Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, NaNoWriMo 2012, Novel Excerpts, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekly Features, writing, Writing in Freedom, writing prompts, Writing Sample

The Scent of Inkberries: #SoCS and #NaNoWriMo2017


“But let us return to the story.” She lifted a hand, fingers lightly closed. “Each of the Nine came to Mother, each sharing the same core of truth. Two daughters would be born.” She lifted a finger to give the words the weight of a list; another thing about her that had nay changed with time. “One would carry the blood of Tacivaar, and the other of Canivaar.” A second finger joined the first. This one bore the stains of her inkberries, minding Niaan of those nights when she would wake to the sound of Konii’s quills scratching away at vellum, or scraps of fabric paper Rachyl sometimes wove and bound into books for her. They had had long whispered talks, oftimes, about what Konii was learning in the archives, and what Niaan was learning in the Huntlands, and how it ever seemed more real than anything they were learning as part of Mother’s lessons.

That early closeness had faded, but the scent of inkberries, or their stain on the Mouse’s fingers and shift, was still enough to bring the memory of it surging, bringing warmth and trust –

“You have stopped listening, little sister.”

What do inkberries smell like?

What is the rest of this story?

Do you want to read more?

This stream-of-consciousness snippet was written for Among the Firestars, Volume Five (I think) of my epic fantasy Trueborn series-in-the-making, and my current NaNoWriMo novel-in-progress.


Meanwhile, in real life…

Well, as they say, nothing is written in ink, or in stone – including that people who married each other a little over 20 years ago will get to live to grow into old age together.

My husband has metastasized pancreatic cancer. The first suggestion of the realities to come was the day after our twentieth anniversary on August 23. He was having abdominal pains – sharp and shooting, and, after most of the day thinking maybe it had more to do with the rich dinner we’d had at the oyster bar the night before, we were finally concerned enough about the possibility of appendicitis that we headed to the emergency room.

An ultrasound revealed the culprit was likely his gall bladder, and that he might need to be more careful of rich or dairy foods. But there was also a spot on his liver “Probaby fatty tissue,” we were told, but it was recommended that he see his primary care physician sometime the next week to be sure.

He didn’t go. We were between insurance plans, money was tight as we were launching a small business, and he didn’t want to pile up bills that would make things even tighter. He decided to wait for his regular appointment a few weeks later.

But he wasn’t feeling great. Digestive issues became chronic. In the back of my mind, I worried. He was tired, and his belly hurt. When he saw his doctor, she confirmed a mass on the larger lobe of his liver, and he came home to tell me there would be a series of tests and treatments, starting with a colonoscopy, and ending with the surgical removal of the alleged fatty tissue.

A day or so before the Thursday colonoscopy, his leg started hurting. He limped out of the appointment. The pain didn’t abate, and it swelled. On Monday, he went to the emergent care, because he’d been told they had the equipment to do an ultrasound on the leg. They didn’t, so they sent him on to the emergency room – and, there, they diagnosed a deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot running the length of his leg.

Then there was the bloodwork, which showed proteins indicative of cancer in his blood. The ultrasound that showed the liver mass, and a node on his pancreas. The biopsy that showed pancreatic tissue in the liver mass. The diagnosis, and the prognosis: six to twelve months. Inoperable. Incurable. Radiation won’t help. Chemotherapy will give him maybe more time, and better quality of life. But it won’t cure this.

Only death will.

Things aren’t written in stone, or in ink. But maybe I can change that – find a way to use indelible ink to etch these last twenty years and however many months, weeks, days – maybe even years, if we get very lucky – into my soul.

Maybe ink isn’t needed. Maybe the indelibility is right here with us, in our children, in our home, in our minds and memories –

And in every moment we’re all still here, and living, and loving…


This post is my dip into Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “ink.”

Read more SoCS posts right here.

Want to join in? Here are the rules.

Remains of the Last Supper of Our Old Normal, Aug. 23, 2017.


Posted in Challenges and Contests, Enterprise fan fiction, Fan fiction, Flash Fiction Pieces, Just for Fun!, Short Stories, SoCS, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, The IDIC Romance, Weekly Features, Writers' Resources, writing, Writing in Freedom, writing prompts, Writing Samples

My Motive Is… Belated #SoCS and #StoryADay for 9/9/17

Hello there!

It’s been a busy week, and I’m capping it off with Tugboat Roundup – a two-day gathering of tugboats for competitions and camaraderie on the famed and historic Erie Canal. Today’s #SoCS posts were written on the fly there, as a matter of fact.

This week’s prompt is “motive”, used however we please. I chose to combine the prompt with my #StoryADay posts for today – with interesting results. One of this week’s prompts was to change the gender of the main character, and another was to “break the rules.” My first story is onesinglerunonword – there are no spaces to be found anywhere!

Standard disclaimer: I don’t own these characters, and do not profit from this writing.



For the second story, I’m sharing my Star Trek: Enterprise TnT fan fiction drabble (a 100 word story). I used the SoCs prompt word and several more prompt words contributed by my fan fiction readers:

  • nimbus

  • plausible

  • savagely

  • forgetful

  • dismissive

  • fanatical

  • morph

“Who Is Jossen?”

T’Pol has no answers for her question, nor an understanding of her own motive in coming here. The nimbus of almost-memory remains; there is no plausible explanation for how savagely she had attacked the crates of plasma injecctors; how forgetful and dismissive of the dangers she had been.

All attempts to comprehend her fanatical behavior fail, nor can she release the question that consumes her:

Who is Jossen?

All attempts to answer morph into images of two men running, leaves slapping her face, the hands, the priest and the stone beneath her.

Who is Jossen?

She must learn the answer.

This post is a belated entry into Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Wade in right  here!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days, A Round of Words in 80 Days 2017, Challenges and Contests, Enterprise fan fiction, Life Writing, Parenting, Round Three 2017, slices of life, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, Unschooling, Writers' Resources, writing, Writing in Freedom, writing prompts, Writing Samples

Momentous Growth: September 6, 2017

Hey there!

I wrote this on Sunday: Yesterday, I became the mother of someone legally old enough to drive.

Today, I’ll add: Yesterday, I became the mother of someone legally able to drive.

That’s right. Jeremiah fulfilled a years’ long dream, and earned his New York State learner’s permit. He didn’t miss a single question on the permit test, and he did most of the prep work of gathering, printing, and filling out the required forms – made his mom’s life pretty easy, and learned a lot about administration. He even made the decision to sign up as an organ donor. Since his dad and I have both made the same decision, this makes me very honored to be his mom. He’s always been a generous soul – but this is generous on another level.

My boy is growing up, becoming a man, and outgrowing the need to be parented. It’s exactly as it should be – and somehow, it’s heart-filling and amazing when it’s happening to this boy, whose lifetime has been so permanently and intricately bound up in my own…

It feels momentous, and more than a little staggering.

Has anything staggered you, lately?

Now, on to my Keep It Simple September goals progress!

This barbaric, bellicose side of you is a bit disturbing.” He’s got a split lip, and Trip grins savagely as Malcolm starts to circle, feeling him out more cautiously this time.

We’re just sparring.” Trip lunges in with a stiff-armed drive he’s seen T’Pol use, and Malcolm goes down again.

When did you morph into a barbaric tyrant, Trip?”

  • Trueborn Series: Add 2,222 words/week to Trueborn: Foul Deeds Will Rise, until complete. 1,072/2,222 words. Secondary goal; just under halfway to target.

Even that was nay enough to put fear in the man’s scent, or his manner. He simply sat, his acceptance like another garment over those he wore.

  • Story A Day September: Continue call for TnT word prompt lists. Plot as needed to achieve drafting goals. Drafting in my head and on the fly; it’s working thus far. Prompt words coming in a few at a time. Primary goal; on target.

  • Explore Duotrope; compile list of 25 paying short story/novella markets. Choose 5 to research in greater depth. Renewed subscription; did first search; base exploration turned up 5/25 markets. Primary goal; one-fifth through primary step.

  • Blogging: Revise/maintain regular blogging schedule for September. Outline/draft working schedule for October/November. Sunday #ROW80 posted Monday; #8Sunday (The Thorn) completed (excerpt follows). Primary goal; mostly on target.

The thorn is made of money.

Not the twenty I gave you, Jeremy, please!” My whisper rasps through the quiet. I meant the money to offer him comfort; I don’t want it now, if it means that he’s hungry and cold.

  • Connecting: Visit at least 3 posters/week from every hop/challenge I participate in. Visit at least two other Story A Day posters/day, on average. Touch base with other social media platforms at least once weekly. Visited all posters on the #ROW80 Facebook page for Sunday update. #8sunday/ #weekendcoffeeshare and StoryADay still pending. Stretch goal; 25% completed.

  • Va-Va-Video Course: Complete the three week session, and keep current with the Facebook Page 3 times/week. Skimmed Facebook page; read through; interaction; and Challenge Two still pending. Stretch goal; very modest progress.

  • Hometending: Complete 1.5 hours of hometending/week. 30 min./1.5 hours for blended week. 33% of goal.

  • Selftending: Spend time with my beloveds, friends, and myself; get at least 8 hours physical activity/week, (including finishing Baby Steps to 5K/) beginning Run 5K programs); meditate and journal 8x/week. Activity: 2.25 /8 hours. Meditate/journal:journal; 3/8; meditate 4/8. Just over 25% of activity goal; a bit under target for journaling; on target for meditation.

  • Paying It Forward: Spend 3 hours/week on back business for local crit group (until caught up); and 3 hours/week on beta projects Spellfire’s Kiss and Stained Blood/ related material . Crit group: .5 /3 hours on Moon Murder Chapter 3. A little slow to reach goal.

Kait Nolan’s  ROW80 –

The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life!

ROW Along, or Cheer Us On!
We’re on Facebook,too!

Jeremiah Burton, first time (parking lot) driver!
Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Kifo Island Chroincles, Parenting, Short Stories, Story a Day, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

“Broken (Revised)” for StoryFest 2017



“Put it back on! Put it back on!” Marilyn squeezes her eyes closed, claps her hands over them. She isn’t going to open them again until Ophelia puts the cap back on and hides the evidence.

“Marilyn, put your hands down and look at your daughter. You can’t hide from her.” There is something in Ophelia’s tone that Marilyn latches onto. It’s a distraction; she won’t have to think about how childish she looks like this, covering her eyes so she won’t see the baby girl.

“You aren’t my mother!”

“No. But you are hers.”

Damn! She fell right into the trap. Ophelia is good enough at that to actually be someone’s mother.

“She’s a broken doll – ”

“No. She’s a living being. She’s going to die soon – and she deserves to be seen by her mother while she’s still alive.”

Ophelia’s wrong. This isn’t a baby. Not a living being. Not really. Marilyn doesn’t want to look at the shattered places, or  the gaping hollow where a brain should be, but isn’t. It’s too much like Mom’s huge hollow house, and the gaping hole where her parents’ love never was.

It’s like a symbol of the hollowness inside her.

Would anything be different if Ophelia was this baby’s mother?


Damned Ophelia, not letting her hide, not giving up on her. How the hell did she get to be so stubborn,or so strong?

Marilyn knows the answer to that.

She has a mother who loves her. A mother who stays alive, and does the things a mother is supposed to do for her child.

Marilyn has a baby now. That makes her a mother.

The mother of a nameless, broken baby girl.

Marilyn is broken too – not with a skull that has a hole in it, and no brain inside…no. Not like that. But she’s no less broken.

Sometimes broken doesn’t show. Sometimes, people hide it under long sleeves.

“Marilyn. It’s time to look at your daughter, and face this. That’s why we’re  here, after all.”

Marilyn doesn’t argue. There’s no point. Ophelia takes her wrists and applies pressure upward. Gentle, but firm and relentless, just like this strange half-sister who is at least half a mother.

And more of a mother than Marilyn can ever remember having. She lets Ophelia guide her up, and to the side of the little clear plastic bassinet where her sister has taped pictures and notes – stupid, to do that for a baby who is blind, deaf, and has nothing to see or hear or think with. That slices at her insides, but Ophelia isn’t going to let her loose until she looks. Marilyn doesn’t want to think about what’s waiting when she does.

“Let’s count to three, then it’s time to put down your hands and open your eyes. See her, hold her, and give her a name. Then we can put the cap back on.”

She isn’t going to give up. Marilyn pretends she’s high, so swaddled in heroin’s warm blissful hug that everything – even this – is only a dream,  and  they count together.


Ophelia isn’t going to give up. Marilyn knows that.  She  pens her eyes, and glances at the places where there’s no skull, and emptiness stares up at her. It helps to focus on the perfect tiny face, and pretend it really is just a doll.  She doesn’t say so, because Ophelia will try to force her to see a real live baby.

Marilyn looks, but she won’t let herself feel. Not even when she holds the little warm bundle.

She used to have lifelike baby dolls – that’s all this is. A toy.

“Time to give her a name, Marilyn.”

“Damned nosy kid.” She just wants Ophelia off her back. Out of her face.

“That would make a lousy name. You can do better.”

She tries to think of something – anything to get Ophelia to  shut the hell up and let Marilyn keep the fantasy that smooths out the hurts and fills the empty places.

There’s a lavender band around the edge of the blanket, and on the cuffs of the baby’s sleeper. She thinks that reminds her of something, but she can’t remember what. It doesn’t matter. It’s an answer.

“Lavender. Her name is Lavender.”

Maybe it will be enough to make Ophelia leave her alone, so she can escape into her dream-world again. She only needs a few minutes alone –

“Miss Morgan?”

Marilyn knows the doctor’s voice; she has an unmistakable accent. Warm and soft, like the gauzy feeling after shooting up. But now, there’s something darker lacing it, like poison,  and Marilyn holds the broken doll of a baby close, rocking it. She won’t turn to look at the doctor. She’s just a little girl with her toy. Nothing else.

It doesn’t stop the next words from shattering her fantasy.

“She can’t live much longer than another day or two. Her breathing is failing. I know you haven’t been ready till now, but the donation papers need to be signed before she dies, if her organs are going to have the maximum positive impact -”

“I need to use the bathroom.” Marilyn stands up too fast; her head seems to take longer than the rest of her. She presses the baby – Lavender – toward her sister; Ophelia opens her arms, cooing senselessly to the blind deaf brainless little thing. She doesn’t look suspicious, and the doctor doesn’t know Marilyn well enough to guess she’s planning her escape.

She grabs her purse and leaves them there. She can feel her heroin kit through the denim.

Maybe it’s wrong. She’s a mother now. But Marilyn has to get away from here. Somewhere with no broken baby daughters, no broken places in herself, no papers to sign and pieces of her doll given to all the mothers of all those other broken baby dolls, because those ones could be fixed, but hers was broken forever –

She remembers Brad. This is his broken baby doll, too, but he left her here alone with it the same night they made it. He’s gone forever – safe.  Just like she wants to be.

She goes into the ladies’ room, all the way to the far stall. She caresses the shape of her kit with one hand while latching the door closed with the other. She can almost feel the gauziness waiting for her, calling to her.

Brad escaped into the gauziness forever.

Marilyn sits down, opens the purse, and pulls out her kit.

She can escape, too.



Posted in SoCS, Weekly Features, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Weathering the Whether for #SoCS

Whether the weather be fine

Whether the weather be foul

Life goes on…until it doesn’t.

I’m not sure if that’s particularly relevant to anything – or at least anything I’m going to write in this post – but it’s what came out of my mind, which has been up for a good number of hours doing writing-things and Trek-things.

It gets a little weird in here when I get very sleepy, and the connections between things that don’t seem connected get a little wibbly-wobbly, like lime jello on a hospital tray.

See, I had no idea lime jello was going to have a place in this post! But then, no one really ever expects lime jello, do they?

The kids used to have the book Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  Sunny, With Scattered lime jello just doesn’t seem to have the same ring to my ears.

Speaking of weather, we’ve had some damp chilly times lately here in upstate New York. I think the local weather folks are getting nervous, or maybe hearing a lot of complaints, as though maybe people think unsettled weather in the springtime is their doing. There must be a bit of “kill the messenger” mentality, at least. In the last two days, I’ve heard one proclaim he wished he didn’t have to give the forecast. Another gave the Saturday forecast – cloudy but dry – and then said good night, as though there couldn’t be anything more to say. When he continued the forecast, I understood why. Saturday will be the last dry day for a spell.

It always makes me wonder whether people just forget past weather – like last spring and summer, when we were experiencing a drought – nowhere near what California endured, but still quite dry for this area. The wet now seems more like nature’s imaginary pendulum swinging back, but there seems to be a certain attitude that never wants rain, until it stops falling….

For myself, I’m in a place of personal and professional transition. There’s too much happening at a level too deep for language, so I’m not going to go into details yet. This is a long-term kind of feeling, so it may be a while before I can see things clearly. All I know for sure is that I will do what I can to weather the whether.

This very short post is a part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is “weather/whether,” used any way we want. Find the rules of engagement here, and take a dip in the stream here.

Posted in Fan fiction, Kifo Island Chroincles, Short Stories, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

Write About A Writer for #StoryADay May Day Thirty-One

Hello there, and welcome to my final Story a Day May “Show My Work” post! This is where I give you a sneak peek into how I’m creating two (very short, and very different) stories, every day this May. Yep, that’s right; less than 24 hours from my first reading of the prompt to a committed story, even if I’m not quite that fast at posting them!

Ready to read?

Well then, what are we waiting for?

Story A Day May 31’s prompt is from StoryADay creator Julie Duffy .

The Prompt:

  • Write A Story About A Writer.

Main Project Premise:

  • We go back to Day One, to the postcard Ophelia received, and we meet its author.

Fleshing Out the Premise:

  • Ophelia goes to meet the mysterious author of the postcard she received – even though it means returning to Kifo Island – a place she has tried to avoid for the last ten years. But now she has to know – whether this is a cruel joke, or somehow, some miracle has occurred. What or who awaits her?

My Favorite Bit of Lavender? 

She hated being here. Such a beautiful place; so much like home. But so poisoned, to her mind, by everything that had happened here, ten years ago.

But she had to know.

Side Project Premise:

Standard disclaimer. I don’t own them, I don’t profit from them, but they insist on telling me their stories, so I’m sharing them with you.

Three stories (and the fleshing-out; followed by my favorite bits):

    1. Someone has dictated a letter that exonerates Trip. And, when he hears it, he knows her voice right away. It’s her – his Vulcan Surprise Package, coming to his rescue with her words. But how did she know he was in trouble?

    Just Like That?”

    “To all Terran authorities: I must offer testimony into the difficulties being experienced by a male of your species -”

    T’Pol feels that the perhaps imaginary danger to her human has passed (journal entry). It’s exultant, with hints and notes of the music that had played as they met. At last, she begins to be able to center herself in peace and acceptance of the human in her soul.

    Out of the Fire

    Your mind is powerful, and easily sensed.”

    “That surprises the hell out of you.”


    Soval sees the letter his kindaughter wrote in defense of her Intended. She has found a way to protect her Intended from the consequences of her need to defend herself, without revealing her own actions or identity. It is a skillful (and illogical) act that reveals much about the status of her Awakening.

    Incontrovertible Proof

    It violated all protocol associated with her position. Her action befit the infant who had dared to touch the flame – and more.

    To see the drabbles in sequence, visit my page! 

    And, if you’d like to learn more about Julie Duffy  and Story A Day May, click the links and learn away!

    Posted in Fan fiction, Kifo Island Chroincles, Short Stories, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, The IDIC Romance, writing, writing prompts, Writing Sample

    Hansel and Gretel Structure for #StaD May Day Thirty

    Hello there, and welcome to my Story a Day May “Show My Work” post! This is where I give you a sneak peek into how I’m creating two (very short, and very different) stories, every day this May. Yep, that’s right; less than 24 hours from my first reading of the prompt to a committed story, even if I’m not quite that fast at posting them!

    Ready to read?

    Well then, what are we waiting for?

    Story A Day May 30’s prompt is from StoryADay creator Julie Duffy.

    The Prompt:

    • Write a Hansel & Gretel Structured Story.

    Main Project Premise:

    • Marilyn stares at her baby girl, and suddenly knows the way out.

    Fleshing Out the Premise:

    • Her baby girl is perfect – until Ophelia pulls off her cap and reveals the missing pieces skull, and the empty places inside, where a brain should be. Even Marilyn can’t hide from this. Her baby is a broken doll who will never come to life, and she is the broken doll’s mother – and her murderer. People want to take pieces away from her to fix other mothers’ baby dolls, and she’s the one who needs to decide, because she’s the mother. Only, she can’t even take care of herself, so how is she supposed to know what to do? And then she realizes how she can get free of this burden….

    My Favorite Bit of The Hollow Place

    “She’s a broken doll – ”

    “No, she isn’t. She’s a living being. She’s going to die soon – and she deserves to be seen by her mother while she’s still alive.”

    But Ophelia’s wrong. This isn’t a baby, and not a living being. Not really. It’s a broken doll, and she doesn’t want to look at the shattered places in the doll’s head, and the hollow place where a brain should be, but isn’t. It reminds her of the hollow house, and her hollow life.

    And the hollowness inside her.

    Side Project Premise:

    Standard disclaimer. I don’t own them, I don’t profit from them, but they insist on telling me their stories, so I’m sharing them with you.

    • Soval considers the human’s refusal, and a missive from his kindaughter.

    Prompt Words from:


    • Abberation

    • Magnetic Resonance

    • Constitution

    • Intercede

    • Serenity

    • illicit

    • Depression

    • Architecture

    Local NaNo Group prompt list:

    • first

    • care

    Fleshing Out the Premise:

    • The Terran engineer has refused to reveal anything about his connection with Soval’s young kindaughter, but there is within him a burning intensity that holds the echo of his contact with the infant who dared to touch the flame. When he receives a communication from her that attempts to convey a concern for this human’s circumstances that implies a deeper contact between the pair, Soval’s course is made clear.

    “First Known Incidence”  

    He must protect the nascent connection between his kindaughter and her Intended until T’Pol understood the nature of the flame she touched and held.

    To see the drabbles in sequence, as they post, visit my page!

    And, if you’d like to learn more about Julie Duffy  and Story A Day May,  click the links and learn away!