Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Unexpected Guest

I've been trying to finish an online course to recertify. It is AWFUL! That is all I will say about that. So I felt the need to do some fresh writing. Chuck's weekly challenge from Terrible Minds was a perfect prompt to take my mind off schoolwork (not that it would have taken much). The challenge for this week is "unexpected guest" because he and his wife happily welcomed their new baby two weeks early (congrats!) Here is my response, hope you enjoy.

 
Unexpected Guest

I wouldn’t say I’m meticulous. I just like things to go smoothly. And if you don’t plan and prepare for the unexpected as much as possible, things go wrong and there’s messiness and embarrassment and mayhem.

There must be organization, especially when putting together a surprise birthday party. The guests must arrive early. The honoree must not have a clue what is going on.  And she must arrive after the other guests.

For a surprise to be carried out perfectly, the honoree has to believe her friends. The deliverers, the other guests, no one can let on. No slip ups. One wrong word could ruin everything. Utter catastrophe.

Tonight is the night. We are all ready and waiting here in the dark. Our honoree, Katherine, is late. Everyone is here that is supposed to be here. Even John, who is never on time for anything, was here with five minutes to spare.

I have been texting Bree, one of the deliverers, for fifteen minutes. The guests are getting antsy. They are starting to mumble and complain. They will be turning the lights on soon and ruin the whole thing.

The plan was for Bree and Jill to take Katherine out for dinner then come over here to my house. I was supposedly babysitting for my sister. We were going to have a girls night in and watch movies.

Katherine’s 30th birthday is tomorrow and she will be celebrating with her boyfriend, Devon. They’ve been dating for three years. He has an even bigger surprise for her tomorrow night. Yes, he’s going to propose. He’s finally going to do it.

As her best friend, I decided to have this party. I wish someone would plan something like this for me. Katherine is going to have such an awesome weekend and doesn’t even know it. If she ever gets here to start it, that is. Why won’t Bree answer?

It’s now been thirty minutes. I let the guests turn on the lights and music. Something is obviously wrong. Devon is worried too. He’s been texting Katherine and hasn’t heard anything either.

We tell some guests that we are going to look for Katherine. Devon and I go to the restaurant where the girls were supposed to have dinner. We speak to the host. The girls were there and left. The waitress remembers them. The girls did several rounds of shots after dinner. Bree almost got sick and Katherine had to call her a cab. Jill went with her. Great.

So where is Katherine?

We call back at the party, no sign of her. So Devon and I go to Katherine’s apartment.

Just as we get to the door, Jill finally texts me. I tell Devon not to knock yet.

Jill says she is sorry about Bree. She says Katherine got upset at dinner. She started crying and said she was going to break up with Devon because he wasn’t going to commit to her. She was getting older and couldn’t waste her time with someone who wasn’t ready to get married. Then she ordered lots of shots.

I look at Devon. I’m worried. He’s puzzled. We hear voices in Katherine’s apartment.

Devon knocks. Jill sends another text. She says Lucas showed up at the restaurant with some friends and did shots with them. Lucas was Katherine’s old boyfriend before Devon.

I push Devon away from the door and we hide around the corner.

Lucas answers the door. We hear Lucas call out to see who’s there. Devon is fuming. I hold him back. Lucas goes back in, but we hear Katherine giggle before he shuts the door.

Devon is crushed. I’m stunned. We go back to the party.

It’s in full pandemonium. No one seems to care that the honoree never showed. I comfort Devon on the couch.

He shows me the ring. He is hurt and depressed. He pleads with me and questions me and expresses every emotion his limited male heart can handle. I tell him she doesn’t know what she’s missing. She’s a fool for throwing away three years.

He laments that he should have said something sooner. I tell him maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

He takes my hand and looks into my eyes. He is vulnerable and intense. The attraction has always been there, but never allowed to exist. He needs to fill the vacancy and ease his pain.

I’m not meticulous. I’m organized and neat and plan things out. I like things to go smoothly and orderly.

But things are about to get messy.

Don't slip!

Drabble Day, "Slip" (not really Freudian...guess I slipped there too)

I am a clumsy fool. I am not modest or humble, just truthful. I trip up stairs, slip on ice, hurt others accidentally when I’m trying to joke and have dropped my phone so many times it’s a wonder it works. These slips I live with and laugh along with you.

It’s the things that slip out of my mouth I have trouble owning. My personality is just do it! What consequences? And my bluntness has cost me a friend or two, offending without knowing. Just saying what I feel.

The only unregrettable slip I’ve taken, is falling for you.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kick start Monday - microflash

Had a tournament this weekend. Saturday was gorgeous, had 2 games. Sunday was sweltering, not sad we lost. Still trying to catch up! But I did manage to squeak out a little flash fiction, from the weekly AW prompt: "power"

I didn’t want to do it. I never would have thought of something like that on my own. I’m not that smart.

She made me do it.

No, she didn’t force me.

It was her eyes. Their purple gray hue. The depths into forever. The intensity, promising everything.

I knew I shouldn’t. I knew she would never let me so much as hold her hand for it.

But those eyes. They had some kind of power over me. Compelling, enticing, exciting, commanding. I couldn’t say no. I had no will of my own.

So now I take the blame. I did it. Take me away.

“Oh, Jeremy. Stop looking at me like that. Why must you be so dramatic? You could’ve had a cookie for your little friend, Jasmine. You just had to ask!”

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Enjoy your time off, but please...
...be safe
...be responsible
...but must importantly, remember what this holiday is about

Our proud military!

(thanks to Heather for the picture)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tension? Give me More!

Even tho I missed the boat for this contest by Rachel Morgan that Ellie squeaked into - darn time difference - I wanted to put up a tension teaser anyway. You had to post a tense 300 word scene from a WIP. My techno thriller, Pop Travel, is loaded w/em, it's a thriller! Here is the part where MC Cooper and tagalong undercover agent, Geri, meet the Creator of pop travel...

YES!!! Hasan rejoiced in his head at the sound. He kept a straight face, pretending nothing had happened. He casually stretched and got up off the couch. He went over to a camera and spoke to it, “I’m going to sit in the stairwell. I hate being watched.” Hasan did this frequently when he wanted a break from his work. He despised being spied on.

He went to the door and walked out. He put a finger to his lips to keep Cooper and Geri quiet until the door shut.

When it latched, he raised his hands. “Welcome! My friends! You’ve come to save me, right?” he announced and hugged them both.

“Save you?” Cooper questioned.

“Don’t you want to know who we are?” Geri asked.

“That’s not important now. Just get me out of here. We don’t have much time!” he said and dashed to the bottom of the stairs.

“Wait! We aren’t here to rescue you. I came to talk to you about pop travel,” Cooper tried to explain as they took their hesitant time descending after him.

“Why do you need to be rescued?” Geri asked.

“Look. I’ll explain everything when we are safely away from here. So if you want to talk to me, you’ll have to help me escape. I hope you have a getaway plan because Keener and Vincent are in your secret tunnel.”

Hasan and Geri both looked expectantly at Cooper.

“I’ve been winging it for days now. I’m open to suggestions. How about the back door?”

“It’s under surveillance. But it will have to do. We need to get to the transport house,” Hasan told them. He had a couple of ideas. He had been planning multiple ways to escape for the past year.

“What about the laser fencing?” Cooper asked.

(after reading it again, I can see a few minor things I want to edit when I get to it...always room for improvement!)

Writing a book - I need a bio?

So I'm querying. Should be easy, once I go thru QLH (I'm afraid of those AW crits!). Just write a nice query letter, personalize it and send it to appropriate agents, right?

WRONG!

Each agent or agency has specific submission guidelines. I'm hoping you know that already. Some want just a letter, others want pages and/or a synopsis. But more and more are asking for a "brief bio." Ugh!

I really hate this part. I write fiction! And I'm new, with no writing credits! And worse, I never considered myself a writer growing up. I enjoyed it in grade school then detested it in high school so in college I avoided it and tested out. I wasn't bad, I got good grades, but being forced to write and the subjective grading - what does the teacher want to hear? - pushed me to rebel. (scorpio in me)

Here is a great, timely article on how to create a good bio. Mr. Michael Margolis, who has tons of experience, predicts a trend in more creative fields moving away from resumes and towards the bio. I found this piece from Jane Friedman's weekly tweet report.

I summarized what I took from it:
  • apparently employers (and agents) are getting personal, they want to get along with you, not just hire you for your skills
  • the bio is not a place to brag, it is a summary of who you are and why, a good short story with you as the mc
  • use your voice and your personality, don't fake it because they will eventually meet you (you hope)
  • sprinkle in backstory, they need to know where you come from, maybe they can relate to you
  • research! know who you are talking to, people appreciate someone taking the time to find out about them
  • connection is key, hopefully you will make one and have a leg up on the competition (does that cliche mean what I think it means?)
Please read the article for a better, fuller description!

Here is a sample bio I sent out recently. I tuned it to the agent's specifications. After reading the article, I will be getting out my red pen, or starting over.

I love to work and I love to read. In college, my objective mind led me to pursue a Math Education degree. I have had many jobs, from waitress to Engineer assistant. I’ve lived up and down the Eastern US, and my favorite town is Atlanta, Georgia, so many of my stories take place there.
Now that my three boys are older, I am back to work as a substitute teacher, but I felt an itch to write and have been for several years now. So far I’ve completed two novels, tons of poetry, several short stories, and even a few songs. I read and write about Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thrillers, Women’s Fiction and am working on a non-fiction book of timesaving tips for women who hate housework, like me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Random Thursday - honorable mention & a logline

Honorable mention is better than no mention!

My submission to Rachelle Gardner's Bad News Poetry contest received honorable mention (ie she made up an award for me =)

In other writing news, I recently joined a great new critique blog/forum, Unicorn Bell It looks promising and helpful, I just hope it doesn't get too big because it is a great idea that I'm sure will grow a large following quickly!

We just started and are in "meet & greet" phase. This first assignment is to put up a blurb summary (logline) about our WIP. This was harder than I thought. Here is mine:

Pop Travel
(techno thriller)

In 2080, pop travel, laser teleportation, has a deadly flaw discovered by reclusive PI, J. L. Cooper who teams up with undercover agent Geri Harper to confront its Creator and expose it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prevention, June 2011

Time for some health and beauty tips from Prevention magazine =)

For your Health:
  • gardening improves self-esteem and mood - something about a primal longing to connect with mother earth? (I bet that is true of any hobby, I don't care for gardening myself)
  • mushrooms and other foods with riboflavin are said to reduce PMS symptoms.
  • remember how eating an apple is supposed to help whiten your teeth? here are two more natural tooth improvers: cheese really is good with wine, it lessens acidity making it hard for wine to stain your teeth and celery is a natural toothbrush!
  • I always say this and now I know why - I get my best ideas in the shower! and it's because it's a relaxing place, no stress. Stress limits your thinking, relaxing broadens your mind.
  • small talk sharpens short term memory and concentration, as long as it isn't competitive.
  • chocolate milk does a body great! especially after exercise by speeding muscle repair to make you strong.
For Beauty:
  • do you wear glasses like me? well, to help your eyes stand out, line the upper & lower lash lines then use the same color family eye shadow as your glasses.
  • to lessen dark undereye circles, let concealer sit a minute before blending.
  • time to bare the peds! 4 steps to a personal pedicure:
    1. clip & file
    2. soak & soothe - 3 minutes in warm water then pumice as needed
    3. moisturize & massage (I use Bath & Body Works "Isn't Shea Lovely" shea butter for feet)
    4. prep & polish - gently push back cuticles & paint
  • or just get a pedicure! (I must be weird cause I don't like people touching my feet...)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the good and the bad

So things have been up and down for me of late. Reading other blogs, I see similar jolts of positive and negative. Since it's becoming laughable as I look back, I will share...

Starting Sunday evening...
arrived at baseball game early - thats good
lightening siren went off delaying game - thats bad
got to play after short delay - thats good
more storms roll in ending game early and counting as a loss - thats BAD =(
get to try to see other son's game and free ice cream - thats good =)
hail! hurry home - thats scary!

Monday
storms cancel son's field day that I took day off for - thats ok, I needed a day off =)
got tons of neglected shopping done - thats great (sunny rest of day!)
tornado warning! boys scared - thats bad
but it was after they got to play outside and eat dinner - thats good
power went out - thats bad
snuggled & watched movie on ipad w/boys in basement - thats good!
power back on - hey, thats good too!

This morning
hectic early morning - thats normal
on way out, doorknob to garage broke! - thats BAD!
left my breakfast in house - more bad
have last period planning - thats better
husband comes home today - whew! (hope he can get in or it will be very bad)

It's ok to laugh. Maybe my troubles can make your day not look so bad =)

I am a day behind, but I will also mention I joined I love my friends online Monday (on Tuesday =)
It's fun making new friends =)

(pic source)

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Place to Hide

Aheila's Drabble Day! 100 words on Dread (bonus points for not saying it)...

It’s coming. It’ll be here before you know it.

Say goodbye to peaceful silence. Ahead lay endless days of banshee screaming and hideous wailing.

The slimy, stinky, goo-covered creatures that howl all day and yip into the night are almost upon us. They seek their prey with jars and flashlights. Lock up your food supplies as gangs of them invade your home. Take them to water or field and hope they wear themselves out so they won’t attack you.

Oh, no! I hear the high pitched pulse of the last stop.

No more pencils, no more books – take cover! It’s summer!

Kick start Monday - long weekend

I'm ready for Monday this week. Been a long, frustrating weekend. A weekend that I should have recognized would have been a great opportunity for me to practice using patience. I wish I could think of this at the time. And a nice little hail storm to boot. Never ends.

I did manage to fit in one challenge. Cafe Muryavets offers a monthly flash fiction of exactly 50 words based on prompts and a theme - it's a lot to cram into 50 words, but I love the challenge! Here are the words:
neckline, violet, unawares, imperil, vent and theme is: optimism and pessimism.

The words made me think of the female lead in my current WIP, so I wrote about her. Maybe she will get another book someday. Here it is.

Geri enters, demanding all eyes. The drastic neckline of her violet gown catches each gawker unawares of her brilliance.

Weapons hidden in the perfection of her disguise imperil ignorant enemies.

Her optimism turns to pessimism as she discovers the tiny vent she will have to navigate to reach her objective.

Lastly, green Versatile Blogger award has been making the rounds again, but this time it has a new twist. Instead of listing some info about yourself, you write the first and last lines of your WIP's first five chapters. I love that! And I have read some good stuff! Since I can't get the award again, I'm putting up mine just for the fun of it.

From my WIP, Pop Travel, sci fi thriller

Ch 1
Click, clack, click, clack. The resonance of her high heels on the sidewalk clashed like a cymbal in her throbbing head.

“Don’t worry. I’ll call you.”

Ch 2
Dawson popped out of Detroit Metro Transport and arrived at a first class platform in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Transport Center (ATC).

"Yes, sir," Nate said and got to work.

Ch 3
The MARTA train rumbled along through a rebuilt neighborhood of College Park on the south side of Atlanta.

“Amen,” Cooper agreed, though he felt like having a double.

Ch 4
Cooper woke up with hangover head even though he’d had no fun the night before.

“You should have gone home when you had the chance,” he said shaking his head.

Ch 5
Cooper didn’t like the sound of Miki’s encounter.

She went to sleep optimistic, ready to spar with her new, worthy adversary.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Funny

from "The Wizard of Id, Let There Be Reign" by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart, 1972

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hidden Talents


So I have surveyed facebook again with Lazy Housewife question number 4:
What is your secret talent?

Here are the answers, I won't tell their names, cause it's a secret!
  • taking shorthand
  • (source)
  • playing the piano
  • tying a knot in a cherry stem w/tongue (old favorite I admit I can't do...)
  • popping out a hip (ah! might come in handy later in life for an easier replacement?)
  • keeping secrets (ha ha)
  • my favorite is shaving legs, while in third trimester of pregnancy, you go girl!
I think mine is finding things, but only for other people, especially the males in my house. I also have a hidden talent for jinxing electronics - things just seem to happen when I'm using the computer or tv or phone that don't happen when my husband comes to see what the problem is...

How about you? Any hidden talents?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Probability

Lovely agent Rachelle Gardner is offering a Bad News Poetry Contest. Yeah!
Lately she's been posting bad news writers get and advice on how to deal with it. Here is my entry:

Formula for Aquiring an Agent
(source)

The probability
Of selection
By an agent
Is a relatively simple
Mathematical
Equation
Derived by the ratio
Of the number
Of queries sent
To the number
Of rejections
Subtracted from
The result of
The process of
Elimination
As it approaches
The limit of
One yes!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Maid of Valor

(source)
I love practicing new poetic forms and my friend, C R Ward has a generous supply.
This week the form is Trijan Refrain

Maid of Valor

Fair maid of Thrack hummed through the wood,
Goodies she did carry.
Filled mother's quest as daughters should,
No intent to tarry.
But fate took hold for in her way
A wounded knight in mud did lay.
But fate took hold
But fate took hold,
Compelled her soul to aid this stray.

As she knelt down, she heard a crunch
And smelt that brimstone stench.
Red glowing eyes, sharp teeth to munch
had come upon the wench.
A dragon fierce presumed her grace,
He held no fear to leave this place.
A dragon fierce
A dragon fierce
Knew not her strength with sword and mace.

The dragon charged, the maid dodged right.
He chomped down on thin air.
She stole the weapon of the knight
And wielded it with care.
She plunged it through the dragon's heart.
She had her plan clear from the start.
She plunged it through
She plunged it through.
This time hero was the maid's part.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Playing with Poetry

I thought I'd be sick of writing in verse after the April PAD challenge. But I grew an appreciation for it. And thanks to Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides, I have weekly prompts!

This week it's to "tell it like it is" - a haiku

Good Old Joe

Coffee makes me smile
The color, the taste, the scent
Cream and sugar, please!
(source)

Random Wednesday - Did you know?

Cell Phones - Hazardous to Your Health?
[I found this article in Prevention (May 2011)]
Could your cell phone give you brain cancer? Now that we've been using them long enough to study their effects, it looks like they could. Apparently the tiny amount of electromagnetic radiation they produce affects your brain after prolonged exposure. What a surprise, another cancer causing, man-made device.
Suggestions to prevent damage:
  • hold phone away from your head or better yet, text when you can
  • save long conversations for the home phone
  • stay off it when you're traveling long distances (reconnecting to other towers gives it a surge)

Here are a few interesting medical breakthroughs in the works [Consumer Reports (June 2011)]
  • personalized prescriptions, down to the genes
  • blood substitutes - real fake blood! to tide someone over until a good match can be made (that is awesome!)
  • robot surgeons, without a doc at the controls! (are we getting closer to AI here?)

And here is the skinny on popular diets [Consumer Reports (June 2011)] (Sorry about the pun!)
  1. Jenny Craig - excellent ratings in all categories, support is key
  2. Slim-Fast - good and excellent ratings, but without support the dropout rate is not good
  3. Weight Watchers - much food high in sodium and weight loss is average
  4. the Zone - nutrition is ok, weight loss is marginal
  5. Atkins - poor for nutrition but good for weight loss, more for short term
I hate diets! The only way I have ever lost weight was writing down what I ate in a modified Atkins diet. I counted carbs, but fruits and veggies were "free." Now I try to treadmill or walk each night and cut down on the snacks. I'm not trying very hard, maintaining is fine for now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Consumer Reports says...Are you secure?

I'm a little late, but here is my report.
The June 2011 issue of Consumer Reports featured how to beef up security for your home as well as id theft and computer malware. (Timely!)

Advice for your Home:
  • don't make it easy! take the time to lock up! cars too! (we've had a bunch of car breakins recently, but they were "let-ins" because the cars weren't locked.)
  • don't advertise you're on vacation - make it look occupied, a toy in the yard, neighbors picking up your newspapers, etc.
  • shut your garage door!
  • use your house alarm system (guilty)
  • a gun is NOT your best defense - most people who buy guns for protection are not properly trained and do not secure their gun making it more of a risk to themselves than protection

Advice for your ID & Accounts:
  • use tougher passwords with letter and number combinations
  • try not to bank from public computers
  • shred bills, medical files and receipts (they also recommend destroying prescription labels)
  • cover yourself when entering pin number
  • know what should and shouldn't be on your credit card statement
Facebook advice:
  • set security for friends only and say no to allowing advertisers access to your info
  • preteens should NOT be on facebook, be aware
And here are some Ratings:
Security Software
Best Free Anti-Malware Program: Avira
Best Pay Security Suites: BitDefender, ESET, Avira, Norton, G Data & Kapersky (that's mine)
all rated very good performance and ease of use

Laptops
Apple MacBook 11 in #1; 13 in #1, 3, 4, 5; 15 in #1, 2
Toshiba 14 in #1, 6, 13 in #2, 8
Other honorable mentions
Sony, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Gateway, Asus

Tablets
Apple ipad and ipad2 still blow others away =)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kick start Monday

Two contests and a flash plus a meme!
Barbara at Brainstorms & Bylines brought two interesting contests to light.
First is the Real Simple's 4th Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest
Second is the 2011 Family Circle Fiction Contest

Another MeMe on Monday because I like finding new friends. Thanks to Java for the questions and the linky link! (join in if you like)

1) crunchy or smooth peanut butter - smooooooth
2) favorite color rose - antique
3) do you remove your shoes when you enter your house? yes, I don't live in a barn (oh, wait that's shutting the door)
4) what is your favorite season? Fall, my bday, cooler weather, school starts, great holidays
5) how many hours a day do you spend blogging? I'd say two or three (do I have a problem?)

And here is my AW Flash Fiction challenge from the prompt "fat"

 
I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

I lie awake night after night just staring, wondering why I'm here. The heat and this brace around my middle make it impossible to sleep. My fists clench and unclench on my sheet at the sides of my bed. I’m soaked from perspiration. After the first couple of nights I counted the speckles on the ceiling tiles. Now I think of ways to torture Patty, the drill sergeant aerobics instructor.

Yesterday, Frank lost it. He bulldozed the skinny counselor, Mindy, and crashed through the cafeteria line. We all cheered at first. Then Mona and me were grossed out by the way his chubby mitts shoveled the tasteless, low-fat oatmeal into his mouth like a machine in a factory. His desperate, sweaty face and his bulging, crazed eyes gave me the creeps. With oatmeal dripping from his chin he looked like a rabid dog. It took five guys to maneuver him out of there and strap him to his bed. We found out later that he broke little Mindy’s arm and she swallowed her whistle. I couldn’t help but laugh thinking that now she’ll tweet every time she coughs.

If only they’d turn on the air conditioner. Carol said it was tough here, but bearable and totally worth it. She did look great when she came back. And she even turned down celebration cake. From her own coming home party! After so many fails at stupid diets, I decided to try it.

But it’s torture! It’s psychological abuse! No contact outside, exhausting exercise, no entertainment. And I’ve been here for two weeks and only lost five pounds! Mona seems to be doing good. She’s been here a week longer and lost about 20. Carol lost 100 in 8 weeks! I don’t understand. Maybe I’m just meant to be fat.

I finally drift off to sleep with images of tying Patty into a pretzel and salting her up…

***

“I thought she’d never fall asleep. We need to give her a bigger Mickey tomorrow night.”

“Yeah. She’ll never reach her goal weight at this rate. Ok, Patty, turn it on.”

The buzz of the liposuction machine was drowned out by the hypnotic tape of a soothing, melodic voice.

“Sugar is your enemy. You will never eat it again. It makes you want to vomit. You love vegetables. You will tell your friends about Heavenly Hills Weight Loss Clinic…”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cooperisms 4

"I don't feel comfortable being around that big knife."

"Helping" me with the cantaloupe.  =)

Breakfast Blues

I am taking three, count em, three! prompts and combining them into one fun poem! I am putting up the poem first, then I'll tell you the prompts.

Breakfast Blues
Breakfast
Cereal, milk,
Juice and syrup dripping
Onto the floor. Dog is licking.
The phone rang while I packed up the lunches.
Four year old experimenting
With gravity, dropping
Every part of
Breakfast

  1. Aheila's Drabble Day (from Monday) prompt was "breakfast" in 100 words (I am only about 33, sorry about that)
  2. Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides, Wednesday poetry prompt "when you're not paying attention"
  3. and C R Ward at Random Thoughts offers a poetic form on Thursdays. This week's form is Rictameter
This was one of the posts that was lost and reposted by blogger - the links got messed up so I fixed them because they deserve credit!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poetry Challenge Contest



I wrote this for the Poetic Asides Poetic Form Challenge. The prize is to be mentioned then published in WD. He always gets a ton of response, so I do it for the fun and practice =) Deadline is May 30, if anyone else is interested!
The form to use is called BOP.

Life's Not Fair

I have to move a million miles.
My dad finally got a job.
My mom said it won't be so bad,
But I hear her crying at night.
My dog can't even come with us.
I don't want to move away.

Why can't things stay the same?

A new neighborhood.
A new school and new rules.
So many questions and worries.
What will the kids be like?
Will they be nice? Will they like me?
Will I like them?
I have friends. I don't need new ones.
Life is so unfair.

Why can't things stay the same?

My best friend reminds me
Of when we first met.
How she was once the new kid.
She felt the same as I do now.
Then I came over and showed her around.
She says I'll find someone there like me.

Why can't things stay the same?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Next!

I finally did it! I finished Hunger Games!

That was such a good book. Now I know why it was so popular. My goal was to finish it before the movie came out. I'm ready to start on the next one and see how Katniss deals with her two men. What I'm really anxious about is how they will overthrow the capitol.

My son is on the third book and said there are a lot of boring parts...he likes the action, not the talking, talking, talking. Boys!

I wonder how they will do with the movie!

Writing a Book – Never Was

Well, almost never.

I wish I could remember where I got this advice so I could forward you the article, but it was during the whirlwind of April and the a-z madness so I forgot.

It’s basically like this, read this sentence:

It was so windy she was breathless.

Now compare that with this sentence:

The wind tangled through her hair and ran its icy fingers across her face, threatening to pull the breath right out of her lungs.

Was is weak. Take a look at a few paragraphs of your WIP. How many was’s (or is’s) do you see? I stunned myself when I first looked at mine. I have replaced a ton of them with stronger, more descriptive language and verbs. A few are fine, but I remember the advice saying "was" should be used for less intense scenes. Use forceful, creative words for showing – "was" is for telling.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dreaming of Disney - Where to Stay

Where in the World to Stay

I've stayed off property in the Orlando/Kissimmee area and it's ok and less expensive. But once you stay on property, you won't want to go back. I think staying at a Disney resort hotel is worth every penny. And the value resorts go as low as about $80/night which isn't too bad especially for all the perks (see below).

I decided to talk about the resorts sooner because if you want to stay on property, some of them fill up months in advance, especially during peak seasons.

In future posts I will give more details about the resorts I have been to, but for now here is a chart I made giving you stats ($ are for 2010, rates usually go up a buck or two every year...):

* Seasons: Value, Regular, Peak
**not official Disney resorts, most perks apply but not all
Perks of staying on property:
  • Magical Express service from the airport - ride a comfortable Disney bus to your resort, bags delivered to your room (don't plan on getting into them right away, it takes a couple hours)
  • Extra Magic Hours - the parks open early and stay open later on certain days just for resort guests, check the calendar closer to your visit for details
  • Transportation - monorail, boats, buses - sometimes getting there is half the fun (a couple of years ago when asked what his favorite ride was, my middle son replied, "the buses")
  • Can use your room key-card to charge any purchases to your room
  • Have purchases delivered to your room so you don't have to carry them around
  • During peak season resort guests are guaranteed admission to the parks (with a ticket), even if they are full to capacity (I didn't know that!)
  • All the hotels have either a food court and/or restaurant(s), pools, shops, an arcade and a laundry
  • You get the Disney service with a smile, they usually go out of their way to make your experience "magical" - seriously!
The break-down:
I have stayed at the highlighted resorts and would say my top 3 are the Contemporary, Boardwalk and Beach Club. I don't have anything bad to say about any of them (except in the "con" section). They are all unique with their themes - many picture ops. Something to note, your waiting in line for transportation time is inversely proportional to the price of your room. The caliber of the eating establishements is a direct reflection. You decide what your priorities are and go!
before kids - taking a boat
Dreaming of Disney posts
My reference is Birnbaum Guides, Walt Disney World (2010) which I use for much of my planning, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Big Bad Mama

I have had one of those days. Where everything I touch might as well be flushed and my buttons are exposed for the world to push. "No, you're more important than me, go ahead and cut me off." I've been trying to ignore it and hold everything in and suck it up and give the benefit.

But tonight we had to play this team - this great, cocky-parented team. My little guy is on one of those other teams. I love the kids and their parents, but as a team it ain't gellin and you can tell some of the kids don't want to play. I'm going to tear my hair out. This is going to be a long, frustrating season. So I wrote this poem to vent.

Why is it so hard
So hard to refrain?
I let my mouth run away
Run away from me again.

How do I let go
Let go of frustration?
Forced to just sit there
Sit there helpless.

Watching in agony
In agony holding back.
How do others stay
Stay so calm and silent?
"Did I say STRIKE? How ridiculous of me!
Of course I meant BALL!"

I just can't take
Can't take one more straw.
So I have to explode
Explode and complain.

And then we go home
Go home in this mood.
I can't even be good
Be good for my son.

I can't take back
Take back what's been said.
So I'll have to try harder
Try harder next time instead.

post-poned due to virus

My Dreaming of Disney post will be up later today or tomorrow.

I am having a hard time with viruses popping up lately. No real damage yet, thanks to my security program, but I am afraid to open any websites. I had my blog scanned and it is clean, thank goodness! I believe one of my new friends may have gotten a virus and is passing it on unwittingly.

Please be careful!
Gadgets and Widgets can have viruses attached.
Any website you open could put one on your computer.
I know someone's google friends network follower button was infected.
The Internet Explorer browser is the biggest target. I am looking into switching to Mozilla Firefox browser or getting a Mac.

What is the point of these invisible hackers?
I wish you all virus freedom!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kick start Monday

How about a little flash fiction for Monday? I like to take the Absolute Writes Water Cooler Flash Fiction Challenge Sundays 9-10:30 pm. I took a break in April and I'm glad to be back, getting those brain juices flowing! Yesterday's prompt was "turned on" - but I'm not that kind of girl, so here is what I wrote:


That was the worst date I've been on in a long time. I will never let Paul set me up again. Where are my stupid keys? I can never find anything in this purse!

Oh, no. He's still sitting there in his car waving at me with that big dumb grin. I hope he doesn't get out to help me!

Ah. There they are.

See? I found them. Now go away and leave me alone.

There. I'm in.

What? Now the lights won't work. Great. The other houses have power, it must be a fuse. Now I get to feel my way down to the basement and check the fuse box. I'm calling Trina and finding a flashlight. I think there's one in the kitchen.

Ow! Stupid side table. Oh, man. She didn't pick up. At least I'm at the sink. I hope I put the flashlight back. And the batteries work!

Oh, good. It works. I hate this! I'm trying my neighbor, Jacob. I really don't want to go down in the basement by myself in the dark. A boyfriend would be good in this situation. Too bad I don't have one.

Jacob isn't picking up either. Where is everyone? Well, I guess I have to brave up and go down. There's no monsters or robbers. I have my phone. I'll be fine. I hate this!

Stupid creaky stairs. Now I have to remember which wall...

"SURPRISE!"

AAAHHHH!

"I think she fainted."

"I think we should've turned on the lights before shouting, 'Surprise.'"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Celebrating Moms

My friend, C R Ward at Random Thoughts presents a different form of poetry each week. I'm using the Found form where you take a piece of writing found and break it up poetically (see her site for a better definition).

How to Say I Love You, Mom

A pretty bouquet
For Mother's Day,
"Thanks for helping me grow!"

Show her that
You think she's tops
With a custom crown,
"You're queen for the day!"

A spot of tea
Is a soothing treat,
A greeting brimming
With thoughtfulness.

HaPpY MoThErS DaY!

I found these phrases in the May 2011 edition of Family Fun magazine.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where in the world?

It's getting close to Summer (and we've barely had any Spring!) If you haven't planned your summer vacation yet, you better get moving (like me). The good places seem to fill up fast!

LHW Survey question #3 - Where do you/would you like to go on vacation? Here are the answers my friends from facebook offered. (thanks, friends!) I think I see a theme...

Julie - The beach...any beach
Dana - I'd like to finally take my kids to Disney!
Carla - Disney World!!!
Patty - Love the Keys
Amber - GALWAY IRELAND
Caroline - Ski In Ski Out Resort.
Jill - Disney!!
Shannon - the beach :)
Adele - Sullivans Island in Charleston, SC.... Most peaceful week of my life!!!!! This will be our 10th year going and I never get tired of it.
Christine - Definitely the Canadian Rockies!
Kelly - Somewhere tropical. I love the beach. Hawaii might be nice.
and I'm adding my friend Kim who always loves a good beach, they just got back from San Marco Island.


June Beach, FL (where I grew up)
Looks like the beach is the most popular destination. What is it about the soothing sounds of waves crashing on white sandy beaches? The smell of salty air and suntan lotion? I love those walks down the beach looking for shells and sea life at the edge of the water (nothing too big or pinchy, please!) But I hate putting on a bathing suit and greasing up only to have sand stick to me!

Since I used to live in Florida, I could take or leave the beach - give me a water park lazy river =) Disney will always be my favorite - call me crazy but it's like a second home (and we do timeshare there now). I've been to Greece, England & Scotland, the Rockies, California, Grand Canyon. There's more to explore in the US and I'd love to "do Europe" My big goal someday is to visit Australia (and New Zealand, while I'm over that way, right, Rhonda?)

Where are you going this summer? Where would you like to visit?

Friday, May 6, 2011

the Survivor Approach


I could do that challenge.
Do you watch Survivor? or any of those reality shows that put the "contestants" through crazy, embarrassing stunts. I like Big Brother in the summer. But my favorite reality show is Amazing Race (finale is Sunday!). The biggest obstacles they face are guiding themselves through foreign countries and getting along!

After watching one of those shows I go back to my little life and comforts of home with new determination. I tackle my chores with gusto. If they had a challenge for sorting clothes, I'd easily whip those young chickies. And I know I could start a fire or find an immunity idol - I am the best "looker" in my house, I find everything my family thinks is gone for good. I'm good at untying knots, in many different materials - shoelaces, thread, cords, ipod earbuds and necklaces. I'm inventive with food, nobody would starve while I'm around.

When I'm in Survivor mode, I make baskets into the trash like I need that immunity idol. I vacuum one more room. I can walk the dog one more block (or treadmill 10 more minutes). But I will never do a show like that because some of the things I could NOT do - another day I'll talk about those. For now, I have fun pretending =)

Ever take the Survivor Approach? More curiously, have you ever thought of doing one of those shows?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Egads, I've been tagged.

I love that word, egads.
Anyway, my friend, Dana at The Daily Dose, has tagged me. Bless her sweet heart. So I have to spout about myself and do a "meme." I like these questions, they're new (to me).
And I'm putting my blog tag sticker on it!

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?  First real kiss.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
I would change the 80s for my mom & dad (had a rough time financially and I had no clue.)

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?
Courtney Cox as Monica and as Jules. Crazy control freak who means well, but not quite as extreme

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
you don't get away with anything - God knows all.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
I am too quick to say a harsh word, even joking. I want to be more positive. (both are contagious)

Describe yourself in one word.
loud

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.
guppy
(because a guppy is cute, sweet, innocent and fun to watch swimming around - just saying sweet wasn't good enough!)

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
I like to help people with advice from research or experience and I like to make people laugh =)

Name at least 3 people to send this meme to, and then inform them:
Lea @ Wanton Redhead Writing
Jenny @ the Modest Peacock
Cathy Lost & Found

You kids could use a meme! (if you have time)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Random Wednesday - prompts


I haven't done one of these in a while. Thanks to Aheila for her Drabble Day Challenges. Monday's prompt was “paint.” Here's my offering =)

“Hey, are you ok?”

“Sure, I’m fine.”

“What happened?”

“Nothing, why?”

“You’re bleeding.”

“I am? Where?”

“Right there. On your elbow.”

“Huh.”

“What did you do?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? That’s a lot of blood.”

“It doesn’t hurt.”

“Where were you earlier?”

“Art class.”

***
And over at Confessions from Suit 500 they are having a quick prompt contest for an advance copy of Original Sin by Lisa Deroshers. You have to use these five words in a 100 word or less story:
Personal, Demons, Hellbent, Original, Sin; Bonus Points if you use the phrase "A Devil's Own"
Entries are due by midnight Thursday. Here's mine...

With each step the fragrance thickens. I crane my neck around the corner and suck in the enticing aroma.

There it is. Like original sin, too tempting to avoid. It’s only three feet away. I draw another deep breath and…gag! The demon’s stench invades my nostrils.

I scan the room. There. My arch enemy, hellbent to destroy me, saunters in and sprawls on his pillow, falling into a cream coma.

I silently scamper to my prize, remove it and position the contraption perfectly.

SNAP!

Mrowr!

His inflamed green eyes catch my smiling black ones. This time it’s personal.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Friendship Quiz

As promised, here are a few more tidbits from Prevention, May 2011.

Succulent Strawberry Suggestions!
Try these yummy and healthy strawberry recipes:
  • Strawberry Chicken Salad: toss - 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp vinegar, cooked cubed chicken (I use Kirkland's canned) 2 cups cut strawberries, salt & pepper w/ watercress leaves (or your favorite lettuce)
  • Strawberry Cheese Spread: stir - 2 cups chopped strawberries w/ 7 Tbsp cream cheese, 3 Tbsp sour cream and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (I would use 1 tsp prepared) spread on baguels, baguettes or crackers
  • Strawberry Parfait: alternate cut strawberries, vanilla yogurt and granola in a cup (I love this!)
  • Strawberry Salsa: combine - 1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries, 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno, 2 tsp finely chopped shallot and 1/2 tsp agave nectar
And now for the Friendship Quiz!
Benefits of a strong social network: live longer, better odds of surviving cancer & fights colds! Amazing!
Think of your friends as you answer. On the whole my friends...
  1. ...offer constructive help with problems  Y or N
  2. ...don't insist on getting their own way  Y or N
  3. ...haven't gained a lot of weight recently  Y or N
  4. ...live close enough to see face to face regularly  Y or N
  5. ...rarely complain of being lonely  Y or N
  6. ...feel happy - either for joyful events or just because  Y or N
  7. ...always listen with sympathy when needed  Y or N
  8. ...feel free to ask you for small favors and appreciate your help  Y or N
  9. ...don't act one way alone and another in front of others  Y or N
  10. ...are non smokers  Y or N
  11. ...may sometimes need your shoulder to cry on and vice versa  Y or N
  12. ...understand that you're human and not always perfect  Y or N
  13. ...eat right and/or exercise
  14. ...try to be tactful when they disagree with you  Y or N
  15. ...seem pleased with their relationships and family life  Y or N
  16. ...almost always answer your calls, show up and make time for you  Y or N
  17. ...never stand you up, lie or talk behind your back  Y or N
  18. ...have many other friends  Y or N
  19. ...chat back and forth with you at least once a month  Y or N
  20. ...make you LOL a lot!  Y or N
If you got...
More Yes than No - your friends are good for you!
About Equal Yes and No - ambivalent friends raise your blood pressure more than enemies, but don't cut them off cold turkey. If improvements don't seem feasible, gradually back away and find more positive people.
More No than Yes - if you and your friends are happy but unhealthy, try working together to improve or set the good example and then reevaluate - do it for your health!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Kick start Monday - Reflections

Are you as tired as I am? Whew! I took this challenge and gave it my all. I'm a bit of an overachiever. I went through the two columns of the list and visited alphabetically. I appreciate those who did their best to post every day!

I found sites that sparked my attention, made me laugh, inspired me, or were just plain nice. I'm really looking forward to seeing how everyone will post in normal times. A HUGE THANK YOU to my new followers that put me over the 100 mark and for all the wonderful comments and awards. (got one more on Z day, Thanks Huntress!
Everyone was so nice and made me feel so good!
And finally, a thank you to A Hootie Hoot for the idea to join "Meet Me on Monday" a quick, cute linky link to introduce and meet more bloggers. It's at Never Growing Old if you're interested. Here are today's prompts:

1.  What is your favorite kind of muffin? big fat chocolate, chocolate chip (then big fat blueberry, I love muffins!)
2.  What was the first car you ever owned? 1978 Blue Toyota Celica, good times
3.  Which TV Show were you sad to see end? Friends, now Monica is a Cougar & Chandler is bombing as Mr. Sunshine!
4.  What is your lucky number? 2
5.  Pretzels or Potato Chips? don't we live in a world where we can have both? if I must choose, pretzels.

And now I must dust off my WIP and continue to whip it into shape.

PS - I also participated in the poem-a-day challenge from Writer's Digest. I would love if you have time to vote for your favorite poem on the right (see "I'm a poet?" to review them, if you want). I will submit my top 5 for a chance to be published in their top 50 from the challenge! Thanks again =)