Arnold did surrender West Point and join the British helping lead them to victory.

This was just supposed to be a little flash fiction, but it ate up a lot of time with research and I can see a lot more to the idea. Placing this on the back burner and planning to come back.

Have you ever read an alternative history fiction? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to vote for the Orange Prompt Type in the right side bar.