Writer’s Don’t Take Sick Days

czhuxiqjilg-alejandro-escamillaOkay, we do, but it’s different. While we might be tucked under the covers, a thermometer in our mouth, an ice bag on our heads, we are still writing in the midst of being sick. For me, it was random snippets of poetry that I actually forgot to write down so needless to say, promptly forgot. I have used being sick to be a whole plot point for one of my novels. This time around, my flu was so nasty I wasn’t up for much in regards to writing, having to actually cancel my writing group. I did sit down today and work on a piece of short fiction for my local library’s writing contest. It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme

It’s an annual thing and I enter off and on over the years. This year the theme is “Snowed In” and I have actually dabbled in a story about being snowed in. Downside, it’s close to ten thousand words which exceed the 3-page limit with this contest. Not to mention it’s more romantic and adult to send off for just the heck of it. So I started working on a new story, that after reading the premise to my writing group two weeks ago, they said (or completed for me) was a Hallmark story. I had the image of this snowed in cabin and from there I got a three-page story.

Now, seriously, I find it hard to write a beginning, middle, and end three-page story. Just over 2 thousand words, I’m a little impressed this worked and I do actually have all three parts. It might be a bit choppy, but you can’t add much detail into a three-page story. (have I stated this is a three-page story? Just checking) I’ve kept it to just some dialogue, a bit of a back story, and even an epilogue of sorts. I’ll let it settle in and ‘bake’ for a bit before the submission date at the end of the month. I might make it better, I might see some areas that need correcting.  I wouldn’t mind making it longer and add in detail, but you know, sometimes the best stories are short and sweet.

But like I was getting at, at the beginning. Even while being sick, and being uninspired most of the time (it’s hard to be inspired while coughing, running a fever and not feeling like eating) I still find myself writing. Now if only I could remember the poetry I didn’t write down.

Kate

Let Me Occupy Your Mind As You Do Mine – Flash Fiction

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

A darker version of a similar idea for Bookends bookstore.

Rafe Simon sat at the small table that separated Bookends from The French Press coffee shop. It was both the most unpopular table, from eight in the morning till two in the afternoon, or the most sought after table, from two-thirty to five.  It became a very popular table mid afternoon when high school girls would fight over the coveted table just to have the chance to watch Jeff, Mia’s Elvis Costello wannabe assistant, working in the bookstore. Personally, while Rafe enjoyed chatting with Jeff, he couldn’t quite understand the girls’ fascination. Especially the floppy hair, skinny jeans, and thick, black, plastic-framed glasses.

Currently, though, Rafe’s view of the shop was quite improved as he observed Mia unloading a shipment of books at the front desk. The Devil’s Food cake slice added to the sweetness of his view, the cake moist, and for once, more chocolatey than most. The lyrics to the song playing in the shop didn’t hurt either. Gotye was eerily singing “Let me occupy your mind, as you do mine….”

Mia glanced up and at Rafe just at that moment, a frown between her brows before it lifted and she smiled. Rafe jerked his head in a hello and he watched her duck her head still grinning. Mission accomplished. Now he was in her mind.

About bloody time, he thought to himself. The woman hadn’t left his thoughts since meeting her two weeks ago. She had taken up residence and while he was loath to kick her out, she did make life rather distracting when it was as if she was twirling her finger in the hair near his ear while he went about his days on holiday. Bloody woman had to be his mate’s girl as well.

Rafe sipped his coffee and watched as Jeff came to take the stacks of paperback books Mia was setting out on the counter. She stopped and grabbed on, flipping it open excitedly.

“O Lord! He will hang upon him like a disease!” she exclaimed, dramatically leaning against Jeff, her forearm pressed to hear forehead.

Rafe chuckled, both at her and at Jeff who had rolled his eyes heavenward and shook his head in mock surrender. “Bravo, Beatrice,” he called, clapping his hands.

Mia blushed and stood upright. “The books for the high school’s play have come in,” she explained. “I love Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Classic play,” Rafe agreed.

“Best play I’ve seen in Ashland,” Mia sighed. She scooped up another stack of books and swirled off, leaving her to occupy Rafe’s mind even more as he pictured taking in a play with her.

the-bookends-love-triangleI started ‘Bookends’ (working title at this point) over ten years ago and I have only recently started thinking of working with it. It’s a love triangle romance with my characters inspired by Colin O’Donoghue, Martin Freeman, and a lovely model from the Garnet Hill catalog.  Like my earlier post about Regina and Luke, this is another Hallmark style story. Granted, in all my original drafts, unlike a Hallmark film, sex is involved. Love scenes are so much fun to write. But as I continue on, I find that sometimes you probably don’t need that. You can add it if it fits the storyline, but it’s not necessary. Unless one is writing a Harlequin Blaze….. I have contemplated that as well.

But at this point, all my stories are a Hallmark style story, and like the film, Love Actually, everyone in every story is connected at some point. Be it best friends each have their love story, or other stories are just connected somehow. One day, ONE DAY, I might have them all written. Sigh. Right now, I play out my characters in my head more than writing them.

Revamping Poetry

cxyhfbkc0vs-calum-macaulayI was a little undecided about entering into the Writer’s Digest Chapbook Challenge from all of November’s poetry. I just didn’t feel like anything gelled and I was at a loss for how I could put the poetry together into a collection.  Well, then I finally started looking at some of the work and reworking it for readability and I came to the decision, almost a month after November, that I am going to enter. I have been busily typing up the poetry and making it look pretty. That is where the challenge has been.

People always say that reworking a story is hard. And while that may be true, reworking poetry is really hard, trimming the fat and getting rid of excess words. Trying to make it flow and sound nice. You have only so much you can work with without it being prose or heck, a story itself. Not to mention that sometimes what you started with is not that great. I sat there with several of the prompts from November bothering me and not really liking the thrown out poetry that hit the page. I sort of just threw out crap, in a lot of instances. Some was good, some had potential, but most was just fiddle farting around with words. Some, well some are so good that I want to actually submit them to something else. I just haven’t gotten around to doing that.

I have been rushing around trying to write new poetry, fix old, and compile it into a chapbook file. It’s been fun and exhausting. I found a theme; a lot of my poetry centered around my mind and a guy I was interested in this summer. Seeing his life go to shambles as he tries to pick himself up, while still being semi interested in a weird sort of way. There are a lot of things he does that drive me nuts, but oh, I would love a good long kiss from him.  Such is life.

The poetry will be compiled into a chapbook titled She and Him: Poems of Them. Yes, the pronouns are not correct, but that’s part of the play on words and the fact that there is discord throughout the poetry collection. I also sort of stole it from the band She and Him with Zooey Deschanel.  Sorry Zooey, but it’s a great title.  There are sadness and melancholy in the poetry. There is sweetness as well. It’s supposed to be an up and down kind of thing that plays on your heart and mind.  I’m excited about submitting the chapbook. I would like more than ten to twelve poems, but I’m starting to run on empty and I only have until the 15th to get it to Robert Brewer at Writer’s Digest.

I’d love to know if others decided to enter the Chapbook Challenge.  Did you find November inspiring? I felt it was a mental cleanout. A wash for my brain. Needless to say, I have felt a little drained. Okay, a lot of drained and I’m still draining my reserves rewriting poetry. It is good and I will be glad to get it over with.

But I conclude; revamping poetry is gosh darn hard at times.

Kate

Everything Stopped poem & My 24 Hour Romance poem

A photo by Joanna Kosinska. unsplash.com/photos/B6yDtYs2IgYSo, thankfully Robert Brewer posts a Wednesday poetry prompt, because I was feeling a bit down at the end of PAD. While I might have been cutting down on my writing, I had gotten in the flow of writing poetry every day and I was in serious withdrawal.   So the first Wednesday prompt after the end of PAD was ‘when everything stops’ and this week’s was ‘running its course’.  The first prompt had me writing about when writing stops, but that didn’t go very far. So I ended up writing about one of my characters. So poetry for my heroine. Here it is first.

Everything Stops
Everything stopped when he walked up
to the bar and bought her a drink
that she declined, but smiled prettily
and her eyes invited him in, though
her words were cautious.
He was her night to her day
Opposites in a crashing world of
guitars and drums and pictures and
still motion.
And all around the noise was a roar
But they stood like long lost friends
afraid to touch but longing to
step over the line in the sand
separating one beating heart
even though they had only just
met.

 

I rather like how it turned out because I can see how my two characters meet, in this moment where they are kind of oblivious to their surroundings.

My second poem for ‘running its course flashed to me when I met a marvelous man three years ago, or was it two?… and I suddenly understood instant attraction and it was kind of wonderful, and I still flash back to that first kiss that was something to hold other kisses up to. Sadly, I pined for too long, but oh well, I have my weird moments.

My 24 Hour Romance

Our relationship ran its course in 24 hours
from beginning to end
though I pined for you for thirty days
or more, or less as I slowly forgot
or gave up, or moved on…… I don’t know
But I still taste that perfect first kiss
and I still shudder in longing
and I still hope you would come back
Even though I know you never will.
For twenty four hours I was yours
until you said I would make someone a
perfect wife.
Why couldn’t it be you?

I feel that that is a bit bitter sounding, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of other people telling me I’ll make a great wife for someone. You never want to hear that from a guy you like.  Maybe I’m a bit morose right now. May gets to me sometimes. Probably because it’s my birth month and my life comes back to haunt me in its own way. I start doubting my life, or what I’m doing, or the lack of things happening the way I had planned. Most people do it at the start of the year, you know, New Year’s Day? I do it on my birthday.

Well, despite morose, in some ways, I hope you enjoy.

Kate

Positive Feedback, Springtime, and Being a Woman

So just the other day I found out that my grandfather read one of my stories here and told Mr. B that he liked it. While I know my grandmother reads some of my things occasionally, it surprised me to find out my grandpa did as well. Pleasantly surprising though. I mean, half or most of the time my parents don’t read what I write, for which I am partly glad. They know enough about me, they don’t need to know some of my other aspects. As it was, Mr. B wanted to know what I had written about so I was explaining some of the last pieces of flash fiction I had written, and he was making faces. Well, I had to explain that Under the Clock Tower gets interesting.  I’ll have to type it up so y’all can see.

So, no, I don’t always tell my parents what I write. Mel did mention, since she gave me the suggestion for how to continue the Clock Tower, that they (the writing group) was corrupting me. To which I replied, “Don’t worry, I’m already corrupted. You should see some of the stuff I’ve written that I share online only under an alias.” She burst out laughing, especially when I took her suggestion about the story.  Oh, being a writer means I have too much going on in my head, and half of it is not what I would call ‘nice’. It’s wicked, it’s bad, gruesome, disturbing, sexy, sexual, violent, and various other not nice things.  Hey, have you ever read of nice villains?

Well anyways, it was nice to get feedback from my grandpa. Then that same morning, a woman I know here said she loved reading my work. She reads it every morning before work while she drinks her coffee.  Wow. Thank you.  I know the ladies occasionally read my work since I post it on Facebook for friends to see, and I always get marvelous feedback from Mel, but out of the blue feedback is rather a gooey feeling.  Okay, honestly, positive feedback gives me a gooey feeling in general. Mrs. Austen always makes me smile when she posts something.

So, feedback = Nice

Then with it being springtime, there is so much inspiration going on. Oh my gosh. All the flowers and smells and birds and green things growing. It brings out a happier me. A more inspired me than winter. I have slipped out of my ‘burned out’ feeling. Thank goodness. And I have moved on to being more inspired.  I think PAD has given me a boost to write all kinds of things, not just sticking with stories and flash fiction.  I have had a lot of inspiration, even if I might groan at the prompt. Like yesterday’s haiku day. But even that turned out good.

Then the being a woman.  As Mel said after we were all gushing over the Outlander novels and Outlander the show, and Jamie, that we are women and the ‘sap’ is rising.  one thing said was  how the sex is really good in Outlander…. and the show. Really good on the show, people. Really good. And it’s really well written in the books. Not super erotic graphic, but just enough that you, or I, keep going back and rereading it. It’s that good.  I had talked to a woman the other day who had mentioned that she read the first three books and thought they were too steamy.  My inner thought was, hell yes, and thank goodness!  That’s one of the things that makes them so ridiculously good. And I don’t even feel it’s a guilty pleasure. It’s just a good read. Hey, I’m a sucker for romance novels, be it clean or a bit naughty…. or in some cases, really naughty.

Ah, springtime. Romance, love, sex and all things fertile start flowing. There must be something about it that we don’t even realize that we mimic nature.  So I have to say that yeah, spring comes along and anything girly and feminine is on my mind. And romance.  Lots of romance. And roses, and Hallmark movies.  I did my 31 days of femininity in October, but honestly, I probably should have done it now.  Lol.  I have stacks of romance books I want to read, or write. Heck, I am writing romance. I don’t share the romance with anyone because it’s terrible. Okay, it’s probably not that bad, but it has a lot of half starts. I’m still working on a story I started a month or so ago, and it’s actually turning out okay. I want to have one of my ladies read it when I’m done and get some feedback on my romance style.

So, there’s a ridiculously personal update. How is spring treating everyone else?

Kate

PAD Day 11 – Defense – In Defense of Romance and More

In Defense of Romance

I see marriage and sex and companionship,
But where is the romance?
Where is the love of a gallant man
rescuing his fair lady from the scourge?
Where have all the heroes, cowboys, and knights
gone in this desperate world?
Where are the soft nights so moonlit
lovers walking hand in hand?
Why are we now falling into carnal knowledge
before the first kiss has sweetly touched
in a lingering moment?

I believe in romance and love
Before the bedroom
Before the clothes have fallen.
When there was the passion of just being
with another as friends and confidants.
There was a life shared before bodies joined.
Now there is so little left to be discovered,
as a modesty no longer exists
shattered by lacking morals
An impatience for something to strive to.
Impatience overthrows the anticipation
and the waiting is tossed to the bedroom
as the hurry for more is stressed before
the two have even learned last names.

Oh where is the romance of twenty and five years?
Where has it gone?

Seriously though, where has all the romance gone? I was listening to Extreme’s ‘More Than Words’, and the song is about how the words “I love you” were being used so flippantly and how now they don’t mean so much when you say them. So you need to do more than just say words that mean very little.

We live in an age where you ‘hook up’ first before you hardly know each other’s last names. I think about this in reference to Outlander (Sorry people, I love the books) and how Claire says she can’t marry Jamie because she doesn’t know his last name. Then she proceeds to introduce herself fully to him.

The poem below carries on the same theme of defending a lady’s honor and holding her dear. Oh where have all the cowboys, knights, and epic heroes gone?

Defending Knight

Defend me gallant knight with sword and shield
Your strength of arms is never concealed
Swoop down and rescue the damsel in distress
Her waving kerchief her love attests
To the heart you call her to be just yours
Protect and guard her from endless foes
You sir, are a courtly knight of the realm
With a broad sword and a polished helm
Your horse is the steed of legends so grand
The world is your to take and command
So guard your lady so fair of beauty
She’s your lady so do your duty
And protect her through the night and darkness
And keep her safe in your lover’s caress.

 

Again, I’m still in a Scottish laird defending his lady moment. Sorry people.

Kate

On The Persian Rug – Flash Fiction

tumblr_mxqu06swUg1t5bhezo1_500He found her lying on the Persian rug in the old library. The late afternoon sun shone in through the tall windows creating rectangles of brightness on the old red and gold rug. She lay there in her green sweater and low rise jeans, worn so soft they moulded to her every curve. Her sweater, a bright leaf green, had ridden up revealing the shadowed indentation of her navel and a two-inch strip of smooth and toned abs.

Her dark hair was spread out in a fan around her head; a halo  of night. In her right hand, resting between the curved mountds of her breasts, she clutched her small, black mp3 player. The earbuds were in and she was tapping her tennis shoes in rhythm. Her eyes were closed, but occasionally her velvety lips moved as she lip synced.

He was amused as he watched her, so relaxed, lying flat on the floor. He round an arm chair and sank into the red velvet seat to wait for her to finish out whatever she was listening to. He wasn’t in any hurry. The day was done for him and there was something relaxing and soothing about watching her spread out on the floor.

It was a quarter hour longer till she stopped her toe tapping. He had just settled fully into the seat, readying himself for a nap when she sighed and took the earbuds out and opened her eyes.

She tipped her head back and saw him watching her with a slow grin.

“How long have you been there?” her husky voice asked.

“Not long.”

“Why didn’t you let me know you were here?”

“Because. I like watching you.”

She turned a slight shade of rose pink, but didn’t answer as she tried to gracefully sit up and wrap the wires around her player.

“Shall we go get dinner?” He asked as he grabbed her hand to pull her up.

“Okay,” she replied and they walked out of the old room, her arm tucked into his, leaving the golden rectangles to shift and fade as the sun slowly sank.

PAD Day 6 – Ekphrastic – Summer Siren Lady

Summer Siren Lady

Seductive and slumberous lady you are magnificent
in your slip of sheer silk
Chestnut curls adorned with poppies so red
Oriental with their black fuzz centers
an eye on the world as you lazily regard me in your
contentment, a ripple of silver as your toes
flash in the waters of life
a moment of clarity shattered in the hazy sun
an afternoon sky of purest blue satin and white lace
You are the epitome of luxury and sin
a promise of what could be, hidden behind eyes so knowing
so full of mystery
Pluck my heart from the floor as your red lips
grace me with a kiss of longing
you temptress you
Oh Venus herself could not compare to your voluptuous self
as you tempt me with your body and eyes, promising more
the world? A night? Maybe more like hell in a moment
But I would dive into waters so deep to test your skin like
porcelain warmed by the sun, fragile and so pure
Lead me not into temptation with your smile so vague
Let me be and let me walk from this agony you thrust upon me
A moment of insanity lingers in your powerful touch

Okay, so today’s prompt was an ekphrastic poem, which is basically writing a piece from art. I wasn’t too thrilled with the images Rober picked, but I was inspired by the artist of one of them, Alphonse Mucha. I love Alphonse Mucha’s work, which has a very seductive them to the sensuous grace of women. A form of a goddess, untouchable and seductive in a way that even as a woman, I find so amazing. I love his seasons series, this being one of them. Summer. I wrote this as if I were a man watching (as much as one can write that way when one isn’t a man) with an inspiration of past poets, like Shelley, Scott, or Keats…

Enjoy

Kate

PAD Day 5 – Experienced/Inexperienced

I know a bit about pies and such, but cooking makes me scared
When rolling out the dough I run, and feeling the dispair.
Cakes are better, but they make me question cooking
Sometimes they come out pretty, others rather unlooking.
Cookies are probably my best results when baking for the fam
They’re crispy, crunchy things that always go wham bam!
So in the baking field, I’m kind of knowing and not
But food comes out good or bad whether you like it or not!

Oh lord, that’s bad. That’s really really bad when it comes to a poem. The rhymes are just nonsense and the scheme is messy. That is what I first thought of when I thought of experienced/inexperienced though. My baking. It can be iffy at times and I have never wanted to really try pie. Especially gluten free pie.

Let’s try this again and see if something better comes out of Robert’s prompts for today…

Men are one of those things I find mysterious
I feel I know my way around them then out of the blue
something catches me off guard and I’m in deep water
swimming out so far that I can’t fathom how to get back
I feel that way when I write about men too. I start to write
a scene or two and suddenly Mr. so and so has taken the reins
and is telling me, “No, missy, you are not going to drag me down.
No way would I respond that way.”
So I’m left with my cursor blinking, mocking me
as men are apt to do at times, good natured, but mocking
still the same, and I feel like I’m floundering
trying to reach the beach with no idea how I got here…
I’m reading Outlander and Jamie is a dream dude
sexy and commmanding and a bit young like a stud
but he’d scare the hell out of me if I had a guy like that
I’d probably be bruised, ego, mind, and body
a puddle of nerves, never knowing what to do, but then
feeling like I knew only to be swept off my feet again
And a part of me would like a brute of a guy like that
until sanity strikes me and I think I’m too much like Claire
and I’d be an utter wreck for days…

There is an inexperienced poem. I rather like how that went off.

A drop of vetiver, then lime and juniper
a potion fit for a body in pain
But then there’s rosemary, marjoram, peppermint, and ginger
Potions of oils so strong a whiff from the bottle
makes your eyes burn and your nose clear
but these are my oils and I know them like my hands
I’ve mixed and dropped and poured and tested
Till I can pick out any or almost any oil
from a potion or two to the surprise of many
I’ve smelled lemongrass on friends and caught them
unawares as I said I smelled it on their skin
Some people reeking of patchouli but I like it
to the point where it’s homey
Essential oils are my alchemy and people ask
how did I know that that potion would work?
and I want to just smile and say it’s a secret
It’s my magic, mixing oils and scents
I’m a witch of sorts, but the good kind

I am experienced in essential oils, without a degree, but I read a lot of books on the subject and I take it very seriously. I find a bit of magic in the mixing of oils to make someone feel better. It’s like the old healing women, the midwives and ‘witches’ of old. I have a knack for it and I take pride in knowing how to heal in a natural way.

Kate

I Said Yes by Emily Maynard Johnson – A Review

_225_350_Book.1834.coverI Said Yes : My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love By Emily Maynard  Johnson is Emily’s story of how she went from meeting the man of her dreams, losing him, having his child, being on the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and finally finding ‘true love’.

Let me preface by saying I have only recently started watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and I have never seen Emily’s seasons. I really know nothing about her, so I’m not biased one way or the other with her in particular.  I will say I am now a Bachelor fan after starting watching in 2015 with Chris Soules.

The story chronicles Emily’s growing up years, from boarding school to dealing with health issues of Bell’s Palsy and ADD; from having social anxiety troubles and learning problems to family moves and various other things.  We meet Emily from about age ten and experience her life till she meets Ricky Hendrick. Their unique romance catches your eye right away since Emily was 16 and Ricky 22.  You feel the tragedy of Emily losing Ricky to a plane crash in 2004, then the joy of finding out she is carrying his daughter.

There are the trials and joys of raising her daughter as a single mom, then having a friend sign her up for the Bachelor.  It’s while Emily is on the show where we find out what really goes on while being on the show. Emily details what we don’t see while watching the shows. We experience the heartache and excitement of being one of the girls on the Bachelor, then being the Bachelorette, which while interesting, isn’t as glamorous as we all think.

Emily chronicles her time after the shows when she meets her husband to be, who is not a contestant, and we finish off with the start of their life together.

Ah, sounds sweet and marvelous. While I thought this book was going to be this wonderful story, similar to When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy,  which is on how looking to God  brings you to your faith and the person you are supposed to marry, sadly, this is not that book. First off, this book is mostly about being on the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.  The first part of the book does go through Emily’s life up to meeting Ricky Hendrick and having his child and raising her daughter on her own, though with her parent’s support.   However, most of the book is devoted to being on the shows.

While the premise of the book leads you to believe that it is going to be a book of how Emily has trusted God to bring her to the man she is going to marry and to live the life, most of the book focuses on other things. Yes, there is a smattering of token points on how she wasn’t looking to God to direct her, to yes, she felt a movement in her spirit. On the whole, I would say there are about 12 pages total devoted to the topic of God, which might be a bit high in my estimation. In my opinion, that is serious deception on the part of the summary. I felt that even the summary  of the story on the dust jacket leads you to believe that this book is more about redemption and faith than the Bachelor. I think in the end Emily is trying to get that ‘true love’ comes from God, but I was left a little confused what she meant. Did she mean the true love was with God or with the man she has ended up marrying? I was never quite sure.

I found the writing a little juvenile in style and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more faith and waiting on Christ and such. My first impression was that the book was written by a teenager.  In my opinion the style is too simplistic and lacking a lot of fundamental facts, mostly in regards to aspects of Emily’s life. The book focuses mostly on bad choices and the Bachelor. If I were going to give this book to anyone, it would be fans of the Bachelor and Bachelor Nation, along with any woman who thinks it might be fun to try out for the show. For those girls, the ones who want to try out for the show, the book is more of a warning of why you should not go on the Bachelor.

All that being said, it was a quick read, and fundamentally interesting, but seriously lacking in what the book seems to be promoted as.

I would  give this book a 2 out of 5 stars because I’m not impressed. While it wasn’t my style and annoyed me, it’s not a ‘bad’ book.  It’s just not quite as good as you would think.

 

Kate

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.